French Lentil Soup

Soups provide a great way to add lots of vegetables to your diet. They are also great as left-overs!  As my family and I are trying to eat a more plant-based diet, we have to find alternate sources for protein. This one packs a protein punch, with about 18g per cooked cup.

  • 2 shallots, chopped (if you can’t find shallots in your store, substitute with 1 yellow onion)
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 organic red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbs unfiltered olive oil
  • 2-3 cups greens, torn (you can use collards, spinach, chard, kale, or a mixture of any)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced and rested for five minutes
  • 6-8 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups French Lentils (you can substitute regular green lentils if you can’t find French.  I get mine in bulk at Whole Foods)
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 box crushed tomatoes (I say box because we are trying to avoid canned foods due to the possibility of BPA. POMI makes delicious boxed tomato products that you can find in most stores)

Saute the shallots, carrots, celery, and red pepper in olive oil until the shallots are tender.  Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir in the lentils, water, and tomatoes and simmer for at least 1 hour. If you are using collards, kale, or chard, add them with the lentils.  If you are using spinach, add it at the end because it wilts very easily. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Money Over Health, Part 2

OK, so I am going to step up onto the soapbox now and rant about diets. I’ve been on just about every one of them. I’ve read just about every fad book. You’d think I would be an expert by now!  Well, I am an expert of sorts, I suppose. I know a lot about diets and I know what to eat with what, how much to eat, when to eat. I know about the macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) and how to combine them. I know it ALL. Or, at least I thought I did. And I know I am not alone. The CDC estimates that over 35% of Americans are obese. That is alarming! More alarming are the statistics about children and adolescents. “Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago.

Being overweight or obese may not seem like a huge problem in and of itself, but major health problems seem to accompany the condition – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, need I go on?  When Americans spend billions of dollars treating diseases each year but disease rates and spending are on the rise, something is drastically wrong here! I don’t think I am a paranoid person, but it seems like someone wants us to be sick. “Healthcare” is, after all, a business. Plus, I learned that the “trusted” FDA gets its food recommendations from the very industries that profit from it – the meat and dairy industries. (Please see The China Study for an eye-opening look into the food industry. Also, check out my links page for more recommendations for great reading and helpful sites)

So, here’s an idea: prevent disease instead of treating it once it’s happened. As Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) so astutely said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A good way to start is this:

Eat Less C.R.A.P. :

  • Carbonated Sodas
  • Refined Sugars
  • Artificial Sweetenrs
  • Processed Foods

Eat More F.O.O.D. :

  • Fresh, Organic Fruits and Vegetables
  • Organic, Plant-Based Protein
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Drink Water

I am in the process of building up my recipe page, but in the mean time, check out my links page for cookbooks that have inspired me.

 

 

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Why buy store-bought tortillas with tons of ingredients you can’t even pronounce when you can make your own (adapted from the recipe at Sheknows.com) in as short as 30 minutes?

All you need is:

  • 2-3/4 cups of Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 Tbs Softened Butter (or 2-1/2 Tbs chia gel*)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 Cup warm water
  1. Mix the flour and the salt in a medium to large bowl.
  2. Add the butter and mix with your hands until there are no more lumps.
  3. Add the warm tap water and mix with either a pastry mixer or your hands until a dough is formed.
  4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it feels smooth.
  5. Separate the dough into about 8 equal pieces and form into balls.
  6. Cover in a bowl or place in a plastic bag and let rest for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  8. Roll out each ball into a flat tortilla and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute on each side.  You will know when to flip by the appearance of browning and bubbles.
  9. Place the cooked tortillas on a plate and cover with foil.  They will soften after a few minutes.
  10. Stuff them with your favorite ingredients, roll, and enjoy!

*I like to use chia gel instead of butter when I feel like being especially health conscious. To make chia gel, place 2 Tbs of chia seeds in a cup of water and let sit for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator. If you do substitute chia gel for butter, use 2-1/2 TBS of chia gel.  You may substitute chia gel in any recipe and the rule of thumb is to use half the amount of whatever the recipe originally calls for. A word of caution, though – tortillas made with chia gel are a little drier than those made with butter.