Soup-er Saturday!

Soup-er SaturdayButternut Squash and Pear Soup?  Yes, please!

On a cold day, there is nothing like soup to warm you up. , and Butternut Squash and Pear Soup is one of my favorites! I live in Southern Ontario, just west of Toronto, right on the lake, and today I went for a brisk walk along the water.  Man, that wind was bracing!  There’s a hint of snow in the wind, but nothing on the ground yet.

After my walk, the first thing I did, was go into my fridge and pull out one of my jars of soup. On Sundays, I will make a batch of soup, and pour them into mason jars for lunches and dinners through the week.  Continue reading →

The many foods of the Feast of St. Nicholas

The Feast Day of St Nicholas

Feast Day of St Nicholas

For those of you who are religiously observant, you likely know that today is the Feast day of St Nicholas.  
According to the St. Nicholas Center, these are some of the reasons for celebrating today
• To focus on giving more than receiving: St. Nicholas cared for the needy 
• To emphasize small treats and family fun: St. Nicholas loved children 
• To provide a bit of special festivity early in the waiting weeks of Advent.
 

It’s better to give than receive!

 
I like the idea of focusing on giving more than receiving, and especially any day where you can give small treats and emphasize family fun!
 
In reading more about the traditional foods that are eaten on this feast day, I was amazed at how many different dishes there were!  Each country had its own special dish, and the one that really caught my eye was the bean soup from Italy.
 
I’ve decided to share that particular recipe with you today!  (especially cause that’s the thing I like about this day and the whole Season!)
 
While the recipe as written does sound delicious, there are so many ways you can modify this to your own tastes.
  • Instead of salt pork, you could use some leftover beef, or make it completely meat free.
  • You can change the navy beans to your favorite bean
  • Kale or spinach could be used in place of escarole
  • You could use vegetable or chicken stock instead of beef stock
  • You could load up this soup with lots more veggies as well!
Comment below and share how you made this!
 

BEAN SOUP WITH ESCAROLE

Bean soup with escarole
 
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound dried navy beans (I substituted with chick peas!)
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ pound lean salt pork cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head escarole
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to pass at table

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 2 inches. Or, cover with water, bring to a boil, boil 5 minutes, and soak, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Put the beans and their soaking water, the beef stock, and bay leaves in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.

3. While the beans are cooking, put the salt pork in a large skillet and brown over moderate heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook them in the rendered fat, but do not let them brown. Stir frequently. Remove the mixture with a slotted spoon, and add it to the soup.

4. Wash the escarole thoroughly, and tear it into 2-inch pieces. When the beans are cooked, add the escarole. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft. Season to taste, keeping in mind the fact that Parmesan cheese is salty. Serve at once, with a bowl of grated Parmesan cheese. 8 servings.

Do you have a traditional dish to celebrate?  I’d love to hear – comment below and share!

Get Festive with Red and Green Foods for Health!

Let’s all Get Festive with Red and Green Foods for Health!

red and green foodsDecember for many people is one of the most stressful and busiest “food“ months in the year.  As we get closer each day to the hustle and bustle (and fun!) of the Holiday Season, our days may be filled with parties, late nights, coffee fueled early mornings, and quite often the stress of finding the perfect gift for everyone.

It is during this time that many people fall away from healthy eating habits, and into high sugar, highly processed “easy to grab“ meals and poor eating habits.  Many often will comfort themselves by saying, I`ll get back on track in January.

The ‘easy to grab’ poor meal choices are often a case of not being prepared. 

I’ve been there.  If I’ve not had the time to do my meal prep on Sundays,  after a busy day it’s all too easy to pick up the phone, or go through the drive through to pick up dinner.    Continue reading →

Hello Winter! How Do You Know if You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D?

With the onset of winter, getting enough Vitamin D can be a little more difficult than in the summer.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I believe vitamins are super-important for health. 

Are you getting enough Vitamin DBut did you know that vitamin D is extra special?

Here’s why.  It’s very difficult to get enough vitamin D;  therefore, it is a very common deficiency.

So, let’s talk about how much of this critical fat-soluble vitamin we need, and how you can get enough. The three ways to get vitamin D are exposure to the sun, consuming vitamin D containing food, and through supplements.

Why is vitamin D important, and how much do we need? 

Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium from our food and acts like a hormone to help us build strong bones. Vitamin D can also help with immune function, cellular growth, and help to prevent mood imbalances such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD). Continue reading →