RECIPE: Wicked-Good Varenna Soup

imageBecause I’ve never really been known for my cooking, this whole nutritional wellness blog thing has been an adventure.  For every exceptionally delicious recipe listed here, there have been many culinary tragedies… just ask my husband.  Especially when we were living in Maine.  He managed to keep down some terrible concoctions.  It was a dark time.

One genre in particular has evaded my skills….  that is, until now….

I just made a wicked-good (as they say in Maine) soup!   Perhaps it’s because I’m on a Wellness Retreat in Varenna, Italy; or maybe the stars aligned, or maybe I’m finally getting the hang of creating in la cucina (that’s kitchen in Italian)!  Whatever the reason, you must try this recipe! It’s flavorful and filling. And, by the way, my husband just went back for thirds!


In a large pot combine:

1 can tomatoes (or 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped)
1 can cannellini beans, drained
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup farro
3 cups water
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Crushed red pepper * optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Slow cook in pot on low heat for 30-60 minutes.


RECIPE: Green Bean and Mushroom Soup (or Casserole)

Looking for a healthy, hardy, tasty, filling soup? Well if you aren’t, you should be! This is a great recipe that you can dress up as a casserole if need be!

Mushrooms are an overlooked ingredient that are incredibly good for us.  They are cancer preventers, they are high in vitamin D, and there are studies that have shown substituting mushrooms for various foods (like red meat) result in significant weight loss.
greenbean casserole saute

11 oz cream of mushroom soup
24 oz green beans (chop into small pieces if you like, or don’t)
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion, chopped
10 oz chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp pepper
Salt to taste
Parmesan or Swiss cheese


Sauté chopped onion in butter and oil, then add chopped mushrooms.

Cook until soft then add green beans, water, salt and pepper.  Cook another 2-3 minutes. Pour in mushroom soup (I used Trader Joe’s condensed portabella) and letter simmer for ~ 5 minutes.

cream of portabello soup

You could stop there and enjoy a delicious green bean and mushroom soup.  Or you can take it up a notch…

Pour soup in to casserole dish and cover with the greatest gift to mankind: Cheese.  I used Parmesan, but you use what feels right.

Bake in oven for ~ 20 minutes (until top is golden brown) at 375 degrees.  Let cool. Enjoy.

greenbean casserole with cheese

(recipe adapted from the Trader Joe’s portabella soup box)

RECIPE: Crock Pot Stew

The crock pot is under celebrated.  I always thought crock pots were kinda “country”, but now I’ve seen the light.  Throw in your ingredients and walk away.  Come back 4-5 hours later and poof: Dinner for 8!  What’s not to love, y’all?

This easy, hearty stew is so simple, your boss could make it.

crockpot masala ingred

It’s hardy, healthy and filling, and makes enough for the whole family!

In your crock pot combine:

6 c water

1 c wild rice

1 c quinoa or bulgur

1 can chick peas, strained

1 jar Trader Joe’s* masala sauce — see above, if you don’t have TJ’s choose a spicy sauce of some sort; you could sub marina if you aren’t in to Indian food (but that’d be BORING!)

1 onion chopped

1-2 tbsp salt, or just salt to taste afterward

Serves 6-8 people.

You could add chicken, pork or beef to make it even more proteinaceous!

crockpot masala

Cook for 4-6 hours on low/med, until thick, not runny

Serve atop greens (spinach pictured here) and add salt, pepper, thyme or spices of your choice

My husband eats his with chips and hot sauce (and no thyme)

*I ‘might should’ buy stock in Trader Joe’s because the majority of my simple, cheap, easy recipes are made with their inexpensive, all-natural, additive and chemical free products

RULE: Be good when you can

We all have days when we need a drink or need a vacation or a personal assistant, or a helicopter or just a hefty dose of chocolate.  But then there are days, every so often when things are going just right.  These are the days when you gotta be good.

Exercise a little longer or harder or for the first time ever!

salad plate

Skip dessert.

Order Salad.

Drink More Water.

Or Drink Green tea instead.

Knock out that chore you’ve been putting off.

Experiment with being a healthier version of you.

Don’t let bad habits sabotage the good days.  Turn the good days in to even better, healthier days.

Then notice, how the good days come more frequently; you’re a little lighter, clearer, and happier more often.

There’s always a reason to be bad.  But sometimes you just gotta be good. And love it.

Your body will!

RECIPE: Kale and Coconut Soup

kale soupHow do you describe a simple, easy, healthy soup? Souper Dooper, that’s how!

Plus I have a suitcase-sized bag of Kale from Whole foods, that despite daily kale smoothies and 2 grains and greens salads, is still occupying an entire shelf in my fridge.

Kale delivers a nutritional karate chop while coconut milk provides a delicious creamy texture. The spices bring it up a savory-notch, but don’t over-power.  And who doesn’t like a soup that goes from blender to stove top? Slurp and Enjoy!

What you will need:

2 (15oz) cans unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 cups roughly torn kale leaves, tough stem removed

2 garlic cloves

15 oz low fat coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp raw honey

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

In blender, combine chickpeas, broth, kale, garlic, coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, honey, salt and pepper.  Puree until completely smooth, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a medium pot and heat on medium-high.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

(Clean Eating Magazine March 2012)