Carrot ginger soup brightens your day

Being a student of nutrition, I was intrigued by a recent give-away in our Buy Nothing neighborhood Facebook group. A member was offering a book with the intimidating title, “The Ultra-Metabolism Cookbook.” I have discovered over several years of trying to encourage families to forego processed foods in favor of healthy meals that people are hooked on the foods they grew up loving. It takes a LOT to get them to consider changes. I wondered whether this recipe book could make a good stab at getting people to consider a regular infusion of fruits, veggies, and good quality protein and carbs.

The seven keys to making your metabolism function well, according to this doctor, Mark Hyman, are

  • controlling appetite
  • lowering stress
  • reducing inflammation
  • preventing damage from oxygen, AKA keeping your cells from rusting from the inside out
  • burning calories
  • strengthening thyroid fuction
  • helping the liver do its intended job

But people won’t care about any of that if the food doesn’t taste good, if the ingredients are unfamiliar, and, especially these days, if food prep takes too long.

Hyman takes care of food prep hangups by posting tricks to make shopping, preparing and cooking meals easier. Healthier eating does mean forming new habits and, perhaps, making more of an effort in the kitchen than you are used to. You WILL have to make some changes. But the results for you and your family are worth it.

Hyman’s recipes look easy and they contain foods that promise to deliver on the good doctor’s seven keys to a healthy metabolism. In no time you will feel less stress, maintain a healthier weight, and find more energy. Best yet, a more efficient immune system can help you better fight off those nasty viruses that are making life miserable for most of us these days.

To test things out, I chose a tantalizing recipe for carrot ginger soup. It is made with lots of spices, herbs and foods that derive from nuts and seeds. All these things are chock full of healthiness. You can easily make this dish vegetarian and dairy free, if that’s your thing. I can attest to it being super delicious!

Carrot Ginger soup

Makes 4 large bowls for lunch or 8 small cups for appetisers. Can easily be doubled and frozen for another time.

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, scrubbed and minced
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (I use our home-made bone broth)
  • 1/3 cup cream (or canned unsweetened coconut milk)
  • salt to taste (up to 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili paste (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  1. Prepare the above ingredients, all washed, cleaned, chopped, and measured
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed large pot, over medium heat
  3. Add the onion and ginger and cook for 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent
  4. Add the carrot coins and cook for 2 minutes
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute
  6. Add the broth, cream and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and boil gently for 25 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
  7. Using an emersion hand blender, puree the soup until it is smooth and creamy
  8. Add the lime juice and chili paste and adjust the seasonings. You may need more salt and more broth to achieve your desired consistency
  9. Serve the soup in bowls or cups and garnish with the chopped cilantro and green onion. I didn’t have these on hand, so I used fresh dill and basil from my kitchen window.

Halloween cooked-carrot and tomato salad

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy. Having gained a very bad 15 pounds between March and August in this year of the coronovirus, and now being well on the way to shedding it all again, I wanted to celebrate a sugar-free evening with the ghosts and goblins.

The powers that be have decreed that it’s not safe for children to go door to door this year… and rightly so, with numbers of covid-19 cases soaring in a second scary wave. So we have not bought the usual crazy amount of mini chocolate bars this year.

Instead of candy, I nominate the color orange to be our celebration vehicle for Halloween in our house.

Pumpkins are a bit cliche… so I chose to make a delicious dinner-time dish from the gorgeous, sweet, orange carrots available in the market these days.

The recipe is modified from one I published earlier for a big crowd. The recipe here provides eight servings as a veggie side dish for dinner. It has enough tangy sweetness to make you forget that there is no candy for you to gorge on, after all the little ones stop knocking on your door on October 31st. Happy Halloween!

Halloween cooked-carrot and tomato salad
Makes eight 4-ounce servings

  • 1.5 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 0.5 – 1 inch fresh ginger, skin scraped and finely chopped (I like lots)
  • 5 ounces tomato sauce (I used roasted red pepper pasta sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 8-16 ounces tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used 2 large ripe tomatoes)
  • 1 large green onion, sliced, or a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)
  1. Slice carrots into coins, then cook in slightly salted boiling water until tender yet crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain, then submerge in cold water to cool.
  2. Combine tomato sauce, oil, vinegar, ginger, and curry powder in a small sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the carrots and the cooled tomato dressing (sweetened if you wish with 1 tablespoon of my homemade liquid stevia or 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar). Mix well.
  4. Chill until serving time. Garnish with the chopped green onion or the chopped basil leaves. Stays fresh for 3 days in the fridge.

Note: I used pureed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce on one occasion and so I had to add salt and a little coconut palm sugar to taste. Otherwise it was too bitter/sour. There is plenty of dressing, and you may only want to add half of it at first and taste to see if that is enough. I had about a half cup let over the last time I tried this recipe. It’s great as a dressing on any salad.

Nutrition summary

Total calories per 4-ounce serving is 234. If you go easy on the dressing that pools in the bottom of the bowl, the calories are reduced somewhat.

Carrots are a sweet veggie, containing a significant amount of sugar. So there is no need for additional sugar. But I did use a little stevia sweetener, to take the edge off the vinegar. You might not need any sweetener at all.

One serving contains 6 times the vitamin A and 33% of the fiber, vitamin C, and potassium you need every day. This salad is also a good source of iron, calcium, and even protein, providing about 10% of the recommended daily amounts.

If you are diabetic, know that one serving provides 11 grams of sugar, twice the suggested amount per dish.

This is a delicious tangy side dish that can serve as your starch portion, as well as your veggie, in one single serving. Trick or treat? I hope you find this recipe more on the treat side of the equation. Boo!

Copper penny cooked carrot salad

Carrots

Turn carrots into a delicious, make-ahead party salad.

Pot luck party time

“What are you bringing to the pot luck picnic tomorrow, Vinny?”

Vinny looked at his super slim and very athletic friend. “Think I’ll bring a crunchy curried cauliflower salad, Val. It’s easy. I took it to a party on the weekend and it was a hit. I just added curly lettuce leaves and my own cabbage slaw to Farm Boy’s offering and I was done.”

“Crunchy?” asked Val. “Does that mean uncooked?”

“Why, yes,” said Vinny.

“Guess I won’t be eating any, then.” Val smiled.

“Oops, I forgot! You can’t eat uncooked fiber! Sorry!” said Vinny.

“No problem,” said Val. “There will be plenty of other things there I can eat.”

But Vinny loves a challenge and began to think how he could turn his salad into something his friend Val could eat too. Easy, he thought. Cooked carrots. Just peel, slice, and add a  dressing. More

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Vinny’s summer vacation

Summer is in the air and Vinny and I are heading for the great outdoors. That means you won’t likely be hearing from us here again till September rolls around.

We leave you with a one-pot dinner idea that you can make for a crowd over the summer. More

My mandolin’s iceberg salad, starring kohlrabi…

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Mystery veggie

Kohlrabi – Huh? My picky eater surprised me the other day. Will’s vegetarian school buddy had given him a taste of this odd veggie and it turned out to be a hit! I had to look it up. More

Adela’s Bird of Paradise

Remembering Adela - the hostess with the mostest!

Remembering Adela – the hostess with the mostest! 1963

Vinny’s Grandma Adela loved a dramatic presentation. She had inherited her own dad’s artistic temperament. Great granddad William Enge was a master woodworker, making violins as well as decorative furniture. He played the violin so beautifully, his music made a woman 20 years his junior fall in love with him.

Adela too had musical ability, singing in the choir at church, as well as for the Ottawa Opera Company.  Like him, she had an eye for color and fashion, designing and sewing her own clothes and much of the clothing for her family. She also built or refinished many pieces of furniture for her home, following in her dad’s footsteps. Knitting, sewing, carpentry, painting—nothing was too difficult for her to try her hand at.

But Adela was at her best in the kitchen. She kept an extensive recipe collection. And, like an early Martha Stewart, Adela was known to set an elegant table. More

Carrots for dessert? Add grapes and go!

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A duck walked up to a lemonade stand. And he said to the man
running the stand… “Hey…. Got any grapes?”

The man said, “No, we just sell lemonade.  It’s cold and it’s fresh and it’s all home made.  Can I get you a glass?” The duck said, “I’ll pass.” (waddle waddle waddle)

I feel just like that persistent little duckie in Bryant Oden’s wickedly humorous song who wouldn’t give up until he found some grapes.

Unlike the duck, when I find grapes I know just what I’ll do with them. More

Mushroom soup

Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Mom’s shitake mushroom and spinach soup

Boost your soup’s healing power, flavor, and presentation

Turn your Cinderella leftovers into a healing soup stock fit for a princess.  Here are a few magical ways to take my basic recipe for garbage soup and boost the healing power of your bone broths.

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Miss Chicken wears orange for a bolder style

Orange chicken bake

 

Chicken

Take heart, boys and girls. The first meal in my 17-day-diet series is not a salad. Instead, it tells the tale of how the bland and boring Miss Chicken found her style.

We wanted her a little bolder. A little edgier. We also wanted her to have the power to keep you healthy. To do all that we partnered her with the color orange! More

Antioxidants, nature’s anti-rust agents

A scoop o’ colorful puréed veggie soup helps the antioxidants go down.

Antioxidants unmasked

Among scientists she goes by the name of  antioxidant. But Vinny’s friends know her as Auntie Oxidant. By either name, she is a kid’s best friend. She is a powerful protector from degenerative disease. This fighter disarms invaders called free radicals, bent on destroying our cells. More

What’s for lunch at Hogwarts? Potatoes!

Rumbledethumps... with sweet potatoes and white ones.

Rumbledethumps, without its coat of grated cheese (so you can properly see the filling).

British kids like Harry and Hermione find foods with the strangest names on their school menus. Which of these dishes isn’t like the others… Is it Bubble and Squeak? Rumbledethumps? Hash? Or Spotted Dick?  Here’s a hint: Think potatoes. More

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