Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Winter Salad!

Cabbage Kale Salad

I like to eat foods that are in season if possible.  And in the late fall and winter it is hard to find local tomatoes for a salad... So here's a salad that is in season and full of nutrients!  This salad can be chopped up with a knife or put through a food processor to make the pieces smaller and easier to chew.  My kids & husband prefer smaller pieces because otherwise this is a very hearty salad.

As you can see I used a knife to chop up this salad.  The pieces are larger and more chunky.  The kale needs to be chopped otherwise it may turn to a green pulp and I grated the carrots with a cheese grater.

1/3 of a medium sized cabbage equals 2 cups chopped.  That's a lot of cabbage for only 1/3 of the head of cabbage.  The cabbage can be processed with a food processor if smaller pieces are preferred.

3 large stalks of kale (remove stalk) equals 2 cups chopped.  I like to chop the pieces smaller so it is easier to chew and also easier to digest the nutrients.

1 large carrot grated equals 1 cup grated.  It added some pretty color to the salad.

Take the 2 cups of red cabbage, 2 cups of green cabbage, 2 cups of kale, and 1 cup of carrot and mix it all together.  It is so colorful and pretty!

Now for the dressing.  Good salad must have a good compliment of herbs and spices.  I am one for variety when it comes to salad.  I like the oil and vinegar taste or the creamy taste but I do not like either to be too fattening.  So I made two different dressings.

A mustard dressing for my husband... 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp white vinegar, 2 tsp soy sauce and mix well.  

Mix 2 TBS of the Dijon mustard dressing with 1 cup of the cabbage kale salad.

Creamy Avocado Dressing.  1/2 c cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours), 1/2 avocado, 1/4 c almond milk (or more depending on consistency), 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp nutritional yeast.  Blend well.

I made this pretty thick but it was excellent on the salad.

I used 1/4 c of dressing for 1 cup of the cabbage kale salad.  It could have been more runny but my kids liked it creamy.

Cabbage Kale Salad

2 c red cabbage, chopped (about 1/3 head)
2 c green cabbage, chopped (about 1/3 head)
2 c kale, chopped (3 very large stalks)
1 c carrot, grated (1 large)

Chop vegetables and mix together in a large bowl.

Mustard Dressing

2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce

Mix well.  Mix 2 TBS of dressing with 1 cup of cabbage kale salad.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

1/2 c cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours)
1/2 avocado
1/4 c almond milk (or more for desired consistency)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp nutritional yeast

Blend well.  Mix 1/4 cup of dressing with 1 cup of cabbage kale salad.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Brrrr... It's cold outside! Time for soup!

Taco Soup

It is mid November and it is freezing outside and I live in Tennessee!  I dream of being in Michigan right now with my parents, sister & brother playing in the snow with our kids and coming inside to enjoy a big pot of chili or other soup and being warmed by the wood stove!  I honestly love the cold weather and I love snow!  So to take the edge off the cold temperatures here in Tennessee I crank up the stove and oven and start creating heat in my kitchen and make yummy food!

Enjoy some yummy taco soup with me today!  I like it better than chili because, to me, it has more vegetables and beans and I love greens & beans!  This is an easy recipe and I will tell you the trick to make a quick soup is to have beans made ahead of time that have been frozen and thawed out for this soup.  But if beans are not pre-made low sodium canned beans or dried beans (soaked and cooked) can be used also.

2 cups of dried pinto beans (or 1 lb), soak them overnight or up to 24 hours.  I use a half gallon Ball jar with a sprouting lid.  And I do soak them in water for 24 hours.

The sprouting jar and the pinto beans after they have been soaked for 24 hours.  I also let my pinto beans sit in the jar another day and allow them to sprout for 24 hours.  I rinse and drain them 2x in that 24 hour period.

The pinto beans go from 2 cups dried to 5-6 cups soaked and sprouted.  (The dried pinto beans can also be cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes and allow to sit for 1 1/2 hours and then cooked for 2 hours on the stove in a 2 quart pot with 8 cups of water.)

I cook my beans in a 6 quart steel pressure cooker (It takes 7 minutes once at pressure).  As much as we eat beans it is a time saver and less nutrients are lost when using a pressure cooker.  As you can see I add some seasonings to boring pinto beans to make them chili pinto beans and when added to the taco soup it gives it a slightly spicy flavor. (Bonus recipe at the bottom!)

Chop up the onion, cabbage and mushroom to desired size.  We like it chopped fine to medium.  Makes it easier for my kids to eat.

Saute the onion, cabbage and mushroom for 10 minutes in 1/4 c of water or until vegetables are tender.

After the vegetables are tender add the corn, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir well.

Then add the cooked chili pinto beans and seasonings to the soup pot.  This is a 6 quart enameled cast iron pot so it makes a lot of soup!

Simmer the soup for 30-40 minutes so the flavors can mix and mingle!  This soup is mild and my kids like it just like this.  But my husband and I add some hot sauce to it to spice it up.  Also it is so yummy when served with fresh cilantro!

Taco Soup Recipe 
5 c chili beans
2c whole mushrooms, chopped
2 c whole kernel corn
4 c diced stewed tomatoes
2 c tomato sauce
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 c cabbage, chopped fine
2 tsp chili powder
1 TBS onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1.  Saute onion, garlic and cabbage in ¼ c water on low with lid on pot for 5 minutes or until tender.
2.  Add all other ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes. 
3.  Serve with fresh cilantro, a green salad and corn bread or corn tortillas.

Bonus Recipe... Chili Pinto Beans
2 c dry pinto beans (soaked overnight)
5 c water
2 TBS onion, minced
1 tsp garlic
2 TBS chicken-like seasoning (My Homemade seasoning with little salt)
1 TBS cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley

            1.  Soak dry pinto beans overnight in 5-6 cups of tap water. 
      2. Drain soaked beans and add back into pan.
3. Add all ingredients to pan and bring to a boil.
4. Once the water is boiling reduce temperature to simmer and cook for 1 -1 ½ hours or until beans  are tender.
5. Makes about 5-6 cups of cooked beans.  These beans freeze well for 3-6 months.
6. Slow Cooker method: Once beans are soaked add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
7. These are great beans to use for taco salad or haystacks or blended up for tostadas or burritos.
8. When blending these beans add 1 cup of tomato sauce or 3 oz tomato paste.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sibley Park and Their Amazing Motivational Walk!

I am always looking for fun places to take my children and have them experience life outside and in nature.  When we went on a last minute trip with Paul to Mankato, Minnesota I thought to myself what in the world are we going to do in Mankato? And so we looked up 'what to do in Mankato, MN' and found so many fun things to do.

Sibley Park was a neat option because of the farm theme and of course my kids love everything farm!

Life size cows!  Mama & baby!

Beautiful views of the rivers as we were walking.  And Mankato actually has some hills!

And of course a horse Mama & baby too!

We enjoyed seeing all of the real animals in the park as well!  Being a Health Coach & Educator I love to see how a healthy lifestyle can be incorporated into every day life and this park has it all!  It has signs throughout the park that represent some part of a healthy lifestyle.  Check out these signs...

If I lived in Mankato, MN I would walk or run there every day because it is so motivating to see the signs!  And then the gardens and the hills to help build endurance were also awesome!

Even the kids enjoyed the flowers and gardens!  I would love to see more parks and greenways incorporate motivational thoughts throughout the walkways.  Being out in nature, exercising and getting fresh air is so good for the mind and body.  And it is great family time!

I encourage you to exercise in nature at least one time a week. The phrase holds true 'Exercise is your best medicine!'  Enjoy a nature walk or a walk on a greenway or park!  It will help any stress or ailment disappear!