Sunday Round-Up

 

The top excuses I hear for not eating healthy are: “I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t know what or how to cook.” Out of ideas of what to make for dinner?! Well, I am hear to help that. Sometimes you just need a little help to sort through all of the recipes and give you some fresh, healthy ideas. Every Sunday I will be giving you a round-up of seasonal, delicious, quick and healthy recipes from favorite cookbooks and blogs that you can make throughout the week. Don’t you worry, no round-up is complete without some sweets to properly complete the plan!

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Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Friday my friends! I feel like we are on the edge of spring but still can’t quite get there. Try this delicious recipe to warm you up instead.

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Soup? stew? chili? How about a warming bowl of wonderful wintery goodness. When I was writing the title of this post I hesitated for a minute because I wasn’t actually sure what this soup should be called. It’s not really soupy but also not a stew, I wanted to know what really is the difference?? I then realized it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day this is a delicious bowl of nourishing veggies that will warm you up on the coldest of days, when all you want are the winter nights to be over and the light summer days here so badly, and then you take a bite and remember that with this cold season comes the amazing hearty winter produce that I will never get sick of.soup and pot

But really, to save you from googling the difference, I did it for you, and here is what I found (feel free to comment if you have differing opinions on the issue).

  • The dictionary definition of a soup is “a liquid dish, typically made by boiling meat, fish or vegetables in stock or water” So a chili and a stew are essentially types of soup.
  • A chili uses, you guessed it chili’s to add spice and flavor to the dish. You can have a meat or veggie chili, and you can prepare it relatively quickly.
  • A stew cooks slowly, for hours, literally stewing the liquid in the all of the flavors from the seasonings, meat and veggies added. soup and hot sauceAt the end of the day what matters is how packed with flavor and healthy this soup is. It has the sweetness from the butternut squash and a kick of heat from chili powder, ginger and I added a dash of San Augustin hot sauce that arrived in my first Hatchery box. If you haven’t heard of Hatchery, check it out, I am obsessed. Every month you get the cutest samples from different small food companies around the country, it is so much fun!

Back to the nutrition benefits- loaded with fiber and protein from the lentils, vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene- an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent found in tomatoes.

The hardest part of this one pot meal is chopping the squash, if you can’t be bothered doing that just buy it pre-chopped, you can find it at most grocery stores.

So what are you waiting for?….Get cookin’!!

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The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 medium butternut squash, diced large (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup yellow lentils, rinsed well
  • few dashes of San Augustin or other hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

Directons

  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook a few minutes or until the onion becomes translucent and slightly caramelized.
  2. Next stir in spices, cook for a few more minutes until fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, broth, butternut squash, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until butternut squash is tender and lentils are fully cooked.
  3. Stir in hot sauce and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Garnish with extra cilantro and roasted squash seeds, if desired.

Roasted Squash Seeds

  • Don’t throw out the squash seeds! There are so many things you can do with them.
  • Simply rinse and pat them dry and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they look golden. You can snack on them, garnish the soup for a little crunch, or blend them into a powder for “bread crumbs” on fish, chicken, etc.

Enjoy!

~Amanda

Provence- A food and wine lovers dream

In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport. – Julia Child 

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I don’t know about you but when my family and I start planning a trip we typically start off by thinking about the food. My sister is in culinary school and did an apprenticeship at a resort in Greece over the summer. We decided to “meet her” in Provence when she was finished. The south of France has been on my travel list for while, as I am sure it is on many food lovers lists, and it did not disappoint. I wanted to stay forever. We managed to packed in a full itinerary,  eating and drinking to our hearts content. I was definitely not ready to leave after our quick week long trip. I will keep this a simple introductory post, with restaurant reviews, our cooking class and Lyon to come!

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Everyone tells you not to go to France in August because things tend to shut down and everyone goes on vacation. We went anyway. Yes, we had a day where nothing was open (not even the local grocery store, but it was Sunday) we made due and found a local pizza place in town that remained opened, it was actually excellent, and hey, you gotta stay flexible on vaca!  Other than that it was beautiful and maybe a little less crowded than it otherwise would have been. As with most of our trips, it consisted of aimlessly wondering through town exploring and eating.

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We stayed at an airbnb in Vedéne, a small town right outside of Avignon. It was quaint and off the beaten path, yet only 8km from the city Avignon. The house was amazing with a large deck, grill, hot tub and park in the backyard, and our host was friendly, helpful and even left us with a bottle of Vino!

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Places to eatLa Vache a Carreaux– 14 Rue Peyrollerie, 84000 Avignon, France

Marché les Halles d’Avignon- AMAZING Market right in the center of town.

Guide to Local Markets

Things to do – The Popal palace or Palais des Papes in French.

Walk the Pont Saint-Bénézet, the midevil unfinished bridge.

Venture to Calangues at Cassis- a must see beach town

Hike Gorges du verdon– visit moustiers sainte-marie

Saint Remy de provence- roman ruins and van gogh

Where to drink

Chuteauneuf du-pape– most famous wine in rhone valley, saint cosmes & gigondas. Amazing area even to simply drive through. Sprawling vineyards as far as the eye can see speckled with charming wineries, small (and some very large).

Favorite winery we tried- Caveau Bureaux

Best service winery- Clus Saint Michel

Tavel – region north of Avignon across from the Rhone river from Chuteauneuf known for Rosé. In fact this region is the “Champagne” or “Bourdeau” of Rosé.

Distillary- A. Blachére, the distillar was behind the counter giving samples of unique cordials, liqueurs, and more. I highly recommend the Lavender.

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