Spicy Sweet Potato Chipotle Soup

This soup is perfection.

I love a sweet and spicy soup combo for lunch. And even though it's warming up outside I still think soup makes the perfect lunch! 

Matt and I have totally been embracing meal planning on Sundays to help get us through the week. It has been a helpful way to stay healthy and keep our meals on budget. 

I was inspired to make this soup from It's All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow. I held off on making this for while because of this one ingredient - chipotle in adobo sauce?! I thought, geez Gwyneth we don't all have access to the world's most rare ingredients! One quick google search later I learned that this is actually a pretty common thing to have in grocery stores - even No Frills had it! 

This soup is super simple and it's right up there in my top three of all time.

See for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Course sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo (or more if you like)
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, and a heavy pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not browned, 10 minutes. Add the chipotle and the sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Add the vegetable stock to the pot and turn up the heat. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes. Carefully puree the soup in a powerful blender - I used my vitamix.  

Note: The original recipe also called for cilantro. I am personally NOT a fan so I left it out. If you do like this soapy herb please feel free to add back in!

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Lemon Chia Morning Muffins

Muffins are my favourite. 

:: Muffins with Forever Nuts Pink tea!! ::

I just love a good morning muffin. Unfortunately most varieties also love to give back a nice little muffin top! 

When I first saw this doughnut recipe from Oh She Glows I thought they looked delicious but I didn't want to invest in the doughnut pan ... only dangerous things could happen if I bought a doughnut pan!! So I decided to mix the recipe up slightly and add my own flair. 

These muffins are AMAZING. And super digestible ... 

The chia helps make them more filling. I'll have two of these little guys and not be hungry until noon!

Lemon Chia Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I like Maldon)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line muffin tin with liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the oat flour (I make mine in the vitamix - just blend oats until they turn into flour ... takes 20 seconds), chia seeds, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the maple syrup, lemon juice, milk, and vanilla and stir until combined. The batter will be very runny - this is normal!
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin liners - fill each one right to the top - they will not rise that much!
  5. Bake muffins for 24 minutes.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan then take them out.
  7. Eat!

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Big Cook - Weekly Meal Prep

The #1 best thing I have learned in the kitchen is that the best way to cook is to cook all at once. It takes a little practice but after a few tries it is much easier to multi-task - or in this case multi-recipe.

I have found that cooking three big meals at a time has helped us stay so much healthier this winter. This time last year we would be ordering in pizza at least twice a month. I'm proud to say that we have kicked that habit! 

This week I did three vegan recipes inspired by Oh She Glows. I like prepping veggies because it is easy to add in a bit of protein - for example, I can hard boil an egg and add it to a salad right before dinner. And it helps get more fibre into our bellies! Very key for digestion!

Broccoli Cashew "Quinoa" Wraps

I have made these before and they are super easy to grab for on the go lunches. If we are feeling super healthy we use collard greens instead of store bought wraps!

Recipe

Inspired by Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon 

Main changes:

  • I didn't soak the cashews - in a vitamix they puree quite nicely and this saves 6 hours of cashew soak time
  • I didn't use celery - I just don't LOVE it and decided they are better without - if you want to add in chop 1/2 cup and add at the same time as broccoli
  • Added sun dried cherry tomatoes - bake tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil at 400 for 30 minutes then add to mix - YUM!
  • I used brown rice instead of quinoa because I had some leftover from the tex mex casserole

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 unsweeted almond milk (I used cashew because that's what I had, any milk will work)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast - I was scared of this at first but it is DELICIOUS, great source of B12 and adds a great cheesy flavour
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamic because that's what I had)
  • 1/2 tsp salt - I LOVE maldon sea salt but any salt will do

Burrito Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sweet onions, diced - about three medium onions
  • 2 cups broccoli florets 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes - roast in oven at 400 for 30 minutes with a little bit of olive oil
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Shells - either wraps or collard greens

Directions

Cheese Sauce

In a food processor or blender, combine the cashews, garlic, almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, vinegar and salt and process until smooth.  The sauce should be thick.

Burrito:  Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on pkg.

In a large pan or wok, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.  Saute over medium-high heat until broccoli is tender, 10-15 minutes.  

Add the quinoa and cheese sauce and stir to combine with the vegetables.  Cook until heated through, 5-10 minutes.  Spoon the mixture onto the tortillas, wrap and serve.

Lentil Tomato Sauce with Chia

I copied this recipe to a tee except of three changes:

  • Instead of whole tomatoes I used a can of diced tomatoes with their juices
  • I added a can of lentils for protein
  • I added two tbsp of chia at the end to help thicken the sauce

Tex Mex Casserole

I copied this recipe also to a tee with these change:

  • I didn't have corn so I just skipped it
  • Next time I would skip the vegan cheese or just add a little real cheese. It was on sale and I decided to give it a try ... now I know why it went on sale! But good effort vegan cheese, good effort!

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Ridiculous Enchiladas

Mexican is my favourite summertime cuisine. 

So in the midst of this massive blizzard snowfall what better time to whip up a meal that springs me forward right into summer!?

Funny story about these. I got the WORST food poisoning of my entire life after having enchiladas in Cambodia. Lesson - do not eat Mexican food in Cambodia. My girlfriend Jules and I had been travelling for months and wanted a break from south east Asian cuisine, we saw a tiny mexican spot right beside the outdoor market in Siem Reap and decided to give it a go. Everything was fine until we went out later that night to a famous bar there - Anchor WHAT? We arrived and seconds in I felt like I had been drugged. Like a typical dumby I carried on and decided I was just overtired. I had two sips of my bucket and I don't even remember walking home to our guest house. I spent the next three days shaking and sweating. I googled every single type of rare disease possibility and convinced myself I had almost every single one of them. Finally Jules was able to help me down the stairs and I was ok again. Nuts.

Long story short - I haven't had them again since making these guys. And honestly I don't think I could eat chicken enchiladas ever again. But if you love chicken or beef you can always toss that right in too!

enchiladas close up.jpg

Enchiladas Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (~2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sweet potatoes - cooked and mashed without skin
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 handfuls spinach, chopped
  • 1 can black beans (~2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of white beans  (~2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • Enchilada sauce or Pasta sauce (about 2.5 cups) - buy this or make your own
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 8 whole grain tortilla wraps 
  • 2 cups of plain tomato sauce (if you have cans of tomatoes I like to just blend them in the vitamix)
  • Avocado Cream Sauce, to pour on top (recipe below)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grab a deep baking dish large enough for 8 enchiladas. Pre-cook the sweet potato, by simmering it in a small pot of water for about 5-10 minutes until just tender. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside. When cool enough to handle peel and mash the insides.

2. In a large skillet or pot, add 1 tbsp oil and bring to medium to low heat. Add in the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent. Add in garlic and reduce heat to low and cook for a couple more minutes. Now add the chopped pepper, pre-cooked sweet potato, drained black + white beans, and chopped spinach. Cook for about 5-7 more minutes on medium-low heat.

3. Now add in your enchilada or pasta sauce. Stir well, and add in your seasonings: nutritional yeast (optional), cumin, fresh lime juice, salt, garlic powder, chili powder- all to taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir well.

4. Add the tomato sauce to the bottom of your baking dish. Then overtop scoop about 3/4-1 cup of the mixture and spread out in a thin layer. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the mixture onto each tortilla and wrap, placing the fold down on the casserole dish. Repeat for the remaining 7 tortillas and leave a bit of filling left to spread over the top. Sprinkle with cheese if preferred (but not needed!)

5. Bake tortillas at 350F for 18-20 minutes. Meanwhile, make your Avocado cream sauce (see below). When enchiladas are cooked, remove from oven and pour the sauce over top. Serve immediately. Makes 8 enchiladas.

Note: Depending on what kind of sauce you use, you will have to adjust the seasonings to taste. I used a pasta sauce so I likely needed more seasonings to achieve the taste I desired.

Avocado Cream Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • Four avocados - peeled and pitted
  • 4 tbsp veganaise (or mayonaise if you must!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil - or add a little more if you want your sauce to be less chunky

Directions

1. Put all ingredients in a high powered blender and mix on high until emulsified.

2. Spoon on top of the enchiladas when ready to serve.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk

If I HAD to pick cookies are probably my favourite thing to eat ever. I'll take them any and all times of day. I love to bake cookies but the problem is I will eat them all. At once. So I usually just make them for dinner parties only to share the cookie love.

On friday night we had some vegan friends over and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at vegan baking for the first time. The results were surprisingly delicious if I do say so myself! These will be a staple I'll turn to again and again!

* Inspired by these from Oh She Glows

Ingredients

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1/4 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 2/3 cup unpacked brown suga4
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats, processed into flour (or 1.5 cups oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (only if needed to moisten batter)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I LOVE Enjoy Life brand - pictured)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the flax egg again once thickened.
  • Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flax egg (coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, cane sugar, and vanilla). With a hand-held electric mixer, beat the ingredients until combined and smooth.
  • Now, beat in the dry ingredients, one by one, as you go down the ingredient list (baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, oat flour). If your dough is a bit dry, add a teaspoon (or two) of non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not super sticky.
  • Stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.
  • Shape balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball or 2 heaping tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball with your hand to form a disc (it should be 1/2-inch thick or so).
  • Bake for about 12-13 minutes (I baked for 13 mins) until the cookies are spread out nicely.

NOTE: I make oat flour in the vitamix - just blend until it becomes flour - about 20 seconds.

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The Perfect Kale Caesar x2

If I'm known for just one thing in the kitchen it would absolutely be my kale caesar salad(s).

ONE

Version one is not healthy.
This is the original version complete with cheese and cheese and well, more cheese. It is the most delicious salad you've ever had because basically it's cheese disguised as salad. I've made this recipe about 50x and have even had friends come over with the ingredients just for me to make it for them. It is a winner on every level except the waistline.

Sinful Kale Caesar

Ingredients

This makes 4-6 servings 

  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese (ok, I just use the whole standard store bought wedge normally -don't judge me, healthier one ahead...)
  • Juice of two limes (2-3 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bunches of kale cut into small bite sized pieces with scissors 

Directions

1. In a vitamix or super powerful blender add the cheese, lime juice, mustard, olive oil and garlic, blend on high until the mixture completely emulsifies. 

2. Place chopped kale in a bowl - pour dressing directly over top and mix. This can sit in the fridge for hours ... I think it's even better the next day!

3. You can add croutons and bacon if you really want ... I'm somewhat of a salad purist. Also if you happen to have extra cheese grate it on top and just get down with your bad cheesy self.

TWO

Version two was inspired by my blogger crush obsession Oh She Glows.
This lady is a genius and I love her but I do have a few tweaks to her recipe. As I rule I rarely, if ever, follow recipes exactly to a T. It's part of my rebel without a cause side to my personality, wild Christie in the kitchen! The first time I made this I didn't have time to roast and entire garlic head so I took a quick and delicious shortcut - I mircoplaned  five cloves of garlic and in a frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil heated it up for about 45 seconds - just until it started to smell AMAZING. The results were out of this world... Matt thinks this is better than the original. I tend to agree.

:: Via ::

Delightful Kale Caesar

This makes 4-6 servings... don't double this recipe it doesn't work out that well!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds - soaked for at least 12 hours in water
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (juice of two limes)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 bunches of kale cut into small bite sized pieces with scissors

Directions

1. Place the almonds in a small bowl and add enough water to cover them. Soak for at least 12 hours. Drain and rinse. Add just the nuts to your vitamix or blender. 

2. In a small frying pan or cast iron skillet add 1 tbsp of oil and mince or microplane zest (best tool EVER) 5 cloves of garlic right into the oil. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute - the garlic will brown slightly and start to smell amazing. Don't over cook! Add the oil and garlic directly into the vitamix.

3. Add lime juice, dijon mustard, salt and olive oil to the blender. Blend on high until the mixture completely emulsifies. 

4. Place chopped kale in a bowl - pour dressing directly over top and mix. This can sit in the fridge for hours ... I think it's even better the next day!

5. Ok, If you want to be super healthy and not fry your garlic you could also just roast a whole head of garlic in the oven at 425 for 40 minutes - your call!

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Cauliflowers with Truffle "Cream"

Roasted cauliflower is in my top five favourite vegetables. Cover it in cheesy cream sauce and you're good to go! This is my healthier take on this delightful dish.

Ok I know this doesn't look like THE BEST THING EVER. But it is seriously - it's a wow delish side dish. 

The secret is in the sauce. Veganaise (a vegan's answer to mayonaise) makes up the bulk of the mixture. I first learned about veganaise through Gwyneth Paltrow's cook book My Father's Daughter. Apparently she spreads it on everything. And if it's good enough for GP then it's good enough for CP (me). You can find it at most health food or speciality grocery stores.

And on another note - capers. I have a strange love affair with these salty treats. I have at least three jars in the fridge at all times. They just go great with everything - chicken, fish, pasta. They add a great natural saltiness. 

I made this for dinner last night and the flavours were perfect together. The truffle cream sauce takes two seconds to make. I like to roast the cauliflower before and add the sauce just before serving. Make sure it's hot hot hot.

Ingredients

  • One cauliflower head
  • 1/2 cup veganaise
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (half a regular lime)
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup capers

Directions

Cauliflower

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Cut your Cauliflower into chunks (or as chefs often say "flourettes"!)
  3. Spread out the cauliflower on a baking sheet and cover with a drizzle of olive oil
  4. Bake for 40 minutes until tender

Fried Capers + Truffle Cream Sauce

  1. Fry capers in 1 tbsp of olive oil for 2-3 minutes until they start to turn slightly brown.
  2. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix together the veganaise, lime juice, truffle oil.
  3. Mix in fried capers to the cream and serve hot!

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Eat This :: Not That

Battle: Spaghetti Squash - Spaghetti

If I'm honest I wasn't totally on board the spaghetti squash train at first. Actually I thought it was totally gross and tasted like hay! After over cooking it by accident I realized I had been under cooking it. I like mine almost mushy and not stiff to bite. Most recipes will tell you to cook the squash for only 20 minutes but I often find it needs closer to double that time!

Remember this tip - it needs to be tender!

If you're not cooking the squash in oil or butter you're going to need to leave it in the oven for a little longer. 

Why Spaghetti Squash Wins Hands Down:

If you’re looking to restrict your caloric intake, eating spaghetti squash will help fill up your plate without adding lots of calories. Each cup of the cooked squash contains only 31 calories! Due to the squash’s low calorie content, substituting spaghetti squash in place of pasta reduces the calorie content of your meal; substituting a cup of squash in place of pasta saves you 179 calories. If you normally eat spaghetti once a week, the calorie difference in switching to spaghetti squash translates to 2.5 pounds of weight loss over the course of a year. Sure not a ton but everything counts! 

The only category pasta wins in here is it has a little bit more protein but only 6 grams per cup - you're better off just making a delicious meat sauce to go on top of the squash!

Spaghetti squash is so simple to make

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place squash on a baking tray and cook skin side down for 45 minutes. Take a fork and scrap out the pieces. SO good! Here is one of my favourite recipes for spaghetti squash.

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Curry Quinoa Salad

How's this for eating your colours?

Curry and I really didn't get together until later in life. I'm not quite sure what held me back for so long but ever since my trip to South East Asia a few years ago I just can't get enough of curry anything now.

Spices really go a long way in bumping up the flavours in healthy foods. This recipe was inspired by a curried couscous from my girl Ina, I just added some quinoa and a few more colours to the original. Yum. You could do this with rice or really any grain that you have. SO delicious as a side dish or a lunch salad. This recipe will keep for a week and only gets better flavours as time goes on.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water to cook quinoa
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (or really any vinegar will be great)
  • 1 tablespoon good curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 4 regular size carrots)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (crasins)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup red Onion

Directions

1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package - I like to use the broth because I find it adds more flavour but this is totally optional.

2. In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry power, and s + p.

3. Chop the veggies - I like using the vitamix to wet chop (pictured above) my carrots because I am lazy but hand is also great too.

4. In a big bowl combine the quinoa, veggies and stir in the sauce.

5. Serve cold or at room temperature.  

 

Gingerbread Cacao Shake

In the wintertime the idea of waking up to an ice cold shake doesn't always make me want to jump out of bed!

This warmed up version is absolutely delicious and still packs the same great nutrition. For a nice holiday DIY shake give this a go! It takes a bit of time to make the tea but it is well worth it in the end. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chai tea brewed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • maple syrup to taste (I like about 1 tbsp)
  • Optional protein powder of your choice 

Directions

Blend until smooth. Serves one. Drink while it's hot!