My Favorite Thai Curry

Thai curries are a staple in our house hold. I love the complex, spicy flavors, and my husband likes.....rice. I've made this dish so many times now that I've fine tuned my recipe into a meal that consistently receives a 10/10 rating from a particularly critical hubby (he's a food snob) :)

 
 

This recipe is very forgiving. Choose any veggies you like, and tweak the amount of curry paste to suit your taste. One thing you definitely shouldn't substitute is the FULL FAT coconut milk. The rest of this dish is low fat, so don't sweat the extra calories. Plus, your taste buds will thank you! Skip the Thai chilis and go light on the ginger if you aren't into spicy. This is definitely one of those party-in-your-mouth dishes, and tastes EVEN BETTER the following day for leftovers! Enjoy!

 
 

Kabocha Squash, Kale and Wild Rice Soup

I have been loving soups lately! I am attributing it to this chilly weather as I definitely do not tolerate being cold very well. I'm a sunshine kind of girl :). This soup is easy to make and delivers some serious nutrition with every spoonful! I like to use my homemade veggie stock, but you can most definitely used store-bought stock. Just be sure to look for low-sodium varieties (preferably organic as well).

Kabocha squash is perfectly sweet and has a satisfying texture. It is easy to work with because it doesn't need to be peeled! It contains plenty of vitamin A, while the kale provides calcium, fiber and even protein!  Wild rice and white beans finish this soup off with some hearty carbohydrates and you guessed it, more fiber :). This soup is sure to keep you healthy and warm this winter!

Homemade Veggie Stock

By popular demand, here is how I personally make my own homemade veggie stock! It's really easy to do and will make your house smell DELICIOUS.

With the cold weather right at our doorstep soups & stews will soon become a staple in our house! The warmth from the soup and the grounding properties of squashes and root vegetables keeps us nice and toasty & centered for those long winter months!

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Making stock is on not an exact science. Feel free to add any other veggies you have on hand and to experiment with different spices. You really can't go wrong! Wishing you all a lovely & relaxing Thanksgiving this week! 

 

Easy Curry Basil Soba Noodles

I'm a fan of carbs and bold flavors so noodles and herbs in any combo are amazing in my opinion. My husband is currently in Arizona competing in the National Skydiving Championships, and for some reason when I'm just cooking for myself I like to whip up something quick and easy. The complicated meals I save for hubby ;). 

Thai food is my favorite, and the combination of fresh basil and Thai curry paste in this recipe is a flavor explosion! I kept it light, but you could surely add any protein of your choice! Some edamame on the side would be YUM

Give this recipe a like if you try it out! Share it on Instagram or Facebook, and be sure to tag me @sunsoulwellness for a feature! Enjoy!! :)

Southwest Style Quinoa Veggie Bowl

Who doesn't love a warm, flavorful and easy-to-make meal that they enjoy again for leftovers the next day?! Served with an avocado or some guacamole this quinoa bowl is a nutritional power house! Lots of fiber & plant-based protein, as well as some spice to rev up your digestion! 

I used beans as my added protein source, but this dish is simple enough that you could add any of our choosing! As always, this recipe is husband-approved. If hubs doesn't approve, it doesn't get posted here ;). He is my most brutally honest taste tester!

Easy right!? From start to finish this dish takes 45 minutes or less, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. I'm about efficiency! Enjoy :)

Creamy Potato Soup

Can you say creamy and comforting? This soup definitely fits that description, but is also much lighter than traditional soups and is made from fresh, simple ingredients! My husband had me make this twice in one week because he couldn't get enough! 

This recipe is a great for those who like to add their own touch to recipes! Add a protein of your choice or maybe some little pasta shells (mmmmm). It's delicious all on its own though, and I think this a recipe that has made it into our regular rotation :)

 

With Fall right around the corner this soup will keep you warm and happy! If you make this recipe post a photo to Instagram or Facebook and be sure to tag me! :)

Fresh Tomato Soup

Gluten Free & Low Fat!

My mother-in-law loves to grow her own food, and this year she ended up with more tomatoes than she knew what to do with. Next thing I knew she was sending me home with a huge bag full of them, and then I had more tomatoes that I knew what to do with!

So when in doubt...MAKE SOUP! Right?! This recipe was a total experiment, an experiment that was successful (and by successful I mean husband-approved! Yes!)

This soup is a bit different than the nostalgic Campbell's version, but it is definitely much more fresh and healthy. The carrots add a natural sweet taste and the potatoes and beans give it that creamy consistency while keeping the fat content low (plus the beans give this soup a boost of plant-based protein!). The cloves add a bit of character and spice, and the balsamic vinegar rounds everything out. 

We paired ours with homemade garlic knots for the perfect, comforting week-day meal :). 

Winter Beetroot Carrot Apple Quinoa Salad with Orange Ginger Dressing

Being that it is winter here in Chicago I am trying to find new dishes to make that are nourishing without falling into the soup and stews category. While I am usually not a fan of eating beetroot, its flavors blended perfectly with the tartness of the apple and sweetness of the carrot. The fresh ginger added a nice spicy zing, and the toasted pumpkin seeds on top gave it a contrasting crunch. I left the beet, carrot, and apple raw to save time in the kitchen and to up my intake of raw veggies which I tend to lack in during the cold months. 

You can serve this warm as is or cold over a bed of greens to make a hearty salad. And the beet turns the quinoa hot pink which is pretty cool if you ask me

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium beetroot, peeled and julienned or grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and julienned or grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium apple sliced into thin strips (I recommend using a tart variety. I used Honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup organic raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp of salt or to personal taste
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

 

Method:

  • In a small bowl mix together the orange juice, orange zest, ginger, and maple syrup and set aside.
  • In a large pot add the water and uncooked quinoa. Bring to a boil and then cover and cook on low until quinoa is soft and fluffy (about 15 minutes)
  • While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your veggies. I used a Julienne peeler to slice my beetroot and carrots, but you could also use a grater or even a food processor. To save even more time you could buy pre-cut carrots. Slice the apple into thin pieces and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over them to keep from browning while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  • When the quinoa is finished, add the green onions, raisins if using, toasted pumpkin seeds, and salt. Taste and adjust salt to preference and add any other seasonings as desired. Add in your sliced veggies, reserve a little bit for garnish. 
  • Serve and garnish with remaining sliced veggies and optionally more toasted seeds and orange zest

 

This easy recipe is easy and adds a fresh twist to the usual winter produce we have available. Citrus is abundant at this time of year so I love finding ways to incorporate into meals rather than just snacking on them. If you try this recipe post a photo on Instagram and tag me @sunsoulwellness so I can see your creation! Stay warm, friends!

Butternut Squash Chili

I always say I don't belong in the Midwest because winter is a season that feels way too long, and it's something that I could easily do without. I do however enjoy fall because there's just something so cozy and nostalgic about it, right?! I also love all of the veggies that come along with fall, particularly squash! After making quite a lot of soups with squash I wanted to try something different. A spin on traditional chili using seasonal butternut squash, this dish is perfect for chilly autumn nights. It's low-fat, gluten free, and made with fresh, wholesome ingredients! It's easy to make in large batches for future meals. What's not to love?

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled, cored, and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 5 large tomatoes chopped or2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups cooked beans of your choice or 3 15oz cans of beans drained and rinsed* (I used pinto)
  • 3-4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water (depending on desired consistency)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • ½ tablespoon of cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chipotle seasoning (or more to taste, depending on spice preference
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup organic frozen corn
  • About 2 cups of chard or lacinato kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Optional: Any other vegetables of your choice! I have added carrots, green beans, and mushrooms before with great results

Method:

  • Add a small amount of water to a large stock pot, just enough to cover the bottom, and heat on medium-high
  • Sautee garlic and onions until fragrant and then add bell pepper, tomatoes, celery, spices and cook for a few more minutes
  • Add vegetable stock or water, squash, and any other vegetables of your choice and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until squash is soft
  • Add cooked beans, frozen corn, and chard or kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Adjust seasonings to taste
  • Allow leftovers to cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 6 months
  • Garnish with fresh avocado, cilantro, jalapenos, and/or crumbled tortilla chips. Adding a few fresh ingredients to leftovers is a great way to liven them up!

*If using canned beans or tomatoes, make sure to buy cans that are BPA-free and have "no salt added" on the labels

 

This Recipe takes only about 15 minutes to prep if using canned beans and cooks up in about 30 minutes! It’s also pretty versatile. Add some of your favorite vegetables and spices to make it your own unique creation! Recipes are just a guideline, so play around with the amounts for the spices as everyone has their own personal preference! This chili is perfect for chilly autumn nights with just enough spice to help the body heat up. Enjoy! :)

 

Recipe adapted from The Simple Veganista

Build Your Own Burrito Bowl

Being a fan of Chipotle and their amazing burrito bowls, I make my own versions all the time at home. I skip the oil and go easy on the salt which makes everything taste super fresh and flavorful and leaves me feeling comfortably satisfied. The best thing about making burrito bowls at home is that you can add whatever you like and can switch it up every time you make it to keep things exciting! Because who likes eating the same dinner all the time?! I've made so many of these delicious bowls that I want to share some of the different ingredients I have used and give you some of my best tips!

 

Build your own burrito bowl:

Step 1: Prepare your rice. To make this a quick meal, prepare your rice ahead of time according to package instructions or by using a rice cooker (which I highly recommend!). If using brown rice, be sure to rinse and then soak for at least 8 hours prior to cooking to release the natural phytic acid that like to bind to the other minerals in your food and prevent your body from absorbing them. You can learn more about the benefit of soaking grains here

Tip: I like to cook a big batch of rice in the beginning of the week so that I can easily use it for other recipes throughout the week.

Add some flavor! Squeeze in some fresh lime juice and add fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste. No measurements required! That's what taste testing is for! And if you're one of those unfortunate souls who doesn't like cilantro, just leave it out. More for me! :). 

 

Step 2: Prepare your beans (or protein of choice). If you're in a time crunch you can use canned beans. 

Tip: Look for cans that say "no salt added" and be sure to rinse the beans well in a colander before serving. I like to cook up dried beans that I buy in bulk. Just like the rice, beans need to be soaked anywhere from 4-8 hours and can be made in big batches to save for future meals.

Spice it up! My favorite seasonings for beans are garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, cumin, oregano, chipotle seasoning, liquid smoke, and chopped green onions. You can't go wrong here; season it up however you like! You could even get super simple and use a pre-made fajita or taco seasoning! I do recommend the liquid smoke though because it makes it taste much more like Chipotle's beans :)

 

Step 3: Assemble your veggies! This is the fun part! Pick and choose whatever you like or have on hand. I like to add corn, salsa (can be store-bought!), lettuce and/or raw or sauteed bell peppers and onion. I've also been known to step out of the normal burrito zone and add things like peas and roasted potatoes. Why not? It's your bowl!

Tip: Do less work and make this super quick by using any veggies that you have leftover in  your fridge. I also like buying organic frozen corn and peas because they cook up super quick and easy!

 

Step 4: Add the finishing touches: Garnish your bowl with more fresh cilantro and lime juice and add hot sauce if that's your thing! I also love adding some of Farmhouse Culture's raw and organic smoked jalapeno sauerkraut. It adds a tangy crunch and is an excellent probiotic source, perfect for boosting digestion and keeping your belly happy! For me, guacamole is a must-have, but if you're short on time you can just add chopped avocado or skip it altogether! And you know what's better than Chipotle's guacamole? Making your own for much cheaper!

Easy Guac Recipe: It's easy because I don't measure anything (and neither should you!)

  • For 2 servings: Mash 1 ripe avocado in a bowl, squeeze in juice from 1/2 a lime, and then mix in any or all of the following: fresh cilantro, diced onion, diced tomato, and chopped jalapeno. Taste test and adjust as needed!

There you have it! A basic guide to creating your own wholesome and personalized burrito bowl! If the rice is made ahead of time this meal comes together in under 30 minutes which is perfect for those of us who don't have time to spend all day in the kitchen (although I totally would if I could!). 

If you are making extra for leftovers, I recommend making the guac fresh or adding avocado right before serving. Also, wait to add any lettuce or salsa into just before serving. Adding fresh foods to leftovers helps bring them back to life! When I pack this meal up for my fiance for lunch at work, I pack the rice, beans and cooked veggies together and then give him a separate container for guac so he can add it when he warms up the rest. 

If you make your own burrito bowl, snap a photo, post it on Instagram and tag me @sunsoulwellness! I'd love to see your creations!

And for those of you in the Lockport, IL area, I am hosting a group coaching program beginning October 1st! It's a 4 class series meeting Thursday evenings at 7:15 at Gawea Yoga. You can get all the details here :)

Zucchini, Edamame, and Root Veggie Salad with Asian Tahini Dressing

On Sunday mornings I like to go to yoga class with my favorite instructor. It helps me unwind and prepare for a new week ahead. It also happens to be at 95 degrees, and the poses are tough so when I get home I always opt to have a meal loaded with raw veggies. It helps my body to cool down and balances out my practice perfectly. I threw this meal together today when I got home from class, and it turned out so surprisingly tasty that I had to post the recipe!

Root vegetables help us to feel grounded and centered, while the fresh ginger root and cilantro stimulate the digestive system. These are complimented by protein and healthy fats from the edamame and tahini dressing. Served as a side or as an entree, this dish is refreshing, flavorful, and just an overall nutritional superstar!

 

Salad Ingredients (2 entree servings, 4 side servings):

  • 1 small/medium zucchini (about 150g)
  • 1 small beet root, peeled
  • 4 small carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups of cooked and shelled edamame (can be found in the frozen food section. Some are in the shells, others are shelled for you, organic is preferred)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • Cilantro to taste, I used about 2 tablespoons

 

Asian Tahini Dressing Ingredients (Makes about 1/2 cup)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted Tahini (preferably organic, could sub with almond butter)
  • 1-2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup or natural sweetener of choice, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Water as needed to achieve desired consistency

 

Method:

  • If you have a food processor, roughly chop salad ingredients and pulse until everything is cut up really small. Alternatively, you could grate the veggies using the large holes and the ginger with the small and then add chopped cilantro. You also just thinly slice everything. Up to you! Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Prepare edamame according to package instructions and remove from shells if needed. If you're making this as an entree, you may want to add closer to 1 1/2 cups for the added protein. The amount I listed is for the edible parts, the beans themselves, not including the shells. Transfer to salad bowl.
  • Whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until combined. I recommend starting with a little bit of sweetener and soy sauce and slowly add until you like the taste. Everyone has different taste preferences when it comes to sweet vs. salty so play around with the amounts until you find what you like!
  • Add about half of the dressing and toss into the salad. Taste and add more as desired. It is likely you will have leftover dressing, and it will keep in the fridge for several days. 

 

Finally, a salad without lettuce! It's just as healthy, but it's nice to have something different every now and then right?! If you try this recipe, let me know in the comments what you thought!

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

I tried risotto for the first time in California while visiting my parents this past June and loved it so much I had to make it for myself. Traditionally risotto is made with cheese and white wine, but I opted to make a lighter version that still has the same creamy texture and amazing flavor. I garnished mine with toasted pumpkin seeds for an added nutritional boost. Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, and copper, and also contain plenty of zinc and protein! Plus, they add a nice crunch that contrasts the creaminess of the risotto.

Risotto is usually made with arborio rice, which is a type of rice I had never cooked before. I was a bit surprised to find that when cooking risotto that there's a bit of a technique involved. It sounded a little intimidating, but it turned out to be pretty easy, just how I like it! I recommend eating this dish right away as the consistency will thicken if re-heated the next day. But if you don't mind a thicker risotto, it would make a delicious packed lunch! 

To get the cheesy taste without the dairy, I used nutritional yeast, which is deactivated yeast that is sold in flakes and has a nutty, cheesy taste. You can find it at Whole Foods or any health food stores. I've even seen it at a few regular grocery stores as well.

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 servings):

  • 1 cup uncooked arborio rice*
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 8oz of your favorite mushrooms, chopped (I used crimini)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil or oil of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Dried herbs to taste. I used oregano, parsley, sage, thyme, and red pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/4 loosely packed fresh basil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

 

Method:

  • Pour vegetable stock in a pot and heat and let it simmer
  • In a large pan or shallow pot, saute garlic in coconut oil until fragrant. Add onion, asparagus, and mushrooms and cook until soft and juices are being released
  • Add arborio rice, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and dried herbs and stir
  • When liquid has been absorbed, add 1 cup of heated vegetable stock. Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring frequently so that the rice cooks evenly and doesn't stick.
  • When the liquid has been absorbed, add more vegetable stock. Repeat until all of the stock is gone, stirring frequently. This takes about 15-20 minutes. The rice will take on a creamy texture as it cooks.
  • Add nutritional yeast and fresh basil if using and cook on low for a couple more minutes
  • In a small pan add pumpkin seeds and heat on medium-low until toasted. Add as a garnish when serving the risotto

 

My fiance absolutely loved this dish and told me that it is easily one of his favorites of all the meals I've served him (and I'm cooked him MANY different dishes). He is difficult to impress at time so the compliments meant a lot! But what's not to love? It's satisfying comfort food made with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Enjoy!