Entries in healthy (5)


green soup


This soup is a perfect antidote to too much Halloween candy. It started out as a simple pea soup but I had the urge to fortify it a bit. The leeks and kale add flavor as well as lots of nutritional benefits and the potatoes give the soup a nice texture.


2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cups finely chopped kale (1small bunch)

4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

8 cups chicken stock  (use vegetable stock for vegetarian soup)

2 bags frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh mint (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Soak leeks (after slicing) in a bowl of cold water to remove any dirt. Lift leeks out of water and if there is grit in the bowl repeat process until the water is clean.


Heat olive oil in a large pot and add leeks. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until leeks start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add kale and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes more. Add peas, mint (if using), salt and pepper, and cook another 5 minutes. Puree using a submersion blender (or working in batches in a regular blender). Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.



homemade chicken stock


As a cook I am sort of lazy. I love great food, but for me the most satisfaction comes with taking really great ingredients and preparing them simply. I pride myself in keeping it pretty easy. I also am somewhat sponteneous in my cooking - my idea of a shopping list is something like this:

salad stuff, veggies, fruit, bread, lunch stuff, 2 dinners, cereal, milk, eggs, butter, etc.

You get the idea! I prefer to be insprired by what I find, rather than be frustrated that avocados are on my list but they are under or over ripe. As a result, things like homemade chicken stock usually get skipped. I want to make risotto or soup right now...not in a few hours or tomorrow.


Recently my dad had a major operation and one of the things that made me feel like I could contribute to his recovery was preparing the most delicious wholesome food I could. In the first days, when broth was a staple of his diet, I made an enormous pot of rich homemade chicken broth. I would like to think that I will forever take this extra step...the broth was so much more flavorful than anything you can buy, and the whole nature of it was different too - much more gelatinous. On an intellectual level I've always known that homemade stock was superior but to really feel like I made something that might help the healing process was a pretty special feeling. 


So, here is how. The list below is what I used but you can vary it somewhat as long as you have a good assortment of veggies.


Dark green portion of a few leeks, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 carrots, sliced or chopped

4-6 stalk celery, chopped

1 or 2 parsnips, sliced or chopped

2 small onions, quartered (leave skins on but trim off roots)

3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 bay leaves

parsley stems

1 whole chicken (rinsed, gizzards removed)

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt


Submerge leek greens in a large bowl of cold water to remove any dirt. Lift the leeks from the bowl and if there is sediment in the bowl wash it out and repeat this step until the water is clear.


Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, parsnips, onions, garlic, and leeks, and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are begining to soften but are not browning, about 10-15 minutes.


Add bay leaves, parsley stems, chicken, peppercorns, salt and 20-24 cups of water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 60-90 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pot, leaving the rest to continue simmering.


Once the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones. If you have time and want to make a really rich broth you can toss the bones back in the pot and continue simmering for another 30-60 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the solids out of the broth and discard them.


It is best to cool the broth before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer - I recommend making a large icebath and cooling it quickly, working in batches if necessary. This will help prevent spoiling. 


By the way, if you do not want to use the cooked chicken for soup it is perfect in chicken salad with cashews.





I probably seemed a little crazy posting about oatmeal last week considering it was one of the hottest days we have had this year! For those who prefer to leave hot cereals for the cold months here is a delicious granola recipe. I personally prefer granola that is really crunchy and chunky. To acheive that I press the granola into a solid mass on a sheet pan before baking it, and then flip it halfway through. This makes it almost like a giant crumbly granola bar that you can break up after it has cooled. 



I have decided what to put in this recipe based on my own family's tastes: one son doesn't really like nuts but does not seem to mind them here as long as they are not huge pieces...as a result I use sliced almonds and pecans, both of which break up easily but add lots of flavor and nutrition. I personally love coconut and sesame seeds so there are healthy doses of each included as well. You can really experiment and see what your favorite combinations are. Hazelnuts add a great crunch and would pair well with dried cranberries or cherries. Pistachios add a lovely touch of green and work well with dried apricots. 


5 cups rolled oats

2 cups nuts of your choice ( I used 1 1/4 cup sliced almonds and 3/4 cup pecans, broken into pieces)

1 1/4 cups shredded coconut

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 teasooon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon of cloves

A dash of sea salt (omit if your sunflower seeds are salted)

1 cup maple syrup

4 tablesoons of olive oil

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Fresh or dried fruit 


Heat oven to 350°. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter has melted. Pour into granola mixture and stir until thoroghly combined and mixture is moist throughout. Transfer onto a sheet pan (or rimmed cookie sheet) and press into an even layer. The more packed down it is the more chunky the granola with be. (If you prefer less chunky granola omit this step.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until fragrant and begining to brown. If you have a second sheet pan that is the same size invert mixture onto it. If not, use a spatula to turn mixture over, and then press it into a solid mass again. Retrun to oven until nicely browned, about 15 minutes more. Allow granola to cool in the pan before breaking up.


Loosen granola from the pan with a spatula and break it up into chunks. Store in a glass jar or ziplock bag.


You can stir in dried fruit all at once, or just have it ready and stir it in when serving. Sometimes I keep it separate so each member of the family can add what they like, and vary it for each serving. Alternatively, during the summer months, you can skip the dried fruit and add fresh berries instead.



oatmeal with fresh berries

Now that local strawberries are popping up in farmer's markets I am inspired to eat them as much as possible. I am a fan of oatmeal year round, particularly McCann's steel cut variety. Fresh berries, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a bowl of oatmeal makes a pretty unbeatable breakfast in my opinion!



kale salad


I've been noticing raw kale salad on more and more menu's recently but it really caught my attention when I saw this recipe on my friend Andrea Gentl's blog. I was particularly intrigued with the idea of "massaging" the kale with the garlic, salt, and olive oil. I decided to give it a try and it was delicious. I followed Andrea's recipe but I squeezed the juice of half a lemon over it when I served it. Much to my amazement, my kids (who are very anti green leafy vegetable) liked it too.


P.S. When I was in culinary school I learned that finely chopping garlic is a lot easier if you mix some coarse salt into the garlic once it is roughly chopped. It is a good technique for this recipe since it produces a nice uniform mince.