Thursday, January 19, 2017

cream of cashew broccoli soup

Oh, January.

Let's just come out and say it, not the greatest month. Maybe you indulged and then over indulged and then somehow managed to wear nothing but plaid flannel sweatpants and the occasional sequined shift dress until January 1st rolled around and you realized none of your non-holiday clothes were fitting quite like they used to.

Or maybe you avoided the sugar cookies and opted out of the boozy hot chocolate but watched the Santa Clause one too many times, got confused and thought that you fell off the roof, became the big guy, and made it your personal obligation to buy every person on your Christmas list the most insane present they've ever received. Happy relatives, not so abundant bank account.

So now its January, and whatever your holiday vice may of have been, you're not feeling so hot. Top that off with the whole "New Year, New You" sentiment that's floating around and it can be enough to make you want to crawl back under the covers and pretend 2017 never happened.

If this sounds even remotely relevant to you, you need this Cream of Cashew Broccoli Soup in your life like yesterday. Six ingredients is all you need for this soup, and really you for sure already have garlic powder in your pantry so it's more like five. Easy box checked. And healthy? Hells yeah. This is a full on detox soup backed by the green power of broccoli and spinach, while the cashews maintain staying power and promote fullness. And last but not least, completely affordable. The only ingredient remotely expensive is the cashews, but considering you're getting four full servings out of this soup, they seem like a more reasonable purchase than that third pair of Hunter rain boots you picked up this season because they were army green and the pair already sitting in your closet was more of a forest green.

So do yourself a favor and take the guesswork out of what's for dinner tonight with a recipe that's entirely guilt-free, and remind yourself there are less than two weeks until the most depressing month of the year is over.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 1 cup cashews
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 3 large handfuls spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Put cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least one hour (up to overnight), then drain.
2. Steam broccoli before adding it to a blender with all remaining ingredients, plus salt and pepper to taste. Whiz until smooth and transfer to a pot to heat on the stove before serving. Garnish with cilantro if desired, serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

roasted autumn veggies & quinoa

This bowl is everything I want to eat on a chilly fall night.

Crisp brussels sprouts and broccoli get tossed with juicy cherry tomatoes and a touch of olive oil before roasting in the oven until caramely perfection. Then the veggies are folded into a big pot of steaming, multicolored quinoa and topped with toasted almonds and fresh basil.

The whole dish is ridiculously easy to throw together and has very little active time, but you can see it's sure to impress, making it the perfect friendsgiving side dish OR just a side dish for you to enjoy with dinner tonight. And if you're feeling a bit lazy, as I am about 98.9% of the time, it works perfectly as your main dish or paired with a super simple salad of just greens and olive oil.

Earlier this year, I met a friend in Palm Springs for a long weekend getaway where we secured an Air B&B so we'd have a kitchen at our disposal. We forced ourselves to make a quick grocery trip on our first day before heading out to the pool but only managed to grab a few essentials.

Back at the house rummaging around the fridge to put together lunch, my friend grabbed some arugula and sprinkled it with just salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. As I was eyeing her, I thought that must be the most boring salad ever created...but I couldn't have been more wrong.

The simple ingredients really brought out the bright, pepperiness of the arugula and its since become one of my most favorite salads to enjoy along any main dish, like this roasted veg quinoa, which is also beautiful in its simplicity.

It's funny how sometimes the simplest dishes are the most delicious, but you would have never even THOUGHT to make it until someone mentions it. What it really comes down to is editing, and making sure each ingredient serves a purpose instead of just adding unnecessary complexity, which is actually way harder than it sounds; but when you strike the right balance it's culinary magic.

Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 1 cup multicolored quinoa
- 2 cups brussels sprouts, quartered
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup basil, julienned

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook quinoa according to packaged instructions. Meanwhile, toss veggies with olive oil on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes.

2. Add quinoa and veggies to a serving bowl and stir to combine before topping with almonds and basil. Transfer to bowls and serve immediately.

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