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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BOOOOOOO-tifully Healthy Soup


For someone who is a bonafide scaredy cat, I love Halloween.  Costumes, candy, parties and Charlie Brown's great pumpkin are perennial favorites, and for me, this marks the unofficial start of the holiday season.  My most favorite time of the year.  
As the years go by, the candy collection has become less of an obsession, and now I channel my energy into making fun, whimsical and healthy foods (as you can see from the photos above) for my family, friends and clients.  Last week, I was positively giddy (and probably annoying to the rest of the kitchen crew) as I prepared my creations in my evil laboratory (a.k.a. The Cancer Wellness Kitchen).  Halloween certainly brings out every one's creativity and appreciation of some child-like fun.  
Although chocolates and candy corn may not be on my priority list these days, there is still a temptation to over indulge when the goody bags are lurking near by. So, ad the holiday season approaches, it's always key to keep healthy eating and moderation in mind.  One of my favorite holiday "elixirs"is my carrot ginger soup.  The soup is warm, slightly spicy and a boooooo-ti-ful orange autumn color.  Serve this soup on Halloween night.  It can be made ahead and kept warm in a slow cooker, while you are trick or treating.  The leftovers freeze well, so make a double batch and save some for another hectic weeknight.  

Happy Halloween and make every plate something to be passionate about!

Roasted Carrot, Ginger, Cashew Soup:

2 1/2 lbs. carrots, cut into one inch pieces
Non-stick cooking spray
1 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup Roasted Cashews
2 red chilies, stems removed, ribs and seeds removed from one pepper only
4 cloves garlic
2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground garam masala
2 quarts vegetable broth
Optional Garnishes:
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt, Cilanto

Step One:
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.  Place carrots on a foil-lined baking sheet and coat liberally with non-stick spray and salt and pepper.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven until carrots are caramelized and softened.

Step Two:
While carrots are roasting, add cashews to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not turned into a butter.  Remove from bowl and set aside.  Next pulse garlic, ginger and chilies in food processor until combined and finely minced.  Remove from bowl and set aside.

Step Three:
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and spices and sauté till onion has softened, about three minutes.  Add the ginger mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently for another 2-3 minutes.  Next, add cashews and stir to incorporate.

Step Five:
Turn off heat and carefully use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Now you are ready to garnish and serve.

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