Sunday, January 29, 2012

Making an Extraordinary Pot of Bean Soup is as EASY as 1... 2... 3!

Some of my viewers are looking for simple. Some of my fans want cheap. Others just want a heart warming bowl of pipping hot soup that tastes good, and will stick to their ribs! Done. My results produced an African Bean Stew, but no matter how you spice it, it's bound to be exactly what you were looking for.

What I had on hand:

2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 of a large onion, diced
2 quarts of water
1 big carrot, diced
1 big potato, diced
1/2 bag of frozen corn kernels
1 bag of 16 bean soup mix, rinsed

What I did:

Step 1

Put everything into your crock pot, turn it on low, and leave it for 6-10 hours.

Step 2

Give it a good mix, turn off heat.

Step 3

Season it how ever you like it! Experiment! Have fun!

How do you do this without risking the entire pot of soup to a combination that might not work out to your liking? Spoon a 1/4 cup into a small dish and add some spice. Mix it up, add some salt, sample it. Is it good? Does it need more salt? Pepper? Depth? Zing? Seasoning? Try lemon pepper or zest, cumin, indian spices, chili, greek, or cajun seasoning. Dish out several flavor combinations before deciding on the one that you love best, then go hog wild on the entire pot, and you'll know it'll be delicious! 

In this situation, I added several tsp. of sea salt, a package of African Piri Piri seasoning from Cuisine Mentor, and a tsp of Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa, for depth and smokiness. It was absolutely outstanding, made 10 servings, freezes well and the entire experiment cost me less than $5, which means each serving only ends up costing 50 cents! High in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and phytochemicals, and low in fat, this mix has a plethora of health benefits.

For more information on the health benefits of a 16 bean soup, follow this link:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sicilian Split Pea

One of the simplest pleasures in life, especially as we move through these longer, darker days, has got to be hot and hearty soups for dinner. Split pea is a favorite of mine, so much so in fact, that I find myself craving it. Once I did some research, I discovered all of the reasons my body wanted it (PROTEIN!), and started to make it more often, varying the ingredients each time, so that it was anything other than ordinary.

In my studies I learned that dried peas have been around since pre-historic times... archeology digs discovering them in Egypt, Asia and Rome. Peas lower your cholesterol, soothe bouts of IBS and Diverticulitis, stabilize your blood sugar and help relieve Fibromyalgia symptoms, such as headaches and disorientation, through their rich source of the mineral, Molybdenum. Add garlic for fighting infection, onions and fresh lemon (both chocked full of vitamin C), and magnesium rich spinach, and this becomes one mighty immune boosting soup!

And it's SO easy.

What I had on hand:

1-2 TB of olive oil
8-10 tiny fingerling potatoes, diced
1/2 medium-large hannah yam/sweet potato, diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 TB minced fresh ginger
3/4 of a large red onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced

1 cup of dried split green peas
5 cups of water or broth

a handful of fresh spinach, chopped
a handful of baby green chard, chopped
a handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
the zest or juice from 1 meyer lemon
Sicilian Seasoning to taste:
(sea salt, black peppercorn, carrot, garlic, parsley, coriander, onion, chili pepper)

unsweetened almond milk (optional)

What I did:

Add the first set of ingredients to the pot and sauté on low heat to soften veggies, stirring quickly, and release the aroma of the garlic and ginger (5-7 minutes).

Add the peas and water/broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Once boiling, return heat to low, cover and simmer for 35 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook, the smoother your texture will be, and the more the flavors will marry. Towards the end of this period you may add your greens, parsley, lemon zest and seasoning to taste. If using lemon juice instead of zest, which will create a milder lemon flavor, add it only at the very end, once cooking time is complete.

For a creamier result, try adding a bit of unsweetened almond milk.
I did this just as an experiment, to cool the temp down for consumption.
It was REALLY good!

For more information on the health benefits of green split peas, click on this link:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Convincing Folks to Thrive

“Seems to me that the real question is how to convince people to want to take care of themselves,” a friend wrote to me recently. It was a profound statement that really left me pondering. My first reaction was “DO I want to convince people to take care of themselves? “ It seems difficult enough to help individuals make the changes they need to improve their lives, and when you must start from scratch trying to convince them they should… Well, that seems overwhelming. In the last few months, my focus has been on working with those who already know the reasons why they should make changes, and have already taken the steps (consciously) towards a healthier life. Although ultimately individuals must reach that point on their own, it stirred the desire in me to come up with some convincing arguments, just in case someone is "on the fence", as it were.

Save money!

When old habits no longer work for you, and new routines take their place, it effects what’s left in your pocket profoundly. Whether you have given up cigarettes, curbed your drinking, stopped ordering pizza or traded the car for your bike, the amount of money you will have saved improving your overall well-being is staggering. Aside from the obvious cost of smokes, alcohol, pizza, and gas, the amount saved from health care alone should be enough to send you on a sunny vacation in Bora Bora for a week. For example, according to the New York Times, obese Americans spend $1429 more each year on health care than the $3400 spent by healthy weight Americans. Most of the excess spending is for prescription drugs needed to manage obesity-related conditions, mentions Eric A. Finkelstein, one of this study’s authors and the director of the public health economics program at the Research Triangle Institute, a nonprofit research organization. Obesity is just one measure. If we look at all of the ways improving our health fattens our checking account, surely the money saved alone would convince us that making changes for the better is worth the effort, yes?

Be a beacon of hope!

Your life and your accomplishments serve as examples to those who admire and observe you. Whatever risk you are willing to take, regardless of outcome, serves as a model for others. As you begin to feel better, look healthier and enjoy life more, it will become apparent to your friends, co-workers and family… giving them new hope for all that is possible in the world, or at least what is possible for themselves. Often, this hope is enough to change their perspective, offer a new paradigm on life, and inspire them to make changes to their daily lives as well. The domino effect is real. One person does have an effect on the energy around them, and it will cascade into other people’s lives in ways you might not expect. Surprisingly, it only takes a very small amount of energy to start the dominoes falling, but once started, that force becomes multiplied with each successive event until all the dominoes fall, releasing beacons of hope for countless others. You will have no idea how your actions will effect the world around you, until you just do it!

Feel better!

When someone is in a bad place, it is really hard to envision the life they could have. It is difficult to gain the perspective of happy healthy thriving individuals when their own body is lacking what it needs to function well. Yet with every new change towards health, be it improving your diet, exercising regularly, or adding daily meditation, each cell is affected positively. When each individual cell is performing at it’s best, when it is getting all of the nutrition and oxygen it needs, then it works well within that tissue, and in abundance, the entire organ operates more smoothly. All organs running smoothly continue the cycle of getting your body everything it needs to perform well mentally, emotionally and physically. You will get sick less often, rest will come easier, you will sleep more deeply, awake more refreshed. With everything in working order – behaving as nature intended – you will glide towards optimum health and your energy levels will soar!

Do it for your loved ones!

You’ve heard this one before… If you are unable to see the worth in doing it for yourself, then do it for your family. Do it for your kids or do it for your partner. Developing new habits that improve your health and well-being not only lengthens your life so that you will be around to support them while they are living theirs, but it also safeguards that they will have at least one significant and positive role model in their lives for as long as you’re around. It is always tough losing our parents, regardless of age, but if we know about the changes they made so they could live longer, and improve their quality of life, then when it comes time to finally saying good-bye, it seems less tragic somehow. Leaving a child behind early, however, due to our own lack of self-love, self-care and neglect, IS the foundation of tragic in this case, and is almost a guarantee that your less than optimal habits will live on in those who looked up to you, some never realizing they were detrimental to begin with. And worse, the possibility that this lack of self-care will be passed on to your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren… It is time to break the cycle and become a positive influence on your loved ones.

You are worth it!

This is the most difficult aspect of convincing others that they should take care of themselves. Most of us know that it doesn’t matter if we think someone is worth all of the love, care and attention in the world… If the individual has had experiences in their lives that prove to them otherwise, it often doesn’t matter what we think. I truly believe, however, in the inherent worth and dignity of all living beings. Even beyond us humans, we are all here for a purpose, and that purpose is to thrive. When we thrive, we are at our best and when we are at our best, what’s not to love! We are worth all of that LOVE and more! I wish I could convey to every person I work with that improving their health and making the changes necessary to feel better will fix all of their self-esteem and self-love issues. I’m not sure this is true, or even possible, for that matter. But it WILL improve your ability to cope with those inner voices, it WILL improve your brain function, and the ability of your cells to tackle stress, trump cancer and fight infections. You WILL get sick less often, save money, provide hope and feel better.  And you will certainly make those who love you incredibly happy to see you THRIVE.

Want to learn more about how to THRIVE?
Check out this film: