But, even though we’re getting teased with a day here and there, don’t kid yourself… it’s still going to be chilly for the foreseeable future. I don’t know about you, but I’m still wearing my woollies and craving wintery comfort food. So, what could be better to take the edge off a damp, cold, rainy day? A bowl of delicious leek and potato soup. Mmmm…YUM!
Over the last few months, I’ve been producing video demos so you can see for yourself how easy it is to whip up some of the recipes I’ve written about on the Walnut Kitchen blog. I first posted the recipe for this hearty soup in the early days of my blog. (Here’s the link to the full leek and potato soup recipe) Now, if you click below, you can watch the video demo to see how to make it. Let me know if you try it. Or if you have any other soup recipes you love that are perfect for the winter to spring transition, I’d love to hear from you. Happy Cooking!
If you like what you see and you want to be notified when the next video is posted, please subscribe to my YouTube channel called Michelleswalnutkitchen.
I love eating out, especially when it’s a home cooked meal made by friends who are into food as much as me. So, it’s a treat to get an invitation to Shelley Adler and Paul Cohen’s house. Shelley is a wizard in the kitchen and has a knack for finding really interesting recipes like this red lentil soup. The combination of cumin, cilantro and a final squeeze of lemon are mouth-watering!
Red lentils are legumes that don’t need presoaking. Why? They are hulled and split. Because they have no skin, they are easier to digest with the added bonus of cooking up fast! I personally prefer them over green and brown lentils. BONUS: Lentils are also a great source of dietary fiber, protein, and B vitamins.
This soup is one of my all-time favourites because it isn’t just delicious, it’s also very nourishing. Below is the recipe AND the video so you can see that it’s SUPER easy too. ENJOY!
I promise you’ll like the way this healthy smoothie makes you feel
Turns out, Mom was right. But, you already knew that eating green vegetables seriously improves your health. The more I study nutrition, the more I realize that no matter how many green veggies you eat, you still probably aren’t getting enough. So don’t just eat your greens…DRINK your greens in the form of this healthy smoothie!
Life gets hectic so it’s not always easy to eat healthy. The key is organization and planning. At the beginning of each week I buy and wash a bunch of smoothie ingredients so they are ready to go. That way, it’s faster to throw them in the blender when you are rushing out the door. OR, if you know your morning is tight, put the majority of fruits and veggies in the container the night before so the next morning all you have to do is add your liquid and ice cubes and press ‘start’. Voila, done in about three minutes! I like to make enough for two servings. I drink one at breakfast and save one for a mid-morning snack. A healthy smoothie is THE simplest way to start your day on the right foot and it makes sticking to a clean eating plan SO much easier. Continue Reading
That’s certainly the case with this Almond Milk Recipe
I never liked milk. The only way I could stand it while I was pregnant and trying to get some calcium was to have it in my morning decaf latte! Partly, I didn’t like it because I later discovered I was lactose intolerant. But, I also never loved the taste or feel of it in my mouth. For a while I replaced it with soy milk. However, now that I’m studying holistic nutrition, I’m discovering that soy is quite controversial. I want to be better informed before I consume any more of it. So, for the last year, nut milks have been my first choice for cereal, smoothies and hot drinks. But, once I read the ingredients on the milk carton, I was turned off. That’s when I started to experiment with homemade. This almond milk recipe is SO much better than store bought. You should try it out. Plus, I’ve got a great gluten-free brownie recipe which uses the leftover almond pulp. Stay tuned!
Soaking the almonds plumps them up, making them easier to blend if your blender isn’t heavy duty. As well, soaking makes it possible to slip the brown skin off which I tried (as seen in the photo) and later discovered was unnecessary. However, the most important reason for soaking them, is to make them easier to digest. Almonds can be difficult for most people to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in the brown coating. Soaking removes this inhibitor so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job.
I really got into making nut milks after I bought a high test blender. A Vitamix or Blendtec yield the best results. I know it’s a pricey investment! And it’s so tall that it isn’t easy to store. I hate having clutter on my counters! My solution: I bought the smaller container and it tucks nicely into bi-fold cupboards so it can sit on my counter AND be out of site. The larger container I store elsewhere and pull out when I am making big batches. A nut milk bag is another thing you should get if you are serious about making this almond milk recipe regularly. It only costs about 10 dollars and it is much easier to extract the milk from the pulp compared to using a cheesecloth which is what I used to begin with. If you are just starting and you don’t want to buy anything except nuts, try making cashew milk instead. Raw cashews are much softer especially after they are soaked and it’s not necessary to separate the milk from the pulp. Continue Reading
This pumped-up version of the children’s classic is amazing no matter how old you are! Even though it takes a little more time to prepare, I promise this recipe is FAR superior to the one on the side of your Rice Krispies cereal box. These Rice Crispy Treats are packed with so many nutritious and healthy ingredients that you can say “bye-bye” to the guilt normally associated with eating something sweet.
Bonus #1 No sugar
Bonus # 2 No butter
Bonus #3 No marshmallows
“Karma Krispy Treats” is a recipe created by Marni Wasserman. I fell in love with these scrumptious delights at a class I attended recently. I’m SO excited that she let me share this Rice Crispy Treat recipe on my WALNUT KITCHEN blog; it gives me an opportunity to shine the light on someone who has truly inspired me and influenced the direction I am taking in the kitchen and beyond.
Marni’s life is rooted in healthy eating. She’s a Certified Natural Chef, Culinary (Holistic) Nutritionist, Health Strategist, Author and owner of Toronto’s first plant-based cooking studio. But that’s not all!!! She is also the co-host of “The Ultimate Health Podcast” AND recently came out with an app designed to help you start practicing and adopting healthy habits. It’s appropriately called “Habits”. I don’t know where she finds the time and energy to do it all!
Two weeks ago, I started a part time program at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, thanks, in part, to Marni Wasserman. So, it seems fitting to give her a shout out. Thank you Marni for helping me find my new passion, to learn more about the food we eat, to blog about it, and to try to transition to a more plant-based diet.
Karma Krispy Treats
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup smooth almond nut butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or coconut nectar)
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried raisins (I used dried cherries and goji berries instead)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup each: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal (I combined the puffed rice with puffed quinoa)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1.Spread the nuts and seeds on a larger baking pan and lightly toast in the oven on a low heat (200˚F) for about 10 minutes
2.In a large saucepan, heat together coconut oil, almond nut butter and rice syrup on a low heat and at the last moment add the honey and vanilla and heat until blended
3.In a separate bowl add the rice cereal and oats and mix in the almond mixture until the grains are well coated
4.Add the apricots, raisins, almonds, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds; mix well
5.Using lightly oiled hands, press mixture evenly into greased (with coconut oil) 8 inch square cake pan. Let stand for 15 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares and ENJOY the rice crispy treats!
Protein Balls are a perfect snack to satisfy that sugar boost needed in the middle of the afternoon
Protein Balls are great to pop pretty well anytime because they pack so much goodness in them like nuts, dates, chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp, coconut oil and raw cacao. That covers so many of the most amazing super foods, which means that I also eat Protein Balls for breakfast, I pack them to give me energy during a long bike ride and sometimes after dinner for something sweet.
I first learned about this recipe when preparing for a detox cleanse last spring. The key to eating healthy, I was told, is to have lots of wholesome food at your fingertips so you avoid grabbing something junky to stop the hunger when those pangs hit. Protein Balls were one of the snacks I wanted to have on hand to help stick with the program. That was a great strategy and I STILL make batches almost every week.
The best Protein Balls recipe I found comes from the ‘Deliciously Ella’ blog which is massively successful with 2.5 million hits a month. Ella Woodward is a huge success story. On social media she has followers up the yin-yang as well as a cookbook and an app. She’s being hailed as the new Nigella (Lawson)!
The first thing that struck me was how GORGEOUS she is. I said to myself, “I want to eat whatever she’s eating!” These Protein Balls are so easy to make. The best thing about them is that they taste amazing. In other words, they don’t taste like one of those ‘healthy’ snacks that you eat just because they’re good for you. These Protein Balls are truly a wonderful sweet and healthy treat. I highly recommend you try them out. As usual, when I make a batch I double the recipe.
DELICIOUSLY ELLA ENERGY BITES
Makes 15 – 20 balls, depending on size
1 cup of Medjool dates (pitted)
¾ cup almonds
¾ cup walnuts or any other nut (I like pecans best)
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of hemp protein powder
1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder
Place the almonds, walnuts (or pecans), ground flax seed and chia seeds in your food processor. Blend for 1 minute, until a flour forms and the nuts have crumbled.
Then, add the remaining ingredients. Blend for another minute until a sticky dough forms. If it isn’t sticky, just add a few more dates because Medjool dates vary in their dryness.
Use your hands to roll the mixture into little balls, place in the freezer for about 15 minutes until they are set and then store in the fridge. They keep for about 3 weeks.
Why is this THE BEST time of year to make Leek and Potato Soup? Because Leek and Potato soup is a delicious comforting winter warm-up classic.
Vegetable pickings at the farmers’ market are getting slimmer and slimmer. If cooking with fresh and local ingredients is important to you, then Leek and Potato soup is a no brainer because leeks, potatoes, and carrots are in abundance at this time of year.
For as long as I can remember, this recipe was a crowd pleaser at my mom’s house. Not only was it yummy for the adults, but it was also a kid-friendly soup because you couldn’t see the vegetables. This easy Leek and Potato soup is pureed in the same pot you cook it in. Bonus! Easy clean up.
The one-pot wonder has a creamy velvety consistency with the ADDED bonus of NO cream. In fact, I’ve adapted my mom’s recipe so that it’s completely plant-based as well.
I used to love garnishing this soup with a spoonful of crumbled Stilton Cheese which added a wonderful salty tangy kick. But, since I’m trying to eat less dairy, I’ve found a great alternative. A dollop of pesto (I love the ‘Sunflower Kitchen’ brand which has no cheese) and a sprinkling of fresh organic mung beans (I use ‘Kind Organics’ brand). The combination of the sweet crunchy beans with the tangy basil is AMAZING! Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.
As usual, I doubled the recipe. Also, I experimented with a new blue potato variety. According to the market vendor who sold the potatoes to me, the flavonoids and carotenoids found in them help promote good health! What the heck, couldn’t hurt. The flavour of the soup was just as delicious as ever.
Leek and Potato Soup
3 medium to large sliced leeks (wash carefully and use white part only)
2 medium sized carrots sliced
3 medium sized potatoes cut in chunks
6 cups of vegetable broth
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of turmeric
salt and pepper
In a large soup pot add olive oil and sweat the leeks until soft, then add carrots and potatoes, sprinkle with turmeric and saute for 5 minutes.
Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for a half hour or until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
Puree with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with basil pesto and mung beans just before serving. Delicious!