Super Foods + Miso Carrot Soup

Super Bowl, that is.

 

Do you know what you’re bringing to the par-tay on Sunday?  Dips and finger foods are king on game day, many of which are not exactly health foods.  Even if the party isn’t at your house, you can be sure to have a non-fried item or two to munch on if you contribute a clean item or two.

 

Here are a few game day-worthy ideas:

Chipotle Corn Hummus

 

Indian-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas (They’re like bar nuts!)

 

Baked Rutabaga Fries with Cheesy Vegan Non-Cheese Sauce (This works well with sweet potatoes and parsnips too!)

 

Roasted Red Pepper & Asparagus Mini Quiches

 

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Black Bean Burgers

 

Annnnnd… a dessert.  Not so healthy as yesterday’s Chocolate Zucchini Muffins, but OMG they are GOOD…

S’Mores Brownies

 

I should admit that I’m only in this thing for the snacks and the commercials.  If you’re like me (or not) these snacks won’t disappoint!

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Now that the football talk is out of the way, it’s time for some more orange food.  Seriously – 90% of everything I’ve eaten this week is orangeSweet Potato Pie Smoothies, Sweet Potato Fry Nachos, Pumpkin Protein Bars, this soup…

 

 

It may be a little early for carrot soup.  The orange would be perfect for Easter!  After making it, I couldn’t wait 2 months to share it.

 

Rich miso with lots of ginger and cumin make this soup something special.  I loved the bold flavors against the sweetness from the carrot.  Add a bit of cinnamon to give it a little more depth and highlight the cumin.

 

 

This will be making another appearance for the Easter Bunny.

Like many great recipes, this one is based on a soup by Smitten Kitchen.

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Miso Carrot Soup

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 T finely chopped ginger
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 2 T white miso paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional garnish: cilantro, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes, squeeze of lime juice


Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until onion is beginning to turn translucent (~5 mins). Add carrots and continue to sauté until carrot softens a bit (to a “steamed” softness).  Stir in broth. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender when pierced (~30 mins).

Remove fro heat and puree soup with an immersion blender (or in rounds using a regular blender). In a small bowl, whisk together the miso 1/3 C of the soup.  Stir the mixture back into soup.  Taste the soup and season with cumin and cinnamon.

Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.  I loved mine with cilantro, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Makes 4 sides or 2 mains.

***

I’m really excited for a certain non-football event this weekend – Lee is hosting an Atlanta bloggers potluck!

What is your favorite food to bring to a party?

What are you doing other than Super Bowl-watching this weekend?

 

Spinach Shiitake Miso Soup

Forever Lazy

 

Ah, how I wish I could be.

Ok, maybe not lazy… but free of work.  If I didn’t have to work, I’d still cook, workout, and travel.  I’ve come to terms with the fact I’m not happy unless my hair is on fire.

And I’d still want one of these:

 

It’s like a Snuggie.  But better.  The Forever Lazy even has snaps in the back for easy bathroom access.

The only thing that would make this more perfect would be if it had feet.

 

They’re buy one get one free right now – just $29.95 for 2!  Who wants to go in on a pair with me?*  It’s 22 degrees… my snuggie is ON right now.  (I’m not kidding, I have a Georgia Tech Snuggie).

*Forever Lazy did NOT ask me to promote the stroke of genius.  I do wish they’d send me a freebie to review!

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This has become Miso week.

 

With my throat feeling scratchy and the onset of cold weather, warm soup was my dinner craving.  Eying the miso paste (a.k.a. my new love), I decided to try a miso soup.

 

Miso has many health benefits:

  • Loaded with amino acids
  • Aids in digestion
  • Good source of Vitamin B
  • Reduces breast cancer risk
  • High in antioxidants

 

Not to mention it’s delicious.  How is it that I’ve never used miso before?!

This soup came together quickly and the different garnish options added a lot of fun flavors.

 

A couple of tips:

  • Add the first 2 tablespoons of miso and taste to see if you need the third – the strength of the flavor varies depending on the brand a color (lighter = sweeter)
  • Mix it in a small bowl with some of the hot broth before adding to the pot – this eliminates clumps 
  • Don’t skip the garnishes – they make the dish more flavorful and they’re fun to decorate with
  • Get creative!  You can add anything to the base – kelp, daikon, tamarind, wakame (seaweed), shrimp… to name a few!

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Spinach Shiitake Miso Soup

  • 3 oz soba noodles
  • 4 C water
  • 1 C shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 in piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 2 T miso
  • 2 C fresh spinach
  • Garnishes: green onion, carrots, cilantro, sriracha
  • S+P, to taste

 

Cook soba noodles according to package instructions.  Drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, and set aside.

In a pot, add water, ginger, garlic and mushrooms and bring to boil.  Lower heat, just high enough to maintain temperature. 

Spoon a bit of the hot water into a small bowl.  Stir in miso to that it dissolves evenly.  Add back to pot and stir to combine.  Taste, and then add more miso a bit at a time as needed.  Let simmer for a few minutes.

Add tofu, stirring to combine.  Remove from heat and add in spinach leaves, allowing to sit 2-3 mins until tender.  Taste and season with pepper and sea salt as needed.

Garnish with chopped green onion, julienned carrots, fresh cilantro, and sriracha.

Note: “Traditional” recipes use dashi (a Japanese broth containing dried kelp, sardines, and/or skipjack tuna) rather than water as the broth base.  I didn’t have any on hand, but I’m sure it would be fantastic.

Makes 4 side dishes 2 main.

***

Need some healthy baking tips to start the year off right?  Check out my guest post over at My Naturally Frugal Family!

Do you have a Snuggie?  How about a Forever Lazy?

Have you worked with miso before?

 

Mile-a-Day Challenge + WIAW

Waking up to an alarm was cruel and unusual punishment this morning.

 

Thank god it’s a short week because after so much time off (or at least out of the office), getting back to normalcy hurt a little.  Like a good back-on-track human, I only hit snooze 3 times before getting up and hitting the gym for a quick Body Rock workout and a 1 mile run.

 

1 mile everyday is January is my goal.  It’s about the longest I can stay on the dreadmill and I refuse to run outside when it’s 22 degrees outside.  When I saw the January Mile-a-Day challenge on The Sweaty Betties, I knew it was the perfect fit for me.

This is my way of *hopefully* maintaining some semblance of running shape while on my running “break.”

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Another benefit of a short week is that it feels like What I Ate Wednesday came faster!  Happy 50th, Jenn!!!

 

 

I’m in full-on snack mode.  I want to eat veggies and protein, and I want to eat them often.

 

Breakfast:

Post-workout breakfasts are usually cold, but this morning was a mini workout… and it was only 22 degrees outside.  A warm Pumpkin Zucchini Muffin topped with melty peanut butter and a side of hot green tea hit the spot.

 

 

 

Lunch:

“Meat” loaf leftovers!  This vegan loaf was even more awesome on day 2.  The flavors came together even more and provided a delicious, warming work lunch.

 

In case you missed it, check out the recipe for my (vegan!) Asian-Inspired Sweet Potato Lentil Loaf here.  I can’t tell you enough to try it – I can’t believe it took me so long to make one!

Today I ate it with raw zucchini sticks (if you on’t already eat it raw you have to try it) and red pepper hummus.

 

Dinner:

Since I’m obsessed with my new discovery – miso – I made a miso soup!


 

This was an amazing, hearty noodle-filled soup with plenty of green and just enough spice to make my nose run.

Recipe to come tomorrow!

 

Snacks:

Most people are probably the opposite, but I snack MORE when I’m a work.  It is my equivalent of a smoke break. :)

 

Cutie + lots of water

 

Primal Vegan Jerky

 

Think Thin Cookies n' Cream Bar

 

Attempt #1 at a Protein Microwave Muffin. #Fail

 

***

I was feeling under the weather… but I SWEAR the miso cured me.

Are you doing any January challenge?  Want to run with me? :)

Do you snack more at work or at home?  The same?

 

Asian-Inspired Sweet Potato Lentil Loaf

2012 doesn’t mean I learned my lesson about making brown food.

 

It doesn’t photograph well.  At all.

 

 

Given the indulgence that December brought, I’ve decided to clean up in January and go vegetarian.  This isn’t a stretch for me – at home my diet is 99.9% plant-based.  It’s the dining out that gets me.  Social life should slow down now that the holidays are over, making it easier to stay in and stick to being vegetarian (my wallet could use a little break too).

 

Naturally, I decided vegetarianism is the perfect time to try meatloaf.  Veggie-style.  I’ve bookmarked many lentil loaf recipes to try over the past year or so.  For some reason they’ve always intimidated me – maybe because I have never cared for meatloaf or ketchup.  My mom made it once when I was in elementary school and I threw up during that dinner.

 

 

Ultimately I ended up taking the base from this loaf by Gena @ Choosing Raw and adding an Asian twist.  It’s vegan and gluten-free (I used gluten-free oats).  Served with roasted brussel sprouts, nooch sprinkles, and carrots.

Shredding the sweet potato would be a pain if you don’t have a shredder attachment for your food processor.  I have one and it was well-worth the effort.  The Asian flavors are especially satisfying in the cooler weather.  Don’t skip the ginger or the walnuts.

This may be an odd description… but the crunch and nutty flavor from the walnuts in this loaf is almost exciting.  Next time I’d add use an additional 1/4 cup.

 

 

My favorite part about this is the glaze.  Since I don’t like ketchup, there was so way I was going with the traditional meatloaf topping.  Instead I used garlic chili paste (like Sriracha with garlic added), miso, and tomato juice from the San Marzanos.  It was incredible.

This sauce could be used for so many things – tofu marinade, salad dressing, or to flavor soups.


Hands down the best thing I’ve made this year. ;)

Guaranteed not to make you hurl.

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Sweet Potato Asian Lentil Loaf

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 C celery, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 in piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 3/4 C vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
  • 1 C French green lentils
  • 1.5 C grated sweet potato (I used garnet)
  • 1/2 C toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 C blended San Marzano tomatoes (or tomato paste)
  • 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 T liquid aminos (can use tamari or soy sauce)
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • S+P, to taste

 

Miso Glaze

  • 1 T mellow white miso
  • 1 T chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)
  • 2 T tomato sauce

 

Heat coconut oil in a large pot, and sauté the onions and celery until soft and the onions are browning (~6-7 minutes).  Then add pepper, garlic, and ginger.  Sauté until fragrant (~3-4 mins).

Add lentils, veggie broth, and sweet potatoes.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth has mostly absorbed and lentils are very tender (~30 mins).

 

Stir in walnuts, tomatoes, and spices.  Stir to combine and cook another ~2-3 mins.  Add oats and remove pot from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.

Allow lentils to cool a bit.  Place half of the mixture in food processor.  Process until mostly smooth.  Return mixture to pot and stir to combine with the non-blended portion.

For Glaze:  In small bowl combine all glaze ingredients.

 

Press mixture firmly into a loaf pan. Brush with miso glaze, if desired.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 mins, or until a knife finds it firm. If the top starts to brown, cover with foil midway through.

Serves 8-10.

Approximate Nutrition: 207 calories, 7.1g fat, 28.2g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 3.2g sugar, 8.2g protein

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I got the thumbs up on the texture of this loaf from a meatloaf-lover tonight! 

Are you purposefully detoxing/eating cleaner this month?

Have you tried for a vegetarian diet before?  Any tips?