Broccoli & Lemon Soup

Whether or not you correlate your resolutions with the start of a new calendar year, I think we all seek to make better choices regardless of the month. Even if it’s simply “I ate 7 rations of bacon for breakfast, better have a healthy lunch and dinner.” The balanced life–as those in the health and wellness community so often dub it.

Well, as much as I am part of the opposition when it comes to hip catch phrases–No, that meal you made on your instagram story is not LIT or ON POINT–the phrase balance is one I am completely behind. I frequently call in light pinch hitters for meals, in order to balance a day filled with or following indulgence. Soups made from fresh vegetables and pure stocks are perfect for this call of duty and are light on effort (most of the time, mind you.) This means that baked potato soup and New England clam chowder sadly don’t count as light, clean pinch hitters, just because they are soups–not that you didn’t realize this but I feel the need to clarify.

This beautifully green and bright soup takes 15 minutes, up and down, and keeps beautifully in the fridge for at least 3 days. I wouldn’t mind a block of cheddar cheese mixed into it but please refrain yourself. It is, after all, about balance.

Ingredients Serves 4
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
2 cups raw broccoli florets
1 tablespoon roasted garlic (about 3 cloves) or 1 teaspoon raw garlic (1 small clove)
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
4 cups vegetable stock (32 ounce box)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest, for garnish

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
2. Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
4. Add the broccoli and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook broccoli until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. (If desired for garnish, set aside a few florets of cooked broccoli, at this point)
5. Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach, lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Blend the soup with a stick/immersion blender or blend in batches in a stand blender/food processor until just smooth.
6. Finish the soup with reserved broccoli florets and lemon zest.

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Cacao Cashew & Almond Milk Yogurt

My fridge is always littered with store bought yogurts (So Delicious brand coconut milk yogurt is my favorite) but this recipe is wonderful and more nutritious than the grocery store stuff, if you can spare a little bit of time to create it. It’s tangy from a little citrus, sweet from agave, and creamy as all get out from the soaked raw cashews.

I add in my favorite superfood powder to make it even more so, a good-for-you breakfast. The benefits from the addition of Cacao Magic Superfood Powder from The Philosophie are bountiful and pick up where a regular dairy-free yogurt leaves off adding back in a dose of calcium. It’s also energizing and full of protein–oh, and tastes perfectly chocolate-ey with no added sugar.

The only thing about this recipe that takes time is the soaking of the cashew nuts that isn’t hard (nuts in bowl, cover with water, leave in fridge overnight)–it’s more than you have to remember to do it. Not my strong suit, remembering to do things after a long day at work but you’re probably better than me at it. Once you have remembered to do this and it’s the next morning–the recipe is “toss in the blender and turn on” simple.

Ingredients Serves 2
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water overnight
1/3 cup vanilla, unsweetened, almond milk (can substitute plain almond milk with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon Cacao Magic Superfood Blend from The Philosophie (can substitute raw cacao powder)
Optional yogurt toppings (suggestions shown: banana slices, cacao nibs, and dried & unsweetened coconut flakes)

Directions
1. Add all ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor and purée until very smooth (no lumps or mealy texture!)
2. Top with your favorite toppings
3. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days

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Lemony Green Bean Salad with Crispy Shallots

I adore green bean casserole, very much, but that’s not the only place these lanky legumes have on the Thanksgiving table. I like to have some cool and crisp vegetables play a part in turkey day to offset the cream, meat, and carbs that tend to take center stage. This fresh green bean salad nods to it’s cream of mushroom laden cousin with crispy shallots but keeps it on the lighter side, simply topped with a fresh lemon vinaigrette.

The green beans themselves are barely cooked in boiling water so they are bright green and snap back at you when you eat them–because honestly, a smushed over-cooked green beans is the worst thing ever. Recipe is after the jump!

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