I love to eat! But I'd rather not spend a lot of time cooking. I developed these crockpot recipes with inspiration from Heaven's Banquet—Ayurvedic Vegetarian Cookbook by Miriam Hospodar, and The Ageless Woman—Natural Health & Beauty After Forty, by Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, an expert in the system of natural medicine called ayurveda.
For a recipe index, see the Blog Archive below.
Crockpot Soupe Basics:
I'm an intuitive cook; I use words like "about" or "handful". My recipes make about four servings of hearty soup. The basic measurements are: 1/4 - 1/3 cup whole grain; approx. 1/3 cup lentils; 1.5 quarts of water; 1.5 - 2 Tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter, highly recommended by ayurveda) or vegetable oil; 1 teaspoon of salt; 1 rounded Tablespoon of spices; and about 3 cups of mixed veggies. I use, and recommend, organic ingredients for the purest food and optimal nutrition. I hope this blog helps you enjoy good eatin', good health, and creative cooking! I love to hear your comments.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Young Coconut and Date Smoothie

Okay, this isn't soup, but I can't resist sharing this delicious treat.

Coconuts are full of vitamins and minerals, lower in fat than whole milk and have no cholesterol. The juice is a wonderful "sports drink" with natural electrolytes. Fresh is best, so if you've seen those strange white coconuts in the store and wondered about them, give this a try.

Choose a white coconut (the green outer layer is cut away to reveal the white husk. Brown coconuts are simply more mature and dry). Avoid any that are yellowing, or look a little purple on the bottom. The bottom should be firm or slightly yielding but not squishy.

You'll need a hefty cleaver or large chef knife to open the coconut. Tell everyone to stand back and whack an opening large enough to get a spoon inside the shell. This is my hubby's job. He makes a square opening with four mighty blows.

Pour the juice into a blender. The meat is wonderfully scoopable, almost like pudding. Enjoy some as is, and add the rest to the juice, careful to remove any husk fibers. Add three medjool dates (pits removed) and blend.

It just might be the yummiest thing this side of heaven.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thai-inspired Coconut Vegetable Soup

I love Thai food and recently I've explored ways to make a coconut-based soup adapted to my crockpot lifestyle. This one turned out pretty good. I hope you agree!

Coconut milk is nutritious and cooling, according to traditional ayurvedic medicine — which is probably why it is frequently used in spicy Southeast Asian cooking. Although coconut milk is high in calories (about 250 per half cup), nutritionist George Rapitis says, “The saturated fat in coconut is made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids that the body quickly turns into energy instead of storing as fat.” But if you’re concerned about calories, try light coconut milk.*

Thai-inspired veggie soup (everything organic, of course):

1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
Wash and add about 1.5 quarts of water
Bring to a boil and transfer to your crockpot.
Stuff as much lemongrass dry herb as you can in a tea infuser and let it cook in with the grain and lentils. Fresh lemongrass directly in the soup would also be wonderful if you can find it.

Simmer on high, and come back after your morning routine, at least half hour or until the lentils are soft.

Add 1 cup prepped broccoli, and 1 cup yellow or green beans cut into manageable pieces. (I’m delighted to have so much local organic food available in my area!)

In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of coconut milk, add 1 full Tbs of fresh grated ginger root, and 1 full tsp of Green Thai Curry Paste, and 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Simmer for 1-2 minutes then transfer to the crockpot.

Add 1 level tsp of mineral salt, and a handful of fresh cilantro leaves.

Stir, ladle, and away you go with thermoses in hand! (Makes about 4 servings)

Alternatives to try:
Rice would be nice as a substitute grain. Basil instead of cilantro would make for equally yummy variety. Zucchini, yellow squash, and mung bean sprouts would be delicious alternatives. A handful of sunflower seeds would be tasty and add protein. Tofu would be good too. This recipe is pretty mild, so you could add some red chilis or more ginger if you like it hot.

* Check out a fun website for nutrition and fitness info:
www.livestrong.com. According to the customizable calorie and fitness tracker, I can burn the calories from the coconut milk (based on 2 servings of this soup) by surfing or playing competitive volleyball for an hour. If I’ve used light coconut milk, 20 minutes of vigorous barn cleaning will do the job...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer potato and broccoli soup

Here's a quick post to say today's soup was quite good. I'll just give basics, and you can review details in other posts since the methods are pretty much the same.

Step one:
1/2 cup green lentils (everything organic, of course)
1/2 cup millet

Step two:
Sautee 1 Tbsp Smart Spice mix (see May 20th post) in 2-3 Tbsp sunflower oil on med-low for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Stir in about 2 cups of prepped veggies: broccoli and new potatoes (the kinds with thin skins. Peeled and cut into small pieces), and parsley or other fresh seasonal greens if you like.

Add 1 tsp mineral salt.

And away you go! Enjoy :D

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Italian soup

This is Italian in name only, because I'm using "Italian herbs" and I have some Italian ancestry...

Local organic asparagus is still available at my neighborhood farmers market, so I'm using it often. This would be a nice cold or cool soup, so simply remove the lid from the thermos about an hour before lunch if you don't want hot soup on a hot day... But it's better not to put it in the fridge to cool. According to ayurveda (the natural health wisdom of ancient India), once cooked food is refrigerated it loses nutritional value and is not as easy for our bodies to digest. Ayurveda frowns upon leftovers, and that's one of the reasons I've started this crockpot project...

The basics:
1/2 cup Green Lentils
1/2 cup Millet
1.5 quarts of water.

Bring to boil and transfer to the crockpot.
Stuff as many sprigs of fresh thyme as you can in a tea diffuser that snaps closed, and leave it in the soup while cooking. (It takes too long to trim the tiny leaves off the stems, but if you have time there's no reason not to chop them finely and put in the soup.)

I have fresh oregano growing in a pot on my deck, and I used 3 springs, each about 3 inches long, finely chopped and tossed into soup. Fresh marjoram would also be nice.

While we did our morning routine I let the soup simmer for about an hour.

Before leaving for work, I added a cup of chopped parsley and a small bunch of asparagus that I cut into little pieces last night. (I also added broccoli, but now I'd suggest a medium size zucchini instead. Steam or bake whole for best flavor then cut it up and add it to the soup. But it also works just chopping uncooked zucchini and adding it at the end, since it will cook in the thermos, as will the asparagus.)

Add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil or sunflower oil, and 1 level tsp of mineral salt. Remove the tea diffuser and bay leaves before ladling soup into thermoses. (Don't forget the bay leaves—they are sharp and can hurt an unsuspecting mouth.)

Kiss your significant-other (or pet) goodbye and have a great day!

(I realize my grammatical structure is inconsistent... I'm talking to you, and describing what I did, as if you were here in person!)