Cream of Tomato Soup with Spicy Rosemary Walnuts

Cream of Tomato Soup garnished with Spicy Rosemary Walnuts
Cream of Tomato Soup garnished with Spicy Rosemary Walnuts

Feel like curling up with a good book and a cup of soup? Then here’s a great recipe you can make in your blender — just as easily as you can make a smoothie!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 of a 32-ounce jar Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
2 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup half and half (grass-fed)

Garnish: Chopped Spicy Rosemary Walnuts (optional)

STEPS

Into a blender, add the Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, low-sodium chicken broth, Italian herbs, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Blend to mix well. Add the grape tomatoes and blend until tomatoes are coarsely chopped.

If making soup for one or two people and storing the rest for another day:
Pour some of the tomato mixture into individual bowls or cups and then heat in microwave. When the soup is hot, add half and half; stir to mix. Heat to serving temperature. Stir to mix. Garnish with chopped Spicy Rosemary Walnuts, if using. Serve and enjoy!

If making soup for more than two people:
Pour the tomato mixture into a tall pot and heat over medium heat. When the mixture is hot, add the half and half; stir to mix. Heat to serving temperature. Stir to mix. Garnish with chopped Spicy Rosemary Walnuts, if using. Serve and enjoy!

FOOD SHOPPING TIP

Marinara sauce: Roa’s Homemade Marinara sauce tastes great and is made with great ingredients and no sugar. Also it has just 4 grams of carbohydrate per 1/2 cup. But, Rao’s is not cheap. So I try to catch a sale and also sometimes buy a case (12 jars) for an additional 10% discount.

FOOD PREP TIP 

Garlic: Wait 15 minutes after chopping garlic before you cook with it. This is how long it take the copped garlic to create an anti-cancer compound! If you cook with garlic too soon after chopping it, you won’t get the anti-cancer benefits!

Enjoy and be healthy!

~Leni

Pumpkin Pie Parfait

Pumpkin Pie Parfaits in shot glasses
Pumpkin Pie Parfaits in shot glasses

This Pumpkin Pie Parfait is a sweet (but not too sweet) dessert that will use up that can of pumpkin that may be leftover from Thanksgiving and now taking up space on your pantry shelf.

INGREDIENTS

1, 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup creamy (not crunchy) almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon of the Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix (This recipe makes more than what’s needed for the parfaits.)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)

Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS

Into a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the pumpkin, almond butter, maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of the Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Pie Spice. Process until smooth and creamy. Chill in refrigerator.

Serve in shot glasses or other little glasses. (To get the pumpkin mixture into the glasses you just put it into a sturdy plastic bag, snip one corner off of the bag, and then squeeze the mixture into the shot glasses just like you would squeeze a tube of toothpaste. )

Top with whipped cream.

INGREDIENT TIPS

Pumpkin – Pumpkin is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber and vitamin A.

Ceylon cinnamon – When you buy “cinnamon” at the supermarket in the U.S., it’s probably cassia cinnamon (the less expensive cinnamon). Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin — a compound about which there are some serious health concerns. So seek out Ceylon cinnamon, available at Penzeys Spices and other spice shops. Ceylon cinnamon has a somewhat soft and mild cinnamon flavor. For information about the health benefits of Ceylon cinnamon, see:

Enjoy and be healthy!
~Leni

Food Find: Chive Flower (Garlic Chives) – Where to find and how to cook

Chive flower
Chive flower

Recently I went exploring — to the Fresh World International Supermarket just down the road in Herndon, Virginia. There I discovered what they call chive flower!  A day or two later we were having dinner at our new favorite Chinese Restaurant, China Wok in Tysons Corner, and on the menu was Fish Fillet with Chive Flower. So I asked them if they could give me a side dish of just chive flower (to go with the Peking duck I ordered). Soon they set a plate of sautéed chive flower in front of me. It was fabulous! To me, tasted slightly crunchy and sweet and a bit garlicky — not strong like chives.

Here’s how to make Sautéed Chive Flower (basic recipe is courtesy of the chef at China Wok).

Sautéed Chive Flower
Sautéed Chive Flower

SAUTÉED CHIVE FLOWER

1 bunch chive flower
1 tablespoon avocado oil (mild flavor and good for high heat cooking)
2 – 3 garlic cloves, chopped (or chopped and frozen — see Food Prep Tip below)
Sea salt, to taste

Cut off 1-2 inches from the stem end and discard (or use in stock). Cut the remainder into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Chive flower cut into pieces
Chive flower cut into pieces

Heat a wok (or a large sauté pan), and when wok/pan is warm, add the oil.

When oil is hot, add the chive flower (all except for the flowering tips which you will add later) and toss.

Add the chopped garlic to the chive flower in the pan and toss.

Note: If the garlic is frozen (as suggested in Food Prep Tip below), it will defrost as you toss it with the chive flower. Or, you can let the small amount of garlic you plan to use defrost before you use it. (I would not defrost the entire package of chopped garlic.)

Sauté the chive flower and garlic (keep tossing) for about 2 minutes.

Add the reserved chive flower tips (the pieces with the flowers) and continue to sauté (toss) for another 30 seconds.

Add salt to taste.

Now you have the delicious dish I was served at the restaurant!

Or if you want to do something a bit different, try mixing the sautéed chive flower with some preserved lemon purée. Yum!

Serve!

FOOD PREP TIP: Garlic

Chopped garlic -- freeze in the bag it came in
Chopped garlic — freeze in the bag it came in

At China Wok, they thinly slice the garlic and then add it to the oil and then add the chive flower, but I don’t do it that way.

I use chopped garlic which i always have on hand. I take a bag of peeled organic garlic (such as you see in photo) and chop the entire continents of the bag in the food processor (fitted with metal blade). Then I put the chopped garlic back into the ziplock bag it came in, pressing the garlic into a thin layer. Then I put the bag that’s now full of chopped garlic into my freezer. Later when I need chopped garlic, I just grab the bag with chopped garlic out of the freezer and break off the amount I need! :)

And one more thing. It’s important! Wait 15 minutes after chopping garlic before freezing or cooking with it. Why? To allow the chopped garlic itself to create an anti-cancer compound! If you cook with garlic before you have given it time to create that compound, you won’t get the anti-cancer benefits of garlic! So just wait before you put the chopped garlic into the freezer. And because you already waited these 15 minutes, when you cook with your frozen chopped garlic, you will get the anti-cancer benefits!

LEARN MORE about Chive Flower aka Garlic Chives
Basic facts (not sure if nutrition facts come from reputable source, but until I find a better reference, this will have to do.)
Recipe with pork

Enjoy and be healthy!
~ Leni