The Easiest Tomato Basil Soup with Cheddar Cheese Crisps on Top!

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I have always loved a good bowl of tomato soup.  Robust and refreshing with lots of fresh herbs and a side of grilled cheese or a slice of sour dough toast with mashed avocado.  Also so good with a touch of cream, a dollop of yogurt, almond milk or coconut milk for some creamy goodness.  Sometimes I like to add rice or quinoa for a heartier soup and adding some good toppings is a must like crispy croutons,  shredded cheese, avocado or roasted chickpeas.  But a topping that has become one of my favorites is Whisps Cheddar Cheese crisps.  https://www.whisps.com/ made with 100% real cheese.  They are a tasty, low-carb, high protein, gluten free snack and just melt into this easy garlicky tomato basil soup so perfectly and deliciously.

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Ingredients:

1 29 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 small onion finely chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups vegetable broth

handful fresh basil leaves chopped

Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps https://www.whisps.com/

Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large pot on the stove top heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it becomes fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook for an addition 2-3 minutes until veggies are tender.  Stir in the diced tomatoes along with the juice from the can into the onion and garlic mixture.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth and simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.  Use an immersion blender or a blender to puree the mixture leaving a few chunks.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer mixture into bowls.  Serve hot with, cracked black pepper, fresh basil and Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps on top.

Prep & cook time:  30 minutes

Servings:  2

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Cauliflower Steaks with Toasted Pine Nuts

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These cheesy cauliflower steaks are vegetarian, low-carb and keto friendly.  One large head of cauliflower will make 3 – 4 1 inch thick steaks.  Use two heads of cauliflower and double up the ingredients for 6 – 8.  Total prep time 10 minutes and cook time is approx. 30 minutes.
Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts.
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Juice of of a lemon.
Sea salt and black pepper to taste.

2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced and lemon slices for garnish.

Preheat oven to 400. Slice cauliflower laying on its side keeping stem in tact into 1 inch steaks. Spread cauliflower onto baking sheet. Drizzle with olive to coat each side and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze on some lemon then bake in oven for 20 minutes.  Carefully turn each steak over with a spatula.  Evenly spread the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese on top. Continue to bake for 10 – 15 minutes until pine nuts and grated cheese is toasty golden. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

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Pappardelle Pasta with Mushrooms, Spinach, Peas, Artichokes & Pine Nuts

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I craved a big bowl of veggie loaded pasta tonight so here’s some dinner inspiration.  A big delicious bowl of pappardelle pasta with mushrooms, spinach, peas, artichokes and pine nuts with garlic, tossed in fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  It was simply seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Garnished with lemon zest, fresh chopped basil and fresh chopped mint and you got yourself a gourmet meal.

This pasta isn’t gluten free but can easy be replaced with a good gluten free brown rice, chickpea or lentil pasta.  If you have an allergy to pine nuts they can be subbed for cashews or any other type of nut and if you are allergic to nuts in general toasted or caramelized onions are a great tasty substitute.  So much veggie goodness in one bowl!

 

Pappardelle Pasta with Mushrooms, Spinach, Peas, Artichokes & Pine Nuts

25-30 minutes.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. pappardelle pasta, fettuccini, linguini or spaghetti.

6-8 cups water.

3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

juice of one lemon plus zest.

1 cup sliced white mushrooms.

2 cloves garlic finely chopped.

2 cups baby spinach packed.

1 cup frozen peas.

1 can quartered artichoke hearts drained.

2 tablespoons pine nuts.

Sea salt & black pepper to taste.

In a large pot on the stove top bring water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until desired tenderness 7-10 minutes.  Drain the pasta and set aside.

While cooking the pasta on the stove top in a large skillet on medium to medium high, add 3-4 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the mushrooms and artichoke hearts and cook stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.  Stir in the spinach and let it wilt then add the frozen peas.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until peas are heated through.  Add the pasta to the skillet with veggie mixture add the lemon juice. Toss well until fully combined for heat and set aside. Cover to keep warm.

On medium high heat on the stove top heat a small sauce pan.  Add the pine nuts and toast until golden and fragrant.  Add the pasta into individual bowls and top with the toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley, chopped basil and lemon zest.

Serves 3-4

 

Chicken Vegetable Cauliflower Rice Soup

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If you are looking for a warm, cozy and comforting meal because you’ve had a bad day or you’re feeling under the weather, there’s nothing a hearty and nourishing bowl of soup can’t solve. One thing my entire family can agree on is soup, either paired with a salad or just by itself as a meal. My kids love bringing soup to school in a thermos for lunch, and this soup is one that the entire family enjoys.

Packed with veggies and lots of flavor, soup also provides lots of hydration and aids in easy digestion. The cauliflower takes the place of rice or noodles in this soup not only to make it low carb but to provide even more nutritious veggies in your low carb lifestyle. A little hint of lemon gives this soup that refreshing taste and will help to clear up any cold quickly and adding fresh herbs provides antioxidants and brings the flavors to a whole new level.  Like any good soup, this Chicken Vegetable and Cauliflower Rice soup can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or even frozen and easily reheated for an easy weeknight meal.

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Choosing a low carb and low glycemic lifestyle is beneficial to our health because controlling blood sugar and insulin levels is one of the keys to reducing our risk of heart disease and diabetes. Low glycemic approaches are also useful for controlling your appetite, aiding in weight loss and helping you avoid the “hidden sugar effect” – where carbohydrates have the same effect on your body as sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.

To find out more about how carbs and sugars can affect you and why a low carb lifestyle is beneficial to you, visit the Atkins page here:  https://www.atkins.com/

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Chicken Vegetable Cauliflower Rice Soup

Ingredients:

6 cups water

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast

3-4 tablespoons avocado oil

1 cup celery chopped with leaves

1 cup leeks sliced

1 plum tomato diced

2 large cloves of garlic minced

2 cups riced cauliflower

1 lemon, juiced

1 lemon sliced as garnish

Handful fresh parsley roughly chopped

Handful fresh dill roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

On the stovetop in a large pot, bring 6 cups of salted water and chicken breast to a boil, slightly reduce heat, cover and continue to boil for 25 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and set broth aside. While the chicken cooks, prepare the veggies as noted in the ingredients. In a separate large pot on the stovetop, heat 3-4 tablespoons of avocado oil on medium high heat. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Mix in the leeks, garlic and tomato and cook for additional 3-4 minutes. Mix in the cauliflower rice and season generously with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. While the soup simmers, shred the chicken breast and add to the soup. Let simmer for several more minutes adding salt and pepper to taste as necessary. Be careful the soup is very hot. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Top with fresh parsley and dill before serving and garnish with sliced lemon.

Preparation and cooking time: 35-40 mins.

Serves: 6-8

 

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Sweet Apple Sorghum Salad with Shaved Brussels & Pecans

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There are so many unique grains out there that don’t get the appreciation they deserve like the sorghum in this Sweet Apple Sorghum Salad with Shaved Brussels & Pecans. Here are a few nutrition facts about sorghum:

🔹Gluten Free

🔹Contains nutrients and vitamins like niacin, riboflavin and thiamine

🔹Contains high levels of magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium

🔹Provides nearly half the recommended daily protein intake

🔹Contains 48% of the required dietary fiber intake

🔹Improves digestive health

🔹Preventative of cancer and diabetes.

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To make this nutritious flavor packed salad the recipe is as follows:

 

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked sorghum

2 packed cups shaved Brussels sprouts

1/2 red delicious apple diced or cut into matchsticks

1/2 green apple diced or cut into matchsticks

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp. maple syrup

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/2 tsp. kosher salt and more to taste if necessary.

Add sorghum, red and green apple and Brussels in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice and set aside. In a small bowl combine maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper into a vinaigrette. Pour over sorghum mixture, add chopped pecans and mix well. Adjust flavor to your liking as necessary by added more maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper as needed. Can be eaten right away but gets better as it absorbs the flavors.

Serves 4-6

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Spicy Shrimp & Rice made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain

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If you are looking for a hearty spicy dish that the whole family will enjoy then this Spicy Shrimp & Rice made with Extra Virgin Olive Oils from Spain is the way to go. I am not a fan of bland foods when it comes to my meals so the fresh garlic, variety of spices and fresh herbs gives it all the Better quality olive oil makes better tasting food. Considered by experts and consumers alike to be an essential ingredient in the cuisine of any country. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t include olive oil in my diet one way or another.

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You can find out more information about Olive Oils from Spain and what it has to offer here:

www.TasteTheTruth.org.

 

Ingredients

1 cup white rice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 ½ cups water

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed

 

3-4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain

3 cloves of garlic minced

¼ cup red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped

½ cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon non-peril capers

Handful fresh cilantro roughly chopped

5-6 dashes of hot sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Add 2 ½ cups of water to a medium pot on the stovetop and bring to a full boil.  Stir in the rice and add the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ground paprika, ground turmeric, salt and pepper.  Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally until the rice is cooked and slightly al dente. Set aside and cook the shrimp and veggies.  

Heat 3-4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain in a large pan until hot but not smoking.  Add the red onion and red bell pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes until the veggies become tender. Add the shrimp and garlic.  Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the shrimp turns pink. Mix in the peas and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Stir in 2 cups of the cooked rice along with a few dashes of hot sauce, season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes stirring often until all the flavors are incorporated and the rice is heated through.  Remove from heat and top with capers and fresh cilantro. Serve with a fresh greens salad. Reheats well so it can be made in advance and stored in an air tight container for 3 days.

Serves 4-6

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https://www.tastethetruth.org

Pistachio Falafel with Green Goddess Tahini & Avocado Dip

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Who doesn’t love a good Falafel with a yummy sauce to go along.  This Pistachio Falafel is baked crispy on the outside, but hearty and tasty on the inside.  Made with roasted salted GetCrackin Wonderful Pistachios No Shells instead of flour and fresh cilantro instead of parsley.  They are gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan.

When it comes to chickpeas, unless I’m making my own chickpea flour I only used canned chickpeas.  When making falafel I like to mash them up by hand.  A food processor is great, however I find is easier to mash them up quickly with a fork.  It takes two minutes and a just a little elbow grease.  Much less time then in takes to drag out the equipment and then all cleaning afterwards.

 

Then there’s the pistachios.  In this case I like to use my Magic Bullet with the flat attachment to create a pistachio flour, but a food processor works just as well.  I always like to leave a few nutty chunks which adds a little texture to the bite.

 

Pistachio Falafel

Ingredients:

1 15.5 oz can chickpeas

3/4 cup roasted & salted @getcrackin Wonderful Pistachios No Shells

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a bowl add the chickpeas and mash with fork into a chunky paste. Add the pistachios to a food processor or bullet with flat blade and pulse into a powder leaving a few pistachios chunks. Add the pistachio flour into the bowl with the mashed chickpeas along with the remaining ingredients and mash together well. Spray a baking sheet generously with olive oil spray. Roll the pistachio chickpea mixture with clean hands into 1 1/2 inch balls and place onto baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Spray tops of falafel balls with olive oil spray. Bake in 425 F oven for 30 minutes. Makes 8 falafel balls. Double up recipe for 16.

Green Goddess Tahini Avocado Dip

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon tahini

1/2 an avocado

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons water

salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients except water, salt and pepper to a bullet or food processor and pulse until thick and creamy.  Add a little water at a time and pulse until desired texture. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Pistachio Falafel and veggies.

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