The United Nations has declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” to raise the awareness of their nutritional prowess and sustainability in food production. Pulses refers to the edible seeds in certain plants. This is their way of saying “eat more beans, peas and lentils” my friends. They are good for your body and good for your planet. Most recipes and meal/snack ideas I post will incorporate pulses of some sort. Below is a total treat for me from Taco Bell. Soft bean al fresco tacos (I added some vegan “cheese” I made last night, but they are great without them too), topped with, you guesses it, more beans with red sauce (no cheese), plain potatoes and pico de gallo. Oh and a side of guacamole, of course. A gut buster in more ways than you can imagine. Beans: They really are magical.
The vegetables don't need to be chopped finely or perfectly, most will go in the blender anyway. Feel free to pass this along
Optional: My family enjoys this meal with sausage instead of the chickpeas. I just prepare the sausage in the toaster oven to bake while I make the soup and orzo. You could also opt to use any leftover over protein you may have in the refrigerator like tofu, beef, or chicken. I serve all the ingredients separately and let everyone make their own bowls with as much or as little as they would like.
16oz package of whole wheat orzo (I use Delallo Organic but feel free to use any other small shaped whole wheat pasta)
4 tbsp of Earth Balance Butter (however feel free to use regular butter or other butter substitute, ah, heck olive oil will do)
2 Celery Stalks, scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2-4 tbsp dried basil or 1/2 cup fresh basil (depends on how much basil you like, I go all in)
2 cups of vegetable broth (chicken broth will do)
2 cans of whole or crushed tomatoes (28 oz each can)
8 oz of vegan cream cheese (feel free to use regular cream cheese)
1-2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook the whole wheat orzo according to package directions while you make the tomato cream.
Melt the Earth Balance Butter over medium heat.
Add the celery, onions and garlic and saute for approximately 5-6 minutes (add the salt and pepper here).
Add the basil and broth.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the canned tomatoes and cream cheese.
Puree the mixture with a food processor or blender (in batches) until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender, however remember it may have a chunkier consistency.
Return to the stove and reheat on medium setting. Once the soup boils, add the kale and continue to heat until the kale wilts.
To serve, plate approximately 3/4 cup of the cooked whole wheat orzo, 1/2 cup chickpeas and top with 1-2 cups of the tomato cream (add as much or as little as you would like).
Over the weekend my family and I walked The Color Run in Englishtown, NJ. I would have loved to run the 5K instead of walking, however my husband and I joined a group of friends and our children to walk together as a team. I am so glad we did. Eventually we will run some races without them, however this particular event was fantastic for families and I was amazed at the amount of children excited to exercise (and get pelted with color). How do you implement physical fitness as a family?
After a few bumps, hiccups and small tantrums, my running journey can commence. Thank you runner’s havenin Randolph, New Jersey for helping me out with the right shoe. Pictured is the Brooks’ Women’s Adrenaline GTS 12. Wish me luck and helpful advice greatly appreciated!
So my 6 year old elliptical machine has now decided to remain permanently stuck on the highest incline. Are the workout Gods telling me I wasn’t working out to my fullest potential? I think it may be time to purchase a new machine.
A digital food scale is the best tool in your kitchen for portion control. A friend of mine recently told me his story of his predicament when his scale died while measuring his meal. I should not have laughed, because that following week my 10 year old scale kicked the bucket. Now you may be thinking “what’s the big deal?” however my digital food scale keeps me in line when it comes to measuring my portions, especially snack foods.
I ran out and purchased a new one, returned it the same day because the buttons had to be punched to work and picked up a new one to try. My scale had a great run however I am in love with my new scale. I keep it on my kitchen counter at all times instead of putting it away after each use.