Monday, December 28, 2009

Reinventing Beet Soup

Vibrant red beets are rich in nutrients and flavor. I've been making comfort soups lately and have developed a new twist on beet soup. The following recipe which I embellished from my former beet soup recipe (which my Mom really loved) is rich, creamy and filled with healthy ingredients.

Red Velvet Beet Soup

Sort of a mix between Russian Borscht and Vegetarian beet/tomatoe/red pepper soup.

• 3 medium fresh beets
• 1 whole head garlic
• EVOO
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
• 1 red pepper, finely chopped
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp honey
• 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
• ½ cup light coconut milk
• 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes, pureed in blender

Wash and cube beets. Cut top off head of garlic. Toss both in a tablespoon of EVOO. Spread out on baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Bake for 50 minutes @ 350. Check for doneness – both beets and garlic should be soft. Remove from oven – allow to cool. Squeeze garlic out of it’s sleeves and set aside.
In a medium/large pot, sauté onion, jalapeno and red pepper in EVOO until soft. Stir in salt, ginger, honey, both broths and tomatoes. Add beets, roasted garlic. (Add more broth if necessary). Bring to boil, lower heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then puree half the soup in blender. Mix back into soup pan and re-heat.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and kosher salt.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And she loved beets ......

My dear Mother passed away recently. Her strength gave out to cancer, but her courage never died.
Mom had a quick wit, a wonderful sense of humor and as a member of the "Senior Advisory Board" for the City of West Hollywood, she carved new territory with her passionate stands on various senior advocacy issues. And, she loved the Russian beet soup known as "borscht". When I was a youngster, she served me cold borscht and I loved it. A lot of kids would turn there noses up to "cold beet soup", but not me......I was a true health foodie back then too. And so, I dedicate the following recipe to "Shirley".

This is a wonderfully robust and vibrant Beet Soup, (in a very different style from borscht), served hot.

3 medium fresh beets
1 whole head garlic
EVOO
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp honey
1 ½ to 2 cups vegetable broth
1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes, pureed in blender

Wash and cube beets. Cut top off head of garlic. Toss both in EVOO. Spread out on baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Bake for 50 minutes @ 350. Check for doneness – both beets and garlic should be soft. Remove from oven – allow to cool. Squeeze garlic out of it’s sleeves and set aside.
In a medium/large pot, sauté onion and red pepper in EVOO until soft. Stir in salt, ginger, honey, broth and tomatoes. Add beets, roasted garlic. (Add more broth if necessary). Bring to boil, lower heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then puree half the soup in blender. Mix back into soup pan and re-heat.

I will miss you Mom....may you rest in peace

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A new friend and a new recipe

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a kindred spirit named Kelly. Kelly is an active fitness and outdoor lover as well as a voracious healthy food eater so it's not hard to see why we hit it off. Yesterday she took me to a wonderful restaurant right in Westwood Village called "Native Foods". It's a Vegan restaurant, probably the best I've been to. We had an amazing portobella sandwich and a "bowl" of Moroccan flavored vegetables. It was just so delicious. Eating these healthy foods makes me feel good, full of energy and vitality.

After my Upper Body work out this morning I went home and made hummus. Since I don't care for things packed in cans, I buy bulk organic garbanzo beans at the health food store and I soak them overnight. Then I drain and rinse them real good. Then I add enough water to cover by 2" and I simmer for nearly an hour till they are tender but not mushy. Rinse well and drain. I store these air tight in the refrigerator for up to a week. I throw them in salads. I also spread some out on a cookie sheet and roast them (OMG, ask me for this recipe if you're interested). Today I decided to make hummus but I realized I only had about 1/3 cup of cooked garbanzo beans left, so I got the bright idea to make the hummus as usual but to also add 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds while processing. OMG......it was fabulous. I sliced up some organic carrots, Persian cucumbers and celery and had myself a little hummus platter for lunch. I LOVE TO COOK, AND I LOVE TO EAT. YAY!

For my next culinary trick I'm going to create bean cakes using the garbanzo beans. Perhaps I will top them with a homemade pesto sauce. Should be interesting! Did I mention I love to cook. he...he...he...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Strong Women (and Men) Stay Young

Most of you know how passionate I am about staying fit. In my twenties I did it because I was a bundle of energy and loved to play tennis and jog.  In my thirties I did it because I wanted to stay fit and thin.  In my forties I did it because I wanted to prove to myself that I still had what it takes.  Now, in my fifties, I do it for all those reasons AND to stay strong and young feeling.  Guess what?  It's working!

This is a fact:  "When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life."

I have been practicing strength training focusing on the Upper Body and I notice that not only has my tone improved, my attitude has improved.  I'm usually  pretty positive, and now I am finding it a lot easier to stay consistently positive.  With all the "negative news" (even when we log on to our default web browser we see awful headlines) it's important to stay positive.  All sorts of things can be happening around us with our loved ones, our jobs (or lack thereof), our finances....but the one thing we must do is hold to a positive attitude.  I say this because if we do something that empowers our strength, we will definitely feel more positive about our lives and whatever it is that we are going through.

So, once again, I will say:  take care of your body, mind and spirit......eat right and get exercise REGULARLY

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Eat Right, Stay Fit

The greatest and most beneficial health reform shall come when we regularly eat healthier foods. When the fast food craze began many years ago no one knew how badly it would effect our health. We are now seeing obesity, poor health and medical costs rising at an alarming rate due to the high percentage of processed, "empty" nutrient foods and lack of physical exercise. It's time to educate our people and make it easier for them to eliminate those low-nutrient, fatty, salty, sugary foods that have harmed our health. I began eating 6-8 servings a day of fruits and vegetables as a teenager, and now in my fifties, I am healthy, strong and energetic. I must attribute this to my regular intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as the fact that I walk/jog/hike 20 miles a week. I encourage people of all ages and stages to eat fruits and vegetables regularly and partake in a minimum of four hours of moderate exercise every week. Just do it!  And if you need help or support doing it, please consider joining me in weekly walks/hikes and upper body lite weight work outs. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I just might have what it takes to be ................... "The Next Food Network Star"

My recent audition in Hollywood required that I do a video clip showing me, my personality, my cooking and why I want to be "The Next Food Network Star". What do you think? video

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Great Summer......


July marks my second anniversary of blogging. It’s been a wonderful writing experience……and from it I decided to write a cookbook. So, I joined a writer’s group which has been great support in keeping me on track with the book. I’m very excited about this -- the book is close to being finished. The premise of the book is to inspire single people to cook for themselves AND ENJOY IT! With everyone watching their finances and their waistlines these days and still interested in enjoying great food, I gear “The California Singles Cookbook” to eating healthy at home for way less than dining out so often. We all know how expensive it is to eat out and the tips and recipes in my book will show singles how to have fun cooking for themselves, to prepare easy, healthy dinners and lunches. For instance, in my book I show how to cook one evening a week and have three to four meals from it. And, I show how to use FRESH ingredients without having to purchase all those higher-priced pre-made, pre-packaged foods (you know, the ones you buy at Trader Joes….that go bad in two days). We all know how nutritious salads and vegetables are and when they are purchased fresh (instead of in a plastic bag….which, by the way…..makes the food taste like plastic), you’ll be consuming a healthy diet, save money and even lower your weight and body fat.

This week I am very happy to be cooking lunches and dinners for my friend as she recovers from serious knee surgery and is confined to a brace and crutches. Here’s a glimpse of the 3-day meal plan.

Tuesday
LunchAsian broccoli slaw with sesame dressing served on a bed of shredded Napa and Bok Choy cabbage.
Dinner Roast Cuban Chicken, black beans and Cuban rice (we love garlic!!!)

Wednesday
Lunch – Mediterranean lentil salad (with fresh seasonal chopped vegetables, plated with fresh organic spinach)
Dinner – Red Topper Meat Loaf (a sun-dried tomato topping sauce) and roasted seasonal fresh vegetables
Thursday
Lunch – Organic black bean soup and small green salad with lime-cilantro vinaigrette
Dinner – Stuffed Pastilla chilies served with Spanish rice

Are you hungry yet?

Many thanks to all my friends, family and clients who have encouraged and supported me as I build my Personal Cheffing business and feed you with only the finest, healthiest and delicious healthy gourmet meals.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Food and Fitness in The City by the Bay

I just love San Francisco! Myself and three friends converged there last weekend for some serious stair climbing on Telegraph Hill, from the Embarcadero/Sansome Street up the Filbert Street steps to Coit Tower. What a work out! We also climbed the Lyon Street stairs (approximatly 250 stairs and then some) to the top and saw the most amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Palace of Fine Arts. We were very lucky to have awesome weather....perfect Spring days in The City by the Bay.


Christine is making her way up those stairs.......they were pretty steep, but the private gardens along the way made the climb worth every huff and puff.



Here's something funny......as we were walking back to our hotel along Montgomery Street, we came across a building which housed the Culinary Development Center of San Francisco. Here I am standing at the front door. Notice the door handles.....a fork and spoon. Very cute!

And of course, we dined on some great food....a new spot in North Beach called E Tuttu Qua, and breakfast at The Buena Vista (no Irish coffee though....we had stairs to climb!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Time flys when I'm cooking

It's been two months since I posted to this blog because I've been doing more cooking than writing. That's a good thing! I could (and do) spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, chopping, creating, making up new dishes! Also, I've been hosting some pretty intense fitness walks, hikes and stair climbs too for the last several months and that has kept me busy, fit, and away from my writing. Sometimes I wonder where I get all the energy to do all this, but then I recall.....it's because I consume such wonderful, fresh, healthy foods. Yes, that's it. I'm so grateful to have such great local organic produce at my doorstep. Well, it's not really at my doorstep......it's just a mile and a half walk to the farmers market! I still love to walk to the Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers Market with my day pack, fill it up with fresh produce, then walk home. I carry about 22 pounds home.....just another way to stay fit. And oh, the sweet people and sights along the way. It just doesn't get much better for grocery shopping (except of course my local Whole Foods and Co-Op Markets which I love for all the "other stuff", particularly their "bulk" section.) Oh, I'll save that subject for another blog post.... another chapter of gratitude.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Food and Fitness

I admit it......I'm a foodie. I use to dislike that word thinking it was trendy and superficial but now I completely embrace it because it really describes me. I love food. I love buying it, organizing it in the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator, displaying it, cooking it, serving it to loved ones & clients, eating it and I even love cleaning up after it. I love good pots and pans, knives, farmers markets, the Food Channel on TV (although I don't watch it much....I'd rather be doing the cooking rather than watching someone else do it), my food processor and blender, all the toys and utensils I have and use to make things easy be it shredding, grinding, blending, straining, whatever. I'm not sure what came first....my love of food, or my love of fitness and exercise. This leads me to share how very passionate I am about staying fit and supporting others to do so as well. Because I love food and eat it often I suppose I could be overweight from all that. However, I admit I have always been a little vain, wanting to look good, to have a nice trim figure. Yes, it's true. To that end.....and trust me, I wasn't about to live my life on a diet, I have always partaken in regular and consistent exercise. The combination of good food and good exercise is clearly what keeps me healthy, happy and enjoying the two things I'm most passionate about -- food and fitness. I encourage you to eat well and stay fit. If you need encouragement or support getting on the path to better eating and regular exercise.....contact me.....I'm here for you. May you be healthy and happy.