Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

Bananas are one of my favourite fruits!  Not only are the tasty and sweet but they are extremely good for you!  Bananas help to promote good digestion, steady blood sugar and insulin levels, and help you to maintain a healthy weight.  Not only are bananas great in a variety of recipes but they are also a wonderfully convenient snack food.  For these reasons I have decided to create a dreamy, creamy, pie-like smoothie and/or smoothie bowl for you that highlights this essential fruit which should be a part of everyone’s regular diet.

Bananas contain essential nutrients to keep our bodies running smoothly.  They actually contain fairly high amounts of fiber keeping our digestion on point.  There are two types of fiber found in a banana:

  • Pectin: decreasing as it ripens
  • Resistant Starch: found in unripe bananas

Both types of fiber are important for our digestive tract even resistant starch which stays intact during the digestion period flowing into your large intestine where it feeds beneficial gut bacteria (healthline.com).

Bananas have a ton of other benefits as well including essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health.  For example these are the benefits that one medium sized banana (118g) contains:

  • Vitamins B6 & C
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • 24g carbohydrates
  • 3g fiber
  • 1.3g fat

Every banana is roughly around 105 calories and contains little to no fat making it a healthy enjoyable snack on the go and a great way to start your morning giving you a nice boost of energy (medicalnewstoday.com).

Interestingly enough, although bananas are sweet naturally they actually help to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.  Because of the pectin and resistant starch we talked about earlier, these types of fiber help to slow down digestion and the emptying of your stomach causing insulin levels to stay consistent after your meal.  Since bananas have a low to medium glycemic index (GI) they are a good food for maintaining blood sugar levels.  However this may not completely apply to those with diabetes as they should be making sure to avoid overly ripe bananas as they have a higher GI.

Bananas are definitely identified as a weight loss friendly food.  Although bananas are quite large and filling, they have relatively few calories.  They are filled with nutritious fiber aiding in good digestion while also containing resistant starch reducing your appetite (healthline.com).

Pairing such a health promoting fruit with a rich healthy fat like coconut creates a deliciously balanced meal.  Hence why I created the Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie to give you a boost of energy in the morning while keep you full from the fats in the coconut and almonds, keeping you full till mid-afternoon.  I hope you enjoy this tasty guilt-free treat and make sure to leave me a comment about what you think!

 

Banana Creampie Smoothie 2

Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 bananas frozen
  • 4-6 large ice cubes
  • 2 tbsps almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds.  I use my ninja blender and it blends to a very creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy in the morning with a muffin or in a bowl with granola on top!  Such a deliciously, sweet way to start your morning off right!

    NOTE: If making into a smoothie bowl, add less coconut milk, use frozen bananas, and you may have to add more ice to make it into a thicker consistency.

Dreamy Almond Butter Smoothie

Creamy Almond Butter Smoothie

Almonds are the world’s most popular tree nut and luckily for us they are absolutely delicious in smoothies!

Almonds are native to the Middle East although now the USA is the largest producers of these tasty nuts which are jam-packed full of nutrients.  To further understand almonds impressive nutrient profile, this is what a one-ounce serving (28g) gives you:

  • 3.5g fiber
  • 6g protein
  • 14g fat (9g which are monounsaturated)
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • And only 161 calories from this small handful!

Almonds are anti-inflammatory.  The antioxidants in almonds are also quite impressive which help fight aging and diseases such as cancer.  Although it is important to know that most of these powerful antioxidants come from the brown outside layer of the almond (the skin) so eating blanched almonds will not help provide you the antioxidants you’re looking for.

Also did you know that almonds also help lower rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease from the amount of Vitamin E they contain protecting the body from oxidative damage.

Almonds are also a great choice for people with diabetes because they help regulate the blood sugar by being low in carbs and from the amount of healthy fats and protein they contain.  Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in hundreds of processes within the body and improves insulin function and the metabolism, so if you think that you are going to gain weight from eating almonds regularly it is actually quite the opposite.

And guess what?  If you are suffering from high cholesterol levels, almonds will be your new best friend!  They are named to be one of the top cholesterol lowering foods, so if you are at risk for heart disease, you’ll be wanting to incorporate an almond spinach smoothie into your morning routine!

I hope you enjoy this delicious nutrient dense smoothie and begin to add almonds regularly into your diet!

Dreamy Almond Butter Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup lite canned coconut milk – carton is also good (to desired thickness)
  • 1.5 to 2 frozen bananas with 2 ice cubes or 1.5 to 2 fresh bananas with 5-6 ice cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

ADD ONS (OPTIONAL):

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or blueberries
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds.  I use my ninja blender and it blends to a very creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy in the morning with a granola bar, breakfast muffin, or on the go!

    TIPS:  You may need to add in a bit more liquid in the form of more canned coconut milk, plant milk, or coconut water if it is too thick.  If you like it thick then you can have it in a smoothie bowl with some fresh fruit and granola on top!

Cheesy Scrambled Tofu

But how do you even cook tofu?  Isn’t it that giggly white block with no flavour?  Isn’t it linked to increased oestrogen levels which can lead to breast and ovarian cancers?  Doesn’t it cause “man boobs” in men?

I bet you have heard these myths about soy floating around but don’t be fooled, they could not be further from the truth.

Tofu is made out of soybeans and used regularly in asian cuisine.  It can soak up any flavours you give it and can take on many different forms mimicking your favourite foods (ie. scrambled eggs, omelets, cheesecake, smoothies, frittatas, quiches and more).  Tofu can be made to be delicious and it certainly is one of my top favourite foods.

Cheesy Tofu Scramble 3

In 1998 there was a study done on mice which made it seem as if there was a correlation between eating soy and developing cancer.  Although this was quickly proven to be false by many other following studies which actually proved that by consuming soy while having breast cancer actually improved the survival rates and reduced the chances of it coming back.  Soy also helps protect against initial breast cancer development, this being proven by Asian cultures who consume soy as a staple food in their diet while also having much lower rates of cancer than those in North America.

Another myth about soy phytoestrogens is that they cause men to develop breast tissue.  This rumor began because a man developed a rare case of breast swelling after drinking three quarts of soy milk everyday for six months.  When he stopped over consuming his soy drink, the problem resolved.  When people consume regular amounts of soy products such as tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and edamame it does not pose any harm to your body and especially has shown no signs of risk to men in their testosterone levels, estrogen levels, or sperm quality.

Other than being an extremely versatile food, eating tofu actually has tons of benefits for your health and body!

It is an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians and is readily available in most countries around the world.  It actually provides all nine essential amino acids while also providing iron and calcium.  Manganese, selenium, phosphorus are other notable minerals in tofu that your body needs to properly function.

A 100g serving of tofu contains:

  • 73 kcal
  • 4.2g fat (0.5g of saturated fat)
  • 0.7g carbohydrate
  • 8.1g protein

It also protects against cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis when eaten as part of a balanced diet.  It contains no cholesterol and can be eaten in place of meat which contains unhealthy saturated fat and elevates bad cholesterol levels.

Tofu is a delicious way to start your day!  It has good proteins and fats to fill you up and is an excellent food to break your fast if practicing intermittent fasting, as it won’t spike your blood sugar levels and will properly satiate you.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and add it to your regular breakfast routine!

Cheesy Tofu Scramble

Cheesy Scrambled Tofu

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 block of medium firm tofu crumbled
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 to 4 tbsps plant based milk (oat, almond, cashew, rice, soya – I prefer oat)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp natural lemon juice

Directions

  1. Open tofu package and drain excess liquid.  Rinse tofu block and squeeze out excess water with paper towel.
  2. Crumble tofu block into a large non-stick frying pan until it resembles some large and small chunks like scrambled eggs on medium heat.  (I use a rock pan which is naturally non-stick and use a potato masher to mash my tofu block into large chunks instead of crumbling it).
  3. Heat up tofu for around 5 mins until it has released all excess liquid.  You may be able to see the water cook out of your tofu – this is natural.
  4. Add all spices, mustard, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice.  Stir everything until it is well blended into the scramble and takes on a very bright yellow colour, thanks to the delicious turmeric.
  5. Add as much plant based milk as necessary to make the tofu take on a fluffier scrambled egg appearance, add 1- 2 tbsp at a time, stirring in between until you reached your desired moisture.  You do not want your tofu scramble to look and taste dry or become too wet (where you can see the excess liquid surrounding the tofu).  Take your time to add the moisture added back into your scramble via the plant based milk.
  6. Cook for a few more minutes to ensure the plant milk is fully absorbed and everything is well blended and heated through.  I like to turn up the heat to med-high heat at the end for 2-3 minutes to let a curst develop on the bottom of my pan to mimic one you might get from scrambled eggs as I believe it complements the soft texture of the scramble.
  7. Serve with avocado toast, fruit, and coffee for a delicious, nutritious breakfast!

    Enjoy!

     

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

Why is it important to eat fruit?

Fruit has tons of health benefits and research has shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of their regular healthy diet have lower risk of many chronic diseases and illnesses.

Fruit it full of vital nutrients for the body and overall health.  Most fruits are naturally low in sodium, fat, and calories; they also contain no cholesterol.  Fruits contain many essential nutrients that a large percentage of the western world under consume including potassium, folate (folic acid), vitamin C & A, and dietary fiber.  These nutrients reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes and strokePotassium also helps protect you from developing kidney stones, regulates blood pressure and will keep your bones strong as you age.  Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, and grapefruit are all fruits to try if you are looking to increase your potassium.

Dietary fiber is found in various fruits and is key to maintaining overall health, as it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart disease and keeps the bowels functioning properly.  Fiber also helps you to feel full, helping you eat less and maintain a healthy weight.  Although if dietary fiber is what you are after, make sure you are eating the fruit in it’s whole food form (ie. a whole orange or orange slices) not orange juice or orange popsicles (ice lollies) which contain next to no dietary fiber.

 

Vitamin C is extremely important as well, helping your tissues to grow and repair and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

It is important that pregnant women make sure they are getting enough fruit as well because of the folic acid it provides.  Folic acids helps produce red blood cells which helps protect babies from developing birth defects.

It is recommended to eat around 2-5 servings of fruit a day.  2 servings per day by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 4-5 servings per day by the American Heart Association (AHA).  The general recommendation for fruit consumption is around 400g a day or 5 x 80g servings.  Each serving of fresh fruit is around 1 cup or roughly the size of a tennis ball.

Current nutrition guidelines suggest that even those with diabetes should be consuming 2-4 servings of fruit per day.  Many diabetics worry about the amount of sugar in fruit but studies have shown that when eating whole fruit with the fiber still intact (not fruit juice or sugary dried fruits) it has very little effects on blood sugar levels.

So unless you are on a strict ketogenic diet, there is really no reason you should be limiting your fruit intake.  I hope you found this information to be helpful and will try out this delicious alternative to the sugary cereals that most westerners find themselves eating in the morning.

Cereal Bowl 2

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 pink lady apples chopped
  • 1 ripe banana sliced
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsps chopped walnuts chopped
  • 1 or 2 tbsps raisins or chopped dates
  • top with any plant based milk of your choosing (I like oat milk but you may choose almond, soya, cashew, rice, or coconut)
  •  

    EXTRA TOPPINGS:

  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 or 2 tbsps mulberries
  • 1 passion fruit to add a wonderfully sour note to compliment the sweetness in this raw cereal bowl
  •  

Directions

  1. Wash and chop your apples into bite sized chunks, add to your bowl.
  2. Slice banana and add to your bowl.
  3. Chop walnuts and add them to your bowl.
  4. Top with chia seeds, raisins, and any other desired toppings you may want.
  5. Pour chilled plant based milk on top and enjoy!
  6. Have with your morning coffee for a delicious, sweet, fibre rich breakfast!

Golden Pinto Bean and Potato Soup

Beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and a wonderfully cheap source of fiber, protein, and vitamins that will keep you full and healthy.  There are a variety of different beans that you can add to your diet to help form protein and build muscle from the amino acids that they contain.  For this recipe, I chose to focus on pinto beans because of the delicious creamy texture that goes well in a soup and will keep you full throughout the day whilst getting all the added benefits that beans give you.

Pinto beans have a low GI which means that they don’t spike your blood sugar when you eat them.  They also contain a plethora of nutrients such as: molybdenum, folate, fiber, copper, phosphorus, manganese, protein, vitamin B1 & B6, magnesium and iron.  For 1 cup of super filling, fibrous beans they only contain 245 calories which is outstanding if you pair them with some rice and a large amount of hardy veggies.

Because of the high fiber content in pinto beans, they help reduce cholesterol levels which makes them any especially good choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia.  The soluble fiber in pinto beans also make them a great food to help relieve constipation and help prevent and reverse digestive disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

The folate, magnesium, and potassium that beans contain help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.  Folate on it’s own helps to lower levels of homocysteine in the blood which when high enhances the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other forms of heart disease.  The magnesium in the beans helps to improve the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients having beneficial cardiovascular effects.  As well, the potassium in pinto beans is super important to the muscles (including the heart), helping them to have an easier time contracting, contributing to a healthy heart.

All beans including pinto beans are a fantastic source of iron, an integral part of hemoglobin which transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the cells in the body contributing to a healthy metabolism and energy production (whfoods.com).

Beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and provide us with so many benefits while giving us a good source of protein, lots of nutrients and being relatively fat-free.  The American Heart Association recommends that everyone has 5 servings a week of legumes (1/2 cup is the recommended serving), while the NHS in the UK recommends 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day allowing beans to count towards those 5 a day, the Canadian Food Guide suggests 7-10 servings of fruit and veggies a day also allowing beans to contribute to that and Dr. Greger (my favourite plant based doctor) recommends 3 servings a day.  So if you aim for any of these recommendations you will be keeping your body full of soluble fiber and will be healthier for it!

Here is a link to this printable checklist made by Dr. Greger to make sure you are getting all the whole food vitamins and nutrients you need in your daily diet.

Check out the recipe below using pinto beans to boost the intake of legumes in your regular diet and stay warm in the winter!

Golden Pinto Bean and Potato Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1250g potatoes or 5-6 large russet or yellow potatoes with the skins on (peeled if you desire)
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 4 large carrots chopped
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp better than bouillon (vegan and reduced sodium)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • sprinkle of salt if desired
  •  

Directions

  1. Peel and dice red onion.
  2. Peel and mince garlic.  Sauté the onion and garlic in 1 inch of water (**Water-fry**see notes**) in a medium to large pot for around 5 minutes at medium to high heat until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Wash and chop potatoes into 1 inch cubes (peel if desired) and dice carrots.  No need to peel these veggies as long as they are washed really well.  Add them to the pot along with 4 cups of water and the tsp of better than bouillon.
  4. Add in the two cans of pinto beans.  I always strain and rinse my beans thoroughly, especially when they are from a can.
  5. Next you will add your spices: the turmeric and dried thyme.  Stir all ingredients really well.
  6. Let the soup cook for around 10-15 minutes on medium heat until the potatoes and carrots are fully cooked and tender (you are able to pierce them easily with a fork).
  7. Once the soup is fully cooked you my reduce it to a simmer or the warming setting to keep it warm mixing in the nutritional yeast and a bit of salt if desired.  **If you are trying to reduce your salt intake then only add salt to the top of your food when it is already put in your personal bowl as you mainly taste the salt on the top of your food.**
  8. Serve warm with rustic sour dough bread and enjoy!

    INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:

    • If your have an instant pot you may use the sauté setting to water-fry your diced red onions and minced garlic for 5 minutes in 1/2 cup of water until translucent and fragrant.
    • Then chop, peel and dice the remaining ingredients as the above recipe describes and add it into the instant pot.
    • Add the remaining ingredients to the instant pot EXCEPT the nutritional yeast and salt.
    • Set the instant pot to 9 minutes on manual and close the knob on the top of the pot to sealing.
    • Once fully cooked (the timer is complete) the instant pot will start releasing the pressure naturally.  Allow it to do so for 10 minutes then switch the knob on the top to venting.  This will allow the pot to release any steam that has not escaped the pot yet.
    • Take off the lid and mix in the nutritional yeast.

    Serve warm with rustic sour dough bread and enjoy!

    **Water-fry**  Water-frying means to fry your food with water instead of oil.  Place 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the non-stick pan or rock pan (non-stick or rock pans are best for this) and cook as usual.  This will allow your food to fry the same as usual without the greasiness and non-nutritious calories that oil provides.

Healing Mushroom Potato Leek Soup

Leeks are known for their deliciously sweet flavour and for being a member of the onion family.  They are used in a variety of European and Asian dishes and provide many beneficial nutrients to keep our bodies happy and healthy.

Leeks are very low in sodium, having almost no cholesterol or saturated fat and large amounts of essential vitamins and minerals including:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Vitamins A, C & K

Because leeks are high in vitamins A & C they are wonderfully beneficial for your skin!  Leeks work as a natural diuretic and detoxify your skin flushing out harmful toxins helping to keep your skin looking fresh and smooth.  The beta-carotene and vitamin C in leeks (especially the green leafy parts) helps to protect your skin from the sun‘s powerful rays.

Leeks help your hair to grow!  The iron in the leek helps to keep your hair follicles healthy promoting growth.  Leeks also contain a good amount of vitamin C needed to absorb iron into the body helping to protect against hair loss.

The high amount of vitamin K present in leeks also help activate osteocalcin which are proteins essential to bone health.

The flavonoid kaempferol in leeks helps to protect our blood vessel linings from damage.  Kaempferol aids the production of nitric oxide, helping to relax the blood vessels, decreasing the risk of hypertension.  The vitamin K in leeks also helps keep blood circulating optimally within the body.

Leeks also aid in digestion because they are filled with dietary fiber strengthening the stomach and gut.  Because leeks are a hardy veggie, they also help you chew more, eat slower, and will keep you full, promoting good digestion.

Leeks are delicious, making you feel so healthy and fresh!  I hope you enjoy this creamy sweet soup and all the vitamins and minerals it provides you.  It is my go-to recipe before I travel or when I feel sick to give me the healthy boost I need.

Soup 2

Healing Mushroom Potato Leek Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh white mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 2 large leeks or 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced then chopped
  • 5-6 medium yellow potatoes with skin (peeled for smoother soup)
  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 4 cups of water with 1 tsp of better than bouillon (or 4 cups of vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup of lite coconut milk (you can use full fat coconut milk for a creamier taste)
  • salt is desired

Directions

    1.Add 1/2 cup of water into a large pot and turn on medium-high heat.  Finely chop red onion and add it to a pot with minced garlic, water-fry and sauté for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and fragrant.  **See Notes**

  1. Wash mushrooms to take away any dirt and remove mushroom stems.  Roughly chop mushrooms and add them to the pot.
  2. Slice leeks in half so you have 4 halves.  Then slice each half down long ways until there is 8 pieces, exposing all the layers of the leeks.  Then you will thinly slice your leeks.  Roughly chopping the leeks after they are sliced so they are in thin, small pieces.  Put your pieces of leek into a strainer and rinse them well as leeks are known to be sandy.  Add leek pieces to your pot.
  3. 4.  Peel your potatoes if desired.  Wash your potatoes and chop them into small 1 inch sized cubes.  Add them to the pot.

  4. At this point you will add your veggie broth, or water and better than bouillon.  You will also add your lite coconut milk (you can add full fat coconut milk for a creamier taste), spices, and lemon juice.
  5. You will bring your soup down to medium heat and cook until the potatoes are fully cooked and beginning to break down as you stir.
  6. You may bring the soup down to a simmer for 5 more minutes to allow all the spices to become fragrant.
  7. You may want to leave your soup chunky or use an immersion hand blender to blend into a smoother consistency.
  8. Serve while hot and with rustic sourdough bread.  Enjoy!

    INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:

    • If your have an instant pot you may use the sauté setting to water-fry your finely chopped red onion and minced garlic.  Add 1/2 cup of water to your instant pot and choose the sauté setting without the lid sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and fragrant.
    • Turn the instant pot off sauté.  Wash mushrooms to take away any dirt and remove mushroom stems.  Roughly chop mushrooms and add them to the pot.
    • Slice leeks in half so you have 4 halves.  Then slice each half down long ways until there is 8 pieces, exposing all the layers of the leeks.  Then you will thinly slice your leeks.  Roughly chopping the leeks after they are sliced so they are in thin, small pieces.  Put your pieces of leek into a strainer and rinse them well as leeks are known to be sandy.  Add leek pieces to your pot.
    • Peel your potatoes if desired.  Wash your potatoes and chop them into small 1 inch sized cubes.  Add them to the pot.
    • At this point you will add your veggie broth, or water and better than bouillon.  You will also add your lite coconut milk (you can add full fat coconut milk for a creamier taste) and spices.
    • Place the lid on the pot and turn the knob onto to sealing, and set the instant pot to manual for 8 minutes.
    • Once the instant pot is finished it will naturally vent.  Let it vent for 10 minutes then turn to knob to venting to help it fully release all the steam.  Once this is complete you may take off the lid and add in the lemon juice, giving the soup a nice stir.
    • You may then serve the soup chunky or use an immersion blender to make it a smoother consistency.

    Serve warm with rustic sour dough bread and enjoy!

    **Water-fry**  Water-frying means to fry your food with water instead of oil.  Place 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the non-stick pan or rock pan (non-stick or rock pans are best for this) and cook as usual.  This will allow your food to fry the same as usual without the greasiness and non-nutritious calories that oil provides.