This weekend was filled with heart healthy, energizing, nutritious food and let me tell you: with a teething baby who suddenly requires me to hold her 24/7, I certainly needed all the help I could get!
In my bleary eyed, sleepless state, I busted out the pots and pans and got to my all time favorite hobby: creating delicious goodness to fuel myself and my family.
Cue my new favorite vegetable soup recipe: Purple Cabbage Vegetable Soup.
You may be asking yourself: why purple cabbage and not green? Compared to green cabbage, purple (also known as red) cabbage is higher in Vitamin A (for healthy teeth and skin), Vitamin C (for repairing wounds and for healthy bones and teeth), iron (for good energy levels), and, most interestingly: the cancer-fighting antioxidants known as anthrocyanins which are not found in green cabbage. Also: I am a HUGE believer of “eating with the eyes” first, and this soup is beautiful. Here is a close-up.
Purple Cabbage Vegetable Soup
- 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
- 6 Cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 3 cups black beans (I cooked dry beans and used the leftover cooking liquid for the soup–about 3 cups of liquid. 1 cup dry beans yields about 3 cups cooked)
- 8 ounce container of mushrooms
- 2 zucchinis, diced
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 chopped white onion
- 2 tablespoons garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (I add turmeric to pretty much everything, for nutritional benefits, not taste. The taste is masked by all of the other spices).
- 2.5 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- black pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
Sautee the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic in the coconut oil for about five minutes. Dump the contents into a crock pot with everything else, stir until combined, and cook on low for about 3 hours, or simmer on low in a big pot for 3 hours.
While the soup is cooking, whip up some cornbread!
Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread
I had no idea, until I met my Arkansan husband, Jonathon, that traditional Southern cornbread is often made without sugar and flour! It’s said that the reason for this is because historically, poor Southerners reserved sugar and flour for celebratory, more decadent foods. To save money, they’d skip on sugar and flour and use molasses to sweeten their cornbread instead, because not only is molasses cheaper, but more concentrated in nutrients than sugar. The more you know!
This cornbread is baked in a sizzling hot cast iron skillet, which creates a divine crust, giving it a delightful crunch perfect for dipping into soup without becoming corn mash, haha. Even better, it is flourless, which makes it high in fiber, lower in carbs than softer/sweeter cornbreads and ALL kinds of delicious! I love it paired with my purple cabbage soup because it’s hearty enough to make you feel full, but healthy enough so you don’t feel like you’ve cheated yourself after investing all your health dollars in such a nutritious soup!
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 3/4 cups corn meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 Cup. buttermilk
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour oil into a nine inch cast iron pan and place pan in oven. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry, stir to combine. Once hot, remove the pan from the oven, swish the oil around to coat all surfaces, then pour the batter in and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
I love fudge. I don’t love the sugar spike that happens after consuming it or the cloying feeling from the powdered sugar on my teeth. So I was on a mission to create a seasonal pumpkin fudge utilizing the fat from nut butter and coconut oil for richness and honey for sweetness. Mission accomplished! This fudge is sweet, satisfying, and full of healthy fat. It must be stored in and directly eaten from the freezer as it melts at room temperature. About the oil: I recommend coconut oil for the healthier option and ghee for a more decadent version. Please note that I have made chocolate fudge successfully with ghee before but only used coconut oil for this recipe.
Chocolate peanut butter fudge base
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- Line a 9×5 inch pan with parchment paper.
- Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl (if your oil has solidified, microwave it with the peanut butter until melted before stirring in the other ingredients) and pour into pan.
Pumpkin Swirl Fudge
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup ghee or coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons oat flour (to soak up the moisture from the puréed pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- Sea salt, to taste
- Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl (again, if your oil has solidified, first microwave the peanut butter and oil together until the oil is melted).
- Pour the pumpkin fudge by the tablespoon around the pan filled with the chocolate peanut butter fudge. Use a fork to swirl the pumpkin fudge around. Sprinkle sea salt to taste.
- Place pan in the freezer. I scored the fudge into single serving squares before it completely solidified, then broke it apart along the score lines after a few minutes of thawing and returned it to the freezer in a ziploc bag.
I took me years to find a balance between healthy, nutritious recipes and decadent treats. I came to learn that life is too short to deprive ourselves of treats or use highly processed ingredients that make us feel worse off. I sincerely believe that fresh and wholesome ingredients are filled with what we call “Prana” in yoga; Prana means breath, or more appropriately in this case, life-force. Choose food that makes you feel filled with life! If you do, you will work better, sleep better, exercise better….the benefits are endless.
Happy Halloween to you all!