I've had more than a few health complaints lately, one of which was exhaustion....pretty much all the time. So, I went to see a Naturopath and I've been following my Doctor's orders of supplements and a healthier diet including more vegetables and some alternatives to my usual staples to name a few. Like most of us, I'm always on the go and I can easily forget to eat, so one quick meal replacement that my Dr. had suggested was a protein with a greens formula smoothie. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed this concoction and so I began to experiment with added ingredients using every possible option in my freezer. I had a chat with a dear friend who's also a fan of her smooties and she recommended a frozen vegetable product she loved to include. I was a bit nervous at the thought of store bought frozen fruit or veggies, but when she told me that this company froze their vegetables within 6 hours of being farm picked while securing all of their flavour and nutrients, I had to try it. We took a walk to the grocery store and she showed me where to find Cookin' Greens Chopped Frozen Kale. I bought a package and went home to give it a shot. It was so easy as the Kale just flaked out of the package, unlike some frozen food that is stuck in a clump. My shake was enjoyable from start to finish and it's my new favourite item to include in my smoothie (among other things)!
A few days later, Cookin' Greens had tweeted me to let me know about a recipe photo contest they were holding and I was happily up for the challenge! I even had a recipe in mind, one that Chatelaine Magazine had tweeted about a few weeks back and I had saved it for a rainy day when I would hope to try it out. This was my rainy day, only a few modifications to the recipe and voila...
|Kale, Quinoa and Bean Soup|
I submitted my photo to the Cookin' Greens Facebook page and tied for first place!!!! Now, seeing that there were only 2 entries, didn't make me less excited about this. It was a fun project, I got to experiment in the kitchen which I LOVE to do, took some pictures while I was at it, and found a new great product that will make things really easy in the kitchen :)
Like I said earlier, I've always had an issue with store bought frozen fruit and veggies, not really sure why, but I always liked the idea of freezing my own. Yes, I liked the idea, but I rarely had the time for it. Instead, I would buy tubs of fresh spinach and get through half of it before realizing that the other half had already started to go bad.
From the looks of the Cookin' Greens website, they currently have Chopped Kale, Spinach and Rapini and some great mixes that you could even use as a meal and more options coming soon!! You should really check out the site, there's some really interesting history on these 'super' greens, some great suggestions for meal options and some crazy good lookin' recipe ideas! In fact, I just saw one as I was scrolling through and it would be perfect for dinner tonight. I do have some Cookin' Greens kale in the freezer and not much more in the fridge or cupboards, guess it's time for a grocery run! I think I will try the Spaghetti with Braised Kale, using Brown Rice Spaghetti, of course!
Kale, Quinoa and Bean Soup - My version
Although the Chatelaine Magazine version sounded great and I was eager to try it, I like to improvise when I cook, using the ingredients I already have in my kitchen. For this recipe, I substituted the spinach for the Cookin' Greens Kale I had in my freezer, and sweet potato for a carrot. A little substitution and tweaking for my taste buds, and the photo above was born!
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions chopped
1 small sweet potato diced
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 tsp cumin
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
1- 540ml can of white kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cups of Cookin' Greens Chopped Frozen Kale
The instructions are pretty similar to the Chatelaine recipe below, as there were only a few substitutions.
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft. Add sweet potato continue to cook for a few minutes.
2. Add quinoa and when lightly toasted, pour in broth and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is cooked, approx 15 more minutes.
3. Stir in beans and Kale. Cook a few more moments until beans and kale are hot.
Hearty Quinoa and Bean Soup - Chatelaine Magazine Version
1 tbsp vegetable Oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/3 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
540 ml can white kidney beans
2 cups baby spinach
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, then onion. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add carrot, garlic, cumin, coriander and quinoa. Cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, until quinoa is cooked, about 15 more minutes.
2. Stir in beans and spinach. Cook until beans are hot and spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve immediately.