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turmeric

Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Lentils and Kale

Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Lentils and Kale

Hey there – it’s me, Grace. Remember me?

Yeah, I know. It’s been awhile.

But I’m back, just in time to bring you this bowl full of all things fall and all things that’ll nourish you as we prepare to take on the changing of the seasons.

Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Lentils and Kale

Is it just me or is everyone seemingly getting sick a few weeks too early this year?

No one likes being sick. But nearly everyone likes butternut squash soup.

And this one packs a punch of healthful ingredients – i.e., a powerhouse, germ-fighting tonic of turmeric and ginger. (Praise hands emoji.)

Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Lentils and Kale

I love this soup because it’s both warming and hearty, yet at the same time it’s clean and light. Lentils add both a solid source of protein and some crunch while kale adds to the texture swimming in this soup’s oh-so velvety base.

Place it in a blue or green bowl, and its golden goodness really shines. Inside and out.

I’m telling you, it’s a winner all around.

Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Lentils and Kale

 

Serve with a side salad or a crusty slice of bread, or both. And then you’ve easily got a full meal – one that’s perfect for the autumn days that surround us!

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Turmeric Ginger Tea

Turmeric Ginger Tea

This is my savior when sick.

It’s my go-to wintertime tonic, and sometimes my morning replacement for coffee, too. Or afternoon pick-me-up. Or my I-need-some-color-to-brighten-this-dull-dreary-December-day drink. It’ll work for a number of occasions, and it’s rather simple to make.

turmeric

Perhaps it’s the anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric, or the zing from the ginger, but either way, this tea comes with a natural boost of energy upon drinking. This is why you may find it particularly useful when your immune system is down. While sleep is the ultimate savior, you can make this your second saving grace for when you need to get through the morning hours. Then take a nap, and repeat the tea-making upon waking.

That’d be my advice. That is, if you find yourself catching the cold that everyone in my universe seems to be enduring right now.

Adjust the honey to your taste. If you want to get fancy, seek out fresh turmeric root from your local market (Whole Foods often carries this) and grate some of the its gold on top.

If you want to learn why it’s so special, here’s a quick start. Oh, and don’t forget about stomach-soothing ginger, too.

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Peanut Turmeric Rice Bowls with Edamame

Edamame

I go through a lot of ingredient phases. Last month it was tahini. (Although, that phase never really ends). This month, it’s turmeric. Turmeric’s  going into my morning smoothies, my lunchtime collard wraps, my afternoon tea, my salad dressings, my dinnertime peanut sauces, etc. It’s a turmeric takeover, and my orange-stained cutting boards are hating me for it. Good thing the love from my body makes up for that, and that’s what really counts, right?

Peanut Turmeric Rice Bowls with Edamame

It took me awhile to get the turmeric bug. I grew up on the spice, but was never really fond of it. In fact, once I was old enough to recognize its flavor, there were multiple occasions where I’d beg my mom not to put it in the dishes she would make. I thought it was bitter, and ruined everything it touched. So, like the teenage version of a little kid pulling at their parent’s pant leg, my easily irritable self would sit at the dinner table, and go, “UGH, MOM, turmeric again? Did you have to? What were you thinking?” I was annoying. And I know it even more so now that I’ve fallen into a deep love with the spice, one I once held as my enemy. Sorry mom. You were right. Turmeric is awesome. And I know what you were thinking.

Compliment it with a little salt and a fat, such as olive oil, or in this recipe, peanut butter/sesame oil, and its bitterness turns into a toastiness so pungent and aromatic, it’s hard not to be won over. (Although, be prepared to employ some repetition in introducing little kid taste buds to it. It’ll never become an overly sweet spice, like cinnamon.)

Edamamae

Now, without even thinking, turmeric automatically gets thrown into everything. Although, rarely is it intentional, and naturally such is the case here. Just like with my morning smoothies and my blender, as the food processor was whizzing for this peanut sauce, the turmeric jar caught my eye. Then came the uncontrollable impulse to throw two teaspoons into its ingredient whirl. Within minutes, my originally calculated dinner took off with a whole new personality. Kitchen spontaneity, at its best. Again, turmeric is showing me it can do no wrong. I like a meal with a little attitude, and that’s exactly what it brought to this.

And now that I’ve gushed about turmeric for far too many WordPress lines…can we talk about the natural beauty of edamame?! In reality, they should’ve really been the primary focus of this blog post. After all, they were the inspiration for this meal. Crunchy, and packed with protein, the green pods make a nice addition to grains, and allow for a pleasant change of pace from beans, my typical sidekick to rice. After you add in the turmeric and pile on some kale, you’re left with an incredibly flavorful and nutrient-packed meal. As with turmeric, those kind of meals will never do you wrong.

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Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger & Turmeric Apple Compote

Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger, & Turmeric Apple Compote

I’ve been on a turmeric kick lately, which is great because there are 101 health benefits associated with it. It’s a huge antioxidant-powered anti-inflammatory, meaning it can aid in everything from reducing arthritis pain to heart disease prevention.

It’s also frequently used in Chinese Medicine to treat depression, and it’s been shown to delay liver damage. With how brutal this winter’s been, it’s no wonder I’ve been consuming so much of the stuff. How else am I going to counteract all that alcohol I’ve been consuming as a result of my snow-induced depression? Kidding of course.

I will admit, however, a ginger-lemon-honey-turmeric tonic makes a great morning choice after a night out on the town. As does this breakfast.

Breakfast Millet with Peanut, Ginger, & Turmeric Apple Compote

In drink form or not, my turmeric intake often goes hand in hand with my ginger intake. The two make great partners in the kitchen, both in terms of health and flavor rationale. (Ginger’s another one of those anti-inflammatory, detoxifying godsends.)

Thus, it seemed only natural to take them to my apples for a Saturday morning breakfast. Sweetened with a little raw honey, which gets counter-balanced with a little lime, this brings a wonderful way to wake up. Plus, did I mention there’s peanut butter in this? Is there any better way to wake up than with that? For this PB-junkie, the answer is no.

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Collard Wraps with Tempeh Sweet Potato Hash

Collard Wraps with Tempeh Sweet Potato Hash

A few days ago, I ran across a Whole Foods tweet touting collards are the new kale. Intrigued, I of course clicked the link directing me to a blog post in which its author wrote “growing up in Louisiana, collards greens were standard fare”. Spending my childhood in Pennsylvania with two green-obsessed parents, collards have always been a regular part of my diet too.

Collard Wraps with Tempeh Sweet Potato Hash

Of course, rotating on the dinner table was also Lacinato, Red Russian and other leafy varietals long before the whole kale craze ever  took off. And at the time, my little kid self didn’t care much for them. Apparently neither did anyone else.

Today, however, things have changed. I adore kale, and it’s become so apparently obvious, I am not alone.

Toasted cashews

What initially struck me as surprising was not that kale finally soared into stardom, but rather that collards were left behind. My parents had always grew equal amounts in the garden, and had served up equal amounts onto our plates. To me, the two went hand in hand. To an extent, they were almost interchangeable.

Collard Wraps with Tempeh Sweet Potato Hash

I find it no surprise, then, that Whole Foods thinks collard are to become the next kale. Though, I’m still amazed it took so long.

Like kale and the explosion of raw salads, I think collards will really begin to shine in their uncooked element. In the south, collards have always been common, and are traditionally known to be cooked to death with salted pork/fatback, and served as a side. Maybe this is why they didn’t take off right away. The result of that is not a pretty green sight.

Use them in their raw form as a substitute for tortillas, however, and they become one stunning way to bundle up a bunch of goodness. I did not grow up with collard wraps, but can fully say I’m excited to add more of them to my diet. Sturdy yet light, they feel like such a nourishing way to wrap up a lunch. Pack them in aluminum foil, and they also become an easy on-the-go snack.

These are stuffed with a flavorful curried tempeh, slightly sweetened with everyone’s favorite orange potatoes. I like to mash the sweet potatoes slightly into the tempeh to really blend all the flavors. Note: If whipping this up for dinner, make extra. These are great for a make-ahead lunch, served either warm or cold.

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