Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Toasted Pears

Pumpkin Coconut Soup 1

Good morning, good and faithful readers!  And happy Thanksgiving!

We know cooking is underway at your house.  If hoards of loved ones haven’t arrived yet, they’re on their way.  Or maybe you’re getting ready to pack up your contributions to today’s feast and are looking forward to a day with friends or family.  Either way, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on what we’re grateful for, to enjoy the conversation and company of those around us.  Amidst the craziness and joy today, find time to pause and take in the moment.  In a way life is short, and times like these are worth cherishing.

Whether you’re cooking today or mom’s doing it again this year, we would like to offer a suggestion: Tina’s Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Toasted Pears.  It’s an unconventional choice, but undeniably festive with its myriad fall flavors.  The pumpkin is sweet, the coconut adds a light and surprising flavor, and the holiday season is represented by its hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  You know us, though; it’s healthy to boot.  We wouldn’t recommend anything that wasn’t packed with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, and this soup is no exception.

Try this sweet and rich soup throughout this holiday season.  It’s sure to keep you in a cozy mood and please your taste buds all the while.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup 2

1 medium pumpkin baked for 45 minutes or until soft (about 4 cups of pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (I used so delicious)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (I toasted the seeds in some coconut oil)
2 bosc pears sliced thin

Put cooked pumpkin into a food processor or a blender.  Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, and spices and continue to blend.

Spread sliced pears on parchment paper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil.  Sprinkle pears with coconut sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees until soft and toasted.

Add soup to a bowl and top with pumpkin seeds and toasted sliced pears.


Pumpkin Pie Vegetable Soup

Pumpkin Soup 1

The local grocery stores in Richmond and across the country currently feature a healthy array of squash and pumpkins in myriad shapes, sizes and colors.   What inspiration for the healthy chef!  This month, we are focusing in on different kinds of squash and the recipes that we think complement them best, allowing our readers (and cook-along-at-home-ers)  to enjoy the taste and color of the fall season.   This week enjoy a pumpkin variety that is usually used in pie, but turns out to be delightful in a savory and spicy soup.

Pumpkin is full of nutrients including potassium pantothenic acid, magnesium, vitamin C and Vitamin E; and let’s not forget fiber!


2 cups broccoli chopped
2 cups cauliflower chopped
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
3 zucchini chopped
1 pumpkin baked, peeled and half of it cubed and the other half will be pureed
chicken stock (I used Trader Joe’s 32 oz. carton organic chicken stock) or you can use it from scratch
1 teaspoon dried jalepeno (I use Penzey’s spices)
1 teaspoon oregano
Smoked salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Pumpkin seeds (I used the pumpkin seeds in the pumpkin)  or store bought

Head of time, prepare pumpkin seeds by spreading them out on a pan and allowing them to completely dry.  Add coconut oil to a saute pan and place over medium heat.  Add pumpkin seeds and allow to toast.

Add olive oil to a soup pan and place over medium heat.  Add broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic and zucchini to the olive oil and continue to cook until soft.  Add the chicken stock.

In a blender add 1/2 of the pumpkin and the vegetables along with the stock and puree. (I leave some of the vegetables in the soup pan to add texture).

Add the cubed pumpkin and season with dried jalapeño.

Top the soup with the pumpkin seeds and if dairy is okay for your diet add a dollop of greek yogurt or use coconut cream.


Lentil Dahl Soup

We got some snow this week here in Virginia, though not too many days ago it reached seventy-four degrees.  It’s melting away even as we write this post, but you can maintain that feel-good winter sensation with a nice bowl of this hot Lentil Dahl soup!  The snow may be too slushy to have a real snowball fight, but that doesn’t have to stop you from treating yourself and your family to a tasty, hearty soup that will warm you from head to toe.

Lentil Dahl 2

This soup’s pea-green color may not be very pretty, but lentils are an incredibly helpful food and happen to be delicious.

Lentils have been consumed since prehistoric times and can be traced back to central Asia.  They contain a good amount of soluble fiber, helping to reduce LDL cholesterol in your blood.  Lentils are also high in insoluble fiber and will promote regularity, as well as make you feel more full and satisfied.  They are rich in an antioxidant called flavone, which can help reduce risk of cancer.  They replenish iron stores, are high in folic acid and magnesium, and lower homocysteine: a compound that can affect the arterial wall of the heart.

Lentils are easier to digest than most  beans, and are more versatile to boot!  Due to their small size and softness, they act as a flavorful thickener for this soup: better for those who are opposed to the texture of actual beans.

Not to leave them out, the sweet potatoes were added to this dish to give it some color and a boost of beta-carotene!

Lentil Dahl

2 cups dried lentils
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon coriander
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 sweet potatoes boiled and cubed

That's a lot of lentils!

That’s a lot of lentils!

Ready to go with lentils, onion, garlic and sweet potatoes.

Ready to go with lentils, onion, garlic and sweet potatoes.

Cook lentils and 4 whole garlic cloves in the vegetable or chicken stock until all liquid has absorbed, about 25-30 minutes.

In the meantime add olive oil to a sauté pan and turn on low heat.  Add garlic, onions, and spices and cook on low.  Once onions are soft turn heat off.

Put lentils, onions and spices in a blender.  Pulse until smooth, though still thick.  Add vegetable or chicken stock to the blender to obtain a thick consistency.

Pour into a soup pan and add sweet potato.  Heat to a medium temperature and enjoy!

Lentil Dahl 5

Garlicky Cannellini Bean Chicken Soup

Continuing with our cold-and-flu-season theme, the recipe for today is a comforting and flavorful soup for when you’re feeling under the weather (or really for any time!).  This recipe can be adjusted easily for a vegan diet, and is just what you’ll want on that inevitable sick-day from work.  Start this recipe the night before, and you’ll be ready to cuddle up with this, a blanket, slippers and your favorite movie in no time.

Garlicky Cannellini Bean Chicken Soup

2 cups dried cannellini beans (soak overnight)
32 oz. container of chicken stock
2 cups chopped chicken (can omit if you want to make this vegan)
4 stalks celery, sliced very thin
4 carrots, sliced very thin
1 large red onion sliced thin and then chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (I use smoked salt)
4 cups chopped kale

Soak beans overnight.  In the morning, add beans to a crockpot with enough water to cover and cook on low all day.


Over medium heat, add oil to a soup pot and heat, then add garlic.  Cook until toasted.  Add onion, celery, carrot, thyme, marjoram and oregano.  Allow the onions to become translucent.  Add the kale and sauté until kale is cooked through.

Add chicken or vegetable broth (I prefer Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetable Broth), beans and chicken.  Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add more spices according to taste.

ImageImageFill a bowl and get comfy!


Serves:            8
Serving Size:  1 ½ cups
Protein:          12 grams
Fiber:              8 grams

Immune-Building Chicken Soup

The holiday season is over, and we now face the long stretch of cold weather that eventually leads into spring.  We all know what that means: sniffling around the office, waking up with a sore throat, being afraid to accept your credit card back from the clerk who just sneezed all over it.  Yes, it’s the time of year we’re all afraid to get sick.  Fortunately, Tina has a wonderful recipe for Immune-Building Chicken Soup!  Give this a try and prepare your body to have a healthy, active winter.

immune soup


3 tablespoons olive oil
10 garlic cloves sliced
1 large sweet onion sliced
4 stalks celery chopped
4 carrots chopped
4 cups chopped red curly kale
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2- 4 cups sliced chicken (I usually use the chicken I roasted from the day before)
4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade from the whole chicken I roasted plus Trader Joe’s Organic)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


Saute garlic, onion, celery, carrots and herbs in the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pan.  Add the chicken stock and chicken and bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low.  Add chopped kale and and allow to wilt.  Add cubed butternut squash.  Continue to cook the soup on low for about 30 minutes.  When you are ready serve in bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds.