Happy New Year! I know, I am terribly late. My life has been a bit turned upside down lately with my Dad (who moved in with us 7 months ago) being in the hospital and then rehab and now all the appointments and home health care going on. I have been a bit lax with this here blog! But I have been cooking a lot and will hopefully be getting back on track with the photography and blogging posts!
Are you doing any resolutions for the new year 2020? I decided, rather than making a list of New Year’s Resolutions that I rarely follow through on past March or April, that I would try some new ideas that have been floating around for the last several years.
One of these ideas is to pick a word that guides you throughout the year. I decided my word for 2020 will be FOCUS. I feel I have been very easily distracted and not focused on the right things this past year or so. I have many excuses, but bottom line is that I need to be more focused on what is important and needed. So this word will be guiding me. I have not been great with this so far this year, but every time I see it on my office wall, I get motivated again! Stay tuned!
It’s Not Easy Going Green
The second thing I am doing differently this year is I am setting monthly goals. I’m not necessarily mapping out the full 12 months. I am going to take each month as it comes and make a decision then. But for January, my goal is just to eat more greens! Greens at least 3 times a week! I’m not telling Dad or Hubby about this. Let’s see if they notice. But hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. This recipe can get us started.
January has always been about publishing a green soup for me since my first year as a corporate health and wellness director until now. Check out last year’s Dark Green Health Soup for a different take! This year, I needed some extra richness so I opted for a take on a Caribbean soup called Callaloo. Don’t expect anything authentic here. It is a loose translation at best, but I think it carries the vibe and still gives us a bowl of greens and some creamy nutritious nectar!
Callaloo is originally from Africa and is seen throughout the Caribbean in many different forms. The basis is the green plant called callaloo (it’s really amaranth leaves) which most of us cannot get here in the states, so I subbed in spinach and chard. I also subbed an habanero pepper for the Scotch bonnet, and left out the okra (I know, blasphemy!) because I couldn’t find any! Plus, I’m not a big fan so I may not have looked too hard! I also subbed vegetable broth for the chicken broth since, you know, I try to keep things vegetarian when I can. Especially when making health-inspired winter hotness!
This pot of amazeness (new word) has a full pound (that’s 454 grams for those who have been metricafied) – (another new word) of greens! I promise you will not mind eating all these luscious greens, especially when they are flavored with ambrosial spices and creamy coconut milk!
So eat your greens! You won’t regret making this soup. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think! Also, tell me what New Year’s “resolutions” you are doing this year and if you have a word for the year, I’d love to hear it and why you chose it!
In the meantime… FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS.
Caribbean Green Soup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil extra virgin
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 small gold potato peeled and diced
- 1 cup pumpkin or other winter squash chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper cracked
- 3 cups coconut milk full fat
- 2 cups vegetable broth low sodium
- 2 cups water
- 1 habanero (or Scotch Bonnet) pepper seeded and diced fine
- 0.5 pounds spinach chopped
- 0.5 pounds Swiss chard chopped
- 6 chives chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 6 teaspoons toasted cashews roughly chopped
- 12 grape tomatoes cut into quarters
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper ground
- In a stockpot, dutch oven or large saucepan, add the oil, onions and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent and beginning to slightly brown, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the allspice and paprika and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the peppers, potato, squash, habanero, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, broth and water and bring to a simmer until the squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the greens (spinach and chard) in batches, a handful at a time, adding more as it shrivels and shrinks. Simmer until greens are soft and dark green, about 5 minutes.
- Take off the heat. Add the chives and parsley. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender or food processor until somewhat smooth but with a little texture. Taste and add salt and pepper and lime juice, as needed.
- Serve in bowls topped with toasted cashews, diced cherry tomatoes and dried red pepper. Optionally drizzle extra virgin olive oil and flaky sea salt on top.