Thursday, November 10, 2011

16 Bean Soup

This is a great recipe that I found online for making 16 bean soup. I changed it slightly, because the original instructions had you add the beans dry, without soaking or rinsing them beforehand. I much prefer to soak them and discard the rinse water before eating them, just personal preference I guess.


1/2 pkg. 16 bean soup
1/2 lb Italian pork sausage
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, pureed
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 lb baby carrots, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse beans and remove foreign material. Place in large pot and add water until beans are covered and water is 2 inches above beans. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add more water to cover beans if needed. Let soak overnight. Discard water and rinse well.

Crumble sausage in skillet with olive oil and saute until slightly browned. Add onions and cook until transparent. Add garlic. Add chicken broth to deglaze pan and transfer to a crockpot.

Add remaining ingredients except for tomatoes. Set crockpot to high setting and cook for 2 hours, then set to low and simmer until beans are very tender. Add tomatoes during final hour of cooking. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Healthy Snacks

For me, one of the biggest challenges to eating healthy has always been snacking. How do you overcome that urge to snack in the mid-morning or late afternoon? With my new training as a health and nutrition counselor, I really felt the need to step up and start living what I am preaching! It's difficult, if not impossible, to eat healthy 100% of the time. But I knew I could make major improvements in the foods I was snacking on.

At IIN, it's all about "crowding out" the bad foods and adding in good ones. So I made a commitment to always have a bowl of fresh fruit on my kitchen counter, even if it means I have to visit the grocery store or farmer's market more than once a week! I also committed to eat three of those fruits a day, and then if I still want a not-so-healthy snack after that, like chocolate, I can have it.
I also try to keep a stash of nuts on hand for munching on. Just be sure to limit the amount you eat by putting some in a small cup or baggie. It's easy to eat a lot of this treat without realizing it. Natural (no salt added) is best, but if you must have a little salt, look for nuts flavored with sea salt.
Another great snack I discovered is a brown rice cake with a little natural peanut butter spread on top. It satisfies my sweet craving, leaves me feeling satiated, and has less than 50 calories if you go easy on the peanut butter! It's also awesome with a little honey on top!
There are some days, most days actually, when I just have to have the chocolate! I have discovered this treat is even more special when I treat myself to the really good, more expensive dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. It's very rich and creamy, and usually one or two squares satisfies my craving.

A new favorite healthy snack I just discovered is hummus! I've had it at a Greek restaurant, and loved it! I think it would be a great snack to have with some fresh vegies like carrots, celery, red and yellow peppers, etc. I have not really liked any of the ready-made versions from the grocery store, so if anyone has a great recipe they could share with me, I would appreciate it.

Please feel free to share you favorite healthy treats in the comment section below. Healthy snacking!!