Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You are what you eat

If I were to review my blog to determine the word I use the most, you might think it would be "exercise" or "fitness" but my guess is that it would be "food." I seem to write about food a lot and it's probably because food is such a big part of our lives.

Food is essential to sustain life, but eating also takes place for social reasons and enjoyment. Here in America, land of plenty, we have the convenience of mega-grocery stores that carry a tremendous variety of foods, regardless of the season or climate of our region. Bananas in Maryland? Sure. Blueberries in January? Why not?

I recently joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in an effort to eat locally and seasonally. It's also important to me to support local farmers and to feed my family organic foods as often as possible; I am a true believer in the "you are what you eat" philosophy. On road trips, it is not unusual to see people putting premium gas in their cars while filling their own bodies with French fries and soda. Things that make you go hmmm.

Though the 2011 CSA program started just four weeks ago, I've already been introduced to and used so many vegetables that I would otherwise pass right by in the store: turnips, cabbage, Swiss chard, parsnips, kale and a variety of squash, all of which have been in cold storage since they were harvested locally in the fall. (With the exception of a few hot-house grown items.) Each week, the CSA provides recipes to go along with their offerings so members will know how to prepare, cook and store their bounty.

Kale, onions and yams were plentiful at last week's CSA pick up so I tried one of the new recipes: White Bean and Kale Soup. It was delicious! Even my non-vegetarian husband liked it, and my kids, while they didn't rave about it, ate it without complaint. (I am lucky that my kids are such adventurous eaters, but I have been exposing them to a wide variety of foods since the day they cut their teeth so they are used to me putting odd and unusual things on their plates. Though some dishes are more well-received than others, they always eat it.)

I have had a few requests to share this recipe, so here it is. Bon appetit!

White Bean and Kale Soup

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 small garnet yam, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. smoked sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 15.5-oz. cans great Northern beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar


1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 8 minutes, or until lightly caramelized, stirring often.

2. Add kale, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Stir in yam, paprika, curry powder, and bay leaf; cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant.

3. Add broth, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 minutes, or until kale and yam are tender. Purée 1 cup beans with 3/4 cup water in blender or food processor. Add purée and remaining beans to soup. Simmer 10 minutes, then stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with paprika. Serves 6.

Per SERVING: Calories: 165, Protein: 9g, Total fat: 2.5g, Saturated fat: 0.5g, Carbs: 34g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 543mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugars: 7g


  1. Sounds good, will give it a try! Just picked up a book called "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. My Doctor recommended it. I believe he is Vegan, but not 100% sure will find out as I read. He does say that animal product should only be 10% of diet.

  2. Please let me know what you think of the book. I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and highly recommend it.

  3. Made the soup! Loved it. Will make again, but will pre soak the kale. Eat to live is awesome. I will have to read it a second time, because I am plowing through it and missing so much. Very simple, rational, and alot of common sense. It is amazing how we are fooled into thinking things are good for us!!! Check out the book.