Broccoli White Bean Soup with Broccoli Pistachio Pesto and Asiago Croutons

This is one hearty winter worthy soup if there ever was one!  This broccoli white bean soup is filling enough to be a complete meal all on its own, especially with the addition of the Asiago croutons.  The beans give it a nice creamy texture while the broccoli florets adds a bit of crunchy chunkiness.  The broccoli pesto gives it an added twist of flavor.  The soup can be vegan or gluten free if you choose to leave out the Asiago from the pesto and croutons.

Broccoli White Bean Soup

This year is off to a great start!  We had the privilege of spending the first day and night of the New Year with Paloma, Severin, Jill and Beto.  It was a short but sweet visit.  After our house guests left, Robby and I decided to go through the entire house including all the cupboards and drawers.  We managed to get rid of a number of boxes full of unneeded items!

We love to get rid of anything we aren’t using.  Clutter is stagnant energy and actually weighs on your conscious as well as it keeps new things from coming into your life.  Have you ever had a closet or a drawer that was a complete disaster and every time you walk by it you think to yourself “I have got to clean that closet out” but you don’t because it seems so overwhelming?  Clutter is the manifestation of stuck energy and the feeling just gets worse until you finally break down and address it!

Some time ago I had a bunch of clothes that I never wore and I just could not get myself to let go of them.  One day I went crazy and threw anything I hadn’t worn in two years into a few boxes.  I brought them to the local thrift store and within one week a friend of mine who had a clothing line called to tell me she was sending me two huge boxes full of clothes.  I was so completely shocked and excited!  This has happened so many times in my life that I now know it to be true that when you let go of the old it opens the door for the new.  So, get out those boxes and purge your clutter!

Broccoli-White-Bean-Soup

Crisp dry white wines generally pair best with this soup.  Try it with a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave or an Albarino.

Broccoli-White-Bean-Soup

Broccoli White Bean Soup:
10 – 12 servings
  •  2 1/2 Cups Dried Hutterite Beans or White Navy Beans – soaked – cooked
  • 12 + 2 to 4 Cups Filtered Water – divided
  • Broccoli Pesto – recipe below
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Bouillon Cubes – vegetable – unsalted
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 Cups Broccoli Florets – chopped
 Pesto – if you want extra for a garnish or bread, double the recipe.
  • 1 Cup Raw Broccoli Florets
  • 1/2 Cup Roasted & Salted Shelled Pistachios
  • 1/2 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese – finely shredded – (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Croutons
  • 4 Cups Country Bread like Ciabatta – torn
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Asiago Cheese – finely shredded – (optional)

Garnish options

  • Raw Broccoli – chopped
  • Pistachios – chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Instructions:
Beans
If using Hutterite beans, soak the beans overnight.
Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.
Add the beans to a 4 or 5 1/2 quart pot, then add 12 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then turn to medium-high heat for about 1 hour to 1 and a 1/2 hours or until beans are soft.
  While beans are cooking make the pesto.
Pesto
Cut the broccoli into small pieces, finely shred the cheese then add to food processor or blender along with all the other ingredients and blend until smooth.  Set aside.
Croutons
You can use day old bread, I used fresh and it worked out nice.
Tear or cut the bread into small pieces.  In a large straight sided pan, add the oil and turn heat to medium-low.  Heat up the oil, then add the bread.  Stir continually until they get crispy. (about 10 minutes)

Add the Asiago and stir until melted and a lightly golden. (Some Asiago will stick to the pan)

Soup

Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Add the white wine and bouillon cube, mash the bouillon, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.  When the beans are soft add them and 2 to 4 cups of water to the onions.  (it depends how much water gets soaked up from the beans and how thick you want it)

Add the broccoli, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until broccoli is just tender.

You can leave it chunky or puree half.

Health benefits:
White Beans are a super rich source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure).  They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering ability and strong impact on our body’s detoxification system. It is also rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.  It is very high in vitamin C & K.

Pistachio has a good source of fiber and helps lower cholesterol.  Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin E which makes them an excellent source of antioxidants.

Kale Persimmon Salad with a Red and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This gorgeous Kale Persimmon Salad seems so simple yet the flavors are absolutely outstanding!  Honestly, I am completely hooked!  There is a lot of texture going on from the burrata to the pomegranate seeds and the red and white balsamic vinaigrette really steps it up a notch.

Christmas is over and the New Year starts tomorrow.  I don’t know about you, but I had my fair share of holiday treats and I am ready for lots and lots of salad!  This salad is loaded with vitamins and minerals from the kale, pomegranate seeds, basil and persimmons making it the perfect winter salad!

Kale-and-Persimmon-Salad

Tomorrow is the start of a new year and I’m looking forward to a very productive, inspiring and all around awesome year!  How about you?  This is the time to move forward and let go of all that which is not serving you.  It could be almost anything like a job, where you live, your diet or even a relationship.  It can sometimes be scary to bust a move, but if it’s the right move, you will be amazed at how your life can change for the better!  A sign of when it is time for a change is usually when bad things or feelings continue to occur over and over again.

 I was in a 14-year relationship before I moved back to California.  It wasn’t a bad relationship, it was just that we were growing apart and wanted different things in life.  Although it wasn’t easy for me to leave, I knew I had to move on if I wanted to grow.  As soon as I made the decision, everything fell into place.  I left with $1,200 to my name and a free plane ticket.  I sold some old silver clippings from my jewelry business to a gold and silver dealer; I sold a bunch of beads to the local bead store and I sold some vintage clothing to a vintage clothing shop.  My dad’s friend had a plane ticket that was going to expire in a month so I got a free plane ticket.  My dad had an extra car for me to use when I got back to California so I had a car waiting for me.  I had talked to my friend Janelle about how I was going to need a place to stay and she invited me to stay with her for the first month while I looked for a job.

After a couple weeks, I saw my friend Sam and I told her that I was in need of a job and the next thing I knew she called to tell me she had arranged for me to meet the manager of a small shop on Abbot Kinney.  The manager hired me and when I told her I was looking for a place to live she said she might know of a room for rent.  Her friend Brian came into the shop to meet me and it turned out that I knew him from back in the day.  I firmly believe that everything was falling into place because I had faith and decided to act on my intuition!  And this was just the beginning of all the amazing things that was about to happen after I made that scary decision!

Persimmon-Kale-Salad

I love a light Pinot Noir with this salad, preferably an Oregon varietal.  It is also wonderful with a Riesling, Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Kale-Burrata-and-Persimmon-Salad

Kale Persimmon Salad:
4 – 6 servings
Salad
  • Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette – drizzle to taste – (recipe below)
  • 1 Head Dino Kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into thin strips (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Handful Basil Leaves – roughly chopped or torn
  • 2 -3 Fuyu Persimmons – thinly sliced – halved or quarterd
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 Ball Burrata – torn in pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Pistachio – roughly chopped
Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette – for whole recipe click here
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons  White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Stone Ground or Dijon Mustard – or to taste
  • 1 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Dash of Black Pepper
Crostini – optional
  • 1/2 Baguette Crostini – 12 thin slices
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions:

 Vinaigrette
*
 In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegars, garlic, salt and pepper.  Next slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Or use a hand held blender to emulsify.
Salad
*
Wash the kale and remove main rib by holding the end of the steam and pull down with your other hand.  Discarding the main rib.  Chop kale into thin strips, add to a large bowl along with the tablespoon of olive oil and massage the oil into the kale.
Mix in the basil, persimmon, pomegranate seeds and pistachios.  Mix everything together or arrange it nicely on a platter.  Add dressing to individual salads and top them off with burrata and crostini.
Crostini
*
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices onto a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Kale-Persimmon-Salad

Health benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)  More on kale

Persimmons Latin name means “food of the gods.”  They are high in fiber helping to maintain a healthy digestive system. Due to their bright orange skin they are an excellent source of vitamin A that nourish the eyes and help prevent age related macular disease. They help to detoxify the large intestine, and increase immunity. They have an excellent source of anti-oxidants that helps reduce high blood pressure and are a very good source of vitamin C, especially native Chinese and American persimmons, which provide 80% of the daily requirement. They give the body energy and help symptoms of stress, fatigue and tiredness.

Persimmon Rose Shortbread Crumb Bars

These Persimmon Rose Shortbread Bars are absolutely out of this world!

The shortbread has the perfect amount of sweetness, the persimmon rose jam adds a subtle twist and the crumb topping is the maestro conducting all the flavors in this wonderful symphony.  And for the grand finale, top it off with a dash of powdered rose!

Rose-Persimmon-Shortbread-Bars1

It is now less than a week away from Christmas and I’m scrambling to get my shopping done, finish my posts, bake Christmas cookies and get ready to travel to L.A.  We plan to stay for two nights in Santa Monica.

Persimmon-Rose-Shortbread-Bars

The first night I have a date with my beautiful friend Janelle and I’m really looking forward to spending some quality time with her! Wednesday evening, Robby and I will meet a few of our closest friends for dinner.  I am so excited because we are going to our good friend Josiah’s brand new restaurant called Charcoal in Venice.

Josiah and our friend Raphael opened a successful restaurant named Jiraffe in Santa Monica many years ago then Josiah went on to open his own successful two Michelin star French restaurant named Malisse, while Raphael continued on at Jiraffe.  Raphael recently closed Jiraffe and will be opening a new restaurant in the same space but with more of a light-hearted cuisine compared to the high-end French cuisine he served prior.  I am waiting in anticipation to see his new venture.

We plan to spend our last two nights with my dad and stepmom for Christmas.  My dad is so excited we can make it this year and nothing makes me happier than that!

Persimmon-Shortbread-Crumb-Bars

Enjoy these beauties with some milk, coffee or tea.

Persimmon-Shortbread-Bars

Persimmon Rose Shortbread Bars Recipe:

12 Bars

Crumble
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts – coarsely ground
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Oats – ground
  • 1/3 Cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Powdered Cardamom
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter – salted or Coconut Oil
Shortbread
  • 2 Sticks Salted Butter or 1 Cup Coconut Oil – room temperature
  • 2 1/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar (I used beet sugar)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
Persimmon Jam
  • 1 1/2 Pounds or 3 1/2 Cups Persimmon – peeled – pureed
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar (I used beet sugar) – or to taste
  • 2 Teaspoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Rose Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder
  • Pinch Salt
Rose Powder – optional
  • 1/4 Cup Rose Petals – I recommend organic

Instructions:

Crumble
In a food processor, grind the walnuts to a fine crumb texture and pour into a large bowl.  Add the oats to the processor and pulse until the texture is in between whole oat and flour texture then add to walnuts.
Add the flour, sugar, coriander and salt then mix well.  Add 1/4 pieces of butter and mix everything with your hands until it is a crumbly consistency.
Put in the refrigerator while you make the shortbread so the butter can harded.
Shortbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make sure the butter is at room temperature.  Cream butter, sugar and pinch of salt in food processor or mixer until creamy then add flour and pulse until it’s mixed well.

Pour out mixture into a 9″ by 14″ baking dish and press the dough evenly around.  Poke holes all over with a fork to prevent bubbles.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are golden.

Jam
While the shortbread is baking start the jam.
In a large saucepan, bring persimmon puree, sugar and lemon juice to a boil on medium high then turn to medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
Lower heat and simmer for 15 – 25 minutes until persimmons are dissolved and reduced.
In a small bowl, combine arrowroot powder and rose water together.
Add arrowroot/rosewater mix stirring continuously until well incorporated
Remove from heat.  Set aside
Rose powder
If using whole dried roses, remove the petals, measure and grind in a coffee grinder until it becomes a fine powder.
Assemble

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the jam evenly over the baked shortbread and then evenly sprinkle with the crumble, lightly press down and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Cool completely before cutting and removing from the pan.  Sprinkle with rose powder.

Persimmon-Bars

Spicy Roasted Pepper White Bean Dip

This extraordinary rustic Roasted Pepper White Bean Dip has a wonderful blend of Italian and Mexican flavors all rolled in one!  White beans, red peppers, cheese and olive oil offer an Italian character while, the poblano and Serrano peppers give it a Mexican appeal.  It’s great for dipping veggies or slathering it on bread!

White-Bean-Pepper-Dip

I can’t believe it has already been over two weeks since Robby and I attended Erin and Leif ‘s amazing Thanksgiving dinner party.  They had a potluck with over 30 guests, so you can imagine just how much food there was.  The myriad of smells from the kitchen wafted from room to room.  It was a fun filled festive evening with kids running around having the time of their lives. There were numerous conversations going on simultaneously throughout the house. We also had some impromptu bluegrass music with Robby on guitar and our friend Alison playing banjo and singing.  It was an all around awesome evening!  To me, Thanksgiving is all about having gratitude for all that is good in our lives and letting go of the rest!

This weekend we had the honor of attending Paloma’s 5th birthday party and boy was it ever cute. Paloma is very creative and played a big part in the planning of her own party.  The party theme was my little pony and she insisted that her and her dad design and build a custom my little pony piñata, which turned out amazing.  There was a fun snow globe art project set up for all the kids.  I asked Jill where did she come up with the idea and she said “It was all Paloma! She saw a YouTube video on how to make your own snow globes and asked if we could get the supplies for her party.”  Jill glued a small plastic pony to the inside of the jar’s lid; then she had the kids add different colors, shapes and sizes of glitter into the jar and then she filled them up with baby oil.  The baby oil lets the glitter fall slowly.  Everyone was very impressed!  Paloma also requested rainbow cupcakes with glittery frosting which Jill had to make from scratch.  They were the fanciest glitter rainbow cupcakes I have ever seen!  The highlight of the party was a pony dressed as a princess unicorn.  All the kids stood in line to ride the pony, I mean Unicorn.  Paloma said, “This is the best birthday party EVER”

Spicy-White-Bean-Pepper-Dip

As it is the time for parties this dip is the perfect way to help spice them up.  I plan to bring this to my dad and stepmom’s Christmas party. I think they will appreciate this spicy dip!

Because this dip is spicy it pairs well with a Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris or a Verdejo.

White-Bean-Dip

Roasted Pepper White Bean Dip Recipe:

Approx. 3 1/2 Cups

  • 3/4 Cup Dried White Beans – 2 cups cooked
  • 10 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – roasted
  • 1 Large or 2 Small Poblano – roasted
  • 1 Serrano – roasted
  • 1 Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive OIl
  • 1 Cup Pecorino Cheese – finely shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste

Optional Garnish

  • Serrano Peppers – thinly sliced or minced
  • Paprika – ground
  • Turmeric – ground

Instructions:

Beans
Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.  Add the beans to a large pot, then add 10 cups of water.  Bring to a boil,  turn to medium-high heat for about 1 hour to 1 hour and a 1/2  or until beans are soft.  Drain out all the water and let cool.
Peppers
While the beans are cooking, wash all the peppers then line them in the center of a baking sheet.

 Turn the oven onto broil and place the baking sheet on top shelf of the oven and broil for 4 – 5 minutes.  Flip over and broil 3 – 4 minutes until they are well charred.  Peel off the skin with a paper towel by rubbing off the charred skin, cut off the stem, cut in half and deseed.

* If you like it spicy leave the seeds in the Serrano peppers

The rest

Add everything to a food processor or blender and puree.

Spicy-White-Bean-Dip

Health benefits:

White Beans are a super rich source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure).  They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value. They are great for your immune system; poblanos help reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma. They contain lycopene (a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes), which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.

Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Vanilla Espresso Warrior Martini

This Vanilla Espresso Martini cocktail will bring out the warrior in you with its strong espresso, pure raw vegan sun warrior protein powder and topped with a splash of vanilla vodka!  You could say this is a healthy-ish cocktail due to the nutrients in the protein powder.  By shaking the cocktail all together with the ice, it gives a deliciously frothy head to this martini!  It is also a wonderful substitute for the customary sugar or cream added to after dinner cocktails.

Vanilla Espresso

Feeling quite honored and completely thrilled to have the opportunity to partner up with Sun Warrior especially because I am already a huge fan of their products.  I was in search of a protein supplement that was gluten free, vegan, low sugar and of course tasty!  After weeks of research I landed on this amazing protein supplement; added perk it doesn’t taste like chalk like many protein powders out there!

This Vanilla Espresso Martini is a fantastic pick me up.  It’s the perfect cocktail to start the night with or it is also a nice way to end the evening.  Be careful not to drink it too late or you might be up all night!  Nobody wants to toss and turn all night!

Vanilla Espresso Martini

 Vanilla Espresso Martini Recipe:

1 cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz. Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 Shot of Espresso (preferably cooled)
  • 1 oz Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein Plus

Profile: Healthy, Creamy, Dessert/ Original Recipe, Created specifically for Sun Warrior

Glass: Martini or Coupe

Garnish: 2 Espresso Beans

Instructions:

In a pint sized mixing glass, fill 3/4 full with cubed ice.  Add all ingredients and shake for 6 seconds.

Strain into a martini glass and garnish with two espresso beans.

Espresso Martini

This post is a sponsored post in partnership with Sun Warrior.  The recipe, thoughts and opinions are all my own.