Soup to Curry with just a few Spices

So I had two packs of frozen spinach just staring at me in my freezer. Generally I use fresh spinach but I keep a few packs of frozen for certain dishes that I cook. I felt like I should use these two in something new and a bit different. I came across a recipe for spinach soup. I figured it was another one of those fat laden creamed soups but I was pleasantly surprised to find no heavy cream, no milk, actually no dairy but instead just a handful ingredients. Best of all, I went from enjoying a spinach soup and then by just adding a few curry spices I turned it into the best spinach curry I’ve ever had.
I know the color is odd but really it’s good and it cooks up in a flash. I’ve included the base recipe. To make it into a curry add your favorite curry spices and let it simmer a few minutes longer.

From Soup to curry with just a few spices
From Soup to Curry with just a few spices

Spinach Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 dried red chili
salt/pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed or 2 1/2 lb fresh

Heat the oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic begins to color. Add the onion and red chili. Saute until the onion is golden brown; about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to high and add the wine. Cook until reduced by half. Then add the vegetable stock and turn the heat to medium. Add in the spinach and continue to cook until the frozen spinach is heated thoroughly or the fresh is wilted.

Remove from heat and chill by placing the pot into a bowl of ice. Once room temperature, using an immersion blender or upright blender, puree the soup until smooth.

Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

*if you like really thick soup, add a diced potato to the soup along with the onion. This adds texture without the fat.
**For a curry, add your favorite curry spices such as curry powder, cumin, garam masala, etc

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Start 2014 with Balance

I don’t do resolutions. I’m not a rebel and I’m far from perfect but resolutions are bound to be bent, broken, or forgotten. Before you know it you are back doing the exact thing you didn’t want to do. Instead, I look to balance.
After the hectic month of December I had due to my Mother’s illness and my son’s appendix surgery, I need balance.

How do you find your balance? If you want to eat better, instead of eliminating everything, substitute one not so healthy food for a better alternative. Instead of resolving that you will lose 50 pounds, run a marathon, and get a six pack by the end of the year, tone it down a bit and make a balanced plan of what you can really do. It makes for a less stressful life. Isn’t that what we really want anyhow?

So how am I going to balance my life. I need more relaxation but honestly I probably won’t get a lot of it. I’m adding a few sessions of Yoga at home, as well as additional practices of karate. Yes, for me karate is a relaxer! I already eat rather well, but I still could improve, so I want to try to cook at home even more. For now, I’m starting with that. It’s supposed to be balance not overload.

For those of you, who want to find some food balance. I’ve included some photos of Okara Muffins and my Tofu Cheesecake. Still all the yummy goodness of the full fat, not so healthy versions, but lightened and now healthier. Okara is the insoluble parts of the soybean which remains after pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk and tofu. It can be found at many Japanese grocery stores, farmer’s markets and in Asian stores in the states. If you make your own tofu, then the residue is Okara.

The Okara Muffin recipe has been posted. Try it, you will find that they are really good!

Vegan Tofu Cheesecake
Vegan Tofu Cheesecake

Banana & Blueberry Okara Muffins
Banana & Blueberry Okara Muffins

Okara Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup okara
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup yogurt, plain
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon (if making banana)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup blueberries

Directions
Preheat your oven to 375°F / 175°C. Fill your muffin tray with paper liners.

Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Sift dry ingredients in a larger mixing bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Then add the blueberries and mix gently.

Spoon the batter into the liners until almost full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly brown or until the toothpick test comes out clean. Depending on the wetness of your okara, the baking times might be slightly different.

Cool for 10 minutes, take muffins out of tins and place on wire racks to cool completely