Turkey Tortilla Soup

So I’m sure everyone back home is doing last-minute shopping for their Thanksgiving meal Thursday. The turkey is probably defrosting and brining as I type this. Here in Germany, though, Thanksgiving came early. Actually, it came early and twice. Two weeks ago, I celebrated potluck-style with some of my American colleagues and then last Saturday, I hosted a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner. Both of which were a huge success and left me looking to get into my most comfortable pj pants asap.

When all the guests went home, though, I discovered I still had about half a turkey on my hands. Turkey sandwiches are delicious, but I can only eat so many. Soup, though, that is where it's at. Especially now that it’s freezing outside. To spice things up, I decide to do a Mexican inspired soup instead of the standard turkey noodle. 

The recipe is so fast and so easy. It will be on the table in 30 minutes. Plus, it is so, so, so much better than any canned soup. The chipotle chili in adobe sauce really adds a smokey kick of flavor. Squeeze some lime on before serving and enjoy!

What to love:

· Low fat: Turkey is low in fat and this recipe does not add much more.

· Low carb: Unlike many soups, this one has no pasta or potatoes in it. Just a sprinkling of sliced, toasted corn tortillas.
· High protein: Even without the extra carbs, one serving of this will keep you full for hours and help build muscles thanks to the meat and beans.
· High fiber: The beans and veggies help regulate blood sugar levels, keep you full and reduce cholesterol.
· Decent dose of Vitamin C from the tomatoes and other veggies.


Breakfast-friendly Pumpkin Bread

One of my favorite things to do is put a healthy spin on rich recipes. Sure, sometimes you want a decadent cake to serve guests or bring to a potluck. Other times you just want a delicious treat that is slightly more wholesome. One you could say... also eat for breakfast and not feel bad about. One that is a little bit nicer to your body and ehrm waistline.

After taking one look at this recipe for iced pumpkin coffee cake from Sally's Baking Addiction, I was sold. Look at those pictures! Pumpkin anything, yes please. But I didn’t really have an occasion for such a cake. And if I had that at home, all to myself, well I’d surely eat myself sick. So I decided to give her recipe a healthier spin.
To help you do the same to almost any recipe for baked goods (cookies excluded), I’ve compiled a list of my tips and tricks. You can use one or all of them depending on how much you want to clean up the recipe. Baking is a science, but you can still play around a little!
Top tips for healthier baking:
1. Cut the fat: Fat is in recipes for moisture. You can typically replace up to half of the fat with either applesauce or plain, low-fat Greek or regular yogurt without sacrificing moisture or structural integrity. The only thing to remember is that these baked goods will not hold moisture as well as over longer periods of time so consume your treats within two days for the best flavor.
2. Replace bad fat with good fat: Most baking recipes call for butter or vegetable oil. This can generally be replaced with melted coconut oil. Yes, it containes mostly saturated fat, but not all saturated fat is created equally. The lauric acid in coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid unlike the longer-chain ones found in meat and has a neutral affect on heart health. Some research suggests that coconut oil can even improve cholesterol by revving up enzymes that breakdown fats. Read more here.
3. Reduce the sugar: Sugar is there to sweeten things up. You can often cut it back by 1/3 without noticing a big difference. This cuts out empty calories and lessens the ups and downs you get from rising and dropping blood sugar levels.
4. Go a little heavier on the spices: Worried about the recipe turning out bland? Don’t be. Adding spices is a great way to add flavor without adding extra calories. They often have benefits of their own. For instance, studies show that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria.
5. Replace some of the AP flour with (white) whole wheat: This flour has the goodness of whole wheat (added fiber and nutrients) but bakes more like AP flour. Because whole wheat flour is denser and heavier, one cup of AP flour is equal to about 3/4 cup of whole wheat. Sometimes you also have to add about ¼ more of the liquid you are working with. Learn how to adapt your recipe accordingly here.
6. Add more of the healthy stuff: Making banana bread? Add more bananas. A pumpkin coffee cake? More pumpkin. If the recipe calls for nuts or oats, add more of them. Keep in mind though that when adding wet ingredients, such as pumpkin, you may want to add more dry or cut down slightly on another wet ingredient. The opposite is true for dry. Also keep in mind that the heavier the extra ingredients are, the more leavenging agents you will need.


Gramy's Kale Soup

I think it is safe to say that grandmas always have the best recipes. Ones that make you feel all warm and cozy inside. So much love has gone into making and perfecting them over the years. It's not just sustenance, it’s soul food.

This hearty kale and sausage soup from my Gramy (yes, she spells it with one "m") is no exception. She made it while visiting us for Christmas one year and now it’s a staple in my repertoire of fall and winter recipes! It is JUST what you need to boost your body’s immune system when seasons are changing and people at your office are coming down with colds. Plus, knowing that a homemade soup is waiting for you after a long day at work warms up your spirits a little too.

What to love:

This recipe is great for anyone looking for something delicious that will boost their immune system, lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation. It is low in saturated fat and high in fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Click the food names for nutritional data.

  • Let’s start out with kale, the cholesterol-lowering, cancer-fighting superfood. It is a nutritional powerhouse. It is packed, I mean PACKED with the antioxidant vitamins A, C and K that boost your immune system and promote good vision, strong bones and healthy skin. The lutein and zeaxanthin promote eye health. It is strongly anti-inflammitory, which means it improves a whole range of health issues, including heart disease, arthritis, chronic pain and cancer. (Read more about the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet here. For a great summary of the benefits of kale read more at WebMD).
  • The tomatoes are another good source of vitamin C. One cup has about 34% of your daily recommended value. Did I mention that Vitamin C is something your body does not store. You have to replenish it each day!
  • The kidney beans are a great source of fiber and iron. Because you are getting Vitamin C at the same time, you also absorb the iron better. They help regulate blood sugar, keep you satisfied and increase the amount of nutrients you absorb from your food, because they slow digestion.
  • With all this low-carb stuff, potatoes sometimes get a bad reputation, but they are actually  a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C and B6, especially if you eat the skin. Including potatoes instead of noodles in a soup is a great way to cut down on processed carbs.


10-Minute Tex-Mex Tortilla Pizza

Now this is my kinda fast food. A crisp tortilla topped with salsa verde, black beans, melted pepper jack, sweet red onions and some smoky spices! So much flavor and so few calories compared with your standard slice of pie.

Another brilliant recipe passed onto me by my sister. Gotta give it to her, she knows her stuff when it comes to Mexican food! 

It is my new, go-to savoy snack. It satisfies my craving for Mexican food and pizza in one fell swoop. Does it get any better? I cannot wait to serve it up at girls’ wine night. Not to mention, it makes a great dinner or lunch when paired with a salad. Enjoy!!

What to love about this meal (beside how delicious, cheap and fast it is!): 
  • Healthy omega-3s from the avocado help your heart and brain.
  • Protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber from the beans help regulate blood sugar, keep you full and build strong muscles!  
  • Red onions have some vitamin C and when consumed raw help fight cancer. They are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. (Read more about the benefits of onions here!)
  • Cayenne pepper helps stimulate your circulatory system, lower cholestrol and prevent heart disease. (Read more here!)