BEEF MINESTRONE WITH TUSCAN KALE

It is still soup season in my book, and tonight I'm warming up with a new soup recipe. I cooked this soup and immediately thought of my best friend Mal because I know she and I could devour this entire pot (minus the beautiful purple le creuset dutch oven she bought me for my birthday!). This soup was a huge shift for me because I haven't cooked with any legumes in quite some time. I am working with my health coaching clients on reintroducing foods after following an elimination diet, so I needed to create a recipe with beans. You are welcome to omit the beans for a perfect paleo recipe, and it won't disappoint. If you have big meat eaters in the family,  you can increase the meat to 1.5 or 2 pounds.

If you find yourself chilled on these final days of winter, try out this beautiful beef minestrone with tuscan kale, and warm up in front of the fire with a big bowl full of love.

BEEF MINESTRONE WITH TUSCAN KALE

SERVES 6-8, PREP TIME: 20 MIN, COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1lb. organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 oz. sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 2.5 cups white northern beans (omit for Paleo)
  • 2 cups Tuscan kale leaves, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  1. Cook ground beef over medium heat. Drain excess fat and set aside.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add onions, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add drained beef and tomato paste, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add diced tomatoes, stock, water, rosemary, and bay leaves, and bring to a boil.
  7. Add sweet potatoes and simmer covered over medium-low for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  8. Add beans and kale, and cook for another 5 minutes until kale is wilted.
  9. Discard the rosemary and bay leaves and serve as-is or with a dollop of fresh basil pesto!

SWEET SATURDAY GUEST POST: PALEO LEMON BARS

It is a cozy and rainy Saturday morning in CT, and I am hard at work on wedding planning, health coaching follow-ups, and getting the house organized. Lucky for all of you, I am starting a new tradition called "Sweet Saturdays" twice a month on my blog. I met my friend Darci of Bake & Style when we were on the Today Show together back in November. Here we are with the wonderful Joy Bauer and the other finalists for the recipe contest (Darci is the blonde on the right in the beautiful bright blue!)

Darci will be visiting the Intersection Coaching blog every other Saturday to sweeten it up with some of her delicious dessert recipes. Feel free to add comments with any special requests as she works on recipe development!


Darci here! With spring just around the corner for us out here in Middle Tennessee, I thought what better than some fresh lemon bars! Even better? They have a no bake crust!

After being sick for two months and then coming down with shingles, I am now deciding to shift my diet. Normally I am a lover of all things chocolate, sugar and butter, but things have changed folks!

I met Ali when we were on The Today Show together, and she has been kind enough to let me create some Paleo desserts for you, and I am learning to love them too! I never knew something so healthy could taste so good! If you like lemon, you are sure to love these!

My site is changing and will be incorporating a lot more healthy recipes, so be on the lookout! I have had so many requests for healthier dessert options, so I cannot wait to share my new experiments with all of you. My goal is to take some of the most popular desserts and turn them into healthier options, so people following a Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, or no refined sugar diet can still indulge! They will definitely be worth your while!

Now to only get my family to eat healthier…..that will be another story for another day.

First, let’s get to these delicious Lemon Bars!

PALEO LEMON BARS WITH COCONUT CREAM

SERVES 9, PREP TIME: 45 MIN, COOK TIME: N/A 

No-Bake Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups walnuts
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. If your dates aren’t soft, soak them for a little while in warm water, this will make them easier to chop and grind up.
  2. While those are soaking, chop walnuts in a food processor until finely ground, remove and set aside.
  3. Once dates are ready, place in food processor and finely chop.
  4. Add in ground walnuts and combine.
  5. Then add in coconut oil and salt. Mix until a sticky “dough” forms.
  6. Line a ½ quart baking dish with parchment or plastic wrap. (This makes for easy removal.)
  7. Press dough evenly into lined baking dish and place in refrigerator to set.

 See how easy that was? Crust is done!

Lemon Topping

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • Pinch of lemon zest (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a sauce pan, whisk together eggs, honey, lemon juice, and salt over medium heat. Add in coconut oil and whisk until fully melted.
  2. Now whisk your heart out, literally, like whisk and don’t stop until a nice thick pudding like consistency forms. I want to say about 10 min or so. Just keep whisking until you have this consistency. It will firm up more once it cools, but you definitely want that pudding like consistency first.
  3. Once you have this, completely remove from heat and cool. If you need this part to move faster, place in freezer for a little while.
  4. Once cooled pour over the set crust and place in freezer. This is crucial because the lemon topping is more like a curd/pudding so you want to freeze it for a few hours before cutting slices.
  5. Once the lemon topping has set in the freezer, cut your slices and place in refrigerator. 

Coconut Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (placed in the fridge the night before)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch of lemon zest (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place can of coconut milk in refrigerator over night so that the water can separate from the fat.
  2. Carefully remove can, open and set aside the coconut water. You can save that for another dessert or put it in your smoothies!
  3. Place your bowl or mixer in the freezer for a few minutes (this will help the whip cream set faster)
  4. Now whip the coconut cream for about 5 min or until you have soft peaks, add in vanilla and lemon zest. Now whip some more!

When you serve your lemon bars, you can top with a dollop of this cream or you can spread it onto your bars and keep them in the refrigerator until ready to serve! Enjoy! 

GLUTEN-FREE BANANA NUT OATMEAL MUFFINS

I am springing into Spring alongside of all of my health coaching clients with a renewed sense of focus and motivation. I've found that with my upcoming wedding (less than 7 weeks!) and balancing my two jobs, scheduling my time, meals, and other key activities for the week has been as crucial as ever for my mental health. I am kicking off each week with a prescribed plan for weekly dinners, exercise, and a broader schedule for my two jobs and all other meetings and appointments. It is absolutely anal-retentive in every way, but it is keeping me sane in the midst of 1,000 decisions, responsibilities, and activities each week.

My health coaching clients vary in age, personality, and lifestyle, but they all, like me, have one thing in common -- our lives are overflowing with "stuff". I have been trying to brainstorm as many helpful solutions for them to keep their weeks flowing smoothly in an organized and manageable way, and one of the key factors which helps (especially for those with goals related to health, wellness, and weight loss) is meal planning. I've talked about it before, and I surely will bring it up again. Meal planning takes the decisions out the week and reduces the number of emotional meals and snacks that occur. The key to successful meal planning is making recipes that are easy, able to be made in bulk, and ones that are delicious enough to eat day after day.

I created this recipe for a gluten-free client that needed more grab-and-go options in the morning. She is a lover of all breakfast pastries, so I wanted to satisfy the muffin craving with a healthier, higher protein, and more whole-food option. Note that this recipe is not paleo given the oats that are included. I include this recipe as a fantastic option for those who want/need gluten-free grains in their diet but are trying to follow a clean eating/whole food approach as compared to the millions of highly processed gluten-free breakfast options in the market.

This recipe only has 3 essential ingredients which makes it perfect in a pinch: mashed banana, egg whites, and oats. I add the almond butter for depth and crunch and the cinnamon and vanilla for flavor. You can switch it up by adding other nuts, seeds, berries, and spices. If you can and choose to include oats in your diet, give these muffins a try, and you will thank me later!

GLUTEN-FREE BANANA NUT OATMEAL MUFFINS

SERVES 6 (12 MUFFINS), PREP TIME: 5 MIN, COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1.5 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 carton (about 2 cups) egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. chunky almond butter
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon (depending on how much you want!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl
  3. Pour batter into a muffin tin
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick or fork can come out clean
  5. Let pan cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove muffins

NOTE: I often use a silicone muffin pan to avoid needing any oil/grease for the muffins. You can also use muffin lines or coat the muffin pan with coconut oil or another fat/oil of choice prior to baking. 

PALEO DESSERT DATE NUT BALLS

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I am snowed in for the umpteenth time this summer, yet I am still convincing myself that Spring is around the corner. With the clocks changing this weekend and mild weather on the horizon, I am just praying for the snow to melt so I can get back outside and pound the pavement during some long walks in my new neighborhood. In the meantime, I am celebrating the fact cold weather means lots of soup. My friends at Whole Foods hosted me again for a book signing and soup tasting that was a huge success. At least a dozen people asked me if the soup was for sale after tasting it which is a good sign and a great potential business idea! I will be in the Westport, CT Whole Foods next Friday, March 13th and then the new Upper East Side store in NYC on Friday, March 27th. I am planning to be in the Greenwich location on Wednesday, April 15th as well, so if you live in Fairfield County in CT or NYC, hopefully you will have a chance to stop by!

Last week I finally had the chance to take a look at the beautiful teaser video my designer Margot Harrington put on vimeo featuring Bowls of Love. It is just 7 quick seconds, but I am crazy over it! Take a look, and if it tempts your tastebuds, you can click here to purchase a copy! I launched a promotion today for 30% off for the 1st 30 customers. Just enter the coupon code THIRTY at checkout, and you will be on your way to having delicious soups! 

Now, let's eat! I haven't posted a dessert recipe in a long time, but I wanted to transform an old favorite with a new twist. Ry and I went to our neighbors' house for dinner a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to bring a simple sweet paleo treat. These date nut balls are extremely quick and easy to make. You can make them into bars by rolling out the mixture on parchment paper, cooling in the fridge or freezer, and then slicing, or you can take the easy road like I did and just roll them into balls. This little treat has no added sugar, so they also work as a quick grab-and-go snack when you need a little fuel during the day.

PALEO DESSERT DATE NUT BALLS

SERVES 8 (24 Balls), PREP TIME: 10-15 MIN, COOK TIME: N/A 

Ingredients:

  • 1lb. whole pitted dates
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Instructions:

  1. Chop dates in food processor
  2. Add almond flour until combined
  3. Put date/almond flour mixture in a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients
  4. Mix thoroughly (I use my hands) and then roll into 24 one-inch balls
  5. Refrigerate until serving and then enjoy as dessert, post-workout fuel, or a great travel snack!