Spicy Curried butternut squash soup laced with coconut oil makes a warm comforting meal. I have been on a soup spree the last couple of days and yesterday I whipped up a batch of curried butternut squash soup with fresh herbs, spices that had my home smelling all warm and fuzzy! It’s very easy to make and is chockfull of healthy veggies and zesty spices that add a nice kick to it. Part of my problem is : having grown up on spices I find most restaurant or store-bought soups a little bland and then I have to make a spicy version of it. I added some sweet potatoes, peppers, celery, and an apple to the butternut squash. Spices I used were curry powder, cayenne and my favorite curicumin aka turmeric. Some fresh dill, freshly grated garlic and ginger at the end of cooking added a zesty flavor to it! Top this off with a dash of coconut oil and you have a flavorful curried butternut squash soup which takes veggies to a new level. You can roast all the veggies if you want but I just microwaved the lot and pureed it before transferring to the stove. Roasting gives it a unique flavor, but this was one of those days I was craving soup so badly I could not wait.
Butternut squash has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin A rivaling even potatoes. It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid. It also has adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Sweet potatoes have a similar profile to butternut squash, so put the two together and you pack a powerful punch of vitamin A. Adding spices like curry powder, turmeric and cayenne increases the antioxidant power of the soup. Ginger, garlic and coconut oil add an antiseptic, antibacterial quality and increase immune function. Lots of goodness in this soup it seems!!
Rich Creamy Dark Chocolate Mousse infused with pomegranate topped with some pomegranate seeds is a decadent dessert indeed! The fact that I used coconut cream only makes this even more decadent and actually healthy. If you’ve never dabbled with coconut cream, you must give it a try. Wholesome all natural coconut cream adds a unique flavor to any dish. I use coconut milk in my cooking and smoothies, but in my desserts I use the heavy coconut cream from a can. Ok, now back to the topic (when I talk about coconut I can get carried away)! My Sunday Supper team is doing a Valentine’s Day theme and I wanted to cook up something with some love elements in it so I decided to make this dark chocolate mousse with pomegranate. Chocolate is the ultimate love treat! As for pomegranate, don’t take my word for it, It is a culinary symbol of Aphrodite (goddess of love) in ancient Greece. Anyway, leave aside these love properties, the tart pomegranate and slightly bitter dark chocolate go well together as I realized after I made this mousse. I used bottled pom juice, but I can imagine how good this would taste with fresh pomegranate juice. It is tart, sweet with just a hint of bitter-sweet chocolate. It’s quite a gourmet treat but simple enough that my kids liked it too! Oh yes, I must not forget to mention one of the reasons I love this holiday is because my husband of 17 yrs proposed to me on Valentine’s day 17 yrs. back !! Enough reason to celebrate especially with dark chocolate pomegranate mousse!
Chocolate, especially dark gives you a high dose of antioxidants and magnesium.The cocoa solids in dark chocolate contain healthy compounds called flavonols. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.Pomegranates are full of antioxidants. These are compounds and enzymes known for keeping low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol from oxidizing and causing atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Pomegranate seeds act a lot like aspirin, keeping blood platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous blood clots. Eating the seeds and drinking pomegranate juice can increase oxygen levels to the heart.
Check out the great Valentine’s Day Menu ideas from our Sunday Supper Contributors!
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:
- Asparagus, Clam & Bay Shrimp Pasta from Galactopdx
- Bacon Double Cheese Burger Bites from In the Kitchen with KP
- Cheese Stuffed Cannelloni from Curious Cuisiniere
- Fried Heart Pizza from Mooshu Jenne
- Garlic Shrimp Bruschetta from MarocMama
- Green Olive, Goat Cheese & Basil Crostini from Hip Foodie Mom
- Indian Shrimp Pulao from Soni’s Food
- Individual Beef “Phyll-ingtons” from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Ranch, Bacon and Cheese Crisps from Daily Dish Recipes
- Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Rissóis de Camarão | Portuguese Shrimp Dumplings from Family Foodie
- Spicy Red Cabbage Quiche | Veggie Quiche Recipe from Masala Herb
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:
- Banana Bourbon Blondies from The Messy Baker
- Banana Cream Napoleon from Food Lust People Love
- Brown Butter M&M Cookies from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
- Brown Butter Rolo Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies from Damn Delicious
- Cherry Pie Hearts from Home Cooking Memories
- Chocolate Baumkuchen from Webicurean
- Chocolate Bread Pudding from La Cocina de Leslie
- Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Baileys Banana Cream Sauce from The Lovely Pantry
- Chocolate Covered Bacon from I Run For Wine
- Chocolate Covered Stuffed Strawberries from Country Girl in the Village
- Chocolate Mousse from Mom, What’s For Dinner?
- Chocolate Roll filled with Nutella Cream from Basic N Delicious
- Chocolate Truffles from The Wimpy Vetegarian
- Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream with Cherry Sauce from Vintage Kitchen Notes
- Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas with Chocolate Sauce from The Roxx Box
- Coconut Sweetheart Cookies from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Coeur a la Creme from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cream Cheese Mints from Simply Gourmet
- Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Mousse with Coconut Cream from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte from Kelly Bakes
- Deliciously Baked & Festively Glazed Mini-Donuts from Mangoes and Chutney
- #GlutenFree Chocolate Almond Cloudless Cake from Cooking Underwriter
- Heart Shaped White Chocolate Cakes with Raspberry Cream from Noshing with the Nolands
- Homemade Cherry Mash Candies from Juanita’s Cocina
- Maple-Date Bars from Diabetic Foodie
- Meyer Lemon Marmalade from Shockingly Delicious
- Mini Samoa Bundt Cakes from She Likes Ruffles, He Likes Truffles
- Molten Chocolate Lava Cake from Gotta Get Baked
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes from The Meltaways
- Pistachio and Chocolate Souffle from Small Wallet Big Appetite
- Raspberry Custard Tart from Kudos Kitchen
- Raw Fudge Love from Mama’s Blissful Bites
- Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Red Velvet French Macarons with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Red Velvet Fudge from What Smells So Good?
- Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies from Magnolia Days
- Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars from Chocolate Moosey
- Red Wine Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting from The Urban Mrs.
- Strawberry Shortcake! from The Foodie Army Wife
- Strawberry Valentine Cake Hearts from Ninja Baking
- Tres Leches Tea Cakes with Honey Riesling Soaked Fruit from Neighborfood
- Valentine’s Bakewell Tarts from Happy Baking Days
- Valentines Chocolate Apples from Big Bear’s Wife
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:
- Blood Orange Vodka Martinis from The Catholic Foodie
- Bloody Raspberry Cocktail from My Cute Bride
- Strawberry Gin Fizz from girlichef
#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape: A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, February 10th to talk all about Valentine’s eats and treats! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos!
HEARTBURN !! Just like heartbreak, we’ve all suffered from it, at some time or the other. After a heavy spicy, greasy meal or that late night warm, gooey pepperoni pizza; your digestive system kicks in! You get the burning pangs of discomfort and pain in the middle of the chest. Heartburn typically strikes after meals and can last several hours. Then there are also those who suffer from heartburn on a long time basis, a condition called GERD (Gastro esophageal reflux disease). Anyone can develop heartburn, but certain lifestyle factors including dietary modifications affect how well the sphincter works, as well as the amount of acid produced by the stomach, which can lessen or alleviate symptoms. There are meds, people suffering from GERD and Heartburn take, which help, but in this post I’m talking about Food and Lifestyle changes.
If you are prone to heartburn DON”T….!!
- Go to bed or lie down soon after eating. Having food in your stomach when you lie down can trigger acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn.
- Eat late night snacks.
- Drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Both aggravate the condition.
- Indulge in fatty or spicy foods.
- Eat certain fruits and vegetables like citrus, tomatoes, and onions. These may not affect everyone, so you have to watch for yourself to figure out what triggers your heartburn.
- Drink too much soda, coffee, and other carbonated or caffeinated beverages
- Eat too much chocolate.
- Get overstressed. The digestive system is very sensitive to stress of any kind and acidic contents tend to linger in the stomach longer during times of stress.
Tips to help heartburn. DO….!!
- Eat at least 3 hrs before bedtime.
- Eat slowly: Take your time to enjoy and digest your meal. If you wolf down your fav fast food in the car, in heavy traffic, you’re increasing your chance of heartburn.
- Exercise : This not only helps relieve stress, but can decrease heartburn symptoms as well. Physical activity helps to keep the digestive system moving like it should. Even a short stroll around the block can help especially after a meal.
- Elevate the head of your bed: Use a pillow or two or place 4- to 6-inch blocks under the legs at the head of your bed. Either way your head is elevated and can help put gravity to work for you.
- Know your food triggers and avoid them: Certain fruits like citrus, especially oranges and grapefruit seem to affect people. If you are one of those, avoid them. In general spicy foods and fatty foods affect most people who have GERD or who are prone to heartburn. If that’s your trigger, eat milder versions of the same food rather than giving it up. Coffee tea, carbonated drinks seems to be a strong trigger for most people with GERD, so limit or avoid consumption of the same. However, unless these are causing you acid reflux symptoms, you don’t have to avoid them. Different people have different triggers.
- De-stress: Very important. Do whatever it takes for you to De -stress! Listening to music, working out, spending time just chilling with my family works for me. So do whatever you need to and de-stress!
If all of this is simply not enough, consider taking an over-the-counter medication like Prevacid®24HR to treat frequent heartburn. Prevacid®24HR prevents acid that causes frequent heartburn for a full 24 hours.
I have a home-made version of a drink that works for me, my family and my clients, to helps soothe heartburn . It’s very easy to make and tastes quite nice. Skip the lemon if it’s one of your triggers and add some honey if you like it a little sweet !
I glass warm water + 1/4 tsp sodium bicarb + 1 tsp lemon juice + a pinch of ginger powder or freshly grated ginger.
Mix all this together and drink up Sodium Bicarb helps acid indigestion by neutralizing excess stomach acid. It works like an antacid ! Don’t overdo the Sodium bicarb or it can cause loose stools. This is a good drink to drink before the meal if you’re prone to heartburn.
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I’ll admit when I heard about the ‘Sugar Blocker’s Diet” where you can eat carbs like pasta and dessert and still have good sugar levels I was intrigued. So I read about it and am convinced that it’s quite sound ! This diet was developed by Rob Thompson, MD, a preventive cardiologist who used it to obtain control over his own diabetes. I like the principles so much I want to follow it myself. I am not diabetic yet, but have a strong family history ( both parents and grandparents) and had gestational diabetes with both my kids. As a result I do monitor my sugars and try to keep my weight under control. This is actually a great diet for anyone who’s diabetic, borderline diabetic, has a strong history or just want to prevent sugar spikes. It has 7 principles which I am going to describe very briefly, but if you want more details and recipes, you may want to buy the book. If you are already diabetic and on a plan , I would recommend you check with your physician. You can however follow the principles of the diet. They’re super easy and simple to follow.
Step 1 : Have a fatty snack 10 -20 minutes before your meal:
When you have a healthy fat snack before a meal you reduce after meal blood sugar spikes. You also remain full longer. Fat slows the digestion of any food ingested, so it will cause a steady spike in your blood glucose levels similar to fiber. Amt – a handful of nuts or 1/2 an avocado, 1 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 tbsp of flax oil, 1 tbsp of coconut oil or 1 tbsp of nut butter. Any of these should do the trick. A piece of cheese is alright too, but it cannot be low-fat cheese.
Step 2 : Start your meal with a salad:
The fiber in salad soaks up starch and sugar and carries it out of your system with minimum absorption. The trick is to get some high fiber vegs in your salad like beans, peas, vegetables with skin etc. If you cannot eat a salad eat some peas, beans or raw veggies. Fiber is an effective sugar blocker. As it passes through your intestines, it swells like a sponge and traps sugars from food and pulls it through the intestine.
Step 3 : Dress your salad with vinegar:
Vinegar is a magic ingredient which slows the breakdown of starch into sugar and lowers the Glycemic Index (GI) of a meal. The reason for this is the high acetic acid content which deactivates the enzyme amylase which turns starch into sugar. You can use vinegar in your salad as dressing, or add it to olive oil and use it as bread dip. You can just squirt it over veggies or any dish. It adds flavor to food. You can also just add a tsp to glass of water and drink it. Any kind of vinegar would have the same effect, but Apple cider vinegar actually tasted quite good with water and has some other benefits as well.
Step 4 : Eat vegetables that are lightly cooked or steamed:
When you eat partially cooked vegetables you digest them more slowly thus helping to block sugar. Eating raw is even better, but lightly cooked or lightly steamed veggies with a crunch to them are good too. A good tip is to roast or grill veggies.
Step 5 : Include protein with your meal:
When you eat protein with a meal you will not secrete as much insulin. A serving of protein eaten with a carbohydrate can reduce the subsequent blood sugar spike by 50 %. I experienced this myself when I had gestational diabetes and I was monitoring my sugars. I went to a veggie buffet and ate to my heart’s content ( healthy veggie food) and checked my sugars. They were quite high. Another time I had desert as part of the meal, but I had a nice piece of salmon in the meal and my sugars were fine. I always tell my clients if there ‘s one thing you must do as a diabetic, please eat protein with every meal. If you’re a vegan, it can be challenging. Read my post on getting optimum protein power from veggie sources.
Step 6 : Have a glass of wine with every meal:
The reason is that your liver will not produce as much glucose. This is one of the principles of the diet and while the reason for it seems quite sound, personally I would recommend a resveratrol supplement on a regular basis and the glass of wine as a dinner drink . If you’re alcohol sensitive, you could just take the resevertol supplement. Be mindful of cocktails made with sweetened mixers etc. Wine should always be taken with the meal and never alone for diabetics and check with your physician before you try this.
Step 7 : Eat Sweets as dessert only ( after the meal)
When sweets are eaten on an empty stomach, the sugars race directly into your bloodstream , but when eaten at the end of the meal they do not get absorbed as much and cause more steady spikes in blood sugar levels. If the dessert had some protein and fat in it, it will cause even less spikes. Cheesecake, milk based puddings and frozen yogurt are good choices.
Please note : These principles are a guide and are not in any way to replace the diet you may have been placed on as a diabetic. If on a regular diet you may want to check with your physician before making any changes. You can however follow these steps , esp Steps 1, 2 , 3, 4 and 5 to help keep your sugars steady while following your regular diet. Everyone basically will benefit from most of the steps in the sugar blocker’s diet !
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