Weight Watchers Fresh Vegetable Soup ♥

Today's new Weight Watchers recipe: The latest vegetable soup recipe, zero points for those who follow the Freestyle program. Unlike the other Weight Watchers soups, this one is made with all fresh vegetables! To my taste, it's best made a day ahead of time, perfect for those of us who meal prep, whose weeks are fueled by a big pot of soup cooked ahead of time.
"You sure make the produce department happy." So assessed the checkout person at the grocery store the day after New Years while ringing up my overflowing cart, one vegetable after another. I couldn't help but grin, because yes, I'm on a first-name basis with all the produce people. Sure enough, there were no fewer than a dozen different vegetables, enough unusual vegetables to send the typical checkout person scurrying for the break room.

Like millions of others, after the holidays, I was ready to lighten up, ready for the end of rich food, ready to quit the fixation on eating. And like so many who…

Sweet Potato Soup with Quinoa & Coconut Milk ♥

A hearty vegan soup, one to warm a body from the inside out. It's slightly sweet from the orange tubers we call sweet potatoes, slightly nutty from the grain-like seed called quinoa, slightly spicy from cayenne and chili powder, slightly cool from the coconut milk stirred in near the end. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Sweet potato soups can be, well, a little "sweet potato-y", too heavy, too starchy, too dense.

So I loved the idea of a recipe for sweet potato soup lightened with the healthy and protein-dense quinoa [pronounced KEEN-wah]. I feared the color and little doubt, the color is akin to what Nana, my grandmother on my mother's side, used to call the "dog's breakfast". But thanks to the cayenne and chili powder, the soup has a welcome kick that's smoothed and cooled by the coconut milk.

This soup, it's a winner.

"Just made this tonight, and it's really good!" ~ Anonymous
"We all (includin…

Healthy Habits & Win a Kitchen Scale

Happy New Year, vegetable lovers!
This year, oops, that would be last year, I turned New Years resolutions into 'healthy habits' adopted way last summer. One is a concept salad, my Quick 'n' Easy Raw Salad. (We just love these concept 'recipes', right? If you like the idea too, grab it and make it your own way!)

But first, what is your healthy habit? Or what healthy habit would you like to adopt in 2011? I'm giving away a kitchen scale, register to win at Kitchen Parade, my food column and home to seasonal, easy and healthy recipes made from real food without processed ingredients, where all new recipes include Weight Watchers old points and PointsPlus points, calorie counts and nutrition data.

Register to Win a Kitchen Scale!

Hoppin' John Soup ♥

For a double-dose of good luck in the new year, try a hearty soup version of Hoppin' John, the traditional food of "good fortune" in the American South. It's packed with lucky black-eyed peas and for extra measure, lucky collard greens too. Low carb and Weight Watchers friendly!
Now's The Time to Shop for Collard Greens!Check your grocery store this week: it'll be selling big bunches of collard greens, it's a promise. That's because greens, especially collard greens, are traditional for New Years' – who wouldn't mind a little more "green" in the prosperity department?! Hoppin' John is a traditional beans 'n' rice dish, so that makes this Hoppin' John in a soup bowl, with collard greens for good measure.

Soup for the Break Between Christmas and New Year'sHoppin' John Soup is a great soup for that long pause between Christmas and New Years, the one where we catch our breath and remember what the heavens must ca…

My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes
Hint: They're Not Just for Fries Anymore!

Finally! It's a veggie evangelist's dream come true, sweet potatoes named a food trend for 2011. In honor, I hereby present my best and favorite sweet potato recipes.
Finally, there's a food trend for vegetable lovers. And it's a vegetable that's found in every grocery store in the world (I'm betting) not an obscure plant grown every third year on a certain hillside in the far reaches of Outer Mongolia reachable only to people who trek in on yaks. And it's affordable not the price of an orthodontist visit. And yahoo, get this -- it's healthy! And maybe famous! Will 2011 be remembered as the Year of the Sweet Potato?

On Monday, Food News Journal (a great source of well-organized and timely food tidbits from both mainstream media and food blogs, best way to follow is via a free e-mail subscription) linked to Food Trend Predictions for 2011 from Tanya Steel at Epicurious. And right there, at #8, were "sweet potatoes". Yes, imagine sweet potatoe…

This Year, Let's Give Salads with Abandon: A Simple Dandelion Salad ♥

Today's holiday respite: A simple but elegant dandelion salad, a concept, not a prescription. The gift of a salad, let it soothe the stress of the season.
Shopping before the holidays, it's good to avoid the seasonal gift-buying trap. You know the one, it goes one for them, one for me. But a salad is a gift you can give yourself or gift wrap for those we love – this year, let's give salads with abandon!

But let's save the staid old every-day salads for another time, those are the socks and the screwdriver sets of gifts, appreciated but fast forgotten. Instead, let's imagine simple but splendid salads, perfectly dressed greens and a sprinkle of festive salad savories, as bright and enticing as the beribboned boxes beneath the tree. No shaking the salads!

It worked for me, a gift not soon forgotten. It was November not December and we were shopping for a birthday not Christmas. But there we were on a Friday night, hungry for supper but foraging the aisles of the Ta…

Healthy Red & Green Green-Bean Salad ♥

A heathy green bean "concept" salad for holiday buffets, potlucks and special meals, a pretty red and green salad that looks as festive as it is healthy. How healthy? Well, Weight Watchers, a full serving is just half a point using the old WW point system, the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus value is 1. (More on PointsPlus at the bottom of this page.) It's low carb, it's high in fiber – and naturally, it tastes great. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Around here, cookbooks spill off shelves, stack up on the floor, rest on the coffee table waiting for a look-see. Long-ago favorites take up shelf space in a guest room. The sentimental favorites are the church-style cookbooks of my grandmother's and mother's generation. I shake my head when paging through the so-called "salad" section. You know what's coming, right? All the recipes call for a box of Jello. A third call for cream cheese, a third for mayonnaise and the remaining third ge…