Veggie Minestrone Soup

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With the weather warming up now, I wanted to get in a few last hearty fall/winter soups in, so I whipped out the slow cooker and made this delicious non-traditional Veggie Minestrone Soup.  I got the idea for minestrone soup from the following pin

Crockpot-Minestrone-Soup-FamilyFreshMeals.com-The-best-crockpot-minestrone-soup

It was a dead link, but the idea sounded great.  Mine is much less traditional as it doesn’t have noodles, bean, or tomatoes.  However, don’t let that make you think it isn’t full of flavor, because it. Is. Delish!  Because of all the healthy ingredients in this soup, it has some of the following health benefits!

  • promotes a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function
  • boosts the immune system
  • cancer prevention
  • good for digestion
  • heart healthy
  • regulates blood pressure

As with all of my soup recipes, this packs a major nutritious punch!  Best part is it’s slow cooker, so SUPER easy to make!!!

VEGGIE MINESTRONE SOUP

Ingredients

  • 2 diced onions
  • 2 diced celery stalks
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 small broccoli bunches, cut into small florets
  • 20 basil leaves
  • 10 oz. frozen green beans
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • sea salt to taste
  • shredded goats milk cheddar or cheese of your choice for topping (optional)

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Directions

1.) Chop all your vegetables and put all ingredients, except the cheese, into the slow cooker.

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2.) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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3.) Ladle into a bowl, season with sea salt, and top with shredded cheese if desired, then serve.

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Enjoy! 🙂

WATERCRESS CAULIFLOWER SOUP

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Watercress is one of my favorite foods, and I’m always baffled as to why it doesn’t get way more attention than it does.  Watercress comes out on top of nearly every ranking of super foods, beating out Kale, Spinach, and many other incredibly nutritious foods.  The other day I was on Pinterest, and I came across this pin:

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It’s about a study done that gave watercress a perfect score of 100 for it’s nutritional value, putting it on top of yet another list of super foods.  It beat out 41 other super foods in this particular study.  Kale came in 15th in this particular study to give you a frame of reference.  You see why I am always a bit confused as to why this tasty green doesn’t get more attention?  Well, I am giving it the attention it deserves in this post!  I’m going to list 30 health benefits of watercress – yup, THIRTY!  After that, I’m going to share a delicious soup recipe that makes for a great way to incorporate this perfect veggie into your diet, so make sure to stick around thill the end!

TOP 30 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATERCRESS

  1. Improves cognitive power and prevents cognitive decline due to aging. This is due to it’s high folate content.
  2. Helps to regulate thyroid function.  Watercress is high in iodine, which is essential for proper thyroid function.  This is where watercress really shines in contrast to Kale – studies have shown that Kale can actually have a negative affect on thyroid function and cause hypothyroidism.
  3. Natural cure for depression. This is again due to it’s high folate content
  4. Excellent for aiding in detoxing the liver making it a fantastic natural cure for a hangover. Watercress contains specific enzymes that possess liver detoxifying and cleansing properties. That along with it being a natural diuretic can help to prevent damage to your liver.
  5. Aids in keeping the colon cleansed and toxin free.  The diuretic properties that watercress has aids in detox by enabling the colon to be cleansed by pushing toxins out of the whole body.
  6. Great for diabetics.  Watercress is low in fat, calories, cholesterol, and sodium levels.  It also has the power to regulate the insulin level and glucose in the blood, preventing fluctuations in the blood sugar levels in diabetics.
  7. Strongly Anti-inflammatory. Watercress has natural anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin C making it great for those with inflammatory conditions.
  8. Great for the Gallbladder.  Studies have shown that watercress can prevent the formation of gall stones as well as remedy existing gallstones.  This is due to the high water content of watercress along with it’s detoxifying properties which help the body to rid itself of toxins that would otherwise hinder gallbladder functioning.
  9. Great for people with anemia.  Watercress contains high amounts of iron.  It also contains high amounts of vitaminC, and the vitamin C enables the body to absorb the iron properly.  This makes this vegetable great for preventing and aiding in treating iron-deficient anemia.
  10. Good for your teeth.  This is due to watercress’ calcium content.
  11. Eases diarrhea.  Full of fiber, watercress can aid in easing diarrhea, balance gut flora, improve digestion, and give your metabolic activities a healthy boost.
  12. Great for weight management. One serving of watercress is just 18 calories, and on top of that, it aids in the functioning of the digestive system allowing you to absorb nutrients more properly and completely.  Waterccress also contains amino acids that will help you to feel full after eating it.
  13. Great for cardiovascular health.  Watercress is abundant with lutein, the antioxidant carotenoid that has the potential to prevent the onset of coronary artery disease and heart attacks.
  14. Antibiotic properties.  Studies have shown that when watercress is eaten on a regular basis, it can aid the body in fighting various fungal and bacterial infections.
  15. Antiviral properties.  Watercress has strong anti-viral and immune boosting properties making it effective in fighting the common cold, flu, cough, and even bronchitis.
  16. Good for the digestive system.  Watercress contains plenty of chlorophyll which contains enzymes that support and stimulate the functioning of the digestive system.
  17. Good for the bones.  Watercress is a good source of vitamins K, C, and A, as well as minerals calcium, magnesium, and manganese. These vitamins and minerals help to maintain bone strength and density.
  18. Anti-carcinogenic properties.  Watercress is a cruciferous vegetable.  The antioxidants and chlorophyll in watercress help combat free radicals that cause oxidative damage.
  19. Cures scurvy and bleeding gums.  This is due to the high content of vitamin C in watercress.
  20. Good for your eyes.  Watercress contains a lot of  Vitamin A, which plays a huge role in maintaining good eye health and preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  21. Immune boosting.  The vitamin C in watercress stimulates and strengthens the immune system.
  22. Treats inflammatory skin conditions.  Watercress aids in treating skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.  It purifies your blood from within easing inflammation and redness from these conditions. 
  23. Promotes hair growth.  Since watercress helps to balance hormones and contains high amounts of vitamin A, it promotes hair growth.
  24. Prevents hair loss.  Watercress keeps the scalp hydrated and free from skin infection.  In turn, it prevents hair loss.
  25. Great for anti-aging.  This is due to the high content of vitamins C and A.
  26. Soothes skin.  The soothing and cooling nature of watercress gives relief from itching and burning skin conditions, such as eczema. It can also be used as a natural remedy for sunburns.
  27. Great for scalp health.  Zinc and sulfur in watercress help to keep the scalp moisturized and conditioned as well as prevent infections.  This prevents dandruff and a dry scalp.
  28. Prevents skin cancer.  Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from sun overexposure and skin cancers.
  29. Natural cold remedy.  The vitamin C in watercress along with it’s antiviral properties make it a powerhouse for fighting the common cold.
  30. Aphrodisiac properties.  This is due to the zinc and iron content of watercress.

Phew!  THIRTY health benefits of one single food, and there are more that aren’t mentioned here!  I’m beginning to wonder if there is anything this little vegetable can’t do! If you don’t already eat watercress, it’s easy to see why it is a great idea to start to incorporate it into your diet!  Here is an incredibly tasty soup recipe that contains watercress. It’s a simple soup, but packs tons of flavor and creaminess making it a fantastic and yummy way to introduce watercress into your life!

WATERCRESS AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cups watercress
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

1.) In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and let cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the coconut flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and broth.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.  Add the watercress – it will wilt quickly.

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2.) Transfer the soup to a food processor and process on high till smooth.

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3.) Add sea salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

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SO yummy and the health benefits are hard to match as you can see from the list above!  Enjoy! 🙂

Sources:

SUPER HEALTHY SPLIT PEA SOUP

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When I was growing up, every single halloween, my mom would make me and my sister have a big bowl of split pea soup before going trick or treating.  I am extremely blessed to have a mom who raised me eating very healthy foods – of course, I didn’t know that at the time, and like most kids, I wanted junk food, but I am SO thankful now!  Filling us up on healthy food helped to prevent us from overdosing on trick or treat candy later (even though we still usually overdid it just a bit :-/ ).  Split pea soup is perfect for this as the split peas are legumes and contain tons of fiber which is very filling and satisfying!  You can see some of the other health benefits of split peas on the following pin:

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  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Reduces sulfite sensitivity
  • Improves heart health
  • Promotes weight control
  • Heals digestive disorders

Well, I guess it’s true when they say “Mother knows best”, because my mom was spot on with giving us split pea soup prior to trick or treating!  It’s SO good for you!  Not only that, but it is now a tradition for me to have split peas soup every halloween, so she instilled a healthy tradition in me!  (Side note – in case you can’t tell – I LOVE my mom!)

So, with halloween being this Friday, I am going to share my split pea soup recipe with you all!  It’s really easy and extremely good for you.  It’s also really tasty – so that’s a plus! 😉

SUPER HEALTHY SPLIT PEA SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups dried split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped carrots
  • 2 cups of chopped celery
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • sea salt

Directions:

1.) Chop your onions, carrots and celery and set aside.

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2.) Rinse and pick over your split peas.  Set aside.

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3.) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes till the onions begin to sweat.

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4.) Add the broth, water, carrots, celery, garlic powder, oregano, bay leafs, and parsley to the pot.  Bring to a boil.

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5.) Once the pot has come to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer, partially covered, for 75-90 minutes.  Stir every 15 minutes or so.

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6.) When cooked to desired consistency, add the lemon juice and sea salt (to taste).  Ladle into bowls and serve.

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Feel free to start a tradition of your own with this soup – it makes for a delicious tradition! Enjoy! 🙂