Spiced Carrot Soup

Delicious and easy recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma:

Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp paleo cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place wire rack over baking sheet.
  2. Lay prosciutto on wire rack. Cook in oven until crisp, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  3. Over low heat, melt cooking fat and saute garlic and onion until tender, approximately 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Increase to medium heat. Add carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add curry powder, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, approximately 1-2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Increase to high heat. Add chicken stock and bring soup mixture to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
  8. Carefully add soup mixture to Vitamix and blend on variable speed until smooth.
  9. Pour soup into bowls and crumble crisped prosciutto (cooled to room temperature) on top.
  10. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro.

Recipe Notes

The Williams-Sonoma recipe uses a soup maker & blender. I used a combination of a dutch oven and my vitamix. Be cautious if transferring to a conventional blender and read the user guide. Many blenders will not respond well to hot liquids (i.e., the lid will explode off sending hot liquid all over your kitchen).

I assume the soup would still taste awesome if made with vegetable broth and without the prosciutto (vegetarian style), but it would lack protein.

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Homemade Almond Butter

Almond butter is a staple in our household. Whether for a snack with apples, bananas, or celery or as a necessary ingredient in Coach Sarah’s paleo brownies, almond bread, or almond banana, almond butter is constantly disappearing from our pantry.

Here’s another thing: store-bought almond butter is EXPENSIVE – as in $10 or more per jar! Oh, and be careful, not all almond butter is just almonds – some have added oils, salt, or other unnecessary ingredients.

What’s a girl to do? Make her own (thank you, Vitamix). Although raw almonds are also expensive, I find that they are usually cheaper than almond butter (by quite a few dollars).

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw almonds

Directions

  1. Pour almonds into Vitamix and replace lid plug with tamper.
  2. Turn Vitamix on variable #1 and quickly move through each variable speed before setting to high.
  3. Use tamper regularly to move almonds (then almond meal) through blades and eliminate air pockets.
  4. Vitamix motor will make unhappy sounds but continue blending at high speed until blade churns through butter and movement is visible. This process should take no longer than 1 minute to 1:30 minutes. Immediately turn Vitamix off.

Recipe Notes

Do not blend on low; following Vitamix directions, move quickly through variable speeds and blend almonds on high speed. Blending at a low speed for a prolonged time will cause motor to overheat and shut off (and it may take as long as 20 minutes for the blender to cool down enough to be usable again)

If the blender does overheat before almond butter forms, do not worry. Just let it cool and start again. I will often pause when the container starts to steam from the heat and then start again until I get the desired, creamy consistency.

 

Vitamix Protein Smoothie

Last weekend’s trip to Whole Foods resulted in an item unexpectedly finding its way into my cart – a Vitamix! The additional $50 coupon offered by Whole Foods was enough to convince me that it was time to finally add a Vitamix to my kitchen. Since its arrival, the Vitamix has had quite a workout, and I will share successful recipes. The first (of, hopefully, many), below.

VitamixIngredients

  • 1 cup frozen mixed fruit
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 thick slice fresh pineapple (no peel, core OK)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to Vitamix.
  2. Replace lid plug with tamper.
  3. Turn Vitamix on and move from variable speed 1 through 10. Switch to high and blend until smooth, approximately 30 seconds. Use tamper as necessary to push ingredients into blades.
  4. Pour smoothie into glasses and enjoy!