Curried Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup

DSC_2031Creamy, fall-flavored soup is like a warm, sweater-y hug, isn’t it? For this soup, curry, sweet potatoes, carrots, and shallots are all that you need. It won’t take more than an hour to make, and just goes hand-in-hand with warm socks and friends. We had this soup for dinner tonight, right before carving pumpkins and drinking hot cider.

DSC_2035For the first time this year, we have the heat on tonight. I’m snuggled under a blanket with warm socks and leggings on–it’s supposed to get down into the low 40s tonight, and I kind of love it. I usually look forward to the weather turning cold–it means that Thanksgiving is close–but this year, it seems like it’s all happened just too fast. I feel like summer slipped by, and suddenly it’s nearly November and I don’t know why.

DSC_2044This soup is sort of like a remedy to that. It undeniable that fall is upon us, but with curried sweet potatoes and carrots, it’s okay. Because its creaminess comes from the pureed vegetables, the soup is totally vegan (minus the yogurt topping) and packed with veggie goodness–pretty well completely guilt-free.

Curried Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup
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Soup:

3 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 shallots, sliced

1 pound carrots, cut into ½ inch chunks

6 cups vegetable broth (use good quality broth, and be sure it’s low sodium)

2-4 teaspoons curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

Serve with pistachios, croutons,** and a swirl of Greek yogurt and olive oil

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat some canola, grapeseed or olive oil until shimmering. Cook the shallots until transparent and fragrant. Pour the cubed sweet potatoes and carrots into the pot along with the curry, salt, and pepper. Toss everything around, the pour in the vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

If you have an immersion blender, use that to purée the soup while still in the pot. If not, use a blender to purée the soup in batches. Return it to the pot and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve in bowls with homemade croutons, pistachios, Greek yogurt and olive oil.

**To make homemade croutons, cut a loaf of fresh or slightly stale bread into cubes (½ inch square), toss them with olive oil (and some grated parmesan!), then bake them at 350 degrees F for around 20 minutes or until crispy.

This soup freezes excellently; I usually put it into pint-sized mason jars and freeze them. It’s easy to grab one from the freezer and heat it up in the microwave at lunchtime. It’ll be as creamy the second time around!

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Juicing for Amateurs

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Let’s talk about juicing. But before you do that thing where you’re like, “Juicing? Not for me, no thanks,” just put that away and let’s talk. Juicing is a little earthy-crunchy, sure, but it’s also delicious and really absurdly good for you. You can pack the nutrients from some real powerhouse fruits and veggies into a glass and suck it down on the way to work/school/wherever you’re going, which is pretty cool! I hear you out there with your juice concerns, but stick with me. We’re gonna talk about three different juices that I think serve three different purposes. Also, basic info: all three are best served over ice and with a straw.

DSC_0365The first juice we’re making is Beet-Carrot-Apple-Orange-Lemon. That’s one small beet, three carrots, one green apple, one peeled orange, and one meyer lemon, cut in half. This juice is rich, velvety, and really great for breakfast. It’ll keep you full until lunch, no problem. It will also make you feel really, really good. I know that sounds like juicing mumbo-jumbo-hocus-pocus, but I’m for real. It’s easier to concentrate with this juice under your belt.

There are also a lot of substitutes available here. I usually add ginger to this one (just an inch of raw, un-peeled ginger), but I didn’t have any on hand today. You could add grapefruit, other kinds of apples, or even some spinach or kale to sneak in some other veggies. Also, herbs are good for juicing, and I say mint might be nice addition to this juice.

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We should stop here and talk about beet people. You either are a beet person or you’re totally not a beet person. If you are a beet person, you get it. Beets are wonderful. They’re earthy and sweet. They’re velvety and the most lovely color you’ve ever seen. I am a beet person. If you are also a beet person, you need to know about juicing beets. It’s a beet in a whole new way. A beet in a glass! Really, though, you should make this happen in your lives, beet people. (As for you non-beeters, I don’t know what to tell you.)

DSC_0368Up next, Kale-Cucumber-Apple-Lime-Parsley-Celery. This juice is a classic green juice. Vegetable-heavy with apple for sweetness, and parsley and lime to impart some flavor to otherwise water-heavy veggies like celery and cucumber. I like to drink this one after lunch during my three o’clock slump. It’s hydrating with a little extra kick of green-goodness.

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The substitutions here are endless. For the greens: spinach, mixed greens, arugula, swiss chard, romaine. Consider also cilantro, fennel, or even ginger. The parsley in this juice is really nice, but if cilantro is a big thing for you, it’s perfect here, too.

DSC_0372Last one: Apple-Blueberry-Blackberry-Lime. This one is just for fun. It’s delicious mixed with seltzer water and served over ice. Due to the blackberries, this juice is a little thicker than the others, and obviously sweeter. It’s a good treat after dinner, or maybe while you cook dinner. It’s best in smaller doses (lots of sugar) and can also be made with plenty of other fruits.

DSC_0399Strawberries? Pears? Really any fruit-heavy juice is good for this kind of juice. Also, don’t try to juice a banana. It’s not a thing. I mean, have you ever seen banana juice? Take a hint. It’ll just make a gommy mess in your juicer.

Okay, last thing. Juicers are really expensive. I’m currently using my mom’s, but I totally wouldn’t be able to buy one for myself. I’d try to borrow one or find a gently used one for cheaper before you took the big leap. It’s good to know what you like before you commit. Play around with lots of different things–even things you don’t think will be good together. I’ve made plenty of mistakes–the other day I tried some grapefruit/kale concoction that was truly revolting. You’ll get the hang of how to balance fruits and vegetables, and then you’ll be unstoppable!