Saturday, February 2, 2013

Living Healthfully: {Creative} Soul Food

Two weekends ago we hosted our second Creative Soul event focused on nourishing the mind, body and spirit.

Along with Toni from Food (Just Sayin'), I undertook the challenge of not just feeding but nourishing our guests with food not just cold-weather comfort food but also soul food.

Photo courtesy of Alita Maini.
As Toni and I spoke about preparing a menu for a large group of people, we had a few requirements:

the meal had to be heathy, moderately seasonal and absolutely delicious.

You might imagine that's no small task; but it was made possible by our gracious sponsor Whole Foods Market Deerfield, who provided ingredients for our meal!

So what does one make in the dead of January that fits all of the requirements of healthy, moderately seasonal and absolutely delicious? Glad you asked!

Photo courtesy of Alita Maini.

Our Creative Soul Menu:

  • Coffee from Julie’s Coffee and Fruited Water
  • White Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls topped with Flax & Poppyseed from Alley Side Bakery
  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Organic Vegetables
  • Chicken Curry Winter Stew over Organic Golden Rose Brown Rice
  • Mango Pudding topped with Organic Strawberry Sauce &  Tajin

Photo courtesy of Alita Maini.

We focused the bulk of our seasonal requirement on the main dish -- the winter stew --  by using local raised chicken and winter root vegetables.

The sweet potatoes and the turnips were absolutely perfect additions to the stew, making it hearty, filling and colorful!

And I learned from Toni that turnips actually taste a lot like regular old white potatoes while obviously giving different nutrients to the stew! Nice!

And, boy, was it a hit with our guests returning for seconds! Here's the Chicken Curry Winter Stew, which we served over whole grain brown rice, in all of its delicious glory.
Photo courtesy of Alita Maini.
Want to make it? Get the recipe at Food (Just Sayin')!

For a nutritious and tasty side dish, Toni and I used my trusty Vitamix to whip up a batch of roasted red pepper hummus and served it with a delectable array of veggies.

I love hummus for a few specific reasons: it's made with a generous portion of the heart-healthy fat, extra virgin olive oil, it's bursting with fresh flavors like garlic and red pepper and it's an simply extravagant tasting dish that almost always proves to be a crowd pleaser!

Photo courtesy of Alita Maini.
One important step I shared in making hummus was the importance of soaking beans in water for 4-8 hours and taking care to rinse them well before blending them into hummus.

Like with grains and nuts, soaking legumes is a way to mitigate the phytic acid, an anti nutrient that binds to minerals. Soaking maximizes nutrient density, which greatly aids in digestion!
Learn more about the importance of soaking grains, nuts and legumes at The Nourished Kitchen.

And then be sure to give the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe a whirl; Toni shared it with us here!

Photo courtesy of Alita Maini.
After our morning spent cooking, I sunk into the cozy couch satisfied. We knew by the second helpings, the conversation and the energy in the room that our meal didn't just nourish the bodies in the room but also the souls with our {Creative} soul food.

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