One of the ways that I try to make myself feel better overall is to eat better. For some reason, when I fill myself with beer, pizza and cupcakes, I don’t feel great in the morning. I have no idea why that may be. The cure, though, is to start eating simple, wholesome foods without greasy cheese or tons of processed ingredients. Not that I don’t love digging into a bag of candy or sharing a big plate of buffalo wings – believe me, there’s no where I’d rather be than in front of a plate of wings – but most of the time, I feel healthier and happier when I’ve got some vitamins and minerals in me. Enter Clean Slate, the new book from the editors at Martha Stewart Living. I’m a part of the Martha’s Circle network, along with a bunch of other really talented bloggers, and some of us were given the new book to take a look at and maybe try out some of the recipes. I have to say this with complete honesty – I love this cookbook. The recipes are easy, the ingredients are easy to find and the photos are lovely. Kramer and I ate from the cookbook for a week, and we both thought everything was tasty and approachable enough for simple weekday lunches and after work meals. I swear I am not being paid to promote this cookbook, I just loved it. My friends can attest to this, as they came over and found bookmarks on multiple pages, then proceeded to joke about how there’s no point in adding Post-Its to a book if I’m planning to just cook every single recipe. But I did it anyway, just to motivate myself to cook healthier in the new year – it’s still February, so I can say that, right?
Weekend breakfast, drinks with Travis, wine with quite the name and more pastrami on rye.
This Almond Chicken Soup was just what the doctor ordered. Its creaminess comes entirely from almond butter, not cream or actual butter. The ginger was perfect for this time of year, where you feel a little worse for wear, the collard greens added tons of fiber and vitamins, and the chicken and sweet potatoes made the soup filling and hearty. Kramer and I ate this for lunch for a few days at work before we gobbled it all up, and even my boss commented on how good it looked. I was especially excited about adding the almond butter to the broth. It made the soup have tons of body without being too thick, and added a lovely, aromatic element that I had never had in a soup before. Almonds are also rich in fiber and protein, so believe me, if you eat this at work at 12pm, you’ll still be feeling good around 3 or 4 when that mid-afternoon snack craving usually strikes. You can, of course, substitute spinach, kale or Swiss chard for the collard greens, but I appreciated their unique texture and the way that they wilted perfectly into the soup without getting soggy (although I think kale would also do this). Add a little coconut milk or red pepper flakes if you want to customize your soup, or maybe even use shrimp in place of chicken – I may go ahead and try this route next time around. However you cut it, I’m a fan of this whole almond soup idea and can’t wait to play with other ways to make it delicious.
Get your stock, onion, sweet potato and garlic in a pot and bring to a boil. Add your chicken, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Make your almond paste and set aside.
Add in your collards and your ginger, cook for another 5 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve hot with lime wedges.
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup smooth almond butter
- 1½ cups trimmed and roughly chopped collard greens (kale or Swiss chard would also work well here)
- 2 tablespoons peeled and finely minced ginger
- salt and pepper, to taste
- lime wedges, for serving
- In a large pot, combine your stock, onion, garlic and sweet potato and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and add in the chicken. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the almond butter and ½ cup of the hot stock until it becomes a thick paste. Set aside.
- Add in the collard leaves and minced ginger, and again, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or so. Stir in the almond butter paste. Season with salt and pepper, and taste. Add a little red pepper flakes, if you'd like some heat. Serve the soup hot with lime wedges.