The Power of a Hug

I remember growing up and being taught to not talk to strangers, let alone give them a hug and for good reason with the world we live in and all the violence we see happening to our children, but is that the best way? I don’t think we should force our kids to hug people, we need to teach them to trust their instincts, but we should teach them about the power of a “good hug”. I taught me kids early to give “good hugs”, to the people in our circle of friends and family. They are all grown up and they still give hugs. Life is about balance with wisdom. We as human beings need healthy and healing physical touch. Studies have shown that touch is essential to our well being, even for our mortality .

But touch is even more vital than this: babies who are not held and nuzzled and hugged enough will literally stop growing and-if the situation lasts long enough, even if they are receiving proper nutrition-die. SOURCE:

Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D. is a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. He is the Senior Fellow of The Child Trauma Academy and co-author of Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential—And Endangered.

Maia Szalavitz has published five books and written for The New York Times, Time magazine online, New Scientist, Psychology Today, and other major publications.

So here’s an experiment you may want to try and it may bring a bit of “Happy” into your life. Start a hug campaign in your home, church or community. I suggest to start some where you and the people around you will feel comfortable and open to this experiment of hugging.

Juan Mann, started a very public and controversial hug campaign, that impacted thousands of people. It was so powerful that authorities, banned his campaign. Juan went around and had people sign s petition and they had to remove the ban and the hugging party continued, Hugging is a big deal. Check out his video below and some reason why hugging is so good for us :

Juan Mann Hugging Campaign

Here’s a few reasons that may inspire you

to hug more:

Scientific research shows that a good hug, meaning at least 20 seconds is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin, also known as the “love drug”, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Here’s how a good hug resulting in oxytocin flow affects you:

• It lowers your blood pressure, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.

• It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone), enabling a higher quality of sleep.

• It can increase your social connections and a sense of belonging.

Studies have also shown that couples who hug more are more likely to stay together. Some reports have even shown hugs can reduce pain. So let’s get the hugging party started. SPREAD THE LOVE. 💕

Spa Day ~ The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon

I am truly a spa girl. I love taking time out from the busyness of the world and going to the spa and getting a little pampering. I had the opportunity to enjoy a media day at The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon. I was very excited, but since I go to so many spas. I was wondering what will be different about this one. When I walked in the spa, I was immediately greeted by their staff and surrounded by all natural and organic products. I took a deep breath and was filled with this beautiful calming aroma of their Calming Woodhouse “Escape”, pulling me in to explore this natural French country inspired space with touches of nature perfectly placed .

As soon as I entered further, I was greeted by one of the owners Kelly Bachtell with the most gorgeous and pleasant smile and southern hospitality, she handed me a glass of champagne and delicious snacks accompanied by some yummy desserts.

We engaged in a conversation about why they opened up The Woodhouse Day Spa- Avalon, but we talked about me and my needs. I felt so encouraged about how she was interested in knowing who I was and what interest me.

I love that it’s owned by a married couple, that’s a residents of the community. They decided to open up the spa to give their community a place to come and unwind and feel at home at the same time. I know I felt like that, at home, from the decor to the warm staff, but especially from the owners Justin and Kelly Bachtell.

The Woodhouse Day Spa- Avalon officially opens March 12th, 2018 with 18 treatment rooms and offers over 50+ different services, from massages, body treatments and something we all need sleep treatments. But here’s what makes them different in my opinion and spa jet-setter, lol. 💕

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y offer Shirodhara – Shirodhara is an intensely healing and relaxing technique that begins with lavender essential oil combined with warm, nutritive oils that flow onto the center of your forehead from a beautiful copper vessel to release mental tensions and mind chatter. A soothing head and scalp massage follows to continue this uplifting experience and encourage a state of wellbeing. It’s a traditional Indian technique that I have been looking for in spas for years and The Woodhouse Day Spa-Avalon is bringing to us. Please check out their website and book an appointment today for an incredible day of relaxation and a moment to just unplug . The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon

Five things you can do to stay on track for the New Year

 

Today I am talking about “food for the soul”, but will be back to our regularly scheduled food program tomorrow. 🙂

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Does your surroundings reflect your goals?

Did you know According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Source: Business Insider

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Drink more water. Keep a filled water bottle next to your bed at night. A great reminder in the morning to drink up.

Wow! Really?  That means we only have a couple of weeks before most of us stop going to gym, our closets look like a hurricane hit them, and that plant based “What the Health” diet, has us pulling up to the closest fast food chain. LOL. 🙂 Okay all kidding aside, staying true to our goals can be pretty challenging,  if you do not start off with the right intention, as well as, giving ourselves a bit of grace and lots of support. I wanted to share on this blog a few things I do to keep myself focus and on track. It’s not going to cost you tons of dollars, maybe not even a dime, just a moment to breath, slow down and make some conscious decisions . So, here we go, are you ready! This is a big one!

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Keep your goals visible
  1. Be determine to not give up! Keep trying!
  2. Do not be so hard on yourself. Remember this is a journey and along the way we have to pace and reset. Give yourself grace and take time out to go back and look at your goals. Ask yourself a few questions: How is this going? How is this making me feel? Do I need to reevaluate a few things or maybe change this goal to something more realistic? We can easily be pumped up by the beginning of the year with all the it’s “A New Year, so you much become a New You” talk. There’s nothing wrong with growing in all areas of our lives, but do it with lovingkindness.
  3. Make sure you have encouragement around. Get a goal buddy, or join a Groupme, an amazing app where you can find like minded individuals, moving in the same flow of energy as yourself.
  4.  Set yourself up to win. I have throughout my home mantras, affirmations and positive words to remind me of my goals. My fridge, pantry and counters, reflect my goals for healthy eating.  My yoga mat is laid out in my yoga space, so I can see it. I put my water jug on the side of my bed every night, so I can make sure I drink my water as soon as I get up.
  5. Reward yourself appropriately. If it’s about eating healthy, do not reward yourself with a bucket of ice cream, maybe reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of shoes, and if you want the ice cream or cake, just a  few bites and PLEASE enjoy it. How we feel about food affects how we digest our food, so be happy eating that cake.

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A Bonus Tip:

Stay positive, making goals can be so much fun! It allows us to open up our minds to all the possibilities out there waiting for us. We get to try new things, connect with people moving in the same direction and possibly change our lives for the better.

YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂

Vegan Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup with Spicy Chickpeas

It is sniffle season and we all are looking for ways to keep the yuckies away. I love to use food to help my family stay healthy and to get us back on our feet when the household is being raided by a stubborn cold.  My go to is a good clean, healing soup. I have a few on my blog that you can try during the allergy and cold season. They taste delicious and just might do the trick to get you and your family back on your feet. The only soup that is purely medicinal is my For Cold Season ~RED soup  . A few other tips during the cold season you may want to try:

Vegan Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup

 

  1. Drink plenty of clean fluids, like water, herbal teas and veggie broths.
  2. Get plenty of rest, when your body needs it.
  3. Get a little sunshine, Vitamin D does a body good. Light walks helps get circulation moving and helps removes mucus from the body.
  4. Do a little gentle yoga and deep breathing.
  5. Eat salads everyday.
  6. An apple will keep the doctor away and  few oranges. Fuel up with these fruits, because they are loading with vitamin C and fiber.

I have several soup recipes on the blog, so please click on the links below and try them out. Here’s to a speed recovery, so you can Set the Table with Love.

Spicy Garlic and Onion Soup ~ Thy medicine

S3 ( Smoothies, Salads and Soups) For A Happy Healthy Summer

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

Vegan Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup

VEGAN COCONUT CURRY SWEET POTATO SOUP
• 1 small white onion, diced
• 2 cloves garlic minced
• 1 large sweet potato, cubed
• 2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
• 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/4 tsp cumin
• 1/4 tsp garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• Pinch of nutmeg
• 3/4 tsp sea salt + 1/2 tsp pepper
• 3 cups coconut milk (full fat) and 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth

 

DIRECTIONS:
In a large pot over medium heat put 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in the pot.  Add the onions. Cook for a few minutes and then add garlic and stir.
Season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and stir. Add sweet potatoes, add all the spices.
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. To help pull out the oils from the spices.
Add 1/4 tsp more salt and pepper and the coconut milk and 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth. Then cover.
Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes more.
At the end of 25 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then puree using a blender. Transfer back to the pot, and allow to simmer for 3 minutes to thicken on low heat. Serve in a bowl with cilantro and spicy sautéed chickpeas. Enjoy!  Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and the freezer for a month.

 

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Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Today on my Facebook Live video, I talked about eating Antioxidant Powerhouse foods.  Here’s the deal, we get these list of foods to eat, and then what?  How do we convert them into delicious and balancing meals? Well no worries, I got you. Today I made a Spaghetti Squash Bowl using foods high in antioxidants. So, what’s an antioxidant?

“Antioxidants include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. You can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, and teas.” Source: WEBMD. 

Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries

I truly believe, our well being is in the foods we eat and drink. This recipe is loaded with vitamin C, E, beta carotene and flavonoids. It’s very simple, healthy and above all, super delicious! You can switch out some of the ingredients to truly make this recipe your own. Instead of lentils you can use chickpeas, instead of spaghetti squash, use butternut squash. The possibilities are endless. But, before we get into the recipe, let me share with you a list of delicious super antioxidant foods you might want to try incorporating in your menu this week and some reasons why you should eat them:

 

  • Slower signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain
  • Healthier, more youthful, glowing skin
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Detoxification support
  • Longer life span
  • Protection against heart disease and stroke
  • Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia
  • Reduced risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Antioxidants are also added to food or household products to prevent oxidation and spoilage Source: Dr. Ox

Antioxidant Powerhouse List:

  1. Dark Beans
  2. Dark Chocolate
  3. Small Red Beans ( adzuki)
  4. Pecans
  5. Red Grapes
  6. Apples
  7. Plum
  8. Extra Virgin Olive oil
  9. Blackberries
  10. Winter Squash
  11. Carrot
  12. Raspberries
  13. Sweet Potatoes
  14. Black Beans
  15. Kiwi
  16. Green Tea
  17. Clove
  18. Butternut Squash
  19. Sweet Cherries
  20. Kale
  21. Blueberries
  22. Cacao Powder

Spaghetti Squash Bowl Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2  tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup sprouted lentils
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 mini red, orange and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4  cup chopped cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice juice
  • salt salt and black pepper to taste
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
Antioxidant Powerhouse Spaghetti Squash Bowl with sprouted lentils, kale, sweet and smoky pecans and sunflower seeds, dark cherries, and cranberries
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To prepare the spaghetti squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut off the tip-top and very bottom ends of each spaghetti squash. Stand the squash upright on a stable surface and slice through it from top to bottom to divide it in half.
  2. Use a large spoon to scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds and discard them. Drizzle each squash half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub it all over the inside and outside of the squash, adding more oil if necessary. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the interiors of the squash, then place them cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-40, until the interiors are easily pierced through with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the chopped kale over a medium heat. Add a tbs of olive in a sauté and chopped kale, a little sea salt and stir.  Cook the kale until it has withered just a bit, you want it to still have some crunch, so about 2 minutes on medium heat.  Remove from heat and set aside. In another sauté pan, add the nuts, honey, paprika and a pinch of sea salt over a medium heat.  Stir and allow the nuts and seeds to heat up, for about a minute, Remove from heat and add to a bowl, so they can harden.
  4. Once the squash is done, remove with from the oven using oven mittens.  Being to assemble the bowls, use a fork to  remove most of the squash, add spaghetti squash to a bowl. Add a little olive to the spaghetti squash, then add the kale, chopped peppers, some of the nuts and seeds, set a few aside as a garnish, add the cherries, cranberries, fresh basil, and orange zest. Toss and drizzle some of the juice from the orange over everything and a little more olive oil, if desired. Add the mixture into the spaghetti squash bowls and garnish with the remaining nuts and seeds. Enjoy.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potatoes in red wine with toasted quinoa and almonds

Thanksgiving is next month and I am always thinking about what will I do differently this year. Then I remember that I go out of town each year and visit my family, so it’s more like what will I do differently for Christmas this year. Lately, for the past 3 years I have been doing a French country inspired Christmas dinner, but I want to switch it up a bit. I want to do more of a vegetarian theme dinner. I know my boys, they will not have that at all, but I will incorporate more plant-based recipes this year. I always add a new vegetarian plant based recipe each year and less meat, getting closer and closer to my vegetarian Christmas dinner, more and more. LOL.

This particular dish came about when I was thinking of my past made coursed for Christmas, usually I like to do a Beef Bourguignon, but if I could do a take on that recipe using vegetables.  Now this recipe is not like Beef Bourguignon, at all but the richness of it from the wine and the balsamic vinegar, reminded me so much of the dish. It could easily be a main course for vegan or vegetarian table.

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potato in red wine 

I toasted quinoa and almonds to add some protein and texture, some cranberries and lemon zest and you have a deliciously decadent, rich, and refreshing dish for Thanksgiving or any time of the Fall and Winter season.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I did today. You can add walnuts, or any other nut your prefer, instead of almonds. I had almonds and hand and I believe in using what you have.

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potato in red with toasted quinoa and almonds

Ingredients:

1 medium butter squash, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces

1 pound brussels sprouts, peeled and halved

3 medium purple sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions

2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced

1 tbsp sea salt, or taste

1  1/2 tbsp Harissa seasoning, adjust to your heat preference

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Garnish: Toasted Quinoa, Toasted Nuts, Cranberries and Lemon Zest

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sweet Potato in red wine with toasted quinoa and almonds

Directions:

Preheat the oven 375.

In a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add the oil and chopped veggies and sea salt. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic. Add the Harissa and brown sugar Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and vinegar.

Place the cast iron skillet in the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes until the vegetables are brown and a fork can go through the vegetables easily.

Toasted Quinoa recipe: Quinoa two ways ~ Toasted and Roasted

For Toasted Nuts,  just add nuts in a non stick pan on medium heat and allow to toast until you can smell the nuts aroma, remove from heat, be careful not to burn them.

Once cooked add the vegetable in a beautiful bowl top with toasted quinoa, nuts, cranberries and lemon zest.

 

 

 

Beautiful Energy Food ~ Roasted Beets with Zucchini and Kale

I love food.  I also love feeling and looking great. Eating healthy for me is essential. I am kidney transplant survivor, so how I eat makes a difference in my health.  This Roasted Beet dish, is full of flavor, textures and nutrition. Here’s a few reasons you may want to try this simple recipe for yourself:

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Roasted Beets, Kale and Zucchini

Beets
Fight wrinkles and conditions the naturally with folate!
Prevents age-related macular degeneration with vitamin A and carotenoids!
Is also known to improve blood flow.

Kale
Boosts the health of your skin, because of it’s vitamin C content. Your skin contains collagen fibers, which are long strands of protein that form a network that holds your skin cells together. Vitamin C helps you make the collagen needed for skin strength.

Radishes
Keeps you hydrated.
With a high water content and lots of vitamin C as well as phosphorus and zinc, radishes are an excellent food for the tissues and can help keep your skin looking fresh and vibrant. Eat your thirst.

 

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Roasted Beets, Kale and Zucchini

Preheat oven 400.
Wash beets well. Peel the beets, slice them thinly into circles. Lay them on parchment paper,  salt to taste and drizzle with olive oil.

Clean the zucchini, slice them into circles as well. Place on parchment paper and salt to taste with a little olive oil.
Place in the oven cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until tender.  The zucchini will cook faster,  remove when done.

Sauté the kale. Add olive oil to a sauté pan. Add 1 cup of chopped kale, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sauté  for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
Clean and slice radishes, also into circles. Zest some lemon. Set everything to the side. Goat cheese optional.

Now, once the beets and zucchini is ready you can assemble on a beautiful white plate as you desire. I used a good store bought balsamic glaze to drizzle over the whole dish, but you can make your own.

TIPS ON PLATING
The key to pretty plating, as I learned from my mentor Alex Guranaschelli, on Food Network’s All Star Academy is know what your making, figure out what plate best fits your dish. How and where will you place each component of the dish on the plate?   Sketch it out, if you have to.

Enjoy Beautiful Energy Food and being creative.

How to Break “Fast” and Have more Energy

I love talking about food, nutrition, wellness and beauty. So, I thought that, I would share how my days usually go, that keeps me full of energy, balanced, looking and feeling my best. I learned a lot of this when I studied Holistic Nutrition and Medicine at Clayton College of Natural Health. How we break our fast, from the night before is very important . Eating a healthier, lighter diet and drinking plenty of fluids, helps cleanse and nourish the body gently, so you may have more energy and clarity throughout the day. What is happening, is we are flushing out built up mucous in the body, as we consume pure liquids, high fiber fruits and veggies, during the am.

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How to break a Fast

Here is my  sample of an Ideal Morning routine to cleanse the body, reduce inflammation, boost energy and jump start your day.

  • Wake up with the sun. Go to bed early enough to wake up without an alarm.
  • Sit quietly or lie up in bed, pray, meditate, deep breathing. Release any concerns or frustrations. Let things go. Visualize your day.
  • Pray, and I love reading  my bible and other spiritual books.
  • Drink 2 cups of purified water with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Yoga and deep breathing for 20-30 minutes.
  • Eat 1 or 2 pieces of fruit.
  • Go for a vigorous morning walk or weight training 30 minutes
  • Get ready for my day.
  • Eat a whole grain breakfast, I love cooked oats or quinoa.  Consume 30 – 60 minutes after the fruit.
  • Take my supplements.
  • In 1 or 2 hours, mid morning. a handful of nuts and/or seeds.

Now this depends upon any health issues you may have. So, ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER, BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW ROUTINE.

I am kidney transplant survivor and this works well for me, even when I have to p]0take medication.

I will share my Ideal Afternoon routine tomorrow, remember to always Set the Table with Love.

 

Purple Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Coconut Cream

I will make this blog, quick and sweet. But don’t get that twisted. The flavor will still be explosive. I will let the recipe do the talking. I have this recipe in an earlier blog, but I used butternut squash and regular sweet potatoes. I  decided with this recipe to use purple sweet potatoes, instead. Boy, I could not wait for this soup to be done, for one reason only,  outside of tasting it, the color. Purple soup! Yes! Purple soup. 

Vegan Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Remember to Set the Table with Love. 

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Vegan Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet purple potato, peeled and small cubes

1/2 cup onions, peeled

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp thyme leaves

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 cup vegetable broth or more for consistency

1 tbsp maple syrup

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Coconut Maple Cream

1/2 cup canned coconut milk, you want the cream part of the milk. Refrigerating the coconut milk will make it more solid.

1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

In large saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil.  Add purple sweet potatoes. Stir and cook for 10 minutes or more, until soften. Add onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add fennel, thyme and spices. Stir.  Add vegetable broth. Turn up heat and allow to come to a boil. Turn off the heat and remove the pot and allow the soup to cool down, before adding to the Vitamix.

Prepare Coconut Maple Cream.

In a food processor add coconut cream, maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth.  Do not over process the coconut cream, where it liquifies. You want it to be smooth like a whipped cream.  Place in a bowl and set in the fridge.

Once the soup has cooled down.  Add the soup to your Vitamix or blender. Blend until smooth. Add the tbsp of maple syrup and blend.  If the soup is too thick add a little more vegetable broth. Taste it for seasonings. Add more sea salt or pepper, to taste.

Add the soup back into a sauce pan to heat up. Heat the soup up on medium heat, while constantly stirring. Remove from heat. Serve immediately in your favorite soup bowl. Add the coconut maple cream in the middle of the soup and garnish with thyme leaves.

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

I love soup, but my best friend Kristina is a souper fan of it! Hee Hee. I made a funny, get it souper fan! Like I played on words. Oh okay… Back to the soup.

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

So I am on this soup kick, since it’s getting colder outside.  Yesterday, I made a purple sweet potato soup.  I will post that recipe later on today.  It was creamy, buttery, spicy and delicious and it’s vegan!  I wanted something, broth based today. I picked up my son’s cold and broth based soups are excellent for cleansing the body.

I added ginger in this recipe and it works very well. I topped the soup with a pistou. Pistou is the French version of Italian pesto, except it doesn’t have pine nuts in it. It made an excellent garnish for the carrot soup, it gave it some freshness. I also used lemon zest on top of the pistou, to break up the fat a little, from the olive oil. I hope you will enjoy this recipe, as much as I did today.

Remember to Set the Table with love.

Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou
Tri Color Carrot and Lentil Soup with Pistou

Ingredients:

3 small to medium, tri color carrots ( purple, orange, white or yellow) , chopped, same size

1/2 cup onions, chopped

2 small garlic cloves, chopped

1 small thump size ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp garlic and herb seasonings, No salt

1/2 cup lentils

4 cups vegetable stock

pinch of turmeric

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Pistou

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, no stems.

Garnish with lemon zest ( optional )

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions. Stirring, 5 minutes, until soften. Add in carrots and garlic. Cook for 2 -3 minutes.  Add in a pinch of sea salt, black pepper and garlic seasonings. Add in lentils and stir everything together. Cook for 3 minutes. Constantly stirring.  Add in vegetable broth. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover saucepan, allow to cook for 20- 30, minutes, until lentils are tender. Once cooked, remove from heat. Serve in bowls and top with pistou and lemon zest.

Prepare the Pistou. Blend or process garlic, olive oil and basil in small processor, until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt. Transfer into a small bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Serve over top the soup or spread on a baguette.