Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Winter weather calls for an easy, warming, home made bowl of soup. Sopa de Ajo is a delicious Mexican broth based soup that is satisfying and perfect anytime, but especially good when you feel a cold or flu coming on. The simplicity of this recipe, from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook, is the best part. Besides the peeling of a lot of garlic cloves, this slow cooker recipe is one of the easiest soups you will ever make.  I could use another bowl of it right now!

Sopa De Ajo

Serves 4

6 cups water
2 large heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
4 slices french or country bread, cut into cubes
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 ounces Mexican queso fresco
1 ripe tomato, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced, green part only
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Place the water and garlic in the slow cooker insert, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the garlic is tender.

Add the bread to the broth, replace lid and allow to soften for about 10 minutes, then puree the garlic and bread using a handheld immersion blender. Add the olive oil and salt to taste.

To serve, place some of the avocado, oregano, cheese, tomato, and green onions in the bottom of each bowl, then ladle in the broth over the ingredients. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of cilantro.


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KooKoo for Coconut Oil

Everyone knows about the amazing benefits of coconut oil right? Not necessarily. Some folks are still not on board the all natural movement. The masses run to the drugstore to purchase chemical laden products to cure every day problems. My family has been using coconut oil for years. Even though this oil has been trending recently, some people still don't realize it's unbelievable virtues. Mother Nature makes the most outstanding natural "products" and below are my top 5 favorite uses for this delightful oil. If the flavor of coconut is not to your liking (I'm sorry) you can still reap the benefits by using it in other ways in your daily life.

Keep in mind that coconut oil is a solid when it's temperature falls below 76°F, and it is a liquid at temperatures above 76°F. Living in Southern California, my jar of coconut oil is generally always in liquid form, which makes it easier to use. To quickly liquify your solid oil, just zap it the microwave for a few seconds. Use organic virgin coconut oil, which is cold-pressed and unrefined, for the greatest health benefit. 

Here is why I'm KooKoo for Coconut Oil

Natural Beauty Treatments:
• Coconut oil is an inexpensive conditioner for your hair and excellent when used as an overnight hair treatment. If you're short on time, try rubbing the oil into the ends of your hair before shampooing to keep your locks from drying out. It can also be used sparingly for an easy hair finisher that adds shine and tames those frizzy flyaways.
• The same holds true for your face and body. Use coconut oil as a night time moisturizer on your face, neck and décolleté several times a week. However because it's an oil, it does not work well under makeup. For daytime use try rubbing a little coconut oil onto your face and neck after cleansing, let it absorb for 5-10 minutes, then wipe off excess with a clean dry washcloth and proceed with your normal day cream and sunscreen. It can also be used as a make up remover.
 For strong nails and healthy feet, rub coconut oil into nails, toe nails and on the bottoms of your feet. Because coconut has natural antifungal properties, it's a good idea to apply in between your toes and on your toe nails to prevent or treat a common form of nail fungus or athletes foot.
 Whiten your teeth naturally without damaging the enamel by mixing baking soda and coconut oil together, then gently brushing it on your teeth. You can also rub coconut oil directly onto your gums daily. Coconut oil destroys the bacteria that causes bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. 

Internal Health - Good health starts from the inside, so naturally a spoonful a day can go a long way. It can fight off fungus in your intestines, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and increase energy without added weight gain. Despite the high calories of coconut oil, the medium chain triglycerides in this oil are easily burned, can increase metabolism and is not stored as fat. 

First Aid - The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil make it good for disinfecting cuts, soothing rashes, bug bites, sunburn and promoting the healing of wounds.

Pet Care -  The same benefits that human experience using coconut oil can also help your pets. Most dogs and cats love the taste of coconut oil and will happily lap up a spoonful. Or you can try putting a spoonful in their food. It's great for their coats and dry skin but also helps with digestion, joint health and can improve their breath! It's also useful when applied topically to hot spots and can kill fleas if lightly brushed into their fur. However, be careful because the oil can get on your furniture if you use too much.

In the Kitchen: Virgin coconut oil is unrefined and has a lower smoke point (350°F) than refined coconut oil, which means that it is not meant for high temperature cooking. It can be used for a light sauté but keep in mind it gives your food a coconut flavor. Try using coconut oil on toast in place of butter and in coffee instead of creamer. It's great mixed into smoothies or in your morning oatmeal. My favorite use for coconut oil in the kitchen is in baking and candy making. Here are links to some of my favorite sweet treat recipes: Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Hearts of JoyCacao Coconut Healthy HeartsChocolate Chip Cookies, and Carrot Cake

I always recommend doing your own research to educate yourself on natural products. There are many other health conditions that benefit from the use of coconut oil, so if you have a particular condition, look it up and see if coconut oil is for you.

Don't forget that coconut flesh, coconut milk and coconut water are also wonderful additions to your diet. 

To our health!

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Love Potion - Cherry Berry Citrus Zinger

This Cherry Berry Citrus Zinger is guaranteed to bring a smile to anyones face. Four simple ingredients make this "Love Potion" a sweet, tart, delicious, healthy drink. Smooth and creamy, with no added just might induce feelings of happiness.

Cherry Berry Citrus Zinger

Serves 2

1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1-2 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk

Chill all ingredients prior to blending. Put into blender as listed and puree until smooth and creamy. Garnish with mint if desired. 

Enjoy + Smile.

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Healthy Hearts

Nothing says I love you more than heart healthy dark chocolate. Loaded with antioxidants, these natural superfood treats will make your body and soul happy! Made with LOVE and pure ingredients, these easy to make chocolates are guilt free and delicious. If you like a little texture try making Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Almond Hearts of Joy or keep it simple with my Cacao Coconut Hearts


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My Holiday Favorites

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée is a decadent crowd pleasing dessert. It's simple to make and can chill in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When your ready to serve, sprinkle sugar on top and let your guest torch their own ramekins to caramelize the sugar. Makes a great gluten free alternative to pumpkin pie. 

Have a lot of hungry people staying for the holidays? Impress your guests, by whipping up this ultra simple Apple & Walnut Breakfast Bread Pudding the day before. The next morning simply pop it in the oven and 45 minutes later, your friends and family will be singing your praises.

Make your loved ones a hearty and healthy breakfast with My Sweet Potato Hash. Sweet potatoes cook up quickly and add more nutrition to your breakfast.

This Vegetarian Pot Pie is comfort food at it's best. This recipe is so delicious, you might want to make two pies. 


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Vampire Juice - For Mortals

Warning! This is a HEALTHY Halloween post. It looks like a TRICK but your body will think it's a TREATAs we approach Halloween, I'm preparing myself for the sugar-fest that will undoubtedly ensue. You can try to deny it but we both know your going to eat too much candy. Why not do something healthy for your body at the same time? Get a super charged healthy boost with my blood red Vampire Juice. 

I feel terrible admitting this but my least favorite vegetable is the beet. However, beets and beet juice are excellent for you and I know I should add them to my diet. My solution was to juice them, that way I could gulp them down quickly. However it turns out, I love this juice. I'm not sure if it's the vibrant color, the kick of ginger, the earthiness from the root vegetables mixed with citrus. Whatever it is, I crave this blend whenever I need a boost.

Vampire Juice is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and is packed full of a wide range of anti-oxidants. Plus it has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, energy and immune boosting properties. 

Vampire Juice

Makes 1 serving

1 medium size beet - peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots - scrubbed and chopped
1-2 oranges - rind, pith and seeds removed (or see below)
1/2 lemon - rind, pith and seeds removed (or see below)
1/4-1/2 inch chunk fresh ginger

Pass all ingredients through a juicer. My latest technique for citrus is to cut them in half, then use my manual citrus juicer to extract the juice. Then add the citrus juices to the beet/carrot/ginger juice and stir to blend. Pour into a glass and enjoy as soon as possible.

Cheers to our health!

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