Happy New Year! I am very excited for 2015– for many, many reasons.
The beginning of January– when everyone starts out with the best of intentions to reach New Year’s Resolutions.
Fun Facts about Resolutions:
- 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions
- The #1 resolution? To lose weight.
- Only 8% of people report being successful in their resolutions
- BUT– people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to succeed than those who don’t establish a goal!
My thoughts on resolutions? I love them. It’s a great time to reflect on what you’ve achieved, and what you’d like to achieve. One year Alex and I sat down together and wrote down individual resolutions, and resolutions as a couple. Although we were unsuccessful in many of our goals, it gave us direction and things to work on together throughout the year. We really should make a habit of doing it every year!
I don’t think “resolutions” should strictly be for New Year’s. Honestly, I get frustrated when I go to the gym in early January only to have it be packed for the first few weeks, and watch it thin back out to the regular crowd by February. We all “fall off the wagon” from time to time, but why wait until January to try again?
A healthy diet is the best gift you can give yourself. It’s the best way to achieve weight loss goals. It’s the best way to boost energy and mental well being. And while many people scour the internet for healthy eating ideas on January 2nd, clean, nutritious meals can be a wonderful experience year round. All it takes is fresh ingredients, a bit of time in the kitchen, and some creativity.
A desire to be healthy is how my passion for cooking began. Of course I wanted to lose weight, but I also wanted glowing skin, a strong immune system, and energy to reach all my goals. I wanted to feel good, to enjoy what I ate, and physically reflect my healthy choices.
If you’re on that path, all it takes is wanting those things above all others. Prioritizing your health above things that may stand in your way. Most of the time, at least.
Eating real, clean food doesn’t have to be boring. This SW Quinoa and Butternut Soup is full of spicy flavors, and plant proteins that will sustain you for hours. I love toppings– and this soup is like nachos in healthier proportions! All the zesty spices from salsa and chilies, with a bit of crunch from the crushed tortilla chip garnish– which, in my opinion, is not an optional addition!
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions (to serve)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped finely
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon + 5 cups water (or 5 cups vegetable broth)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ butternut squash (4 heaping cups peels and cubed squash)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I like Cholula and Tapatio)
- sea salt, to taste
- tortilla chips (to garnish)
- avocado (to garnish)
- cherry tomatoes (to garnish)
- cilantro (to garnish)
- extra hot sauce or salsa, optional
- Add the olive oil to a large soup pot, and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 7-10 minutes over medium high heat, until both are translucent.
- Add the bell pepper, and all the spices.
- Add the tomatoes, and water and vegetable bouillon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium, and continue to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash and black black beans. Season with sea salt and hot sauce.
- Once the squash is tender, remove from heat.
- Serve the soup with quinoa. I prefer not to add the quinoa while the soup is cooking to prevent it from getting soggy.
- Garnish with chips, cilantro, avocado, and tomatoes. The garnishes are what really make this a fun soup!