Soup Season

Cold days have arrived throughout the USA and Canada and even sunny Florida has been bitten by a cold snap.  These cool, crisp temperatures are perfect for simmering a pot of soup on the stove or soup pot.  For over 30 years I’ve been making my family’s favorite vegetable soup.  You can raid your refrigerator for leftovers or add your own fresh vegetables.  If you don’t eat meat, it is delicious substituting chick peas. It’s the combination of spices that make it so yummy.

Bowl of Vegetable Soup
My family’s favorite vegetable soup
Thomas Family Vegetable Soup Recipe


  • 1 lb beef stew – I use small chunks of grass-fed beef
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBS minced parsley

Combine meat, water and spices in a large Dutch oven or soup pot.  Bring to a boil and cook over low heat about 30 min.

Add Vegetables:

  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn ( can eliminate if you have corn sensitivities)
  • 28 oz jar or can of crushed tomatoes.  Fresh and frozen tomatoes work too.
  • Add your own vegetables as you wish!

Soup is Like Family

Fall Bounty for a Healthy Diet

Healthy living to me means taking advantage of all the seasonal produce available at my local farmer’s market and grocery.  I like to include large amounts of whole foods in my diet.  Whole foods are simply foods that are unprocessed and unrefined. When fiber-rich and nutritious foods (what I like to call Super Foods)  are a main part of your healthy diet, you will find yourself naturally eating until you are satisfied without overindulging!

Fall at the farmer’s market is bustling with activity.  The morning air is crisp and cool, and the foods are rich in both color and nutrition.  Here is a sampling of the this week’s fall bounty:

Eggplant is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6 and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber. It has a very low glycemic load of 2.
Sweet Potatoes are very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6. and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese. Their glycemic load is only 17, and they are strongly anti-inflammatory.
Kale is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. It also has a very low glycemic load of 7, and is strongly anti-inflammatory.
Butternut Squash is is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese. Its glycemic load is 7, and it is rated a moderate anti-inflammatory food.

















So now that you have your fall vegetables home… what now?

So many people have the best intentions in mind when they buy fresh vegetables.  Unfortunately, many of these end up “going bad” in the refrig, or getting moldy in the pantry.   Yes… unlike processed foods, these aren’t filled with preservatives.

So, eat them already!

What you need are some easy recipes that you can either make ahead, or fix quickly when you get home from a long day at work.  Here are some of my favorites:

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 (1-pound) eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • cooking spray


  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese, or I have used plain greek yogurt to substitute
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Remaining ingredients:

  • 1 (24-ounce) jar premium pasta sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. To make eggplant, combine 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine ground flax seed and 1/4 cup Parmesan in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in ground flax seed mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.
  3.  To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).
  4.  To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce; spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella .Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.
This recipe is great to make ahead and is easily reheated.
Adapted from Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD,
 Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2010

Easy Low-Fat Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Easy Low-Fat Baked Sweet Potato Fries. If you’re craving a high-fat and salty treat like fast food French fries, try this recipe for healthier baked sweet potato fries. Baked sweet potato fries are much lower in fat than a deep-fried version and are very quick to prepare. Kids will love these baked fries as well.


  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt or seasoned salt


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices.Place potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until done.

From   Search for easy sweet potato fries

Kale Chips



I love these chips- they satisfy the need for a salty crunch!


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F
  2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
Don’t walk away from these, or they will burn!  This is one time a watched oven makes a huge difference.

Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups (1 inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (approx 2 lbs)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • Cracked black pepper (as needed)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine butternut squash, shallots, ginger, sea salt, and olive oil in a large bowl.  Toss well.  Add ingredients in a roasting pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until tender, turning occasionally.  Allow to cool for approximately 20 minutes
  3. Add roasted ingredients and 1 cups chicken broth or stock to a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into a large saucepan.  Add remaining chicken broth or stock and pepper (if using).  Heat over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, stirring often.
Ladle soup into soup bowl and add a dollop of organic Greek style yogurt and sprinkle with chopped chives.
This recipe was developed by Brian Thiel for The Healthy Edge program.
All of these recipes have become tried and true in my own kitchen.  Please share your comments and any other ideas you may have for any of these wonderful fall vegetables.
Live Well,
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