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Last updated: December 31. 2013 12:27AM - 759 Views
By Sara Pokorny Weekender Staff Writer



Photo courtesy of lunchboxbunch.com
Photo courtesy of lunchboxbunch.com
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If there’s one thing I learned from not only talking to our fitness experts for this issue but also embarking on a healthier lifestyle myself, it’s that you need to start small and be realistic, especially when it comes to eating.


It’s that time of year to watch what we’re putting in our bodies, and we pair that with exercise to become the healthiest we can be. Eating has always been a tough nut to crack for me as someone who didn’t start exploring foods until a couple years ago. It was so hard for me to give up comfort meals; everything tasted bland and I wanted to toss it all for McDonald’s.


This sweet potato soup is one of the recipes that became a stand-by when I was craving something comforting, yet healthy. It follows paleo diet guidelines and can also be made vegan, so the health benefits of this one are through the roof – and without sacrificing great flavor.


To start off, bake your sweet potato. There are a variety of ways to do this, but I find that popping it in the microwave for 10 to 12 minutes gets the job done just right.


Let it cool, then remove the skin and throw it in a blender. To this, add broth. It can be whatever you like, such as chicken broth (which I use) or non-chicken or vegetable broth if you’re going the vegan route. Also add non-dairy milk in; almond and soy, in unsweetened flavors, work best.


Blend on low until smooth, pouring in a little more broth if necessary to thin it out, and then get to tasting. It’s going to be pretty bland at this point, so start throwing in salt and chipotle powder until you get it just right. If you find the salt content is becoming too high (since it is very necessary due to the blandness of just the potato), use lime or apple cider vinegar to perk things up. Add the zest last, folding it into the poured soup.


The hot potato should warm the soup enough to serve it as is, but if you find the temperature has dropped, warm it up on the stove top or in the microwave for a bit.


Halve an avocado and slice it into cubes, garnishing each cup of soup with as much as you’d like. You can also use tortilla chips as a garnish. I’ve found that the spicier they are, the better they go with the soup.


This recipe is incredibly flexible. If you aren’t a fan of sweet potato, try subbing in pumpkin or butternut squash. In those versions, less liquid may be needed to thin out the soup, and more salt should be added since pumpkin and squash are pretty bland on their own.


SWEET POTATO SOUP


Courtesy of lunchboxbunch.com


Ingredients:


• 1 cup mashed sweet potato


• 1/2 cup+ chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth or no-chicken broth for vegan)


• 1/2 cup soy or almond milk, original or plain or unsweetened flavors


Add to taste:


• Orange zest


• Salt


• Chipotle powder


Garnish:


• One diced avocado


• Tortilla chips, crushed


How-to:


• Bake sweet potato any way preferable. I like to put it in the microwave for 10 to 12 minutes.


• Remove potato skin, add to blender along with broth and non-dairy milk. Blend on low until smooth. Add the salt and chipotle powder to taste. Add the zest last, folding it into the poured soup.


• Dice an avocado into squares and serve with that and/or crushed chips over top.


-Sara loves to cook with wine, and sometimes she even puts it in the food. Contact her with questions or recipes at spokorny@civitasmedia.com.


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