Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quell Winter Blues with Cathy Ireland's Loaded Tortilla Soup...

It is with utmost pleasure to feature my friend and ex-colleague Cathy Ireland as our next guest blogger. She has a degree in Food & Nutrition plus over twenty years of experience in the food industry, developing new products and recipes. As a Professional Home Economist, Cathy's mandate is to encourage people to get back into the kitchen and to teach them how to prepare nutritious meals at home, instructing culinary classes in schools and to corporate clients. I really admire Cathy's volunteer work at a youth shelter where she shares her deep passion for home cooking and teaches youths how to prepare healthy food on a dime. In a recent project, she has teamed up with Mood Food Culinary to provide mood boosting recipes and collaborated in developing recipes for Patricia Muzzi's newest book, "The Mood Foodie Teen Guide"Its super easy and delicious mood-boosting recipes are for everyone and not just for teens. Now here's Cathy...

 Cathy Ireland, P.H.Ec.

Got The Winter Blues?...

Did you know January is commonly referred to as debt and diet month? The credit card bills start coming in and we realize how much we've over-consumed during the holidays with all those sweet treats. Are the winter blues hitting you? Seasonal Affective Disorder, (SAD), is a mood disorder that people of normal mental health suffer from in the form of depression during the winter months. It's no wonder; with less day light and colder weather keeping us inside, being less active and the stress of getting back into work, school, and healthy eating routines.

I love soups in the cooler months and this one is a great way to use up left-over turkey instead of chicken in the recipe. Loaded with veggies, protein rich beans and poultry, this winter warming recipe from The Mood Foodie Teen Guide, will fuel your day.

Loaded Tortilla Soup
Makes 8 cups

1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock
1 can (540 mL/19 fl oz) chopped tomatoes
1 can (540 mL/ 19 fl oz) black beans, rinsed and well-drained

2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 cup kernel corn

2 green onions, chopped
Chopped cilantro
Shredded cheese
Whole wheat tortillas, cut into short thin strips and toasted at 350F in oven until crispy golden (optional)

Heat oil in skillet or pan on medium heat and cook onions for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cumin; cook one minute. Add stock, tomatoes, beans, chicken and corn. Bring to boil; simmer ten minutes and serve hot. Garnish each bowl with green onions, cilantro, shredded cheese and toasted tortilla strips.

TIP: Add avocado chunks and a splash of lime juice.

Susan says, "wow, my kids are going to love the zesty flavours and warm spices. Yum!"

Here are some great tips to help you get through the winter months with more zest and zeal for life:

* Light Therapy, using a full-spectrum lamp, has worked with great success in some people. You can also increase your Vitamin D intake by getting outside to enjoy winter activities. Direct exposure to sunlight boosts Vitamin D production in your body naturally and exercise improves circulation and increases serotonin levels.

* Increase your intake of foods with the amino acid tryptophan. Choose whole, unprocessed foods like leafy greens, seaweed, mushrooms, asparagus, and good quality proteins like poultry, shellfish, pork, beans, eggs, cheese.

* Avoid junk food and sugar to help keep blood sugar stable.

* Drink lots of water to help neurotransmitters in the brain send messages throughout the body.

An excerpt from The Mood Foodie Teen Guide by Patricia Muzzi. “When we typically talk about food and health, we think of nourishing the body to satisfy our hunger and prevent disease, such as cancer and diabetes. Many equate food to unwanted weight gain but we rarely relate food and nutrition to feeding our brain to maintain or improve our mental performance. That being said, the connection between food and mood is now the subject of frequent discussion worldwide as research and historical data around the influence of various foods on brain chemistry is gradually being revealed.”

To order your copy of The Mood Foodie Teen Guide, go to www.moodfoodculinary.com.

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