Creamy Basil Tomato Soup with Hemp Hearts!

I’m always up for trying something new, especially when it comes to power foods that help fuel my family the right way. So, when I was given the opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Hearts, I was pretty excited.

Soup 3

Packed with 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omegas per serving, these raw shelled hemp seeds pack a whole lot into a little pack. When the package arrived, I took the time to taste them and was pleasantly surprised. I find that, generally, raw “healthy” foods have a bitter or unpleasant flavor. Not these! They honestly tasted like softer versions of sunflower seeds and were delicious plain.

Soup 2

But, you all know that I like to find ways to incorporate new things into new recipes. While these hemp hearts would be absolutely delicious sprinkled onto a salad, cereal or yogurt, I wanted to do something a little different. So, I incorporated them into a creamy basil tomato soup. The outcome? Delish! Check it out below!

Want to incorporate these flavorful goodies into your own healthy eating program? Give them a try today. By using the code HHSweatPink14 at manitobaharvest.comyou’ll receive 20% off your order between now and November 30. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity!

Soup 1

 

Creamy Baked Tomato Basil Soup with Hemp Hearts

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion sliced thin
  • 2 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 4-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans of diced or pureed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 30 grams Manitoba Hemp Hearts
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup skim or 1 percent milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or 2 TB dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 slice bread (I used gluten free)
  • Shredded cheese to top each bowl

Directions:

  • Melt butter in sauce pan and add basil, garlic, oregano and onions. Simmer until golden brown.
  • Incorporate the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, hemp hearts, water, sugar and vinegar. Heat to a light boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer for 45-minutes to an hour.
  • If you like a smooth soup (I do!) remove from heat and puree in a food processor until your desired texture is reached.
  • Add in the milk, salt and pepper.
  • Pour soup into ramekins, add bread and cheese. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

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Joy for the Journey

We’ve had a lot going on lately. You know from previous posts that a lot of my focus has shifted from working out to getting through and figuring things out. We have become a forward-focused family. From planning for a move into an uncertain new life (which has MANY ups as well as downs!) to keeping our house here in showing condition and praying for a sale, there’s been a lot going on.

Many of you are also aware that there have been some health situations at task. Last week, John and I spent Tuesday in the hospital after some pain caused some concerns and some scans needed to be completed. After that, I underwent surgery on Friday to both explore what’s been going on, to remove a few problems and to try to start getting things back on track. The procedure itself went well, then they didn’t. After an unexpected response to anesthesia another whirlwind started before healing could begin. It was a scary place to be and wasn’t at all how we planned!

Since then, we’ve been working on trying to get back on track and to devise a plan for moving forward, through both the issue that was corrected on Friday and other health situations that we’ve been processing since the beginning of the year. Bottom line: it can be a difficult place to be!

It can be easy to get down, to focus on things that are hard and to become consumed in the negative – especially with everything life seems to be throwing in this direction. I’ve found myself in that place more than once. You see, I like to be in complete control and to live life according to a plan…my plan. But lately, a few things have happened that have started to change that perspective and to bring me back the lesson that I’ve been avoiding learning for some time.

It started yesterday when our pastor called to check in. After talking through what went on and before prayer, he asked me where God is during all of this. It’s funny, because when things go wrong it’s easy to answer a question like that with “I don’t know.” Instead, my instinctive answer – though I hadn’t taken the time to really process it and think it through – was “he’s right here in it.” It might have sounded like a Sunday School answer (hey, who isn’t good at throwing those around?), but when I stepped back to think about that response, I realized the gravity of that truth. That, no matter what, we’re not alone in this…having that undeniable knowledge brings something unexpected out of seemingly negative situations: it brings joy.

Then, early this morning I was online and came across a message that a friend had posted. It’s from scripture and reads as follows (from the Message version; not something I normally spend a lot of time with):

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you. Isaiah 43:1-4″

Now again, I’m not one that spends a lot of time using this outlet to get my preach on. But, there’s a time and a place for everything. During times of struggle and journeys that seem hard, it’s easy to throw out questions, to wonder why and to worry about what’s ahead. I am a worrier by nature; I’m good at it, I’m good at living in the negative. But, the gravity of those words hit me hard and I felt the need to share.

At the times when we are over our head, we are not alone. When things get hard, we’re not going to sink. Now, I think it’s important that there’s some clarification there. To me, this means that bad things happen and sometimes life doesn’t go according to our plan…this isn’t saying they don’t. It is saying though that during all of it, we’re not running solo; we’re part of a bigger plan and even when it isn’t ours, good can come from rough spots. There’s a power that’s higher than us that’s pulling for what’s best for us…not what we see is best. Not what we want, not a pain free journey…but one that’s right for us.

It can be hard to swallow. But, I know I’m working on that one! Throughout this journey, there has been joy. We have been blessed by those around us. We have learned that we have more support than we ever could have imagined and we have learned that we are not on this journey alone. We have found joy; I have mentioned it before and it is no less true now than it was previously.

Life looks different now and the future isn’t what John and I would have imagined just 6 months ago; but, God is plotting for our good.

What are you facing today? What seems bigger than you? What seems so hard you’re not sure where to turn or where to go? Think about the promise above and find joy…there’s plenty to go around.

Recovery

When “Health” becomes More Important than “Fitness”

I’ve been there, sometimes I’m still there…so I’m assuming you’ve been there too.

We set goals. Whether they’re based on frustration with how things are, things we’d like to accomplish, what everyone else is doing or has going for them or something we’ve seen somewhere else, we set goals. Goals are important…they propel us through life and toward great things. When we accomplish those goals, we are left with this mile-high feeling that’s pretty hard to match. That phrase “walking on cloud 9,” actually makes sense sometimes!

This is especially true in the fitness world. From TV shows that promote losing hundreds of pounds in 12 weeks to models and others in the entertainment world that have amazing bodies and have accomplished great things, we are surrounded by a culture that tells us anything is possible.

Only, sometimes it’s not. And when that situation crops up, we’re left unsure of how to deal with it and how to move forward! Maybe you’ve been there too…for me, that is right now.

This isn’t always the easiest thing to share; we want others to see us succeed, especially when we have set ourselves up to be models for others. Sharing “downs” can be complicated, messy and emotional – all things we try to avoid.

But, I’ll do my best.

Here’s the thing. A lot of you have been following me for awhile now. You’ve seen my journey and that it was filled with a lot of highs. I set a lot of lofty goals and slowly worked as hard as I could to accomplish them. They weren’t easy, and sometimes I was putting everything I had forward…but I did my best to do everything I said I would do. It was a commitment I made to myself and to everyone else!

Many of you read my blog post the day I decided to register for the Wineglass Marathon, happening this Sunday in Corning, New York. I remember writing it and being so excited as some of my friends made the commitment with me. The day I signed up, I was filled with anticipation; the thought that I wouldn’t cross the finish…or even the starting line…never really occurred to me. I was on my own, full-throttle high.

When I signed up, fitness was my focus; it has been ever since this journey began. That hasn’t changed. However, what has changed is that I have come to realize that fitness and health can’t always be grouped into a nice, neat little category; sometimes one becomes a little more important than the other.

You all read my “change of plans” post where I announced that I would no longer be running the marathon. It wasn’t easy to pen the words, but it was easy in comparison to actually facing the realization that a serious goal I set won’t be happening.

As the week of the marathon set in, I thought of where I’d be if I had been training, about starting my taper and about getting really excited about going to New York! Instead, I’m just excited to make it through this week, to get some answers and to figure out how to get back on track! It’s funny how things change sometimes! But, the important thing to note is that sometimes things have to change. Sometimes we have to be strong enough to step back and reevaluate our goals, our passions and – most importantly – our motivations.

What’s motivating you today? Are you pushing for unrealistic goals for unhealthy motivations? Or, are you focused on putting your health and your future first? I know, it’s not easy, but, health must always come first; decisions should be made with that as the top priority. Where do you stand today?

For me, I’m looking forward to getting things figured out and pushing forward. I’m excited to watch my friends cross the finish line on Sunday, knowing they’ve trained hard for a goal that many people think is unreachable! I know they’re going to rock it 🙂

Thanks for following along with me on this crazy journey. Sometimes the downs are just as important as the ups, and I’m hoping that seeing that things don’t just “happen” for everyone else will encourage you today. Think about the goals you’ve set and about what’s driving those goals…where do you want to be once you meet them? What small steps can you take today to get yourself to that place, where health AND fitness work together for great things?

Sunset