Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives

Minestrone Soup, My Granola and Pumpkin Cake

In the fall and winter months, what is more satisfying than a nice bowl of soup? Not much! Here is my Minestrone Soup Recipe; a great way to eat a lot of veggies and with Farro in the recipe, it also contains a whole grain. The Pumpkin cake recipe is not too sweet and made, preferably with fresh pumpkin. My granola recipe uses unsweetened jam instead of lots of sugar, so it’s a still delicious, but healthier version of granola. Enjoy!

Remember to try a little bit of many things this holiday season. Don’t deprive yourself of nibbling all your favorite foods, just watch how much of them you eat.

Minestrone Soup with Farro

Farro is an ancient form of wheat and is generally soaked before using. A hearty grain, farro is also wonderful in grain salads. Just add vinaigrette, seasonal raw veggies and you’re set! Substitute brown rice if necessary.

Serves 8

2 cups canellini beans, cooked. You may use 1-15 ounce cans

3 cups carrots, chopped

1 1/2 cups celery, chopped

1 bunch kale, chopped

1 whole onion, chopped

3 cups tomatoes, chopped or 1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 quarts vegetable stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

3 cups cooked farro. Follow the directions on the package.

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a stockpot, sauté onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 5 minutes.  Add the kale & cook for an additional 5 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and herbs and cook 10 minutes longer. Add cannellini beans & stock.  Let simmer 30 minutes.

Optional: Puree 1/3 of soup with immersion blender or use food processor.

Add the cooked farro and serve with a drizzling of olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

Per Serving: 610 Calories; 13g Fat (18.6% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 104g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 1865mg Sodium

Eating Seasonally

Spring: Dandelion greens, green garlic, green peas, spinach

Summer: Fresh basil, tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, leafy greens, celery, carrots

Autumn: Bell peppers, pumpkin, broccoli,

Winter: Bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, kale, carrots, winter squash

Patty’s Granola

8 cups whole oats

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped

½ sesame seeds

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup pumpkin seeds

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1-10 ounce jar fruit sweetened jam, your choice of flavor

3 tablespoons walnut or pumpkin seed oil

2 teaspoons vanilla or extract of your choice (almond is nice)

1 cups raisins

½ cup flax seeds, very lightly ground

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 2 cookie sheets with 1” sides.

Mix together in large bowl, the oats, coconut, nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and spices. Pour in jam, vanilla and oil and mix well. I use my hands. Place in prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once. Add the raisins and bake another 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Take out of oven and mix in flax seeds. Let cool completely and place in glass jars. Store in the refrigerator.


Feel free to be creative. I change the nuts and seeds. I sometimes substitute dried cranberries or other dried fruit for the raisins. Crystallized ginger is also very good. In the fall use pumpkin pie spice or Chinese five spice. This is excellent in the morning with kefir or yogurt and fresh blueberries.

To make a yogurt parfait, layer granola and then yogurt in a glass and top with fresh berries.

Pumpkin Cake

This recipe was the result of, as it turns out, a fortunate accident. I was preparing a similar pumpkin cake recipe and inadvertently doubled the eggs. I then kept going with the alterations and was very happy with the results.

Serves 8

6 large eggs, separated

1 cup sugar: Sucanat or Rapadura

1/2 tbsp. non-aluminum baking powder

1 ½ cups almonds, finely chopped

Pinch of grated nutmeg

Grated zest of one lemon

6 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups pumpkin, cooked

A little butter for greasing

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Bake a small sugar pumpkin in a 375 degree oven until tender, about 50 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, remove skin and seeds and chop very finely.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy. Add the baking powder, almonds, nutmeg, lemon zest, 5 tablespoons of the flour and the pumpkin.  Mix until well blended.  Beat the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter.  Butter a 9 in. spring form pan and dust with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour.  Pour the batter into the pan and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour (covering the top with foil after 40 minutes of cooking).  Cool on a wire rack.  Turn out onto a platter and garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Per Serving: 334 Calories; 17g Fat (44.5% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 140mg Cholesterol; 137mg Sodium.

Serving ideas

This cake is not too sweet and very yummy. Serve as a healthier dessert or even for breakfast with a nice winter fruit salad. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon zest and mint leaves or freshly grated nutmeg.


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