There are so many great restaurants here in Northeast Florida, but some are a little easier on the waistline than others. Here are three choices from different parts of our region….we know there are many more, but figured this would get you started.
The Present Moment Café: St. Augustine makes a great date night across the board, and this little gem of a raw food restaurant will both surprise and inspire with its unique menu. Order a bottle of wine and enjoy a long meal without the guilt. http://www.thepresentmomentcafe.com
*Taverna: * Located in San Marco, this restaurant is focused on rustic Italian cuisine that is best described as modern Mediterranean. Light and bright, there are both small and large portion options as well as a variety of gluten free menu items as well.
Café Karibo: This charming restaurant in Fernandina Beach has one of the best lentil salads around, as well as a variety of other wonderful flavorful healthy items on their eclectic menu. The ambience is very intimate, perfect for a romantic night out. http://www.cafekaribo.com
There is nothing better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day. Here is a few great recipes that will warm your soul, and boost your health. Recipes from ohsheglows.com.
Carrot Apple Ginger Soup
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more for garnish
• 1 small onion, diced (1 cup diced onion)
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
• 1 large apple
• 1.5 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (5 cups)
• 4 cups vegetable broth (I used full sodium)
• pinch of nutmeg
• Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, add 1 tbsp olive oil over low-medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add minced garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes on low. Add chopped apple and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.
2. Add the vegetable broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
3. Carefully transfer this mixture into a blender (or you can use an immersion blender probably), add a pinch of nutmeg, and blend until smooth. You might need to do this in 2 batches depending on the size of your blender. You don’t want the soup more than halfway full or it might explode through the top. Make sure to allow steam to escape through the top of the blender lid too.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also thin the soup out a bit with more broth. Serve and garnish with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Makes 5 delicious cups!
Spicy Broccoli Dal
• 1 cup red lentils, uncooked (masoor dal)
• 2/3 cup sweet onion, chopped finely
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp mustard seeds
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or other light-tasting oil)
• 4.5 cups chopped fresh broccoli (shaved stems and florets)
• 4.5 cups vegetable broth (I used low-sodium)
• Kosher salt, to taste 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened/unflavoured (or milk of choice)
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice + lemon wedges for garnish
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp Garam Masala 1 tsp Tumeric
• Paprika, to garnish
1) In a medium sized pot, bring 4.5 cups of water to a boil and add vegetable bouillon cube. Stir until dissolved. Alternatively you can use already prepared bouillon.
2) Add oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the uncooked lentils, chopped sweet onion, cumin, and mustard seeds. Cook on low-medium heat for about 6-9 minutes until the mixture begins to sizzle and the mustard seeds begin to pop a bit. Be careful not to burn this mixture and reduce heat if necessary. The lentils will have softened very slightly, but will remain quite firm.
3) While this mixture is cooking, take your rinsed broccoli and peel a stem or two with a veggie peeler. Roughly chop the stem. Roughly chop the florets until you have about 4.5 cups of broccoli. Place the chopped stems and florets into a food processor and process until very fine (see image below).
4) Now place the broccoli and vegetable bouillon into saucepan. Stir well. Add kosher salt to taste- start by adding just a small amount of salt. How much salt you need will depend on whether your vegetable broth was salted or not. I used low sodium broth so I needed about 1.5 tsp of kosher salt. Cover and cook this mixture on low for 20 minutes, checking it frequently and adding extra water if necessary.
5) After about 20 minutes or so, add in the almond milk, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, red pepper flakes, and additional salt (to taste) if necessary. Cook on low for another 10 minutes. You can add a bit of water if it thins out too much. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately garnished with Paprika and lemon wedges. Makes 4-5 cups.
Across the region, gyms are offering great deals to kick off 2016 on the right foot. Make this year about bringing well-being and balance to your life…your waistline and your wallet!
YMCA: First Coast YMCA is waving all new membership fees through the month of January. For a family, this can mean a savings of up to $100. Visit firstcoastymca.org.
Pure Barre: A combination of Pilates and ballet, Pure Barre is one of the hottest workouts in town. This moth they are offering 5 week of classes for $175, 2 weeks of Learn to Barre unlimited classes for $49, and many more deals. For more info about a studio near you, visit purebarre.com.
Orangetheory Fitness: If you are looking for a straight up power hour workout, Orangetheory Fitness is for you. For the month of January, this fitness studio is offering its premier package at the family rate, with a discount of 20%! Visit Orangetheory.com for details.