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The holiday feasts are (mostly) over, the weather is getting colder, and all I want to do is cozy-up indoors and forget that the worst of winter is on its way.

Despite the fact that I’m already excited for summer (whoops!), I do enjoy a snowy stroll now and then. When it comes to winter, my main coping mechanism is to put on a cozy-as-heck knit sweater, some woolly socks (thanks, Grandma!), and warm up with a bowl of hearty soup.

This week, it was a vitamin-packed vegetarian spinach and leek soup, with a gingery kick to help keep my body healthy and happy as flu season approaches. Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used in traditional medicine for a very long time. In addition to the aforementioned properties, the constituents in ginger demonstrate antioxidant activity as well – a double whammy! (1). And if you further need convincing to spice up your soups by adding ginger, consider this –  shogaol, a component of ginger that is made potent when the root is heated or dried, is believed to have antimicrobial properties – awesome(2)!

But let’s not forget the super-powers of spinach that may have been over-looked these last few years when kale took centre stage. Popeye was on the right track when he chowed down on the spinach:  iron-rich and a good source of fibre ( 1/2 cup spinach = 2 grams fibre), this leafy green keeps your blood cells healthy, your mind sharp, and helps you feel your best (3) (4).

Now that you’ve jumped on the spinach-and-ginger-train, here’s the recipe to try for yourself!

Stay cozy!



 Creamy Spinach and Leek Soup with Spicy Ginger

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Ingredients:

4 Cups water

1 Cube reduced sodium vegetable soup stock

3 Stalks of leek, washed and chopped

2 Cups of spinach, washed and coarsely chopped

1 Cup milk, 1% or Skim (or alternatively, unsweetened almond milk)

1 Clove garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon ginger, chopped

1 Tablespoon cream

1 Teaspoon curry powder

Directions:

Wash and prepare vegetables. Bring water to a boil. Add soup stock, allow to dissolve. At a rolling boil, add spinach, leek, ginger, and garlic, and reduce to medium heat after 3 minutes. Boil until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat, and add dash of pepper, curry powder. Transfer soup into food processor or blender, and add milk, cream. Blend until smooth or until desired consistency has been reached. Serve warm and enjoy!



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Pairs well with: Konzelmann Estate Winery’s Unoaked Chardonnay

“An excellent drinking wine with fine balance, which has a fresh, fruity and delicate peach-pear flavour combined with a palatable crisp backbone of acidity.”

Chardonnay-Unoaked



References:

(1) Watson, R. R. (Ed.). (2015). Foods and Dietary Supplements in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease in Older Adults. Academic Press.

(2) Rahmani, A. H. (2014). Active ingredients of ginger as potential candidates in the prevention and treatment of diseases via modulation of biological activities. International journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology, 6(2), 125.

(3) Iron Matters. (2015). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Nutrients-(vitamins-and-minerals)/Iron-Matters.aspx

(4) Getting more fibre. (2015). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Fibre/Getting-more-fibre

(5) Grzanna, R., Lindmark, L., & Frondoza, C. G. (2005). Ginger-an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. Journal of medicinal food, 8(2), 125-132.

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