Its the time of year that we love to think about ways to lighten our closets! And since I’m a healthy chef, and I always cook lighter – I’m turning that idea on its head and giving you NEW recipes that you can use to replace foods or recipes you may want to throw out.

If you’d like to see the recipes, great organizing tips and wines LIVE – click HERE to view the Facebook Live!

We’re starting with a little sip of CAVA. Replace your boring white with a lovely glass of bubbly! CAVA is one of the best sparkling wine bargains out there – and this one is no exception! Jaume Serra Cristalino is less than $10 and is full of flavor. I bought this bottle at Publix for $10.

Collard and White Bean Soup

  • 1 ½ Tsp Olive (or Grapeseed) Oil
  • 2 Yellow Onions, Chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, grated
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 TB Smoked Paprika
  • 2 TB Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Cans (15 oz) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Cups Veggie Broth
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tsp Dried Herbes de Provence
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Bunch Collards, without the ribs, sliced thinly into ribbons
  • 1 Cup Shredded Manchego cheese, optional

Step One

Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook over medium high heat, stirring until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, turmeric and black pepper and cook and stir about 3 minutes more.

Step Two  

Add the beans and veggie broth into the pot. Simmer over medium heat until warm or about 15 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, Herbes de Provence and salt. Stir in the collards & let wilt. If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of cheese.

Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. Beaujolais is a lovely light red wine with lots of cherry berry flavor and good palate cleansing acidity. Its old world so its named for the region – not the grape. The grape is gamay! From the very bottom of Burgundy, it is a wine that you will grow to love with lighter fare like this hearty soup. About $15 from Kroger.

Veggie Broth

You can watch how to make this easy veggie stock HERE:

Keep a large Ziploc bag in your freezer – labeled Veg Broth, with the date. During the week, toss in ends and pieces of your veggies, and any herb stems and pieces. When the bag is full, take it out and drop the contents in a large stockpot. (For beautiful color in your broth, make sure to add in some papery skin from the outside of an onion.) Barely cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the veggies from the broth and use in any soup recipe. Want richer broth? After removing the veggies, continue to cook and reduce the broth by a third to half of its volume.

Arugula Shrimp and Dill Salad

  • 1 Pkg Arugula
  • 1 LB Medium Shrimp, Cooked and Coarsely Chopped
  • 1 Pkg Dill
  • 1 Cup Chopped Green Onions, green parts only
  • ½ English Cucumber, Chopped Finely
  • 1 Pint Grape Tomatoes, Chopped Finely
  • Juice of 1 Large Lemon
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the Arugula, Shrimp, Dill, Green Onions, Cucumber, and Tomatoes together in a bowl. Drizzle the juice and oil over the salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and serve.

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc – Crisp and Clean, a lovely pair for the bright dill and lemon flavor of the salad. Chenin Blanc hails from the Loire Valley in France, but is made beautifully in other places around the world as well. I bought this one at Kroger for about $15 a bottle.

Carrie’s NEATSMART Super Organizing Tips! The THREE Things You have TOO much OF…

When you’ve been helping people de-clutter and create organization systems for as long as I have (6+ years professionally) you see some patterns repeat in clients’ homes. One is that everyone is embarrassed and thinks they are the only one who has ever struggled with organization. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The other is that just about everyone has too much of the following items in their home. The problem is that if left unchecked they will continue to accumulate and they multiply when you’re not watching ;-). Here are the top 3 things that I know you have too much of in your home:

1. Cardboard boxes

Whether you order regularly from online stores or not, there is never a dearth of cardboard boxes in our homes. They could be leftover from buying a new printer, phone, or pair of shoes. They seem like they could be used for something really important in the future but they never do. They get tossed in a cabinet or a closet and never heard from again. Go through your house and recycle all of the excess cardboard you have. You’ll be amazed at how much you have when you put your mind to finding it all. *I only keep cardboard boxes from purchases until I know I am going to keep the item. If there is a question that I might return it, I hang on to it. Once the decision is made the item is either shipped back or the box is recycled.

2. Condiment packets

Like cardboard boxes, these multiply when you turn your back. Has anyone ever gone back and used the extra duck sauce/ ketchup/ mayonnaise/ salad dressing that came with a take away order? It is much healthier to keep your own bottles of dressing or condiments in your home than to use mass produced/ chemically enhanced products.

3. Hangers & Plastic garment bags

Not to go all Joan Crawford on you but, “no more wire hangers!” The hangers and plastic bags that are used at the dry cleaners are intended for you to get your clothes home safely, protected from the elements. Your clothes need to breathe so throw away the plastic bags once you put them in your closet. If you want to recycle the bags, you can tie a knot in the bottom and use it as a trashcan liner. The only time I suggest you hang on to a couple is when you travel to prevent wrinkling.

Wire hangers leave creases on the shoulders of shirts and sweaters so use velvet or wooden hangers whenever possible. Recycle your wire hangers by returning them to the dry cleaners. Keep a paper shopping bag in your closet to put them in until you return to the cleaners.

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