Navy Bean Soup

NavyBeanSoup

I’ve never been a huge soup fan, maybe I had too much of the stuff from a can in my past. Campbells stuff. We used to have to collect labels in school (did you have to do that too?)

I think it was all for a charity, which is great, but I REALLY think it was just the Campbell’s soup marketing department getting children to do some market research for them. Brilliant.

Weeks of work walking through neighborhoods, hounding the neighbors for all their soup labels, keeping track of lists of who gave how many labels… The elementary aged children pounding the streets … uh oh, here they come again, but it’s not girl scout season!

Maybe they had teamed up with the Planters Peanuts fitness program and it was actually just a way to get us in shape.

After eating that much canned soup, we were due for some fitness. Have you ever noticed what’s in that stuff anyway?

Chicken soup is SUPPOSED to be healthy, so why is it filled with MSG, modified food starch and tons of chemicals that I can barely pronounce?

Here is the official list of ingredients in Campbell’s Chicken and Rice soup:
http://www.campbellfoodservice.com/details.aspx?code=207

CHICKEN STOCK, WATER, COOKED RICE, COOKED CHICKEN MEAT, CARROTS, CONTAINS LESS THAN 1% OF: SALT, CHICKEN FAT, POTATO STARCH, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, CELERY, COOKED MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, CHICKEN FLAVOR, ONION POWDER, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, FLAVORING, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, BETA CAROTENE FOR COLOR, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, LACTIC ACID, DEHYDRATED GARLIC AND CHICKEN FLAVOR (CONTAINS CHICKEN STOCK, CHICKEN POWDER, CHICKEN FAT)

Yuck.

It’s not just Campbell’s, by the way, I mention them b/c they are so mainstream. Most canned soups have toxins in them from the can liners leeching chemicals into the food. So even if the ingredients look good, beware of the can linings.

Well, THIS soup is not from a can, and I have always loved it.

I remember when my mom would make this and I’d come home from school to the smell of … NAVY BEAN SOUP! She would make so much that she’d have tons of leftovers that she’d store in huge air-tight jars in the fridge and freezer. Once everyone was asleep, I’d sneak downstairs and have another bowl or four. And after school, I’d sneak in yet another bowl.

I wonder if she ever noticed?

Maybe that’s why she made so much.

Now I’m ready to expect the same behavior from my daughter who already loves this soup and asks for it often. A great bonus of this recipe is that you can also double or triple or quadruple the recipe and freeze the extras so you have an easy-to-prepare meal later in the week.

This is a recipe adapted from my Mom’s original recipe to make it vegetarian. If you like pork, you can add in a generous handful or two of cubed smoked ham, but since we do not eat pork, we made this dish completely vegan! And you know every ingredient in it.

This soup is grounding, nutritious and very tasty. And there are no labels to collect. And you can sneak some in the middle of the night because it’s just that good. Enjoy!

Navy Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry organic navy beans
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 3-4 organic red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 1 small organic onion, chopped
  • 2 organic bay leaves
  • 3 cups organic veggie (or chicken) broth (optional)
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dishes Used:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Pot and spoon

Directions:

  1. Wash and soak navy beans for at least 24 hours. Then rinse and drain.
  2. Place all ingredients into stock pot, adding enough water to cover the beans and veggies by about 2 inches.
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally and add water or broth if needed. You can see from the picture the consistency is a hearty soup, not too broth-y.
  4. Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking. Remove bay leaves before serving.

That’s it!

 

Yummy Yammy

yummyyammy

Some people would call this mashed yams or mashed sweet potatoes. Not our Sweet Pea. She named it “Yummy Yammy” which I think is about the best name I’ve ever heard for this dish!

Short and sweet, this is a recipe that doesn’t take long at all, and kids love it! It’s a great side item with chicken or turkey, and is perfect for this cool fall weather.

Yummy Yammy

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 organic yams
  • 3-4 teaspoons organic coconut oil
  • organic cinnamon, to taste
  • salt to taste

Dishes Used:

  • Baking sheet
  • Knife

Directions:

  1. Wash and scrub yams.
  2. Once they are dry, place them on a baking sheet (on parchment paper) and bake at 350F until they are soft (30-60min).
  3. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut them open and peel off skin. It should come off really easily.
  4. Place in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per yam (or as much as you want) and add cinnamon and salt. Mash together.
  5. Serve!

That’s it!

 

Applesauce Cake

applesaucecake

We have a very important birthday coming up… number 3!

She wants cake and ice cream. But with our current diet, there is nothing that is good pre-made, that is also still healthy, ie, no sugars, xanthum gums, etc. We know, we’ve looked.

They all have something in them that is not good. Sugar. Xanthan gum. Corn derivatives. or they are just crumbly and dry.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been making different cake samples, and finally found one where Sweet Pea enthusiastically said, “I want this one for my birthday cake!!” (amidst a mouthful of cake).

The cake was so good Sweet Pea and I ate a large portion of it in less than 15 minutes, and by evening there was only a little piece left. I hope it will last through the night.

Since we make about 95% of our meals from scratch, I was quite shocked to see this note posted from a Mom whose kids are in a federal preschool.

http://www.momdot.com/a-doctors-note-for-gmos/ This mother has just been informed that she needs a doctor’s note if she is going to send her child to school with a homemade lunch. (here is another view on it: http://www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com/2013/10/feds-to-parents-kids-cant-bring-lunch.html.)

What?!

And people ask why I want to homeschool my child.

This is really insane. It really is. And it’s a huge issue highlighting profit versus health… greed versus loving… and our freedom to live a healthy, happy life.

So if you do receive one of these notes, FIGHT BACK. Demand your freedom. For the rest of us, we need to make this world a better place. Cook, eat, smile and be happy. Let’s really change this world into a happy one. And make yourself a cake. Try this one, there is no sugar and it’s still good. And yes, you do have time.

This is really a super easy, healthy birthday cake, or anytime cake, even if you make your own applesauce to go with it. And I HIGHLY recommend making your applesauce from scratch because not only will your cake be healthier, but it tastes worlds better than if you use the stuff from the jar. The result will make you smile.

I’ll add what we will use to top it, and what we are doing for ice cream, in a later post.

This cake takes all of 15 minutes to put together (not including making the applesauce) and it tastes WONDERFUL! :)

Applesauce Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 2 cups organic applesauce (if using homemade applesauce, put the applesauce in a blender and blend until smooth before adding to the cake)
  • 1 big squirt Sunectar (stevia from Sunrider) or you could use 1/4 cup organic maple syrup, or coconut nectar (which has a low glycemic index)

Dishes Used:

  • Mixing bowl and spoon
  • Spatula
  • 8″x8″ glass baking dish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. If you have the time to sift the flour first, great, but if not, it will still turn out great.
  3. Add currents and mix well.
  4. Add applesauce, Sunectar, and melted coconut oil and mix very well.
  5. Pour into a lightly oiled baking dish (I used a little coconut oil) and bake at 350F for 50 minutes.

That’s it!

Sausage and Veggies

sausageveggies

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel as petulant as your two year old? Because you’ve been busy doing errands and you both need to eat and there is no prepared food in sight, and you refuse to break down and eat at a less-than-healthy restaurant (which is just about everything when you have allergies)?

And as I drive by a Taco Time I wonder: is it really better than fainting from hunger?

So as the same two questions get hurled at me from the backseat “Why this?” “Why that?” the tension mounts on the way home. The darling sweet girl becomes a mighty force to be reckoned with as the hunger deepens. And mom needs to eat too.

That is a recipe for momentarily forgetting the beautiful, sacred moments of being together and radiating love for each other.

How we cope?

The first thing we do when we get in the door is drink a Nuplus each. I have to mention it because it is only thing that keeps us happy (and sane) in these types of moments. We feel nourished in under 2 minutes and it holds us long enough to create some sort of meal.

Thank God for Sunrider. I say that so many times everyday.

Then that little face looks up and says, “More please, Mommy!” And I can feel the love radiating once more in both of us. That force to be reckoned with in a two year old body becomes a darling angel as we both calm down and start feeling good again.

Now it’s time to eat.

We are still hungry, so we need something hearty and quick. This is one of our favorite stand-bys as it takes only about 15 minutes to make.

Sausage and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • Bulk sausage (PCC brand Chicken Apple or Turkey Breakfast are the best)
  • 1/2 organic onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups frozen okra (or fresh if you can get it)
  • 4 leaves of organic kale, chopped
  • a big handful of organic cherry tomatoes
  • 1 organic baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 cup green olives, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons organic sunflower or organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic Italian herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, etc). We used a premixed blend from PCC’s bulk spice section.

Dishes Used:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Pan and spatula

Directions:

  1. Heat up a pan on medium heat and add in oil. 
  2. Brown sausage on both sides and cut into pieces.
  3. Add onion and herbs and mix well.
  4. Once onion is translucent, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Cook until kale and okra are a nice, bright green, about 4-5 minutes.

That’s it!

 

Chicken Broth

chickenbroth

Making your own chicken broth is about the easiest thing… ever. And it tastes worlds better than what you buy in the stores.

Chicken (or beef) broth is high in minerals, and can help nourish the body at a very deep level, which is why chicken soup is so popular when someone is ill.

I learned how to make chicken broth because the stuff in the store (canned or boxed, even ready-made) is just not as good as what you can make yourself in a few minutes of your time. Also, the toxins that are leeched by the linings from the cans and boxes can build up in the body over time and cause problems later on. You can read about it in this Consumer Alert, along with many other sources on the internet, including Consumer Reports.

And don’t trust that BPA-free means better… there are still chemicals lurking there. Just make your own. It’s really that easy.

Here is an easy, delicious chicken broth recipe you can use for making soups, rice, beans, green smoothies, dhal, etc.

Just Please Use ORGANIC chicken. There is so much going on now from not monitoring meats in packing plants to injecting animals with all kinds of chemicals and feeding them low grade feed that by cooking them to make broth, you will also be concentrating the chemicals.

Here are some articles you can use to start your own research:

Factory Chicken Chemicals

Arsenic Added to Conventional Chickens

USDA reducing inspections

So if you aren’t raising your own chickens or buying from a local farmer you know, buy organic and you will be pretty safe.

Chicken Broth

Ingredients:

  • Chicken bones from an organic chicken
    I use left over bones from roasted chicken, baked chicken, rotisserie chicken etc, or you can use them fresh
  • 1-2 organic carrots
  • 1/2 organic onion
  • 2 cloves organic garlic (optional)
  • 3 organic kale spines (just take off the leafy part and use it in a smoothie or stir fry)
  • 1 stalk organic celery
  • enough water to cover the chicken and veggies by 4 inches or more
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon organic turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons organic cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic ginger powder

Dishes used:

  • Pot and slotted spoon
  • Strainer
  • Container for storing broth
  • Knife and cutting board

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into pot and stir. 
  2. Heat on medium-high until boiling, then cover and let simmer for 4-6 hours (or longer).
  3. Check on it occasionally to make sure there is enough water.
  4. Once it’s finished, strain solids and store the broth in an air-tight glass container.

That’s it!

Oven Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Oven Roasted Chicken and Veggies

The warm, fragrant smell of roasting chicken is so comforting, especially now that the weather is turning cool and rainy.

As the days get shorter, the need for more comforting, warm, nourishing foods is growing, and what could be better than a simple recipe that is so healthy and delicious!

This recipe is completely inspired by wanting to have a full meal with minimal work so I can get back to doing puzzles with my daughter. She suddenly loves puzzles and wants to do them over and over again. And it is not easy to put together a dog or fish puzzle while chopping vegetables and basting chicken. I’ve tried.

This takes me about 10 minutes to prepare, then it goes in the oven and you only have to check it once or twice. It’s perfect for those rainy puzzle days.

The other inspiration is that I wanted to make some real, homemade, super healthy, mouth-watering chicken broth (and then chicken soup), so we have to get started by roasting the chicken. So first, the melt-in-your-mouth, allergy-free oven roasted chicken and veggies recipe. And keep a look out for that chicken soup recipe. :)

Oven Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 4 organic leg quarters, or 4 thighs/4 drumsticks (bone in), or equivalent
  • 1 large organic zucchini, chopped
  • 2-3 organic red potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 large organic onion, chopped
  • 1 large organic yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon organic dried basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon organic dried rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil (or your favorite oil, but it’s super good with coconut oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cups organic cooked rice (you can cook it in chicken broth if you have it for some nice flavoring)
  • lemon wedges (optional)

Dishes used:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Glass baking dish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Wash chicken parts in a non-toxic fruit and veggie rinse (Sunrider’s brand is the best b/c it is ingestible). Drain and pat dry.
  3. Coat your baking dish with coconut oil.
  4. Add the roasted veggies and then top with the chicken.
  5. Coat the chicken in the rest of the coconut oil and rub well so they are evenly coated.
  6. Add herbs, salt and pepper liberally over chicken and veggies.
  7. Cook at 400F for 30 min, then lower the temperature to 375F and cook another 20 min, or until the internal temperature of the thighs are 180F and the juices run clear. You may need to add more time depending on your oven.
  8. Serve with a bed of rice and a squirt of fresh lemon over the top.

That’s it!

Avocado and Coconut Pudding

avocado coconut pudding

There must be avocados and coconuts in heaven.

Avocados and coconuts are two of my favorite foods ever! I could eat a coconut a day. Same with avocados… wait…I already do that…. Now for that tropical dream house with groves of coconuts and avocados right outside the door just waiting to be picked…

Recently I was ill and my liver was very affected. Strangely, I started wanting avocados all the time, which I didn’t quite understand.  Then, much later I read that avocados may protect against liver damage! Intuition is just great. Our bodies know so much if we just listen!

There are many benefits to avocados and if you want to read more, check out this great article by Dr. Mercola and this other lovely article by Natural News.

Healthy fats in general are great to eat because they help to coat the nervous system, feed the nervous system and help it heal. Therefore, you feel more grounded and calm and can think more clearly. I can use more of that.

And coconuts… young coconuts are just heaven. I can’t even open one up without my daughter eating at least half (if not 3/4) just right there. She drinks out the water and then starts saying “Meat! Let’s eat the meat!” before I can even rinse the straw! The list of benefits are also huge, but my main focus is that I love the taste. So does Sweet Pea.

Needing some more healthy fats in  my diet, and with my recent avocado cravings, this recipe was concocted to be a nice huge helping of healthy fats that tasted good and was easy to make. It is rich, so one recipe will serve 2 adults, but it is oh so good!

Avocado Coconut Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado, peeled
  • 1/2 young coconut (meat only)
  • 1 1/2 Cups hemp milk, or whatever milk you like.
  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 squirt Flax Seed Oil
  • Sweetener to taste (Sunectar, 2 dates, honey or maple syrup)
  • And the secret ingredient: 1 packet of original Nuplus by Sunrider. (if you don’t have Nuplus, you are missing out!! You can of course make this without it, just lessen the amount of hemp milk a little so you have your desired consistency).

Dishes Used:

  • Knives and spoon
  • Vitamix

Directions:

  1. Peel the one half of an avocado and place in Vitamix.
  2. Open your young coconut. There are many ways to do it, but here is one to get you started (just make sure you make the hole on top big enough to fit a spoon in) How to Open a Coconut
  3. Once the coconut is open, pour out the water and enjoy it. Then scoop out half of the meat in the coconut in place it in the Vitamix.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the Vitamix and blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.
  5. Serve with fruit and a few hemp seeds sprinkled on top! Serves 2.

That’s it!