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!

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!

Hemp Milk

hempmilk

Creamy, delicious milk (milk alternative) is hard to come by when you are doing dairy free. Really, if you can do dairy, I think raw, organic dairy is the best (and only) way to go as it is the safest, most natural route for milk. It has been shown to help strengthen bones and teeth, and in the book Cure Tooth Decay, Nagel writes quite a bit about raw, organic dairy and it’s benefits.

Being dairy free, we turned to alternative milks like almond, rice and hemp milk. However, I have found over time that these milks are actually not that great for you when you buy them commercially.

Carrageenan is an additive that is in just about every alternative milk. I kept getting intuition to stop drinking it, and about a month after I did, I saw this article:

http://www.naturalnews.com/041866_carrageenan_food_additive_processed_foods.html

So then I read through all the ingredients of the alternative milks on the shelf… coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, etc, and all of them had carrageenan except for one.

Rice milk.

So we turned to rice milk, but even that didn’t feel great. We used it though, thinking it was more than likely safe enough to drink. Then I read this article from Consumer Reports stating that rice milk, rice products, and rice in the US has been found to have high amounts of arsenic in it. And the brand we use is on the list.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/arsenic1112.htm

In search of the perfect milk alternative, a good friend of mine asked if I’d tried to make hemp milk. Homemade hemp milk? Hmmmm…. she gave me a suggestion of proportions, and with that and a little luck, I figured out a 2 minute recipe for perfect hemp milk!

And if you want to do some reading about hemp seeds, here is a great place to start:

http://manitobaharvest.com/articles_studies.html?itemID=72

Even my daughter loves it and asks for more. As you can see, I can barely take a photo without an eager hand coming to get the glass to drink :)

You can also make your own almond milk, and if there is a rice that does well for you, rice milk is super easy too. I’ll add these recipes soon, but for now here is the easiest one of all!

Hemp Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup organic hemp seeds
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • Sweetener (optional) We use a little bit of Sunrider’s Sunectar (stevia)

Dishes used:

  • High speed blender
  • Measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Combine hemp seeds, water, vanilla and sweetener (if using either) and run in a high speed blender for 1-2 minutes.
  2. If you want you can strain it through a cheese cloth, or just enjoy as is.

That’s it!

Italian Veggies And Rice

ItalianVeggiesAndRice

“This is soooo good. Can we have it again?”

I always love hearing this. Especially from a teenager. The only problem is sometimes I have no idea what I actually just made. You see, I never really make things from a recipe. I just throw together what feels right, and what I have on hand, and that’s it!

So I thought, “Hmmm… I’m really going to have to think about this. What did I make?”

Then I came here to post a recipe and what did I find? I had already written a version of the recipe! I just hadn’t posted it yet.

And I never thought I’d like blogging. Ha. When it means I can find my recipes and share them, I’m all for it :)

The best way to cook is from intuition. Of course having easy, good recipes to follow makes a strong foundation, but then use the intuition to choose what ingredients, how much, etc.

For example, in this recipe, you can use many different types of vegetables, not just the ones listed. I made this recipe yesterday and the only veggies that were the same were the tomato, onions and zucchini. Instead, I added in squash, carrots, spinach and arugula, and it was fantastic.

It starts when you are in the grocery store (or standing in your garden). What veggies do I want today? Which ones do I feel drawn to? Take breath. Soften your gaze. Feel your breath. Now look around and see what stands out. Your body will tell you once you start to listen and have some communication.

I learned all this from the meditation snacks taught by Savitri at Alive and Shine Center in Bellevue, WA. The centering is a great thing to do before you shop, and before you cook. It teaches you how to feel and intuit, rather than go by the repetition and information stored in the brain. It is great to have the information… just use it with feeling.

Start upping your cooking intuition and see what you create! And let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

Italian Veggies And Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic zucchini
  • 1/2 organic onion
  • 1/2 pint organic olives, pitted
  • 2 stalks organic celery
  • 2 leaves organic chard
  • 1 organic baby bok choy
  • 1 organic tomato
  • 18 oz organic diced tomatoes (I like Jovial brand for taste and quality)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary
  • 1 cup organic jasmine rice

Dishes Used:

  • Pot and spoon
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Pan and spatula

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to directions.
  2. Heat oil in pan and sauté onions 2-3 minutes.
  3. Chop and add the zucchini and celery to the onions.
  4. Then add spices, salt and pepper. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes or until zucchini starts looking cooked.
  5. Chop olives, bok choy and chard and add to stir fry. Add tomato sauce, and add more salt if needed. Stir fry another 3-4 minutes. Add chopped tomato. Cook 1 more minute.
  6. Remove from heat and serve over jasmine rice.
  7. To add a little variety, you can also mix in some Veganaise just before serving. Use about 1 heaping teaspoon per serving.

That’s it!

Veggie Fried Rice

veggiefriedrice

Chinese food is so good.

If it wasn’t for the MSG (and now GMOs, corn oil, garlic) we’d be eating Chinese once a week at least. My favorite? Fried Rice.

Apparently my little Sweet Pea also loves fried rice, and while I was taking the picture her little hand snuck in and took a taste. Fortunately, this was Daddy’s plate.

I used to love to eat Chinese and Japanese foods, and I’d even buy Asian foods such as seaweeds like nori, wakame, kombu… In fact, we used to have an incredibly delicious recipe for kombu soup that was nourishing and hearty. I just can’t post it, however, because the ingredients in that recipe are now too dangerous to eat.

Due to the high levels of radiation that are now found in the Pacific ocean because of the Fukushima disaster, the seaweeds and other native plants and products are contaminated, or possibly contaminated.  This includes fish and sea life. Just recently there are reports that radioactive cesium levels have jumped 9,000% in three days… and no one knows why. And there are reports that this radiation is being dumped into the sea.  And yet nuclear power plants are still being created and used. No one knows why.

So do your own research, but take care if you eat any Asian products or any fish from the Pacific.

And maybe buy a solar panel or two while you’re at it. ;)

But this dish is pretty safe, and it’s so yummy I couldn’t even take a picture without a fast little fist getting a bite to taste!

There are so many ways you can make this dish, and I’ve found this is the easiest way for me. As always, I make this with what I have on hand at the moment, so feel free to ad lib with what you have available.

This is great with chicken or tofu (I used the Roasted Tofu) or just veggies. And it is best eaten with chopsticks.

Veggie Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked organic jasmine rice
  • 2 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 orange or yellow organic bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh organic snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups organic spinach and arugula mix
  • 1 cup organic peas (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Bragg liquid aminos (or soy sauce / tamari)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic ginger (fresh is best,  cut up really small, or powdered if you need)
  • 1/2 organic zucchini, sliced
  • 3-4 organic eggs, scrambled
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dishes Used:

  • Pan and spatula
  • Cutting board and knife

Directions:

  1. Heat veggie oil in pan and add onions. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add fresh ginger if using.
  2. Add zuchinni, peas, bell pepper, and celery. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add sugar snap peas / snow peas, spinach/arugula mix.
  4. Add Bragg, powdered ginger (if using), salt and pepper, cooked rice.
  5. Add the scrambled eggs and mix well.
  6. Serve topped with fresh tomato, or just as is.

That’s it!

Mini Fruit Kabobs

MiniFruitKabobs

 

We really needed some help.

Do you ever have one of those days where you are so overwhelmed, or busy, or exhausted that just the thought of cooking makes you want to give up even before you start? We used to answer that by going out to eat, but now we can’t eat out due to all our dietary preferences (notice I’m not calling them restrictions anymore! More on this later).

I have often heard the phrase: “You have to make the rules so it’s easy for you to win.” Well, cooking a big dinner was not winning for me, and I had to find a way to entertain my very attention-demanding toddler who is finally having her last two molars come in… Yes, teething. Yes, a 2 year old. That mix usually means there is suddenly a vast amount of Mommy attention required in order to function properly.

And we hadn’t been to the store in about a week, so we were low on just about everything, except fruit. So we were hungry, tired, out of most of our food, and needing a project.

The answer? Mini Fruit Kabobs.

All you have to do is cut up the fruit and put it on a toothpick. That’s really it. That’s making it easy to win.

This kept my daughter’s attention the whole time, and during the process she ate an entire banana by herself, so she was much happier by the end of the process. Another win.

Now this did not completely replace our meal, but it gave us energy and a happier mood in order to make a super easy dinner. Sometimes it just takes a little something like this to get me started so cooking doesn’t seem like such an uphill battle. It makes cooking dinner seem more like… a piece of cake…

You can use any fruit you have on hand, just remember the food combining rules for fruits. There is a great PDF called “Food Combining Chart” you can look at for reference, but here it is in a nutshell:

  • Melons are stand-alone fruits… don’t mix them with other fruits.
  • Pineapple, papaya and mango can be mixed with anything, as they aid digestion.
  • Sweet and sub-acid fruits can mix.
  • Sub-acid and Acid fruits can mix.
  • Do not mix Sweet and Acid fruits.

In this recipe we used bananas, apricots, blueberries and sweet grapes, but you can  use what you already have in your kitchen, and what you feel inspired to eat.

 

Mini Fruit Kabobs

Ingredients:

  • Really whatever fruit you have on hand but I used:
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes

Dishes Used:

  • Knife and cutting board

Directions:

  • Slice bananas and apricots into bite-sized pieces.
  • Organize fruits so it is easy to make an assembly line, then place them in your desired order on the toothpicks.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

That’s it!

Roasted Root Vegetables

roastedrootveggies

Roasted potatoes and root vegetables is a favorite around here. Of course there is the usual love of the “red condiment” that accompanies these savory treats, but the ease of making it is why it’s one of my favorite recipes. And it tastes really good.

I also learned some great news! Potatoes, it turns out, are not GMO crops at the present moment. They were back in 1996, but were rejected by consumers, and are now no longer in production.

So rejecting GMOs and buying organic REALLY makes a difference. If we vote with our dollars for organic, then the GMO products will have no demand, and therefore will be shut down.

I mean, do you really want your food to come from a corporation?

I would prefer all my food to come from a local farmer who has invested in organic and is working with nature. I would rather share my money with them, and invest in their dreams of a healthy earth.

Plus, it tastes better anyway.

You can really add whatever veggies that can handle baking that you have on hand into this recipe: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, fennel, sunchokes (jerusalem artichokes), turnips, rutabaga, bell peppers, plum tomatoes and zucchini are some of our favorites. And if you aren’t avoiding garlic, toss some in!

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic potatoes
  • 1/4 organic onion
  • 1 organic carrot
  • 1/4 bulb organic fennel (or 2 stalks)
  • 1 organic parsnip
  • 1/8 cup organic high-heat oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dishes Used:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Bakeware dish

Directions:

  1. Lightly oil glass bakeware dish and preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Chop all veggies into bite-sized pieces and place in dish.
  3. Cover with remaining oil and spices and combine well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 min stirring once, or until veggies are a beautiful golden brown and easy to cut with a fork.

That’s it!

Garden Tea

gardentea01

gardentea02

Tea anyone?

In gardening class today, my daughter and I learned how to make the best tea I’ve ever had. It is perfect for a beautiful summer’s day, and a great way to teach a little one about the garden. Our wonderful teacher, Monette, had this idea and now we are looking forward to making it more and more!

The glass of tea is so beautiful with all the bright flowers and herbs in the sunshine. And you get to drink it all in!

We tried to add the very first, new blackberries into the tea, but the girls ate them up before we could even get them into the basket. If you have edible fruits, feel free to add them in.

There is a wide variety of plants you can use, this is just a sample list. Use part, or all of this list, or add your own plants that you know are safe to eat!

 

Garden Tea

Ingredients:

  • Rose petals
  • Edible pea pods (once you’ve eaten the delicious peas inside!)
  • Chamomile flowers
  • Comfrey flowers
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Spearmint leaves
  • Clover flowers
  • Oregano leaves
  • Edible berries
  • Any other edible herb or flower
  • 1 quart (or more) of spring water
  • Any sweetener you want (optional – ours tasted great without it!)

Dishes used:

  • 1 quart jar

Directions:

  • First of all, you MUST make sure that there are no pesticides, herbicides, or any other toxin on the plants. Also no Miracle-Gro, or any other non-Organic fertilizers for the plants. Otherwise you will pick up the toxins.
  • Pick the flowers and herbs, etc fresh from the garden and collect them in a container. If you have a little one, this is a great time for them to learn about the different plants and to sample some along the way.
  • Wash what you gathered in a good fruit and vegetable rinse (I use Sunrider brand) to kill any bugs. Rinse well.
  • Place in a quart jar (or more) of spring water and place in the sun for at least an hour. Add sweetener if using and enjoy!

That’s it!