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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Long time no see! The last few months since I started my new job I have been trying to play catchup in life and have not been very inspired to cook. This usually happens when I start a new employment until I start to get into a routine. But as of late I’ve been eating out a lot and finally am getting sick of it. So now I’m creating. 🙂
Last night I threw together an experiment and hoped for the best. Thankfully it was a winner! 😀 Thankfully it’s really easy to make as well. The flavors in this salad are perfect for summer as it’s very fresh and light. This dish was inspired by a conversation about the Mediterranean Diet someone at work has been on lately. I think I might look more into it!

I call for “cans of”, but if you want to put in the extra time to cook your garbanzo beans I made mine in a “beyond rice, cooker” crockpot so it could soak for 3-4 hours and then cook for a minimum of 3 hours. I cooked mine in water, pink hymilian salt, and dropped a vegetable bouillon cube in for added protein and flavor.
Give it a try and plan a picnic on a beautiful day. I paired this with red lentils and green beans. Rinse and cook red lentils in chicken broth for 10 minutes, adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme. Once cooked, add in cooked and drained green beans, and a little olive oil and that’s it. It packs a lot of protein in these two dishes and no meat had to be thawed (which is the main reason I barely eat meat…lack of planning lol!)
So now on to the recipe! 🙂

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
• 1 can artichoke hearts, drained (I got the ones in water to cut the cost)
• 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced
• 1 green onion, diced
• Lemon zest of 1 lemon
• Juice of 1/2 a lemon
• Olive Oil to coat (3-5 Tbs)
• 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge overnight. It will taste good when freshly made, but even better if you marinate it.
Serves 4-6

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring and cooking fresh homemade meals. It really is an investment to your health to cook instead of eating out. I just feel better when I know what goes into my food instead of hoping I don’t get sick from an ingredient someone forgot to tell me, or cross contamination.
Also a recent change to my diet, I have been off corn for almost six months now if not longer, and cheating doesn’t even appeal to me anymore. It really made a difference in my digestion. When I ate corn it was organic as much as possible, and even that bothered me. Now I am starting to cut out nightshades too. I do notice when I eat potatoes on how much it effects my alertness and pain levels. Potatoes are my #1 comfort food too. But I do want to feel even better than I have been and hopefully one day the weather changes will not effect me as much as it does.
Look forward to more creations coming up and fresh meal ideas.
Thank you also for hanging in there while my life was put on hold.

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Veggie Chicken Rice Soup

I have heard the H1N1 virus (aka swine flu) has been going around lately and so now is the time to build up the immune system!
I personally am against vaccinating myself because I have an over reactive immune system that it would challenge my system even more. (That is exactly what my doctor told me). If you get vaccinated, I hope it helps you. For me it’s not worth the risk. So I do things more naturally to prevent from getting sick. And so far it’s been working for years!
First off, to help when I feel the tickle in my throat, or the glands swelling I go immediately to these natural remedies. I also follow up by adding some dōTERRA OnGuard oil to my water and it really does the trick!
My friend says to me “whatever placebo effect works for you”. but his family is ALWAYS sick! I think the placebo is working. 😉

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Another thing to do to help your immune system is drink LOTS of water! If you consume a lot of sugar (aka bottled juice) it actually will not help much unless it’s freshly juiced, then you are getting the live enzymes to help you recover. Bottled juice is dead enzymes.
And the another thing you can do to prevent getting sick, STOP EATING FAST FOOD! You want whole foods, good produce, not antibiotic filled tumor cows and GMO veggies. Home cooked or raw veggies are what you want to build up immunity in the winter.
There is time to achieve this on a busy schedule. I usually make enough for a small army and either freeze part for next week or eat it all in one week. To add variety (because I do get bored with food) I cut up different veggies to eat with some hummus or other healthy snacks. I could eat soup every day all day though. :-]
So speaking of soup, there’s a recipe! Read, create, enjoy!

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Veggie Chicken Rice Soup

To start out:
I took a rotisserie chicken carcass and put it in to the crockpot, added 4 cups of chicken broth, then filled to the 10 cup line and dropped in a vegetable bullion cube. Put on high setting for 2 hours.

If you have the meat from the carcass then skip the chicken prep. If not, read the steps below.

Ingredients for chicken prep:
• 1 lb chicken breasts (I started mine from frozen)
• 1 tbs oil (grapeseed, or avocado oil works good).
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1/8 tsp garlic powder
• 1/8 tsp onion powder
-In a large soup pot heat oil and add chicken (frozen or fresh). Sprinkle seasonings on chicken as it’s cooking, and cook until browned on both sides. (No pink in the center).
Once cooked set aside to chop later.

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Soup prep:
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 6 celery stocks, chopped
• 2 cups red cabbage, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
• 1 Tbs oil

Once removed chicken from large pot, add the above ingredients and sauté for 5-10 min on medium heat until onions are almost translucent.

When your chicken stock is ready, sift out the bones and leftover meat and pour the broth into your large pot.

Then add:
• 1 lb chopped cooked chicken
• 1 tsp dried parsley
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp celery seed
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 cup Jasmine rice

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Yum yum!
I added the cabbage for an extra punch of Vitamin C. The carrots and celery are loaded with folate and calcium. A good combo to ward off the flu bug by building your immune system.
This recipe was super easy for me and I’m having a tired slow kinda day after my chiropractor torture chamber treatment. Tomorrow is always a better day. 🙂 But if I can do it feeling like I do, than it’s pretty easy. 😉
Try it, it packs a lot of flavor! Yum yum!

 
 

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Porcupine Meatballs (no road kill was used in this recipe…)

I had tasted this recipe on Sunday at a friends house and usually I bring my own food but I had been eating mine the last few days so I was open to something different. When I ask my friends “what’s all in it” usually a few key ingredients get missed and I end up hurting.
I think I asked my friend 2-3 times before eating it to be sure the story was straight. So I gave one a try. They were sooo good! So I asked again so I can copy down the recipe and when she said tomato soup instead of sauce my eyes got real big! Uh oh! But she just miss spoke and it was really sauce. (I’m sure not all ingredients used were completely GF cuz I did notice some stomach cramping, but I lived).
After asking the last (probably 6th time by now) what all was in it, she finally found the recipe card and I snapped a few pics. Yea!
So here’s the recipe. It’s pretty easy. Probably 45 minutes from start to finish. Or an hour if you include cleanup.
I’m all for quick and easy! Even though my back feels like I was standing in the kitchen for 2 hours…makes it hard for me to enjoy cooking with my defects!
For some reason I enjoy baking more than cooking, maybe less chopping? But I barely bake anymore because I’ve been avoiding sugar.
Which do you prefer? Cooking or baking? Is it possible to like to both? Let me know in the comments which you prefer more? That way I can also add more of those recipes to my page. 😉
Enjoy!

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Porcupine Meatballs
• 1/2 Cup Jasmine Rice
• 1/2 Cup water
• 1/3 Cup diced onions
• 1/4 tsp celery seed
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1/8 tsp GF garlic powder (or a few cloves fresh pressed garlic).
Side note: I’m thinking this recipe needs an herb, but can’t decide which to use. Parsley? Rosemary? Basil? Any of them would deepen the flavor for sure. About 1/2 tsp.
Also refrigerating over night would really enhance the flavor of these little porcupine balls.

—————-
• 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
—————-
For Sauce:
• 1 (15 oz) can GF tomato sauce
• 1 cup water
• 2 TBS brown sugar
• 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins brand is Gluten Free).

The Steps:
1) Preheat oven to 400°F

2) Mix the first 7 ingredients together and let sit for 5-10 minutes to let the rice soak up some water or the rice will be crunchy when it’s finished.

3) Then add to the above mixture:
1 pound lean ground beef (preferably grass fed).
Mix together with hands until all incorporated. Roll into 1-1/2″ balls.

4) Heat 2 TBS coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat and drop 1-1/2″ round meatballs in heated oil until brown on all sides.

5) In separate bowl mix all the ingredients for the sauce together until incorporated.

6) Using a 9″x9″ or 9″x13″ pan (depending how big your meatballs turned out). Transfer all cooked meatballs into this dish and pour tomato sauce mixture over top.
Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turning and basting with the tomato sauce after 15 minutes.

7) Remove from oven and check the center to be sure they are cooked all the way through. Then serve over rice, GF pasta, or whatever your heart desires.

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Spicy Tortilla Soup

Tis the season for a warm soup! One of the reasons I love autumn is because it’s a great excuse to make SOUP! I am totally a soup person. I hated breakfast foods when I was a teen, so I would eat Campbell’s select chicken noodle for breakfast. And ya, I was hungry like 1 hour later. Haha.
This soup is gluten free and very hearty. I served this Sunday and most my friends made soup or chili too. We all had that look on our face like we barely ate but were sooo full! I ate mine with my Organic non-GMO white corn chips and they had their Juanita’s. They asked why I brought my own….umm…everything about Juanita’s chips are tainted! To each his own. :-p
This soup got the crowd approval, so it’s edible. I hope you try it, it can be made in the crockpot too. If you use canned beans then you don’t have to cook as long, 20-30 minutes to simmer is fine. I wish I had more chicken to work with but there were only 2 rotisserie chickens left; small or smaller. 😦 I had run all over town Saturday to get my stuff I between errands and avoiding car wrecks on the freeway. No greater joy then hitting every red light it town! :-p
I hope you try it out. Enjoy!

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Tortilla Soup

• 1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed
• 6 cups Chicken stock
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, chopped
• 3 carrot, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed
• 2 tsp. cumin
• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 T. tomato paste
• salt to taste (about 3/4 – 1 tsp)
• 1/2-1 tsp pepper
• 1 rotisserie chicken, de-boned and shredded
• Cilantro, chopped for topping
• Cheese for topping (I use almond cheese)
• Tortilla chips

How To:
Cover and soak beans overnight, or bring to boil and then turn off stove and soak for 1 hour. Drain. (Or cheat if in a time crunch and use 2-3 15oz cans rinsed and drained)
Add chicken stock, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Bring to boil and simmer gently about 1 hour.
Stir in tomato paste, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
Simmer another 30-45 minutes, till beans are cooked through. Add chicken.
Remove bay leaves.
Serve topped with cilantro and cheese and tortilla chips.

*Note* I usually add more veggies than called for because I like a nice chunky soup to dip my chips in. 🙂

 
 

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Tuscany Bean Soup

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So this last month I’ve found out I’ve been gluten poisoned by supplements my doctor gave me. The sales rep lied to them saying it was GF when it wasn’t. So I was the one to burst their bubble.
No scary rash this time, probably because it was in low doses, but whenever I eat it’s like I’m digesting knives. So I put myself on a liquid diet this week. I’ve been doing healing smoothies in the morning, purée soups for lunch and no coffee.
Surprisingly I’m quite awake with no coffee!!!! That was a big shocker to me!
So something must be healing. Unfortunately all the problems with other areas of me have come back with a vengeance. 😦 I have a REAL naturopath I’m going to see next week. Let’s hope we can mop up this mess.
So on to the recipe, been slacking on getting this posted all week.
It’s fabulous, so try it on those days you need to warm your belly. :]
Happy Friday!!

Tuscany Bean Soup

Ingredients:
• 1 Tbs Grapeseed Oil
• 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 4 cups chopped raw kale
• 4 cups GF chicken broth
• 2 cups filtered water
• 2 1/2 cups cooked white beans, rinsed
• Turkey kielbasa sausage (I use Hormel natural selects, no nitrates)
• 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
• 2 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning
• 1/4 tsp Salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
In a large pot, heat grapeseed oil. Add garlic, sausage, and onion; sauté until sausage is cooked and onions translucent. Add kale and sauté, stirring, until wilted. Add broth, water, cooked beans, tomato, herbs, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, mix the partial or all the soup until smooth (it tastes the same puréed as it does chunky, choose your texture). Return to pot and simmer 15 minutes. Then serve. It’s sooo yummy!

And here’s a Higgley moment. :-]

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I can’t believe this month went by so fast! I have been so sick lately with stomach issues and then my normal stuff x10 so it’s not been a fun one. I have had no motivation to cook or anything lately and basically been living on raw veggies and hummus. One good thing out of all this is that by no mental effort, I’ve hit my goal weight. (Sorry if that offends anyone!) So I’m happy about that, but I wish my stomach would cooperate! I still have a bunch of tests to run to figure out the problem. Sometimes I feel like a genetic defect and they should just start over and hit the reset button!
I have a feeling my diet will be changing drastically in the next few months, so there might be some yummy recipes coming. (Here’s hoping!)
I mentioned in my last post that I was going to try a kale basil hummus…and it was not that tasty, so I’ll spare you from trying it too. I think mainly my beans weren’t cooked enough and the consistency was not great (I cooked mine in the pressure cooker). But this one is great and two of my co-workers were loving it today. 😀
I’m also glad it’s payday week because I just had to clean out my veggie drawer that wasn’t looking too happy. 😦
So here’s the recipe, now back to being conformed to my work chair another 5 hours.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
• 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
• 3-4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick-peas), drained
• 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
• 1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 red pepper seeded, chopped & roasted (I did mine in a toaster oven on broil)
• 1/2 tsp salt (if using dry beans, 1/4 tsp if using canned)
• 1/4 tsp dried parsley
• 1/4 cup olive oil (add however much you like for consistency)
• 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/8 tsp cumin

How to:
– To prepare garbanzo beans in pressure cooker, add 7 cups of water/chicken broth to 2-2.5 cups dry (rinsed) beans.
– Seal top, and cook according to your pressure cookers instructions for 25-30 minutes.
– Rinse, de-seed and cut in large chunks your red pepper and put on broil until it’s looking roasted. Maybe 15 minutes? I didn’t put mine right next to the heat so it could take less time, just keep checking it.
– Once all that is ready, drain beans, peel garlic, juice lemon, dump all ingredients and spices in food processor except oil.
– Turn on to low setting until it’s starting to look smooth.
– Turn up to high setting and drizzle in olive oil from the opening in lid until it starts to get the consistency you like.
– Taste test to see if it needs tweaking, then either refrigerate for an hour to enhance flavor, or devour and leave no trace behind. 😉

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I hope you are having a great week and leave any suggestions for hummus experiments in the comments or yummy ones you have tried. 🙂 Thanks!

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Zuppa Toscana DF (Olive Garden Dupe)

Now that it’s coming close to Autumn it’s time for some soup! I love soups so much cuz it’s a one dish meal. I don’t have the time or energy to put a full meal on the table every day.
When I was at my parents house we had 4 people making dinner (3 1/2 with my gma who has Alzheimer’s) and we got a lot done! I made fried zucchini, my mom made fruit salad and fresh picked green beans, my dad made an awesome flank steak. And everything gluten free. Yea! I’ll have to get my dad’s marinade…olive oil and a bunch of fresh spices from their garden.
So now that I’m back home, there’s no one to help…I have to feed myself. Today was a bad fibromyalgia day too. Spent my Labor Day in a full flare up and a tension headache. If only I could have a (discrete) sumo wrestler walk on my back I’d feel soo much better!!
Somehow I managed to make this soup tonight. Glad I finally did it, purple kale was losing it’s purple!
I’ve had to throw out so much F&V this summer cuz I just have no energy to cook. Hopefully I can get back on track soon!
I need to get to bed so I’ll stop jabbering and give up the recipe.
This tastes JUST like (if not better) Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana. It was one of my favs when I used to eat there. This version has a LOT of flavor.
Try it…you’ll like it! 😉

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Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
6 C. Chicken stock
3 cloves minced garlic
4 yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on, cut into large chunks
1 can white beans (I used great northern), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 slices bacon chopped
1 Hormel natural selects turkey sausage. Chopped
4 C. Purple kale
2 C. cashew cream (1 c. cashews, 1 1/2 C. water and 2 T. nutritional yeast blended til creamy in a power blender, if you don’t have a power blender, soak the cashews overnight and do this in a normal blender).
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Method:
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in your soup pot, sauté bacon & sausage. Add the onion and sauté til translucent, about 2-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots and sauté for a few minutes more. Add potatoes and garlic and sauté for a minute more. Add the chicken stock, white beans, crushed red pepper flakes and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil, then cover pot with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Add in cashew cream, kale and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes A Lot!

Blooper: I read too quick my own recipe and added 6 cloves of garlic. I feel sorry for whoever has to be around me tomorrow!! :-p

 
 

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