Category: Food

Soup Saves the Day

We make soup all the time – it’s both economical & very easy to make a large amount of it at one time given you have a big enough pot and ways to store it after.  When not battling morning sickness, which makes my desire for everything I normally eat vanish like a child who has been asked to clean up their socks, I crave soup.  Now that my morning sickness and food aversions have abated for the most part, I am able to base my food choices on practicality and nutrition again :).

I like to make soup in my very big 24 quart pot.  Typically I will throw in about 3 quarts each of chopped onions, celery, and carrots – along with 1lb of chopped mushrooms, 1lb of chopped greens (usually kale), and 2ish lbs of chopped potatoes.  I cover this in meat broth (I almost always have lots of this on hand, but that is another post) and begin simmering it.  Mean while I will cook 2lbs of dried beans in my instant pot – I’ve already soaked these dried beans (usually chickpeas – our favorite) overnight.  After the beans are done, I drain and rinse them, then throw them in the pot with the veggies.  This usually fills the pot to almost completely full.  I season this with 1/4 cup each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger powder.  If you eat an omnivorous diet like we do, I will usually throw in a few pounds of meat (ground beef, sausage, shredded pork, chicken, shredded beef, your pick).  I cook up some rice on the side and add a scoop of rice to each bowl as I am serving it.  While we are in CSA season, I am adding a lot of different veggies in depending on what we get each week.

Once we’re done having our first meal of soup, I divide up the leftover soup amongst as many 9×13 pans that I have available (I have 4 at the moment).  This allows the soup to cool down much more quickly than waiting for that gigantic pot of soup to cool down.  If I don’t have enough 9×13 pans, I will put some in another smaller pot (usually my 8 quart pot) and once it is cooled I will store that in the fridge as well.  Currently we have 3 refrigerators (1 large, 1 medium, 1 small) which allows us to store a larger amount of pre-prepared food.  I stack our 9×13 pans in the fridge by putting a piece of sturdy cardboard in between each pan so they don’t squish one another and cause the soup to seep out the sides and make a mess.  One day I’d like to just have all 9×13’s with plastic lids so I don’t have to fuss with this step (and aluminum foil), but you use what you have :).

We eat this leftover soup for 3-4 more meals depending on what I add to them.  I will often throw in more rice (or leftover rice), or I will add some leftovers from dinner to stretch it.  As a gluten free, dairy free, minimal processed food family, it saves so much time to not have to come up with a fresh lunch idea every day.

Let me know if it spurs you on to your own creative time saving meal ideas!  Blessings to you and yours <3

Potato & White Bean Soup

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5lbs of white potatoes chopped
2lbs of dried white beans (navy / great northern), soaked & cooked
4 cups chopped onions
4 cups chopped carrots
2-3 cups chopped celery
2-3 cups chopped mushrooms
4lbs “soup bones” or other meat on the bone
3 Tbsp Salt & Garlic Powder
Optional seasonings: thyme, rosemary, a bay leaf or 3

Overnight, simmer your soup bones (or other meat on the bone) in a pot or crock pot.  In the morning, strain the broth into a large pot (I use a big ol’ 20 quart pot), and remove the bones and break up the meat.  To your pot add all of the above ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours.

This delicious lunch will feed us for 2 days, probably 3 if I go ahead and add other leftovers to it ;-).  It’s an easy way to work in potatoes & legumes into the diet during pregnancy (and any other time for that matter).

Pregnancy Nutrition 2nd Edition

I’ve shared how I am carefully managing my pregnancy weight gain which has lead many to ask “what do you eat?”  So here it is – I have very specific foods I try to eat every day to meet all my nutritional needs.

Every day I have a smoothie.  I usually use this smoothie to take all my supplements and frequently drink half of it at one time and the other half later.  This is a convenient  and consistent way to make sure I’m packing a lot of nutrition into one simple meal and taking my vitamins regularly :).

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • 3 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 packed cup of kale (approximately 1.5oz)
  • 1 scoop of “Garden of Life Perfect Food” powder

The macronutrients this provides me with are….

  • 672 calories
  • 22g protein
  • 28g fat
  • 92g carbohydrates and 21g of fiber

But the micronutrients is where this smoothie shines 🙂

A screen shot from Cronometer of all the nutrition in this smoothie :)
A screen shot from Cronometer of all the nutrition in this smoothie 🙂

The rest of the day isn’t quite as set, but I try to include all of the following things in my daily meals.

  • 1 medium potato (primarily for potassium, but notably contains 4g of protein and 2g of iron, along with varying amounts of minerals & b-vitamins)
  • 1 cup of legumes (with a focus on white beans, lentils, and chickpeas).  When prepared properly they are an excellent source of various minerals, protein, and fiber along with a heaping helping of b-vitamins (particularly folate!)
  • 3oz of salad greens – green leafy veggies are a great source of minerals, including calcium & iron, along with vitamin A, vitamin K1, and folate.  I avoid eating too much spinach due to the very high oxalate content.
  • 2 eggs – an obvious source of protein, b vitamins (b-12 in particular) and vitamin E in addition to vitamin K2 if the eggs come from pasture raised chickens.
  • 3oz of meat – with a focus on naturally raised sources.  I lean more towards eating pork products as they are high in selenium, zinc, and various b-vitamins.
  • 1 oz of almonds (preferably soaked and dried to help improve bioavailability of nutrients)
  • 1 oz (or two squares) of 80% or darker chocolate.  A delicious way to get 2g of protein, 2mg of iron, and various amounts of other minerals.

Including my morning smoothie, below you can see the nutritional breakdown of eating all of those things in a day…

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A couple of notes: All the daily value percentages are adjusted for pregnancy needs ;-).  Also, most of the vitamin A I get in a day is the alpha and beta carotene kind and perfectly safe in large amounts.  This also does not include other “incidental” foods such as coconut milk in my coffee, other foods that are contained in lunch and dinner, as well as any oil used for cooking.  So all said and done, my calorie count ends up closer to 2200-2300 calories a day.

As you can see there are a few “gaps” and here is how I address them.

B-Vitamins: I take a half dose of Garden of Life’s Raw B-Complex.

Vitamin D – I take 2 cod liver oil capsules (which contain a total of 500 IUs vitamin D & 5000 IUs preformed vitamin A).  I also take additional vitamin D drops during the winter as I’m not getting nearly as much sun now.

Calcium – my Nutritive herbal tea contains a large amount of calcium along with other minerals, but since it’s not as measurable I take 2 capsules of calcium / magnesium  daily just to be sure. With my pregnancies so close together I need to be very mindful of my mineral intake – particularly with calcium and magnesium.

Iron – that one is close enough 😉 that I’m sure my other food plus my nutritive tea intake covers it.  I also get my blood tested for iron levels to be sure I’m doing well there.

Potassium & Zinc – that one is close enough as well.  See my above comments about iron.

Selenium – I take a capsule of selenium and sprinkle about 1/4 of it into my smoothie on most days.

Ok so that covers the basics, but how about “HOW TO FIT IN ALL THAT FOOD??” lol.  Some days it feels like so. much. food, but it’s worth it!  First of all I spread it out throughout the day so I’m more or less eating a little bit every 2-3 hours.  To get my salad in, if we’re not having salad for dinner I just throw whatever we’re having for lunch or dinner on top of greens.

Lunch is either leftovers or a big pot of soup with potatoes, legumes, onions, carrots, celery, chopped kale, and meat of some kind (we buy meat in bulk from Polyface Farm).

Dinner – we follow a really regular meal schedule which makes life a lot easier (budget and planning wise).  But this post is long enough so I’ll share that next time. 🙂

DISCLAIMER – This post was written with all my minions running around me asking to be fed and watch movies and to be fed again.  If it’s sounds discombobulated or has excessive typos, you may blame them.  No time to edit or add lovely photos today! 🙂

Sausage, Beans, & Rice

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We do a variation on a simple “beans and rice” recipe every Friday – always making enough for 2 full meals so we can have leftovers for lunch on Sunday after church.  We usually stick to black beans or red beans and I’ve come to really love our current recipe.  Unlike the past this one has some meat in it, but it adds such an excellent flavor I can’t resist!  We get just about all our meat from Polyface Farm because we think humanely and naturally raised animals is  pretty important.  Below is the recipe for 1 meal for our sized family (I normally double this to feed us twice).

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs of dried red beans (soaked over night in warm water, drained, and rinsed)
  • 1lbs of breakfast sausage, chopped if using links
  • 2.5 cups of dry rice
  • 1.5 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 ginormous onions, or 2-3 smaller onions, chopped
  • 6 ribs of celery, chopped
  • Seasonings: lots of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, & dried thyme

In a large stock pot, sauté all of your veggies & sausage together (for flavor more than anything).  Add your already soaked and rinsed beans, and add water (or unseasoned broth) until covered.  Simmer for 1-2 hours (until beans are soft) then add 1.5tbs each garlic powder, onion powder, & salt, as well as 2tsp dried thyme.  Simmer for at least another 20 min.  While your pot of veggies and beans is simmering, cook up your 2.5 cups of rice in 5 cups of water, mixed with 1tbsp each salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Once your rice is done, stir it into your pot of beans and voila, you’re done! 🙂

Super Simple Soup (Crock Pot Edition)

My favorite thing about cold weather is soup.  Soup is simple to make and so good for you!  I thought I’d share my favorite method of making soup these days 🙂  The full recipe is at the bottom, but here is the method.

Put some meat in the bottom of your crock pot (mine is a 7 qt crock pot)

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I’m using some pork chops for this batch

Add your seasonings

Salt, Garlic, Onion, Coriander and Ginger this time.
Salt, Garlic, Onion, Coriander and Ginger this time.

Throw in enough chopped veggies to reach the top and fill with water.

Carrots, Celery, and Onion form the base of all my soups
Carrots, Celery, and Onion form the base of all my soups

And that’s it!  Weekly veggie prep makes this meal super quick (once a week we wash & chop as many veggies as we have time for).

Simple Crock Pot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 – 2lbs of meat on the bone (pork chops, spare ribs, oxtail, whatever you’ve got)
  • 2 Tbsp Unrefined Salt (I love “real salt“)
  • 1 Tbsp each garlic powder & onion powder (a variation I like lately is 1 Tbsp ginger powder and 2 tsp ground coriander)
  • Enough chopped veggies to fill the crock pot after you’ve put the meat on the bottom.  I almost always do about equal parts carrots, onions, & celery; some tasty variations include mushrooms, bell peppers, and potatoes (regular or sweet)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Enough water to just barely cover everything
  • Optional 1 Tbsp dried herbs (thyme & rosemary are always tasty)
  • Optional 3-4 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I’m very partial to flat parsley lately)

Set on low for 8+ hours, or high for 4+ hours.  When finished, I fish out the pieces of meat, chop them up on a cutting board, and toss them back in.  I also cook up rice and put a spoonful of rice in the bottom of the kids’ bowls before ladling the soup.  When I have them I also like to add legumes (chickpeas and lentils are a favorite around here) for additional nutrition and fiber.

EXTRA IDEAS: Keep all the “scraps” from chopping veggies and the bones from after you finish off your soup and throw them back in the crock pot with more water after you’ve made your soup.  This way you’ll get more nutritional bang for your buck – more broth!

Creamed Broccoli & Rice Soup

We are always look for simple healthy recipes (that the kids will actually eat!) and after throwing this one together the other day, and again the following week, I wanted to share.  It is also gluten free & dairy free, which is becoming more necessarily around our house these days.  Below is a Scott family sized portion, so adjust accordingly:

SOUP INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 quarts of water (or some sort of broth)
  • 4lbs of broccoli
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp each onion powder & garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or other alternative milk)

RICE INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 4 cups of uncooked rice
  • 1.5 tbsp each of salt, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut (or other) oil

Whisk together your water (or broth) and seasonings and bring to a boil.  As your water is heating up, chop up your broccoli a bit (stems and all) and toss it in there.  Let it simmer for about an hour, or until your broccoli is falling apart.  We like to blend ours up using an “immersion blender”, but it’s not necessary.  Stir in 1 cup of coconut milk.  While the soup is simmering, whisk together rice water and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, add coconut oil and rice, reduce to a simmer, and cook until done.  Mix together blended soup and rice.

*SIDE NOTES: Make this even easier on yourself by buying pre-chopped broccoli or frozen broccoli.  Also, my kids like to add a dash of hot sauce to their bowl.  We like it spicy!

Sourdough Oatmeal

If you’re a fan of oatmeal and all things “soaked, soured, or fermented”, this recipe is for you!  I’ve always been a huge fan of oatmeal (particularly it’s budget friendliness), but after eating it just about every morning for years it began not sitting well with my gut, so I gave it up.  Occasionally we’d try it again, but it never ended well.  I tried soaking it (with whey, with lemon juice, with vinegar, with yogurt, with kefir, etc) and it made no difference for me.  So in one last ditch effort to see if just maybe I could make oatmeal work for us, I added a cup of my sourdough starter to my oatmeal the night before to let it sour overnight.  I ate it (and it was delicious) and I suffered no ill effect at all!  I’ve since repeated this experiment enough times that I’m sold on this method for making oatmeal for our family :).  Here is a Scott family sized recipe for you:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups of oatmeal
  • 12 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sourdough starter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • fruit and other toppings of choice

The night before put your oats, water, and sourdough in a pot (or crock pot) to soak overnight.  In the morning add your salt, and coconut oil.  Cook over low heat stirring regularly until thick.  Since it has the sourdough in it, it tends to stick a bit to the bottom if you don’t stir it.  We like to make ours in the crock pot because the wonderful DaddyScott wakes up early and turns it on high for 1.5-2 hours and there is no stirring required while it cooks.  Serving it over slices of banana with pecans is very yummy :).  Sourdough oatmeal has a nice savory flavor, so you may find you don’t want to sweeten it at all; we usually don’t.