Tag Archives: stew

healthy smoothie and leftover ham stewy soup

18 Apr

photo 1I can’t believe this semester is almost over. if you have ever been in graduate school, you will know how grueling it is. The term “poor graduate school student” really is true. Even if you are working full-time and going to graduate school, like I am, you still spend every dime you have to make sure that you can pave your way. With being in Hell, oops, I mean class, 3 nights a week, and trying to fit in homework and working out (which dangit, isn’t happening as much as I would like lately) in, and working full-time, I try and make meals that I can eat for a few days, or even for a full week. I prep all the berries I want to eat for the week, and any veggies, and make meals that I can eat throughout the week on Sundays when I can. This may not be the funniest post I’ve written, but it has been QUITE the semester. I just turned in two papers and am waiting on edits for my last paper. Then I can break lose and have fun again. SO….as I was saying, in order to make sure I have healthy, or relatively healthy food for the week, I make meals that are easy to eat for the week. That was the inspiration for this stewy soup! I also had saved the ham bone from Easter (this recipe was made closer to Easter than I am posting it now) and wanted to make sure to utilize all of that delicious meat and flavor from it! This soup is super yummy, I hope you like it and it makes a ton!

SPINACH COCONUT OIL AND BERRY SMOOTHIE

  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 8 strawberries, tops removed, use more if you’d like
  • 2 cutie tangerines or 1 large orange
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, local honey
  • you can add frozen blueberries or another frozen fruit if you like

This is SUPER easy. Add it all to the blender and blend away! You can add more coconut oil, or even coconut water if you need more liquid. This is aphoto 2 super fast, easy and yummy snack. The benefits of coconut oil are numerous. You can use it not only to eat, but as a conditioner for your hair, you can take a spoonful by mouth a day to aid digestion and skin and hair growth and strength, you can use it as facial lotion, body lotion, really you can use coconut oil for anything! LOVE it!

HAM AND BEAN STEWY SOUP WITH FRESH SPINACH

  • mirepoix (this is onion, celery and carrot diced up small. you can cut your own or trader joe’s and other stores have containers of it now!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • your ham bone with all that yummy ham left on it
  • 2-3 quarts of chicken stock or vegetable stock (I had my own frozen that I had made, but any organic would do well)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 can of black beans or another can or cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (if you don’t like thyme, omit this, but you can’t really taste it in the soup, it just adds something special)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

photo 3This may be the EASIEST soupy stewy yummy dish to make. It smells and tastes AMAZING. In a large pot, add your coconut oil and melt on medium to high heat. Next, add your mirepoix mixture and cook until the veggies are soft. Add 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Next, add your ham bone, then add your stock. The stock should cover the ham bone completely. Use your discretion. you may need two quarts, you may need 3, I needed 2 and a half to do this. Next, rinse and drain all of your beans and add them to the soup. Add all of your spices and bring to a boil. NOTE: do NOT add your salt and pepper to taste yet, the ham is salty, so you very well may not need more salt. Cook this down for 3-4 hours. You’ll notice it is done because all of the ham will be off the bones, and you will have to take the bones out. The beans will also make this soup rich and thick. It’s really delicious. Lastly, add your spinach. Now if you are like me and was putting this in the fridge right away for a later meal, add the fresh spinach and just stir it in, let the soup cool and put it in the fridge. No need to cook the spinach because it’ll get wilty and yucky. The fresh spinach will cook nicely when you reheat it. If you ARE serving this right away, then cook the spinach in the soup until it is bright green and a little wilty, but not mushy and gross. Serve up your soup and bowls and enjoy!

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pumpkin kale CRAZY

14 Oct

So since I started this blog around the fall time, pumpkin and kale are taking it over! Particularly pumpkin. I’m trying to devise a way to make pumpkin zucchini bread right now….. But in the meantime, I made pumpkin chili last week and this weekend I’m making pumpkin beef stew and cast iron skillet gluten free corn bread! YUM! The great thing about pumpkin is when you add it to chili, stew, whatever have you, it is subtle, and doesn’t overpower. It just adds extra good for you vitamins and yumminess! I also made pumpkin soup this week! I have a problem……HAHA!

Cooking is really a stress relief for me. It eases my soul. The last week has been really long and arduous. I haven’t had much time for my 1/2 marathon training runs or yoga, or anything really. I have had a ridiculously long, boring paper due, getting last minute things for my family and whatever else done for my brother’s wedding, have been working on my relationships, yadda yadda yadda and it’s just been long and tiring. Oh well. BUT this week should be really exciting! My little brother is getting married to probably THE nicest, smartest, most wonderful girl he could ever ask for. I am so so SO happy for them. I can’t wait to finish with this coming up week and get into the wedding fun!

Today it’s a rainy day outside in Chicago and it definitely is the perfect metaphor for last week, rainy and cold. But, everything happens for a reason and I am hopefully getting stronger as days go on, stronger in my runs, stronger in who I am and stronger in anything else that comes my way. It’s amazing what you can learn in your lifetime, even in a couple months of a couple weeks!

The nice thing, if you know me, is that I love to cook, and I can always go back to the kitchen to give my brain a reset! Last weekend, and yes, I know I’m behind, I made a REALLY yummy pumpkin chili for dinner and then ate it for a couple lunches. I really love food like that lately that I can make for dinner and then eat for a couple meals. Granted, I hate leftovers, so it has to be something that reheats well! Stews, soups, caseroles and chilis tend to do that nicely. Don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot of salad, A LOT, during the week, but it’s nice to have something warm and comfy! I also am REALLY into juicing lately. It’s so nice that when I don’t use an entire bag of kale and it’s about to go bad, I juice it! So far my favorite juicing combination is kale, spinach, apple, celery, ginger and beet! If you don’t have a juicer, you should get one. It’s a nice way to get good nutrient in your body, give you some energy and use up produce you wont eat in time! I generally drink a glass of the green juice in the morning. YES, I know, green juice? Gross, right!? NOT AT ALL! Something about juicing it really makes it taste amazing, all those flavors, yum! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a way to get your veggies in, don’t let it take over eating good healthy, raw or cooked veg, it is just a nice way to start out the day. If I remember to drink a glass of green juice that I make when I wake up, with my breakfast, it gives me that little boost in the morning and is healthier than coffee! SO eat your veggies people, particularly pumpkin haha, and enjoy these recipes! Trust me, more pumpkin recipes to come for sure!

SPICY YUMMY PUMPKIN CHILI

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or what have you
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1-2 zucchini cut and cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4-5 Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Wash and prep your veggies. Chop your onions and bell pepper and dice your garlic super fine. In a dutch oven, or large pot, heat your oil and toss in the onion, zucchini and bell pepper with the garlic. Cook until almost soft. Throw in the ground beef and italian sausage. Cook until brown, breaking up as your go. Once that is ready, add your can of pumpkin, tomatoes, spices and stir until combined. Let that cook down a bit, stirring occasionally. Then rinse your black beans and add those. NOTE: If you don’t eat beans, don’t add them! It’ll be yummy without! Also, use whatever meat you want, turkey, beef, pork, the list is endless, and that’s the great thing about chili! Taste for salt and pepper and spiciness content, add more if necessary. Let cook for about 15 minutes after this and then serve it up! It’s REALLY yummy with fresh avocado on top!

PUMPKIN BEEF STEW WITH ROOT VEG

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or whatever oil you’d like) and 2 tablespoons grassfed butter
  • 1 lb beef stew meat (or more if you;d like)
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or whole wheat or regular, spelt, whatever you use)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 lb bag of carrots, this is about 10 carrots, regular size
  • 1 bag of red skin potatoes, about 15 potatoes, medium sized

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat your pot on high heat and add your oil and butter, this is a LOVELY combination. Add your stew meat and dump in your flour. Stir around so you coat the meat and it make a thick roux with the oil, butter and flour, coating the meat and browning it. Add your beef stock and pumpkin, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil. While this is coming to a boil, roughly chop your carrots, onion and halve or quarter your potatoes. Turn the heat off the pot once it boils and add all your veggies. Stir together and put in the oven, covered, for 2 hours, checking occasionally to stir. You also can check seasoning levels and add more salt and pepper as needed. NOTE: If you gravy is too thin as it cooks and you want a thicker gravy, make a slurry. You take the flour of your choice, like coconut, spelt, whole wheat or white, and add water to make a thick paste, add it to your stew and stir it in. The slurry will make it not lumpy and thicken your stew gravy.

Once the stew vegetables are fork tender, your stew is done! Check seasoning and serve alongside some YUMMY gluten free corn bread! I actually pour my stew over a bed of fresh baby kales, but you know me, I LOVE kale. You can eat it plain, or have it over some yummy kale of fresh spinach. It will lightly cook the kale or spinach from the heat and add some extra veggie yumminess! ENJOY on a cold rainy Sunday and heat up throughout the week for yummy lunches!

ROUX

Here is a GREAT link to making roux! Basically, you take dripping from a roast and add flour to make a basic slurry to create gravy, but it also gives you an idea of how it can work in other dishes! Rouxs are great for making cream sauces, gravies, yummy things like that!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/good-eats/white-roux-recipe/index.html

for bean’s sake and some life lessons

23 Sep

Who is ready for FALL!? This girl. I love cold weather. I like big fluffy vinyasa scarves, hoodies, pumpkin EVERYTHING, runs that you aren’t dripping with sweat, walks in the leaves…..I love everything about Fall. I love that soups, stews and baking are now the thing and yummy warm food coating your tummy. Fall is where it’s at in my book.

This week has been amazing, hard, fun, eye opening and crazy all at the same time. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons this week and honestly. I’ve had a GREAT week with the little ones I nanny for and they are the joy of everyday, that’s for sure. I have no qualms about my childcare and cooking abilities! But, it’s those little other things in life that I sometimes am too hard on myself for. Take running, I’ve kind of taken a step back from it so I need to get back at it in full gear for the 15K and then the Disney Half so….basically…get it, girl! It’s amazing how a surgery can change your life. I used to be a eensy weensy teeny little runner and gymnast, now I am trying to get back there after being not able to workout for 6 months due to my surgeries last year. Oh well…. I LOVE running, so it’ll happen!!!

I am reading a new book, that you all should, called DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown. She is amazing. It’s all about vulnerability and how to basically love ourselves and not worry about being vulnerable or too hard on ourselves. This book totally came out at the right time.

With that being said, curling up in bed, with a hot bowl of stewy soup and this amazing book with brownies cooking in the oven….I mean sounds like heaven right!? So here goes, some yummy, gooey almond butter swirl brownies, navy bean, spinach and bacon soup and then kale salad. I wanted to post this kale salad because it is simple and I eat it quite a few times during the week. It’s a great way to get lots of vitamins in and just some yummy veg!

KALE CARROT BEET AND PEA SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kale, washed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • beets, however many you’d like (I have about 3)
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is SUPER easy! In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from your orange, add your olive oil, salt and pepper and wisk to emulsify. Set aside. Take your kale and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil and orange liquid, set aside. Then, take your frozen peas and run them under hot water until defrosted. Take your shredded carrots from your fridge, or shred your own carrots, about 1-2 carrots will be great. Next, either you can roast your own beets, or buy them, already roasted, peeled and cut from Whole Foods.

To roast your own beets:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths). Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender.

After this is done, put them in a large bowl and add the orange juice and olive oil vinaigrette you just made. Let them sit and soak up the goodness!

After the beets have cooled, assemble your salad. On a plate, Put down your kale down on the salad plate. Next add your shredded carrots, beets on top of that, then your peas. DEVOUR the goodness!

FUDGY YUMMY GLUTEN FREE BROWNIES WITH A NUT BUTTER SWIRL

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, or extremely dark chocolate, or super natural bitter chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce, unsweetened and not the cinnamon kind
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch metal baking pan across the bottom and up two opposite sides with parchment paper or spray it with olive oil cooking spray or grease it. I greased my pan with a little coconut oil. You can use whole almonds and add them to a food process with the rice flour and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. If using almond flour, mix it with the rice flour. Set aside.

Place the chocolate, butter and salt in the top of a large double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the honey and vanilla. Stir in the applesauce. Add the almond and rice flour mixture and stir until moistened, and then mix briskly until really well combined.

NOTE: You can make these without the nut butter. You can add nuts, more chocolate chips, the sky is the limit!

Take your nut butter of choice. I use almond butter or a nut butter that has a bit of sea salt in it. You can find GREAT nut butters with sea salt at Trader Joe’s. That way these aren’t overly sweet. This is a peanut butter and almond butter mixture, but feel free to use just almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, sun butter, what have you. Place it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds so it gets a little gooey and creamy. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Spoon dollops of the nut butter onto the brownie batter. Using the spoon, swirl the nut butter into the brownies. This is done the easiest by taking the spoon and bring it down the length of the batter, then across and keep doing it until you like the swirl. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the brownies are slightly puffed all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist but clean. Cool and get your EAT on!

NAVY BEAN AND SPINACH SOUPY STEW

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 lb grassfed pork bacon, about 8 slices of thick cut (or regular if you prefer and don’t care about where your meat comes from)
  • fresh savory herb
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans organic navy beans
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 quart of homemade chicken bone broth or organic free range chicken broth
  • 2 handfulls of fresh spinach (or KALE!!!!)

Slice and cube your bacon. In a dutch oven, place your bacon in on medium high heat and cook until brown. While the bacon is cooking and browning and smelling lovely, you can cut your veggies. You want to have uniform cuts so that the mirepoix (fancy French word for carrots, celery and onion, the base of LOTS of dishes) can cook together and soften. Add your onions while the bacon is cooking and let them soften in the bacon fat. Add your carrots, celery, chopped savory herb (if you do not have this or can not find it, just use fresh thyme, rosemary, another type of savory tasting herb), dried thyme and the black pepper and cook until the veggies are soft, but that the carrots and celery still have a little crunch.

Drain and rinse your beans. You want to rinse off the starchy liquid that they come canned in. Add your beans and cook for about 2 minutes so the beans are warm. Add your chicken broth and simmer until bubbly. Add your salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer. With soups I’ve found that adding the salt last, and letting it cook a bit before tasting, helps out a lot. If you add too much salt, there’s no going back. So add a little at a time. Plus, for this recipe, the bacon adds a bit of a salty smokey flavor (DELICIOUS), so you want to hold off on the salt until you’re ready and the flavors have simmered. So basically, add about a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt at a time, let it simmer, taste it, then add more if needed.

Take your spinach and put in as much as you want. I used about 2 large handfull, maybe 3. Let is cook down  a bit in the soup. Bowl the soup up and eat nice and hot on a cold blustery day!

You could also add KALE to this. And for those doubting kale, and my love for it. Here’s a great infographic!

http://nutribulletblog.com/all-hail-kale/

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