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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from October 1, 2009 - October 31, 2009

Friday
Oct302009

Gluten Free Sugar Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe with Crunchy Crust and Cashew Whipped Cream (soy free, ACD-friendly)


THIS PIE IS AMAZING.  I like this more than regular pumpkin pie.  My whole family and some of my friends tried it, and they all said it was totally bangin'.  Even my put-a-pound-of-butter-in-everything grandma loved it. How can a egg free, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, sugar free pumpkin pie win over a crowd?  Magic and a pinch of love.  Okay, okay, and some good recipes to work from.

 

The whole foods/gluten free/vegan/allergy blogosphere is bursting at the seams right now with pumpkin recipes.   'Tis the season, after all.  Ali from Whole Foods Nutrition just posted a recipe for Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, Nancy from The Sensitive Pantry shared her Spiced Pumpkin Cider Smoothie recipe , Gluten Free Goddess Karina posted a Pumpkin Pie Bread recipe that makes me drool at the thought of it,  Naomi at Straight Into Bed CakeFree and Dried posted a recipe for Stuffed Tiny Pumpkins a while back that looks lovely, Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen posted a recipe for Fat Free Pumpkin Raisin Biscuits that I want to make GF, and Stephanie at Gluten Free by Nature offered up some delectable-looking dairy-free Pumpkin Ice Cream that I want to try making without eggs.  And that's just the beginning!  Whew.  My reader has been full of pumpkin.  And I, like all of you, REALLY wanted something pumpkiny/squashy last weekend.

I wanted pumpkin pie.

Actually, no, I wanted butternut pie.  I love butternuts in pie instead of pumpkin, because they are sweeter and just darn tasty.  My family was in town, we were having Sunday afternoon dinner, and I wanted those homegrown butternuts in my pantry to be served in pie form.  But given my decision to return to the ACD plan, I knew I had some obstacles when embarking on this pie mission.  On top of all my other allergy restrictions, I could only use stevia to sweeten, and I needed a lower carb crust.  Hmn.

Not easily intimidated, I jumped in headlong, and set to work researching in my big collection of cookbooks.  I found inspiration in two standbys: the pie filling is adapted from Myra Kornfield's The Voluptous Vegan, and the crust is adapted from Jeanne Marie Martin's Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook.  Kornfield's book is great, whether you are vegan or not - her recipes are innovative and always delectable.  I've had this cookbook for years, and have always loved everything from it (her chocolate cake is incredible).  I love this filling recipe because it is soy free, unlike many vegan pumpkin pie recipes.  It is creamy and dense, with a great mouth feel, and took to my little tweaks very very well!  Best yet, it is incredibly easy to make - if you can use a blender, you can make this pie.  The most complicated part is finding agar agar powder instead of flakes (according to Myra's recipe notes, the recipe will absolutely not work with flakes).   I used a combination of mesquite flour, allspice, and cardamom to season it, since I am still avoiding all those tasty traditional pumpkin pie spices due to some allergies.  But I included Myra's original spice combination below as well.  The crust is made of high protein flour and ground nuts and seeds, and also worked well with my little tweaks.  Martin's Candida guidebook has a ton of great recipe suggestions (as well as great Candida treatment recommendations), and I've tried many of them over the last year or so. This crust is especially awesome, and totally ACD approved: it bakes up crunchy, has a great flavor, and actually holds together better than a lot of gluten-containing crusts I've seen!  Last but not least, the cashew cream is born of my own mind, and is rich, thick, quite addictive, and absolutely perfect for dolloping on a big slice.

If you have nut and seed allergies, give this crust a try, substituting coconut oil or shortening for the ghee if you don't tolerate it.  Otherwise, try going totally crustless, baking the filling in a greased pie pan for a tasty pumpkin custard!  I'm going to give that a try it this weekend, and think it will be just as delicious. The pie will last for 4-5 days in the fridge, and slices can be frozen and thawed.  Trust me, I tried both, and those slices of leftover pie were just as good as the fresh ones.

 

Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Crust (gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, ACD)

 pie filling adapted from Myra Kornfield's Voluptuous Vegan
 
yields 1 9" pie

  • 3 cup pumpkin or squash puree (from a 2 1/2-3 lb squash, or canned) - I used Butternut squash
  • 1 cup SoDelicious Coconut Milk beverage, coconut milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 4 teaspoons melted coconut oil (or other light oil)
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon stevia extract powder or 30-40 drops tsp plain, vanilla, or English toffee flavor stevia liquid
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon agar agar powder (NOT agar agar flakes.  If you are not vegan, you can sub 1 teaspoon unflavored plain gelatin powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder OR 1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract or flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons mesquite flour, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom OR 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons agave nectar, yacon syrup, vegetable glycerin, coconut nectar, or brown rice syrup
  • 1 recipe for Crunchy Crust (recipe below), or other 9" pie crust

Heat oven to 400º F.

Prepare Crunchy Crust or another pie crust recipe, and put in prepared 9" pie pan.

Make puree by placing cooked squash/pumpkin in a food processor/blender, and pureeing until totally smooth.  
Add milk, oil, stevia, arrowroot, agar agar powder, salt, vanilla, liquid sweetener (if using) and spices to blender, and blend again until totally smooth and well incorporated.  Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared crust and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

 

Gluten Free Crunchy Pie Crust

crust adapted from Jeanne Marie Martin's Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook

yield 1 9" crust

  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (or almonds or hazelnuts or other nut/seed)
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup teff flour or amaranth flour
  • 1 tablespoon mesquite flour or 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Heat oven to 400* F and oil a 9" pie pan.

Grind nuts and seeds in a blender/food processer until finely ground (a few chunks are okay). Mix together ground nuts/seeds, arrowroot, teff, mesquite/cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.  Add coconut oil, and toss to evenly coat mixture with oil.  Add water bit by bit, until a coarse, dry dough forms.  If it seems really dry and won't stick together, add a little more cold water.

Pat into prepared pie tin into a crust about 1/4" thick, and then place in the oven for about 7-8 minutes.
Remove crust from the oven, and let cool slightly in pan on wire rack before filling with pumpkin mixture.

 

Dairy-free Cashew Whipped Cream (vegan, gluten free, ACD)

yield about 3/4 c

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup SoDelicious Coconut Milk beverage, or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon agar powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch stevia powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/16 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle agar agar powder over 1/2 c of non-dairy milk in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, whisking until powder is totally dissolved, about 5 minutes.   Add to blender with cashews, additional 1/4 c milk, vanilla, and salt.  Add water as needed to get things flowing! Once smooth, add stevia powder to taste.  

Chill in refrigerator for about 2 hours, mixture will firm up.   

 

Wednesday
Oct282009

The Waiting Game.

Monday
Oct262009

Bring on the Vegetables: Garlic-Seared Brussels Sprouts, Pan-Fried Parsnips & Leeks, Sweet 'n Salty Roasted Butternut Seeds (gluten free, vegan, ACD friendly)

 

My parents and grandma were in town this weekend.  They came up to see "Devoured", The 16th Annual Barebones Productions Halloween Extravaganza .  I'm playing in the orchestra this year, and we just had our opening weekend of shows.  This annual production takes place outside in a beautiful, wooded park next to the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN.  For those of you unfamiliar with Minneapolis and St Paul, the Mississippi River cuts between the cities in a beautifully tree-lined river gorge.  The governments of both cities have put a great priority on forming a well-developed park system, and there are trails and parks that line both sides of the river the length of both cities.  When you are walking the tree-lined trails or along the sandy shore, hearing nothing but bird calls, or are canoeing or kayaking along quiet stretches of the Mississippi, it is easy to forget you are in a metropolitan area of nearly 1 million people.  It is especially beautiful this time of year, when summer's green changes to the warm ochre, burnt orange, and fiery red and fall.

The performance takes place in Hidden Falls Regional Park, one of my favorite parks, and it is really something awesome.  Taking place in the evenings (the darkness ups the spookiness factor), the performance features larger than life puppets, fire dancers, people on stilts, and and a masked actors, set to a different story line each year.  This year's theme plays off the Egyptian myth of Anubus, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and the various stories of werewolves.  Accented with kick but lighting, AWESOME live music, and the natural beauty of the heavily wooded park, it is a really magical show.  I'm playing in the orchestra, and have felt lucky to meet and play with such a talented and creative group of people.
If you live in the Twin Cities, and are looking for something fun to do this coming weekend, come to our final two performances!  They will be held Friday, Oct 30 and Saturday, Oct 31, at 7 pm, in Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Check out the Barebones Productions website for more info, and I hope to see you there!

When I wasn't performing this weekend, we had a great time hanging out, hitting up the farmer's market,  taking Grandma to Ikea for the first time (what an adventure!), and of course, cooking a big family lunch at my aunt and uncle's house.  My dad and I fixed two very quick and tasty vegetable side dishes from our farmer's market finds, Garlic-Seared Brussels Sprouts and Pan-Fried Parsnips & Leeks.  They were so good and in keeping with my promise to share more simple vegetable recipes, I thought I'd share them with all of you!  I also made some über-delicious Sweet 'n Salty Roasted Butternut Seeds, a recipe that was too addictive not to share.  Stevia + salt + roasted seeds = naturally delicious snacking heaven.
Speaking of butternuts and all things squashy/pumpkiny, I also made a too-good-to-be-true-but-it-is vegan, gluten free, sugar free, fairly ACD-friendly Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Crust and Cashew Whipped Cream for our lunch.  WHAT?!!?!?!  Yes, it is true friends, and I can attest to the fact that is was AMAZING.  I actually used butternut instead of pumpkin, which I tend to prefer for pie because it is naturally sweeter.  Anyway, it got a great big thumbs up from my whole family, pie-expert Grandma included, as well as two of my dear friends that I happened to run into when I had the leftover pie in my car.  The texture is dense and velvety, the flavor is sweet and spicy, the crust is crunchy and delicious, and the cashew whipped cream is thick, rich, and rather addictive.  Hard to believe there's no added sugar, no eggs, no dairy, no gluten, and only a little added fat!  That post will be coming shortly, I'm working on writing it up.  But here's a little photo for a teaser.
In the meantime, eat your vegetables.  Dessert will come later.


GARLIC-SEARED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (vegan, gluten free, ACD friendly)

 serves 8

1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
4-5 cloves garlic (about 1/2 medium bulb), peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Herbamare/sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

  1. Wash, trim, and half Brussels sprouts, and peel and slice garlic.
  2. Fill a large pot with about 1 inch water, or insert a vegetable steaming tray, and set water on to boil. Once water is boiling, add Brussels sprouts, and steam until just tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from steamer immediately and set aside.
  3. While Brussels sprouts steam, heat olive oil over medium low heat in a large pan.  Add garlic cloves, and saute for 10 minutes, until garlic is softened, golden, and fragrant.  Keep heat low so garlic doesn't burn and taste bitter.  
  4. Add steamed Brussels sprouts to pan, and turn up heat to medium high.  Stirring frequently, sear Brussels sprouts and garlic until they become golden and  a little crispy.  Make sure garlic doesn't burn.  
  5. Once Brussels sprouts have reach desired "seared"ness, remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.  Garnish with Sweet 'n Salty Roasted Butternut Seeds for a tasty twist.
Other ways to use this dish:
  • Chill and serve on a vegetable plate or relish tray.
  • Use on a warm salad with greens, roasted butternut squash cubes, and a sprinkling of chopped nuts/seeds
  • Throw leftovers into stew, pot pie, or shepherd's pie



PAN-FRIED PARSNIPS & LEEKS (vegan, gluten free, ACD friendly)

serves 8

6-7 small parsnips, peeled and sliced in 1/8" slices
2-3 medium leeks, white parts only, sliced in 1/4" slices
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
about 1/2 c water or broth
Herbamare/sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
optional: dash nutmeg

  1. Wash, peel and slice parsnips, and trim and slice leeks.
  2. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil a large pan over medium heat, then add parsnips and leeks, stirring to coat with oil.  Add water, and cover, stirring occasionally, cooking until parsnips are tender and water is absorbed.
  3. Remove cover, adding additional 1 T olive oil, and turn up heat to medium high.  Saute until parsnips have become slightly golden, and season with Herbamare and sea salt.
  4. Remove from heat, and serve immediately.
Other ways to use this dish:
  • Mash instead of leaving whole for a tasty mashed potato substitute - serve plain, with gravy, or use to top a shepherd's pie!  
  • Blend with broth and/or your favorite milk substitute for a creamy, flavorful soup.
  • Throw in the blender/food processer with 1/2-1 c of white beans and a little extra olive oil for a creamy bean dip.



SWEET 'N SALTY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SEEDS (vegan, gluten free, ACD friendly)


seeds from 1 butternut squash
1 tsp grapeseed, coconut, or other high temperature oil
tiny pinch stevia powder
sea salt

  1. Scoop the seeds from the squash, and clean off the stringy squash meet.  Soak seeds in salted water for about an hour, to help soften the seed and clean off the squash goo.
  2. Rinse well, and transfer to a baking pan.  Heat an oven to 400*.  Bake for about 10 minutes to dry out a bit, stir, drizzle with oil and a sprinkling of salt, and stir again to coat 
  3. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden and crisp, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl.  Add a teeny tiny sprinkling of stevia powder and additional salt to taste, and stir to coat.
  5. You probably won't have leftovers, but if you do, cool completely and keep in a well-sealed jar in the fridge.

 

Friday
Oct232009

White Bean Garlic Dip (gluten free, vegan)

This tasty bean dip is incredibly versatile! Use it as a dip for raw vegetables or crackers, spread on wraps or sandwiches, or try using as the filling for a savory tart. I often use Great Northern Beans, but feel free to use any white bean.  For variety, try mixing up the herbs and spices, or add in a handful of spinach, black olives, or roasted red peppers; or, if you like a kick, try adding a sprinkle of chili flakes.

As a side note, this photo is totally cracking me up.  I'm still without internet in my house, and the only photo I have access to right now is this one with the faux picture frame look - I'll probably replace it with a higher-res, faux frameless image later.  But for now, it will do!

WHITE BEAN & GARLIC DIP

2 c cooked (1 c dry) white beans, like Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy, or Butter Beans
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 c olive oil
1/4-1/2 c bean cooking liquid, broth, or water
1 T fresh thyme or 1/2 T dry
1 tsp unbuffered Vitamin C crystals OR juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt or Herbamare
fresh cracked pepper
optional: olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme for garnish

If starting with dry beans, soak overnight, then cook beans per desired method, saving any leftover bean cooking liquid. If using canned beans, drain beans, and rinse well. 

Place cooked beans in blender or food processor, along with garlic, olive oil, 1/4 cup liquid, thyme, and Vitamin C crystals. Pulse a few times, then blend until well smooth. If mixture is too thick, add additional liquid as necessary while blending. Add salt and pepper salt and pepper to taste, and blend again to mix. 
To serve, scoop into serving bowls, and drizzle with additional olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Store leftover dip in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze in an ice cube tray and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Wednesday
Oct212009

Back on the Anti-Candida Train with Herbed Chicken & Greens Soup (ACD Friendly, low carb, gluten free)

Hello friends.  Today I'm writing with some sadness.  I have decided I need to return to an anti-Candida albicans diet (ACD) protocol. What is Candida albicans?  It's a yeast organism that everyone has in their system, but in some of us - the lucky ones - it multiplies and overgrows in our gut and leads to a whole host of nasty symptoms: things like brain fog, chemical and food sensitivities, food cravings, fatigue, skin problems, rashes, headaches, arthritic symptoms, allergies, digestive distress, depression, anxiety, and most notably, vaginitis and oral thrush.  When a Candida albicans overgrowth reaches this kind of systemic level, it is called Candidiasis.

Candidiasis can happen to anyone, but some people are more susceptible than others.  A history of antibiotic or steroid use, high carbohydrate or high sugar diets, or leaky gut syndrome or intestinal inflammation makes someone more likely to suffer a Candida albicans overgrowth.  Treatment methods vary, but most schools of thought agree that dietary changes and antifungals are necessary to rebalance proper bacteria levels in the gut.  Since sugar and carbs feed the yeast, dietary protocols generally call for a reliance on low-carb, no-sugar foods, and limiting or omitting entirely starchy vegetables, grains, and fruits, depending on personal tolerance.  Fermented foods are discouraged by some protocols, alcohol is a strict no no, as is an excess of mucous forming, dampening foods like dairy.  One has to watch out for molds in spices, herbs, nuts, mushrooms, and bulk foods.  And there needs to be a strict avoidance of yeasts - they hide in everything.

Last year I was on a strict ACD for about 10 months.  It made a huge difference, but was incredibly hard on me.  I was very sick when I went on the ACD; my digestive system was thrashed and I was suffering severe Candidiasis symptoms and extreme fatigue.  My system was weak, and  I wasn't strong enough to withstand the intense cleanse I was putting myself through.  I lost weight rapidly, lost a ton of hair, and was completely lethargic.  Once I started seeing a naturopath, we tested for Candidiasis, which proved that I was right in my suspicions.  She helped me moderate my ACD diet and gave me anti-fungals, and together, we worked on a good protocol.  While my blood sugar was still a disaster, I stopped losing such frightening amounts of weight, and started feeling better.  Over the next 5 months, I noticed more and more improvement, and then in March, I tested negative for Candida.  I had beaten it!  I felt really great, inside and out.  I was even able to eat fruit again, without the old BActerial Vaginitis flaring up. What a victory!

So, I slowly started letting more foods back in; fruit, agave nectar and maple syrup.  More baked goods.  More starchy vegetables.  Lately, even itty bitty amounts of cane sugar in those allergy-free chocolate chips and tapioca chips.    And I had been feeling really good until about June, when I noticed a few things coming back.  My carb cravings got stronger.  My food cravings in general are sometimes out of control.  I have been experiencing more headaches again.  More fatigue.  Join pain. Some of my old skin issues are coming back, like random hives, more breakouts, and some eczema on my hands.  And despite more my active lifestyle, I have been gaining weight like crazy.   For a girl with a perfectly function thyroid and pituitary, that's weird.  But the most irritating and frustrating symptom is the flare-ups in Bacterial Vaginitis-type symptoms.  On a few occasions, after eating more sugar than usual, I experienced a bad hangover type reaction.

I've tried to ignore these symptoms, or attribute them to other things, but my gut tells me that it is a flare-up in the good old Candida.  For those of us that deal with this struggle, our systems are susceptible to being overcome by the Candida again, and we need to be careful.  While I had hoped I had truly beat it, I'm thinking that I may have been a bit overenthusiastic at the re-inclusion of some of those formerly forbidden foods into my diet.  My system is sensitive, more sensitive than I thought.  My gut tells me that this is what I need to do.  And if there is one thing I've learned from this process, it is that I need to listen to my gut (literally!), no matter how much I want to tell it to shut up.

So, what does this mean?  Anti-candida diet, here I come, once again.  I like the method used by the Whole Approach website - their diet phases and food lists are very helpful and totally approachable.  Fellow blogger Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs is also using this approach in her current ACD diet.  Ricki is a wonderful blogger and inspiring woman; I have gotten excellent support from her, and her encouraging words have helped give me the strength to make this decision.  If you aren't familiar with her blog, I highly recommend checking it out - she is a wonderfully creative cook, an excellent writer, and is generous with kindness and sincerity.  Someday, I hope to be able to meet her in person!  But in the meantime, I read her blog religiously.  As for my blog, you'll be seeing a lot less baked goods, that's for sure.  More high protein dishes, no more fruit, no more sweeteners other than stevia.  Lots and LOTS and LOTS of vegetables, fixed every which way.

The thought of doing this for winter SUCKS.  But I deserve to feel better than I do currently, and if this is what it takes, I need to be willing to go back down this road.  I think it will be easier on my system this time around - I'm much stronger these days, and I'm way better at cooking with all these restrictions than I was when I first started on this path almost two years ago.  I'm determined at making some killer ACD-friendly holiday food.  And maybe even treat myself so a little slice of ACD-friendly pumpkin pie.

Yikes, here we go again.  Back to the Whole Approach food list , the Jeanne Marie Martin's Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook , and Donna Gates' Body Ecology Diet.  Back to the coconut oil.  Back to the cleansing baths and being gentle with myself.  I know more this time around, I'm in a healthier place, and feel empowered by this decision, not a slave to something I don't understand.  I now know how to explain it to my friends and family, and how to ask for support.  And all things willing, I'll feel better.  I have a strong feeling it will make a big difference.

So, to kick it off, here's a little recipe for some tasty, low-carb, ACD-friendly chicken soup I made last night.  Full of chunky chicken, lots of green veggies, flavorful herbs, and one little carrot for spleen meridian-strengthening power, this soup feels satisfying, not restrictive.   Freeze leftovers for easy meals later on.  I started this chicken soup from scratch, with the whole darn bird, the best way to do it.   It is easy to cook a whole chicken, and once you taste the stock, you won't go back. Besides being delicious, the natural gelatin in real bone broth and stocks is ultra-healing to our body's tissues, and can help repair and soothe the lining of the digestive tract.  Between a couple batches of stock, and all the meat, one little chicken can yield many many meals.

I like using a crock pot to cook my chickens to save time, but it also works well on the stovetop. I put my chicken in the crockpot last night at 6:30, ate dinner, ran to Whole Foods for a bunch of low-starch vegetables and more coconut oil (argh.), went to the gym, and got home at 9:30 to a cooked chicken and about 6 cups of fresh stock.  I cut up the vegetables for the soup and sauteed them in the pot on the stove while I cleaned up the chicken and strained the broth, then finally assembled everything in the pot.  By about 10:15, I had a pot of fresh soup cooling the fridge.  I also had a second batch of stock going in the crock pot, and leftover chicken for meals later this week!  See?  Home-cooking doesn't have to take up all your time.  The more you do it, the faster it gets.

If you don't want to start with the whole chicken and make your own stock, feel free to use store bought stock and skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or leftover pre-cooked chicken) for a super-fast and easy meal.


HERBED CHICKEN & GREENS SOUP 

serves 6

Chicken/Stock
1 whole chicken, free range, no antibiotic
6-8 c water
2 bay leaves
2-3 whole allspice berries or cloves
handful parsley and fresh thyme or other herbs
2 tsp marjoram or oregano
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 chunk onion
other vegetable trimmings/scraps

Soup
3 c cooked chicken, diced or shredded
2 c broccoli florets and chopped stems
2 c celery, sliced
4 large leaves Swiss Chard, leaves chopped and ribs sliced (may sub kale or collards)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
optional: 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
2 tsp dry marjoram or oregano
1 Tbsp dry basil
1-2 tsp thyme or savory
1/4 c parsley, minced
pinch allspice
8 c stock/broth and water
1-2 T olive oil
salt/Herbamare to taste

COOK THE CHICKEN/STOCK - looks like a lot of instructions, but it is REALLY EASY!

  1. Rinse off the chicken, and trim off any excess fat or waste.  Stuff fresh herbs inside the chicken.
  2. Place the chicken in large stockpot or crockpot with bay leaves, allspice, marjoram, carrot, celery, and onion.
  3. Crock pot: cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Stove top: bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 1 hour. 
  4. Once chicken is done, remove it from the pot.  Remove skin, setting aside for making another batch of stock later on.  Remove meat from bones, setting bones aside with skin.  Set aside 3 cups of meat for the soup, and save the rest for later in the refrigerator or freezer.
  5. Strain broth through a fine colander into a large bowl, and use it for the soup!  
  6. If you want an extra batch of stock, place skin, bones, and the veggies/herbs back in the pot.  Throw in some fresh carrot and vegetable trimmings from the soup veggies, more water, and more herbs.  Cook on the stove top for an hour or two, or up to 24 hours on low in the crock pot.  The longer it cooks, the richer it tastes!  When it is done, strain through colander, and store in jars.  Use within 5 days, or freeze for later.

MAKE THE SOUP

  1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and saute garlic, celery, sliced chard ribs,  carrot, and broccoli on low, covered, for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant.  
  2. Add chard leaves, cooked chicken, and stock, and simmer until all the vegetables are almost tender.  Add herbs and spices to taste, and let cook 5 more minutes to flavor through.  
  3. Serve!