Category Archives: Food

Clean Classic – Chicken Soup

 

Low Carbohydrate version pictured

Gluten-Free · Dairy-Free · Grain-Free

Can be made:  Low-Carbohydrate

 

This soup is deep gold and bursting with flavor and nutrition – better than anything you’ll ever taste out of a can!    It’s full  of collagen, minerals, vitamins and is even healing to the digestive system.  It’s rich and comforting to the soul and a nourishing remedy for colds or flu.  I enjoy it for spring lunches, fall and wintertime dinners, and at least once a month all year around “just because”.  It also freezes well and I usually have some stowed away for quick meals or illness that pops up unexpectedly. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 whole, raw chicken
  • 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • minimally processed sea salt (like Himalayan or Celtic – not white)
  • 30 turns of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • a smidge (start with 1/16 of a teaspoon) of ground Bird’s Eye Chili or Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 cup wild rice (wild rice is actually the seed of a grass and not a grain)
  • 1 large white, yellow or red onion
  • 8-10 cloves fresh, raw garlic
  • 2 large or 4 small stalks celery
  • 4 medium-sized carrots
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 medium-sized yellow squash
  • 4 Roma tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower – Low-Carbohydrate version only

Directions

  • Cover chicken with water in a large stock pot.
  • Simmer on low, sprinkled with 2 teaspoons of sea salt, cracked black pepper, Bird’s Eye or Cayenne and apple cider vinegar for 10 hours (I usually do this part before bed).
  • Remove chicken from the pot and set in a large bowl.  It should be falling apart so use tongs, a slotted spoon or a small strainer to scoop everything out.
  • Remove the meat, shred with fingers and set aside. 
  • Return the rest of the chicken (including bones, cartilage, fat and skin.) to the pot to continue simmering for 4-6 more hours.
  • Remove all parts of the chicken from the broth with a slotted spoon or a strainer and continue to simmer broth.
  • Add wild rice, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  *Omit wild rice in grain-free version
  • Mince (or use a food processor to make tiny pieces of:  onion, garlic, carrot, celery and cauliflower.  *cauliflower in Low-Carbohydrate version only.
  • Add to the pot, stir and allow soup to return to a simmer.
  • Mince/process softer vegetables:  zucchini, yellow squash and tomato.
  • Add to the pot, stir and allow soup to return to a simmer.
  • Add shredded chicken back into pot.
  • Add oregano and more seasonings to taste.
  • Cover and simmer everything on low for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together and mature.

Low-Carbohydrate Version:

  • substitute cauliflower for wild rice
  • If you are on a strict Low-Carbohydrate diet, substitute 1 orange bell pepper for carrots. 

 

Caprese Sticks

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While it’s still summer I want to post one of my favorite easy appetizers.  I call them Caprese Sticks and they are just a portable twist on Caprese salad.  They make great snacks too!

Ingredients:

  1.   Grape or cherry tomatoes

2.  Fresh basil

3.  Fresh or smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed (smoked mozzarella is what’s pictured here but you can also get fresh, convenient marble-sized balls)

4.  Extra virgin olive oil

5.  Sea salt (Himalayan is my favorite but smoked sea salt is also a nice option)

6.  Freshly cracked black pepper

7.  Red pepper flakes and/or Bird’s Eye Chili powder (optional)

8.  Toothpicks

Directions:

  1.  On each toothpick alternate skewering a cube or ball of mozzarella, a whole basil leaf and a tomato.

2.  Arrange the Caprese Sticks on a platter.

3.  Drizzle all over with olive oil until each stick is lightly coated.

4.  Sprinkle sea salt to taste.

5.  Add freshly cracked black pepper and red chili, if desired.

*Avocado chunks can be used as a substitution for the cheese as a satisfying, dairy-free option.

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*Photographs by Cristina Howell

 

 

 

The Spice of Life – Bird’s Eye Chili

 

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Our’s is a house of foodies.

From the youngest to the senior resident (my husband, 12 days older than me), we all love to eat.  And we crave big, bold flavors. Food flavors are known to permeate amniotic fluid and breastmilk, so from their earliest days my children have known and loved spicy food.  In fact, I’ve caught my middle child adding red pepper sauce to his scrambled eggs since toddlerhood.

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I grew up about an hour outside of New Orleans, Louisiana and we added ground Cayenne Pepper or chili flakes to food the way that the rest of the country uses black pepper.  Bird’s Eye Chili has since replaced Cayenne as my favorite source of heat and flavor and I dust it subtly (it’s pretty intense) atop just about everything from eggs cooked over medium to bone broth and Chicken Parmesan.   It’s a staple-spice in our home, along with smoked sea salt and Real Salt®.  We also keep whole peppercorns and coarse Himalayan Sea Salt in grinders and use them everyday.  

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But back to Bird’s Eye.  We buy it, along with other herbs and spices, by the pound from Mountain Rose Herbs.   According to their website Bird’s Eye Chili, Capsicum frutescens L.contains a number of notable chemical constituents, many which are used in Allopathic (conventional) medicine.  They also note that red chilis have been used as both food and medicine for over 9,000 years by Native Americans.

Berkeley Wellness boasts that red peppers like Bird’s Eye are also rich in flavor, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. 

Bird's Eye Chili

There’s more information out there and I encourage you to do some research and critically assess that information for yourself.

And in spite of the fact that I have not done any randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies on my household, I do think that it’s immune supportive qualities are benefitting us and I actually crave it when I feel a sore throat coming on.  In any case, Bird’s Eye Chili is a flavorful addition to savory dishes (and some sweet) that our family thoroughly enjoys and I highly recommend it!

*Top 3 Photographs by Cristina Howell

*Bottom Photograph by Elena Moiseeva