I am so excited about this recipe because I have finally found a hummus recipe that I love. In the past I have truly liked store-bought better than any that I tried making at home but I knew that it would be healthier and less processed to make my own. After tweaking this recipe a tad I found the one that I'm sticking with, and that I prefer to the taste of store-bought. Store bought hummus and other recipes I have tried have been a bit too garlicky for me but I think this recipe has just the right amount of garlic flavor without overpowering it. I hope you like it, too!
This is such a good recipe that I've had on hand for a few years now. It's a hearty soup that is very filling and is easily adaptable if you don't have all of the ingredients.
Sausage, Veggie and Quinoa Soup
loosely adapted from this recipe
- 4 tbsp oil (I use coconut for most of my cooking)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb sausage (or any other ground meat)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 8 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible)
- 2 15oz cans diced tomatoes in juice, drained
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated fresh parmagiano reggiano or parmesan for topping
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables start to soften, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sasuage and continue to stir and break up until cooked through. Add the Italian seasoning and stir. Add the broth, tomatoes, and quinoa. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper if needed, ladle into bowls and top with cheese, if using.
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Even though I eat clean and healthy foods most of the time, I have a huge sweet tooth and it's a rare day that I don't have some sort of treat. I'm not saying you should have a sweet treat everyday, I'm just keeping it real. It's very difficult to eat "perfectly" all the time and in my opinion, you shouldn't have to!
It is that time of year again. Time for spring allergies! Already I've had a couple friends and family members ask me about my remedies for spring allergies because they can be so rough! Especially on the kiddos. My son Sam had terrible seasonal allergies until last year when he did not have any symptoms. The years prior there were about 2 weeks in April when we had to keep him inside his allergies were so bad. Watery, itchy, swollen eyes. Constant runny nose. And his poor face was so chapped because of all the wiping and scratching. And the medicine didn't help much.
You're probably wondering what we did differently last year. Well, I suppose it's possible that he just wasn't allergic to pollen anymore, but I highly doubt that. I believe it was these 2 simple things we added to our daily routine:
Lavender essential oil and local raw honey. As you can see by the size of the honey jug, we go through a lot of it. We eat it almost daily anyway so eating it during allergy season wasn't something extra to do. My kids eat it in their cereal or oatmeal or just right off the spoon. I eat it on nut butter sandwiches. It's really good for you and I use it in a lot of my healthy sweets that I've been baking lately. Here's what howstuffworks.com has to say about local honey:
The idea behind eating honey is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against allergens, a process called immunotherapy. Honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when flowers and grasses are in bloom. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey should make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance an immune system response like the release of histamine will occur [source: AAFP]. Since the concentration of pollen spores found in honey is low -- compared to, say, sniffing a flower directly -- then the production of antibodies shouldn't trigger symptoms similar to an allergic reaction. Ideally, the honey-eater won't have any reaction at all.
It makes sense, right?
I've also read a lot about how much lavender has helped people with terrible seasonal allergies. My friend Lani, who introduced me to and taught me so much about Young Living essential oils, says that you can put a drop in your hand , rub your palms together, and breathe in the oil. Or, swipe some inside your nose, or even put on your face around your nose. With my kids I either rub it on their neck or on the bottoms of their feet. There are so many uses for lavender so you will use it all year round, not just allergy season.
I'm not sure if it was the lavender or the honey or a combination of the two. I just know that Sam didn't have to take any medication last year. He may have had a few sniffles, but I honestly don't remember if he did or not. What I do remember is the little boy who couldn't play outside and was just miserable the 3 years before last spring. And the honey may be working for him so far because I just checked the pollen forecast and apparently it's really high right now and he hasn't had any symptoms.
I truly hope that this information is helpful to you and your loved ones who suffer from allergies this time of year. Let me know if you have questions about where to get lavender or local honey!
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Hi everyone! I'm just doing a quick post today to encourage anyone who's been thinking about a garden to DO IT! I finally got out there today and cleaned up my garden that still had dead plants in it from last year. Now all I have to do is fill it in with some compost, plan out what I want to plant where, and get planting!
I have 2 3 foot x 6 foot raised beds and I am able to plant SO MUCH using the Square Foot Gardening method. Last spring I planted onions, carrots, beets, 2 types of kale, romaine, salad mix, sugar snap peas, spinach, chard, and bok choy all from seeds. Later on I planted basil, parsley, thyme, chives, fennel, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes from starter plants.
Here are some pics from last year:
I highly recommend the Square Foot Gardening method. This is the book I have and if you do a Google search for "square foot garden" you will find tons of sites with good info.
Gardening can be a simple or as complicated as you make it. And I promise you, if I can do it, you can do it! I am nowhere near an expert in gardening, but I do have some experience (this is my 5th year with a vegetable garden, I think), so if you have basic questions, please comment and I will do my best to answer them, and if I can't, maybe someone else can!
This is sort of embarrassing. It's been almost a year since my last post, but for those of you who don't know me personally, I have a great excuse. This little buddy...
And although most blogging moms can work right through pregnancy and the newborn stage, I just wasn't up for it. Grant is 6 months old now and I'm finally feeling like we have somewhat of a routine and I really want to start connecting with you all again! I've thought about some new topics, I've made some yummy recipes, and I'll be sharing all of that soon.
After a magical Christmas with the kiddos, I finally started to make some time to take care of myself. Until then I might have had one Green Drink in all of 2013. Here are some old and new things I'm trying to incorporate back into my life:
- Green Drink almost everyday
- Cup of warm water with lemon upon waking in the morning
- Workout videos
- Walking when this crazy winter is over
- Incorporating raw veggies into every meal
- More tea, less coffee (nothing wrong with coffee in my opinion, but I'm just trying to drink more tea)
- Baking some healthier treats made with whole foods (like Coconut Palm Sugar - see below) rather than having junky candy when I have cravings
Here are some random things we've been up to
- Sam started Kindergarten (LOVE his school).
- Riese started preschool (LOVE her school, too!).
- We got a brand new kitchen and knocked out a wall in our house over the summer and lived with my parents during the 3 months it took to complete the project.
- I've been using butter from grass fed cows instead of my Earth Balance spread and feel really good about eating a whole food that has lots of nutrients in it
- Researching the best foods to feed Grant
- This one is really random but I wanted to include it for mamas out there who think they can't - - I had Grant with no epidural!! Totally planned it, even though I had epidurals with Sam and Riese and it was surprisingly WAY easier than I thought. Please, if any moms are curious for more details on that, just ask!
Coconut Palm Sugar
This is something I've been using in the treats I've been baking. I eat something sweet everyday and I figure it's better to have something homemade with whole foods ingredients rather than buying anything processed from the store. I have a few recipes that I'll share soon, but for now I wanted to tell you a little bit about this:
This sugar is from Whole Foods. You'll find that sometimes it's called "coconut sugar" and sometimes "coconut palm sugar". I have also bought it from nutiva.com. Here's some info on it:
- lower on the glycemic index than other sugars
- similar taste to brown sugar
- contains potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins
Please bear with me as I try to make time for more blogging. I love blogging so much, mostly because I love to hear how my readers have made positive changes in theirs and their families' lives after reading my posts. But it takes time.
Also, let me know what you want to know more about. I'll probably be doing more recipes (because they're usually easier to post about) but if there are specific requests I'd love to address those as well! You can comment using the Facebook comment box or by scrolling down to the regular comment box.
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Thanks for reading! It feels good to be back :)
I really need to work on my photography because this picture doesn't do the dish justice. I'm taking a class this month to finally learn how to use the nice DSLR camera my husband bought me 2 years ago for Christmas and I can't wait!
I also must confess that I don't know much about cream cheese. I know it's not a health food, but we almost never use it and I thought this dish would benefit from it. It's not often that I eat creamy dishes so I thought I'd indulge a little for this one.
This is so easy - you just throw everything in the crockpot and let it cook for a few hours and you have a delicious dinner waiting for you.
Crockpot Chicken and Cream Cheese Soup
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cans white beans
- 2 cups corn (I used frozen)
- 1 - 8 oz. block cream cheese
- 1 qt. chicken broth
- 1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
- 4 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- salt and pepper
*use mostly organic ingredients if possible
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to crockpot
- Add all other ingredients.
- Cook on low for about 3-4 hours, stirring every hour or so.
- When chicken is cooked, remove from crockpot, shred, and return it to the crockpot.
- Cook on low another 1-2 hours, season with more salt and pepper to taste.
We all loved this dish (including the kids!) which makes it a recipe I'll make over and over again.
The more I read and learn about toxic ingredients in foods, the harder it is to purchase those foods and feed them to my family. Unless I have a major craving for candy, to my knowledge I don't buy any foods that contain artificial food dyes for the following reasons:
- they are made from chemicals derived from petroleum
- they increase hyperactivity in children and can negatively affect their ability to learn
- they can cause allergic reactions
- they are linked to health issues such as cancer, especially the 3 most widely used: Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6
- others to avoid: Blue 1, Red 3 (but really you should try to avoid them all)
(I found this info at 100daysofrealfood.com and foodbabe.com)
These dyes are in so many processed products on the supermarket shelves including Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (see here to sign a petition asking them to stop adding artificial dyes to their food sold in the US), gatorade, juices, and even most shelf-stable pickles.
I recently found India Tree Natural Decorating Colors at Whole Foods. They're made from concentrated vegetable colorants. I don't use food coloring much myself, but I bought this to have on hand the next time I want to make something for the kids with colorful icing. I have to admit that for my son's birthday party I planned to make a healthy, all-natural dessert, but at the last minute I worried that the 25 kids that were invited wouldn't like it and that I would spend hours making a cake that wouldn't get eaten. So I gave in, ordered a bunch of sugar cookies with icing loaded with artifiicial food dyes from a local bakery and vowed to never purchase the stuff again. (But they were really cute and the kids loved them!)
Since I can't control what my kids eat when they're at school, family or friends' houses, I must control what they eat when they're at home. I want their little growing bodies to get the very best nutrition they can at home in order to be as healthy as they can, but also to combat the negative effects of the treats they get when they're away from me.
If you're trying to find better Easter candy, check out Trader Joes! They have jelly beans, gummy bears, and another gummy bunny candy with NO artificial colors. I don't give my kids a lot of candy on Easter, but since society and Easter parties tell them they're supposed to get candy in the hidden eggs, I don't want them to be disappointed. This year I'll stuff them with coins, candy with no artificial colors, and some Annie's cheddar bunnies.
This dip is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. My friend Brie made it when she hosted our book club, and I simply couldn't get enough of it. I took a risk and made this, a healthy dish, to take to a superbowl party and it went over great. Even the guys were digging in. Soon after that I made it as an appetizer at my son's birthday party and once again, everyone loved it! It is super simple, healthy, and pretty. And the best part is that I've transformed it into a lunch many days since then. Instead of layering it on a platter, I put it in a whole wheat tortilla.
don't have an exact recipe for you but it's pretty simple: