Celery Root Soup with Fried Sage [RECIPE]

I’ve been sick twice in the last month (including right this moment), and I’m super bummed about it. After starting my bone broth regimen in January of last year, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been sick, and two of them just happened this month (the other two were horrific food poisoning). As a result, I’m sitting at home surrounded by balled up tissue, binge watching Nurse Jackie while I drink my bone broth and kombucha

We were out of town this weekend and didn’t get in until yesterday (yes, sick on vacation), so I’ve lost track of what day it is and almost forgot to post this recipe today! I’m sure you would have forgiven me, but I’ve been really excited to share this celery root soup recipe with you — I made it for an impromptu dinner party last week, and it got rave reviews. I started with a huge celery root, so it ended up being quite a bit of soup. It freezes well, but if you don’t want to make as big of a batch for yourself, just use smaller root veggies and less broth.

celery root soup with fried sage

I took this picture when I made my buttery sage celery root recipe, but I just had to use it again for this post. She’s too cute for words. (Click the picture to check out that recipe)

Kitchen Tools 

I learned with my blended beet borscht recipe that sometimes an immersion blender just doesn’t cut it to get the consistency you want in a pureed soup. I learned this again with the recipe I’m about to share — once I dumped my cooked soup into my (BRAND NEW!!) NutriBullet Rx, this soup went from good to great.

If you don’t have some form of Nutribullet in your life, I really suggest you consider it. Their top of the line model is half the price of a Vitamix (the gold standard for blenders), and I can personally vouch that it works just as well. And while the link I just shared is an affiliate link, no one asked me to say that. (Not that I wouldn’t be thrilled if they paid me to share my love of their products, but for the record, they didn’t. Maybe some day they will…)

Celery Root Soup 

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Celery Root Soup with Fried Sage
Serves 10
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whole large celery root, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 whole parsnip, chopped
  3. 1/2 large fennel bulb or 1 small one, chopped
  4. 1 large leek, sliced (the white part only)
  5. 2 tbs chopped fresh sage + more whole leaves for frying
  6. 1 tbs REAL salt (CWB Favorite Pick)
  7. 1/2 tsp cracked red pepper (use 1/4 if you prefer a milder heat. I was shocked at how much impact this amount had on the final product)
  8. 2500 mL chicken or vegetable broth (I used homemade bone broth -- if you have it on hand, go for it, but it's not necessary to use homemade for this to be delicious)
  9. 2 tbs full fat coconut milk (CWB Favorite Pick)
  10. 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Instructions
  1. In a large, deep pot, place celery root, parsnip, fennel, leek, and chicken broth
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until a fork runs through the root veggies easily (about 10 minutes)
  3. Lower the fire to a simmer and add salt, sage, cracked red pepper, and coconut milk
  4. Let simmer another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to incorporate
  5. Turn off the fire and allow to cool under oven vent for about 10 minutes
  6. Stir in 1 tbs EVOO
  7. Blend ingredients in a high speed blender (like the Nutribullet Rx) until completely smooth -- it will need to be done in batches
  8. When you're ready to serve your soup, heat a skillet and add remaining two tbs of EVOO
  9. place whole sage leaves into hot oil and fry on each side for 20 to 30 seconds until crisp, taking care not to burn them
  10. Serve soup warm topped with three fried sage leaves and an extra drizzle of EVOO
Notes
  1. The soup doesn't have to cool to room temperature to be placed in the blender, it just needs to not be piping hot to avoid damaging the blender.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Sweet Potato Pound Cake [Gluten-free]

sweet potato pound cake

The first version of this recipe I tried was in the form of a pumpkin pound cake (rather than sweet potato). It was part of a group potluck, and I loved it so much I took the leftovers home to Loren to share it with him. I’ve since made my own version using my homemade roasted sweet potato puree, and it was every bit as delicious as the original pumpkin one. Both versions are absolutely fabulous, so interchange the ingredients as you wish. I brought what was left of our sweet potato loaf home to Texas a few weeks back, and my mom loved it so much she asked me to make another one before I left. She even made sure to copy down the recipe before the trip was over (and she’s not generally a baker).

What makes this recipe shine is that it’s so SIMPLE. With only a handful of whole-food ingredients, none of which requires any special baking chemistry, it’s almost impossible to get this one wrong. And the final product is nothing short of decadent.

 

Delicious AND Nutritious

Not only would you never know that this pound cake is gluten-free, you’d never know that it’s actively good for you, filled with nutrient-dense ingredients that will nourish your body and make your taste buds sing. I’ll just give you a quick nutrition rundown so you can feel awesome about eating this pound cake for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert — add a dollop of coconut whipped cream to this creation and you have yourself a guilt-free, paleo dessert.

  1. It uses only whole food ingredients
  2. It is entirely gluten-, grain-, and dairy-free
  3. It uses only healthy fats from coconut oil, pastured eggs, and almonds – CLICK HERE for your free 15 oz jar of coconut oil
  4. It’s rich in beta carotene and other healthy phytonutrients (this is true whether you use sweet potatoes or pumpkin)
  5. It’s high in fiber and low in glycemic load (even lower GL with pumpkin but true for both)
  6. It includes warming spices, including cinnamon (which helps regulate blood sugar) and ginger (which aids in digestion)
  7. It uses a small amount of natural, unrefined maple syrup (1/4 cup for 8-10 servings), a natural sweetener rich in minerals and minimally processed

sweet potato pound cake

I have to give credit to my friend and colleague, holistic Chef Christine Cully for sharing her amazing recipe with me and allowing me to post it on CWB for you all to enjoy. Lucky for me (and for you as you’ll soon find out once you try this), Christine’s generous attitude is to share the wealth of her great recipes and get people eating better — just get the information out there, no credit requested! Well I’m giving her credit anyway. So here it is, my amazing sweet potato pound cake, adapted from a recipe by Chef Christine Cully. 

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Sweet Potato Pound Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato puree (recipe linked at the top of the post)
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 cup almond flour
  6. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  7. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Melt coconut oil
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until smooth
  6. Bake in a greased loaf pan for 35-40 minutes
Notes
  1. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan or cutting to serve.
  2. This recipe works great for muffins as well, and yields about 10 muffins
Adapted from Holistic Chef Christine Cully
Adapted from Holistic Chef Christine Cully
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

As promised, today is the day that I share my sweet potato soup recipe using the fresh sweet potato puree I made for Tuesday’s post. This soup is so sweet and rich, you won’t believe there’s literally ZERO added sugar, including natural sweeteners. All the sweetness comes straight from the potatoes, and with all the wonderfully flavorful and warming spices included in this decadent recipe, you’ll be going back for seconds, thirds even! 

Trial and Error – Stick with it!

My first attempt at sweet potato soup a few months back yielded a lumpy baby food-like mess. It wasn’t a mash and it wasn’t a soup. It was this weird soupy mash, and for some reason, it was mealy too. Maybe it was the sweet potato, maybe it was me, I don’t know, but it took a lot of finagling to get it right, at which point I’d lost all track of how I might share it with you, so I decided to wait til this time, when I nailed it.

The lesson I learned was that it’s actually safer to err on the side of (what you might think is) too much liquid for a super starchy soup like this one (or some of the pumpkin soups or celery root soups I’ve made in the past). The reason for this is that you can correct too much liquid by continuing to simmer, stir, and reduce, thereby enhancing the flavor, whereas if you take a too-thick soup off the fire and then try to correct with liquid later, you won’t get the flavor meld you might have gotten with a slow simmer. In any case, I got it right this time, which is why I’m sharing it with you now. Loren called this one “restaurant quality” too! I’ll take the complement and brag it right along to you so you’ll try it at home!

Kitchen Gadgets

I used an immersion blender for this recipe (I swear thing is my best friend), but if you don’t have one, you can use your regular blender (the only downside to that is more clean up — go get an immersion blender). I’ll be sharing my blended beet borscht recipe in the coming weeks, for which my beloved immersion blender just couldn’t do the job. I ended up moving my soup to the Nutribullet for a much MUCH finer blend, which you’ll hear more about when I get that post up. I’ll go as far as to say that it was a move that saved my borscht. So stay tuned for that. 🙂 In the meantime, feast your taste buds on this glorious delight!

roasted sweet potato soup recipe

 

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Roasted Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups roasted sweet potato puree
  2. 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 large carrot, chopped
  4. 1 large clove garlic (mince or press 10 minutes before adding to heat for maximum health benefits)
  5. 3 cups coconut milk
  6. 2 cups almond milk
  7. 1 cup water
  8. 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  9. 1 tbs coconut oil
  10. 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  11. 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  12. 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  13. 1 tsp REAL salt or sea salt
Instructions
  1. Melt 1 tbs coconut oil in a large, deep pot on medium heat
  2. Add diced onion and carrots and cook until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add pressed garlic and grated ginger, stirring to marry the flavors
  4. Stir in roasted sweet potato puree
  5. Add water, almond milk, and apple cider vinegar, stirring to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom
  6. Add cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt
  7. Continue cooking until all ingredients are fully incorporated, then add coconut milk and reduce heat to low
  8. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it becomes one consistency (a regular blender works too -- even better if you have a great blender like a Nutribullet or a Vitamix)
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Easy One-pan Meal: Low-carb Green Bean Casserole

My mom is famous for her Italian green bean casserole. Not to be confused with anything involving cream of mushroom soup or fried onions, she layers canned green beans, Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Lawry’s seasoned salt, and olive oil, in a pan, puts it in the oven, and that’s it. Simple, delicious, full of flavor and childhood nostalgia. 

healthy green bean casserole low carb one-pan mealFresh Green Beans

As a general rule, I try to minimize canned foods and maximize fresh veggies, and since we’ve been super lucky this season with our green bean yield in the garden, I decided to create my own one-pan meal inspired by my mom’s famous recipe. 

If you’re like me, you want dinner to be easy prep and easy clean-up. Since my food-making workshop is a 1950’s kitchen with zero upgrades (no dishwasher, no disposal), I like to dirty as few dishes as possible with one-pot or one-pan meals. 

This recipe works great for a low-carb lifestyle full of flavor and joy without the hassle of exact measurements and tons of dishes.

I like to call my no-measure style of cooking “intuitive cooking” because it involves trusting your instincts and going with what looks and feels right. That being said, I know that intuitive cooking isn’t for everyone, so I will give some estimates so you can get the hang of it. 

healthy green bean casserole low carb one pot meal

Ingredients for this recipe are super simple (serves 4):

  • Fresh green beans (enough to line a large plan without really stacking them on top of each other)
  • About 1 lb of your favorite ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, pork, loose sausage)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (to avoid a greasy dish, use very sparingly if you choose loose sausage, which tends to have a higher fat content)
  • Your favorite hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, and asiago all work great), shredded or grated
  • sliced almonds
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (affiliate link)
  • Water and a pinch of salt

Healthy Low-Carb Green Bean Casserole one pot meal

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Rinse and snip the ends of the beans
  3. Place a layer of beans in a baking pan and add 1 inch of water and a pinch of salt
  4. Braise in the oven for 10 minutes
  5. While the beans are in the oven, warm a skillet and add your ground meat, browning completely
  6. Drain off any liquid in your skillet and set cooked meat aside
  7. Once the beans have been in for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and drain remaining water from the pan
  8. Layer the remaining ingredients on top of the braised beans in the following order:
    1. ground meat 
    2. garlic powder (light sprinkle over the entire surface of the dish)
    3. onion powder (light sprinkle over the entire surface of the dish)
    4. shredded almonds
    5. shredded cheese
    6. Lawrys seasoned salt
  9. Bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese turns a golden brown

 greenbean casserole

Fatty Doesn’t Equal Fattening

I named this recipe Cranberry Brussels Sprouts with Turkey because the Brussels are the featured ingredient — the turkey is delicious and turns this into a one-pot meal (which I love for weeknights — easy setup, easy cleanup), but you can do this without the turkey and it will be just as wonderful as a side (and totally vegan if that’s your thing). I promise.

This combination of ingredients might seem weird (it did to my husband), but I can promise you that it’s delicious and totally not weird! We both wolfed it down for dinner last night, and I happily ate leftovers for lunch today. cranBrussels3I happened to already have ground turkey cooked in the freezer for this dish (a great versatile ingredient to have on hand, by the way!), but in case you don’t have cooked ground meat ready to go, I have quick instructions right before the main recipe to help you out. (it will add about 15 minutes to your total cook time).

You might read this recipe and think to yourself “This sure seems fattening.” It’s true that there’s a lot of fat in this recipe. Between the coconut oil, macadamia nuts, and the olive oil, it adds up. However…

Fatty doesn’t equal Fattening

Dietary fat doesn’t necessarily lead to body fat. In truth, excess carbohydrates (especially the refined, high-glycemic ones) are more likely to lead to fat storage over time, according to a number of studies. It’s also true that some fats are better than others, and this recipe is jam-packed with some of the best fat there is. In fact, coconut oil has been shown in a host of studies to promote fat LOSS. And macadamia nuts are rich in Omega 3s, the heart healthy fat that most of us don’t get enough of. Olive oil is a delicious, monounsaturated fat that brings another awesome set of nutrients into your system to promote fat loss.

Of course, adding excessive calories to your diet won’t help you maintain your weight, but replacing refined carbohydrates, sweets, and/or grains with highly beneficial fats, proteins, and veggies most certainly will. (And please note that I add the extra virgin olive oil after cooking, not during. Avoiding the heat keeps all the healthy attributes intact.)

As someone who has trouble moderating sweets, I have noticed that I often crave them right after a meal. It’s almost this primal feeling within me that I won’t be satisfied until something sweet hits my tongue. Fat is a great source of satiety in food. I’ve personally found that when I replace carbohydrates with healthy fats in a meal, my need for sweets at the end is all but gone. This is, in part, due to a hormone called leptin, which tells the brain that we have had enough and our fat stores are sufficient. Don’t just take my word for it though, Dr. Ron Rosedale and Dr. Mercola have a good bit to say about leptin that reflects the advice I’m giving here:

“The solution is to … eat a diet that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes — in short the dietary program … [that] emphasizes healthy fats, lean meats and vegetables, and restricts sugar and grains.”

After this meal, I didn’t even think about dessert. And coming from me, that’s a pretty big deal.

cranBrussels4

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts and Turkey

Serves 4 or 3 very hungry people

If you need to cook your turkey, start here:
  1. Heat your skillet
  2. Add ghee or coconut oil
  3. DON’T salt the meat, just throw it on (about 1 lb)
  4. Cook until browned and most of the liquid has cooked off, then add in whatever herbs, spices, and salt you’d like – for this particular batch, I used garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh parsley and oregano from the garden.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped and rinsed
  • 1 lb cooked ground dark meat turkey (as always, shoot for organic here)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries (this is the part Loren thought was weird)
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I just pulsed them a few times in the food processor to break them up)
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • aged balsamic vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • REAL salt or sea salt
  • black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 500F
  2. Heat a large skillet
  3. (Cook meat here and then remove if you haven’t already done that, no need to clean the pan, just go to step 4)
  4. Add coconut oil and cranberries and cover on medium high until they soften
  5. While that’s cooking, chop and rinse your Brussels
  6. Add in the Brussels, stirring until coated
  7. Drizzle the aged balsamic over Brussels and stir in (shouldn’t be more than a tablespoon, but use your judgment) until coated
  8. Cover for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
  9. Stir in salt, chopped nuts, and cooked meat (if you’ve already salted the meat, go easy on the extra salt)
  10. Place skillet in the oven for about 15 minutes
  11. After removing from the oven, drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons EVOO over the top
  12. Serve piping hot

cranBrussels1

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Pomegranate Bacon Sauté

So it’s the new year, and we’re officially deep in the winter months. Though the last few days in the Bay have started to get a bit warmer, we’ve had some of the coldest days I’ve experienced since living here in the last couple of months. Our garden froze over – destroying some of our succulents and tipping over my baby brassicas (don’t worry, they’re mostly fine now), and each morning every blade of grass in the yard sparkled with ice.

mmmmmm! Dexter loves soup!

mmmmmm! Dexter loves soup!

When it’s cold out, I personally can’t get enough soup. I love soup at almost any time of year, and I often joke that I could have soup for every meal. But in the winter sometimes I’m serious, and I do have it at every meal! That being said, soup isn’t limited to just cold weather.

Have you ever noticed that even in parts of the world that remain warm year-round, soups and stews are staple foods? Thailand has coconut curry, tom yum, and tom kha; Vietnam has pho; India has stewed legumes and meats; nearly everything in Ethiopia is stewed with rich sauces; Mexico has menudo, tortilla soup, and pozole, and the list goes on and on.

Why is this?

Soups have greater function than just warming the body — in fact, in warmer parts of the world, not only are they hot in temperature, they’re often extremely spicy, causing the eater to sweat, thereby cooling the body instead of warming it as the sweat evaporates off the skin. Soups also function as an ingredients-stretcher. Maybe there’s a bit of meat, a bit of veggies, some fresh herbs, and that’s it. Soup! Maybe there’s a bit of way too many things, and they all need to be used before they go bad. Soup! (I call that particular model “Kitchen Sink Soup.”) With just the right touch, you can make nearly anything delicious in soup form. Last week’s recipe focused on the health benefits of broth. Well guess what broth’s great for!

I love this recipe, because it’s sweet and salty with a healthy dose of umami.pumpkins2

It’s easy to associate pumpkins with fall, but they’re actually in season for quite a while afterwards. I absolutely love using winter squash in cooking, especially when I’m making a lot of food at once. Whether its kabocha squash in a thai curry, spaghetti squash quiche, butternut squash soup, roasted acorn squash, or stuffed delicata, cooking with winter squash is a good way to ensure that you’re getting a nutrient-dense source of carbohydrates in a delicious package.

Fun facts about pumpkin:

  • Rich in both vitamin A and beta carotene, (which can convert to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is great for cardiovascular health, skin health, and eye health)
  • Full of healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals to help ward off harmful free radicals
  • Full of fiber, which keeps you full longer and helps you go #2 as long as you’re well-hydrated
  • Easy to cook and freeze for later
  • Absolutely delicious in a post-workout smoothie, and great for replenishing the body for muscle recovery
  • Find out more about pumpkin and other winter squash in this awesome post at Health Perch

Looking for even more pumpkin-y goodness? Guess what, I have a whole eBook filled with recipes dedicated exclusively to pumpkin! DOWNLOAD IT NOW.

Here’s the recipe!

serves 4 as a main 6 as an app

pumpkinsoup2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium pumpkin – roasted and peeled – or 2 cans/boxes (roasting a pumpkin is simple: cut half, remove the seeds, place in a pan face down with about 1/2 and inch of water and a table spoon of olive oil or butter, and roast on 375 for 30 to 40 minutes)
  • 2 cans broth or water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbs ghee
  • 1 tbs rendered bacon fat
  • 2 large sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 large sprigs fresh sage, chopped
  • large pinch ground clove (a few shakes into the pot)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp REAL or sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • 4 to 6 slices cooked pasture bacon, chopped into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Heat ghee and bacon fat in a large pot until gently melted
  2. Add in pumpkin, stirring in and breaking apart the large chunks into smaller ones
  3. add in the stock or water and let simmer for a few minutes until it looks like the pumpkin is quite soft (~5 minutes)
  4. add in clove, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and vinegar and let simmer a bit longer
  5. Using an immersion blender, begin to puree the mixture, slowly adding in the can of coconut milk and maple syrup
  6. Continue to pulse with immersion blender and add in fresh oregano and sage, incorporating them completely without cooking all the flavor out.
  7. Serve hot with bacon pomegranate sauté and/or a dollop of full fat organic greek yogurt

For the Sauté

  1. Reheat cooked bacon pieces, pomegranate seeds, and a pinch of salt
  2. Cook until fully incorporated, but don’t let the seeds get mushy (feel free to add in a little extra bacon fat or ghee if you want it to be more cohesive)
  3. Portion it out with the soup and serve warmpumpkinsoup1

Looking for even more pumpkin-y goodness? Guess what, I have a whole eBook filled with recipes dedicated exclusively to pumpkin! DOWNLOAD IT NOW

Homemade Bone Broth

homemade bone broth

You may not think of broth as anything more than a flavored source of liquid for cooking, but in fact, when prepared properly, broth adds a whole lot of goodness into your diet, acting as a super-efficient, super-delicious nutrient delivery system. From the vitamin and mineral content to the gelatin and collagen that’s released from the bones, broth is a veritable nutrition powerhouse. It boasts a number of health benefits, including improving hair, skin, and nails, support for the digestive tract, enhanced immune function, hormonal support, bone and joint health, and increased overall vitality. In my Chicken Soup for the Sick post, I share a bit about the benefits of bone broth when you’re not feeling well, but this post is more comprehensive in explaining why bone broth is important for your overall health. (Well-care, not just sick-care.)**

I love to use my own homemade broth as often as possible, so I make a LOT of it at a time. Whether I’m sipping it in a warmed coffee cup first thing in the morning or adding it to a soup, stew, or pan of veggies, I try to get it in every day. Although I’ve been making my own broth for years, drinking it every single day is something relatively new for me, and so far, I can say that I’ve already noticed a difference in my skin. We’ll see what else comes about over the course of the next few months…

By the way, do you know the difference between stock and broth? I used to think that one used bones and one used meat, but it turns out the difference is simply that one is seasoned and one is not. Basically, broth=stock+seasoning, and both are made with bones. Of course, there’s no harm in leaving the bits of meat that are stuck to the bones or using a whole chicken and fishing out the meat for another meal. While I don’t think this distinction is particularly important in general, I mention it so that we can all speak with authority on the matter going forward! If you want a more versatile base, leave the seasonings out until it’s time to add the stock into a particular dish, and season accordingly. The recipe I’m going to share is only seasoned with REAL salt and fresh parsley from the garden, so technically that puts it in the broth category.

Why make your own?

Making your own broth or stock is not complicated. It requires no measuring, no precision, and no peeling — in fact, no peeling is the preference — there are tons of great nutrients right in the skin of the veggies. All you do is throw everything in. Don’t peel the onions, garlic, or carrots. Don’t chop the leaves off the celery. Throw all of it into the pot. You don’t even have to cut them up if you really don’t want to, just break the carrots and celery in half, and throw in whole cloves of garlic. You might want to slice the onions in half, but that’s it!

There are both health reasons and culinary reasons why making your own broth is far superior to buying it in a can:

  • control over the ingredients (this should really count as 5 separate reasons — organic veggies, filtered or good-quality water, organic/pastured meats, type and amount of salt used, no preservatives)
  • amount of time it spends cooking
  • greater level of nutrient extraction (related to #1 and #2)
  • taste
  • texture

The only limiting factor in broth-making is the size of your pot. For me, it’s go big or go home — if I’m going to make broth, I’m going to make a nice big batch and freeze it. Generally, I just collect the bones from our meals, and once I have a couple of freezer bags full, I know it’s time to make another pot of broth. (You could also buy a cooked chicken from the market, strip the meat for chicken salad or soup, and throw the carcass in). Making fish broth is also an option, although I prefer to cook with it more than I prefer to sip it. I’ve made it with fish heads and crab shells before with great success!

I am a self-admitted overly aggressive jar collector, so I have the resources to make large batches to store. If you don’t have jars to freeze your broth, you might want to go get some. I like 16 and 32 oz jars, depending on how I plan to use the broth. But please please be careful when freezing your broth — leave a couple of inches of room for the liquid to expand, and maybe even leave the tops off in the freezer over night if you have enough space for that. I’ve had jars break in my freezer because I didn’t pay attention to this crucial detail, and things got messy (and I wasted some home-made broth, which made me very sad).

Bang for your Buck:

Bones:

If you’ve ever roasted a chicken (or purchased an already roasted chicken from the grocery store) and then let it sit in the refrigerator, you may have noticed the gelatinous pools that collect in the tray. These pools of goodness represent the stuff of life. Gelatin is leached from the bones of the animal during the cooking process and provides us with:

  • key amino acids that help with muscle development
  • minerals for bone and joint health and proper metabolic function
  • collagen, often sold as a beauty product to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve cell health
  • all those great things I listed at the beginning of this post

The best way to ensure that your broth is going to be full of gelatin is to add a few splashes of raw apple cider vinegar or the juice of a whole lemon into the water. The acid will leach all the good stuff from the bones. When you make your own broth, it will thicken up in the fridge the way Jell-o does. Nothing you buy in the store is going to do that.

Veggies:

Veggies are technically optional in bone broth-making, but it’s my opinion that if you’re going to go to the trouble to do this yourself, it might as well taste fantastic. Onion, garlic, celery, and carrots are a great place to start. They have a host of benefits on their own, and because you have control over the quality and cook time, you can ensure that you’re getting the most of those veggies. Taste-wise, these ingredients (or some slight variation) are the basic building blocks of nearly all cuisine, creating the first layer of flavor for most pot dishes. Nutrition-wise, these ingredients provide:

  • Beta carotene
  • B vitamins
  • vitamin A
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • selenium
  • phytonutrients (especially potent if you pick them from your back yard garden)

Salt:

The type of salt you use is another controllable detail with homemade broth that is not so with what you get in a can. Sea salt and REAL salt contain far more trace minerals that help with hydration and general mineral balance in the blood than regular table salt, which is simply NaCl (Sodium Chloride). In fact, some argue that these types of salts aren’t implicated in hypertension the way regular table salt is, and that a deficiency in these salts contribute to heart disease and various other physiological malfunctions. These more complex salts taste better too.

Seasoning:

Making your own broth means choosing your own seasonings and avoiding weird additives like MSG, thickeners, and “natural flavors” (which usually means something soy- or corn-based, and very likely GMO). The recipe I’m sharing only includes salt and fresh parsley as seasoning. I chose to add in parsley mostly because it’s plentiful in my backyard, but also because parsley is a fantastic super food. It boasts a rich vitamin and antioxidant profile and helps mitigate inflammation, balance blood sugar, and improve immune function. 

How To:

It’s more accurate to call this a set of instructions than a recipe. Basically, you throw everything into either your large slow cooker or your biggest stock pot, and fill it up with filtered water. Here you see three large carrots, 2 small yellow onions, 1/2 a bulb of garlic, 7 or 8 small celery stalks from the garden, a giant bunch of parsley, and 2 freezer bags of chicken and turkey bones. I chopped nothing but the onions in half and thoroughly scrubbed the dirt off of the carrots. I threw more parsley in about 30 minutes before I turned off the fire to enhance the flavor and add in even more beneficial micronutrients.

homemade bone broth

Once the pot is filled, add in a few splashes of raw apple cider vinegar and about a tablespoon of either sea salt or REAL salt.

Let that sit for about 30 minutes before you turn on the heat.

Turn the stove or slow cooker on low, and let simmer for anywhere between 8 and 24 hours. If you’re uncomfortable leaving your stove top on unattended, a slow cooker might be better for you, as there’s no reason for you to be in the kitchen during this process. I usually set this up on low heat, go to sleep and work the next day, and take it off the fire when I get home. If you see a weird film on the top, skim it off with a spoon or your small strainer.

Once it cools as bit, use a slotted spoon or strainer of some kind to fish everything out until you’re just left with the broth. Or you can pour the broth through the strainer into the jars. I use a tiny one that works quite well.

Store it in jars in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

homemade bone broth


Sometimes for a recipe like this one, it’s easier to have everything listed out in bullet points in a simple, one-sheet guide. Lucky for you I have just the thing! Click the image below to download the recipe.



 Check out my story about how drinking bone broth changed my life

**to learn more about the health benefits of broth and traditional ways of eating, check out the Weston A. Price foundation.

Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Editor’s note: This recipe is now one of many pumpkin recipes I compiled into one glorious eBook: 10 Delicious Pumpkin Recipes for the Vegan and Vegetarian Foodie. Download your free copy now!

DOWNLOAD IT NOW


Are you ready for the ultimate Christmas morning breakfast? Or any other day you have time for homemade pancakes?? (By the way, these also refrigerate quite nicely if you wanted to double or triple the recipe and eat them for a few mornings in a row without all the dirty dishes.)

Seriously, I don’t like to brag (yes I kind of do…), but these pancakes are THE BOMB. Full disclosure, the inspiration came from a totally legit, fully intact, awesome recipe by Gina Matsoukas at RunningtotheKitchen.com. But I believe I’ve taken these puppies to the next level and created a heaven-in-your-mouth AWESOME pumpkin pie pancake recipe that is free of grains and processed sugar, and packed with easily digestible protein, good-for-you spices, and DELICIOUSNESS. (Hint: toasted pecans play a big role in the over-the-top-ness of this recipe!)grainfreepancake

I’m not kidding when I say that these very well may be the best pancakes I’ve ever made, and that includes any box mixes, gluten-free, grain-free, or otherwise. I can’t wait to experiment further with other flavors and combination once I get over my pumpkin craze for the season. And when I do, believe me, you’ll be the first to know (well, second after Loren).

Ingredients (makes about 8 pancakes, enough for 2 people)

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tbs ground flax seed
  • (optional) 2-3 tbs hydrolyzed gelatin like this.*
  • 3 good cranks of the grinder of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tbs cinnamon**
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp clove
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 whole pasture eggs
  • ¾ cup raw pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pure grade B maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ghee*** or coconut oil for cooking pancakes

*I like this gelatin because:

  1. it’s from grass-fed cows
  2. it’s easy to digest
  3. it’s great for muscle growth, bone health, and immune function
  4. it won’t gel and make your pancakes weird

**I use ceylon cinnamon because I use it in a lot of recipes, including my morning coffee every once in a while, and studies have shown that too much cassia cinnamon can cause liver damage. I don’t think I overdo the cinnamon, but you never know…

***I use ghee because I’m not strictly paleo. I like the flavor of butter with my pancakes, but the lactose and casein in regular butter and I don’t get along very well. I prefer to use ghee so I can have the best of both worlds. Plus, if you’re using ghee from a grass-fed cow, you’re getting a good dose of CLA, an important part of a healthy diet, especially if you’re trying to trim down or maintain a healthy weight.

Directions:

  1. Heat your non-stick skillet large pan over medium heat and wait for it to warm up before adding your raw pecan pieces
  2. Allow them to heat up, creating a nice, non-burnt pecan aroma before you add in a little ghee to coat them and a dash of salt
  3. Once they are lightly toasted, remove from pan and set aside and lower the heat on the burner
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a smaller one, beating the wet until fully incorporated
  5. Add the wet to the dry, mixing well to create a nice thick batter
  6. Add a good, heaping tablespoon or so of ghee to the pan and turn the heat back up to medium-high
  7. Using a ¼ measuring cup or large spoon, scoop batter onto pan and cook on each side for a few minutes until browned. Feel free to keep adding more ghee as you do more batches until the batter runs out.

gfpumpkinpancake

Don’t forget to download your very own FREE copy of my homage to pumpkin: 10 Delicious Pumpkin Recipes for the Vegan and Vegetarian Foodie. Download your free copy now!

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Black Sesame Cabbage Cups

Poor Loren (my husband) spent his entire 33rd birthday traveling. We started the morning with a drive to the airport, had a layover in LA, arrived at the airport shuttle, which took us to a train, which dropped us at a bus stop so that we could walk 4 blocks home from there.

truetthurst

Then he got in his car to drive 30 minutes away to take a test for his new certification at work. He didn’t get home until late. What a day! Feeling terrible for him, I decided to make something special for dinner the following evening. And in declaring this week his birthday week, I opened up a nice bottle of wine from our new wine club at Truett Hurst. This 2011 Zinfandel was delicious and the perfect complement to the lamb in our meal.

For dinner, unless we’ve had a particularly grueling day at the gym, I try to keep our meals limited to meat, veggies, and fat, leaving out complex carbs, since it’s so close to bed time and we won’t have time to use them up. When I make dinner this way, the only way Loren will stay full is if I load up on the fats. For this meal, I didn’t drain off the lamb fat before throwing in the veggies, but that’s up to you. I also used high quality palm oil (sustainably harvested), a healthy saturated fat, to sauté the onions before adding in the meat. (This is the palm oil I like.)

As for the black sesame seeds, these little nutrition powerhouses boast a healthy dose of calcium and magnesium, as well as a lot of other valuable trace minerals (check out more at Livestrong.com). I added these in mostly for flavor, but also for the relaxing quality that magnesium can have on our muscles and our minds. The wine helped with that too. 🙂

We’re really lucky to live where we do with access to wonderful farmers’ markets that feature local ranchers selling the meat of happy animals. I say “happy animals” as a tribute to my favorite high school teacher in Houston, TX. She was a lacto ovo vegetarian (not an easy thing to be in Texas back then) who insisted that she only ate eggs from happy chickens, which, at 18, we all thought was equally hilarious and ridiculous.

14 years later, I know what that means — do the animals roam freely? Are they given a diet they were meant to eat? Are they healthy and vibrant? Are they free of hormones and antibiotics? Do they spend time in the sun every day?

This meal is made with ground meat from a happy lamb, and that makes me happy too. It’s full of plenty of healthy fats, as pastured animals have the proper ratio of omega 6 to omega 3s in their body fat (feedlot animals have far too much inflammatory omega 6).

Black Sesame Cabbage Cups

cabbagecups3

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 2 tbs red palm oil or ghee for sautéing
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 big bunch of broccolini, chopped
  • 3 small bunches tatsoi or a few fistsful baby spinach
  • 12 large raw leaves green cabbage (for the cups)
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbs lemon pepper to taste
  • red pepper flake to taste
  • REAL or sea salt to taste
  • OPTIONAL 1/2 tsp sesame oil (for drizzling)
  • OPTIONAL hard cheese for grating over the top
Directions
  1. Warm your skillet over medium heat
  2. Once hot, add 2 tbs palm oil or ghee
  3. Add in diced onions and let them sweat for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly (you don’t want them to get brown, just translucent. Turn down the fire if you need to to avoid burning them)
  4. Once the onions are translucent, add in ground lamb and the minced garlic
  5. brown the meat completely, allowing the water to evaporate before adding veggies
  6. Add broccolini only, and cook until it softens slightly
  7. Add in salt, spices, and black sesame seeds
  8. Once the broccolini is just about as tender as you like it, add in the tatsoi just to wilt it. You want all the veggies to retain their vibrant green color.
  9. To serve, place 3 large cabbage cups on your plate and fill to the brim with the mixture from the pan. Drizzle a bit of sesame oil and top with your favorite dry cheese (we used Pecorino Romano)

cabbagecups2

Apples, Apples Everywhere!

apples

After a recent trip to Apple Hill, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the mountain of apples I came home with. I bought Muzu, Pink Ladies, and Gala, totaling out at about 7lbs. That’s a lot of apples for a two-person household!

In addition to eating a bunch of them slathered with my homemade almond butter, I also baked this awesome bread!

Fall Apple Bread (inspired by this gem from Eating4Balance)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 small apples, chopped (I used 2 muzus and 1 pink lady and kept the peel on for extra fiber)
  • 4 large organic eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup organic ghee (butter or coconut oil would probably work fine too)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups nut flour (I used 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup hazelnut flour)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (Bob’s Red Mill is probably the easiest to find, but you can also run unsweetened shredded coconut through your food processor if you’re having trouble getting Bob’s)
  • 2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. After separating the eggs, place the egg whites in a food processor and blend until stiff.
  4. Add the egg yolks, ghee, honey, banana, and vanilla. Blend until smooth
  5. Toss about two-thirds of the chopped apples into the dry mixture. Then pour in the wet mixture and combine well.
  6. Pour the bread batter into the loaf pan. Top with remaining apple chunks.
  7. Bake for 90 minutes or until it springs back when touched. (If the top starts to get too dark, cover with aluminum foil to slow down browning).
applebread

great for breakfast or a midday snack, packed with nutrition and full of flavor. this loaf lasted less than a week — maybe I’ll make double next time!

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