Vegetable Chicken Soup

I’m finally back writing an entry on the blog! I can’t believe that it has been about 3 weeks since I last posted. It is partly because we have been enjoying a wonderful spring this winter! Seriously! I know that the groundhog saw his shadow, and thus said that we would have 6 more weeks of winter, but he totally forgot to tell the birds, the bees, and the flowering trees! The song birds have been serenading us every morning for weeks now, and all our fruit trees are blooming! The last time we had such an early spring was in 2007. That ended disastrously when we had 3 nights of killer frost in mid-April. We lost all our fruits that year!

My sweet little grand girl has been practicing to be flower girl at her Opal Gen’s (Uncle Ben’s) wedding in July.

16602366_10211920325472487_133569194601547374_o

And sweet Little Man has learned to sit up all by himself!

16797700_10154895231276341_1909349343496106434_o

Now about that recipe… Many people here in my area of the south have been sick lately. Thankfully, the sickness has not found my house! One of my friends was sick last week, so I decided to make her some chicken soup. Since I had some extra veggies in the fridge, I added them to the mix as well. A few spices added in made it a very tasty soup!

1 quart chicken broth

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 medium onion, diced

4-5 medium sized mushrooms, cut in fourths

1 c. or so of cut green beans (I used fresh ones, but canned would be fine)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. each  turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder (use whatever spices you desire!)

Combine everything except the chicken in a large pot and bring the broth to a boil. Simmer until the veggies are tender. Add the chicken and heat through. Check flavor for spices and adjust to your own desires.

Advertisements

Gluten-Free Vegetable Broth

The last few days and weeks have been busy! We’ve enjoyed the many moods of  winter in the south with temperature swings from 21 degrees the other morning to 70+ degrees this week. We’ve had sunshine, wind, and now rain tonight.

My girl sent me this adorable picture of the little man the other day! He is just so squeezable!

img_0978

Several weeks ago I saw a clip come across my Facebook feed that showed what to do with vegetable scraps…other than tossing them out or composting them. I decided to give it a try…just to experiment, you know!

It is really very easy. Every time you cut up veggies or pare them, keep the scraps in a one-gallon freezer bag and toss it back into the freezer. My bag had everything from carrot peelings and broccoli to mushroom pieces and onion skins.  When the bag is full, empty it into a large stock pot and add water, just enough to cover the scraps. You can  also add some minced garlic if there is none in the scraps.

img_0971

Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Once the veggie scraps are soft and tender,  strain the mixture and toss out the scraps!

At this point, you could add salt, pepper and other seasonings, but it is not necessary. Pour broth into jars or freezer bags to keep in the fridge or freezer. Be sure to note if you will need to add salt or other seasons before you use your broth. I went through my fridge for other leftovers and created a hearty stew for lunch!

Of Chicken Soup and Missing Forks

I can’t believe that we are 10 days away from Thanksgiving! And finally, we have weather that actually matches the season. We’ve had temps in the 80’s for weeks on end and little to no rain since July. We are finally having night time temps in the 40’s, and we actually got 1/4 inch of rain yesterday. I know that isn’t much, but we’ll take it!

One of my favorite activities with my children when they were small was the time spent reading aloud. I loved reading out loud to my kiddos! We read book after book each morning after we had our Bible time and before we started our school lessons. One of the series of books I read was called  The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It was a fun series to read. I thought of these books recently when I discovered that some of my forks are missing. Seriously, why should my forks be missing? It makes absolutely no sense at all unless my house is infested with borrowers! Years ago, my parents bought me 12 place settings of my flatware. They did it over time…a place setting for my birthday, another one for Christmas until I had the complete set including the serving pieces. Over the summer, I began to think that I was missing some forks. I mean, really…there were only 2 of us living here for over 3 months when Sam was deployed, but I noticed that I didn’t have all the forks. I  searched other drawers thinking that someone had put them in the wrong place, and that gave me one of my dessert forks, but the dinner forks are short by 4. Instead of 12, I have only 8. And even the 2-piece child set of spoon and fork that I used with my own children, and carefully saved for my grand babies is now missing the fork. It was not missing the fork 3 months ago! It has to be the borrowers, I tell ya!

One more thing before I share the new recipe for chicken soup. This, ya’ll!!!

14938137_10154241893022950_8872454894829809836_n

I am beyond excited to have a new little pumpkin join the family in April!!

Ok, now to the recipe. I found this recipe in our local paper a few weeks ago. It is actually supposed to be chicken in a sauce to serve over pasta or rice, but as I read the recipe, I realized that it would make a wonderful creamy chicken soup…and it did!

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large shallots, chopped

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. minced fresh oregano (I used dried)

1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (dried)

1/2 c. cream cheese

1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 c. roughly chopped spinach

1/2 c. chopped tomatoes

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken for several minutes on each side, or until browned and just barely pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Saute the shallots for a few minutes until they start to become tender. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the cream, oregano, and thyme. Heat until the edges of the sauce start to bubble. Stir in the cheeses until they melt. Stir in spinach and tomatoes and lightly simmer until the spinach wilts.

Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to heat through. If soup is too thick, add more chicken broth. If it isn’t creamy enough for you, add more heavy cream. Adjust flavors to your taste with salt and pepper!

 

A New and Better Egg Salad

Welcome to November! I find it hard to believe that we are in the final 2 months of 2016! The year has just flown by! We are finally seeing fall colors here in the South, but our temperatures are still summery. We’ve had temps over 80 degrees every day for the last 2 weeks or so, and more are ahead this week! And it is so very dry! We’ve not had significant rainfall since July.

Before I share my creation for a new and better egg salad, let me share some news! My oldest son and his wife are now home owners! We are thrilled for them! There is quite a bit of work to be done before they can actually move in, but many hands make light work, and we are all doing what we can to help them on this journey!

fullsizerender-24

And, of course, I simply must add a new picture of my sweet little grandman. I can’t wait to squeeze him at Thanksgiving!

img_0647

Last Saturday morning the ladies of our church prepared a great breakfast for the men who had been having a special service. I enjoyed working with friends to make the breakfast happen! We had very little left over when the 70 men were finished, but there were some bacon bits, grated cheddar cheese and chopped hard-cooked eggs. I decided that they could be used to make sandwiches for the church-wide fellowship we were having on Sunday evening. When I told my youngest son what I planned to make, he said that it sounded pretty good!

I don’t know amounts because I didn’t measure the ingredients, but I will give estimates.

  • about 2 cups chopped hard-cooked eggs
  • about 1-1/2 c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise–just enough to moisten the ingredients and hold them together
  • salt to taste

Mix all these ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread on Wasa crackers for a great THM lunch!  I used a good wheat bread and made sandwiches for our church supper. My youngest son said that they were just amazing! I think that we have a new egg salad recipe that I will probably use from now on!

Ham Bone Soup

I can’t believe that we are 3 weeks into the new year already! 2016 is going to fly by if these 3 weeks are any indication.  The hubby and I have done fairly well in getting back on our THM eating plan. He even did a one-week fuel cycle and noticed that his belt was looser when he finished the cycle. Believe me, this is a great NSV…non-scale victory!

I had served a spiral ham over the holiday period and saved the bone in the freezer. Since we have been experiencing below-freezing temps here in the south this week, I thought it was the perfect time to bring out that ham bone and make some soup. I didn’t have a recipe, so the amounts shown are just estimates.

To keep this recipe in the S category, leave out the beans.You can also add any  non-starchy veggies that you have on hand. Making soup is a great way to clean leftovers out of the fridge! Adding the beans would put it into crossover territory, which is fine if you are not in weight-loss mode.

1 quart chicken broth

1 pint beef broth (this was left over from our Sunday beef roast!)

1 ham bone with meat parts still attached

2-3 stalks celery

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 medium onion, diced

1 c red radishes, cut in half

1 zucchini, sliced and then quartered

1 c chopped carrots (amount per serving is not significant enough to make this an E)

1 can white or red beans (makes the soup a cross-over)

salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

My ham bone was still frozen, so I put it in the crock pot with the broth on low setting overnight.  In the morning, I pulled the meat off the bone and cut it into bite-sized pieces. I put all the meat back into the crock pot and added the remaining ingredients.

Put the crock pot on low for about 4 hours. Adjust seasonings and serve! Ours was ready by lunch and was the perfect meal for our 20-degrees day!

Low-Carb Pizza Roll-Ups

Finally! Here is the first recipe that I promised when I posted on Monday!

We (the hubby and I) are fast approaching the first anniversary of healthier eating. We have been trying to follow the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan for about a year. Although we are not purists by any means, we do try to keep at it most of the time. The hubby lost at least 50 lbs, but he’s been cheating lately, so there is no telling what his weight is now. However, the health benefits are amazing! He no longer snores at night, his symptoms of sleep apnea have completely disappeared, and his acid reflux is gone. While I lost about 10-15 lbs, and flirt with 5 more, I have found that my joints hurt less and my lower back pain has all but disappeared. We are working at keeping this eating plan a way of life!!

One of the hubby’s favorite weekend foods is pizza. We all know how terrible processed pizza is for you even though the flavor is wonderful! A few months ago I created a low-carb pizza which has become his favorite. He enjoys it as a regular pizza and will even make his own!

This recipe makes one pizza. You can add whatever toppings you enjoy on your pizzas! Here is what I did for lunch today.

1 piece of flatbread (I use Aldi’s Fit&Active)*

1-2 tbsp. low sugar pizza sauce

12 slices pepperoni

1 handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

1-2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1-2 tbsp. ricotta cheese

Spread the pizza sauce over the flatbread. Arrange pepperoni over the sauce and the cheeses on top of the pepperoni. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350* for 10-15 minutes. Slice in half length-wise. Roll each half up when cool enough to handle. Serve with a salad!

Hubby enjoys diced peppers, onions, mushrooms, browned sausage, and/or bacon on his. Just remember that the more toppings you have, the harder it is to roll up!

*This flatbread has a total of 17g carbohydrates, but 8g of them are dietary fiber. This makes only 9g for counting the carbs.

Vegetable Soup

Yesterday I began making vegetable stock that ended up being vegetable soup! I saw a recipe in our local paper for vegetable stock that can be used to make other soups.  As it was cooking I realized that it could be eaten just the way it was! I made the suggestion to the hubby, and he said that the soup would be fine. What’s better for lunch on a cold January day than homemade soup, right?

It is a pretty simple recipe to make. In case you wonder at the odd amounts, I just used the fresh veggies that were left over in the fridge!  The hubby did the seasoning to his liking since he will be the one to eat most of it.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  I used about 3 tbsp.  Add diced veggies and stir until well sauteed and tender.  I cooked the harder veggies first, and then added the softer ones, like mushrooms, last.

These are the veggies I used:

1 medium onion

1 large bell pepper (I used half a red and half a green)

3-4 stalks of celery

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

5 spears asparagus

2 carrots, grated

handful of broccoli florets

1 small yellow squash

5 or 6 button mushrooms

Once the veggies were tender, I added about 2-1/2 quarts of water and brought it to a boil.  I think that just 2 quarts would be fine. I also happened to have a beef bone in the freezer, so I threw that in as well…just for the flavor!

Since the veggies are already sauteed, you don’t need to cook the soup long…just until it is heated well.  This is when the hubby added the seasonings.  I really don’t know what he put in, but I can guess that he included these:  dried hot pepper flakes, oregano, basil, and black pepper.  He is trying hard to cut back on his salt in-take, so he probably didn’t add that. Feel free to season your soup however you like!

Serve your soup with a sandwich wrap and enjoy!