Tag: hometown harvest

Quick & Easy Mexican Black Bean Scramble {Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free}

“What should I eat for breakfast??”

I hear this question a lot and have an answer for you 🙂

When we crowd out things like bagels, bread, milk, and processed and sugary cereals and granola bars, it can feel like we’re not left with many options aside from smoothies (which are my personal go-to!).

I’m here today with some good news and a brand spankin’ new breakfast recipe that I think you will LOVE!Mexican Black Bean Scramble

When I was writing last week’s post about my favorite upgraded Mexican-inspired dishes for Cinco de Mayo, I was inspired to blend some of those ingredients together for a filling, satisfying and energizing breakfast dish.

As I’ve shared before, the key to all-day energy is to combine Protein + Fiber + Healthy Fats in our meals to keep our blood sugar stabilized. This is important because it helps us prevent blood sugar peaks and crashes, which lead to cravings and trouble controlling our weight.

Most of us, especially women, don’t eat nearly enough protein at breakfast (we’re not going to find it in a Nutrigrain bar or a bagel with cream cheese), so we end up feeling unsatisfied and with cravings later in the day. Eating adequate protein at breakfast is one way to combat that.

I love this dish because it combines protein (beans, eggs), fiber (beans, avocado), and healthy fats (eggs, avocado)…and it tastes AMAZING! My husband Bill liked it so much that he had it for dinner last night and breakfast this morning.

One ingredient in this recipe that I want to focus on is the beauty-boosting, health-promoting avocado.

I didn’t even TRY an avocado until I was 25.

As a picky eater, I had deemed avocados a “weird” and “gross” food, never having actually tried them. It’s so much easier to write off certain foods than give them a chance and run the risk of not liking them.

avocado

When I finally did, I was hooked! According to nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, here are just SOME of the many benefits we can get from eating avocados:

  • One of the TOP anti-aging, beauty foods, especially for supple skin
  • Powerful anti-aging effects on skin and joints
  • Rich in skin-smoothing vitamins – A, C, E, and K
  • Contain glutamine – an amino acid that helps protect our skin and curb cravings
  • Source of glutathione, a liver-loving, anti-aging antioxidant
  • Excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber

If you want to geek out a little more, check out the top 12 benefits of avocados from Authority Nutrition.

I’m going to dedicate a future post to why we NEED fat, but in the meantime, the bottom line is this: Stop fearing fat. Healthy fats are not making us fat. In fact, most of us don’t eat enough of them.

Refined and processed sugars and flours are the key offenders driving our weight gain and health issues. When we started making everything lite, low-fat, and fat-free, we started gaining weight.

Eat fat for beauty, health, and happiness 🙂 It makes food taste awesome, keeps us feeling full and satisfied, protects us, and helps us look our best!

Mexican Black Bean Scramble

Huevos Rancheros Upgrade {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}Mexican Black Bean Scramble

Serves 2 (cut recipe in half for a single serving)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil, divided (you’ll use half at the beginning and the other half later)
½ cup yellow onion, diced
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed. We use Eden Organics)
4 eggs (from pastured, cage-free chickens. We buy ours from Hometown Harvest)
¼ cup salsa of choice (we like Drew’s)
½ avocado
A few sprigs of cilantro
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Add half a tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium skillet set to medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, cumin and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent but not brown. Add black beans and toss to combine. At this point, you can either set the bean/onion mix aside in a bowl, scramble the eggs in the same pan and then add the beans back in (pics above) OR just move to step 3.
  3. Add remaining oil to skillet with beans. Whisk eggs together in a bowl and pour them into the skillet. Add another pinch or two of salt and pepper to taste and scramble eggs with beans to your desired texture and consistency.
  4. Once eggs are cooked to your liking, put them on a plate and top with salsa, sliced avocado and cilantro. ENJOY!

Baltimore’s EmporiYUM: My Top Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Eats

If you love food, Baltimore is a great place to live.

I was born and raised here, and only in the past few years have I come to appreciate all that this city has to offer.

This weekend’s EmporiYUM event downtown was a great showcase of dozens of local vendors and companies who put love and passion into their food.

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I volunteered at the event with a company that my husband and I have used for the past year and a half or so – Hometown Harvest.

They’re a doorstep delivery service of local fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, poultry and other foods from local vendors, including fresh pressed juices, granola, hummus, nut butters, and salsa.

It was fun telling the dozens of people who came through the booth about how much I love their service and how convenient it is for us to wake up on Friday morning with a bag full of produce and cage-free eggs for the coming week.

Hometown Harvest

After hanging out at the Hometown Harvest booth for a couple of hours, I ventured out to visit the rest of the vendors to see what dairy-free, gluten-free goods I could find. (If you’re new to this blog, I eat dairy-free and gluten-free because of what I’ve learned helps my body feel best!)

I also look for foods that are completely in sync with how I prepare my own food and don’t use ingredients like refined oils or sugars.

Here are my favorites from yesterday!

Some are familiar faces that I’ve mentioned before on this blog, but others were newbies and are worth checking out.

Plantbar

Daniela Troia, the owner of Plantbar, is one of my favorite food people in Baltimore and I’ve been a fan of her restaurant in Towson (Zia’s Café) for years.

Now that she’s set up shop with her juice, smoothie and raw/vegan/gluten-free and aptly named Plantbar at Belvedere Market (my favorite place in Baltimore), I’m even more of a fan.

Plantbar had a bright and colorful booth with samples of their coconut bacon and three kinds of fresh, cold-pressed organic juices. Thai The Knot was especially refreshing on a hot day.

Little Baby's

Wandering down a little farther, I stumbled upon a long line for Little Baby’s Ice Cream, which I soon came to find out is an ice cream vendor based out of Philadelphia that will be making its way to the Baltimore market (Whole Foods and MOMs) by the summer.

I was elated to find out that they had a dairy-free, gluten-free option that I could sample called Coconut Tea.

OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO GOOD.

They use coconut milk instead of cow’s milk, and the texture was JUST like regular ice cream.

The only hitch is that they use agave as one of the sweeteners, so I met the owner and suggested it might be worth considering making a version with coconut nectar instead because of the controversy around agave. He was open to it, which was really cool.

Soom Sesame

Making my way across the floor, I saw an eye-catching display for tahini-based dips (made from ground up sesame seeds) from a company called Soom.

I’m a big fan of tahini and use it in my Super Food Kale Salad Recipe as well as this Snickerdoodle Smoothie, so I knew I would be on board with their products.

I sampled a few of their dips and became an instant fan. With flavors like Classic Sesame and Spicy Sriracha to Thai Red Curry and Zesty Mediterranean, these dips were delicious! I asked about the ingredients and found out that they don’t use oils I avoid like canola oil, so that was a bonus! 🙂

They’re not in Baltimore yet but hope to make their way here. You can buy their plain tahini on Amazon though and check out this link for a list of where they sell in the Philly/NYC/DC/Rockville area.

Kate BakesI ventured up the steps to one of the upper levels and met a company I’ve been hearing about from Hometown Harvest for the past year or so – Kate Bakes.

After dealing with years of frustrating health issues herself, Kate was determined to make delicious treats that she could enjoy without gluten, dairy or any animal products. The bars are handmade in small batches using organic ingredients.

She does use agave as the sweetener along with a soy protein powder in the bars, so I emailed her to get more information about that and to see if she has plans for using alternative ingredients in future creations, since I generally avoid those two ingredients. She was prompt, thorough, and honest in her response (all things I really appreciate and respect!):

Currently we’re comfortable using agave for how it behaves in our recipes (texture and flavor profile) as well as it’s low glycemic index. Each bar actually has less than one serving (less than one tablespoon) of agave and the rest of our sugar content comes from the fruit we use in the recipes – bananas, raisins, dates, or cherries.  We use soy for the same reason.  When I was creating the recipes, I actually tried several different protein powders including rice and hemp.  The bars that came out the best (by far) were the ones using soy. Since I personally don’t have trouble with soy (and the list of things I do have trouble with is quite long!) I wanted to use it since I could eat it and felt it created the best tasting product. I know these ingredients may not be for everyone and I really appreciate you asking these questions to learn more.  As someone with a lot of restrictions, I completely understand there are many reasons why people may choose not to consume certain foods.

Click here to buy Kate’s bars online and to read more about her story.

Blind Spot

The next booth on my stop was Blind Spot Nut Butters, who I first found out about through Hometown Harvest. They sell them on their website, but I had never met the owner or tried more than one variety of their nut butters, so I was excited they had a booth at the event.

My favorite flavor is their Birds & Bees Almond Cashew Nut Butter, which is a great add-in to smoothies. Check out the ingredient list: Raw Almonds, Raw Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Honey, Ground Flax, Millet, Chia Seeds. All real, whole foods. Just the way I like it!

Here’s where you can buy their nut butters in the MD/DC/VA/PA area and online on their website.

Jinji Booth

Tucked away in a back corner (but always with a line) was my favorite Baltimore chocolate maker – Pure Chocolate by Jinji.

I wrote extensively about how amazing her dairy-free, gluten-free chocolates are here and here. She sets up shop at Belvedere Market along with Plantbar and one more vendor I mention at the close of this post – Hex Ferments.

If you like chocolate, you HAVE to know about Jinji. Everything she makes is divine.

Cava Mezze

My second to last stop for the day was Cava Mezze, which makes Mediterranean dips like hummus, tzatziki, harissa, and tapenades. They had a veggie platter and a variety of their dips available for sampling.

I tried the roasted red pepper, spicy and traditional hummus varieties and they were all savory, creamy and reminded me of my semester abroad in Southern Spain. I love that Cava doesn’t use refined oils like canola oil in their products, unlike some other brands of hummus.

Check out all of their flavors on their website here or find them at MOMs Organic Market or Whole Foods.

Hex Ferments

The last stop on my gluten-free, dairy-free, journey brought me to Hex Ferments – a company I’ve known about for just over a year (mainly because they are parked right next to Jinji’s Chocolates at Belvedere Market).

As I’ve been in the process of healing my body and digestive health from years of antibiotics and acid reducers, I’ve incorporated more healing, nourishing foods into my diet, including some things I – as a picky eater – SWORE I would never eat.

Like sauerkraut and kimchi.

Both are fermented foods that support, protect and shield our immune system, digestion and overall well-being.

Hex was sampling their Sea Kraut and Miso Kimchi – both of which were packed with flavor.

Check out their shop at Belvedere Market and remember to “go with your gut!”

And, that’s a wrap 🙂

I do what I can to support local businesses by voting with my dollars and how I spend my money.

As the daughter of two entrepreneurs, I feel particularly compelled to buy local and support small businesses.

I know they appreciate the love and confidence from their customers and that it encourages them to keep doing great work dedicated to helping us be well while at the same time enjoying amazing eats!

Did you go to The EmporiYUM? What were some of YOUR favorite stops? I’d love to hear from you!

Peaches ‘n Cream Smoothie (Orange Julius Style!)

The peaches this summer have been the sweetest and juiciest I’ve had in a long time!

Whether they’re donut peaches or ordinary yellow peaches, they have been super satisfying.

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Aside from eating them plain, I’ve been putting them in a lot recipes like this peachy keen kale salad and this farmer’s market salad.

I even glazed them with honey, baked them in the oven for the first time and ended up with a super healthy, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.

Even though I don’t eat dairy products, I really enjoy and am always looking for recipes for rich and creamy foods and drinks that remind me of the “mouthfeel” of ice cream, cheese, and milk, but are made without those ingredients.

Making dairy-free smoothies and milkshakes are one of the ways I like to do that.

Check out these cool "donut" peaches :)

Check out these cool “donut” peaches 🙂

When my sister tried this smoothie, she said it tasted like one of the smoothies from Orange Julius…but better!

This dairy-free, vegan recipe is quick and simple and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. Blending the cashews with the liquid at the very beginning is what gives the smoothie its creamy texture without any milk, cream or yogurt!

I use raw cashews in lots of other recipes to make dips and even cheesecakes creamy.

You have to try this one for yourself – you will be amazed!

Peaches ‘n Cream Smoothie (Orange Julius Style)

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup raw cashews* (these are cheapest at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups water (you can use almond milk if you prefer an even creamier texture – I used 1 cup each of water and almond milk)
  • 3 cups peaches (sliced and frozen – or use fresh peaches for a “frothier” smoothie)
  • 1 cup ice
  • Optional (but tasteless!): 2 cups spinach

Click here for the full recipe from Girl Makes Food.

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A City Girl’s Day at the Farm: Finding My Own Eden

As a city girl born and raised in Baltimore, I rarely have the opportunity to be on a farm or see the plants or animals responsible for producing the food I eat. I’ve often considered moving to a farm like this ranch farm 2 bedroom barrie but I’m not quite ready yet.

This weekend, Bill and I were invited to join a fellow local food blogger, (a)Musing Foodie, for a farm tour and authentic farm to table meal. Our hosts were Tony and Abby Brusco, who are the founders and managers of Hometown Harvest, the home delivery service Bill and I use. I’m also a contributing writer to their blog.

Bill & I with Tony & Abby Brusco - the faces behind Hometown Harvest!

Bill & I with Tony & Abby Brusco – the faces behind Hometown Harvest (Plus a super cool spring house built in 1792 in the background!)

I’ve written about Hometown Harvest before and know that many of you use their services for yourself or your family to deliver fresh, locally sourced produce and other fresh foods to your home. We love the convenience, cost, and quality.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect as we arrived at the Bruscos’ idyllic farmhouse in Frederick, Maryland on Saturday morning to learn more about the farmers behind our food.

To start our day, we were introduced to the dozens of healthy, happy chickens, who were freely roaming on the grass. Abby picked up a chicken named Rosie and introduced her to us, as the kids who were on the tour with us rushed over to pet her. I was also told that if it wasn’t for companies providing the services of Construction Equipment Rental, their farms wouldn’t be looking the way it does. From being able to borrow equipment such as tractors, this has made it a lot easier to maintain the farm. These are the things that we as consumers do not think about, especially when we can get our food so easily.

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This practice isn’t as common as it should be. Most of the meat and eggs that we buy from the grocery store today and eat at restaurants are from factory-farmed chickens. These animals have been stuffed into tight cages, where they have no room to move, sit in their own filth, and are injected with antibiotics and hormones to help them fight illness that runs rampant in their less than sanitary living conditions and grow to unnaturally large sizes.

80% of the antibiotics that are used each year in the U.S. are used in livestock, and they end up in our food supply (which also means they end up in our bodies). This is one of the many reasons why Bill and I prioritize eating organic, grass-fed animals and animal products that have met strict standards. Check out the documentary Food, Inc. to learn more about the food you eat and where it comes from before it gets to your plate.

Tony shared with us that chickens lay eggs every 26 hours (I had no idea!) and that the color of their eggs – blue, white or brown – is dependent on their breed.

Before we left the coop, Tony and Abby’s daughter, Sophia, introduced us to two of the other chickens that have been given names – Optimus Prime and Road Runner. Optimus Prime was quite a sight with her big hairy feet!

Optimus Prime - the black chicken with the big hairy feet! Poor guy :)

Optimus Prime – the black chicken with the big hairy feet! Poor girl 🙂

We continued our tour and met the tiny baby chicks in the barn, who were only about a week old and would be moved out into a coop after about 12 weeks. The little boys with us were eager to pick up all of the chicks, so Tony lifted one of out of the pen, so we could all pet it. I can’t remember the last time I did that, but I’ve always loved baby animals, so it was a treat! IMG_3815

As we meandered back toward the house, we came across 5 ducks that had just been brought to the farm before taking a look at the apple, plum, and peach tree orchard behind the Brusco home. Wouldn’t it be so cool to walk into your backyard and pick a peach or an apple off of a tree? I would love it!

While we stood by the orchard, Tony shared with us his plans for the future – to move the full Hometown Harvest operation to a neighboring parcel of land, alongside a market that would be open to customers. Tony’s goal is to make the facility a zero waste operation, complete with composting and rooted in sustainability. He was looking into an industrial air compressor service which would make it more efficient, greener and take less energy to inflate their vehicle’s tires along with many other uses.

Tony sharing with us his vision for the future

Tony sharing with us his vision for the future

Frederick County and the State and County farm bureaus have been very supportive of the plans, so your votes in the upcoming elections to favor pro-agriculture legislators can help to keep this process (and others like it) moving.

Before breaking for lunch, we wandered over to the garden enclosed by a white picket fence and lined with raspberry bushes (my favorite!).

Tomatoes, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, dill, basil, chives, and lavender were just a few of the fruit, veggies and herbs growing in the garden. Yum!

Oh man, what I wouldn't do to have some raspberry bushes in my yard!

Oh man, what I wouldn’t do to have some raspberry bushes in my yard!

Despite the fact that my gardening skills are a bit nonexistent at the moment, seeing all of the fresh produce made me want to start growing some of my own!

All of this talk about food made us hungry, so we sat down to enjoy a true “farm to table” lunch – couscous, cranberry and almond salad (similar to this one!), creamy deviled eggs, crisp black bean and avocado salad, lasagna two ways topped with freshly picked basil, and a sweet and refreshing fruit salad.

An authentic farm to table lunch

Our authentic farm to table lunch

There is something special about enjoying a meal in community with the people who not only thoughtfully prepared it but also watched its ingredients grow.

During lunch, Tony shared with us his passion for partnering with local farmers who align philosophically with him. They value and practice sustainable farming, produce and prepare the highest quality food and drinks, and are locally based (most within 50-60 miles of Frederick). To learn more about the farmers Hometown Harvest partners with, click here.

As we were finishing up our meal, Tony was sharing more of his story with us, including all that he and Abby have done to make their home what it is today. He said, “You kind of create your own kind of Eden.”

A little piece of the Brusco's Eden

A little glimpse of the Bruscos’ Eden

Those words really struck a cord with me. As he said it, he meant it mostly as it relates to his property, the farm, the house, the garden, but I know it had a deeper meaning.

We have the opportunity to make our space what we want, a space that nourishes our soul and our spirit, a space where we can find peace, rest, and happiness.

This is true not only of the physical space where we live, but also of our bodies, our workplaces, and the greater community of which each of us is a part.

I may not live on a quiet, rustic farm where I’m surrounded every day by the beauty and solitude of nature, but I can take what I have where I am and commit to creating my own kind of Eden, becoming aware of and appreciating beauty no matter where I am, nourishing my space, my community, and myself.

To learn more about Hometown Harvest and whether they deliver to your area, check out their website!

Don’t live in the MD/DC/VA area but still want to support your local farmers? Plug in your zip code at LocalHarvest to find a farm or farmer near you!

Why Broccoli Is Awesome…and The BEST Roasted Broccoli Recipe

When I was a kid, I put parmesan cheese on EVERYTHING.

One of the fun things I used to do at dinner was pretend it was “snowing” on the “trees” and coated my steamed broccoli with a generous helping of Kraft parmesan cheese. I wouldn’t eat broccoli without it!

Since then, I’ve discovered that cheese and other dairy products were the key triggers for my ear and upper respiratory infections as a child and young adult and can wreak havoc on the body…so no more snowy trees for me. The good news is that I’m feeling so much better now and have gotten rid of those issues completely. I’ll be writing more about my personal experience with the downsides of dairy in future posts (If you’re interested, start watching the video on the link at around minute 5:00).

Fortunately, I’ve learned how to enjoy broccoli without cheese. One of my favorite ways to prepare broccoli is roasting it. If you grew up eating overcooked, canned, or steamed-to-death vegetables, give them at least one more chance and roast them. You will be amazed by how delicious and flavorful they are!

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Broccoli is an incredibly healthy food and is also one of the GBOMBS. Here are just a few reasons why broccoli is awesome and we should eat more of it!

  • It’s anti-inflammatory and detoxifying. Inflammation and toxicity are the two main reasons we are so sick and holding on to extra weight, so we want to do as much as we can to reduce them!
  • It’s rich in fiber. Fiber keeps us full, so we eat less, and it keeps things moving in our digestive system.
  • It contains lutein, which helps to fight heart disease by preventing the thickening of arteries.
  • It’s rich in calcium. Calcium strengthens and promotes bone growth and health, which helps prevent osteoporosis.

Broccoli retains the most nutrients when eaten raw or lightly steamed or cooked, but most of us aren’t eating enough vegetables anyway, so it’s better to eat them roasted than not eat them at all, so roast away!

Now that we’ve established how great broccoli is, let’s talk about what to do with it.

This week in our Hometown Harvest bag, we got a hefty bunch of broccoli, and when I got home from a four-day business trip, I was ready to play in the kitchen and try a new recipe. 

This garlicky broccoli recipe is going to become a staple in our house. It’s SUPER simple and tasty. You are going to LOVE it.

It’s more fitting to call it what it really is…Crack Broccoli.

Seriously, it’s that good…you may have to stop yourself from eating the whole darn tray. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Garlicky Roasted (AKA Crack) Broccoli

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I made a few modifications to the original ingredient list and point them out below.

Ingredients

1 pound broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil (or coconut oil!)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (we substituted raw apple cider vinegar because we didn’t have rice vinegar)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
Red pepper flakes
Lemon wedges, to garnish

Here is the full recipe from one of my favorite recipe bloggers, The Kitchn! (and, nope, that’s not a spelling error 🙂 just a cool name for a website!)

Soup’s On! My Favorite Cookbook & A Soup You Have to Try {Vegan, GBOMBS}

I was eagerly anticipating a long weekend away to the southern coast of Portugal with several friends from my program in Spain…until something awful happened.

IMG_0281

I got food poisoning.

After all, who doesn’t want to deal with embarrassing GI issues in a foreign country hours away from home and everything familiar? I’ll be honest, it was a pretty miserable and uncomfortable week, and aside from the temporary weight loss, nothing good came of it.

I told my Spanish mom, Matilde, that all I wanted was crushed ice and “cookies without sugar” because I didn’t know how to say “Saltine crackers” in Spanish.

Well, I was told that ice is “dirty” so I shouldn’t eat it, and I didn’t get anywhere with my description of Saltines.

Bummer.

So, aside from some physical discomfort, embarrassment, and frustration, since I had to delay my trip to Portugal, what did my illness mean?

Several days of clear fish broth until I felt better.

Since I had never really eaten any soup other than Campbell’s less-than-impressive and rather sparse chicken noodle soup and didn’t like seafood, eating fish broth was a real treat.

Fortunately, over the next few months, Matilde redeemed the fish broth by introducing me to a variety of other soups and stews that were brimming with vegetables and bursting with deep flavors.  They were filling, warming, and comforting.

We love soups and chilis now and prepare them almost weekly this time of year.

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Here are a few reasons why we are souper excited about soup!

  • They’re cheap. Beans, vegetables, broth, greens, and grains are the base ingredients in most soups. They can be purchased in bulk and are really inexpensive.
  • They last for days, which saves time and money. Cook once, eat three (or more!) times. I love finding ways to save time in the kitchen, especially during the workweek. By taking some time to prepare a soup one day, we save ourselves time (and money!) preparing lunch and several dinners during the rest of the week. Now that football season is over, try to commit to making a soup on Sunday afternoon, and don’t worry about prepping dinner until Tuesday at the earliest!
  • They’re low maintenance and easy to prepare. The great thing about soup is that you can “set it and forget it” by putting it in a crock pot or just leaving it on a low simmer on the stove. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors build. Mmmm…
  • They’re healthy comfort food. Comfort food makes us happy because it is reminds us of home, family or friends and often has a very traditional and simple preparation. Soups are warming, soothing, rich and often reflective of our heritage, too, and there is something really satisfying about that.
  • They’re a great way to get in the healthiest foods on the planet, including leafy greens, beans, and onions! Check out this recipe for an amazing Tuscan Bean Soup we made the other day. We incorporated our Tuscan (AKA dino) kale from Hometown Harvest along with other GBOMBS foods like beans and onions. The addition of red wine added a sweetness and richness that I can still taste!IMG_3235

As a gift to celebrate my completion of graduate school, my mother-in-law gave me what is now one of my absolute favorite cookbooks. Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source is written by Terry Walters, a fellow IIN graduate.

From the Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette (you will never want store-bought salad dressing again!), Three Bean Chili, and Roasted Kabocha Squash and Creminis to the Ginger and Pear Crisp and Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies, we have enjoyed over a dozen of the wholesome, nourishing recipes from Terry’s Clean Food cookbook.

Clean Food

Also, for anyone who has food sensitivities or allergies, this cookbook will give you tons of new inspirations and alternatives, and you will not feel deprived or slighted in the least!

The Tuscan Bean Soup was the most recent recipe we prepared from Clean Food and is one we will definitely be making again.

You can check out other delicious soups posted on my Pinterest boards!

Do you have a favorite healthy soup recipe? Feel free to share below! 

Soup’s On! My Favorite Cookbook & A Soup You Have to Try {Vegan, GBOMBS}

I was eagerly anticipating a long weekend away to the southern coast of Portugal with several friends from my program in Spain…until something awful happened.

IMG_0281

I got food poisoning.

After all, who doesn’t want to deal with embarrassing GI issues in a foreign country hours away from home and everything familiar? I’ll be honest, it was a pretty miserable and uncomfortable week, and aside from the temporary weight loss, nothing good came of it.

I told my Spanish mom, Matilde, that all I wanted was crushed ice and “cookies without sugar” because I didn’t know how to say “Saltine crackers” in Spanish.

Well, I was told that ice is “dirty” so I shouldn’t eat it, and I didn’t get anywhere with my description of Saltines.

Bummer.

So, aside from some physical discomfort, embarrassment, and frustration, since I had to delay my trip to Portugal, what did my illness mean?

Several days of clear fish broth until I felt better.

Since I had never really eaten any soup other than Campbell’s less-than-impressive and rather sparse chicken noodle soup and didn’t like seafood, eating fish broth was a real treat.

Fortunately, over the next few months, Matilde redeemed the fish broth by introducing me to a variety of other soups and stews that were brimming with vegetables and bursting with deep flavors.  They were filling, warming, and comforting.

We love soups and chilis now and prepare them almost weekly this time of year.

IMG_3230

Here are a few reasons why we are souper excited about soup!

  • They’re cheap. Beans, vegetables, broth, greens, and grains are the base ingredients in most soups. They can be purchased in bulk and are really inexpensive.
  • They last for days, which saves time and money. Cook once, eat three (or more!) times. I love finding ways to save time in the kitchen, especially during the workweek. By taking some time to prepare a soup one day, we save ourselves time (and money!) preparing lunch and several dinners during the rest of the week. Now that football season is over, try to commit to making a soup on Sunday afternoon, and don’t worry about prepping dinner until Tuesday at the earliest!
  • They’re low maintenance and easy to prepare. The great thing about soup is that you can “set it and forget it” by putting it in a crock pot or just leaving it on a low simmer on the stove. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors build. Mmmm…
  • They’re healthy comfort food. Comfort food makes us happy because it is reminds us of home, family or friends and often has a very traditional and simple preparation. Soups are warming, soothing, rich and often reflective of our heritage, too, and there is something really satisfying about that.
  • They’re a great way to get in the healthiest foods on the planet, including leafy greens, beans, and onions! Check out this recipe for an amazing Tuscan Bean Soup we made the other day. We incorporated our Tuscan (AKA dino) kale from Hometown Harvest along with other GBOMBS foods like beans and onions. The addition of red wine added a sweetness and richness that I can still taste!IMG_3235

As a gift to celebrate my completion of graduate school, my mother-in-law gave me what is now one of my absolute favorite cookbooks. Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source is written by Terry Walters, a fellow IIN graduate.

From the Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette (you will never want store-bought salad dressing again!), Three Bean Chili, and Roasted Kabocha Squash and Creminis to the Ginger and Pear Crisp and Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies, we have enjoyed over a dozen of the wholesome, nourishing recipes from Terry’s Clean Food cookbook.

Clean Food

Also, for anyone who has food sensitivities or allergies, this cookbook will give you tons of new inspirations and alternatives, and you will not feel deprived or slighted in the least!

The Tuscan Bean Soup was the most recent recipe we prepared from Clean Food and is one we will definitely be making again.

You can check out other delicious soups posted on my Pinterest boards!

Do you have a favorite healthy soup recipe? Feel free to share below! 

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