Meat Lovers Potato Soup

This recipe was the result of an experiment, as usual. I wanted to make potato soup for the whole family, but I just have a hard time sticking to recipes that I find, not to mention, I like a lot of meat in my soups. So, I originally planned to make this potato soup recipe, but I changed it quite a bit.

This soup is actually more of a Cajun version. I was born in Lafayette, LA to a mother who passed down gumbo and other Cajun recipes that are my favorite recipes to cook (I will be adding a gumbo recipe soon).  But my uncle, who was raised in southern LA, made a soup just like this, although I don’t know the name of it. I actually did not realize I was replicating it until my mom told me that it tasted just like his!  So, Cajun potato soup, meat lover’s potato soup; whatever you would like to call it, here is a nice fall/winter soup to enjoy in this cold weather!

A few helpful notes: I did forget to add the onion in the picture, so please don’t leave that out of your ingredients list! It will change the flavor.  Also, if you are making this for the whole family, try adding a little more rice milk for the little ones (you can add it in their bowl). It makes it more “creamy” and a little more sweet. My daughter LOVES it this way; she loves the “juice”!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 TBS avocado oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup GF all-purpose flour (I use a garbanzo flour mix)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 5 small stalks (or 3 large stalks) of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 8 half slices of bacon (4 long slices straight from the package), cooked lightly and cut into small pieces
  • 6 medium/large red potatoes, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 lb ground turkey sausage, cooked and drained
  • 3 cups original, enriched rice milk
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly chopped
  • Seasonings:
    • a pinch of saffron
    • 1/2 teaspoon basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

 

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for at least 1 minute. Add the avocado oil and heat for another minute.

Meanwhile, mix the flour with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots, and celery and 1/2 teaspoon of salt** to the heated skillet. Saute for at least 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the onions translucent.

Now add the minced garlic and bacon pieces and saute for about 3 minutes, until the garlic sends off a nice aroma and the fat begins to seep out of the bacon.

Add the potatoes, turkey sausage, the remaining chicken broth, the rice milk, the chicken broth/flour mixture*, and the seasonings.

Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

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NOTES:

* The original recipe says to add the flour mixture after the potatoes cook. I made this in a hurry and accidentally added it first, but the soup came out really good, so for this recipe you will want to add it with the rest of the chicken broth and let it all cook together.

** There will be a total of at least 1 teaspoon of salt. Some added to the vegetables and some with the seasonings. You can also add more to taste. The sea salt that I use is very flavorful, so I do not need to use as much as I would if I were using regular iodized salt. If you are using regular salt, you will need to add more.

 

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Rickets: Is Your Child At Risk?

Like most moms whose children have food allergies, I am always trying to make sure that the limited foods my daughter eats are nutritious enough to make up for the foods she cannot have. For this reason, we met with a dietitian, and I have continued to experiment with many recipes to try and make foods my daughter can not only eat, but enjoy–hence the reason that I blog and share what I have learned.

But one very important piece has been lacking in my daughter’s diet puzzle; something I did not know about, and our dietitian did not even mention to us. Of all the doctor’s we have seen, it was Dr. Google–of all places–that finally brought up the importance of vitamin D and Calcium in a child’s diet, and the consequences when these needs are not met. I found this out after my daughter began complaining about pain in her knees, and then woke up screaming and crying in pain, holding onto her knees.

 

What Is Rickets?

According to the American Family Physician’s website, “Rickets is a bone problem that affects children. It happens when your child’s bones do not form correctly. Rickets can make your child’s bones hurt, and the bones can bend and break easily”. And it affects many kids in the knees.

The cause, according to the same site, can either be genetic or due to a nutritional deficiency–specifically of vitamin D and calcium. Nutritional rickets can presumably be treated by fixing a child’s diet, but that of course would take time while your child is in pain. So, it is obviously best to just try to avoid it in the first place.

 

How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting Rickets?

If there is a family history of rickets, I do not have an answer for that. But if your child is on a special diet and cannot have things like dairy and eggs, then it is very important to ensure that your child has enough calcium and vitamin D.

Some allergy-friendly sources of calcium according to Webmd, include spinach, kale, okra, collard greens, salmon and other fish, white beans, fortified orange juice, and cereals fortified with calcium (and vitamin D).

Allergy friendly sources of vitamin D are harder to come by, however. Dairy and eggs are the main sources other than the sun for most children. But for a child like mine with developmental allergic colitis, who cannot have dairy or eggs, the sources are very limited. The only allergy friendly sources of vitamin D that I have found are salmon, shrimp, fortified orange juice, and fortified rice milk.

 

Take Away Lessons

So, if your child has food allergies, should you be concerned about rickets? Well, I like to go by the “better safe than sorry” motto. My daughter’s doctor believes she is a little young to be experiencing growing pains, but since vitamin deficient rickets is cured by diet change anyway, we are giving it time to get better before going any further medically.

But that woke me up to the reality of how important it is to make sure your child has a balanced diet; and that scared me. The last thing any of us want is for our children to be in pain or to have serious health issues. If my daughter did not have food allergies, I would not have to worry about this because milk and eggs for breakfast and cheese sticks for snacks would fill most of the nutritional needs that she is now lacking.

But when a child has food allergies, essential nutrients become much more of a reality, and it is imperative that parents think outside that box and provide their child with the things they need to grow and develop normally. It is a lot of work. It takes a lot of planning. It is not easy. But our children are worth it. And if you need ideas to get these important vitamins (and others) in your child’s diet, please keep reading and check our my other blogs with recipes and information.

 

Toddler Food Ideas Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D

These are foods things that I now make sure my daughter gets:

  • Fortified rice milk at least a couple times a day
  • Fortified orange juice in the morning with breakfast
  • Salmon at least twice a week
    • See my recipe for salmon tacos here.
    • Salmon is great because it is also high in fat, which is so important for a growing child, and unlike many types of fish, it is low in mercury.
  • Fried shrimp a few times a month
    • Bread thawed, raw shrimp in GF all-purpose flour mixed with fair amounts of Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper for flavoring. Fry in avocado or canola oil.
  • Fried okra at least once a week.
    • Bread halfway frozen okra okra with GF all-purpose flour & cornmeal (3-1 ratio), mixed with a fair amount of onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. You will not need an egg-replacer because the okra itself is slimy. And if it is only halfway thawed, it will be just slimy enough for the breading to stick, but not so slimy that it makes a mess. Fry in avocado or canola oil.
    • My daughter will eat fried okra dipped in (allergy friendly) ranch like she’s eating Pringles; she can’t stop.
  • Spinach and other leafy greens at least 3 times a week.
    • I add spinach and romaine or other lettuce to all of her tacos and wraps. And since she cannot have normal bread, she eats tacos and wraps regularly throughout the week.
    • Another way to add leafy greens is to add them in a soup. Try my Winter Comfort Soup and replace half of the Swiss chard with spinach (or all of it, if you’d rather). Just add the spinach closer to the end of cooking since it wilts much faster than Swiss chard.
  • Homemade hummus with navy beans and garbanzo beans
    • I do not have a recipe for that online yet, but I have in the past just blended navy beans, garbanzo beans, avocado oil, lemon juice, herbs, and paprika together to make a hummus for my daughter to dip her veggie crisps in.
    • Navy beans are a white bean, so they are high in calcium.
  • Indian Fry Bread tacos occasionally
    • See my blog here, for the recipe.

 

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article or benefited from it, please like and share, and check out more of my blogs. Thanks!

Tangy Salmon Tacos

I made this recipe to try and add more calcium and vitamin D to my daughter’s diet in a way that she can enjoy.  It is sweet and refreshing, with a little bit of tang. Fish tacos meet sweet salmon. My daughter enjoys these. And as always, it is gluten, dairy, soy, nut, and egg free.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • For the Salmon Fillets
    • 2 salmon fillets (2-3 oz each)
    • A touch of brown sugar
    • A pinch of sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
  • For the Tacos
    • 2 white corn tortillas
    • 1/8 cup diced cucumber
    • 1/8 cup finely chopped spinach
  • For the Sauce
    • 2 mandarin orange segments (see picture below for reference)
    • 3-4 mango squares (frozen mangoes), or about 1 1/2 TBS fresh mango
    • 1 teaspoon honey

Other toppings you could add to the tacos include orange cherry tomatoes, shredded, steamed carrots, or cabbage.

 

DIRECTIONS

For the Salmon:

Preheat your oven to 400 F, or use a toaster oven like I did–no preheat necessary.

Rinse the salmon fillet and pat dry.  Rub them down with avocado oil, mostly on the side without the skin. Season with a pinch of sea salt and touch of brown sugar and rub the seasonings into the oil on the fish.

Line an oven safe pan with foil and place the fillets skin-side down on the foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes; until the meat flakes easily with a fork. Ovens vary and thin fillets cook faster than the thicker ones, so check it at about 8 minutes just to be safe.

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For the Sauce:

Heat the mangoes in the microwave for a few seconds, just to thaw if frozen. Chop into very fine pieces and place in a small bowl.

Squeeze as much juice as you can with your hands from the mandarin segments into the bowl with the mangoes. Discard the flesh.

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Add the honey and stir until the honey thins out and mixes with the rest of the sauce.

 

For the tacos:

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add one tortilla at a time and cook for about 30 seconds up to 1 minute on each side.

Place a very small amount of the sauce on the tortilla, top with salmon, a little more sauce, then cucumbers, spinach, and another small layer of sauce. Enjoy.

Note: Some corn tortillas will tear very easily, so you will want to find the kind that do not. I use Don Ponchos.

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If you enjoy this recipe, please comment, like, and share with your friends. Check out more of my recipes and experience-based information on children with food allergies.

A Nuisance to Society

I recently had a conversation with someone who complained to me about a nuisance they had in their life. A nuisance who was an inconvenience to this person’s lifestyle. Why? They were needy. How dare they fall into hard times and not have enough money to care for themselves? How dare they lose someone they love and struggle now to provide for their family? How dare they have children with needs or have health issues themselves that limit what they can do to provide? What a nuisance.

And what about Joe down the street that lives in a trailer park? Speaking of those nuisances to society and to my life, that trailer park really is an eye sore. But do you know Joe? The guy who lost his job because of a battle with cancer. The guy who had no family to help when he became disabled and lost his home. The guy who is in constant pain, barely surviving off of his disability check, and rarely able to make it to the store to buy what he needs with it. The guy who has lost it all and is just trying to survive within the means that he has until the cancer finally takes his life. A nuisance.

When did the less fortunate among us become so odious to those of us who just happen to have more? We did not make the air we breathe, or the water we drink, and yet we ALL need them to survive. Some of us may be more financially well off. Some of us may live in a nice house on a hill with a view–like myself. But how does that make me better than Joe? Why is my house so much nicer to look at? Because it’s more expensive? If we’re honest with ourselves, how do we define a “nice” neighborhood? Is it not how expensive the houses look and how well “kept up” they are because this and that homeowner could afford a gardener? Does it not all revolve around how much money we have? And yet someone like Joe is more genuine, kind, and caring than most human beings who live in those houses with a view. He has more life experience. He has actually been humbled enough to notice others around him.

When did the poor and needy become a nuisance? What ever happened to caring for those in need; not looking down on them. What ever happened to compassion? For a society that claims this “right” and that for all these different groups, and equality in all things, what are we actually doing to provide equality? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about giving up all of your money per se. It all starts with an attitude.

If we truly wanted to help the needy, it would not be for political gain, to make me feel good about myself, or to look better in the eyes of others. It would be because I CARE for the person I’m helping. It would be because I see myself as EQUAL to them. Different circumstances, sure, but human. We are all human. We are all frail in one way or another. And in one way or another, we are all odious to someone. We all have our failures and our shortcomings.

That is compassion. Not looking at Joe’s trailer as an eye sore, but seeing him as a fellow human being who has a much harder life than I do. Someone who is just like me–just living within his means and trying to survive this world of hate and deception that so deceitfully pretends to care.

Try that on for size. Don’t just help someone. CARE for someone. See them as your equal, no matter what their circumstances are or how much money they have. I dare you: have compassion on your fellow human beings.

Gluten Free Bread That Any Child Would Love!

Being from the South, I love everything fried–well, almost everything. But seriously, who doesn’t like fried foods?? I mean you can fry cardboard and I’m pretty sure it would taste great (though I can’t say I’ve ever tried).

One thing I never realized you could fry is bread. Who knew?? And I’m not talking about donuts. Everyone knows about donuts. I’m talking about fried bread… more specifically Bannock, or Indian Fry Bread.

This is something I just discovered and I’m so glad I did! I have yet to find gluten, dairy, nut, egg, and soy free bread for my daughter that actually tastes good. So usually I give her zucchini bread, muffins, etc. to fill that need. Now she can have a crispy flat bread, or a biscuit style crispy bread and she loves it! And what’s really great about this, is that it is actually good for her!

All I did was use gluten free flour with this Bannock recipe (video recipe). And there are other recipes online for Indian Fry Bread, like this one.

As usual, I use the GF flour that has garbanzo bean flour as a first ingredient for extra protein. I also fry it in avocado oil for those fats that a growing child on a dairy-free diet needs. I make the Bannock for breakfast with a side of bacon or sausage, and some fruit. My daughter loves it, even without any spreads or toppings. She just loves the crispy texture.

The same rings true for the Indian Fry Bread. I made the Navajo Tacos in the recipe I linked above. I used GF flour for the bread, and navy beans instead of pinto beans for the filling. I also substituted the ground beef with turkey sausage for more flavor and for a non-red meat option that the whole family could enjoy.  My daughter enjoyed this, ESPECIALLY with the black olives and allergy friendly ranch on top!

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If this information is helpful for you, please share with others and please let me know! Thanks!

Winter Comfort Soup

This is a recipe for the whole family (including those with food allergies). It is dairy, soy, nut, wheat, and egg free, packed with vegetables and fats for those growing little ones (or for comfort for us adults in the winter time :-D), and it is actually really easy to make.

This recipe came about because I went into the grocery store hungry.  Yeah, bad idea, I know.  I thought soup sounded nice and I wanted to add more of a variety of vegetables to our diets, so I wandered around and ended up with what I am calling Winter Comfort Soup!  My family and In laws all loved it!  Most importantly, my toddler LOVES it!  It is very rare to find something that she actually loves to eat, so when I do, it is a huge victory!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large parsnip, chopped
  • 1/2 large daikon radish, chopped (2 piled up cups)
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bag of mixed mini potatoes quartered (see picture above for size reference)
  • 1/2 large head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves, chopped
  • 15 cloves of garlic sliced (about half a garlic head)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 4 slices of uncured bacon
  • 2 lbs ground pork sausage (I used “Country Style” flavor)
  • 12 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 cups unsweetened rice milk

Seasoning Mix:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (or cayenne)
  • 4 big pinches of Saffron
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 TBS paprika
  • 1 1/2 TBS onion powder
  • 1 1/2 TBS garlic powder

 

DIRECTIONS:

Add the parsnip, daikon radish, and garlic into a 10 quart pot with the chicken broth. Heat on medium-high heat until boiling, then reduce to medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes before adding more ingredients.

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In a large sauce pan (I used a wok-style pan), cook the bacon until it is no longer pink (do not cook until it is crispy). Remove the bacon, slice into small pieces, and set aside.

WITHOUT draining the bacon grease, add the onion to the same saucepan and saute over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until semi-translucent.

Meanwhile, add the potatoes, cabbage, Swiss chard, and seasoning mix to the 10 quart pot and mix well. Continue to cook on medium or low-medium heat.

Add the ground pork sausage to the pan with the onions and cook until the meat is almost browned. Then add the slices of bacon and continue cooking until the sausage is completely browned and thoroughly cooked.

Drain the meat in a metal strainer, and add to the 10 quart pot, along with the green onions.

Continue to cook until potatoes are tender, but not mushy, and until the greens are soft (about 10-15 minutes). The total cooking time should not be more than 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner and add the rice milk. Stir to combine, wait about 2 minutes, and serve.

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If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please let me know and please share! Check out more recipes using the tabs on the right. Thanks for visiting!

Cinnamon Waffles (GF, DF, NF, SF, EF)

Fall is here! Well it is for those of us in a colder climate.  I’m actually from the South, where we do not actually get a fall-time, just a very confused winter that goes from shifts 50 degrees from day to day later in the year.

Now I live in Washington, where the September 21st is pretty much literally when fall starts every year and you can count on the weather to change at that exact time.  Now, of course, I love to pull out the scarves, sit down with a pumpkin latte, and eat cinnamon everything this time of year!  So here are some allergy-free cinnamon waffles for those little ones who have allergies, or anyone else who may enjoy them!

 

INGREDIENTS:

cup GF flour (I use one with garbanzo bean, tapioca, and sorghum)

1/2 cup Buckwheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp Allspice

1 TBS ground cinnamon

1/2 ripe avocado

1 small ripe banana

2 TBS avocado oil

2 TBS honey

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup rice milk (or other dairy free milk)

1 sweet apple, peeled & diced (Gala, or other sweet variety)

 

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, Allspice, and cinnamon to combine.

In a separate bowl, use a fork to mash and mix the avocado and banana together, until it becomes a mushy texture, smooth texture.  Add the avocado oil, honey, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.  Then add the rice milk and mix again.

Add the liquid mixture into the large bowl with the flour mixture and mix them together until they are combined and there are no more chunks of flour.

Gently fold in the diced apple.

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Heat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spray with avocado or canola oil cooking spray to prevent sticking.  Add the batter and cook according to your waffle iron. I use one that makes Belgian waffles, and it takes about 3 minutes on each side.

These come out nice and crispy! They are a dark color because of the buckwheat, but the nutty flavor from this flour goes great with the cinnamon.

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Serve with a nice healthy syrup: Add frozen blackberries (or blueberries, or other sweet berries) to 1 TBS honey in a small bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds to make blueberry syrup. Maple syrup actually tastes even better, but my daughter’s tummy cannot handle any syrups, so we use honey.

If you enjoy this recipe, please check out more recipes and food ideas from the tab on the right. Also, please share this with your friends and leave me a comment telling me your experience making it. Thank you!