Deliciously Imperfect Soup

I have a confession to make… I am addicted to Imperfect Produce. I admit it; which is the first step, right?  If you’ve never heard of them, shame on you! They help stop produce waste, clean up the earth and so on and so forth.  But most importantly, they deliver fruits and vegetables right to your door at about half the cost of going to the grocery store and buying them yourself (at least according to my calculations).  So, if you haven’t heard of them, you are seriously missing out!

One of the perks of using Imperfect Produce is that even though you pick out what you want, you never really know what that will look like when it comes in.  So opening the box is always a surprise; one that my 2 year old LOVES!  She gets so excited when the vegetables come in and after she takes a bite out of half of them, she helps me put them away.

Well, this recipe was born out of my first gaze into this week’s box of Imperfect produce, hence the name.  I opened it up, saw a scrumptious mound of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Swiss chard (among other things), and I couldn’t help but try my hand at a new soup.  My daughter has been sick with one virus after another for the past few weeks, so trips to the grocery store have been few and far between–making me ever more thankful for the weekly deliveries right to my door!  And with fairly empty cabinets, I had to make due with what I had.

Thus, Deliciously Imperfect Soup was born and thankfully, it turned out delicious!  We thoroughly enjoyed it, and unlike other soups I have previously posted, this one leaves you feeling more full and satisfied with a smaller amount. It may actually be our favorite yet! With a sweet, thick taste from the sweet potato, contrasted with the comforting, savory bacon and pork sausage flavor, it is just totally set apart from other’s like potato soup or my Winter Comfort Soup.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups chicken broth (or 8 if you would like a more “brothy” soup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 links Sam’ s Choice Original Smoked Sausage, sliced (this one is allergy friendly)
  • 3 slices of uncured, all-natural bacon (again, allergy friendly)
  • 1 medium or 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, chopped peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, separated from the stems & chopped small

Seasonings:

  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 generous pinch of saffron
  • salt & pepper to taste (at least 1/4 tsp each)

 

NOTES:

*You can replace the Swiss chard with kale if you cook it longer, or spinach if you cook it for a shorter amount of time.

*If feeding a toddler or young picky eater, you can add rice milk to their bowl to make it creamier. My daughter loves the “juice” from soup with added rice milk, though she does like this soup better without the rice milk.

 

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DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil.  Once it begins to boil, add the sliced sausage and continue to cook on medium-low heat with a nice simmering, low boil.

In a medium sized skillet, cook the bacon until it is just cooked, not crispy.  Remove from the pan and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

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Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes, and bacon pieces to the large pot with the broth and mix together to incorporate. Also add the seasonings at this time.

Meanwhile, add the diced onions to the small skillet with the bacon drippings and saute until translucent.   (If you prefer a lower fat, heart-healthier method, wipe the pan clean of the bacon drippings, drizzle with canola, avocado, or corn oil, and saute the onions in that instead.)

About 15 minutes after adding the potatoes to the soup pot, add the Swiss chard and mix to combine.

Taste, and add more salt and pepper or seasonings if needed.  Continue cooking on medium-low for another 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes and chard are at the consistency you prefer.  I like everything very soft so my toddler who is sensitive to a ton of different textures will eat it without any issues, so I cook it for about 10 minutes more.

Serve and enjoy!

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As always, if you make this and enjoy it, please leave let me know and check out more recipes on my “Recipes” page.  Thanks for visiting!

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Dairy-free “Buttermilk” Roast Chicken

This chicken is so good that my little 5 and 6 year old nieces ate 2 thighs each and still wanted more!  They were talking about it the whole meal, and my own family loves it as well. My husband asks me to make this chicken all the time, and it’s pretty much the only meat my 2 year ever actually ASKS for… and devours.

The chicken comes out so tender and moist that you’ll never believe it’s free of all the major allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, nuts, coconut)!  And although it tastes good anyway, the spices just add an amazing flavor to it!

So, if you’re looking for a way to cook chicken that is simple, but really tasty, give this recipe a try!

 

INGREDIENTS

6 chicken thighs or 4 leg quarters, rinsed and patted dry

2-4 cups of rice milk

4 TBS Smart Balance, melted (or 1/4 cup avocado oil works just as well)

1/4-1/2 cup avocado oil

2 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS chili powder

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

Extra salt for pre-marinade rub

 

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DIRECTIONS

Once you buy the chicken, rinse it, pat it dry, and rub it down with sea salt to keep it fresh (up to 3 days before cooking).

The morning before cooking for dinner, or the night before cooking for lunch (at least 8 hours prior), place the chicken in a gallon sized ziploc bag.

Pour enough rice milk in the bag to cover the chicken, then add the apple cider vinegar and Smart Balance. Seal the bag and shake to mix the marinade together, squeeze out excess the air, and refrigerate.

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About 1 hour prior to cooking, take the chicken out and let it sit at room temperature.

After 1 hour, preheat your oven to 375 F.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

Generously rub the chicken down with avocado oil. Then rub well with the seasoning mix. I rub the seasonings on the skin, underneath the chicken, and I pull up the skin, sprinkle some in between the skin and meat, and rub it in with my finger. If the spices do not mix well with the oil, just add a little bit more oil and dab it on top of the spices to make sure it is nice and moist.

Place on a pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes at 375. After 35 minutes, check the chicken. It should be brown (not black or close to it). Turn the oven up to 400 and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is roasted and crispy and the juices by the bone run clear.

 

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Serve with sides of your choice, and enjoy!

 

If you like this recipe, please like, share, and comment.  You can also check out more of my recipes by clicking on the “Recipes” tab on the right hand side of this page.  Thanks for visiting!

SOO Delicious! Naturally Sweetened Sweet Potato Pie

I am SO excited to share this recipe!!  This was a complete experiment, so the ingredients and directions (for the crust at least) could possibly use some massaging by those true baking experts out there, but this pie is seriously SO good!

It’s like an explosion of flavors in your mouth! And surprisingly, raspberries (raspberries on sweet potato pie you say? Oh Yes!) are SOO good on top!  I took some frozen raspberries, microwaved them just enough to thaw the ice, and put them on top, and it was AMAZING!

This pie is gluten, soy, dairy, nut, coconut, and egg free (hence the experimentation), AND it is actually NATURALLY SWEETENED!  The only sweeteners added are honey, banana, and applesauce. So go ahead and indulge this Thanksgiving! I call this healthy! 😉  And if you have a picky toddler on a limited diet, let them enjoy this lovely treat!

 

INGREDIENTS

Pie Crust:
(For 2 9 inch pie pans)
2 cups GF all-purpose flour (I used a garbanzo flour mix)
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup Smart Balance (piled up) *
1/2 medium ripe banana, mashed
1 TBS honey (piled up)
3/4 cup water **

*The green tub of Smart Balance is allergy friendly, just make sure you check the ingredients and get the right one. Any other buttery spread should work for this as well, but make sure it is dairy, soy, and nut free if you are making this allergy friendly. And make it an overflowing 1/3 cup. 🙂
**you may not use all of the water, it will just depend on your dough mixture.
Pie Filling:
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup honey *
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
4 TBS apple sauce (or 1 little store-bought cup)
1/8 cup avocado oil
1/2 cup hemp milk **
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt

*Unfiltered honey has the best consistency for this recipe. I use Oregon Raw Honey because it tastes SOO good!!

**I use Pacific Foods Original Hemp milk, not the unsweetened version. Any other milk alternative probably will not achieve the same purpose as hemp milk because of its thick and creamy, so I wouldn’t substitute this ingredient.

 

DIRECTIONS

For the pie crust:

In a medium to large mixing bowl add the flour, salt, and cinnamon and mix well. Add the Smart Balance, or other butter alternative to the flour and cut with a fork or pastry cutter until it is a greasy, blended flour mixture.

In a separate, small bowl, add the honey and mashed banana ( I microwave a frozen half banana; it really makes a great egg replacing consistency this way). Mix well with a fork to blend.

Cut the wet ingredient mixture (NOT the water yet) into the flour mixture until it is a crumbly flour texture.

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Now add 1/3 cup of water, fold and mix with a fork, and continue to add about a tablespoon at a time until the dough is wet enough to roll into a nice ball and stick together.

Split the dough in half and place the first ball in between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 9 inches (a tad bigger than your pie pan).

Transfer the dough into a pie pan (I used glass), scrunch up the top of the crust in whatever design you choose, and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Repeat with the 2nd pie crust.

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The rest of this recipe is only for one pie, so the 2nd pie crust can either be frozen for the next time you make a pie, or you can make 2x the pie filling and make 2 pies.

 

For the Pie filling:

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into large rounds. Place them in a pot and boil until soft.

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Strain, and let the pieces cool, then place in a bowl and mash.

Preheat your oven to 350 F and make sure your rack is on the bottom.

In a medium size mixing bowl, add the honey, banana, apple sauce, and oil.  Using a handheld mixer, mix together until well-blended and smooth.

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Add the sweet potatoes, hemp milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and mix again with the handheld mixer until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pie crust, smooth out the top and place in the oven on the bottom rack for about 45 minutes. Check your crust about halfway through and if it begins to brown too much, cover it with aluminum foil.

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Let your pie cool down to room temperature, cover with saran wrap or aluminum foil, and place in the refrigerator until the pie is chilled. Slice and serve topped with raspberries.

 

As always, if you enjoy this recipe, please like, share, or comment and check out more recipes on my “Recipes” tab. Thanks for visiting and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

 

 

Dinner Ideas

Need help finding dinner for a child (or an adult) on a limited diet?  Here are some dinner ideas and links to recipes that are all wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, nuts (and coconut) free.

 

DINNER 1:

Meatlover’s Potato Soup

Veggie crisps to dip in the soup (see examples of chips/veggie crisps that are safe here)

 

DINNER 2:

(Dinner in a hurry)

Gerber Chicken and veggies soup with quinoa noodles (see pictures here), with steamed carrots and chopped black olives mixed in (I keep a batch of steamed carrots in the freezer so I can add them to things like this).

Sweet potato chips (peel sweet potato, slice into 1/4-1/2 inch slices, toss with avocado oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder and bake for about 10 minutes on 425. Turn over, bake for a few more minutes, until crispy. Regrigerate and pop in a toaster oven for quick reheated)

 

DINNER 3:

Tangy Salmon Tacos (if your child does not care for these, you can jazz it up a bit by wrapping it like a burrito and frying in avocado oil until browned and crispy. My daughter will eat pretty much anything if I wrap it and fry it!

Peas & corn (I take out some frozen sweet peas and corn and microwave them in rice milk. My daughter loves them this way!)

 

DINNER 4:

Indian Fry Bread topped with pinto beans & ground pork sausage, chopped lettuce, black olives, and allergy friendly ranch (My version of these recipes for Navajo tacos)

 

DINNER 5:

Fried shrimp  (use gluten free all-puprose flour mixed with a 1-4 ratio of cornmeal, salt, pepper, and lots of Old Bay

Fried okra

Sliced cucumber, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes mixed with ranch dressing

 

DINNER 6:

Winter Comfort Soup served with brown rice

 

DINNER 7:

Moroccan Lamb (see my link to this recipe and how I slightly modified it here)

Honey roasted carrots (There is a recipe somewhere on Google for these; basically toss baby carrots in honey and bake)

 

DINNER 8:

Spaghetti w/ Elk Veggie Meatballs

Quinoa/corn noodles

 

DINNER 9:

Bacon broccoli stir fry

Fun-shaped quinoa noodles

Sweet potato chips

 

These are dinners that I make for my daughter fairly often. Stir fry meals are super easy. I use the same basics for the bacon broccoli stir fry (rice milk and chicken broth, or sometimes just rice milk and I add about a tablespoon of GF flour at the end to make a thicker sauce), and I change it up with different veggies and different meats, like shrimp, or even crawfish tails.

I do try to make sure that okra, shrimp, salmon, and a gamy meat (elk or lamb) are a regular part of my daughter’s diet. The first three are for calcium and vitamin D, which are not found in very many sources when a child cannot have dairy (I also add lots of spinach during the day, either in a wrap, or in a smoothie).  And the gamy meats have more zinc and iron than your average red meats, which is also important for a child on a limited diet.

 

If this post is helpful for you, please like, share, and comment!

Not Ya Momma’s Chocolate Chip Muffins (Allergy Friendly)

These muffins are so good, you’ll never believe they are actually good for you! Well, maybe not good for you if you’re on a low calorie diet.  But if you need veggies, fat, protein, and other important nutrients in your diet (like a growing child does), WITHOUT having to eat an egregious amount of sugar, these are great! Don’t get me wrong, these do have sugar in them, of course. But it is quite a bit less than most chocolate muffin recipes you’ll find.

And believe it or not, these muffins are also allergy friendly. They are wheat, nut, soy, dairy, coconut, and egg free (as all my recipes are).

Loaded with protein, they make a great addition to breakfast or a great snack.  My daughter LOVES them broken into little pieces topped with apple sauce and fruits.  My husband also decided that even though he has no dietary restrictions, HE would love to have these on a normal basis because he is addicted to chocolate and loves these! So enjoy in whatever way you like, for whatever reason you like. And please let me know if you do!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups GF all-purpose flour *
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour **
2/3 cup unsweetened, cocoa powder (make sure it is DF)
2 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup carrots chopped enough to measure
1 cup of rice milk
1 ripe, mashed banana
1/2 avocado, mashed
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/2 cup raw honey (I use local; which REALLY adds to the flavor because it’s so good!)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (check the label for GF, SF, DF, etc.)

NOTES:
*I use a local bulk version, but Bob’s Red Mill has the same GF flour mixture at some stores, it is a mix of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca, sorghum, and fava bean flour.

**Amaranth flour has a very “grainy” taste. If you are not used to that, or you’re afraid you’re child will not eat it with that flavor (it is similar to a corn flavor), try either adding more chocolate chips to cover it up, or just replacing that ingredient with the GF mix, which does not have a particular flavor. My daughter doesn’t mind it and my husband and mom say they don’t notice it, so either way is worth a try, but amaranth is a good addition to grains on a limited diet.

 

DIRECTIONS

In a large mixing bowl, add the first 9 ingredients (flour through brown sugar). Mix well with a fork, mashing the brown sugar chunks into the flour.

In a blender cup, add the carrots, spinach, and 1/4-1/2 of the rice milk, and blend until smooth. You can also use a food processor.

In a small mixing bowl, mash and mix the banana and avocado. Add the avocado oil & honey and mix until combined. Now add the vegetable puree, the remaining rice milk, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar and mix well. A handheld mixer works well here.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix on low with a handheld mixer until it is smooth and combined. Do not under mix; GF flour needs a little more help to combine with the liquids than wheat does, so mixing enough is important. You should not need to mix for more than 1 minute, however.

Let the batter rest for about 20-30 minutes and preheat your oven to 375 F.

After at least 20 minutes of rest time, whisk the batter just one time. It should look like chocolate mousse, with a fluffy texture to it.

But even though this batter looks super tasty, spare yourself; don’t taste it! Garbanzo bean flour tastes HORRIBLE raw, but once it’s cooked, you would never know it! (I would know, I gave into the temptation here, and let me tell you, it is not pleasant!)

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Pour into a greased muffin pan or muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven. If your oven heats things fast, like mine does, 15 will be perfect, but if it is usually spot on with recipes, you may want to let them cook for 18 minutes.

Remove the muffins from the oven and let them sit in the pan for at least 10 minutes. They may be a little wet on the inside (just enough that a toothpick test won’t work) when you first pull them out. That’s normal with GF baking. It just needs to sit and finish melding together.

 

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Last step, enjoy!  Serve with a side of pork sausage links and fruits for breakfast, a side of sorbet to make a semi-healthy dessert, or just eat by themselves.

To store, wrap in freezer paper and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, place in a moist paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds, or until soft.

 

If you enjoy this recipe, please let me know about it!  And check out my other recipes (all allergy free), like, comment, and share with friends. Thanks!