Immunity Soup

gluten-free / dairy free / grain free / vegan option

Cold and flu season is in full swing and its a four alarm, all hands on deck situation at my house. I recently had pelvic reconstructive surgery and so for the last 5 weeks I have had to have 24 hour help, to manage not only myself but the kids and our daily schedule. My hubby, who is incredibly supportive and helpful, has an insane travel schedule and so we have been keeping this crazy bus moving with the help of my two incredible nannies, my mama and a slew of supportive friends. But it has not been easy. And it has definitely taken its toll on everyone health wise. So in addition to the constant hand washing and the plethora  of Thieves oil we use, I decided to whip up a batch of this amazing Immunity soup. I had heard about the amazing benefits of a soup like this and then saw a recipe featured in Cooking Light magazine. I took their recipe, made a few adjustments and removed the chicken and subbed in tofu to make it vegetarian. To be honest, we loved the soup without either but I liked the option to add one in and increase the protein and zinc levels.

This soup is chock full of immunity boosters and is delicious!!! The mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins. The garlic contains allicin, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants we know about. The hot stock used, makes your nose run and therefore helps clear out congestion. It also helps to keep you hydrated which is so important when sick! The chickpeas, chicken, and tofu are an amazing source of zinc and the kale is a great source of vitamin C. So when you put these all together you have the ultimate cold fighting weapon. The bonus is that it actually tastes good AND works, unlike the cold medicine or essential oil that my family so dislikes! Enjoy!! nomnom

Ingredients

2 TBS. olive oil

1.5 cups of chopped onion

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced

3 large carrots, thinly sliced

1 lb of mushrooms, sliced

12 medium cloves of garlic, minced

8 cups of organic chicken broth

6 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained

1.5 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

8-10 oz of curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken or a batch of Crispy Tofu (optional)*

Directions

*This soup is great vegetarian style but if you want to add chicken or tofu for an added boost of protein, here is what you do!! For the chicken, just follow the instructions below. For the Crispy Tofu, click on the link and just follow the tofu recipe. Then add the tofu to the immunity soup with the kale.

  1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery; cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook three minutes, stirring frequently
  3. Add in the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaves and chickpeas to pot and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add in salt, red pepper flakes and chicken if using. Cover and simmer until chicken is done, about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from the Dutch oven; cool slightly and shred the chicken with two forks.
  6. Stir kale and chicken or tofu into the soup; cover and simmer until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.
  7. Discard thyme and bay leaves.

Creamy Potato Soup

gluten free / dairy free / vegan option

MAKE THIS IMMEDIATELY. That is honestly all I have to say about this recipe. One of the hardest things for me to give up in this crazy food journey of mine was dairy. Because let’s all be honest….recipes that are meant to be laden with dairy usually never turn out as well once you remove it. And being a farm girl from Kansas and growing up in Wisconsin, I am predisposed to LOVE cheese. You can keep your cold glass of milk but I will damn well eat the whole block of cheddar cheese. But over the last few months, as it became more apparent that dairy was also a trigger for me I have started to experiment more and more with dairy alternatives. And I am beginning to have some successes!

Let’s talk creamy potato soup for a sec, and yes, I lied about not having anything to say. First, this soup is made almost entirely in the slow cooker, there are two small stove steps; cooking the bacon and making the roux (simple I promise). Second, and most important, this soup tastes like it is made with whole milk and aged sharp cheddar cheese. I have used both soy creamer and coconut creamer to make this soup, and they both worked well. This soup is so hearty and rich that I made a only needed a simple salad and some Biscuits to complete the meal! Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

10 slices cooked bacon or bacon substitute, diced and divided**

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 tablespoons bacon grease, butter or butter alternative

1/3 cup all-purpose GF flour

12-ounces of soy creamer (coconut creamer works as well)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, I used Daiya vegan shredded cheddar

1/2 cup dairy free plain yogurt or sour cream, I used Tofutti sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or more to taste

1 teaspoon  black pepper

optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream

**Quick and easy way to cook bacon: Preheat oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with two sheets of aluminum foil. Place bacon on sheet and bake in the oven, turning once mid way through for approximately 20 minutes, or until crispy. No fuss, no mess!!!!

Directions

  1. Dice 8 slices of bacon, and add chicken stock, potatoes and onion to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the potatoes are completely tender and cooked through.
  2. Once the soup is about ready to serve, melt the bacon grease/butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour until it is completely combined, cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Gradually whisk in the soy creamer and continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth.  Let the mixture continue cooking until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally until it thickens.
  3. Immediately pour the milk mixture into the slow cooker with the potatoes, and stir until combined.  Add in the cheddar cheese, yogurt/sour cream), salt and pepper, and stir until combined.  I like the soup to be thicker, so I use a potato masher (or a large spoon) to mash about half of the potatoes (keep the soup in the slow cooker while you do this).  If you would like the soup to be thinner, add in an extra cup of warmed stock.  Stir to combine, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Serve warm, with desired toppings.  As always, if you can do gluten and dairy feel free to put them right back in this recipe! But, I think you will be super surprised at just how yummy the dairy free version is!!

Chicken Meatball and Escarole Soup

gluten-free / dairy free option

It is officially soup time!!!!! Ok…its been soup time for almost two months, but what can I say???? It’s been a bit crazy (ok, bat shit crazy) at my house and we just arrived to the party.

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love the feel of the crisp, clean air as I walk my daughter to school in the morning and I love going to pick apples and pumpkins at Barthel Fruit Farm with my family. But by far, my most favorite thing about fall is the food!!! I know, I know….. no surprise there as I am obviously a bit of a food junkie. Though. I feel like I would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t feel the same way. I mean, just think about it!!! Apples crisps, pumpkin pie squares, pumpkin bread, and soups coming at you from all sides. It is frickin’ glorious my friends!!!! But truthfully, there is nothing better than a hearty warm soup served with a nice crusty loaf of garlic bread.  It warms your soul after a long day and is the perfect way to come together as a family. And pretty much anything I can make in one pot is a winner in my book.

This chicken meatball soup is an absolute staple in my house. The kids love anything that comes in the form of a meatball and is served with buttery toast. And I love that is healthy and creates a “no whining” environment at the table. Kid tip…I make sure to chop up the escarole a little smaller so that the meatball conveniently “covers” the escarole on the spoon! I serve this with a loaf of gluten-free garlic bread and dinner my friends is served. Enjoy!! nom nom

6 TBS plain gluten-free breadcrumbs

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan-reggiano cheese or Vegan parmesan cheese

4 TBS chopped  fresh parsley or 2 TBS dried parsley

1 lb ground chicken

2 large eggs

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion; finely diced

3 small carrots; finely diced

2 celery stalks; fnely diced

1.5 qt of chicken broth

2 1/2 tsp salt; divided

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 sprig of rosemary

5 cups escarole, thinly sliced

  1. Put breadcrumbs in bowl, moisten with 1 TBS water. Mix in cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken and eggs and mix until just combined. Scoop out 1 TBS of meatball  mixture and roll into golf ball sized meatballs. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in 5 qt pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots  and 1 tsp salt; cook until tender 4-5 minutes. Add broth and rosemary. Bring to a boil.
  3. Gently add meatballs, reduce heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer, cook for 10 minutes
  4. Add escarole and continue to simmer until meatballs are cooked and escarole is wilted, about 5 additional minutes.
  5. Discard the rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional grated cheese if desired.

Chicken Noodle Soup

gluten free / dairy free / grain free option

Since we seem to be firmly back in the winter season (WTF…it’s April people!!!) I mournfully decided to continue on my journey with soups. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE soups but I am pretty ready to move on to warmer weather recipes. Unfortunately, the cold/flu season is still in full effect at my house (I am sniffling as I type) so soups are always a great way to fight a cold. As a kid, there was nothing better when I had a cold than my mom’s chicken noodle soup. It’s made from scratch with a rich and hearty stock but is still simple to throw together. Which is key when you have sick kiddos who want to snuggle. It also makes a big pot so you can freeze some for the next round of colds that hit your house. Enjoy!! nom nom

1 (3 ½-4 #) organic whole fryer chicken

8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 tsp dried basil

1 TBS fresh parsley or ½ TBS dried parsley

¼ tsp celery salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

1 bay leaf

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup noodles; I prefer Tinkyada noodles; but if you don’t need GF noodles egg noodles are what the original recipe calls for. (see side note below on prep for GF noodles)

 

  1. Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Cook for 1 ½ hours on medium low-medium heat or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken and discard the bay leave. Allow chicken to cool, remove meat from bone, dice and set aside.
  3. Bring chicken broth to a boil, add carrots and onion. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes
  4. Add meat and noodles and simmer an additional 15 minutes

Side Note: If you are using GF noodles do not add them to the soup in step 4. Gluten free noodles tend drink up all the liquid in soups leaving you with little to no broth and they turn your soup into a thick stew (I learned this the hard way). If you do add the GF noodles in at Step 4 you will have to add chicken broth to your soup for subsequent servings but that will water down the flavor of the soup. So, just prepare your GF noodles seperately and add them to your individual serving of soup.

 

 

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

gluten free / dairy free option / vegetarian option

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 4-6 hours

Another fantastic (easy) weeknight meal using the slow cooker. This soup is a favorite of both of my kids so don’t be afraid of the dry sherry and the cayenne in this recipe. But if spice is a big NO NO in your fam just do a dash of cayenne to start.  My daughter is a traditionalist and pairs this with a grilled cheese. My son who is not a fan of cheese usually has crackers or buttered toast as his accoutrement and my hubby and I either do a big salad or open faced sandwiches.  This soup would also go well with the Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches I made last week. Whatever path you take you are sure to love this soup and you will have plenty for lunches throughout the week. Enoy!! nom nom

2 TBS unsalted butter or vegan butter

3 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved

1 onion, minced

1 TBS brown sugar, coconut palm sugar/sucanat are great unrefined options

1 TBS tomato paste

salt and pepper

2 TBS GF all purpose flour; rice flour will work as well

3 cups chicken broth; vegetable broth if vegetarian

2 bay leaves

2-3 ounces of goat cheese, 1/2 cup non-dairy creamer or blended silken tofu

1/2 TBS – 1 TBS dry sherry

pinch of cayenne

  1. Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, onion, sugar, paste, 1/2 tsp salt and cook until tomatoes are dry and lightly browned 10-15 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly, whisk in one cup of broth, scraping up the browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Stir in remaining broth, reserved tomato juice, and bay leaves into cooker. Cover and cook 4-6 hours on low. Note: Due to timing issues I have cooked this for 8 hours on low and it was perfectly fine!
  4. Turn slow cooker to Warm setting. Discard bay leaves. Puree soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender then back to the crockpot. Stir in dairy, dry sherry and cayenne pepper.

 

 

Mushroom and Brie Soup

gluten free /  vegetarian

To go along with the lavender cookies and my spring theme this week, I wanted to make a spring soup that was rich enough to warm up the cold spring days yet light enough to serve with a sunny day brunch. I stumbled upon this recipe via the blog Closet Cooking. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe so feel free to check out his blog for the original! Enjoy!! nom nom

Adapted from Closet Cooking

2 cloves of garlic, minced

8 oz portabello mushrooms, bottoms cleaned, chopped

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, diced

1 tsp thyme, dried

4 cups of vegetable broth; chicken broth works too

2 TBS GF flour; all purpose or rice flour will both work

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 TBS oil

5-6 oz brie, rind removed, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 TBS butter

1/2 cup Silken tofu; blended (see #7 side note)

1/2 cup white wine

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast in oven unti they begin to carmelize 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a pot over medium heat and melt butter. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about one minute
  4. Add the flour and stir constantly for one minute.
  5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Stir almost constantly until the liquid thickens a bit
  6. Add the broth and mushrooms, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
  7. While the soup simmers, blend the sliken tofu in a blender or food processor until it is thick and creamy. Side note: The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Unfortunately, dairy is troublesome for us and since it already called for the brie (which is what makes this soup great) I wanted to eliminate the cream to make it not only more gut friendly for us but to also make it healthier. So feel free to put the heavy cream back in, but I promise you won’t miss it!
  8. Add the blended silken tofu and brie. Stir unti the brie and tofu are melted and blended into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Puree using an immersion blender or food processor until desired consistency is reached. I like to puree mine until its slightly thicker but still leaves good pieces of mushrooms.

Slow Cooker Option: Follow steps 1-4. place everything in slow cooker except brie and silken tofu. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Add the brie and tofu, stir until brie is melted and tofu is blended in. Turn slow cooker to warm and puree.

Banana Oat Bread

Lately, we seem to always have overripe bananas laying around our house as my kids and hubby seem to be on some sort of cyclical banana eating pattern. As for me, I have a textural aversion to bananas and can only eat them in baked goods or pulversized in a chocolate smoothie. So with this weeks batch of overripe bananas I decided to try a recipe I had pinned from the Minimalist Baker blog. This banana bread is hearty with a mild sweet nutty flavor and paired perfectly with my afternoon almond latte. Enjoy! nom nom

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

4 ripe bananas

1 egg or flaxseed egg

2 TBS honey

1 1/4 cups GF oats

1/4 cup brown sugar; I use sucanat as an unrefined option.

1 1/4 cups almond flour

3 TBS coconut oil, melted

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix #1 or a store bought GF all purpose flour mix

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup almond milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with non stick spray or coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the almond meal, flour, oats and baking powder together. Set aside
  3. Mash bananas in large bowl. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour into loaf pan or divide amone the 4 mini loaf pans.
  4. For the large loaf pan bake bread for 60-75 minutes; 40-44 minutes for mini loaves. The bread should feel firm and golden brown on top.
  5. Let it cool completely or it will crumble!!!
  6. Store in container for a few days. Freeze for longer storage.