Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dairy Free Corn Soup

Good Afternoon Readers!

I just felt like it was a day to be writing. I know that I always talk about the same things, I am busy with this or that and then my blogging seems to fall through the cracks.

But today I am writing you to let you know that I will be revamping the blog. Danielle and I have parted ways due to her work with It Works. She is very busy with all of her clients that she needed to take a break away from her blog duties. Obviously I have taken a HUGE break so it isn't as if she has been needed in the last year but going forward I will be flying solo. 

I don't know about you but my absolute favorite season is Autumn and the temperatures here have finally dipped low enough for me to dust off my trusty dutch oven and make some soul warming soup. I know it seems silly that I would actually be excited for cold weather, but strangely  by the middle of July I am ready for sweaters, boots and long walks in the brisk weather carrying a hot cocoa. I know I am getting  a head of myself but I just can't help it, there is just so much to love about fall in Minnesota. This includes the start of soup making season! 

I love making soups, stews and chili's because it is such an easy fix for the weekday meal dilemma. I find the hardest time of the year to plan meals is the summer because most of the foods we crave do not last long in the fridge. Which I understand that most of the foods that we eat in the summer aren't very labor intensive but sometimes I just want to come home to already prepped foods ready to just be reheated and consumed. So essentially I am excited to prep all my food one day a week and come home to lovely home cooked food.

After some trial and error I have found the most ridiculously good way to make diary free corn soup. I had a friend over a week ago and I had planned for weeks to make cheesy grits for our side dish. My cousin had brought me back some grits from North Carolina and I had been trying to think of a time where it would be okay for me to consume all that butter, cream and cheese. I decided a fancy dinner with friends would be the perfect outlet and then a day before the dinner I remember that she is dairy free. Feeling a little disappointed, I went back to the drawing board to scrap together another side dish. After an hour or so of half-assed research I decided I needed to find a GREAT recipe for dairy free grits. This task became harder than I thought seemed possible, I mean one would think that at this day an age I could easily find a substitute for that lovely creamy southern staple. Weirdly, no such luck, so instead I put my creating cap on and mashed together a whole bunch of recipes. Luckily they turned out great, but it was my addition of smoked turkey stock that really brought these dairy free grits to another level. I decided to take it a step further and make corn soup.

Last winter David and I smoked a whole turkey (which I recommend all of  meat eaters out there need to at least attempt once in your life, it is absolutely scrumptious!) and we saved the carcass in the freezer. I then just put together a quick bone broth with water, carrots, celery, onions, the carcass and garlic. This stock really embodies that umami flavor needed to mimic that richness the cream tends to add to both grits and corn soup. So now that you know the secret to making really awesomely rich dairy free corn soup, I will give you the step by step directions below!

Dairy-Free Corn Soup

3 Fresh cobs of corn
3 grilled cobs of corn ( I think this adds another dimension, I cooked them until most of the kernels were a golden brown color, if some of the kernels burn that is alright too, its a little hard to cook them evenly.)
4 stalks of celery, diced into small pieces
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced into small pieces
1/2 red pepper, diced into small pieces
2 big shallots
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1 C. almond milk
1 T olive oil or coconut oil
3 C Smoked Turkey Stock (if you don't have access to a smoked turkey or chicken a good way to get that smoke flavor into your stock would be to char some egg plant in your broiler or on the grill and add that to your stock, they really add a nice smokey flavor to foods. If you are in a pinch you can also just add a few drops of liquid smoke, but watch out it is VERY intense)
Salt and pepper to taste

First step is to get the stock made, if you follow Danielle's recipe for bone broth you will achieve the same results, just substitute the chicken for your smoked turkey or smoked egg plant. I would cook the egg plant until it is almost burnt to really achieve the smokiness needed to permeate into the broth. I made the stock a week before I made the soup, I would recommend doing it at least a day in advance since the stock takes so long to get to the right consistency. 

You then want to grill your 3 cobs of corn. Once grilled cut the kernels off all 6 cobs, this includes the raw cobs (SAVE AND CUT YOUR COBS IN HALF!). Set this all aside. Chop your vegetables and add them to a heated Dutch oven or larger soup pot with your oil of choice. Cook until the vegetables start to turn slightly golden (do not burn!). Add the rosemary, thyme and corn. Cook all together for about 2 minutes. Add your stock and your reserved cobs. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the burner down to a low simmer. Cook the soup on low for about an hour. 

Once your soup has had time to meld together, remove the cobs and add the almond milk. Blend the soup together using an immersion blender (if you only have a regular blender this is fine, I would let the soup cool before attempting this and do it in small batches to blend more evenly). Once you have broken down all the corn you have two options. I like the texture the corn husks give the soup but you can also strain it through a fine sieve for a smoother consistency. You are now free to enjoy your soup! This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

'Tis the Season to Indulge

Good Morning Readers! 


How is everyone's holiday season? I hope you aren't spending too much time rushing around and you are able to stop and enjoy this wonderful time. December has got to be one of my favorite months of the year. I love warm sweaters, cuddling under blankets and sipping cocoa while listening to the Nat King Cole Christmas Album. I also spend a good amount of time baking and decorating my house for the season.

This is also the time of year where it becomes almost impossible not to give into temptation and satisfy my strong appetite for good food and drink. Especially with all of the parties and family gatherings. It is a time of celebration, a time for us to reflect on the past year and anticipate what is to come, I just adore it all!  That being said one of my favorite things to do during this season is to create holiday appropriate cocktails. I would love to share with you one of my favorite creations so you can be festive and maybe share this treat with your family and friends this year.


Cranberry Pisco Punch

I have always found pisco intriguing. Pisco's history dates back to the 1500's when the Spanish conquistadors invaded Peru and started importing and growing grapes. It is very similar to a brandy but it is almost colorless and it provides a bit more weight on your tongue than the average brandy made in Europe. The flavor of pisco is a lot more subtle than brandy as well, because it is not aged it tends to give off a more white rum like flavor. I thought because most holiday drinks or usually made with brandy or rum I would think a bit outside of the box and create a pisco cocktail. Pisco punch is a traditional cocktail in South America. It typically consists of pineapple juice, a citrus juice, simple syrup and whole fruit for floating. I wanted to take inspiration from this but incorporate the flavors of the season.

Cranberry Syrup

4 C. raw cranberries
1 C. Sugar
1 1/4 C. Water
1 pinch salt
1 T lemon juice

Add cranberries, sugar and water to a large sauce pan. Cook until the cranberries start to pop open and the syrup begins to thicken and turn red. Take off the heat add the lemon juice and salt, stir and then run it through a chinois strainer to remove the cooked cranberry. Reserve the syrup in a air tight jar and cool completely.

Pisco Punch 

1 bottle Peruvian pisco
1/4 bottle of your favorite bitters, I am partial to the Jack Rudy bitters because it is filled with great aromatics without it being too heavy on the cinnamon or cloves, but it is up to you as to what you want as your main warm spices
1 batch of your cranberry syrup
1 bottle of sparkling apple cider
1 can of club soda or sparkling water
1 C. lemon juice
lemon slices and raw cranberries for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Float the fruit on top of the punch.

This punch is perfect addition to any holiday party. It really encompasses the flavors of the season.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Kale

It is amazing how fast time flies. I meant to get these recipes up last week, unfortunately with the holidays coming up and a busier work load I was unable to follow through. How is everyone enjoying this wonderful fall? I am so excited that we still have leaves on the trees. I was a little sad that I missed one of the best weeks of fall when I was in FL, but it looks like autumn decided to stick around a little longer.

I promised to share some of the recipes I used while working with my Aunt in Florida. This recipe is one of my favorites. It is great one for those weeks when you don't have the time to spend in the kitchen, because you can make it ahead of time and it keeps wonderfully in the fridge. I also love it because it is vegetarian but still has protein and lots of healthy vegetables.

Quinoa Salad with Kale
1 bunch kale, stems removed & chopped
2 green onions, green and white parts of the onion
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 C. almonds
2 Lrg Carrots. peeled and chopped
1 C. Cooked quinoa (cook according to package instructions)

1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Cool the quinoa to room temperature or colder before using.
2. Prep your vegetables. Massage the kale by smashing it between your palms. This allows the kale to break down the waxy coating that is naturally present. 
3. Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Mix in the dressing.

You can keep this in your fridge for up to a week. It tends to be a little better after it sits for a while. I would say probably an hour before serving, but if you are pressed for time it is still great straight out of the bowl.

Orange Vinaigrette Recipe 
Juice from 1 orange
zest from 1 orange
1/3 C. Rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 green onion chopped
1 T. honey
1/3 C. olive oil

There are two ways you can make this dressing. If you want a thicker dressing that doesn't separate I would use a blender, stick blender or food processor to make the dressing. If you are doing it this way add all of the ingredients except the oil to the blender, blend until well mixed. Then slowly add the olive oil and continue to blend until it is thicker and emulsified.

If you want a more simple vinaigrette you can mix all the ingredients in a jar. Cover the jar tightly and shake until the dressing comes together.

Both methods work well for this salad.











Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Week in Florida: Guidelines for Nutritional Success



Good morning my friends. I am coming to the end of my stay in the Florida Keys.  My aunt hired me to spend a week with her to help her cook her way to a healthier life style. I was flattered that she had so much faith in me, and I was also curious as to how successful I would be as an in home wellness coach. For weeks before the trip I spent my time collecting information from her about her dietary habits, her stressors, her food cravings and the times of day that are the hardest for her to keep herself from grazing.

Once I gathered all the information I got to work and created a recipe book and guidelines for keeping her on the right path once I left and went back to Minnesota. In the last week we lived like queens. I tried to find foods that were both nutritious and fl I replaced most of her guilty pleasures with equally as enjoyable but healthier options. Less than a week into our mission she has lost 6 lbs, she is feeling great and is determined to keep this up once I leave. I am going to share with you the guidelines I created for her to follow along with some recipes from the week!

RULES OF THUMB FOR YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH JOURNEY


PLEASE READ BELOW

This is a list of simple guidelines that must be followed in order for you to continue this journey once I leave to go home. I understand that is never fun to follow the rules, but I feel as though these are just easy ways to ensure you are staying on track.


STAY HYDRATED!!!  We are all chronically dehydrated. You will need to consume at least 3 liters of water a day to stay properly hydrated. This changes if you consume alcohol, caffeine, sugar or participate in strenuous exercise. For every 8 oz of caffeine or alcohol ingested you need to replace that with 12 oz of water. The best way to keep this up is to carry around a water bottle. I like the ones with straws because you drink the water faster, but it is up to you as to which bottle you like the best.

Always have a cheat day! It is important to indulge yourself. We are from a family that loves to celebrate surrounded by good food and wine. If you do not allow yourself to partake in some of this you will eventually fall off the bandwagon and fill your diet with bad choices. I would evaluate your week, if you know you are going to go out on Friday night, make friday your cheat day. Allow yourself an extra cocktail or a dessert, just don’t make every day your cheat day. Once those cheat days start to add up that is when we start to gain weight.

Plan Ahead.  Make sure you are meal planning for the week. If you know you are going to have a REALLY event filled week, plan our your meals. Go shopping before the busy week starts and try and plan meals that can be prepped a head of time. Sometimes I will make a big pot of chili or soup for those weeks I know will be impossible to find time to cook. This soup can last you the week and you can use it for lunches or dinners. Once you stop planning thats when you start eating our of convenience. “Ohhhh we don’t have any food in the house but this frozen pizza and chocolate cake... I guess thats breakfast and lunch.” I know I am guilty of this, especially during those busy stressful weeks.

Keep “The Basics” in the house... The next page will list out “The Basics”. These are foods I think need to remain stocked in the household. They are simple ingredients that can make those “fast” meals we sometimes seek. They also make great snacks, and quick breakfasts. Stick to these when you are tired and don’t feel like cooking.

Snack Sensibly.  Surround yourself with healthy alternatives to those traditional snack foods. Instead of filling your pantry with processed sugar, carb and salt heavy snacks, keep alternatives that you are attracted to around the house. If you like nuts make a healthy trail mix filled with raw nuts. If you are more a chips and dip type, make some avocado dip and use veggies instead of chips. Just make better choices during those hours that you tend to be hungriest.

Replace your refined carbohydrates with protein carbs. We now have access to some pretty awesome protein filled carbohydrates. Instead of using white rice, choose quinoa or farro. If you want to make pasta and don’t want to use the zucchini noodles find a quinoa or brown rice pasta. They are very similar in flavor and texture but they are high in proteins. Also when buying bread for toast or sandwiches find a sprouted grain bread. The sprouted grains not only pack a lot of protein but they have great active enzymes that help protect the gut during digestion. Typically you can find these breads in the freezer section of your grocery store.

Get rid of all the tempting foods. This should really be number one. To start this whole process you should first evaluate your trigger foods. If you know that your weakness is candy and you keep it around the house, the chances are incredibly high that you will eat the candy. If you only allow yourself candy when you are not at home it makes it a lot harder for you to get your hands on it in the first place and it makes you think before you put it in your mouth. Don’t keep foods in the house that will break your will power, leave those foods for your cheat days.

Replace some of your coffee breaks with tea breaks. You had mentioned that you drink a lot of caffeinated coffee. Coffee although a great antioxidant is also a strong diuretic and it tends to confuse your metabolism. If you can get yourself to replace some of that caffeine with herbal teas, you are still getting those great antioxidants but allowing your metabolism to calm itself down. 

When spending the night alone only allow yourself one alcoholic beverage. If you are not going out, or spending a night in with friends try to limit your alcohol intake. I struggle with this piece. I really like wine.... ALOT! Almost as much as cheese... but thats a whole different story. I don’t think there is any harm in having one small glass of wine a day, but make sure you aren’t drinking multiples. In one 5 oz glass of wine (and lets be honest... we never stop at 5.) there is around 123 calories. Alcohol quickly becomes sugar in the body, spikes the blood sugar and then eventually turns into fat.... this is why that cortisol looking belly fat is called a “beer belly”. As I said before allow yourself cheat days...

 Find Outlets other than food that are relaxing.  If you notice the more your brain is focused typically the less time you spend thinking about food. Try and find some hobbies that allow you to keep your mind off eating. 

_________________________________________________________________________

I know what you are thinking, "Sure... These all seem like common sense". These guidelines can be tough to follow, I even have troubles sticking to all of them. But once you follow these simple rules you now own the key to your own success. They are easy solutions and if you are looking to make some small changes that can keep you on the path to a healthier lifestyle, print these out and start following them today!

Below is the list of "The Basics" that I find important in every nutritious household.

The Basics

These are foods I find are always good to keep on hand...


  • Pineapple
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Whole milk greek yogurt
  • Sprouted Bread
  • Quinoa
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Raw Nuts
  • Can of tuna
  • Avocado
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Herbal Tea
  • Greens
  • Limes & Lemons
  • Nut Butter (almond)
  • Flavored Sparkling water
  • Dark Chocolate chips
  • Eggs
  • Almond Milk
  • Brown Rice noodles
  • Granola
  • Oats
_________________________________________________________________________

Check back later this week for some awesome recipes!



Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Recipe for Summer- Grilled Vegetable Soba Noodle Salad.

Oh my goodness time flies. I have been away from the blog for so many months- I honestly can't remember the last time I had enough time to sit down and write.

Since the last time I posted a lot has changed. I have moved, took on a new job, enrolled in school to get my Doctorate in Naturopathy and started my own Nutrition Counseling business. It is no wonder why I have not had the time to update any of you. In the last couple of weeks there have been so many inspiring things happening and I thought it would be the perfect time to start writing again. I will post once a month for the time being- so just as before if there is anything you would like me to touch on please inbox me! Now that I have ranted and apologized again for being absent for so many months I will get to the heart of this post- Grilled Vegetable Soba Noodle Salad. 

I am always looking for vegetable heavy dishes that aren't just another salad. I love using the grill and I was trying to think of a fun vegetarian dish that could be made on the grill. After some research, I came up with a lovely Asian inspired noodle salad. This is a bit of a labor intensive meal but I promise the end result is definitely worth all of the work.

Did you know that that soba noodles are made from buckwheat which is packed with B-vitamins- which if you don't know most vegetarians are lacking because most of those B's come from the protein heavy foods we ingest. I thought that the noodles would be a perfect choice for my veggie friendly salad. I added steak for my boyfriend which you can see in the picture above but I kept mine strictly vegetarian and it was delicious.

Ingredients
-          1 pkg of organic soba noodles
-          1 medium purple eggplant
-          5 Small bok choy
-          ¼ lb Fresh Green beans
-          Thai basil
-          2 T Soy Sauce
-          2  T Rice Vinegar
-          2 cloves garlic
-          4 radishes for garnish

Dressing Ingredients
-          ¼ C. Sushi Vinegar
-          ¼ C. Rice Vinegar
-          2 T. Soy Sauce
-          1 tsp Hoisin
-          Pinch of Garlic Powder

-          1 tsp fresh ginger


Directions
 Cut up eggplant, sprinkle with salt, place in a colander and drain the excess liquids for 1 hour.

 Marinate the rest of the vegetables in the soy, rice vinegar and garlic (You can marinate the steak at the same time as well; I used a nice small round steak).

Cook the noodles according to their package, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in either a food processor, blender or with a stick blender until it is slightly think.

Preheat your grill on high for 10-15 minutes (you can do this while the vegetables marinate).

Grill the vegetables and meat to your liking; make sure to keep the vegetables whole enough to grill. I like to grill them until there is a nice char on them.

Cut up vegetables, and toss together all ingredients, including herbs and top with freshly cut radish.

You can serve warm or cold.


    PS. Remember to check out some of our oldies but goodies from last year, candida control recipes, pineapple basil ice cream, and the pickling post are some of my favorites!











Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Clean Eating Challenge Update

Hey Readers!
Pineapple, celery, orange & chia seed juice

So a couple weeks ago I had promised a blog post on my successful journey completing the Buzzfeed, "Clean Eating Challenge". Going into the challenge I was so optimistic. This might be one of the reasons as to why it has taken me so long to get back here and write a review. As I had said before I don't often limit my eating. Although I try to eat right for my body I don't often go on long detox type diets. But this holiday season was brutal on my eating habits. I had thrown all caution to the wind and started ignoring that sensible voice in my head continually telling me that another binge might just push me over the edge. I was eating whenever and whatever I wanted without taking the necessary steps to keep myself feeling well.

So I decided I needed to press the restart button. I needed a motivator and I thought this "Clean Eating Challenge" would be the perfect tool to get me back on track. But only a few days in I started to realize it was not only de-motivating it was pushing me towards a nervous breakdown. Reading the challenge it seemed like a fair amount of work... but let me tell you it was more than a fair amount it took up hours. They tied everything up with a nice bow saying that all the meals are portable, fast and easy to assemble but as always this was not the case. The first two days I spent almost 4 hours in the kitchen preparing and packing lunches for the next four days. The worst part was that this was only lunches... I still had to recollect my thoughts and head back to the kitchen (hours later due to the fact that outside of my excessive meal planning I still had a job and a life to live) to complete the tasks needed to have food on the table for dinner.

I had also sadly came down with a horrible cold in the middle of all of it and it made enjoying the process almost unbearable. So on top of the horrible workload the food was just not good. I know going into a very strict elimination diet your expectations shouldn't be extremely high in the taste department, especially when cutting out salt but these recipes were confusing, dull and sometimes just inedible. By the forth day I finally broke down called David and said, " NO MORE! I know we purchased all this food and spent all this money but this is not continuing".

I don't often throw in the towel but this was just not going to be completed on my time. I was stressed, tired, sick and not satisfied. But because I am not a quitter and I hate wasting time and money-I decided I would complete the two week program on my own plan. I would still omit dairy, caffeine, simple carbohydrates, and fatty meat products but using my own recipes. I didn't want any of the vegetables to go bad and I still wanted to restart my system so I put my thinking cap on and got creative.

After about an hour of planning I reworked the whole plan to fit my lifestyle. I thought of fun and tasty recipes that could use all the produce I had purchased in a time where it wouldn't go bad. I did have a few things that ended up not working well in my new plan ( like the 6 chicken breasts they made me cook off the first day of planning). If I had been thinking straight I should have just frozen them and moved on.

But after these two weeks I have successfully eaten vegetable filled easy to prepare meals everyday. Although I would not recommend this challenge to anyone but indirectly it gave me what I had been searching for- a new outlook on what I was consuming. I have lost that horrible holiday binge weight, become a lot less bloated, and found interesting ways to incorporate those foods that make me feel good back into my diet. I also added some new and exciting foods into my everyday pantry that you wouldn't have typically seen there before these two weeks.

All and all I would say that I had a good time trying to eat outside of the box. I loved the idea of eliminating processed and prepackaged food items. I can tell that the sodium levels in my diet has decreased. I have always had a lot of tongue problems including tongue bloating. This is a typical sign that you are ingesting too much sodium. After these two weeks my tongue is normal sized and really healthy. I also just feel like I have more energy. I was able to get up and work out and start the day out with a smile.

In the next week I will share some of the recipes I used on my two week plan and some of the tricks I would suggest when trying to detox.

Thanks for visiting!

Laura

Ps. A couple of my "go-to's" during this challenge we have mentioned before on the blog, drinking water, juicing, candida cleanse recipes and even just simply relaxing in a nice epsom salt bath are some of the ways I calmed myself while doing this cleanse.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year-Our Sincerest Apologies for Our Abrupt Absence

Hello Readers!
Minneapolis Holiday Market 2014


It has been too long. Danielle and I have taken a very long and very abrupt leave of absence. I spent the last two months making a huge professional change that has taken up most of my free time. I have mentioned over and over again that I was going through some pretty severe bouts of stress.

I thought that maybe if I just pushed on I could overcome the stress and that I would eventually feel better. But unfortunately I just started to get more exhausted and even the smallest things started to feel like huge obstacles. Especially finding time to write interesting, informative and fact filled blog posts.

In the beginning I was so excited to use this as a platform to learn everything there was to learn about living a natural and holistic lifestyle. As the stress increased and my mind started to wander it became more of a race to finish my posts. I couldn't provide you, the reader, with anything I felt was worth reading.

I know this all sounds so dramatic and maybe none of you were wondering where we went since we had only just dipped our feet in the GIANT pool that is blogging.  But now that I have moved on from my stressful job, found soft ground to land on and time to clear my mind I am back and ready to research and complete this venture I had set out on almost a year ago.

Homemade Beef Pho (look for recipe later)
Since I have been gone I have had time to get a grip on my life. I have been able to cook more, read more and spend a little R & R with my family and my wonderful boyfriend. David has been my rock. He has spent a lot of time trying to help my through my stress. We try and spend as much time outside of our chaotic lives relaxing and making plans to keep our lives stress free.

I will have lots and lots more to say in the near future and hope that I can provide you with tips and the education needed to leading a holistic life.


Ps. David and I will be embarking on the Buzzfeed "Clean Eating Challenge". As Danielle and I had mentioned in the past we are not very hype on elimination diets but I felt like hitting the reset button. Over the past couple months I have been eating everything and anything put in front of me. I am ready to find a new way to enjoy the foods I love. I decided on the "Cleaning Eating Challenge", because it provides all the necessary tools to successfully detox. I will be following up in the next couple weeks to let you know how it is going. We are also trying to do the challenge on a budget. Most of the reviews on the challenge say that the worst part is that you have to spend so much money to complete it. We will go through the ways we have chosen to save money as well as an overall review of the diet.

Also, I would love to hear from all of you. We started this blog to investigate for all of you! Let me know what you are interested in and let me know if there is anything you would like me to research for you.

Thanks Again!

Laura
Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks