Turkey Soup Recipe Round-Up (and I’ve coined Turkey Stock Saturday – catchy right?)

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After Thanksgiving and Black Friday, how about Turkey Stock Saturday?

Your Mission should you choose to accept it: No Turkey Carcass Left Behind

As we finish up our pie and head towards our sweatpants on Thursday evening, let’s remember at least two things:

  1. Gratitude x 1,000.
  2. To put the turkey carcass in the refrigerator.

Then sometime over the weekend (I’m claiming Turkey Stock Saturday because it has a nice ring), throw those bones in a big pot with a bunch of water and simmer for 3-4 hours. For details, check out the Chicken Stock recipe and just sub the turkey for the chicken.

So then what? I’ve pulled together a round-up of eleven soup recipes I’m thinking about making with my stock for an easy weekend meal (with holiday music officially ON!)

TURKEY STOCK SATURDAY – SOUP ROUND UP!

Guess what, I pinned them all on Pinterest for you. Happy Turkey Stock Saturday, you can find them all at: Lean.Green.Kitchen on Pinterest

1. Gracious Pantry – Leftover Turkey Soup (obviously sub your turkey stock for the chicken stock on all of these recipes)

2. Recipe Girl – Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup (please don’t use vegetable oil or low-fat milk, sub butter or coconut oil and full fat dairy)

3. Liv Life – Garlicky Tortellini Turkey Soup (garlic is for winners)

4. My Kitchen Snippet – Wild Rice Turkey Soup (comfort food)

5. Taste of Home – Curried Turkey Soup (intrigued by the tart apple in this recipe)

6. Kitchen Concoctions – Spicy Tomato and Turkey Soup (who likes it spicy??)

7. Our Northern Homestead – Lemon Turkey Soup (sounds fresh! I’ve got lemons from a friend’s tree!!)

8. Batter Splattered – Turkey Chowder with Pancetta and Crimini (gorgeous)

9. My Crazy Deliciousness – Crock Pot Turkey Chili (without beans)

10. The Picky Palate – Hearty Ground Turkey Chili (with beans)

11. 100 Days of Real Food – Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (just sub turkey for the chicken)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend everyone! I am truly grateful for your support and readership this week and always. I’m checking out of the blog-o-sphere to go spend some quality time with my peeps. See you in December!

The Ultimate Party Appetizer: Hummus!

Humus

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the holidays are upon us. It’s about time to put our pencils down and snuggle up with family and friends, wonder and awe, and tidings and joy.

And you may just need a potluck item in the next six weeks – call it a hunch. So I bring you my go-to appetizer plate addition, hummus! Dairy-free, gluten-free, nutrient-rich, tasty and filling, this work-horse of a dip can sustain you for mega-mingling and hustle-bustle.

Recipe: Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup of Tahini
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Juice from a Lemon (2-4T) plus 1t Lemon Zest (zest is optional)
  • 1/2 – 1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 -1t Cumin
  • 1/2t Sea Salt
  • 1/4t Pepper (freshly ground is best)
  • 15oz Canned Garbanzo Beans, drained but save the liquid (I recommend Eden Organic, they use BPA free lined cans)
  • A few crackers, corn chips or carrots for tasting for seasonings
  • Optional add ins (choose one): 1 Piece of Roasted Red Bell Pepper, 1T Pesto, 3 Roasted Garlic Cloves

Instructions

  1. Put the tahini, 1 garlic clove, 2T of the lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2T EVOO, 1/2t cumin, sea salt, pepper and the garbanzo beans in a high quality blender (or food processor).
  2. Blend until smooth. Add a little of the liquid from the garbanzo bean can if needed to make it your desired consistency. I like it to be just barely pourable.
  3. Toss in the optional add-in and blend again to smooth.
  4. Using your crackers, chips or carrots give it a taste. Now is your chance to play with your food! If it needs more “zing” add more lemon juice. Needs more flavor, add more cumin. Needs velvety texture, add a dash of EVOO. Needs more garlic, add another garlic clove. Needs more sparkle, add more salt.
  5. Serve with veggies, corn chips, crackers, pitas or flat bread. Or use as a spread on a sandwich or a wrap.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

Let’s talk crackers real quick. Make attempts to find high quality crackers with minimal ingredients, all of which you can identify. I like Mary’s Gone Crackers (gluten-free, organic, multiple flavors) and Ak Mak 100% Whole Wheat crackers. I’ve also heard that you can find whole wheat Matzo crackers that are made with just whole wheat flour and water. You can make your own crackers, but something tells me most of the Lean.Green.Kitchen community is going to be a little busy over the next few weeks for cracker making. Here’s two recipes I want to try for those of you with some extra time. From Mommypotamus. From Elana’s Pantry. Please report back. :)

Now let’s talk appetizer trays. There is no better assignment for a real fooder than the appetizer tray. We can use beautiful, local, seasonal produce, accommodate all kinds of eating preferences and pack in the nutrients for the guests before they even get to the main meal. It is always shocking how much “rabbit food” (as my uncle once called it) that people (especially kids) will eat if it is just on the table as they walk by.

A five-star winning appetizer tray has the following, in my humble opinion:

  • 3-4 seasonal veggies (carrots, celery, roasted or boiled red potatoes, cooked beets, blanched green beans, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, etc)
  • 1 dairy free dip (hummus, anyone?!)
  • 1-3 cheese selections (cheese ball, cheese chunks, baked brie, cream cheese with home-made jelly on top)
  • 1-3 crackers or baguette slices options
  • 1 hot appetizer (stuffed mushrooms, mini-quiches, bruschetta, etc)
  • 1 seasonal fruit (strawberries in the spring, cherries in the summer, apple slices with squeeze of lemon in the fall, orange slices in the winter)

Here’s my platter from a family dinner last spring, so it’s extra spring-y. Please don’t bring asparagus and strawberries to Thanksgiving, if you have a farmers market within 20 minutes of your house. There is just too much glorious autumn food begging to be on your table!

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There are a bunch of veggie options hiding behind the crackers basket. That’s a warm artichoke cheese dip in the bowl. There’s the humus trio in the background.

Can’t wait to post pics of my Thanksgiving platter!

Enjoy that hummus…

Humus Side

Simple Squash Soup

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Nutrient-Rich * Vegan * Paleo * Delicious * Beautiful * Easy * Quick

Recipe: Simple Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Qt Homemade Veggie Stock (can use Chicken Stock if that’s what you have)
  • 2T Favorite Sauté Fat (Coconut Oil, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, etc.)
  • 1 Organic Carrot, chopped in chunks
  • 1 Organic Onion, chopped in chunks
  • 2 Organic Celery Stalks, chopped in chunks
  • 4 Cups Peeled and Cubed Fresh Squash (Butternut, Acorn and Pumpkin have all been used successfully)
  • 1-2t Fresh Thyme
  • 1t Sea Salt
  • 1/2t Pepper
  • Fresh Herbs, Parmesan Cheese, Bacon Crumbles for possible toppers

Instructions

  1. Heat fat in a medium saucepan (needs to be able to hold 4 quarts) on medium high heat.
  2. Sauté onions, carrots, celery and thyme until onions soften.
  3. Add veggie stock, cubed squash, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
  5. Blend in batches in a high quality blender or use an immersion blender in the saucepan to make a very smooth pureed soup.
  6. Test for seasonings. Add salt and pepper until it has the heat (from the pepper) and the sparkle (from the salt) you desire.
  7. You can also play with the thickness of the soup by diluting it with additional stock. I often have extra squash, so I just use it all and play with the seasonings and extra stock at the end.
  8. Top with fresh herbs and/or freshly grated Parmesan cheese and/or a small bacon crumble.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 – 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Squash Soup

I love to serve this soup as a starter for a beautiful autumn/winter dinner party in small tea cups. It’s beautiful color and rich flavor make it a crowd pleaser for all, which is really saying something these days with all the different food choices people make.

At the other end of the continuum from a lovely dinner party with soup in tea cups is my quirky family of four eating dinner on a harried evening. This soup comes through for that as well. My Paleo-ish husband, vegetarian-ish daughter and adventurous-ish son will all eat a big ol’ bowl of this soup after I’ve thrown it together in record time and ask for seconds or thirds. And sometimes the bowls we are using even match.

FYI that this is one of those soups that tastes even better the second day, so making it ahead of time is a BRILLIANT idea! Enjoy.

Looking for other soup recipes? Here are a few:
IMG_7822   Easy Peasy Chicken Soup AKA Simple Brothy Goodness

IMG_7784  Crock Pot Taco Soup IMG_5159  Clean and Easy Summer Gumbo

IMG_4971  Minestrone

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday at HolisticSquid.com!

Read more: http://holisticsquid.com/party-wave-wednesday-112013/#ixzz2lCfBkE3n

Weekly Tip: Make Your Own Veggie Stock

Veggie Stock Ingredients

This is week two of our three-week make your own stock series. Last week we made our own chicken stock, and this week we are making veggie stock. By the end of the series our freezers will be filled up with nutrient-rich stocks without breaking the bank on cans/boxes of the store-bought stuff. Like squirrels, we are stocking up the kitchen to get us through winter!!

Veggie stock is CHEAP! I mean really really inexpensive to make. Such a bargain that you will feel silly buying it from the store ever again after making just one batch. If my marvelous math is correct, this stock came out to less than a dollar a quart. And I used beautiful organic veggies, you know the ones everyone says will break the bank.

Veggie stock is DELICIOUS! There is just something about simple food, made with love in your own home with all your own ingredients that makes food better. This rich stock makes such a wonderful foundation for soups and sauces, it really enhances all dishes with a beautiful depth to the flavor.

Veggie stock is CHOCK FULL OF EASILY DIGESTIBLE VITAMINS AND MINERALS. It adds a nutritional base to your meals, nourishing your body while jazzing up your meals.

So let’s get started!

SIMPLE VEGGIE STOCK

Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot – The bigger the better, so you can get more stock out of all the effort. Crock Pots will work, but most won’t hold enough liquid to get the most out of your efforts. Consider investing in a large stock pot or find a foodie friend who might let you borrow one for a weekend. I love my 21 quart pot. Big but manageable.
  • Cutting board/Chef’s Knife
  • Ladle
  • Cheese Cloth or Fine Strainer – I use a paint straining bag from the hardware store. I can place it into a pitcher and ladle the stock into it.
  • Large Storage Container
  • Gallon Sized Ziplock Bags
  • Permanent Marker

Ingredients:

  • 2T of a Sauté Worthy Fat (Coconut Oil, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, etc)
  • 2 lbs Organic Carrots – Chopped up chunky
  • 2 Organic Onion – Peeled and chopped in quarters
  • 2 lbs Organic Celery Stalks – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Leek (optional) – Sliced in chunks
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic – Cut in half
  • 1T Sea Salt
  • 1T Whole Peppercorns
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme and/or Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Organic Tamari (Optional, but highly recommended – it really adds to the depth of the stock and the color)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 Gallons of Cold Water
  • Optional: Any other veggie bits or scraps you may have around. This is a great way to purge those veggie drawers!

Instructions:

  1. Heat the fat in the large stock pot. Toss in the onions and lightly sauté.
  2. Put in the carrots, celery, garlic, leek, salt, and peppercorns in the pot and cover with the cold water. (Add your optional veggie bits and scraps here too.)
  3. Add in the Liquid Aminos, parsley/thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  4. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
  6. Turn the heat off and leave in the pot to cool slightly.
  7. Using your strainer and your storage container, ladle the stock into the strainer in batches, resulting in having strained stock in the storage container.
  8. Place storage container in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  9. The next day: Using a permanent marker, label your Ziplock bags: VEGGIE STOCK and the date and how much you are measuring into each bag.
  10. I recommend measuring out 1 to 1.5 quarts of veggie stock per gallon Ziplock.
  11. Be sure to check those Ziplock tops for a good seal before placing the bags flat on top of each other to store in the freezer.
  12. The stock will keep in the freezer for several months.

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Not too challenging, right!? You can do this and your house will smell amazing as it simmers along.

My stock hadn’t even cooled before I had it working away in this beautiful Simple Squash Soup. Check out tomorrow’s blog post for the recipe, it is divine and makes a perfect starter for all your holiday gatherings.

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Rather use Chicken Stock? That’s great… link here for a recipe!

Weekly Tip: Make Your Own Chicken Stock

Stock Pot

Today is the first of three weekly tip posts regarding making your own stock. Today we’ll cover chicken, to be followed by veggie stock and finally beef stock.

Let us start with some culinary terminology to get everyone on the same page – broth and stock. Most of us hear them and use them interchangeably, which is totally fine by me. But culinary experts all have their own definitions and the differences seem to fall into one of these two camps: Camp One: Stock is made with bones (usually roasted prior to stock-making), and broth is made with meat. Camp Two: Stock is the liquid before salt and seasonings are added (think of it as a foundation for something like a soup or a sauce) and broth is seasoned and can be enjoyed as is. So pick which camp you’d like to be in and use the correct definition as make sense for your life! Around here I just call them all stock until I’ll finished them and served them to people. Then I say, “come enjoy this steaming hot bowl of brothy goodness, my little sick chickadee.” Or something like that.

Making your own stock is:

  1. Really, really, REALLY easy.
  2. Much higher quality than you can buy in the store.
  3. Much cheaper than buying it in a store.
  4. Delicious and is packed with nutrients!

I am often asked what I always have available for last-minute meals, and ziplock bags of frozen stock in my freezer would be on the top of my list. I can defrost it and have a soup ready to eat in less than an hour. I can use it to add nutrients to quinoa, rice or couscous by substituting it for the water during cooking. I can throw it in the crock pot (sometimes still frozen!!) with a bunch of stuff and come home to dinner ready five hours later. I can defrost some for my family when they are under the weather and be confident that they are taking in high quality nutrients and not a lot of man-made chemicals found in canned or boxed brothy soups.

SIMPLE CHICKEN STOCK
Equipment Needed:

  • Stock Pot – The bigger the better, so you can get more stock out of all the effort. Crock Pots will work, but most won’t hold much liquid after putting a whole chicken in it. Consider investing in a large stock pot or find a foodie friend who might let you borrow one for a weekend. I love my 21 quart pot. Big but manageable.
  • Cutting board/Chef’s Knife
  • Ladle
  • Cheese Cloth or Fine Strainer – I use a paint straining bag from the hardware store. I can place it into a pitcher and ladle the stock into it.
  • Large Storage Container
  • Gallon Sized Ziplock Bags
  • Permanent Marker

Ingredients:

  • Whole Uncooked Organic Chicken OR an Organic Roasted Chicken with the meat mostly removed (and enjoyed some other way).
  • 1 Big Organic Carrot – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Onion – Peeled and chopped in half
  • 2-4 Organic Celery Stalks – Chopped up chunky
  • 1 Organic Leek (optional) – Sliced in half
  • 5-10 Cloves of Garlic – Cut in half
  • 2-3t Sea Salt
  • 1T Whole Peppercorns
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme or Parsley
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 Gallons of Cold Water

Instructions:

  1. Put the chicken in the pot and cover with the cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  2. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Using the ladle, skim the foaming impurities off the top of the stock and throw away.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 3-5 hours.
  5. Turn the heat off and leave in the pot to cool slightly.
  6. Take out the chicken and place in a large casserole dish to cool. Then pick all the chicken meat off the bones and store in the refrigerator for all your shredded chicken needs. (Chicken soup, chicken salad, chicken pizza, chicken enchiladas, etc.)
  7. Using your strainer and your storage container, ladle the stock into the strainer in batches, resulting in having strained stock in the storage container.
  8. Place storage container in the refrigerator.
  9. Sometime in the next few days, discard the layer of fat that has hardened on the surface of the stock. (I like to keep a little of it in the stock for flavor, but not so much that it will be oily.)
  10. Using a permanent marker, label your Ziplock bags: CHICKEN STOCK and the date and how much you are measuring into each bag.
  11. I recommend measuring out 1 to 1.5 quarts of chicken stock per gallon Ziplock.
  12. Be sure to check those Ziplock tops for a good seal before placing the bags flat on top of each other to store in the freezer.
  13. The stock will keep in the freezer for several months.

Stock Container  This is what I store mine in to cool completely in the refrigerator. I made about seven quarts with this batch, and used a bunch right away and kept a quart in a mason jar in the refrigerator (for my sick chickadee).

Bagged Stock  You can store stock in freezer safe mason jars, but I don’t have the space or the comfort with that much glass in my freezer, so this option works better for me.

That’s all there is to it! I spend over $3.50 a quart on organic chicken stock from the store. This recipe makes 6-8 quarts ($21-28 worth) and cost me less than $15 to make. I buy my whole organic chickens from Costco, usually they cost about $12-13 each. In addition to the stock, I have several cups of shredded meat I use all week long in different quick meals.

Hope this takes some of the mystery out of chicken stock. Try it once to see if it is for you and your real food adventures! Your soup has never tasted so good, as with a beautiful foundation of nutrient-rich homemade stock.

Ready to turn this stock into some Brothy Goodness? Check out this post for the easiest soup ever that I load my family up on when we are fighting classroom plagues. It has super powers if you use your homemade stock as the base. :)

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Easy Peasy Chicken Soup AKA Simple Brothy Goodness

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Here it is. The soup you make when you are under the weather or heading that way. Or when you need simplicity, comfort and nutrients pronto. This recipe is SUPER easy if you already have your chicken stock on hand in the freezer ready to go. Check out the post on Making Your Own Chicken Stock to get started – it is also SUPER easy, but does take a few hours to simmer.

Around our house, we call this one: Simple Brothy Goodness

Recipe: Easy Peasy Chicken Soup AKA Simple Brothy Goodness

Ingredients

  • 1 Quart Organic Chicken Stock – homemade preferred (RECIPE)
  • 2-3 Big Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 Cup Shredded Organic Chicken (leftovers from stock making work great here!)
  • High Quality Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Optional: Thinly Sliced Ginger, Cooked Spinach and Cheese Ravioli, Cooked Rice (brown or rice)

Toppers

  • 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Parsley, Cilantro, Green Onions or Chives (whichever sounds best)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

  1. Warm stock in a saucepan on the stove top at medium heat.
  2. Add in spinach, chicken and the optional ginger, ravioli, or rice if using.
  3. Simmer for five minutes and remove from heat.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chicken Soup usually takes a decent amount of salt to make it really sparkle. Do a little at a time until it is just as you like it.
  5. Add toppers and enjoy!

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 6 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2-4

Soup with rav Adding in the ravioli make this soup a big favorite with my daughter. She slurps the whole bowl right on up and asks for more. My son loves the ginger slices. Mix it up and make it your own Simple Brothy Goodness!

Clean Treats: Almond (Real True) Joy Bark

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It has been a week since Halloween, so by now you have either thrown away, donated or eaten all of your Almond Joy bars, right? What if I told you that a superior version could be made by you with only four real food ingredients? And it is easy. And ready in an hour, though you only need to put in about seven minutes of hands-on time. In my opinion, that would be some real true JOY!

Recipe: Almond (Real True) Joy Bark

Ingredients

  • 1 cup high quality dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds (love almonds? then use more!)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

photo 5

Instructions

1. Place a thin layer (around 1/4 inch deep) of unsweetened coconut on parchment or Silpat on a baking sheet.
photo 4 2. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Be sure the almonds aren’t on top of each other, spread them out.

3. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil until smooth.
4. Spoon or slowly pour the chocolate over the coconut/almond layer.
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5. Put it in the freezer until it hardens (30 minutes or so).
photo 1 6. Crack off pieces and enjoy. It will slowly soften, so I like to wrap my piece in a paper towel if I’m planning on savoring each bite.
7. Store in a ziplock in the fridge.
Preparation time: 7 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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Do you have a soft spot for treats? Here are some other great ideas for clean treats!

Lean.Green.Kitchen Clean Treats

Kids Clean Up: Chocolate Syrup

Kids Clean Up: Magic Shell

Kombucha: A Most Excellent Adventure

kombucha

Freak out your friends! Wow your kiddos! Save a bundle! Support your gut!

After over a year of wishing I was making Kombucha, reading about Kombucha, watching youtube videos on Kombucha, and spending way too much money drinking someone else’s Kombucha, a SCOBY fell in my lap last month. I mean my friend gave me her baby. I mean she pulled the baby apart from her mother. I’m sorry, I can’t help it – my best friend gets so creeped out when I talk about the SCOBY being a mother and producing a baby, that I just can’t stop trying to make it sound horrible.

I know the Lean.Green.Kitchen community has people all over the Kombucha spectrum -from avid daily drinkers on one side, all the way over to those who have never heard of it (or worse, read Wikipedia and think it kills people.) My hope is that this post motivates you to move along the continuum towards enjoying or at least recognizing and appreciating this super cool fermented beverage.

LEVEL ONE: What is Kombucha and what is a SCOBY? Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage. Sugar and brewed tea are placed in a glass jar with a SCOBY and left on a shelf, then mad scientist magic happens and –boom– you have Kombucha a week or two later. A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It kind of looks like a flat disc mushroom. It is the mad scientist that eats the tea and sugar and produces the Kombucha. It is also called the mother. And during each brewed batch of Kombucha a new SCOBY forms on top of the old one and it is called the baby. I know, it’s really creepy. Or kick-ass cool, depending on the voice you use when saying it.

kombucha  Hello SCOBY.

LEVEL TWO: Why would anyone want to drink this stuff? In a nut shell, Kombucha provides the gut with both probiotics and prebiotics. That means it provides food for the healthy bacteria in your gut and helps you grow new healthy bacteria. This is important due to the fact that so many of us do not have a high enough ratio of good to bad bacteria in our gut, and a healthy gut equals a healthier you. Kombucha is also filled with B vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes. You can find list after list of the benefits of regular Kombucha drinking and it appears it is awesome for just about everything. The things that jump out to me are: improving digestive issues, increasing energy, combatting seasonal allergies, reducing depression symptoms, supporting bone and joint health, and bolstering the immune system. World peace is probably on the list too, but I haven’t read that far down.

LEVEL THREE: What does it taste like? Delicious! Okay, that’s a little vague. Kombucha can taste like a mild sweetened tea or like vinegar, and every fun sweet-tart flavor in the middle. It all depends on how long you let your Kombucha brew, which type of tea you started with, and if you choose to flavor it. My first batch I flavored with lime, ginger and pomegranate. Interestingly, my daughter loved the spicy ginger the best and my son liked the tart lime. I would have put money on the pomegranate for both of them, so there you go. I think flavored Kombucha tastes like a cross between soda and beer. Maybe you should go try one and then describe it for me. I seem to be having trouble putting it into words.

kombucha  $24 worth of Kombucha that I made for just over a buck!

LEVEL FOUR: Why would you make your own? This is an easy one. Because Kombucha cost $3 a bottle and I want to drink it every day. When I make it myself it costs maybe 15 cents a bottle. Now how motivating is that? Then there are the extra benefits, like feeling like a rock star goddess with a pet SCOBY making the world a better place with my brew. There is something undeniably fantastic about being in charge of your own healthy elixir and being able to share it with others. Like real-deal, in-your-core awesomeness, that can’t be described, only felt.

kombucha supplies  This is all you need to make Kombucha (once you get your SCOBY). Kombucha is a total prima donna – she only drinks filtered water and eats caffeine and sugar.

I’m so new that I’m not going to fill up space telling you step by step how to make Kombucha. I’m going to send you to all the AMAZING resources that I used to learn how and tell you that IT CAN BE DONE. IT IS TOTALLY DO-ABLE. And I’d love to hear all about your adventures. Let me know if you need a baby. I’ve got a short waiting list going. Read below to determine your next step!

kombucha SCOBY  This is me with my first SCOBY. I am VERY happy here. You can tell because my eyes disappeared.

NEXT STEPS IN YOUR KOMBUCHA EDUCATION (jump in where appropriate):
1. Read more about it.

Holistic Squid: Kombucha Visual Guide

Weed ‘Em and Reap: Brewing Kombucha – The Basics, The Benefits and The Bravery

The Cultured Life: How to Make Kombucha

2. Try it! My favorite store-bought is GT’s Classic Ginger and Citrus. You will need to prove that you are over 21 to buy this as it may contain a tiny amount of alcohol from the fermentation process. Please chuckle with the grocer when they card you over this and you then go give a sip to your six-year-old. Anywho… you can more readily find GT’s Enlightened which they make sure does not have the alcohol so anyone can buy it. If you are really panic-y about trying this drink then you can start with one of the sweeter versions, like mango. You can tell how sweet it will be by reading the label for the grams of sugar. Most of the sugar comes from whatever they have added, so mango has 8 grams (I think, don’t quote me on that) and the ginger and citrus have about 2 grams. Buy a few and do a taste test with a friend after freaking them out with photos of SCOBYs.

3. Learn more about making it. Watch some videos. Message me with questions you have. Find an official recipe. Start eyeing large glass containers for “some day.”

Kombucha Kamp

Kombucha Kamp How To Videos

Cultures For Health

4. Start a batch!! The biggest challenge it to find a SCOBY. You’ve got to ask around to find your fellow Kombucha friends (everyone loves to give SCOBYs to a friend). If you are starting the Kombucha craze among your friends, you may need to order your first SCOBY. I would recommend going here: Kombucha Kamp Cultures. One SCOBY is $24.88, and will start you on your way! Just do it. What do you have to lose? And you MUST MUST MUST share a photo with me when that first batch is rolling. MUST. MuSt. must. We clear?

Party on, rock stars!

 

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday at HolisticSquid.com!
Read more: http://holisticsquid.com/party-wave-wednesday-110613/#ixzz2jtyBoiIw

Crock Pot Taco Soup

crock pot taco soup

Crock Pot Taco Soup is such an easy healthy dinner!

Sometimes I wonder about my relationship with my Crock Pot. Is it strange that I think about it first thing in the morning and last thing at night? That if someone asked me how I kept my sanity this soccer season I would shout out “my Crock Pot” as the number one reason? That having it making dinner-y goodness over there on my counter-top makes me smile as I walk through my (very rare) clean kitchen on my way to get other things done all day long?

For Real Fooders, I can’t think of a bigger work horse than the Crock Pot. So let’s put it to use with my latest go-to soup. Cool thing is that this one is Paleo-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be vegetarian and vegan with just a few easy swaps. And it is always nutrient-rich!

Recipe: Crock Pot Taco Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 qt high quality broth (beef, chicken or veggie)
  • 1 lb high quality ground beef (or about 2 cups of cooked beans like black, pinto or kidney)
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • Small dab of butter, tallow or coconut oil
  • 14 oz of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 jalapeño, minced (optional)
  • 2 carrots, small diced
  • 2 celery sticks, small diced
  • 2 cups kale or spinach, chopped small (I often use frozen)
  • 1 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 1 can (drained) black olives (optional)
  • 3 T taco seasoning (see below for recipe)
  • Any other veggies that sound good, chopped small (zucchini, winter squash, bell peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.)

Toppings (pick your favorites):

  • Cilantro, green onions, cheese, corn chips, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), avocado

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients into Crock Pot EXCEPT ground beef, onion and 2 Tablespoons of the Taco Seasoning.
  2. Sauté chopped onion in a dab of butter, tallow, or coconut oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and sprinkle Taco Seasoning over the meat.
  4. Mix onion, meat and seasoning over medium heat until the meat is cooked through.
  5. Drain meat if it is really fatty, and dump the mixture into the Crock Pot.
  6. Vegetarians: Sauté the onion with the Taco Seasoning for a richer flavor, but just add the beans straight in the pot (drain out liquid if using canned beans).
  7. Omnivores: I often use meat AND beans in this soup.
  8. Crock Pot on high for 4 hours or low for 7 to 8 hours.
  9. Before serving, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. Depending on the broth you are using, sometimes some extra salt is needed to make it sparkle!
  10. Serve with the toppings of your choice.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 4 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

TACO SEASONING: A few words about Taco Seasoning. Now here is a spice packet you do not need to buy – just make your own. Not only will you avoid whatever fillers and preservatives they put in there, but over time you can play with the amounts of different spices in your blend making it exactly what your taste buds desire! Here is a standard recipe to get you started.

Recipe: Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes (this is the heat, so add a little extra if you like it spicy)

Instructions

  1. Mix all together.
  2. Make double or triple batches and store in an old spice container or small mason jar.

crock pot taco soup

Crock Pots of the world, unite!!

Looking for more Crock Pot recipes? This Crock Pot Chicken & Eggplant Parmigiana is one of the most popular recipes on this blog. Enjoy!

Photo Notes: FYI that the Crock Pot Taco Soup in these photos doesn’t have ground beef in it or beans. My family has eaten so much Taco Soup over the past couple of weeks, that I changed it up and used a beef soup shank in this batch. I also omitted the corn and the optional olives, and cut my veggies chunkier (including fresh acorn squash) for it to taste more like a stew than a soup. Have fun with your food and make it your own!

My friends, it is November!

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Welcome to November. Now here is a month I can really get behind. A month famous for gratitude, crispy cool days, a connection to big family, and lots of real real real food.

It is a month where getting more sleep makes complete sense (the cozy bed is calling and the hustle/bustle hasn’t started) and soup – my favorite food of all – is considered good form for every meal. My gosh, for someone who is in love with the color of food, the apples, every kind of squash, citrus, greens, beets, persimmons are just dazzling! Inspiring! Spirit-building! I mean, come on, is there anything more perfectly Pinterest-y than pomegranates?

May a chai tea warm your chilly mornings, a friend/child/pet provide you a snuggle, and a beautiful nourishing soup grace your table as many days as possible in November.

Here are a few things we could do to pull the most out of this month.

  1. Make our own vegetable, chicken and beef broth to provide base after base for the copious amount of soup we’ll be making over the next few months.
  2. Roast some pumpkin seeds.
  3. Take a nap.
  4. Read a book.
  5. Take a walk.
  6. Discover a new seasonal fruit or vegetable and make it a part of a meal.
  7. Make a pie using all real ingredients.
  8. Find a source for meat and dairy that fits with your beliefs for the treatment of animals.
  9. Research sources of produce in line with your beliefs for the treatment of farm workers and sustainability of the Earth.
  10. Be grateful for every meal.
  11. Discover your favorite variety of organic apple. Conduct a family taste test.
  12. Go to bed early a few nights in a row to rediscover what it feels like to be rested.
  13. Purge things you don’t need, use or love out of your home to make breathing space.
  14. Aim to use small amounts of higher quality products instead of overindulging in lesser quality products. (Meat, honey, olive oil quickly come to mind.)
  15. Build up a pantry that can be used to make quick nutrient-rich meals on days when you might normally grab fast/processed food.
  16. Think about your upcoming food traditions. Can you make any changes to them to amp up the nutrients and weed out the processed ingredients?

I’d love to hear your November successes! Please share here or on the Facebook page. Need any help with a November real food situation? Share it with me – I’m happy to be a part of your real food research team!

Hope you all realize how grateful I am for your readership. The Lean.Green.Kitchen community is a safe, positive place for real life people to come together to celebrate the awesomeness of real food. Hope you feel it out there coming through your interwebs!

Much love in November and beyond…

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