Food

Creamy Broccoli Soup

My hearty thanks to Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo for her Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe. It saved my butt the other night. I had an abundance of broccoli this week so I jumped online and Googled, “paleo broccoli soup”. Presto! Nom Nom Paleo was in the top few hits and since I know her recipes rock I clicked on her link.

I didn’t have all the same ingredients but I made do with what I did have. The soup. Was awesome. Definitely a winner and something to go in my little box of quick and easy meals. (Okay, quick is a relative term, it took me over an hour to make but I was multitasking and doing a bunch of things. I think if I’d been focused on dinner only, it might have only taken 30-40 minutes.)

Here’s the nitty-gritty on what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs broccoli (if you don’t have a scale, it was about 4 big heads of broccoli)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 small apple
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup water with about a tbsp of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate (substitution for coconut milk that I did not have)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What I did:

1. Roughly chopped the onion and sautéed it with the coconut oil for about 5-10 minutes while chopping the broccoli, including the stalk. I also peeled and cored the apple and roughly chopped it.

2. Then I added the broccoli and apple to the pot and poured the 4 cups of broth over it. Michelle’s recipe said that the broth should be covering the veggies and mine only about halfway filled the pan. So I added more water until I had what you see below. I don’t know how much extra water I added.

broccoli soup1

3. I brought the pan to a boil then reduced to low to simmer. I think I turned it down too low, too soon, because it wasn’t really simmering and I had to turn it back up a bit at one point, then down again. In the end, it simmered for about 35 minutes until the veggies were soft.

4. Next, I added the curry, salt, and pepper. Michelle’s recipe called for 1 tablespoon of curry. Either because I had so much extra broth/water, or because my curry isn’t very spicy, I added another tablespoon. (It wasn’t very spicy in my book, just very flavorful.)

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5. I took the pot off the stove to cool a little but I didn’t let it cool down much; we have a metal stick blender that handles the high heat just fine. (I have seen a plastic one melt before so be careful and mindful of that if yours is not metal.) I blended it until the mixture was smooth. 

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I know. It looks like baby food. Try to look past the green. I’m telling you, it’s yummy.

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6. I returned the pot to the stove and turned the burner back to high to ensure my last ingredients would not reduce the overall heat of the soup and then I added the 1 cup of water and the Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate.

You can essentially make coconut milk with TT’s coconut cream concentrate. The jar says to use 1-2 tsp for 6-8 ounces. I’ve never actually used my coconut cream much before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t dissolve well in the cup of water because the concentrate is in a solid state and my water was not hot. And since it doesn’t really look like coconut milk and I was afraid it wouldn’t have enough flavor, I added about 2 tablespoons. I figured it couldn’t hurt anything. I also hoped that the cream would melt and incorporate in the heat of the soup so I just put it in the pot and stirred it for a bit. It all came together fine in my opinion.

I dished out a bowl and topped it with some canned chicken. Nothing fancy. Just great tasting.

broccoli soup

The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.
~ Deepak Chopra

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Make Your Own Ready-To-Go Burger Patties

I don’t know why we never did this before. Such a simple and yet ingenious idea. Make your OWN burger patties and freeze them for quick, easy dinners. (Instead of buying what someone else made for you and is loaded with preservatives and other additives.)

You can modify this any number of ways to make the preparation as easy and quick as you need; ours was a little more time-consuming because we used venison that we had to grind first but if you don’t want to take the extra time for that sort of thing (or don’t have an appliance that will grind your meat) you can just buy ground beef and add spices and flavors to your liking. Here’s how we made ours.

Ingredients
Servings: 12 half-pound patties

  • 2 lbs venison
  • 5 ounces of salt pork
  • 1 jalapeno
  • red onion
  • bell pepper
  • green onion
  • minced garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp tapioca flour
  • small handful of bacon bits

Sorry that I don’t have exact measurements on most items. This was Don’s brainchild and as many of you know, he’s not the measuring type. 

  1. We ground the venison and salt pork and mixed them well until they were fully incorporated. (It is important to add fat when using venison or even very lean beef because it helps hold the patty together and it adds flavor as well.)
  2. We diced and chopped all the other ingredients and mixed it all together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using our handy-dandy kitchen scale we experimented with kitchen tools until we found a measuring cup that we could use to accurately measure out 1/2 pound servings that we then shaped into patties.
  4. Using parchment paper as a separator, we stacked them on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer until they were firm but not frozen and then we packaged them two at a time in food saver bags for quick, easy use.

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We have made two dinners since we made the patties about a month ago and they are everything we hoped for. Quick, easy, and delicious.

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Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
~ Buddha 

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Sausage and Black Bean Soup

Don threw this together on a whim one day and it instantly became a new household favorite. The photos below were actually hastily taken the second time we made the dish. We are calling it Sausage and Black Bean Soup but there are other beans in it as well. You could adapt this to incorporate different types of sausage and different types of beans to your liking.

We try to minimize our use of beans in dishes because but they do add carbs and not a lot else. This is just one of those dishes that we make the exception for and, knowing we’re eating a higher carb load in this meal, we make adjustments to our other meals in the day to offset the overall daily carb intake. Or we try to anyway. Nobody’s perfect. LOL

Sausage and Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans of other beans
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or a tbsp of minced garlic)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • salt
  • pepper

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  1. Slice sausage into bite-sized pieces. (We slice the sausage in half then cut into half moons.)
  2. Dice onion and jalapeno.
  3. Use stick blender or food processor to mash/reduce the black beans.
  4. Combine all in crock pot.
  5. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or until onions are cooked to your liking. (You can also speed it up if you’re cooking on the stove and monitoring the temperature. We’ve made it in less than an hour on the stove. The crock pot is just handy for walking away and not worrying about it.)
  6. Enjoy!

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It’s just us trying to start a movement where everybody passes on a bit of cooking knowledge. We estimate that one person can potentially affect 180 others very quickly so we’re just trying to spread the word.
~ Jamie Oliver 

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Maple Banana Spice Bread from Primal Cravings Cookbook

My niece and her husband surprised us with a very thoughtful gift for Christmas – the Primal Cravings cookbook!

primal cravings cookbook

They certainly know their audience. 🙂 (Thank you Harmony and Nate!)

I don’t usually spring for cookbooks because Don tends to be a wet noodle about them, preferring to come up with his own recipe, and because the internet is so readily available to search when we do want to get ideas. I do love cookbooks though and I really love the way Brandon and Megan Keatley put together Primal Cravings. I’ve actually visited their website before, Health-Bent, and skimmed through their recipes online. (I can’t remember if we’ve ever made any before.)

Before I get to the recipe, I have to tell you about the book. As someone who still hasn’t been able to transition to e-reading because I simply love paper and love holding the real deal, I LOVE the binding choice and formatting of the book itself. The cover is thick and rugged yet muted in color which gives it a nostalgic, used feel. It reminds me of an old book I had as a child that was a hardback collection of stories.

As for the content, the recipes are straight-forward and easy to follow. They are all low-sugar, grain-free, gluten-free, and industrial oil-free. The Keatley’s included a lot of great information for beginners (and even seasoned gluten-free/paleo/primal eaters who need a reminder on a few things) on topics ranging from how paleo-style foods are good for you, how to stock your kitchen with the right foods AND utensils, metric conversions of measurements, and even nutritional information. The book is not text-laden and cumbersome. It’s like Goldilocks says, “just right.”

For my first recipe I chose to make Maple Banana Spice Bread.

banana spice cake recipe

maple banana spice cake
Couldn’t have been better. Simple yet elegant and full of flavor. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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Gluten-Free Dumplings for those comfort food moments

I have these wonderful memories from childhood of steaming hot stew with chunky hunks of beef, potato, carrot, celery, and onion, topped with a fluffy cloud of warm dumplings. Of course, back then, all I would eat was the meat, potatoes, dumplings, and broth. I still loved it. Because my memories are so swiss-cheesed with holes and gaps, I don’t know whether it was my dad cooking or my mom, whether the dumplings were from scratch or Bisquick. But whenever a cold or rainy day rolls around, that foggy memory rises up and I pine wistfully for the simple comfort of stew and dumplings. In the chill of the current polar vortex, I attempted another dumpling re-creation and I LOVE the results. 

I experimented with an Almond Flour Dumpling recipe two years ago, which is ok but I didn’t love it enough to make it more than once, and yet it ironically has been my most popular post over the life of this blog. (Quickly being surpassed by our recent Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Stuffed Pork Tenderloin post. 🙂 ) If you’ve tried the old dumpling recipe, you’ve GOT to try this one. Delicious. Easy. Just plain wonderful. 

Gluten-Free Dumplings, can be used for chicken or stew soups

Ingredients – makes 6-8 dumplings depending on size

  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (this was a happy accident since I meant to use baking powder but the soda seems to work just fine IMO)
  • 1/4 cup broth from your soup

I combined all the ingredients in my food processor and blended it well. Then I simply dropped spoonfuls into the top of my stew. I put the lid on and let the dumplings cook for 10-15 minutes (until plumped and firm.)

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The dough was too thin and sticky to shape into balls which was why I opted for simply dropping spoonfuls in the stew.

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It firmed up quite well to my surprise and delight. (You know me, always a little afraid when trying something new. I’m always worried about the waste if something doesn’t turn out well.)

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Ta-da! Try it. Seriously. Good eats.

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
~ Sheilah Graham

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