Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Soup for HubsAhhhhh…..there is nothing quite like the smell of soup simmering on the stove on a cold winter day – especially if you are feeling a little under the weather!

My hubby doesn't get sick very often but when he does he always wants some of my homemade chicken soup!  Studies have shown that it does have healing qualities so that makes it even better!  

Here is my basic recipe.  I am warning you -  I am not much on measuring – I just add what I like.  You can make this YOUR recipe by adding what you like – so just have fun and experiment!

Ingredients:

1 Organic whole chicken

2 or 3 organic carrots – sliced

2 or 3 stalks of organic celery  – sliced

1 large onion – chopped

A few cloves of Garlic – chopped

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/2 tsp of your favoite salt-free seasoning (optional) Or any seasoning you like (Thyme, rosemary etc.)

Black pepper to taste

Dash or two of Cayenne pepper (optional)

Approx 1/4 lb of Angel Hair Pasta OR 2 cups cooked brown rice

1 to 1/2 cups diced cooked Chicken to add at the end of cooking time

FOR CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP:

I use about 1/4 pound of Angel Hair wheat pasta (or any noodle of choice – you can even make your own noodles if you have time. Just remember to adjust your cooking time if using a thicker noodle). We prefer the subtle thinner noodles.

FOR CHICKEN RICE SOUP – add about 2 cups of cooked brown rice (follow directions on the package)

Instructions:

1. Stew whole chicken in a large stock pot – (Put chicken in pot and add enough water to almost fill your pot).

2. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low for about 1 hour.

OR to save time you can purchase a Rotisserie Chicken (remove almost all the meat from the chicken and set meat aside). Add bones to stock pot. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low for about 45 minutes.

3. Cut up veggies while chicken/bones are cooking.

4. After the chicken/bones have simmered remove them from the pot and set aside.

(At this point you might want to add some water to your stock in order to cook the veggies if it seems a little low. If you are using a rotisserie chicken and there is not enough flavor you could also add some Organic Chicken Bouillon to taste).

5, Add cut up veggies and simmer for about 1/2 hour or until veggies are done. While veggies are cooking pull chicken from the bones and set aside about 1 to 1 1/2 cups to add back to stock

6. Add Angel Hair pasta broken in smaller pieces the last 15 minutes of cooking veggies. NOTE: If using cooked rice – add at the very end of cooking time

7. Add the diced cook chicken;

8. Add a few handfuls of greens of choice (cut up in strips). I have used spinach, chard, kale or a blend.

9. Stir all and heat until greens are wilted. 

Serves 6. (This will make about 3 quarts of soup. It freezes well also!)

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Black Bean Brownies

The weather outside is frightful (at least for the Atlanta area anyway!) so I decided it would be a good day to do some cooking and baking! 

Don't let the name of this recipe scare you away!!  AND I suggest you don't tell anyone else what's in them until after they've tasted them!  I  am confident they will not be able to tell they are a healthier version!!

This recipe is courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie – my fave go-to person for anything chocolate!  (www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com)  It is GLUTEN FREE as long as you use certified GF Oats, Baking Powder and pure vanilla extract.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Brownies

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

•1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) 

•2 tbsp cocoa powder (10g)

•1/2 cup quick oats (40g) (See nutrition link below for substitutions)

•1/4 tsp salt •1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave (or honey, but not for strict vegans.) I used Raw Coconut Nectar(75g)

•pinch uncut stevia OR 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)

•1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil (40g) (See nutrition link for substitution notes)

•2 tsp pure vanilla extract

•1/2 tsp baking powder

•1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.) •optional: more chips, for presentation

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.)

Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan.

Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.

Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies.

Black Bean Brownies Nutrition Facts Per Brownie:

?Calories: 115 ?Fat: 5.5g ?Carbs: 15g ?Fiber: 3g ?Protein: 2.5g

?WW Points (new system): 3 points Above info was calculated using gram measurements and DOES include all of the chocolate chips (which you should include too ;)).

 

This recipe is gluten-free as long as you make sure to buy certified-gf quick oats, baking powder, and pure vanilla extract.

 

Substitution Notes: I’ve only tried the brownies as written. Therefore, I really can’t predict substitution results, such as replacing the quick oats with rolled oats, flaxmeal, flour, protein powder, or anything else. But feel free to experiment, and please report back if you do, so others can learn from your experiments.

If you substitute honey for the maple syrup, it might have a slight honey flavor (which is perfectly ok if you don’t mind that). Just be sure to not serve them to strict vegans, as many vegans don’t consume honey. I haven’t tried subbing peanut butter for the oil… but I kind of want to! If you try it first, please let me know how it goes. Make any other substitutions (such as omitting the fat or chocolate chips) at your own risk.

Homemade Larabars

Homemade Larabars  

I just found this recipe for homemade "Larabars" from ChocolateCoveredKatie.com (my favorite healthy dessert blog)!  These bars are gluten free, quick, no bake and healthy too!  I gave them a try the other day and highly recommend them if you are a fan of Larabars.

Here is the basic recipe with some of my own slight variations:

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup organic raisins (80g) (i buy mine from Costco)
12 tbsp quick oats (30g) (I used Old Fashioned)
1 cup walnuts (40g)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract                                                                                                                                                                               OPTIONAL: You may also add a shake or two of cinnamon OR ground ginger OR a dab or two of pnut butter OR a few mini dark chocolate chips – just have fun and experiment!!! 

DIRECTIONS:

Pulverize the oats in a food processor, ( I used my VitaMix,) then add all other ingredients and blend very well. (It goes very quickly in the VitaMix – as soon as the motor starts groaning stop and finish stirring by hand with a long spatula.) Transfer dough to parchment paper. Form into balls or bars. (If making bars, put down parchment paper, put dough on top and add another piece of parchment.  Roll with roller to desired thickness.)


Depending on thickness desired it will make approximately 6 Larabar-sized (45g) bars—or twelve thin strips.  The bars last at least two weeks in the fridge. They can also be frozen.  ENJOY!!!
 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispies

If you want something quick and easy to fill that chocolate urge then you need to try this no bake homemade chocolate krispy bar.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies (brown or white, or gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • Liquid Sweetener to taste – Agave or pure maple syrup, (or a light tasting honey) Not sure how granulated sugar would work – like turbinado – perhaps you could melt and add – experiment at your own risk!!)
  • tiny dash salt (makes the flavor pop)
  • a splash of vanilla
  • Optional – ¼ cup Natural peanut butter/almond butter

Combine coconut oil and sweetener. Stir, then add cocoa powder, rice crispies and optional peanut/almond butter (if using). Stir until it gets thick. Pour onto parchment paper – spread mixture out – put another layer of parchment paper on top – then roll as thin as you want your Krisps to be. (I like to roll mine fairly thin so that they freeze up quickly and I can start eating them sooner!)

Freeze until solid, then break into bite size pieces and enjoy!  Store in the freezer.  Yummy!!! 

Rice Krispie Chocolate Rice Krispie Crumbled Chcolate PNut Butter Crisps

Gluten Free Gingerbread Muffins

Gingerbread Muffins I love just about anything with ginger in it!  These muffins are super quick and easy and smell oh so good when they are baking!

They also make a great gift for your gluten free friends! 

 

Here's the recipe – enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 c. flour (use your favorite gluten free flour-I used Brown Rice flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves (can substitute allspice if you don’t have cloves)
1/4 c. butter or coconut oil (I used coconut oil)
1/4 c. turbinado sugar (or Stevia)
1/2 c. dark molasses
1 egg (or you can use 1 tbsp chia seed & 3 tbsp water for an excellent single egg replacer)                      1/2 c. hot water

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda and spices; set aside. Cream together butter/oil and sugar; blend in molasses and water. Beat in egg (or chia seed replacement). Add 1/4 cup of flour mixture at a time until all the flour is used; blend well; pour into greased and lightly floured miniature-size muffin pans.  

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until done.

Cool 5 minutes and then carefully remove from pans.

Optional: Frost with your favorite butter cream/cream cheese frosting

This recipe makes 2 dozen mini muffins or 1 dozen regular size muffins.

(NOTE: regular size muffins will take slightly longer to cook but don’t overdo it – keep a careful eye on them! Depending on your oven, the regular size muffins can take 13 to 18 minutes)

Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

   

Banana Zuchinni Carrot Bread 

 I made this for my son and his family the other night.  I originally made the recipe as noted below, but they liked it so much they asked me to make another one the next day -and double the recipe!!!  So that is what I did! It can be gluten free depending on what flour you use!  I love the fact that you can sneak in zucchini and carrots too! Enjoy! 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

        1-1/2 cups flour (use almond flour for gluten free option) or Whole Wheat Pastry flour

·         3/4 cup turbinado sugar (or your favorite sugar)

·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder

·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         1 egg

·         1 cup mashed ripe bananas

·         1/2 cup grapeseed oil/or coconut oil

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         1 cup shredded zucchini/carrots mixed or any combination totalling 1 cup 

   1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

This makes an 8×8 pan (or 3 – mini loaf pans). I doubled the recipe for a 9x13pan. (It could also be made using traditional bread loaf pans but it seems to cook quicker this way!

DIRECTIONS:

1.    In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg, bananas, oil and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini/carrots and optional walnuts.

2.    Transfer to pan size of choice coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 3 mini loaves (6 slices each,.or one 8×8 square pan.  Double the recipe for a 9×13 pan.

 

Unfulfilled Expectations

I’m sure most of you have experienced unfulfilled expectations at least one time in your life.  Someone expected you to do something only they failed to “tell” you!  They just assumed you knew or that you would somehow do it without them telling you?  This can happen in a marriage, in the workplace, etc.  It happens all the time.

 I realize there are some things in a marriage for instance that you might assume your partner should “say or do” – but don’t “expect” it either. Don’t be so hard on your spouse when he doesn’t “do” what you “expect”.  Could it be he is clueless??   I know it may "seem" simplistic or silly, but believe me, after having worked with many couples through the years it is not unusual for something to be "normal" for one spouse but totally foreign to the other!  There are many factors involved in poor relationships but unfulfilled expectations seem to rear their ugly heads most often.  So, how do you deal with it? 

 

For instance, if a husband has an area of weakness let’s say in regards to getting things done around the house, express to him how it makes you feel and ask for his help in this area.  Then PRAY!  The same holds true with other areas – not helping with the children, not picking up after himself etc. – don’t wait until the situation turns toxic – talk through things in peace time so that you don’t come across as demanding, unappreciative etc.  In a husband/wife relationship it is better to talk through some things rather than “expect” them to happen and then fume when they don’t.  This builds walls in the relationship and will erupt at some time in the future in “volcano” form!  You know the scenario – it goes something like this “You never do anything”, “You always do that”; “I hate that you don’t appreciate anything I do” and the list goes on and on.  The reality is he has some “good” areas, but right now all you see is the “bad”!  This does nothing to “help” the situation – all it does is put him in a defense mode and shut him down.  So allow me to save you some grief.  After you’ve shared the things that bother you with your husband – pray for him.  Yes, pray!

Ladies, PRAYER has been my secret weapon through the years and I can tell you from experience, it WORKS!!!!  Prayer changes things and it changes people – even your husband!  The Lord can do a much better job with my husband and the best part of it is I am not the nagging wife – I express my thoughts, desires etc. and then leave the results up to the Lord.  

So in conclusion, here ARE some things we CAN expect in life:

Expect misunderstanding.

Expect miscommunication.

Expect persecution.

Expect ridicule.

Expect mistreatment.

Expect suffering.

Expect rejection.

If we expect these things we won’t be taken by surprise!   What we do with these "expectations" will make all the difference in the world. We can choose ahead of time what we will do with it. For me – I choose to take it to Jesus and allow Him to do the work that only He can do.  Trying to get revenge or defend yourself will only make things worse.  Jesus knows the truth and eventually the truth will come out!   As I die to my expectations and die to “self”, He is increased and I am decreased. 

“Lord Jesus, help me to live for you and die to self.   I trust YOU Jesus to work out all the intricacies of my life, marriage and relationships.  It is YOU I look to as the author and finisher of my FAITH.”  Heb. 12:2

Donna 

Quick and Yummy Applesauce

 

I picked some apples from my dear friend Connie's (AKA Ethel) apple tree.  With all the rain in Georgia this year they seem to be doing better than ever.  I made some applesauce/apple butter and used my VitaMix to make it super smooth! 

Wash and peel apples – cut up and place in large pot – add just a little water, or apple cider, put a lid on the pot.  Check frequently to make sure there is enough juice/water in the pot for the apples to cook.  If not, keep adding a little at a time. Add a little cinnamon and some sugar if needed (I used a little turbinado – it all depends on your personal preference and/or sweetness of the apples you are using).  It is always best to just add a little at a time and taste test.  Cook apples until soft – use a potato masher for course applesauce or put in your VitaMix/blender to make a super smooth sauce!  That's it!!!  (You can also use a slow-cooker, but I like to just get 'er done so I do it on the stove top!)  

The end result was delicious! Use it to top pancakes, waffles or spread on toast, (instead of butter/jelly etc). or just enjoy as is!   

 

Apple Trees ready to be picked!

Apple Trees Cropped

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Bounty!

Apples in Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut up and cooking!

Apples Cooking Close up

 

 

 

 

 

 

All done! YUM!

Applesauce Top View

 

Spinach Salad with Sweet Hot Dressing

For me, the secret to eating salads on a regular basis is to make sure I don't fall into a rut with the same old veggies and salad dressing.  It really is fun to be creative!  Mix up things that you enjoy eating and rotate. Try making your own salad dressings. It will not only save you money but will also save you from ingesting the "unknown ingredients" in them as well!   

Spinach Salad Individual Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALAD INGREDIENTS:  (You can judge how much you want to use of each ingredient depending on how many servings you are making – the pic above is just to show you the ingredients I used at a glance.)

Organic Baby Spinach

Organic Grated Carrots

Yellow and Red Peppers cut into very thin strips

Craisins (optional – but adds a nice touch!)

Slivered Almonds

Scallions (optional)

 

Layer all ingredients in a bowl.

Spinach Salad ready to eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DRESSING INGREDIENTS: 

2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1 T Honey (or Agave Nectar)

1 T Dijon Mustard

3 T Olive Oil

Salt/Pepper

Shallots (optional)

 

Braggs ACV bottleDressing Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put above ingredients in a shaker or blender and shake well.  Pour over salad just before eating!

POPEYE (I'm showing my age here!) would have loved this!! Hope you do too!   :) 

 

 

Gluten Free Brownies

Super easy, yummy and gluten free! 

Gluten Free Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Natural Sugar (Turbinado or Stevia – for Stevia follow directions on bag for amount to use) 

1/2 Cup Almond Meal/flour

1/3 Cup Cocoa 

1/4 tsp Salt 

1/4 tsp Baking Powder. 

Whisk above ingredients together and then add:

2 Eggs (or if you don't eat eggs you can sub with Chia Seed Gel – see recipe below) 

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil, (I use Grapeseed Oil)

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla extract

 

Don't overmix – just mix lightly until all ingredients are moist and blended together. 

Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in an 8×8 pan. NOTE: Cooking time depends on your oven – I start checking mine at about 18 minutes since I like my brownies moist!  

Also, when you decide to make a batch of these why not make extra mix to have on hand for those chocolate emergencies!!  Mix dry ingredients together (sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder) and then put in a mason jar or plastic bag. (Don't forget to label the jar or bag)!  Then when the urge hits, all you need to do is add the eggs, oil and vanilla and put in the oven!  Yum!!!!

 

How to Use ChiaSeeds as an Egg Replacer:

  • For the equivalent of one egg, add 1 Tbsp. chia seeds to 3 Tbsp. water.
  • Let sit for 15 minutes. Stir, then use as you would eggs in baking.