Hearty Turkey Winter Soup — fresh, Paleo, gluten-free scrumptiousness in a bowl!

Yum oh yum! I wish you could smell the smoked paprika aroma hovering over this bowl! This stuff is Hearty Turkey Winter Soup is not just hearty, it's heartwarming and heart healthy! I "heart" it.

Yum oh yum! I wish you could smell the smoked paprika aroma hovering over this bowl! This Hearty Turkey Winter Soup is not just hearty, it’s heartwarming and heart healthy! I “heart” it.

The bits of uneaten turkey were still on the platter Thanksgiving Day, but I already had the picked-over turkey carcass in a pot of water with two bay leaves, a few drippings, and the giblets. Making flavorful, healthy bone broth is one of my favorite things to do after roasting a turkey or a chicken! After letting the broth sit overnight in the fridge, then skimming the fat off the top, I had 12 cups of vitamin-rich broth just waiting to become some fantastic soup.

The Hub and I love soup, so when I make it, I make A LOT so I have some for the next day’s lunch and/or supper, plus I usually put a small container in the freezer.

This recipe makes nearly four quarts of spicy, healthy soup that’ll warm the cockles of your heart as well as make your other innards toasty warm on a cold winter day. You can easily halve the recipe, or even quarter it, and feel free to substitute chicken and chicken broth for the turkey ingredients.

Whatever you do, fire up the stove and get out the soup pot because your family is going to love this!

Ingredients:

3 Tbls. olive oil
6 C sliced carrots
2 1/2 C chopped onions
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder (I got mine at Global Infusion, but you can probably find it at any good spice store or online.)
1 Tbls. finely chopped fresh sage
12 C turkey broth
2 C water
5 to 6 C chopped turkey
3 C chopped fresh green beans (or frozen)
6 Tbls. tapioca starch
6 Tbls. water
Salt and pepper to taste

The Process:

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot.
  2. Add the onions, 3 cups of the carrots, the spices, and stir like crazy. Quickly add 1/2 C of broth before spices burn. Stir and cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Add 4 cups of the broth and bring everything to a boil. Simmer uncovered until the carrots turn very soft.
  4. Remove soup pot from the heat. Carefully ladle or pour the contents into a blender or food processor. You might have to do it in a couple of batches. Process everything until its thick and smooth.

    Steamin' hot, thick, and spicy. This carrot and onion puree puts a kick in the Hearty Turkey Winter Soup and sweetens it up at the same time. If it wasn't hot off the stove it would be finger-lickin' good!

    Steamin’ hot, thick, and spicy. This carrot and onion puree puts a kick in the Hearty Turkey Winter Soup and sweetens it up at the same time. If it wasn’t hot off the stove it would be finger-lickin’ good!

  5. Pour the puree back into the soup pot. Return it to a medium heat and add all the remaining ingredients except the tapioca starch and the six tablespoons of water. Stir well.
  6. Bring soup to a boil. Stir together the tapioca starch and six tablespoons of water in a cup. Stir it slowly into the boiling soup. The puree and the tapioca will thicken the soup slightly, giving it a satisfying texture.
  7.  Simmer soup, uncovered, for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring often to keep it from sticking on the bottom of the pot.
  8. Serve it hot with rice crackers or almond crackers.
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What to do with leftovers: Veggie and Ham Hash from Leftovers — Paleo, gluten-free, and fast

Voila! Delicious veggies and ham seasoned to perfection with just a hint of curry and garlic.

Voila! Delicious veggies and ham seasoned to perfection with just a hint of curry and garlic.

Today was rainy, windy, grey, and turning cold. Thunder storms hit late in the day. And it’s a Sunday. I did NOT want to go to the grocery store, yet the fridge was bare. Or so it seemed.

I started pulling out every fresh veggie and dish of leftover veggies I had — most of them had soft spots, black spots, or had been cooked days ago. I couldn’t steel myself to throw them out. So I cut off the bad, chopped up the good, and Voila! Veggie and Ham Hash from Leftovers. This stuff was fast (I cooked it and served it in 20 minutes!!), fun, and amazingly delicious!

I don’t think you have to have this exact mix of veggies and meat to do the same. But possibly a basic recipe (below) will give you some inspiration with spices, oils, and ingredients that will spur you to new culinary heights with your own sad story of leftovers.

Most of the stuff in this photo was going bad. It was up to me to save it! The solution: Veggie Hash with Ham.

Most of the stuff in this photo was going bad. It was up to me to save it! The solution: Veggie and Ham Hash from Leftovers.

Here’s what I had on hand:

3 T olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. green curry paste

1 T minced garlic

2 small onions, chopped

2 zucchini, chopped

1/2 a small jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1 1/2 C. chopped green beans (already cooked)

1/2 small cabbage, chopped

1 tomato

1 C. chopped cauliflower

1/2 C Chicken stock

1 C sliced carrots

1/2 C diced red, green, yellow sweet peppers

1 lb. sliced, cooked ham, cut into chunks

The ham, before the fat was trimmed off. I left it in big chunks so it would create a flavor sensation. It did.

The ham, before the fat was trimmed off. I left it in big chunks so it would create a flavor sensation. It did.

Here’s what I did with it:

  1. Heated the oil, garlic, curry paste, and chopped onion until onion was nearly clear.
  2. Drained the sun-dried tomatoes and threw them in with the oil and other stuff. Stirred.
  3. Added all the other veggies and the chicken stock, stirred well, and cooked the mess, uncovered, over medium heat until the carrots were “tender to the tooth.”
  4. I threw in the chopped ham, and continued cooking everything until the ham was heated through.
  5. Then I dished it up, and served it to The Hub who said with a grin that it was the “best thing you’ve cooked all day,” which I took as a supreme compliment — even though it was the ONLY thing I’d cooked all day. Hey, a girl gathers the good vibes where she can.
A bit blurry, but you get the picture. Flavorful, rich in nutrients, and quick to fix! Plus, all that food that was headed for the compost pile in a couple of days is now feeding our bodies instead of the ground.

A bit blurry, but you get the picture. Flavorful, rich in nutrients, and quick to fix! Plus, all that food that was headed for the compost pile in a couple of days is now feeding our bodies instead of the ground.

I have to say, this stuff was great. It made enough for us to each have two bowls of it, plus there’s enough “leftover leftovers” for probably two or three more meals, so that means I’ll have a great breakfast or lunch tomorrow, and maybe the next day, too. Now that’s my kind of cooking!

Paleo Sweet Potato Apple Pie — no refined sugar, no flour! And delicious!

This Sweet Potato Apple Pie is scrump-dillyicious! I used the recipe created by Paleo On a Budget, a blog I highly recommend. http://paleoonabudget.com/

This Sweet Potato Apple Pie is scrump-dillyicious! I used the recipe created by Paleo On a Budget, a blog I highly recommend. http://paleoonabudget.com/

I love the blog Paleo on a Budget! Liz does a fabulous job with her fun and funny content, her recipes, and most especially her easy and budget-friendly paleo meal planning — Just seven meals a week, and then the other meals fall into place as leftovers or leftovers-recreated-as-tastebud-tantalizing-new-meals! Ya gotta love THAT!

Well, yesterday was colder, rainy, and dreary and I had a crazy yen to BAKE. So I made Liz’s Sweet Potato Apple Pie and it is not only scrump-dillyicious (thanks, Marc D., for reminding me of that word!), it was easy, and The Hub loved it, too.

Between the two of us, we ate half the pie (hey, it’s THIN, so I’m not feeling guilty about it). As you can see, it was extra tasty.

See how fabulous this Sweet Potato Apple Pie from Paleo On a Budget is?? I wish you were here to taste it, smell it, and applaud it!

See how fabulous this Sweet Potato Apple Pie from Paleo On a Budget is?? I wish you were here to taste it, revel in its cinnamon-y aroma, and applaud it!

The only two things I’d do differently next time are:

1 – Use more apples — the recipe called for five, but the pie plate I use is a 10-incher, so it needs a tad more filling. I think I’d bump the recipe up to eight or nine apples.

2 – Bake it longer to make the topping a bit drier. The recipe calls for 15 – 25 minutes; I did 20 minutes because I don’t trust my oven. But I think 25 minutes to 30 minutes might be even better, especially since the filling will be thicker with more apples in it.

3 – Oops! I thought of a third thing! I’d serve it with a couple of tablespoons of thick, creamy coconut milk on it as an extra, added attraction.

Here’s the recipe, copied from Paleo on a Budget. Click the link to visit the blog and see what Liz says about why she uses the egg and lemon juice, and other tips she has. But please remember to come back here and read more of Choice Fare! 

Topping
  1. – 1 Medium Sweet Potato, Peeled and Diced
  2. – Pinch of Salt
  3. – Fat of Choice {I like butter here}
  4. – 1 tsp. Raw Honey, melted
  5. – 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  6. – 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  7. – 1 Eggs, slightly beaten {optional}
Filling
  1. – Fat of Choice {I used Butter, but you can rock bacon fat, ghee or coconut oil here!}
  2. – Around 5 Medium sized apples, peeled and sliced {I used Macs and Cortlands but your favorite apple will totally do fine here 🙂 }
  3. – 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  4. – 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  5. – Pinch of Salt
  6. – Spritz of fresh Lemon Juice {Optional}
Instructions
  1. 1.) Get your oven rocking and rolling at 350 {F}
  2. 2.) Fill a medium sized pot up with water, and then peel and chop your sweet potato. Add it into the water, set it on the stove and allow to boil {you’re going to mash it up in the end!}. I personally like to start with the lid on, and the remove it once things are boiling and possibly turn down the stove a little. But it’s totally up to you!
  3. 3.) While those are cooking away, add your favorite fat to a large skillet {I used butter here — but I’ve also tried it with Bacon Fat and holy coffee — it was good!} and get it heating. Then start to peel your apples and chop your apples into slices. Add them into the pan and give it a good stir!
  4. — Note on my method. I like to peel two or three apples to start, cut them into quarters and then use a pairing knife {or any sharp small knife} to remove the core and then I chop the slices right into the pan. Then I proceed to peel the last two apples and do the same thing. That way some apples are soft and some have a bit more texture in the pie, allowing for some really awesome flavor and texture!
  5. 4.) When your apples are almost cooked through, add in your Cinnamon, Pinch of Salt, Vanilla Extract, Spritz of Lemon Juice and I also like to add another tablespoon or so of your favorite fat {there’s never a thing as too much butter 😉 }. Mix it all together well and let your apples finish cooking.
  6. 5.) When your sweet potato is fork tender, drain it and add in your fat of choice {as much or as little as you want}, Raw Honey, Cinnamon, Vanilla Extract and mash/ mix it well.
  7. 6.) By now your apples should be done and wicked yummy. Add them into your pie pan and spread them out into an even layer.
  8. 7.) Then add in your slightly beaten egg to your sweet potato, give it a quick mix about and spread it ontop of the apples.
  9. 8.) Place in the oven to bake for 15-25 minutes or until the top has set a little and has a pretty golden color.
  10. 9.) Try to let it cool before diving in! It does slice/serve better when you let it cool down a lot. But as you can see from the pictures, I have no patience for that hahah 🙂
  11. Enjoy!
Quick Tip
  1. -I’ve also made this by mixing the apple and the sweet potato together and then adding it into the pie pan and baking. This gives you more of just a apple pie filling feel, but equally as yummy and is a great way to vary it up a little!
By Liz

Roast Chicken

Some of the best recipes are the simplest ones.  I did a search for a roast chicken recipe the other day and stumbled across this one on Epicurious.  When I read the ingredients I thought it would probably be good, but also thought it couldn’t really be that great because of the lack of seasonings, vegetables, herbs, butter, etc…   Boy, was I wrong.  The meat ends up moist and succulent, the skin is salty and crunchy.  This is honestly the best roast chicken I have ever tasted and I probably won’t make roast chicken any other way.

2012-12-09_19-13-16_751

Ingredients:

1.  4-5 lb whole chicken

2.  2-3 tsp salt (I use Real Salt)

3.  Fresh cracked black pepper

4. 1-2 tsp fresh Thyme (optional)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

2.  Prepare the chicken by removing the giblets and then rinsing inside and out. My dogs love roast chicken night because I feed them the giblets. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels inside and out.  The chicken needs to be as dry as possible so there is no steam when you are roasting it.

3.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan or do like I do and use a cast iron chicken fryer.  I absolutely love my cast iron and use it for most everything.  Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with 2-3 tsp of salt.  I know it seems like a lot, but you want a crust of salt  to form on the outside of the chicken.  Sprinkle with a little black pepper, maybe half a teaspoon.

4.  Tie the legs tightly together and tuck the wings under the bird.

100_2818  100_2816

100_2817

Ready to go in the oven!

5.  Place in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 50-60 minutes.  I usually end up with a 5 lb bird and 60 minutes is perfect.  Do not touch the chicken when it is roasting.  Just leave it. Don’t even look at it.  You probably should go for a 50-60 minute walk.

6.  Pull the chicken out of the oven and spoon the drippings over the top of the chicken.  If you want you can mix some fresh thyme into the drippings before you pour them over chicken.  Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes before carving it up.

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see the salt crust?

When dinner is done do not throw away the carcass.  What I like to do is pick off any uneaten meat and put in a freezer bag.   Then I put the bones/carcass in another bag and throw both bags in the freezer.  When I am ready to make chicken broth it is ready to go in the pot.   If I am making chicken soup (stay posted for the recipe)  I use the leftover meat for the soup, otherwise the meat can be used for most anything you want.   Enjoy!

Whole30 Days 12 & 13 — Living social again

My friend Jesse MacIntosh pipes a lively tune at ArtPrize in 2010. Today, I was jigging a lively tune in my spirit (!!!!!!) thanks to a huge turnaround that I'm sure is because I've removed grains, dairy, and sugars from my diet.

My friend Jesse MacIntosh pipes a lively tune at ArtPrize in 2010. Today, I was jigging a lively tune in my spirit (!!!!!!) thanks to a huge turnaround that I’m sure is because I’ve removed grains, dairy, and sugars from my diet.

I’m starting to think I could be a walking miracle. In the past four months, I’ve gone from being nearly a recluse who didn’t want to see anyone outside of my home, to this weekend when I was out and about with lots of other people and enjoyed every minute.

I went shopping with The Hub, met my sister for lunch at a busy restaurant then went with her to a jam-packed stage presentation. I left there and came home to cook dinner for The Hub and my artist friend Sarah Haas who was visiting from out of town and spent the night. Then today I went to church and then visited a friend in the hospital. I haven’t had a weekend that social in months, and that was months after the time before.

I’m starting to think that living social could be my norm again. Ridding my diet (my body) of grains, dairy, and sugars is undoubtedly the biggest factor for this uplifting change. I’m so thankful!

I’ve been grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and legume-free for 14 weeks, and while I haven’t lost a lot of weight (yet), I feel great. (I’m almost afraid to say that because I might jinx it.) But seriously, I not only feel the best I’ve felt in 14 weeks, I feel the best I’ve felt in years.

I’m counting my blessings!

  • My energy has returned and lasts all day
  • I’m sleeping better.
  • My body aches are gone, and thanks to the diet and to physical therapy, I’ve been pain-free (foot, back) for the last week.
  • I haven’t had a headache in I don’t know how long! I used to have intense headaches 3 or 4 days a week. I got those under control through chiropractic care and lots of ibuprofen. Even so, I still had horrid sinus headaches about 3 days a week that sapped my energy. Can’t remember the last headache I had. Or when I had it.
  • My anxiety is GREATLY decreased, and my chronic depression has lifted immeasurably (although not gone).
  • I have an overall sense of well-being.
  • I’m singing again, and listening to music again. I find myself singing when I’m loading the dishwasher or vacuuming.
  • My house is cleaner, less chaotic (because I have more energy and am less depressed).
  • I feel hopeful about the future. Huh. So THIS is what it feels like!

Do I still have down days and days of fatigue? Yup. But I have fewer of them and the time between them keeps getting longer. And, yes, I’ve had chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, massage, and have increased the exercise I get. I’m still taking medication for the depression and anxiety. All those have contributed to the recovery and healing I’m experiencing. I know I couldn’t have walked this path without my doctors, massage therapists, and physical therapists. They’re wonder-workers.

But the healing began in earnest on November 23, 2012 — the day I began my first Whole30. The Whole30 and Paleo lifestyles have changed my life. I’m a walking miracle. I’m living social again.

Incredibly Delicious Olive Oil Mayonnaise (gluten free, dairy free, Whole30 compliant, Paleo)

When I decided to do the Whole30 program and then decided to continue with the Paleo way of eating, one of the hardest things for me to find was mayonnaise that didn’t contain soybean oil, canola oil or some type of seed oil. Even the mayo that says “with olive oil” on the label still contains the undesirable oils and isn’t 100 percent olive oil.

So I decided to try making my own, and, man oh man! Am I glad I did. I will never go back to flavorless, lifeless, uninspiring store-bought mayonnaise again.

I don’t often leave well enough alone, especially with recipes. I always change something. But I got this recipe from All Recipes.com and I haven’t altered it one whit, except I double it when I make it.

Ingredients:

Yield: one cup. Prep time: 7-8 minutes.

1 egg (I’ve found that bringing it to room temperature first helps it emulsify faster.)

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbls. lemon juice

1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard

3/4 C. olive oil (use light olive oil, not the strong tasting extra virgin stuff – you’ll thank me later)

Salt and pepper to taste

The Process:

  1. Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice and mustard in the container of a blender or food processor.

    Olive Oil Mayonnaise -- except it doesn't have the olive oil in it yet.

    Olive Oil Mayonnaise — except it doesn’t have the olive oil in it yet.

    Blend until smooth, then blend on low speed while pouring the oil into the blender in a fine stream as the mixture emulsifies and thickens.

    This is what the olive oil mayo looks like after the olive oil has been poured very slowly into the egg mixture. Take your time and keep the blender going as you pour. It will thicken up beautifully!

    This is what the olive oil mayo looks like after the olive oil has been poured very slowly into the egg mixture. Take your time and keep the blender going as you pour. It will thicken up beautifully!

  2. Refrigerate.
  3. That’s it. Really. Your family is going to love this stuff!

    This olive oil mayonnaise is so good you'll never buy prepackaged again. It's so easy, you won't have to!

    This olive oil mayonnaise is so good you’ll never buy prepackaged again. It’s so easy, you won’t have to!

Whole30 Day 3 — I need a security blanket

My mom washed my blankie. I couldn't suck my thumb well without it -- I tried, but it something just wasn't quite right. Finally I found it, with its silky satin edging, drying on the clothesline!

My mom washed my blankie. I couldn’t suck my thumb well without it — I tried, but something just wasn’t quite right. Finally I found it, with its silky satin edging, drying on the clothesline!

Some days I wish I could just stand barefooted in the green grass in my old back yard, hold my soft blankie to my nose, and suck my thumb.

It would give me time to think. To plan. To process.

I need that time today when I’ll be attending not one but TWO lunch meetings. One at 11:30 for a board I serve on, and one at 1:30 for my writing group. Neither of which will have food I can have on Whole30 — one serves Jimmy John’s subs, the other is a mystery menu at the home of someone I’ve met only once. I’ve emailed her to find out the menu, but haven’t heard back.

And this is when pausing with the gentle fuzz of my security blanket against my face would come in handy. Instead, I sip my coffee with coconut milk in it, and ponder my P To The Third Power — Preliminary Plan for Provisions:

  1. The first lunch meeting isn’t much of an issue. I’ll eat a late breakfast, and that should carry me over nicely. I’m not nuts about sub sandwiches, anyway, especially the ones on bland white sub buns (sub glue), so that cold sandwich won’t be much of a tease. The only thing that might tempt me is the pop. Man, do I miss my diet pop some days! I haven’t had it since the day after Thanksgiving. Carbonated water helps with the craving for the bubbly, but not with my desire for the sweet stuff that burns all the way down. So, I’ll take my carbonated water, eat my late breakfast, and I’ll be fine. 
  2. The second lunch: I’ll be hungry by 1:30ish. Plus I’ll be going to a house where I’ve never been. And this is the first time of meeting with this new writing group, and there will be women there I’ve never met. I’m sure they’re all very nice, but it brings out the shyness in me that I suffered with as a kid (being shy is THE PITS! and when it crops up in my adult life — which is rarely, thank goodness — I feel it in my chest, shadowing me around, waiting to make me say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing… blah, blah, blah.). It’s just easier to eat. Even if it means eating stuff that makes me sick or messes up my Whole30 progress. For my entire life, hiding behind a food “blankie” has been my modus operandi. Why stop now?
  3. Why stop now? Because I’m ending the cycle. The cycle stops here. No more eating out of stress or fear or shyness. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full. And I choose choice fare — that fare that makes me healthier.
  4. So, at the risk of offending my host for my writing group who will be cooking for us today, my plan right now is to take a salad and my Whole30-compliant dressing and a couple of hard-boiled eggs for protein. I’ll leave everything in my car until I see what’s on the menu (so I don’t stir up a bunch of convo unnecessarily or bring a lot of attention to my shy self) and will get it if I need it. And I’ve learned that saying “I’m allergic,” is mostly true. After my first Whole30, I’m amazed at the foods I can no longer tolerate, like dairy and wheat and processed meats.
  5. This is a plan that will bring me good health, peace of mind, and purposeful intent over my life for this day. And I still get to re-fuel among friends. I’m good with that. I’m real good with it.