Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Spicy Tuscan Bean Soup with Kale

  • 2 TB Widltree European Dipping Oil, Tuscan
  • 1 cup chopped peppers (any and/or all colors)
  • 2 cups diced onion (any and/or all colors)
  • 1 cups diced celery (If it's not green, it's probably not celery.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 32 oz. container of Chicken or Veggie Stock OR                                                                              4 cups water + 4 TB Wildtree Chicken or Veggie Bouillon Soup Base*
  • 15 oz. can of Cannellini Beans
  • 15 oz. can of Great Northern Beans
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp. Wildtree Hot & Spicy Fra Diavolo blend
  •  4 cups kale, stems removed and chopped

  • Heat the grapeseed oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the veggies & the lemon juice and cook until onion is translucent, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Chicken or Veggie stock (or Bouillon), beans, bay leaves, tomato sauce, and Hot & Spicy Fra Diavolo blend and stir.
  • Cover and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes. (I left mine simmering on the stove for 45 minutes until my husband came home from work.)
  • Ten minutes before serving, add kale and continue cooking on low heat until kale is wilted.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve with crusty artisan bread (or in my case, gluten free crackers) spread with Wildtree Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Spread.

So good! This was a perfect meal for a freezing Minnesota winter night.  This soup can be made Vegetarian by simply using vegetable stock, or you can use chicken stock and add 4 ounces of cooked spicy Italian sausage for an extra kick! You can also use pretty much any veggies you want, I just used up what was left over from the holidays in my fridge.  Sweet potatoes would be a great addition to this soup!

*Please note that the Wildtree bouillon soup bases are NOT gluten free.  I used Kirkland Organic Chicken stock from Costco.

For the original recipe, please visit:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cajun Basil Winter Squash

Cajun Basil Winter Squash (with vegan option)

My mom sent me this recipe a couple of years ago.  I can't believe I haven't gotten it on to my blog until now- it's so good!  (Oh wait, maybe it's because I'm horrible at blogging. ;o)  Anyway, here it is now.  It is perfect for a snowy winter day!

Preheat oven to 400.

You will need:

1 medium size winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc.)
 1 small onion/chopped
1/4 cup Wildtree Butter Grapeseed Oil
1 T sugar (or xylitol)
1 clove garlic/chopped
1/2 t Wildtree Cajun Seasoning 
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2+ T chopped fresh basil or 2tsp. dried basil

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds, set aside.  Sauté remaining ingredients, adding the basil just before it goes into the squash.  Place cut halves open side up in a 9x9 glass baking dish or anything that will hold them. Fill dish half full with water.  Fill with 1/2 the mixture per each. Bake 1 hr. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stir Fry Sauce

My parents made this stir fry sauce when we were up there for Christmas and I loved it.  I have included my dad's version as well as my modified, slightly healthier version.  Enjoy!

Dadoo's Stir Fry Sauce

2 T soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 T rice wine or dry cooking sherry
1 t white sugar (or Xylitol)
4 T brown sugar
2 T katsup
1 T chili powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 t sesame oil
1 t Five Spice powder
2 t ginger powder

2 t cornstarch mixed in to 2 oz chicken broth

Add all ingredients (except cornstarch mixture) to sauce pan and while stirring bring to a boil.  Boil for about one minute. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling mixture in sauce pan.  Cook just 'till thickened.

Jenni's Stir Fry Sauce
2 T Tamari, Coconut Aminos,  or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Xylitol
2 T Organic Ketchup
1 T chili powder (more or less to taste)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Five Spice power
2 tsp. powdered ginger

2 tsp cornstarch plus 2 oz. chicken broth

Add all ingredients except cornstarch and chicken broth to sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Boil for about one minute.  Mix cornstarch in to chicken broth.  Add mixture to ingredients in sauce pan.  Cook until sauce starts to thicken.  Serve with your favorite stir fry meats and veggies.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A whole new chapter...

Hi Everyone!
Just a quick note that has nothing to do with food or health, although I have lots five pounds doing it- we are having a HUGE garage sale and I would love it if you could come!  Hope to see you there!

HUGE multiple family yard sale, so big the garage couldn't contain it all! NEW ITEMS ARRIVING DAILY!!! Baked goods and homemade crafts! Thursday, September 19th through Saturday, September 21st from 8 AM to 6* PM. (*Time extended an extra hour!) Look for the neon pink Garage Sale signs. CLOTHES (Mens, Womens, Children, and Juniors). STROLLER. BABY SWING. INFANT CAR SEAT (Exp. 8/2014). TOYS. FURNITURE. HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. HOME DECOR. BOOKS. GARDEN TOOLS. SPORTS EQUIPMENT. BOOKS. JEWELRY. MINI BLINDS. BATHROOM FAUCET... Everything but the bathroom sink! **Cash only, please. No checks or credit/debit cards.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chop and Drop Simple Veggie Soup

Recently my husband and I did a ten day vegan-style cleanse and during that time I had a lot of odds and ends of vegetables in my fridge.  I had also picked up several boxes of veggie stock (I'm to impatient to make my own, ) and I was in the mood to use our Crock-Pot.  Here's what happened next...

I used these ingredients:
One box of Vegetable Stock* (or 32 ounces)
Two sweet potatoes, cubed (2 cups)
Five large carrots, chopped (2 cups)
One bunch of green onion, chopped (1 cup)
Fresh green beans, cut to 1" pieces (3 cups)
a half bag of frozen organic corn I found in the freezer (2 cups)
Pureed tomatoes from our garden that I froze last fall (2 cups)
Olive oil (1 TBS)
Two cloves of garlic, pressed
Juice from one lemon
2 Bay Leaves
And one teaspoon each of dried parsley, dried basil, and herb de province

After all my chopping, cubing and dicing, I just dropped it all in to my Crock-Pot and set it on low for seven hours (ready in time for dinner that evening).  I was a little worried that some of the veggies would either get too mushy or not get cooked well enough.  I had no idea how it would taste, but the house smelled amazing.

Seven hours later, I sat down to the best bowl of veggie soup I've ever had!  The beauty of this recipe is that you can throw in whatever veggies you have on hand, even those half full bags of green beans and corn you have left over in the freezer!

For those of us who need a definitive recipe to help us get started, here you go:

Chop and Drop Fresh Veggie Soup
Active Time: 30 minutes (more or less depending on how fast you can chop veggies)
Cook Time:  4-6 hours on high, 7-8 hours on low (depending on when dinner time is)

32 ounces vegetable stock*
1 TBS olive oil
two cloves of garlic, pressed
juice from one lemon, or 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 Bay Leaves (remove leaves before serving the soup)
1 tsp dried parsley or 1 TBS fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil or 1 TBS fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp herb de provence
2 cups potato (any kind) cubed
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion, any kind
2-3 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut in to 1 inch pieces
2 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh* (not canned)
2 cups pureed tomatoes, any kind (I just put the tomatoes in my food processor for a few seconds, then drop them in the soup.)

Combine all ingredients in a 5 quart Crock-Pot or slow cooker and cook on low for seven to eight hours or on high for four to six hours.  Remove bay leaves and serve.

* Be sure to check in ingredient label for extra preservatives and additives in anything boxed, frozen, or canned.  With all ingredients, fresh and organic is the best option.  If you can find non-GMO corn, that is even better.   I can't always afford that, so I do as much as I can. 

One other thing to consider, take a look at the ingredient list above and then compare it with the ingredient list for Progesso Vegetable Classics Garden Vegetable:
Ingredients: Water, Potatoes, Carrots, Tomato Puree (water, tomato paste), Tomatoes, Corn, Celery, Kidney Beans, Green Beans. Contains less than 2% of: Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sugar, Vegetable Juice Concentrates (carrot, celeriac, red beet, lettuce, spinach, citric acid, natural flavor), Onion, Potassium Chloride, Corn Protein (hydrolyzed), Dried Parsley, Spice, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Calcium Chloride, Yeast Extract.

I know it takes extra time, but the lack of scientific-sounding chemicals and additives in my food is worth it to me.  And I think it tastes much better, even without the added salt and sugar!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my awesome** husband and I do!

** = this is what happens when I ask my awesome husband to proof read my blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ten Things I Learned Since Going Gluten Free

One of the unexpected benefits of being on this complicated journey with food and food restrictions is the ability to help other people in their own journeys with food, food allergies, sensitivities, and restrictions.  Every time someone asks me for information or perspective regarding this journey, it helps me feel like there is a bigger purpose in it and it is not just something that I have to deal with alone.  It is a club that no one really wants to join, but if life signs you up with a membership against your will, it is nice to know that you are not on this journey alone.

Today a friend asked me about going gluten free and wanted to know "How difficult is it, really?"  She told me why she was interested in trying it and asked about the best way to go about it.  Since she is not the first person to ask me this question, I thought it was about time I wrote about it on my blog!

So.  Going gluten free.  How hard is it really?  I'll be totally honest, the first few weeks were not fun and I had meltdowns on a regular basis.  Take everything you think you know about the food you eat and throw it out the window.  You have to relearn how to shop for your food.  You have to read EVERY label and research every restaurant before you go to see if they have a menu and facility that can accommodate a gluten free diet.  I have been gluten free for almost a full year and I am still learning the ins and outs of this gluten free lifestyle.

The level of difficulty varies based on your level of gluten intolerance- someone with Celiac Disease ( has to be much more diligent and careful than someone who is simply trying out the gluten free diet to see if it will help.  If the server at a restaurant messes up my order and brings my burger out with the bun on it, I am able to simply remove the offending bun and don't have to send my burger back and have them cook me a new burger.  (This happened to a friend of mine who does have Celiac and she had to send the burger back twice.)  I can handle fries that are cooked in the same oil as things with flour, but if they have actually coated the fries with flour (to make them more crispy?) than that does not work so well for me.

Which leads me to my next point- what works for me and my gluten free diet might not work for you.  I have come to realize just how individual and personal a person's diet is and, like gluten free flour blends, it is not one size fits all.  That being said, here are some things that I have learned since going gluten free.

1.  Commit to at least one full month of going GF.  Everyone told me that I would feel "so much better!" after just a few days.  Well, it took me a few weeks.  If I had given up after that first week or two because I wasn't feelin' it yet, I would have missed out on getting to that point where I did feel better.

2.  Find a mentor.  I was very blessed to have several friends who had already gone gluten free and they were a huge help and encouragement to me.

3.  Find what works best for YOU.  There will be so much conflicting information and everyone will be trying to sell you the "best" way to eat GF, but you have to find what works best for you, your circumstances, and your preferences.

4.  Find new ways of doing the things you love.  Love pasta?  Try brown rice or corn pasta.  Can't bear to give up cookies and cupcakes?  Check out Elana's Pantry or many of the other dedicated GF cooking websites out there.

5.  Take it one day at a time.  There is so much to process, and learn, and relearn that you will most likely feel overwhelmed at first.  If you "mess up" and realize that you missed something on a label and accidentally had gluten, don't worry.   Just learn from the mistake and move forward.

6.  If you are like me, at some point you will most likely need to stop doing research in to every single aspect of GF living and just start living.  I had to give up the need to know every thing there was to know about it (read every new article, every new idea that came out there) and just live my life.

7.  Trust that what you are doing is good for your body.  So much of the wheat products that we consume in our culture are so highly processed that they barely resemble food anymore.  Wheat, in and of itself, is not the real culprit.  It's what we have done to wheat and the amount with which we consume it that is the real problem.  Cutting out wheat and wheat products is going to lead you in a  healthier direction, and it can open your eyes to a whole new way of eating that is much healthier than our Standard American Diet of junk food and drive-though dinners.

8.  Be careful not to assume that just because something is gluten free it is inherently healthier.  There is plenty of unhealthy, gluten free junk food out there!

9.  It will take time to learn all the tricks of the trade and a little trial and error on your part.  Things like which GF flour blend to use (it depends on what you are making), how to store Udi's GF bread (in the freezer!), and how long you can store almond flour (3 months in the fridge, up to 6 in the freezer- it goes bad if you leave it in the cupboard) are a few of the details I had to learn the hard way.

10.  Believe that you can do this.  Realize how much you have most likely been taking food for granted and be thankful that you able to take this step to reclaim your diet.  Just being able to go on a GF diet is a luxury that many people in this country can't afford.  It is expensive, especially at first as you figure out what works and what doesn't, but it is worth it.

I hope that this helps you if you are starting out on the GF journey.  I know it can be difficult, but hang in there- it's worth it!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012
One of the side benefits of being on the Candida Diet, and eating much healthier in general, is weight loss.  I lost over 25 pounds in 2012 by cutting out sugars and eating whole foods.  I did not increase my exercise routine, I didn't starve myself, and I did not eat a low-fat diet.  Still, it was not easy.  It does take commitment and dedication, but for my health it is totally worth it!  My migraines have lessened, my sensitives are way down, and I am just much more healthy in general.

My goals for my health in 2013 are to continue eating healthy, whole foods and to increase the amount that I exercise.  Since I have been reintroducing whole grains and dairy into my diet, I know it will be important to keep my metabolism going if I want to not regain the weight I've lost and to just be and feel healthier in general.  I feel I am getting close to finding the end of the Candida Diet maze, but I am also realizing that getting out "the maze" is just the beginning.  Healthy eating is not a maze to be solved, rather it is a journey to be traveled.  It is a journey that I am learning to enjoy and one I hope that you will join me on.  Trust me, it is worth it!