I Went a Little ‘Nuts’ in the Kitchen

 

I went a little nuts in the kitchen. Actually, completely and totally nuts…with nuts, almonds to be specific. I made four recipes in just a little over an hour. As usual, when I go a little crazy you end up with some delicious healthy recipes! 

Morning star smoothie, chocolate almond butter, dairy free cream of broccoli soup

So how did I make four recipes in just over an hour? Here’s how: I popped a potato in the oven and while it baked I whipped up two batches of my almond milk, one plain one vanilla…

Almond Milk from The Organic Kitchen

 

Then I used the vanilla almond milk to make this incredible breakfast smoothie called “The Morning Star”.

Morning star smoothie, chocolate almond butter, dairy free cream of broccoli soup

 

It’s made with carrots, spinach, oranges, banana and pumpkin seeds. I had to get pumpkin in there, it is October after all. This smoothie literally took 30 seconds to blend and was delicious.

Morning star smoothie, chocolate almond butter, dairy free cream of broccoli soup

 

Then I spent five minutes making this rich chocolate almond butter!

Nut Butter

 

Later in the day I spread it on some apples for a healthy late afternoon snack.

Chocolate Nut Butter

 

Three recipes down and my potato still had 45 minutes to bake, so I prepped the ingredients for my lunch.  I steamed broccoli and onion and when the potato was done I blended it all up to make the creamiest dairy free ‘Cream’ of Broccoli Soup ever! This recipe is going to make my dairy free friends very happy.

 'Cream' of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

 

What caused this sudden burst of inspiration?  Well, a few days ago this NutriBullet RX  arrived on my porch! Years ago I actually received a Magic Bullet as a gift from a friend but my husband took it to work to make individual size smoothies and I never saw it again. That’s ok though because this new version was worth the wait. The NutritBullet RX is more powerful than previous models, and comes with amazing new features: a small cup for single and double size portions, a family size pitcher for larger portions and a pitcher with a vented lid for making soups and hot drinks. Included was a fabulous cookbook overflowing with 150 healthy smoothie, soup, nut butter and hot drink recipes.

nurti bullet

 

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So here are the recipes I chose from the cookbook. All were super easy and all contained healthy ingredients, I hardly improvised at all…which if you know me, is a rarity.  

 

The Recipe: The Morning Star Smoothie

You will need  almond milk (<—my recipe)

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Morning Star Smoothie
 
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An easy to make morning smoothie high in fiber AND Vitamins A and C.
Author:
Cuisine: breakfast
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1½ bananas (I like mine frozen)
  • 2 T pumpkin seeds
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 medium carrot sticks
  • 2 T plant based protein powder
  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk (my homemade recipe linked above)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend till smooth.

 

 

The Recipe: Chocolate Almond Butter

You will need: Sea salt (raw cacao powder (pronounced ka-kow). Raw cacao powder contains a naturally rich supply of antioxidants and is a good source of dietary fiber!  The NutritBullet RX  cookbook comes with 10 recipes for all kinds of nut butters made from scratch. But you can also experiment and come up with your own version. I actually cheated by using almond butter I already had in the pantry and simply added raw honey and raw cacao powder, then I just blended it up! In this case, cheaters do prosper.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Almond Butter
 
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A chocolate almond nut butter. You can spread it on apples, bananas, or French toast!
Author:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 2 T cacao powder
  • 3 T raw honey
  • 1 T water
  • 1 T coconut oil (if needed for consistency)
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in Nutribullet and blend till smooth. Scrape down sides and blend again. If needed add coconut oil and blend for a smoother consistency.

 

The Recipe: Cream of Broccoli  Soup (dairy free)

I followed this recipe from the NutriBullet RX  cookbook to a T… almost. When I make a pureed soup I like to reserve some of the vegetables and give them a rough chop so there are recognizable chunks of vegetable in the soup. I did that here. Again you will need  almond milk (<—my recipe) 

5.0 from 2 reviews
'Cream' of Broccoli Soup
 
A rich creamy dairy free soup... you will never miss the cream!
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • ⅓ Cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 small russet potato, baked and allowed to cool for 30 minutes
  • 2 bunches broccoli florets (about 6 cups) steamed
  • 2 cups plain almond milk (my recipe linked above)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bake potato till fork goes in easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. While potato cools, steam broccoli and onions for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove skin from potato and place in blender.
  4. Add about four cups of broccoli to blender and reserve two cups for later.
  5. Add almond milk and seasonings to blender. Use the soup feature and blend for 7 minutes.
  6. While soup blends roughly chop the broccoli you set aside.
  7. When soup is done, pour into bowls and top with chopped steamed broccoli.

 

So much food…so little time. If you enjoyed these free recipes please sign up for my newsletter!~ Linda Spiker

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MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?

Disclosure: We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! Also, if you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker

post tags: vegan, dairy free, grain free, gluten free

 

Hearty Beef and Barley Soup

 

A delicious hearty soup is a thing of beauty. Nourishing, warm, comforting and satisfying.

Beef Barley Soup

Our grandmothers… or great grandmothers as the case may be, wasted nothing. If they made a chicken or a roast, they then made broth from the bones and from that broth they used what was on hand to make a soup. We could learn a thing or two (or 50) from these wise women. 

That is what I do with this amazing Beef Barley Soup. It is a multi step process and I will lead you through it one step at a time. 

Let’s Talk Stock

Making your own broth is not a difficult thing to do. It cooks literally as you live your life. It can be made on the cook top or the crock pot. All you need is water, bones, vegetables and some herbs. I have a complete tutorial here. But before we make stock we need bones. I roast a chicken almost every Sunday (recipes here, here and here). I use the bones and giblets to make stock, and then I make soup (recipes here, here and here). In the case of beef broth, if you are making a beef dish that has the ‘bones in’ you can use those bones or you can go to the butcher and get soup bones. I prefer to roast the bones and then make broth with them. It makes the broth richer, smell better and taste better. 

Beef Stock


Beef broth will have a thick layer on top. That is fat and gelatin. And THAT is exactly what you want! Bone broth is mineral rich. It contains vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed by the body including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine, and a variety of trace minerals. Gelatin also supports healthy digestion. Broth has natural anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits infections…hence it is commonly referred to as  “Jewish Penicillin”.

Beef Broth Recipe

You will need: A stock pot (<—I love that one). Mason jars and ice trays with lids for storage. (Affiliate links)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Beef Broth
 
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Author:
Serves: 10-12 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds beef bones, roasted
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 T whole peppercorns
  • sea salt, few pinches and then more if needed when broth is finished
  • 1 T herbs de provence
  • 1 bunch parsley
Instructions
  1. Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 225 degrees.
  2. Place beef bones on rimmed cookie sheet.
  3. Place in oven, turning bones every 20 minutes for an hour and a half.
  4. Remove from oven and place in stock pot or crock pot filled with filtered water.
  5. Add 1 T apple cider vinegar and let sit for an hour. (this helps release minerals)
  6. Then add all other ingredients to pot and bring to a boil, lower to simmer, place the lid on and leave for 18-24 hours (if using a crock pot just place on high and leave it there)
  7. Turn off heat and allow to cool a bit.
  8. Place a strainer on top of a large bowl. Pour broth through strainer into bowl.
  9. Then pour into mason jars (and ice cubes trays for recipes using small amounts).
  10. Use immediately of freeze for later use. Make sure broth is completely cool before freezing and only fill jars ¾ full to avoid cracking.

 

Okay we covered the broth aspect of this soup. Now for the meat! I usually make my beef soups with the leftovers from this savory beef dish. But you can make it from any beef dish you choose.

IMG_4558 copyrswm

And last we put it all together!

Now we take our beautiful rich broth, leftover beef and add vegetables, grains herbs etc…these can be anything you have on hand or you can follow my recipe below. And voila! Just like grandma you have a hearty rich soup that nourishes your family and wastes nothing!

Beef Barley Soup 1

 

All dishes and accessories are from Williams-Sonoma. Other great deals at Williams-SonomaUp to 65% Off Wusthof Gourmet Cutlery , Over 45% Off Breville Juicers & Ships Free , 20% Off Stainless-Steel Cookware & Cooks’ Tools. Free Shipping with code SHIP4FREE.

The Recipe: Hearty Beef Barley Soup

5.0 from 2 reviews
Hearty Beef and Barley Soup
 
Prep time
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A hearty and easy to make soup. I recommend homemade broth (really, really) but you can use store bought if it just isn't going to happen:)
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
  • ¾ cups barley cooked to package instructions
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 2 cups leftover beef, shredded
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook barley to package instructions.
  2. When barley is close to being done bring broth to a boil.
  3. Add carrots, celery and onion to broth.
  4. Turn heat down to simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes (or until veggies are soft)
  5. Add kale, meat, cooked barley and cayenne pepper.
  6. Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes.
  7. Add sea salt or pepper to taste.
  8. Serve

 

MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?

Disclosure: We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! Also, if you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker

 

Wickedly Delicious Caramel Apples

 

I may not be a witch (well, I guess that depends on who you talk to) but I am about to cast a spell on all who dare to enter my web (domain) today. These wickedly delicious caramel apples are made the old fashioned way… 

Wickedly Delicous Caramel Apples

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

…with apples fit to poison a princess…

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

…and dipped in caramel boiled in a cauldron. Ok, so maybe it’s a Calphalon pot…(cackle, cackle)

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

And while the caramel is still warm the apples are rolled in eye of newt, wool of bat or witchever (<—see what I did there?) toppings you choose my pretty!

Not sure you can do it you say? DON’T MAKE ME RELEASE THE FLYING MONKEYS!

I kept this bewitching recipe simple by choosing toppings you can easily sweep together with your broom! The only boil, boil, toil and trouble required is making the caramel. 

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

Of course you could just make plain caramel apples….

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

But why would you when you could make something more attractive to the eye, and soothing to the smell….like poppies, poppies….(Wizard of Oz Fans will get it)

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

 

Kitchen Mill, Blendtec

The Recipe: Wickedly Delicious Caramel Apples

You will need: A good cauldron (preferably with a rounded bottom), a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, popsicle sticks, sea salt (if making salted caramel) and wax paper. Watch this video! It will really help when it comes to making the caramel and give you tips on staying safe! The recipe on the video is for caramel sauce, use the recipe below for apples.

Wickedly Delicious Caramel Apples
 
Prep time
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Amazing and easy to make caramel apples . You can choose your toppings, use my variations listed below, leave them plain or even make salted caramel! Be sure to watch my video tutorial before making caramel! Link above. Caramel is very hot. Make sure all ingredients are measured before starting and keep kids away from hot caramel. The kids can help with the toppings:) Do NOT use a rubber spatula, it will melt.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 6-8 green apples
  • 1 T coconut oil or butter (to grease wax paper)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • half stick butter
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • (1 tsp sea salt if making salted caramel)
  • My Topping Combinations:
  • Trader Joe's Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Dark Chocolate Chunks
  • Peanuts and dark chocolate chunks
  • Chopped dried cranberries, apricots and walnuts
  • Shredded coconut, almonds and chocolate chunks,
  • Mini white chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts
  • Dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Before making caramel, combine all your toppings and set out in shallow dishes. Wash apples well and dry. Twist off stem and push popsicle sticks into the top of the apple. Use a paper towel to wipe wax paper with coconut oil or butter. If you place the caramel apples directly on to wax paper you will have a sticky mess.
  2. For caramel:
  3. Place sugar in a heavy bottomed fairly deep pan on med/high heat.
  4. Use a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to push sugar around.
  5. As it melts, it will first start to clump, then crystallize and finally become liquid. This takes about five minutes.
  6. When sugar is completely melted and the color of caramel, carefully add butter (watch video for tips).
  7. The butter will bubble up…hence the fairly deep pan. Stir till butter is melted.
  8. When butter is completely melted, turn off heat.
  9. Carefully add cream in a slow and consistent drizzle while stirring.
  10. When caramel is smooth add sea salt (optional), stir. Let caramel rest for three minutes before dipping apples.
  11. To Dip Apples:
  12. Carefully bring pot of caramel near apples and toppings.
  13. Tilt the pot with one hand while dipping an swirling apple with the other.
  14. Lift apple out of caramel and continue to turn the apple (being very careful apple doesn't fall of stick and splatter hot caramel) for 30 seconds until caramel begins to harden.
  15. Roll in your choice of topping. Sometimes I sprinkle the topping too. Rolling can get a little messy.
  16. Set apple on greased wax paper and repeat with next apple. When completely cool, slice and serve.

 

You could serve the apples on the stick, but it’s not my first choice because pointy green noses tend to get in the way. What a world! What a world!

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

If you serve them sliced, everyone can have a taste of each of the toppings…you, your friends and your mangey dog too!

Wickedly delicious caramel apples and toppings from The Organic Kitchen

Now be gone! You have no power here! Cackle, cackle, I’m melting…insert other stereotypical witch stuff…etc..

For fabulously creepy Halloween ideas check out Collections from Provisions by Food52 !

favorite cookbooks

MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?

Disclosure: We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! Also, if you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker

Healthy School Lunch Menus : Part 3

 

I have six new healthy school lunch menus for you today! All these lunches are packed in the eco friendly, dishwasher safe, sturdy Planet Box!

Real Food School Lunches ~ Part 3

 

Just a note to parents: these lunch ideas are intended to give busy parents inspiration and new ideas and are in no way designed to put guilt or burden on busy moms and dads! Quite the opposite. I am hoping to make your life easier. I remember standing in the kitchen, exasperated thinking ‘what can I pack today?!’ I want to relieve you of that burden by giving you a variety of healthy, easy options. In my first and second posts in this series (found here and here) I share time saving ideas and tips on getting kids to eat well so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time cleaning house enjoying your kids!

The Buttered Noodle Bonanza!

Once again I am utilizing leftovers and easy to pack foods. Of course, the PlanetBox keeps all these delicious lunch items separate and there is no waste because there is no need to use plastic baggies. The PlanetBox also comes with a cold pack to keep lunches chilled.

Real Food School Lunch

This healthy lunch idea contains my easiest pasta ever, just use leftovers from the night before and choose the ‘butter option’…kids love noodles and butter! I also packed dried mango, pomegranate seeds, some Applegate Farm Chicken Apple Sausages (which taste great cold) and bell peppers with a little guacamole.

You can use my guacamole recipe…but I am going to tell you a little timesaving secret. Trader’s Joe’s sells a fresh guacamole that can be frozen and used as you need. It’s called Avocado’s number and only has five ingredients, avocados, jalapeno, sea salt, onion and vinegar. I freeze it in ice cube trays, pop it out and put it in the leak proof containers from Planetbox! It will be thawed and ready for dipping a few hours later when your child eats lunch.

planet box containers

 

That’s a Wrap!

Healthy school lunches from The Organic Kitchen

It doesn’t get much easier than this! Pack half of my Strawberry Chicken Wrap (you can eat the other half if you aren’t packing lunches for two!)  an organic all fruit ‘leather’, half a banana with some Justin’s Almond Honey Butter for dipping and a yogurt pretzel!

The Thanksgiving Lunch!

Real Food Lunches for School

Again, you’ll be giving thanks because this one is easy as pie! Organic turkey slices with apricot preserves (remember kids love to dip!) pumpkin/carrot loaf, fruit medley, spiced pumpkin seeds (fromTrader Joe’s and they are delish!) And last but not least, sugar snap peas.

The Couscous Caboose

Healthy lunch ideas fro kids

Again so easy! Make my Apple Couscous the night before for dinner, pop the leftovers in the spill proof container from PlanetBox, and just assemble the rest! Beef and turkey jerky, banana chips and carob almonds, apple sauce, and a smidge of soft licorice!

The “Teacher’s Pet”

healthy lunch ideas

It’s hard to see here but there is diced fresh herbed mozzarella mixed in with shredded rotisserie chicken (make mine or buy one at the store). The cheese is soft and mild but adds just a little flavor to the chicken! The kids love it. You can find herbed mozzarella in the deli section at the grocery store.  Add a melon/berry medley, two mini muffins, a small apple and a few mini PB cups for ‘dessert’ and you have an easy well rounded meal. Time saving tip!  Make mini biscuits or muffins ahead of time and freeze them. Pull them out the night before and pack them for lunch after they thaw. (Click for my banana nut muffin recipe or cheddar biscuit recipe)

The “You Know How I Roll” lunch for the sushi loving kid

Healthy lunch

This idea was inspired by a couple of my friends who have children that love sushi so much they eat it as their school lunch. It’s easy because you can pick it up at your grocer’s sushi stand! Choose your child’s favorite sushi roll, dice some honeydew, shred some rotisserie chicken, and balance it all out with some veggies and dip. And for dessert we are sticking with the theme: crystalized ginger.  

For more amazing lunch Ideas for older and younger children click here and here

If you would like to take a look at the selection of eco friendly, dishwasher safe PlanetBoxes just click the banner below!

 

MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?

Disclosure: We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! Also, if you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker

Simple Lemon Pasta with Walnuts

 

Simplicity is underrated.

I love simple. And this simple pasta is perfection all by itself or served as a side dish. It takes minutes to cook and it’s budget friendly too.

The Organic Kitchen Simple Lemon Pasta with Walnuts: six ingredients, 15 minutes.

Simple Pasta with Lemon and Walnuts


Spaghetti noodles tossed with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, parsley, and walnuts seasoned with just the right amount of sea salt, that’s it.

Simple Pasta with Lemon and Walnuts 2

 

THE RECIPE: Simple Pasta with Lemon and Walnuts

You will need: A stock potsea salt (buy the tub, it’s a real money saver), a microplane for zesting citrus, a handheld juicer for juicing citrus, a good quality knife. (affiliate links)

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Lemon Pasta with Walnuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A very simple bare bones pasta that can be served alone or as a side dish to any beef, chicken or fish dish. You are welcome to use more or less lemon juice/zest depending on your preference. If you prefer you can melt butter instead of using olive oil. Kids love noodles with butter! I have even done a combination of the two and love it.
Author:
Recipe type: Main or Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 16 oz spaghetti, cooked to package instructions
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter)
  • zest of three small lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • two handfuls of walnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Place a large stock pot with salted water to boil
  2. While waiting for water to boil, zest and juice lemons and chop parsley.
  3. Whisk together olive oil (or melted butter), lemon juice and zest.
  4. Cook pasta to package directions. Remove when al dente ("to the tooth" firm but nor undercooked) Strain in colander. Do Not Rinse.
  5. Pour pasta onto a platter, drizzle with olive oil (or butter) mixture and toss.
  6. Add walnuts, parsley, a few pinches of sea salt, toss well.
  7. Garnish with additional parsley and lemon zest if desired,
  8. Taste and add more or anything you think it needs!

 

Dishes and accessories from my favorite store Shop Anthropologie!

Simple Lemon Pasta with Walnuts

 

MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?

Disclosure: We small bloggers need all the help we can get. Subscribing and sharing on social media is very appreciated! Also, if you make any purchases using Amazon I would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page (highlighted in this post or the Amazon banner in right sidebar). Your cost remains the same but I receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. Thanks for your support! ~ Linda Spiker

Post tags: dairy free, 15 minute dinner