Monday, March 23, 2015

Vegetarian Lentil Soup *GF/DF*

In January, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend and her family who had recently moved to the San Bernardino National Forest. She and I were headed to a regional training the day after. The night I arrived, it was windy and cold. Thankfully no snow because I don't own any snow chains and the climb to the top of the mountain was steep and long! The weather held off until the day after our meeting... whew!

Convey Awareness | Vegetarian Lentil Soup

The night I arrived, she was making a lentil soup. It tasted great! It was a hearty soup for a cold night. YUM!

Recently, I thought about making some lentil soup. First, I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of lentils and many beans because of their texture, and because of this, I made sure to thoroughly rinse the lentils before and after cooking and before incorporating them into the final dish. 

Without further adieu, here is the recipe! The recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free but not grain free, due to the lentils (legumes / grains) and the optional rice.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Turkey and White Bean Chili

Sometimes throwing something together just works. Ever have that happen to you on a regular basis in the kitchen? I'm happy to report that this is happening to me far more frequently and that's great for my family because the meals are coming out YUM-O!

This recipe is a cinch! It's gluten, dairy, and grain free. Very simple ingredients and you can choose the quality of your ingredients (dried, canned, fresh, etc). Since I only started working with beans in the last year, I'm still eating them from a can but if you're really good at soaking and preparing them from a dried status, go for it! =)


Ingredients:
1 pound of ground turkey (no seasonings or added flavors)
3 large zucchini (shredded and drained)
1 medium red onion (finely diced; see note 2 for the tool I used; set aside)
1/2 to 1 full can of tomatoes with chilies (like this)
1-2 cans of white beans (rinsed and drained)
4 tsp cumin (like this)
2 tsp oregano (dry your own or like this; see note)
1 tsp salt 
1 tbs garlic (minced or 2 cloves finely chopped)
4 cups of broth (DIY here or choose a good boxed option like I did below)


Note 1: Save all your spices that come in glass containers. Remove the labels and reuse these for your own herbs that you dry out, chop, and store. =)

Preparation:
1. Brown the ground turkey and season it with salt, cumin, and oregano.

2. While turkey is cooking, prepare the zucchini. 

Note 2: You can use any food processor or if your knife skills are up to par, you'll dice the zucchini by hand. I use this (it's the mini) but when I have a large batch without paying attention to random sizes, I use this. After chopping zucchini, use a mesh bag and remove most of the water content. 


3. Add the garlic to the turkey and cook for a couple minutes before adding the zucchini. 

4. Cook zucchini for 3-5 minutes. 

5. Add tomatoes with chilies and rinsed beans. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes. 


6. Add the broth and cook on high. Stir as needed. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to medium and partially cover the chili allowing the broth to reduce. 

7. If you want there to be some broth left, cook for 25-30 minutes. Cook longer (about 45-55 minutes) if you'd like no broth to remain. Stir as needed. 


8. While broth is reducing, prepare your red onions and set aside. This will be your topping before serving. 

The chili has hints of kick and the onions lighten the heat a bit. My husband likes to add rice to the chili for added filling and satisfaction. I think the turkey & white bean chili tastes great on its own. You decide. Make it and let me know what you think it needs or if it is just right. 


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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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If you'd like to get one of those mini choppers, my friend is offering 10% off when you mention my blog, iConveyAwareness. Contact her at RidgecrestTW (@) gmail.com. {Please remove spaces.}

Monday, March 9, 2015

Whole Food Muffins Galore! *DF*

So, let's have some muffins for breakfast! Sure, we can do that! Only if the ingredients are known, wholesome, and nutrient dense though or it wouldn't be as guilt-free, right? Well, I'm sticking to that story at least. Join me? 

Today I'm sharing two new muffin recipes and a couple links to others I've shared in the past. Feel free to comment below with your favorite breakfast muffin. BTW, the two whole food muffin recipes below are dairy-free! 


First up: Coconut Oat Blueberry Muffins 





Ingredients:
1 cup quick oats (like this)
1 1/4 cup flour (like this)
1/2 cup sugar (like this)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt 
1 tbs shredded unsweetened coconut (like this); divided
1 egg (can use egg substitute)
1/2 cup coconut milk + 1 tbs (see note)
1/3 cup coconut oil (like this)
1 cup blueberries (frozen makes the batter PURPLE!) =)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Brown or Green Thumb?

My mom has a dark green thumb. She has always grown with much success house plants and over the last several years she has had a garden with abundant fruits and veggies. I don't have the pleasure of living near her but we talk about what's she growing and I used to think that I couldn't do that either until I got involved as a volunteer in the community garden.

Since May of 2014, I've been learning how to garden as a volunteer at the Ridgecrest Community Garden. A year ago, I killed lavender in a hanging basket. But today, I'm growing (with the help of other volunteers) organic veggies in.the.desert!! 

Last month, the director of my son's Montessori school asked me to take the lead on their spring garden. I informed them that I'm just starting but one of the teachers suggested me since I'm into nutrition and that I also advocate for families to eat more fruits and vegetables.


Convey Awareness | My first compost pile in the ground!

The same week that the school asked me to volunteer, my husband said yes to a compost pile in our yard just a day before the school's request. I love how things work out naturally. 

The school was given 4 raised beds 5'x3' and one of the beds we made into the compost pile because it already had the fruits that didn't make it last spring decomposing. There are over 100 children at the Montesssori school so I've created a curriculum of sorts to get all the kids involved in this growing season. I will blog about the project in the coming months.


Convey Awareness | Raised Beds - Garden Project at a Montessori

So why all this attention on growing in the soil when there's also an option to own a system that requires no soil?

Well, knowing how to avoid toxic chemicals while growing food is essential and growing potatoes and other root veggies in the ground needs enriched soil from untainted sources. And, since I have a brown thumb background, I feel building the soil proves to be more work albeit fruitful, it is more than owning and growing food on a Tower Garden - not only no soil but it also has proven to yield more fruits and vegetables (Univ of Mississippi). Plus, it's an honor to be chosen at my son's school for this project and I get more opportunities to work with the children cultivating a love of real food

Another reason I'm growing food in soil to start, is that I want to get more hands-on experience - plus, it's a great excuse to play in the dirt like these kids! 

Convey Awareness | Montessori students preparing the compost

Perhaps your school will be interested in some Tower Gardens moving forward or maybe you?! We can set up a GoFundMe account and coordinate your school efforts together. 

Place your new order here for a vertical gardening system with organic produce that can be grown indoors and outside. 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)


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