I know, I know…it’s July and here in San Diego, it’s about 88 today. Not exactly ideal soup weather. BUT, for some reason a hearty meatball soup was what I craved, and while I do have to turn on the stove, I don’t have to use 1,000 dishes OR turn on the oven. Thus, a quick easy soup it is!
Little back story, I’ve been eating an elimination diet for about 2 weeks. While I’ve never had extreme digestive issues or skin issues, I’ve had occasional rashes and hives that have made me suspicious over the years. I finally decided that it was time to bite the bullet and try it out. That means: no sugar (honey or otherwise, besides those from some fruits), dairy, eggs, soy products, corn, alcohol, coffee (whoops, I started back at that yesterday), nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, etc.), pork, beef, aspartame, “natural flavors”, citrus (except lemon), wheat and gluten. Phew. It’s kind of a lot. And considering sugar is my love, there have been a few, errrr many, moments of serious cravings, not to mention a gnarly headache and lethargy the first few days. But, since then, it’s been pretty good. Not a whole lot of change, besides my diet, but I will start to slowly re-introduce foods, one at a time, later this week.
As one can imagine, eating is an adjustment. While I maintain a fairly balanced, healthy diet, I don’t follow a super restrictive diet. If I want a cookie, I eat it. If pasta is what I crave, I order it. And an Old Fashioned? Hek yes. So, it’s been a downer to go to a restaurant and literally NOT be able to order ANYTHING because that’s how much stuff gets put into food. It’s both frustrating and sobering. I’ve become quite creative and savvy at creating delicious NOT boring recipes to eat and enjoy throughout the week. Prep is key. You will not be able to go to many stores or restaurants and eat what everyone else eats. If you’re not prepared, you’ll be starving and more likely to say Fudge It and eat that chocolate cake. So, folks, stock up on your tupperware and get packin’!
Alright, so now that the background is in place, here’s what I made tonight: Hearty Turkey Meatball Soup. And since I obviously need to prep for my week, I prolonged the life of my pound of turkey by adding brown rice and tons of veggies…you’ll have almost a 1/3 more meatball, tons more nutrition and flavor to boot! I can’t have boxed soup stock, so I made mine as I went and it was delicious. Just ask my 7-year old who chowed 2 bowls and asked for a 3rd. A few ingredients, a little time and you’ll be enjoying this soup all week long (and hopefully in a slightly cooler house than mine)!
• 2 Tbsp of coconut or walnut oil (I used walnut)
• 1/4 – 1/2 diced onion, whatever you have on hand
• 2 celery stalks, diced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 1 Bay leaf
• S & P to taste
• Roughly 1 lb. of your favorite ground turkey
• 1 clove of garlic minced
• 1 carrot, diced
• Handful of green beans, diced (or whatever green veggie you want to add)
• 1-2 Tbsp EVOO
• 1/3-1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
• S & P to taste
Heat a deep pot to medium high and add oil. Toss in all your veggies for broth and bay leaf, cooking until onions and celery are soft. Add in about 5 cups of filtered water (I honestly didn’t measure, but it’s probably close to that. I have a large dutch oven and filled it about half way) and stir. Cover, turn down to simmer, and let it roll for at least a half hour. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors merry. Meanwhile, prepare your meatballs. In a medium bowl, combine all the veggies for meatballs, EVOO, brown rice, S & P and ground turkey. With your hands, combine ingredients until veggies are evenly distributed throughout meat. Form into small round balls about 1.5 inches in diameter. Again, I’m not one for measuring so use your own discretion. I wanted a smaller, more bite size ball, and figured they’d last longer if I made them smaller. Take plate of meatballs to stove and slowly place in broth. I had extra, so I cooked them separately in pan for later use (thinking longterm meals). Cover and let simmer until inside of meatball is opaque and fully cooked. The veggies I used in meat were raw, so they’ll still have some crunch and texture even after cooked, but I like that. If you don’t, pre-cook your veggies in a pan. Ladle into bowl and devour.
I was trying to come up with a clever post title. It’s, well, cheesy, like the dinner below that I made tonight.
I am not Paleo. Or Vegan. Or vegetarian. Or gluten-free. Or anything else. I am an equal opportunity eater. And I don’t have a problem with any of those eaters, either. What I love, is gaining inspiration from them all. I may not be paleo, but I can certainly learn something from them. I love all the creative recipes vegans come up with for meat replacements. And, all the crazy ways that you can make a “noodle” out of a vegetable. WHO KNEW!?
So, tonight, I took a cue from everyone (except vegans): Cauliflower “MAC” and Cheese. It’s vegetarian, sorta paleo and pretty much gluten free. I didn’t measure, so no recipe specifics, but it goes something like this:
- make a roux with butter, flour (coconut flour or arrowroot for orthodox folks), can of coconut cream and cheese
- mix cauliflower with roux, cover with a bit more cheese and bread crumbs or finely chopped nuts and broil till browned
I’m pretty stoked on this because,
A) I thought coconut cream was best suited for Thai food or a fancy tropical cocktail, and it totally DIDN’T take over the flavor of the dish, but made it that much more cream-tastic
B) I found one more crazy way that cauliflower could be transformed into something other than an opaque, white blob that smells like farts when cooked.
Oh, and it tastes good and it’s moderately good for you.
Maybe a detailed recipe will show up soon, but if you’re interested, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, enjoy this pale-hoax, vegetarian meal!
I think fairly often about my blog. I love sharing, even if the sharing is more about my fumbling towards being a more whole, joyful human. But sometimes, honestly, the whole blogging thing can go from fun to obligatory when you’re trying to generate business and effectively market yourself.
Today, after a long, much needed break, it doesn’t feel forced. It felt very natural to log on and write. And what better way than to write about FOOD!
I played around in the kitchen and, fortunately, these muffins turned out the first time. That’s rare. As I’ve become more aware about my own food habits, and been supporting my sister with her recent Celiac diagnosis, I’ve been challenged to get a bit more creative and ask some new questions that I never thought of before. This recipe is dedicated to her. Love you, Kates!
Gluten Free, Egg Free* Carrot Banana Muffins
Yield: 10 small muffins
1 medium banana, smashed
1 Carrot, Grated
2 tbsp melted Butter – Unsalted**
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup GF rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Pre heat oven to 350. Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Add grated carrots and banana; mix. Add in almond milk and continue to mix. Combine oats, chia and hemp seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to wet mixture and combine well. Add in cranberries if using. Mixture should be loose, but not watery; not as dense as a cookie batter. Grease muffin tin, OR place liners in muffin tin. I use an ice cream scoop, fill the scoop about halfway, then plop into muffin tin. You can make them bigger, but will yield fewer muffins. Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes. Let cool slightly. Would be delicious topped with a little greek yogurt!
*As with any egg free baked good, there is a certain level of crumbliness that occurs. These were surprisingly not crumbly, but not as solid as a typical muffin. They were, however, deliciously spongey!
**If you are dairy free as well, try substituting coconut oil. I like coconut flavor, but love the flavor of these sans coconut, so I would try for a flavorless coconut oil.
PS- these are 7 year-old approved!
Well, I’m finally back. Still working through, day-by-day, the in’s and out’s of life. Some days, life is very unknown…and that’s scary. Some days, answers seem to come like moths to a flame. Somewhere in the middle of that all, is me. I’m still practicing and SO happy to be a part of the yoga community in San Diego. Join me for some yoga fun!
Yoga literally means to yolk together or to unite. As a personal practice, it’s a way to connect with ourselves in a new way, acknowledging the mysterious link between body and mind. As a collective practice, it’s a way of connecting to those around us. Being a mom, I feel no greater connection to another person than the one I share with my child. I carried her, birthed her and daily strive to be the best parent I possibly can. In return, she does what most kids do: rolls her eyes, takes ages to get dressed and refuses to eat anything resembling a plant. But, she also shows unending favor, acceptance and boundless joy, which is most visible during our yoga practices together.
One of the greatest moments of my life came after a mommy-and-me yoga class. My daughter was about 4, and I took her to a kids’ yoga class, not really sure what to expect from my very active child. We were the only participants. Chloe was mesmerized by everything. She enjoyed the challenge of trying something new and most of all, reveled in doing that thing that mommy does at work, WITH mommy! Those are all awesome things, but the best part came at the end in Corpse pose (final resting posture), where we rest for a few minutes in silence. We lay next to each other for about 5 minutes, eyes closed, breathing. I was quietly patting myself on the back for FINALLY taking her to this class and enjoying a moment with my kid without her climbing on me. All of a sudden, I felt her small, pudgy fingers reach out to hold my hand. If my entire body could smile, it was definitely smiling in that moment. Even though she’s small, with little understanding about yoga, psychology and relationships, she was able to grasp the tenderness of the moment. She was able to fully embrace what was present and then express it without fear. What a lesson, a joy, a blessing. It was a great reminder of the immense influence we ALL have on our children, and the children around us. And in return, a lesson to me about what amazing teachers those little people are to us.
In honor of Mother’s Day, and the invaluable relationships we share with children (our own and those we influence), I’m offering a few tips on how to connect and play through the practice of yoga and breathing. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need anything but a willing heart and an open mind, but I guarantee you AND the kids will benefit from this unique, bonding experience!
Breathing is important. It’s essential to life. Without it, we die. With it, we thrive. Breathing brings our bodies oxygen, and assists in building our diaphragm muscle (located at the bottom of our ribcage), which is responsible for expanding our thoracic cavity (chest area) via inhales and exhales. In the same way our arms weaken if we never exercise, our diaphragm will weaken if we’re not taking deep breaths. Our bodies will receive less oxygen and can feel tired, sad and generally icky. So, sit tall, take a deep breath in and then exhale all the yucky out.
- Breathing ball (Hoberman’s Sphere): Sit down with your little one in a comfortable place. Hold the breathing ball with both hands and as you expand the ball, breathe in. As you contract the ball, breathe out. It may take some practice to breathe with the movement of the ball, or to take deep breaths at all, but your kids will love the playfulness. You can explain that the ball is like your ribcage, which gets bigger when we inhale, then smaller when we exhale. Adults, I’ve found this to be incredibly useful in my own practice, too!
- If you don’t have a breathing ball, simply have the kids place their own hands on their ribcage, and breathe. See who can make their chest expand the most, who can breathe in, or out, the longest, giggle, laugh and be playful!
Now, the fun part! You can make up whatever poses you want, but if you’re totally unsure of what to do, check out the book The ABC’s of YOGA for KIDS, by Teresa Anne Power. I received it as a gift from a friend, and my daughter regularly pulls it out to have me read her a pose so she can try it, or we practice it together. As adults, it’s important to let go of attachment to what we look like. Just have fun. I’m speaking from experience. The following are a few poses to try at home.
- Flower Pose: Come to a seat with your knees bent. Widen your feet apart and lift them off the ground. Wrap your arms underneath your knees. Balance on your bottom, with your chest lifted. Imagine you’re a beautiful flower that winds its way up vines and around trees. If you could be any flower, what would you be? Why?
- Boat Pose: Similar to Flower, you’ll start from seated with knees bent, but this time, keep the knees and feet close together. Place your hands underneath your knees and slowly lift your feet off the ground. Gaze up to the sky, lift your chest and balance. Play around! Rock your boat; make sounds of the water gushing by as you speed your way through the ocean! What kind of boat are you?
- Tree Pose: Stand up tall, balancing on your left foot. Bring your right foot to the inside of your left leg, and then grow your tree! Sway your beautiful branches, imagine growing roots deep into the ground and smile! Then, do the other side! How tall is your tree? What kind of tree are you? Where does your tree live?
- Frog Pose: We love this one. Anytime you can embody an animal, the posture is a win in my book. This is also a great hip opener, ladies. Squat down on the ground with your feet towards the edges of your mat, heels in, toes out. Bring your elbows to your inner thighs, hands to your heart. Breathe deeply, then hop, ribbit and croak your way around the mat! The sillier, the better.
Rest is the most important part of any yoga practice. It’s a time to BE, not DO. Surprisingly, in my time teaching little ones, they are amazingly calm during this time. To help you facilitate a more restful space, try these tips:
- Play the Quiet and Listen game. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes, and tell the kids to listen to all the sounds around them. No one can talk until the timer goes off. Then, share what you heard. It’s amazing what you hear when you slow down and let yourself be.
- Visualize and Imagine. If the kiddos aren’t so keen on lying still and quiet, facilitate a time of imagination. Maybe they are a heavy stone that’s sinking deeper and deeper into the ground. Maybe there’s a river flowing through their bodies, up and down, from their toes to their heads. Or, perhaps they are a beautiful bird, weightless in the air, wings outstretched without a care in the world. Be creative! We are all unique in what brings us peace.
As a mom, one of the hardest things to do is let go. Letting go is an act of forgiveness. You’re giving the moment, the posture, the person OR yourself grace to be OK, just as you are. If you’re a parent or caretaker, you probably have moments of guilt, feeling like you were impatient, negligent, rude or naggy. It’s common to mentally beat yourself up over all of these things. I sure do. But practicing yoga, especially with my daughter, gives me a tiny glimpse of the light of grace. We laugh, we play, we practice, we grow, we fall, we rest and we connect. It’s the greatest bonding experience I’ve had with her, and whatever it looks like, she still loves me, intertwines her tiny hand with mine, and with no words at all, says that we are OK.