Friday, October 30, 2015

Corn Chowder Soup

It is getting colder outside, and this weather reminds me of hot cocoa and cuddling up on the couch with a blanket. The next best thing about Fall is all the warm soups you can have at night when it is freezing outside. Tonight I made homemade corn chowder soup. It was delicious and full of vegetables.

Homemade Corn Chowder Soup
- 4 small potatoes
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup celery
- 1 cup frozen corn
- some bacon or ham cut into 1 inch slices
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups milk or half and half

Saute the onion, celery and bacon in a pan. While those three ingredients are cooking, boil 3 cups of chicken broth with the potatoes. Once the potatoes are done cooking (usually takes 10 minutes), add the onion, celery and bacon. Stir in milk and cornstarch mixture to thicken the soup. A good rule to follow is 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to 1 Tbsp of water. I used milk because it was a milk base soup. You can also add other sorts of vegetable into the soup. I added some peppers to the onion mixture and diced carrots with the potatoes. Carrots add more color to the soup and was delicious to eat on such a cold day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In Season: Cranberries For the Holidays

It's that holiday season and time to prepare for all the yummy holiday meals ahead. Today we are focusing on fresh cranberries. They are in season late October and November. Today we are sharing a Couscous with dried cranberries, pine nuts (or pecans), and fresh mint recipe to get you excited about using this deliciously healthy fruit.

Couscous with Dried Cranberries, Pine Nuts and Fresh Mint
Servings: 6

1 12 oz. package couscous
1 14 oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons walnut, almond or olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

Cook the couscous according to the package directions, using broth. Add salt to the broth. While the couscous is cooking, roast the pine nuts in a skillet until lightly browned. Wash and finely chop the mint leaves. When the couscous has finished cooking, drain any excess liquid. Pour the couscous into a serving bowl. Add the oil and the lemon juice. Stir well to coat all the grains. Add the cranberries, pine nuts and mint leaves. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Serve immediately.

One serving typically includes around  362 calories, 10.2 g protein, and 4 g of fiber.

Did you know..  The cranberry is one of North America's only three native fruits that are commercially grown. 

1/2 cup of cranberries has 30 calories.

Choose berries that are firm.

Cranberries may be stored in the fridge up to 2 months or frozen for up to a year.

Health Benefits
They contain no cholesterol, are non-fat, and low in sodium. Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. In addition to their urinary tract health benefits, they also contain antioxidants that may reduce cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.

Enjoy!- Melissa

Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Bountiful Basket Meal Plan 102415

What were you most excited about in your Bountiful Basket today?  For us, it was our extra of RAINBOW CARROTS!  So exciting.  My teenage son loves to chomp on these whole.  He even takes them to school to share with his friends.  I think it's hilarious and awesome.

When I began unpacking my basket today I immediately thought to make some MASON JAR SALADS for the coming week.  I also prepped lots of fresh produce so it is ready to have with hummus or other healthy dip.  Our fruit needed some ripening and it was placed in a  fruit bowl.  I immediately boiled the potatoes, mashed them, and put them in the freezer to pull out when we want them.  We also got a lot of squash, which I will most likely saute.  I did put some of it in with my salads.  Did you know you can eat summer squash raw?  Pomegranates, kiwi, and grapefruit were exciting to see.  The bag full of lemons will be great for lemon water each day.  I also used one right away to clean my kitchen disposal.

It's been a little while since I've gotten a basket because I have been both experimenting with saving $$ by shopping at Costco, as well as supporting our local farmers markets.  I honestly love grocery shopping and testing out different strategies to save money and make more healthy food accessible to my family.  That's one of the reasons I love days like today where I can prep a bunch of healthy food. When I open the refrigerator door and see all of the nicely organized servings of colorful fruits and veggies, it makes me happy.  Next, I'll cook some quinoa and brown rice, and portion it out.  I'll also bag up some healthy snacks like raw almonds and rice cakes.  I like to buy my hummus at Costco because it's so much cheaper!  The key is to freeze whatever you won't use in the next week.  Once you open a container, you should use it within about 7 days.

Well, those are my ideas for this week!  I'd love to know what yours are.  What are you most excited to eat this week?


Friday, October 16, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

Have you ever made homemade butternut squash soup? This past week at Kristi's classes we made Butternut Squash.  It was a HUGE hit and so simple to make. Butternut squash is an excellent winter soup to make and full of flavour. Anything with nutmeg is so tasty. I made this dish today for my husband and I, and he loved it. One recommendation is to add rice or serve it with a sandwich. Soup is just isn't filling enough for hungry men! Butternut squash is on sale right now because it is in season. I bought it 2 squashes yesterday at Macey's and it was $0.89 a pound.

- Contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients such as beta-ceratone and omega-3
- Many of these nutrients help our immune system become stronger which can help with flu season coming up

- Just one small cup of squash contains 340 milligrams of omega-3 fats
- 1/3 daily value of vitamin C in just one cup of butternut squash

- Rinse squash with water
- Peel the squash's skin using a potato peel or knife. Today when I made my soup it worked excellent
- Once the squash is peeled, cut in half and scoop out seeds. Cut into 1-inch cubes, which is the best size for steaming the butternut squash
- If you are baking the squash, you can punch holes in it and bake it whole OR cut it lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Once it is cooked, the skin on of the butternut squash will be easy to peel



1 (2-3 pound) butternut squash; peeled and seeded
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup half and half optional for a creamier soup

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve. 

Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4-5 servings

Recipe slightly modified from Butternut Squash  Soup from Food Network Kitchens

Nutrition Information: Did you know you should have 2 servings of orange vegetables every week?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brunch Brings Us Together

Several special times each year, our family makes an even bigger deal about food than we usually do.  These times include holidays, vacations, and some weekends that we set aside to spend as a family.  This is one such weekend, and I couldn't be more excited.  It's like Christmas in our home.  Beautiful, uplifting sounds fill the air.  Warm feelings of togetherness and comfort surround us - from the buzz of happy contentment that we all share, to the pajamas we wear a little later into the day and the blankets and pillows we spend snuggling with.  It is a time of being together.  We don't try to accomplish lots of things on these weekends, it's more of a relaxing tone, focused on bonding and being nourished.  The food we eat is a huge part of that!

It begins Saturday morning, as the brunch spread is set out.  This usually includes fresh fruit, vegetables, some kind of breakfast casserole or special breakfast dish, baked goods, and lots of options for toppings.  There are usually foods from at least a few of the MyPlate food groups.  Today our featured dish was Whole Wheat German Pancakes with a sauce made from fresh plums.  I picked up a basket of fresh local plums at the Provo Farmers Market last weekend that we've been devouring all week long.  By now they were very juicy and sweet and perfect for the sauce.  German pancakes involve a very simple recipe and they go a long way.  You can get 9 servings, easily from the recipe.  Since we kept going back for more helpings, it was just fine with us that our #s are pretty small.  This was my first time switching out the all-purpose flour for whole wheat and while the texture was a little different (which I think may have been because I added the butter to the batter, by mistake), you couldn't tell at all by tasting them.

It's no secret that food brings people together.  That's why it's a great time to create food traditions that are healthy as well as delicious.  You can join us for a free class on October 14th at 7pm at the Springville Library to get some ideas on bringing the comfort of fall flavors into your home in healthy ways.  And again November 4th, also at the Springville Library at 7pm, we'll explore ways to do holiday food a little healthier this year.  For our full calendar of classes, see here.  In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and make time soon to have a relaxing brunch with those you love.