Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup
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This is a must when you have leftover ham
Servings Prep Time
8 10-15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
95 minutes 8 + hours
Servings Prep Time
8 10-15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
95 minutes 8 + hours
Ham and Bean Soup
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This is a must when you have leftover ham
Servings Prep Time
8 10-15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
95 minutes 8 + hours
Servings Prep Time
8 10-15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
95 minutes 8 + hours
Ingredients
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. The night before, rinse the beans, then cover with water and soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans.
  2. In a large pot, add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the ham bone, beans, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, mustard and bay leaves. Give a stir and reduce heat and simmer for an hour or more.
  3. Remove the ham bone. My dogs love these yummy leftovers. At this point, add the chopped ham and the ground pepper, and simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes.
Recipe Notes

This is a great soup to make ahead, enjoy some now and freeze some for later.
Enjoy!!!

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Vegetable Soup Mix

Vegetable Soup Mix
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Makes 7 quarts or 14 pints
Vegetable Soup Mix
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Makes 7 quarts or 14 pints
Ingredients
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. If using fresh tomatoes, blanch them first to easily skin them and cut up. If you haven’t blanched before, bring a large pot of water to a boil, gently crop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into the water. It will only take about 30-60 seconds for the them to be ready. Usually the skin splits a little. Remove them and put into a bath of cold water to stop the cooking and to make them easier to handle. Once cooled enough to handle, remove the skins, core them (removing the stem portion) and cut up into chunks.
  2. Add all the vegetables to a large stock pot. Add broth/water and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper, if using.
  3. Make sure you have clean jars and hot preferably or at least warm, not cold jars. Hot liquid into cold jars doesn’t do well. Leave about an 1” headspace and add your lid.
  4. I processed the jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes. Pints would be about 60-65 minutes.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: A similar version has been a Valenti Family staple for years and years. I love the convenience and it’s a great way to enjoy your garden bounty or that of your local markets. I always use organic when possible and highly recommend it for you as well. Eliminating toxins and pesticides leads to a healthy gut system and overall good health.
This is also a great base, which means add meat if you wish or if you like other veggies, feel free to add or replace items. The key is to make something you and your family will eat and enjoy!

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomato Sauce
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Makes approx. 1 quart or 2 pints
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 15 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours, 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 15 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours, 20 minutes
Roasted Tomato Sauce
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Makes approx. 1 quart or 2 pints
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 15 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours, 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 quart 15 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours, 20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: quart
Units:
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the oil, garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning together. Wash and cut up tomatoes and add to the bowl with the oil and mix well.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil. Place tomatoes on the baking sheet and top with the basil and rosemary and sprinkle Jazzy salt (or salt and pepper) to taste over all.
  4. Roast in the oven for about 2 hours. Increase the heat to 400 and roast another 20 minutes.
  5. Once done, remove the pan from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. I used my food processor to puree to the desired consistency I liked. It only takes a few pulses. If you’d like it thinned down a bit, add a little bit of water. You can also use a blender to do the job.
  6. Serve right away with your favorite pasta or meat dishes. Or, if making several pans at once, hot pack into hot jars and can for later use, which is what I typically do. Enjoy!!!
Recipe Notes

Warning: Your house will smell AMAZING!!! My husband’s mouth was watering!

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Interested in spicing up your health?

Healthy Herbs, Garlic, and Ginger Root on a Tray

Last week I shared the not so good things about conventional spices and some things to be aware of when purchasing spices and blends from the store or better yet buy handcrafted blends from a trusted source. This week I’d like to dive into some herbs and spices that are beneficial. Interested in spicing up your health?

Let’s look at some of my favorites. We will also explore how this benefits you and some fun ways in which to use them.

Cayenne Pepper and the heat factor in chilies is brought on by capsaicin, a substance that makes peppers hot. Highly therapeutic, the substance helps relieve aches and soreness. It’s even an active ingredient in some over-the-counter pain relieving creams. Other medical benefits include improved circulation, heart health and helping fight prostate cancer and ulcers. It may lower the risk of skin and colon cancers; studies show it also helps people eat fewer calories. Try hot pepper on pizza or in pasta adds a spicy kick to foods like vegetables, tuna and turkey.

Fennel dates to the times of the Ancient Greeks. Fennel is high in calcium, which is essential for the healthy growth of bones and teeth and rich in niacin, which helps to turn food into energy. Fennel is also high in vitamin C, which helps to promote a strong immune system and is an excellent source of dietary fiber and iron, which help to keep your metabolism and digestive tract running smoothly. Fennel is also a natural appetite suppressant and can also help detoxify and exfoliate the skin. This peppery plant can be served raw or cooked, but the highest nutritional value comes from consuming fennel leaves raw in salads. It can also be steamed with other greens or used in stir fry and fish recipes.

Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree and has one of the highest antioxidant values of any spice. The spice has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels, alleviate nausea and increase sensitivity to insulin as an aid in fat burning. It’s also a good source of manganese, iron and calcium. Cinnamon also kills bacteria, so the next time you get a cut, you can sprinkle the spice on the wound. Just 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon daily lowers blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. While cinnamon is an incredibly healthy and nutritious spice, the most common uses are coffee, cookies, muffins and desserts. But there are healthier ways to reap the benefits of this magical spice: pour it over oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce or cottage cheese, stir it into peanut butter or protein shakes and sprinkle it on sweet potatoes or carrots.

Ginger in its whole form is a tree root. This underground stem is excellent for treating upset stomachs, gas and bloating, sore throats and colds in addition to other conditions, such as arthritis and motion sickness. Ginger can stop nausea and may also relieve heartburn and bloating. This spice can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and generally reduce your risk of heart disease. A spicy herb that is used in both sweet and savory dishes, ginger can be sliced, grated, sugared or eaten like candy. Ginger is staple in many baked goods and Asian dishes and can also be consumed as a tea, which can help ease an upset stomach. Add it to your diet by dipping a whole-grain roll in olive oil instead of butter. Then add a sprinkle of sage and black pepper. Try adding a few slices of fresh ginger to stir-fries or salad dressings. It’s a favorite of mine fermented or added to kombucha.

Turmeric contains an active component called curcumin, which may stop cancer from spreading and help prevent type 2 diabetes. Many claim that this bright orange-yellow spice provides pain relief equal or better to over-the-counter remedies such as ibuprofen. Turmeric is also being investigated for its potential benefits for those with Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis. An incredibly powerful antioxidant, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties while helping to digest fats quickly. The spice can be added in pinches to a variety of foods including meats and salads, making it easy to consume. Curries and sauces are also great bases for turmeric.

Oregano has antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant and antibiotic properties. Its oil and leaves are used medicinally in treating cough, fever, congestion, body-ache and other illnesses. Use it as a seasoning in stews, pizzas and tomato-based sauces. Whenever possible, opt for fresh oregano leaves, which can enhance the flavor of salads and soups. Fabulous base for many great Italian seasoning blends and dressing mixes.

Basil A popular herb used to season sauces, soups, salads and pasta dishes, basil is known to have exceptionally powerful antioxidant properties that can protect the body from premature aging, common skin issues and some types of cancer. The herb contains plant pigments that shield your cell structures from oxygen and radiation damage and can be applied to wounds to help prevent bacterial infections. Basil is an easy addition to any diet. Toss a few basil leaves into your favorite dish for a fresh burst of flavor or use whole leaves and tomato slices to make a flavorful salad. It’s also often used as the foundation of a great pesto, which I love on pizza.

Nutmeg contains antibacterial compounds that may help fight listeria, E. coli, and salmonella, per research. Try nutmeg in soups or chicken dishes or on sweet potatoes.

Cumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help stop tumor growth. Try cumin in tacos, or use it as a rub on meats or in chili and is excellent with black beans.

Peppermint is a great source of vitamin C and A and can help soothe indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. Here’s how you can add it to your diet: Puree 2 tablespoons fresh mint with 1/2 cup yogurt or ricotta cheese. Serve with berries. This beautiful scent is an excellent essential oil used for helping those who suffer from headaches and migraines.

Garlic destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells, says Karen Collins, RD, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. “Studies suggest that one or two cloves weekly provide cancer-protective benefits.” Let garlic sit for 10 to 15 minutes after chopping and before cooking so the active form of the protective phytochemicals develops. Sauté fresh garlic over low heat and mix with pasta, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese.

As you can see, there are many wonderful benefits, other than the pure pleasure of our taste buds with these chosen herbs and spices.

Do you have a favorite herb, spice or remedy that others could benefit from? If so, please share in the comments below and let’s help each other.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

Some of the sources were from FITNESS magazine and Men’s Health.

Beet and Spinach Salad

Beet and spinach salad

Beet and Spinach Salad
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When I was at my Mom's recently, there was access to fresh spinach and beets from the garden. My brother's friend can't do too many raw vegetables, so this was a way to utilize fresh produce and accomomdate a cooked vegetable that isn't cooked too much. Hope you enjoy my adaption.
Servings
4 servings
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings
4 servings
Cook Time
20 minutes
Beet and Spinach Salad
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When I was at my Mom's recently, there was access to fresh spinach and beets from the garden. My brother's friend can't do too many raw vegetables, so this was a way to utilize fresh produce and accomomdate a cooked vegetable that isn't cooked too much. Hope you enjoy my adaption.
Servings
4 servings
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings
4 servings
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Place spinach in a large bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add beets, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the beets are heated through, about 1 minute more. Add the beet mixture to the spinach and toss to combine. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

Note: I peeled, cut and steamed the beets separately. This takes approx. 15 minutes as you want them slightly crisp, not mushy.

The original recipe, minus my tweaks came from Eatingwell.com

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Steamed Clams and Pasta

Clams and pasta

Steamed Clams and Pasta
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Servings
2 servings
Servings
2 servings
Steamed Clams and Pasta
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Servings
2 servings
Servings
2 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Put the oil and garlic in a pan big enough to allow the clams to fit in a single layer. Cook the garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and let it cook until it's cooked down to about 1/2 of the liquid.
  2. Add the clams, cover and cook until they start to open up. This took about 5-6 minutes. Add the butter and cover and continue cooking until the clams open up all the way.
  3. If you have any that don't open, discard them.
  4. In the meantime, cook your pasta. Save a small amount of your cooking water to add back to the drained pasta, once it's cooked to your liking.
  5. I added just butter and some herbs de provence and some fresh chives and mixed well.
  6. Place in a serving dish, top with steamed clams and serve with a side salad and crusty sourdough bread.
  7. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

(Note: I took a couple beautiful pictures that disappeared from my camera, so I am happy to share this photo which looks similar to what I made which is courtesy of www.restarauntwidow.com)

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Beef Stew (Garlic and Rosemary style)

Rosemary and Garlic Beef Stew

Beef Stew (Garlic and Rosemary style)
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In our house my husband Tom usually makes the beef stew. It’s really nice that he likes to cook and he’s actually good at it. Stew is one of his favorite wintertime comfort foods. A tradition that started when the kids got to be teenagers, was that they got to pick what they had or what restaurant they went to for their birthdays. This carried over to Tom and me as well. This year, Tom decided he wanted to stay home, not go anywhere and he was planning to make stew and black raspberry pie. I decided to surprise him and make the stew for him, hoping that it meant his stringent standards, as he’s the pro stew-maker in our house. Side note: He did make the pie, a few days before, so I decided to make the Peach Cobbler as his birthday treat, per our daughter, Ashlie’s request. I put this in the crockpot, but if you wanted to cook on the stovetop, it would work just fine too! This smelled sooooooo good cooking. Hope you enjoy as much as we did.
Servings
6-8 servings
Cook Time
4-8 hours
Servings
6-8 servings
Cook Time
4-8 hours
Beef Stew (Garlic and Rosemary style)
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In our house my husband Tom usually makes the beef stew. It’s really nice that he likes to cook and he’s actually good at it. Stew is one of his favorite wintertime comfort foods. A tradition that started when the kids got to be teenagers, was that they got to pick what they had or what restaurant they went to for their birthdays. This carried over to Tom and me as well. This year, Tom decided he wanted to stay home, not go anywhere and he was planning to make stew and black raspberry pie. I decided to surprise him and make the stew for him, hoping that it meant his stringent standards, as he’s the pro stew-maker in our house. Side note: He did make the pie, a few days before, so I decided to make the Peach Cobbler as his birthday treat, per our daughter, Ashlie’s request. I put this in the crockpot, but if you wanted to cook on the stovetop, it would work just fine too! This smelled sooooooo good cooking. Hope you enjoy as much as we did.
Servings
6-8 servings
Cook Time
4-8 hours
Servings
6-8 servings
Cook Time
4-8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Wash your produce and chop the celery, carrots, and onion. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put into the bottom of your crockpot or pan.
  2. Add the flour, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and add the stew meat and toss to coat the meat.
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic, cooking about a minute or so. Add the floured meat, along with the rest of the flour in the bowl. Let the meat cook until nice and browned on all sides. I found it works best if you don’t keep stirring it. Let it cook a few minutes and then turn, let it cook a few minutes, turn, until it’s all nicely brown.
  4. Add the meat on top of the vegetables in your pot.
  5. Turn the heat down, add the broth to the skillet along with the mustard, Worcestershire, tamari, sucanat, rosemary and thyme to the skillet, stirring to combine the brown bits in the skillet with all the other goodies until mixed and everything is dissolved off the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Pour this sauce over all the other goodies in the pot. It probably won’t cover everything, that’s okay.
  7. I cooked this on high for 4 hours or you could cook on low for 8 hours. If using the stovetop, medium-low, stirring occasionally for about 4 hours.
  8. Add more salt if needed, stir well and serve with your favorite sourdough bread!
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Fermented Garlic

Fermented Garlic.

Fermented Garlic
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Servings
1 Quart
Passive Time
2-3 weeks
Servings
1 Quart
Passive Time
2-3 weeks
Fermented Garlic
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Rating: 5
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Servings
1 Quart
Passive Time
2-3 weeks
Servings
1 Quart
Passive Time
2-3 weeks
Ingredients
Servings: Quart
Units:
Instructions
  1. Separate the heads of garlic and peel. This is the most time consuming part of the process. Check out this video for how to peel garlic quickly. Fill your jar about ¾ of the way, add the salt, any herbs you’d like, if using, and fill leaving about 2” head space with clean, filtered water.
  2. Screw the lid on and place your jar(s) out of direct sunlight for approx. 2-3 weeks. When done fermenting (usually the bubbling stops), place in a cool storage area or the refrigerator. I find the flavor continues to develop, so if you can wait a couple months, you’ll love it even more. Then use whenever you want good fresh, fermented garlic. Yum!!!!
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