March 15th, 2013
Homemade Tuscan Potato Soup @simplestepstorealfood.com
Winter came roaring back and put me back into hot bowl of soup mode! After exploring my pantry and fridge, I came up with this Tuscan Potato Soup. BTW potato soup can be changed up so easily by adding different extras! Sausage, bacon, leeks, cheese! Did I mention endless possibilities?
I did use some Italian chicken sausage for flavor and some added protein. Yum!
First I cooked up the sliced sausage with sliced onion and a garlic clove. Then I added some homemade broth and chunks of a couple peeled potatoes. Don’t forget some salt and pepper! Once the potatoes were soft, I use a potato masher to mash’em up. I also added a bit of frozen spinach (warmed in the microwave, then soaked up the extra liquid in a towel before tossing in the soup.) I added some whole milk. Cream would have been good, but I never seem to have it on hand when I make soup.
What does old man winter have you craving?
March 12th, 2013
Real Food? Clean Eating?
The less processed the better. Especially when you’re getting into new habits, don’t make it too complicated. Can recognize the origins of your meal? As Michael Pollan advises “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” If an ingredient list is unneccessary (example, an apple), awesome! Healthiest way to shop in a typical supermarket? Stay in the outside grocery aisles. Produce, meat, dairy sections, all home home to more single ingredient items.
Things Get Complicated
When we start shopping the inner aisles of the grocery store, its trickier. Last time I checked, food doesn’t grow in cans or boxes. Its always important to read labels! Always better to stick to five or less ingredients that you recognize and pronounce. Reading labels will also help you stay away from bad boys like high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, or aspartame. It surprises me how often they pop up when you are reading labels! Reading those labels might just motivate you to learn to make it yourself. It inspired me to make my own chicken broth!
Don’t Assume Anything
Just because the label say “organic” or gluten-free” its healthier. Read the label! There still may be an ingredient list of 30 ingredients! If organic produce is in your budget, be sure to refer to the dirty dozen/clean 15 for guidelines. Don’t forget to check out your local farmer’s market also.
As always with more experience, it does get easier!
I would love to hear your tips or experiences in “real food” shopping!
February 22nd, 2013
Finally managed how to update WP, did backup my site but completely lost my WP theme! Its fun learning but I am also learning how much there is to know (that I don’t know!)
Thank you for your patience with me!
February 7th, 2013
Its the simple things that make me happy, like having my freezer stocked with healthy homemade chicken broth. Perfect for soups or making rice or even just a mugful with a dash of sea salt. To me, its almost better than the roast chicken itself! And no nasty MSG or other questionable ingredients. Great to have on hand just in case since its winter AKA flu season!
First step, I roasted my chicken. Usually I do it the lazy way (seasoning and tossing in the crock pot to cook all day with potatoes and carrots). This time I roasted it in the oven at 425 for a little over an hour and a half. My go-to chicken seasoning is salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, paprika, lemon juice in melted butter for outside. Inside the cavity goes a handful of spices with a quarter of an onion and a quarter of a lemon. Potatoes, carrots and onions get arranged around the sides of the pan. Yum! Usually there is a bit of leftover chicken that can be used later for soup or quesadillas. Although as of late, my little one, who just turned five, will keep eating as long as there is dark meat for her!
After dinner, I grab the crock pot and throw in all the bones, giblets, and more of the same seasoning with a couple bay leaves. A few onions, carrots, celery and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar go into the pot. Turn it on low and let it go all night. This morning, I have delicious nourishing bone broth! I strain my broth by pouring it into a large pot with a strainer sitting in it. Then I fill three 1 1/2 cup or 2 cup glass storage containers to freeze for later use. Of course tonight I am serving soup with the remainder of the broth! Love filling my kids’ bellies with homemade healthy bone broth!
Have you made broth? Any tips to share?
November 17th, 2012
Leeks! Beautiful Leeks! Make a delicious simple potato leek soup!
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons – grapeseed oil
- 1 garlic clove – minced
- 1 onion or a handful of green onions – chopped
- 2-3 leeks (depending on size) – chopped
- 3-4 potatoes – peeled and sliced
- 2 and 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 tsp thyme
- salt & white pepper to taste
- whole milk or half and half
Start by heating oil in your soup pot. Add the garlic, onion and leeks. Heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Add the potatoes, broth, thyme and salt and white pepper. Simmer for about an hour. Use a potato masher to blend potatoes into soup. If you prefer a smoother consistency, use a handheld immersion blender. Add milk or half and half. Simmer for 15 more minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary.
Enjoy your yummy potato leek soup!
November 16th, 2012
Discovered an easy hot cocoa recipe without using Nestles powder or Hershey’s syrup! It’s delicious and way less added ingredients!
For one serving:
Heat one mug of milk. (Yes, I still use my microwave but you could easily heat it in a pot on the stove.)
1 tsp of cocoa powder
1 tsp of maple syrup
Now stir and taste! The maple gives it a yummy flavor.
November 2nd, 2012
Before I tried, I would have never guessed chicken curry was so simple! Here’s the steps to a delicious flavorful meal tonight!
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons oil (I use grapeseed oil)
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 2-3 skinless boneless chicken breast (cut up into 1-2 inch pieces)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 red pepper thinly sliced
- salt to taste
Heat your oil and curry powder in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add sliced onions. After two minutes, add your chicken and stir to lightly coat with curry. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes until no longer pink. Add the coconut milk and sugar, cover with a lid. Cook for about 30 minutes, stir a few times. Add your red pepper and and cook for 10 more minutes. I like to add the salt at the end, doesn’t need too much. Dinner is ready!
Chicken curry is good with white basmati rice (same cooking time as white rice but a bit healthier) or fired potatoes. You can get the rice or prepped potatoes going while your curry cooks. Add a simple salad for some veg and dinner is served! Enjoy this delicious easy curry dish!
October 17th, 2012
Link up to my post on The Basic 10: Your Daily Housekeeping Chore List over at The Household Helper for some tips!
October 16th, 2012
Ready for Baby Step #2?
Now this was a big one for me. I dabbled a bit beforehand but never really committed.
Cooking Green Curry (Photo credit: lejoe)
Baby Step #2 Learn to Cook
Seems pretty obvious, right? When I say cook, I mean really cook. Not boxed mixes but take ingredients and make something edible. It happens one meal at a time but it will happen. It happened to me before I realized it. Start simple with what you know. Pretty soon tackle something new. Have a go-to cookbook close at hand. My favorite is Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. It gives me a variety of recipes including some basic tips. You will master a few faves in no time!
Check out the first post in this series, Baby Steps #1 Find Your Motivation!
What was the first thing you learned how to cook?
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