super easy, fast, and nutritious soup: Paleo Friendly Fall Soup to Help Keep You Feeling Great

I have been seeing lots of “healthy” soup recipes floating around the past few weeks with Fall basically here and the weather changing around the US. Today it reached a lovely 71 degrees Fahrenheit with a perfect small smattering of drizzle here at my home. With the weather comes pressure in the sinuses (at least for me), head colds abound in my child care program, and the desire for a tasty steaming cup of soup rise. I am one of those people that LOVE soup. I enjoy this aspect of a menu year round although I have not found a chilled soup that I like as of yet.

I decided to put together some of my knowledge in nutrition as well as the art and science of food to create the foundation of this soup. While reading through  this though I really want to remind everyone that I do NOT generally make recipes, rather I create a template that is meant to be played with.

Nutritionally this soup; boosts T cell activity to help your body fight bacteria and viruses, is full of sulfuric compounds that have been found effective against bacteria and infection, has high beta carotene that converts to vitamin A (one of its jobs is to support the mucus membranes making it harder for bacteria to enter), immune builders in the form of mushrooms, beneficial iron and antioxidants in the dark greens that help build white blood cell production, and so much more that if I continued I would feel like an infomercial!

*** As anyone that know me, knows that I cook for a miniature army so when I say I took an onion for instance, in reality I took closer to 3 but have decreased to size of the batch to be about right for a smaller meal (about 3 or 4 servings). I do not feel this is deceptive as I did take at least the amount listed to make my meal and am just being nice in making it a manageable meal. ***

Paleo Friendly Fall Soup to Help Keep You Feeling Great
top of Paleo Friendly Fall Soup to Help Keep You Feeling Great in a hand crafted wooden bowl.

Paleo Friendly Fall Soup to Help Keep You Feeling Great

fat of choice to coat a heavy dutch oven or stock pot (I used bacon fat as I had some handy on the back of my stove)

1 onion – diced (I used a couple and mixed it up with a yellow and a purple but either or will work just fine)

1 leek sliced thin – white part only

2 or 3 carrots sliced or shredded (I like chunky soup so I sliced but shredded tends to look prettier)

1 bundle of celery sliced – optional but again I like chunky soup

5 to 10 cloves of fresh garlic- minced (my family LOVE garlic so I used probably all 10 cloves, maybe more)

an inch of fresh ginger that I peeled, sliced, and then pressed with the flat of my knife to release more of the yummm

1 dash of crushed chili peppers (I used about 1 tsp but I like it hot)

 — saute the above for about 5 minutes over medium high heat —

cover with 3 to 4 cups of chicken stock or bone broth is even better if you have any on hand

 — after bringing to a boil turn down the heat to a nice simmer for 15 minutes or till the vegetables are almost as tender as you like them to be. I like mine to still have a good body and not very soft —

Add a bundle of dark leafy greens (like spinach, kale, radicchio,  or chard personally) that you have sliced – I have both spinach and radicchio in the photo as I wanted the green and purple coloring!

8 to 10 mushrooms of choice – chopped (I used shiitake this round)

an egg for each person that will be enjoying – whipped then drug through the soup with a fork

 — cook an additional 5 minutes till done —

Sprinkle with salt (I used smoked), pepper, curry powder (I used spicy). and turmeric to taste or any other spice combination you might like. Serve with a splash of citrus juice of choice (think lemon or lime might be best for an extra boost of vitamin c) then serve hot and enjoy!

Remember this is a template so it you want fewer or greater variety of vegetable go for it, you don’t want egg mixed in this round for the extra protein boost? No biggy! Don’t like curry or just in a different mood? Change it up! Want a mellower form of garlic? Use roasted and squeeze it in! Make this soup yours then please share a comment and maybe even a picture of your own to help inspire others…

Adventures of Rafting, Well Almost Anyway

This last Friday my oldest daughter, husband, and I loaded up my mini-van and hit the road for a planned fantastic weekend on the Deschutes river whitewater rafting with several other friends. We headed out early so we could stop up at Timberline Lodge to take a short hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (at least a segment of). The hike was so pretty and it was fun seeing the skiers and snowboarders plowing down the Mountain at the beginning of August (peek summer month here in Oregon) even though the snow was sparse! There were pretty little flowers in bloom and in patches and the historic lodge was worth the stop and walk about. After our hike we took a short break and sat down in the pub on the second floor to savor a cheese platter as well as the charcuterie board, yummy. When we turned off of I-24 to head up to the lodge from Government Camp, we noticed that our van lost the speedometer and with that the ability to know when to change gears. We had hoped that with the heat and elevation that once it had a rest things would run smooth again but decided to cut short our hike time,  hence it was a very short trek. We got out to the van and as we went down the mountain everything seemed to have self-corrected and we were on our way again yay! Or so we thought. The next climb we needed to take as we cruised along I-24 the darn thing went out again. The view was stunning and we felt pretty confident that we would be able to keep driving along as we knew how to handle this situation enough to be safe.

Once we reached Madras though we started to have to help the van shift from a stop and had to accept that the crew that would be shuttling our vehicles to our pullout point in Maupin after ridding through boxcar rapid, would not be willing to deal with our glitch van. We had a choice to make of either turning around and driving the over 2 hours back home to get the auto repair manual and tools or calling my ex-husband who we had driven 3 hours one way to rescue last year to have him bring what we needed while we grabbed the parts from the shop, have dinner, and wait. We elected to make that phone call and wait. Turned out a friend of ours volunteered to run over to our house to grab what was needed while my ex was fixing dinner for his children and when the friend looked, could not find what we were after so he gave us a fast call back. Wow it had already been an hour and time was getting itchy! We had a second idea of grabbing my daughter that drives mini-van from the sheriffs parking lot where it was sitting for the weekend anyway as she is off doing something at the coast and would not need it then the friend could just swap vans and we could fix mine when we got home on Sunday yay this would help save time in the Safeway parking lot and get us setup for the night before midnight! Or so we thought… about 2 hours after the friend got off the phone with us saying he would be on his way, we received another call to say he was stranded at the side of the road about 30 minutes out and my daughters van was DEAD. Oh how I wanted to whimper at that moment! I decided I really did not want to go rafting this round without my husband and so was willing to pass but our oldest daughter was still game if we could get her there. We told our friend that we would be on the way as soon as we dropped her off. At this point it was now 10pm and traffic was heavy enough we missed the turn-off in the dark and when we turned around our daughter was at the point of lets just get home and if the van is fixed in time to come back before morning great. We called our tow company to be told that they would be happy to send a truck but where we wanted the van taken the truck company required $600 up-front to pay for the mileage! This was NOT going to happen. We turned them down, picked up our friend and came home accepting that rafting was not going to happen for us this year. In the morning, we rented a car carrier, a truck (the least expensive place even after adding in the truck required us to not use our own truck) and the friend and my husband made the drive, grabbed my daughters van and brought it back while I stayed home and emptied our my van and put away all our clean un-used camping gear, dry bags, and misc. All in all Saturday was retrieval and recovery day. Saturday evening became fix my van time instead of relax with friends and family time. I had moments of deep sighing time but managed. Sunday became finish my van and start the process of trying to figure out my daughters van issues… All in all the weekend had a great hike, lovely views, and could have been worse. We missed the trip down the river and look forward to next year.

Paleo Breakfast for the week of March 17th 2014

I love to eat good food with lots of flavor and when possible is local and in season. When I had to give up wheat to a full on allergy that had me on the ground trying to figure out how to get air and then when I was diagnosed with Celiac and said my good byes to gluten I moaned about my breakfast options (when I ate that early in the day but truly, breakfast is subjective and I usually at it at “dinner” time) going down but I traced done substitutions that I could eat. I then started a huge battle with my diabetes and  as many I was told to give up carbs to the best of my ability without getting rid of the produce. I learned about the Paleo lifestyle and WOW things have changed in my life. I still whimpered about giving up bread, pasta, rice, and oh why oh why did I give up legumes again? oh ya because they made me feel like crap, spiked my blood sugars by over 100 points and it would take a minimum of 3 days for them to recover. I had to find good food that I could eat and start eating on a regular basis more by the clock than by my stomach to; keep my sugars, mood, and body as stable as I could. Looking back I remember trying to hide it a little but not much as I already accepted that I am really strange and peoples opinions of me could pretty much take a flying leap but I did not want to openly talk about it as I was trying to get a handle on it.  Anyway, I took a step back and thought “what can I eat now?” and giggled at myself, I mean really if I can eat breakfast foods for dinner why not dinner and lunch foods whenever as well? Man things got so easy after that! I just had to think ahead and prep so I could have what I wanted within a few hours of my getting up while not making my daycare children or my family crazy frustrated with me <silly grin>.

I have learned to have most of my vegetables ready the day I pick them up so it is a fast grab and cook, heat a few left overs (I HATE THIS), and slow cook those things that I want really bad to start the day off right. I still eat way more eggs than the food police might recommend but to darn bad and I slip in a tiny bit of dairy (butter, whole heavy cream, goat cheese, and if I am really feeling mischievous and lazy a small serving of ice cream in the summer; all local, organic, and from pastured animals) that the Paleo police would holler about, again to bad this is my choice and I am aware of the potential issues with it.

Anyway, now that I have rambled on, I will get to this past weeks eats and please feel free to share with friends and comment on your thoughts (be nice and non-judgmental or I will not approve it) and experiences as well as any questions or requests…

Monday: I love sausage and had some on hand that a friend of mine makes. This is a summer styled sausage made with rabbit meat that he raises and butchers with humanity. He than spices and smokes it and I am fortunate to be able to purchase any that he has over what his household needs. I then grabbed celery, onions, a few chunks of carrots and sautéed with so homemade stock till tender and added cauli-rice that I had on hand with garlic and crushed red chili peppers. I keep containers of diced; carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and other odd vegetables on hand so that I only do the chopping once a week and am ready to whip up a meal with ease. I find this helps with storage as well as I waist way less food because I have no excuses about time. I also keep at least a couple heads of cauliflower riced as well as chopped for the same reasons. Other than my “shopping/prep day” this meal really took be less than 5 minutes to cook up while the little ones ate (the youngest here is 1 year old and is into everything) so while they finished up their meal and helped clear their spaces for free play, I sat down with my tea and enjoyed…


Tuesday: Steak, sautéed mushrooms and onions with a lovely side of garlicky red chard. This took a mega 10 minutes to cook up and the little ones had already shoveled in their own food and had moved onto playing outside in the brilliant weather so I got the privilege of having my first breakfast outside with them for the season. Again I had everything pre sliced and chopped so all I had to do was cook it up. I did this while the children ate and then I wiped the kitchen down while they got shoes and coats on then we headed out and they ran, giggled, dug in the damp dirt and generally had a blast while I watched on and savored every bite in the glorious spring time sun…


Wednesday: I had a small handful of chard left in the fridge to cook up and decided on going back to basics with pepper bacon and eggs. This was all local and while simple, it filled the bill of just what I wanted. The daycare children where still eating when I sat down as this took less than 5 minutes and 1 skillet so the clean up was ubber easy.


Thursday: My husband and I enjoy making Mortadella once a year and then I portion it out a little each week. This year we put the normal spices, whole pepper corns, and pistachios in it and boy does it make a get kick start to a day. We use all those odd bits from pigs that we collect in the freezer so this is our waist not want not kind of Paleo food. In just a couple minutes I fried up a couple eggs and sliced some healthy meat onto my plate and the children asked tons of questions about this and a few even were willing to try some (not the eggs for some reason though).


Friday: I was in the mood for Italian food today so I rubbed my steak in some seasonings and grilled it up then topped with grilled artichoke hearts. I then added an antipasti salad (just toss a bunch of grilled and fresh goodies to some romaine and make sure to have sausage and basil) I then tossed with a light French vinaigrette (think Italian  dressing made fresh with scallions and mustard added). I took maybe 10 minutes on this so although the children where wrapping up their meal, they were happy to enjoy free play while I dug in to some food and watched on…



PSU Farmers Market Opening of the Season!

All winter long I wait in anxious anticipation for the PSU farmers market to re-open after the horribly long (alright it is not even a full 3 months but hey you know how it is right?) winter break. I have been posting every few days my count down on my social media and daydreaming of the first batch of meals that we might score. My 19 year old daughter was almost as jazzed as I was even if it meant getting up “early” for a weekend. I like to get down there as they open at 8:30 so I can get in and get out with our score before the crowds get there. After getting a slow start with needing petrol for the van and cash from the bank (I forgot last night to get it ahead of time) we still managed to get there and parked at 8:35 so not to bad. The sun was out and for once there was no wind and a balmy 60 degrees (F) greeted us! AMAZING!!! Not all of our booths start on opening day but heck I am still impressed that there were over 100 food booths (normally they top out at 200+) and not a “kitch” booth in sight. All local and organic for as far as my eyes could see. We  really limited what came home mostly because of budget but is was a great start for the season as you can see:



My daughter and I decided that we would not have breakfast before we went and instead we had a huge brunch with the rest of my daughters and my 16 year olds boyfriend while my exhausted husband slept after working his night shift (I made extra so when he gets up he can have some as well).

I took 2 of the lovely small leeks and thinly sliced into a hot buttery skillet after washing and sautéed until tender and glossy at which point I added the full package of sliced “porkstrami” that we picked up from Tails & Trotters and simmered till hot and yummy.


While that simmered, I placed spring asparagus onto a baking sheet, drizzled walnut oil and mashed roasted garlic on then broiled to perfection.

I whipped up eggs that I get from a friend (my hens are to little for eggs yet but this summer I should be up and going with a few eggs each day from my own back yard again!) with just a tiny splash of pastured heavy cream. I then made incredible omelets with the eggs, filled with a dollop of leek and porkstrami that was then topped with a smidgen of decadent farmstead smoked gouda that was made in Salem by Willamette Valley Cheese.


to trim this brunch out wish just a tiny bit of sweet I put out a bowl of cubed fresh cantaloupe (no this was not purchased at the market).

All in all a mostly local and in season feast and a fantastic way to start the season if I say so myself. The one thing I have to accept is soon I will have to switch out from using my granny cart and use a large hand cart with several Rubbermaid totes as my family and daycare enjoy eating well to much for such a small cart option.


Paleo Breakfasts for the week of March 10th 2014

This week has been fun with my Birthday having started it off. I even added a splurge to me eating and I do not regret it at all…

1) fresh clams steamed and served with a garlic butter sauce


2) my family likes to call this breakfast barf in a bowl… we take all the leftover meats and vegetables that are in the fridge, dice them up in a skillet, scoop it into a bowl and then top with an egg over medium so the yolk is nice and gooey to slop around with all those goodies.


3)simple eggs with breakfast sausage


4)sausage with kale and hot deviled eggs


5) gluten free but not paleo blueberry pancakes… I used a mix that I like and added the last of my frozen blueberries to this. I had only one and as long as I do not do this often AND I remember this can and probably will adversely affect my goals I should be alright…



Emergency trip to Seattle Washington

Saturday was going to be “get a lot of work done day” for me. I have tons of things that have to get done or else and so I scheduled 6 hours worth of work time over the course of the weekend. This seemed like a great idea even if I really just wanted to take the weekend and play with my husband and family. Life on the other hand seemed to have had other plans for me and that is alright. When I sat down to my trusty new computer, I received a call from my ex-husband needing help. Him, his wife, and their three children where going to Seattle (from Portland) to visit an old friend of his wife’s, that was working at a writers conference close enough to home that they could make time to see each other. They had not had this kind of a change in about 20 years so all plans were made and the trip begun. The sights we nice and they were enjoying a nice casual journey at 70 miles per hour when out of the blue a wheel went flying and all came to a frightful stop. They tried calling a friend that lives in that area but alas there was no answer so knowing that I would be home they call me and my husband to see if anyone here could drive to the rescue. Once we were off the phone, I loaded the cooler with healthy snacks and off we went. We passed a silly shop called the “Mattress Barn” and chuckled at all the animal cut-outs, lots of poor soles that made the wrong choice and where keeping the local law busy with pull-overs, and the occasional pretty natural view as we made our way to BFE Washington. When we realized how close it was to Seattle we offered to finish the trip and hangout there for the remainder of the day so the original visit could be obtained. I have never gone to Seattle just to hang out so it was a fun adventure.

The first stop was at the Space Needle. I have a huge fear of heights but I am working on getting this fear to a manageable level. With this in mind, we went to the top and I actually went out on the viewing deck, walked all the way around on the outside edge, and even took several pictures. I wish I had a better lens on my camera for the distance but I am still really happy that I did this. Oh and a really cool thing that I saw while way up high was one of the local parking garages has a raised bed community garden!!!


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After we came down from the top we wandered over to the Pike Street Market even though most of the stalls were closing as we got there late in the day. I really wanted a Starbucks coffee and when we were there we saw this fantastic coffee bean Hog above the door!


It was past supper time and I knew that we would not get back to Portland area till way late so we stopped and had a wonderful dinner at the Crabhouse:

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Living each day with Joy


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