It’s a Good Day for Chicken Soup!

It’s a good day for chicken soup! It’s raining outside and I have a cold…or something. I don’t feel horrible, but I don’t feel good. At first my sinuses hurt, then my throat got scratchy, and now I’m getting a cough, but certainly not the worst I’ve ever had. I really just want to go to sleep.
Sometimes it’s really hard to know when to give in, go to bed and rest, and when to push on. I was able to work out this morning. That didn’t seem to increase my cough or leave me feeling drained. I knocked out some work and went to the post office. It was when I got back that I began to feel draggy and my cough increased.

I’ve been chugging orange juice and it seems like the perfect time to add some chicken soup! Of course I don’t really feel like a lengthy cooking session.

Luckily, I keep organic chicken stock and rice in the pantry and I always have baby carrots in the fridge. Today, I also have celery. It may not look quite the same as my favorite recipe, but I can have some warm, tasty soup ready in a matter of minutes.

Here’s my simple soup making plan:
32 oz box Imagine Low Sodium Free Range Chicken Broth
3/4 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Italian Herbs paste
Pinch of black pepper
12 – 15 baby carrots, sliced into thin rounds
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2/3 cup quick-cooking Texmati rice

Pour chicken broth and water into a large saucepan. Add salt, garlic powder, herb paste, and pepper, then stir. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, and rice to broth and stir. Cover and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

If I had a leftover chicken breast or a roasted chicken from the grocery store, I’d tear it into small pieces and add it to the broth along with the rice. This isn’t the first time I’ve fixed chicken soup in a pinch. Sometimes I add a little turmeric or substitute curry powder for the Italian spices. Sometimes I throw in fresh rosemary and sage in place of the herb paste or top things off with arugula or green peas. Of course there are a million options. Since I’m feeling under the weather, the point is to use what’s handy and keep it simple.

I’m planning to pair the soup with a piece of homemade gluten-free bread from the freezer and a cup of hot herbal tea…followed by a nap.

I should be back to normal in no time. I won’t be reaching for the meds unless some complication develops. After all, this is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week – when the CDC reminds us that we overuse and misuse antibiotics which, by the way, are not helpful for colds and flu in the first place.

So if you’re feeling just a bit under the weather, won’t you join me for a cup of comforting chicken soup?

Easiest Egg Salad Ever!

The day after Easter is a perfect day to make the easiest egg salad ever – Cooking2Thrive® Easy Golden Egg Salad! The key to your success with this recipe is choosing a high quality balsamic vinegar with a rich caramel flavor.

The boys and I used to have an Easter party every year. Held on the day before Easter, it involved bunny ears, friends without children, egg decorating, and the occasional Jell-O shot in the shape of an egg.

Easter Egg

I love to dye Easter eggs, and so do my artistic friends, but some of them had no children and felt weird about dying eggs for themselves. That’s how the idea of the party was hatched – they’d borrow my kids to hunt the eggs after they were decorated. Of course this event left us with LOTS of boiled eggs the next day.

After culling any cracked eggs from the bunch, I’d make egg salad. It was usually the traditional kind prepared with salad dressing, mustard and celery. The result was always good, but I have come to prefer the subtle richness of this non-traditional version:

Easy Golden Egg Salad

Serves 4

One dozen eggs, boiled, peeled, and rough chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar

Place eggs in large bowl. Use a dough blender to mash the eggs to desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper. Add sour cream and balsamic vinegar, then mix well.

That’s it! You’re done. Serve with gluten-free crackers, bread, or rolls, or use it to stuff some celery.

Have an egg salad recipe you love? Share it with us in the comments section below.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No Grain, More Gain

Ever wonder why your digestive system seems to be rebelling even though you’ve been meticulously gluten-free?  Me too.

Being quite the social butterfly, I used to think I must be getting bad information from waiters on a regular basis allowing minute amounts of gluten to infiltrate my diet.  I no longer believe this.

Lacking a definitive scientific study on which to rely, I will simply tell you what I’ve learned through trial and error.  The less gluten-free grain I consume, the better I feel.

Mind you, the effect is not immediate, but it is quick.  It takes about a week of eliminating complex carbs from my diet for me to suddenly feel 10 pounds lighter, have my bowel function to return to normal, have less sudden energy drops from low blood sugar, and to feel totally free of intestinal discomfort.

It is possible that Elaine Gottschall had it right when she wrote “Breaking The Vicious Cycle” outlining the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  While not widely accepted by the current medical and nutrition community as significant, Elaine’s book was not written by an untrained, uneducated, or uninformed lay person.

Elaine was a biochemist and cell biologist whose daughter was a patient of Dr. Sidney V. Haas. As you may know, Dr. Haas was a pediatrician and researcher who in 1924 published a medical paper detailing his use of the banana diet for treatment of Celiac Disease.  His research led to the development of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).  During his career, Dr. Hass treated over 600 cases of Celiac Disease and in 1951, along with his son, published a medical textbook entitled “The Management of Celiac Disease”.

The basic premise of the SCD is that the elimination of all carbohydrates that are polysaccharides (complex carbs) from the diet in favor of monosaccharides (simple carbs) can correct malabsorption and reverse the course of many intestinal disorders by starving out an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast from the system.

The first time I followed, yes that’s right I said the FIRST time, the SCD, I ran a 101º fever for a week.  After that week I began to improve.  After a year on the diet, my belly felt better than it ever had in my adult life, and my skin, which had always been prone to breakouts, was completely clear.  After a year and a half on the diet, I began to add back complex carbs – yummy tortilla chips, gluten-free crackers, arrowroot cookies – oh yeah!  Except that after a while I went from oh yeah to oh OWWW!

No matter what I would like to be true, I feel better without grain.  I feel better without potatoes.  I feel better when I limit the chocolate, sugar, milk, and soybeans in my diet.  When I consume tortilla chips, my belly hurts.  When I bake with potato starch, my belly hurts.  When I eat gluten-free pasta for 3 days in a row (I make a mean mac & cheese and the leftovers are awesome) my diarrhea returns.

I don’t know if all grains act as toxins to my system triggering a brain response or whether my symptoms are attributable to bacterial overgrowth or whether it’s a combination of the two.  I’m not sure I need to know.  I know that my system responds positively on the SCD.  I know it makes logical sense because eliminating foods that are harder for my digestive system to break down takes a load off my body.  My body can then redirect its energy to healing and proper functioning.  What more do I really need to know?

Of course I need to know what I can and cannot eat.  That’s easy.  I can buy “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”, or visit

Waiters and chefs in restaurants will need to know what I can eat, so I’ll carry Cooking2Thrive® SCD server cards with me to communicate the information easily.

That covers what I need to know.  You may want to know if there are good SCD recipes available.

That answer is easy as well.  Cooking2Thrive will soon release a series of chef-tested recipes that are SCD compliant and scrumptiously tasty.  These recipes include: Empire Waist Cheese Crackers, Health Nut Applejacks (pancakes), Lemon Kiwi Muffins, Coconut Pound Cake, Cheesecake, Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies, 3 Pepper Fried Chicken Tenders, Meat Loaf, Pistachio Encrusted Chicken, Personal Pizza Margherita, Gorgonzola Tarragon Deviled Eggs, Stuffed Summer Squash, Apple Slaw, and many more.

Hopefully science will eventually support the trends many of us already anecdotally observe.  In the meantime, if you’re gluten-free and experiencing recurring digestive problems, please consider taking the burden off your body.  Follow the SCD for awhile (if it’s SCD compliant, it’s automatically gluten-free).  You too may find that with no grain you see more gain.