Posts tagged ‘cookingtothrive.com’

December 4, 2017

Dump Soup – Perfect for a Lazy Day

This morning, I’m making dump soup. I’d like to say it’s because I’m having a relaxing day with nothing else to do. The truth is, I’m sick. I don’t feel like standing in the kitchen, but I want some soup to sip on.
veggies
The good news is, I have remnants of broccoli, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, carrots, celery, fresh rosemary, and ham in my refrigerator — all left over from last weekend’s family meal prep. I also have a bag of small red onions I picked up on sale. The other good news is that the broccoli has already been cleaned, the potatoes were peeled & sliced for scalloped potatoes (but wouldn’t fit in my dish), and the tomatoes were chopped for a salad. I can just dump everything in a pan, no prep required!!!!

Dump soup, unlike a carefully prepared stew, doesn’t require chopping. It doesn’t require potatoes that haven’t turned dark. You don’t need to cut the leaves off of the celery or pull the rosemary off its stem. You can just dump cleaned veggies in a large pot, season with salt, pepper, garlic (dump some fresh in if you have it), and any other herbs or spices that compliment your flavor profile, then add meat & water.
ham
Any leftover or uncooked meat will work — ham, chicken, and bacon are my favorites. Dump soup is a great place to use chicken or turkey necks, hearts, livers, and gizzards. It’s the perfect excuse to skip closely trimming a ham bone. Leaving some meat on the bone will add even more flavor to the soup. If you don’t have meat handy, mixing some chicken stock in your water will deepen the flavor of the vegetable broth.

If you’ve ever made chicken stock, you know that once the broth is flavored, you remove all of the chicken and vegetables because they’re overcooked and have given most of their flavor over to the broth. Dump soup is the same. What you’re going for initially is a flavorful broth. Slowly simmering your mixture for 3-4 hours will result in a rich broth. The lengthy cooking time is another reason it’s perfect for a lazy morning or a day you’re stuck at home doing chores.

After 3-4 hours, dump in whatever you’d like to chew on in your soup. First, remove all the meat, vegetables, and herbs. I don’t worry about straining out little remnants, but you can if you want a clear broth. Today, I’ll probably dump in some brown rice, but pasta, quinoa, or lentils are good options as well. If I felt like spending more time in the kitchen, I might add chopped vegetables and/or meat.
biscuits
I’ll serve today’s dump soup with some ratty looking gluten-free biscuits I threw together this morning. I keep the dry ingredients mixed up so that on days like today, I all I have to do is cut in some shortening and add the milk and buttermilk. That means it takes about 5 minutes to mix the biscuits and get them in the oven. Obviously, I didn’t take much time rolling or cutting these! A piece of fresh fruit will round out the meal.

And I’ll have plenty of everything left for tomorrow. Of course, I hope I’m feeling better by then but you never know. Having something warm and comforting already prepared makes me feel less anxious and able to rest more easily while I try to get ahead of this virus. There’s also something comforting about the delicious aroma filling the house.

In a matter of minutes, I cleaned out 80% of the contents of my refrigerator, made the house feel comforting, and created several meals — all by making dump soup. Not bad for a morning when I’m mostly lying around watching TV!

November 30, 2017

Travel Tip #19 – Pack Light

When you get ready to make that holiday trip…pack light. I’m a planner. I can be spontaneous and I don’t have to nail down every detail in advance, but I need to feel that I’m prepared for the possibilities. Being prepared for everything that I imagine might happen on a long trip can leave me at risk for severe overpacking. The fact that I always carry at least one book and usually two doesn’t help.
suitcase
When I was preparing for my first trip to Europe, an older, wiser, well-traveled coworker advised me to pack my bag then remove half the stuff and pack again. Once the bag was packed with the half that remained, she told me to remove half of what I’d packed that second time. Then, she said, you’ll have what you need.

I might have ignored that advice, but just prior to receiving it, I’d learned about the concept that the size and weight of the bags you carry reflects the size and weight of the emotional baggage you carry. I was pretty sure I wanted to appear as though my emotional baggage was small. And so, I packed a fourth of what I had planned to take.

As it turns out, that advice was worth its weight in gold! That particular trip to Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Moscow was filled with unexpected walks while toting my bags – a task much more easily accomplished when the bags are light. The surprising thing was, I actually had everything I needed.

Learning that 3/4 of what I’d originally packed wasn’t necessary made a believer out of me. In a couple of weeks when I head back to LA, it will be with a fourth of the things I feel like I might need while I’m there. Don’t worry, I’ll still have a book in hand (the old school paper kind). I’ll leave the computer behind.

Lugging around too many large, heavy bags will soon wear on you. You want to arrive at each destination feeling energetic and excited, not overloaded and exhausted. Packing light will give you a great start toward feeling less burdened and more carefree. And isn’t that’s why we want to get away in the first place?

There are many advantages when you pack light. They include:

No need to purchase large suitcases.
Faster, easier packing before you leave.
Less stress on your shoulders, back, knees, and feet.
Easy transfers when changing modes of transportation.
Fewer bag fees.
Room to pack items you purchase during a trip.
Fewer things to keep up with.

If you can’t imagine packing lighter, here are a few ideas to explore:

*Many hotel, condo-style hotel, Airbnb, and VRBO accommodations offer laundry facilities. If you are making an extended trip, laundry access will allow you to carry less and still have clean clothes without interrupting your planned activities.

*Carrying neutral, solid colored items that can be layered, mixed and matched, or accessorized differently will allow you to vary your appearance. A couple of bright colored scarves can totally change the look of basic black pants and a sweater.

*Only packing for predicted weather variations can reduce your load. Check the weather forecast. While forecasts are notoriously inaccurate, they can be relied on to give you an overview of the likely extremes. Pack for those. Could it rain unexpectedly? Of course, but you can always pick up an inexpensive umbrella at a gas station or dollar store.

If an unexpected cold front comes through and you need a new fleece hoodie or a coat, think of it as a shopping opportunity. If your budget is tight, even small towns often have a discount store, thrift store, or flea market with an option that will serve you well. I’ve made some great purchases from thrift stores in Austin, Texas; Santa Monica, California; and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

*A pair of multipurpose shoes that can be enjoyably walked in for miles while looking dressy enough for a casual dress is a great investment for your travel wardrobe. Shoes are bulky and heavy. The fewer you have to carry, the better. It’s worth it to purchase a pair of comfortable, versatile shoes.

Of course it’s best if the shoe color is neutral and coordinates well with both light and dark clothing. It may take time to find the perfect pair, but in my experience having them can reduce the weight of my suitcase by several pounds. For most trips, I can wear one pair of shoes and take some $1 flip flops and have all my needs covered.

*Reducing the contents of your purse to the essentials means you can carry a small crossbody bag with convenient organizational pockets for travel. Pare down your credit cards to a couple of essential ones. Take only critical keys. Choose one lipstick. Leave your checkbook, library card, grocery store rewards card, old receipts, coupons, full size pill bottles, and additional keys at home.

*A review of your travel history can reveal unnecessary items you’re in the habit of packing. Do you pack workout clothes? If so, do you regularly work out when on a trip? If not, skip the workout clothes. Do you regularly use a hotel pool or hot tub? If not, and you’re not planning a beach vacation, don’t carry a swimsuit. In other words, not preparing for activities you rarely take advantage of will result in lighter bags.

Getting away can provide rest, inspiration, and a sense of feeling carefree that helps relieve stress and provides renewal. Packing light can encourage that carefree feeling. I want that!

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/travel-tip-18-push-the-limits/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/travel-tip-12-cold-soups-vary-different-countries/

November 20, 2017

Celiac’s Relationship to Risk for Other Diseases

If you have Celiac Disease, it’s important to recognize Celiac’s relationship to risk for other diseases. It’s especially tempting at this time of year to ignore the signs of distress your body sends you when you eat bread stuffing, gravy on your turkey, flaky pie crust, gingerbread cookies, and Christmas cookies – after all, it’s the holidays! Before you grab another roll in spite of your physician’s advice to follow a gluten-free diet, it’s good to be informed about the other health effects this could have.
crust
Here is a list of health conditions related to Celiac Disease:

Cancers
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Small Bowel Cancer are serious complications of Celiac Disease. The good news is that three to five years of adherence to a gluten-free diet reduces the risk of these cancers to the same risk found in the general population. The risk will remain the same as it is for the general population so long as the gluten-free diet continues.

In untreated Celiac Disease patients, Esophageal Cancer occurs at a rate as much as 8 times higher than in the general population. A gluten-free diet reduces this risk.

Those with Celiac Disease have a threefold higher risk of Papillary Thyroid Cancer. This is the most common type of thyroid cancer and is highly treatable.

Chronic Pancreatitis
Chronic Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that worsens over time. Having Celiac Disease increases your risk of Chronic Pancreatitis threefold.

Scleroderma
Celiac Disease is a known trigger for Scleroderma – an autoimmune condition that causes a hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissue. It is chronic and without cure.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the third leading cause of death in the US. A large Swedish study from 1987 – 2008 found that those with both diagnosed and undiagnosed Celiac Disease had a moderately increased risk of COPD.

Osteoporosis
Untreated Celiac Disease can lead to development of osteoporosis also known as brittle bones.

Infertility
Untreated Celiac Disease may be an underlying cause of unexplained infertility.

Type 1 Diabetes
The incidence of Celiac Disease in patients with Type 1 Diabetes is 4 – 6% (possibly as high as 10% according to the Diabetes Council). Untreated Celiac Disease with resulting malabsorption can cause hypoglycemia in these patients. If you have Type 1 Diabetes and Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy, it will be easier to manage blood sugar levels when you adhere to a gluten-free diet.

In addition to these diseases, any condition that is exacerbated by inflammation can be affected because Celiac Disease is often associated with chronic inflammation. The inflammation from untreated Celiac Disease frequently causes joint pain.

With all the tempting treats of the holidays at hand, you may struggle to make the decision to remain gluten-free. While you are always free to choose that flaky pie crust, it’s only prudent to do so with the knowledge that if you have Celiac Disease, doing so can have a detrimental effect on your health. And now you know!

http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/learn-about-copd/how-serious-is-copd.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/balancing-diabetes-and-celiac-disease/

http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/15/3/197

https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/celiac-disease-and-comorbid-conditions/22514-2/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/cut-bite-size-pieces/

November 13, 2017

The Holidays…Already? How About a Cornbread Salad!

Can it really be the holidays…already; how about a cornbread salad? It would be an understatement to say this year has flown by. I’ve been running full speed ahead the whole time so it seems like only 6 months have passed. Now it’s time to get my mind and menu ready for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure I’m prepared, but that’s probably beside the point. I have to get ready anyway.

In my family, the Thanksgiving crowd varies widely from year to year. Some years I’ve hosted 26 and some years there have only been two of us. That means every year requires a slightly different plan. This year my plan is to keep it simple, but I also want to keep it interesting!
stuffing
Instead of cornbread stuffing, I think I’ll try a cornbread salad. I found this recipe in my mom’s recipe scrapbook. It was cut out of a newspaper and it’s called Mississippi Cornbread Salad. The recipe calls for cornbread mix.

In order to make it gluten-free, I’ll start with a Cooking2Thrive cornbread recipe.

Make some cornbread

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 cup white corn meal
1/2 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk

Place shortening in cast iron skillet & put in oven to melt while you mix batter. In a medium bowl, mix together white and yellow corn meal, sorghum flour, sugar, and salt. Add baking powder and mix thoroughly. Add egg, milk, and buttermilk. Stir just until mixed.

Remove skillet from oven. Swirl melted shortening around in skillet until sides are coated. Pour hot shortening into batter and stir. Place batter in hot skillet. Place skillet in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove skillet from oven and place on rack to cool. Turn cornbread out of pan.

Gather the salad ingredients
Once the cornbread is cool, I’ll crumble it. In the meantime, I’ll gather the other ingredients:
bell pepper
One envelope of Ranch style dressing mix. (Hidden Valley does not currently contain gluten)
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup gluten-free mayonnaise
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped orange or red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
4 cups cooked pinto beans, drained (or 2 16-ounce cans)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 1/2 cups whole kernel corn, cooked & drained (frozen, canned, or fresh)
10 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

Make the dressing
In a small bowl, make the dressing by combining the dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise until blended. Set the dressing aside.

Combine tomatoes and peppers
In a second bowl, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers and green onions and toss gently.

Assemble the salad
I’m going to assemble the salad in a large trifle bowl, but any 3-quart bowl will do. Place half of the crumbled cornbread in the bowl. Top with half of the beans, the tomato mixture, the cheese, the bacon, the corn, and the dressing. Repeat with a second layer. Cover and chill for 3 hours.

That’s it. The salad is done. Now, since I haven’t tried this yet, I can’t tell you if it’s going to be good, but all of the ingredients go well together. My only question would be one of proportion. When I make a combination like this, I eyeball it and add veggies until it feels right to me.

I’m fine with preparing a dish for the first time and serving it to guests. That doesn’t mean the recipe always turns out perfectly. It just means that I don’t worry too much about a failure. I’ll have plenty of food on the table even if I have to throw one dish in the trash. If it’s good, but not great, I’ll improve it next time.

So, let’s give this simple, interesting recipe a try and see whether we should make it a tradition! Join me?

Follow-up note: I made this salad for Thanksgiving. It was good enough that I have plans to come up with a Cooking2Thrive version that we’ll tweak and test until it’s better than good. After all, we always aim for superior deliciousosity!


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.”