THE DANCES OF THE TREES SENT ME COOKING #CHICKEN/PUMPKIN SOUP

Mother Nature has a way of reminding us that it’s time to make that switch. She does so by orchestrating the beautiful trees within our midst. As they sway and perform their dances, we know it’s that time of year; a time when the air is dry and a little crispy.

For me, it’s the perfect indicator to head to my kitchen and pamper this stomach and palate of mine. And, what better way to warm and care for my culinary needs than with some chicken, pumpkin, assorted vegetables and spices all in a stockpot in the form of soup.

SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP

I love soup because it is very satisfying and healthy. This one pot wonder is loaded with nutrients such as, protein from the chicken, and large amounts of vitamins, mineral, fibers and other beneficial nutrients that are great for the body.

I didn’t need a large amount of chicken to ‘kick-off’ my chicken and veggie soup. I used the dark portions of the chicken. I would’ve also preferred the backbone and other bony sections of the fowl; however, I rolled with what I had on hand. I chopped a couple of drumsticks and thigh in small portions. I seasoned with a salt and black pepper and seared these for a few minutes in a sturdy stock pot with a drizzle of olive oil.

To that, I added chopped onions, carrots, pumpkin pieces, and other root veggies. These were combined and coated with the warmth of the chicken pieces. I made sure to season along with salt and black pepper. Cold tap water was added to cover same and allowed to come to a boil. Then stove was turned down to a low to medium for a simmering effect.  Garlic, thyme, rosemary, pimento (all spices) were added.

After pumpkin pieces were fork tender, these were removed from soup and cooled. Then they were added to standing blender and pureed and added back to soup. At this point, okra, scallion, Grace chicken noodle Cock (packaged) soup mix were added to soup. Additional seasoning and herbs were added after taste test.

Soup was simmered on low heat for approximately fifteen minutes until the right consistency was had. Soup was served warm. I know I shall revisiting this dish throughout the cool months of the year.

FARMER’S FRIDGE COMING NEAR YOU!!

We can all agree that the traditional vending machines are laden with mostly high fats, sugar, sodium foods. These foods eaten overtime can lead to chronic diseases that shortens one’s life.

Thankfully, there’s a solution. You see, a manufacturer turned foodie by the name of Luke Saunders came up with the amazing concept. He developed Farmer’s Fridge, a vending machine that offers an assortment of healthy options. Farmer’s Fridge consists of kale/lettuce salads, veggie/hummus, Greek yogurt/berries, tomatoes, corn on the cob, and many other wholesome foods.

The foods are packed in recyclable plastic containers that retain freshness. Therefore, there is no likelihood of obtaining wilted lettuce or kale. Moreover, the great thing about it is that anything that’s not sold at the end of the day is donated to food pantries within the locale.

So far, Farmer’s Fridge is only within the Chicago area at 20 sites. They are situated at offices, universities, apartment buildings and offices. Mr. Saunders hopes to expand and take this innovative idea on the national scale by the end of the calendar year.

I believe that’s an exciting piece of news. Far too long the market has been saturated with high calorie foods in the vending machines. And, one good way to keep track of the Saunder’s work is to check out FarmersFridge.com. One just might be heading your area soon. I for one cannot wait.Yippee!

KICK-ASS SWEET POTATO SALAD

Now that it’s officially summer, we all will be consuming potato salad at our barbeques and cookouts. Traditionally, these salads are made up of the starchy based Irish potatoes and other ingredients. This tasty and delicious dish can pack on the calories as well as raise the glucose level within the body. And, if one is watching the blood sugar numbers that could be problematic.

Thank God, there’s is a substitute. Just the other day, I was turned on or I should say re-introduce to this ‘kiss-ass’ sweet potato salad recipe. I must have tried a few times in the past; however, my good friend, Suzette whet my appetite with her version. In fact, when when gave a sample to a pregnant co-worker, the baby kicked. True story. The baby never ever kicked/moved; however, when expected mom ate my friend’s sweet potato salad, the baby jumped for joy. And, so did I.

In general, I love sweet potato. I love it baked, mashed and fried. So, it was a pleasure to revisit this healthy way of making potato salad. Thus, today, I substituted my Irish for the sweet orange version. It was simple and oh, so delish!

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (2 medium)
  • Egg (1 large)
  • Sweet corn (1/2 can)
  • Green onion (1 stalk)
  • Onion (1 diced tsp)
  • Celery (1 stalk)
  • Bell pepper
  • Salt/pepper
  • Mayonnaise (2 big tbps)

Diced sweet potatoes and egg are placed in tap water with salt and brought to a boil. After potatoes become fork tender these are drained and placed in a bowl. Cook egg until its hard boiled. Then cool down under tap water and remove shell. Chop egg to desired sizes and add to potatoes. Finely dice celery, onions and other veggies. Drain corn and add. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add mayonnaise. Gently fold all ingredients until properly combined. Sprinkle finished dish with a little paprika and garnish with parsley.Image