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Slow Cooker Vegetable Minestrone Soup

This slow cooker vegetable minestrone soup is so simple and healing and it makes for great leftovers!

slow cooker vegetable minestrone soup

The slow cooker is an awesome kitchen appliance. Sometimes, however, I shy away from it because I am just not that accomplished with it. I like my food to taste really fresh and sometimes when I use my slow cooker, I feel like the vegetables and other fresh ingredients just don’t seem as crunchy or fresh tasting as when I cook them for less time on top of the stove.

So, believe me when I tell you that this slow cooker vegetable minestrone soup recipe is perfect in the slow cooker. The vegetables keep just the right amount of crunch. And the soup tastes really fresh and healthy. And it requires almost no effort at all! If I can do it, you can do it!

Maybe my slow cooker won’t get the best of me after all…

One of the reasons I like this soup so much is that I held off adding some of the veggies until close to the end. This worked great because all of the great soup flavors melded together, I was able to let my raw Chinese herbs cook for the whole time, but even the delicate asparagus retained the perfect fresh and crunchy texture that makes them taste so good.

Another reason this soup is awesome is that instead of adding pasta, I used buckwheat. Buckwheat mimics a grain in this soup, but it’s really a seed, so if you are trying to eat grain-free, you will love this too!

I made a huge pot of this soup. Okay, I made way too much of this soup… so much that I ended up eating it for breakfast a few times and I even added some to a pasta sauce I made one night. I should have put a few portions in the freezer, but I still haven’t found any good glass freezer containers (and my mason jars have been cracking in the freezer lately)… but If I had some in the freezer, I’d be pulling out a jar for tonight’s dinner because I’m still not sick of it!

If you like vegetable soups, try my recipe for Lentil Vegetable Soup next!

slow cooker vegetable minestrone soup

Here are some of the great ingredients in this oh-so-easy soup:

Scallions, if you know me, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

In my acupuncture practice, some of my favorite conditions to treat are stress, anxiety, and depression. I’m also always looking for foods that will add to the effectiveness of these treatments. Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…

Buckwheat lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and it’s high in fiber. And, because buckwheat is also high in magnesium, it is the perfect food to combat heart disease. I’ve been substituting buckwheat groats in recipes that call for pasta or rice… it makes a great risotto, so try it!

Spring is asparagus season. In Chinese medicine, we use asparagus to heal the body from within; it gets rid of excess heat in your body, is good for circulation, can remove plaque from the arteries, soothes constipation and is good for hypertension. Many years ago, doctors used to prescribe asparagus juice to reduce cholesterol. Women can especially benefit from this vegetable’s healing abilities: it helps with menopause and fertility. One of my favorite Chinese herbs is called Tian Men Dong and it’s a form of asparagus. It’s great if you have yin deficiency (like so many woman do…), it can help if you have a dry cough, hot flashes, constipation, or night sweats.

I added a raw Chinese herb to this soup (as I usually do…). This time I used Shan Yao. Shan Yao is Chinese Yam, and it’s great for energy.

slow cooker vegetable minestrone soup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Minestrone Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This soup requires no cooking ability at all! It's made in the slow cooker, but the veggies retain their crunch... and it's grain-free because we add buckwheat groats instead of pasta.
Ingredients
  • 5 scallions, thickly sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 lge garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 pieces raw Shan Yao (an optional Chinese herb)
  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats, rinsed and drained
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 10 oz fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except asparagus to slow cooker except the green peas and the asparagus.
  2. Cook on low heat for 4-1/2 hours.
  3. Add asparagus and peas.
  4. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls. Enjoy!

 

slow cooker vegetable minestrone soup

Chicken Potato Tomato Skillet

This chicken potato tomato skillet is made and served right in the skillet!

Chicken, Tomato, And Potato Skillet

There’s just something about food that’s served in a skillet that makes it look so appetizing. I’m a sucker for any menu item that is described as a “skillet”. I love a breakfast “skillet” and no matter what the ingredients, I will think about ordering it before any other menu item. Does this make me weird?

This is one of those recipes that is perfect for those nights that you just don’t know what to make. It’s versatile enough so that you can substitute whatever meat you want, whatever veggies look good, and whatever type of potatoes are lying around your kitchen.

I made this dinner even easier by using leftover tomato sauce that was in my freezer. You can make it even easier than I did by using your favorite store-bought sauce.

So, here’s a dinner skillet. This chicken, potato, and tomato skillet is awesome. It’s a one-pot meal, so clean-up is a breeze and it’s easy to make.

And, come on, who doesn’t like chicken and potatoes and tomatoes and spinach served in skillet?

As I was just re-reading what I wrote, I had a great idea! The next time I make this dish, I am going to toast some healthy garlic bread and hide some of it in the bottom of this skillet… okay, now I’m really excited. I’m never sure if it’s a good thing or not that I get excited so easily by food…

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now (okay… always…), so let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. I’ve got a skillet recipe with your name on it…  So CLICK HEREto be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

If you like this kind of thing, you should also try my recipe for Chicken Stew With Potatoes And Crispy Brussels Sprouts!

Chicken, Potato, And Tomato SkilletChicken, Tomato, And Potato Skillet

Here are some of the great health benefits of this awesome chicken potato tomato skillet:

Chicken is something I push people to buy organic if possible. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery or childbirth. People who have some conditions that we consider “excess heat” conditions should limit the amount of chicken they eat. So, if you have an illness that gives you a bright red tongue or severe dryness in your body, check with your doctor first.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

Potatoes are good at soothing ulcers and neutralizing acid in the stomach and they help relieve constipation. These tubers also can help relieve arthritic inflammation. So, even though sweet potatoes are thought of as the white potato’s more nutrition sister, regular old potatoes can be just what the doctor ordered.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Chicken, Potato, And Tomato Skillet

If you make this Chicken Potato Tomato Skillet recipe, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken, Potato, And Tomato Skillet
Author: 
Recipe type: one-pot, chicken
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: 12 Tomatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This one-pot skillet meal is delicious, simple, and healing. Feel free to substitute other meats and vegetables -- it's all about what makes you happy!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 lb. boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 baking potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 9 oz fresh spinach
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce (either homemade or store-bought)
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ½ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium oven-proof skillet with sides, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to get a little color, about 5-minutes.
  4. Remove the potatoes to a plate and add the chicken to the pan, stirring until the chicken begins to color.
  5. Add the potatoes back to the pan.
  6. Next, add the shallot, garlic, and spinach, and stir until the spinach is wilted, about 1-minute. (You may have to add the spinach a little at a time in order to fit it all in the skillet.)
  7. Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet.
  8. Stir in the lemon juice, chicken broth, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  9. Bake the skillet in the oven about 40 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Chicken, Potato, And Tomato Skillet

Lentil Vegetable Soup

This lentil vegetable soup is so healing and so comforting!

lentil vegetable soup

I make soup all of the time. I mean All. Of. The. Time. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as organized as I’d like to be, so oftentimes I make a great pot of soup for dinner, we eat it, we love it, and then there is not enough left for me to photograph. This means that some of my best creations never make it to the blog.

I have made a version of this soup at least 3 times already. Each one has been delicious. And, I’m proud to say, that finally, I cooked it during the day, while it was still light enough for me to take some decent pictures.  Yay… here it is!

I love a good lentil soup.

I love a great vegetable soup.

This is a great lentil vegetable soup!

And this version is filled with sliced up collard greens. OMG… it’s so good! And don’t even get me started on the health benefits of collards (really, just look below and I’ll list them for you…).

I also love to freeze some of my soup leftovers so that on a night that I don’t feel like cooking (yes, it does happen…) I can just defrost some and have a great dinner.

This time that didn’t work so well. I’ve been trying not to use plastic anymore; I much prefer glass. I see people freezing things all of the time in glass mason jars. I’ve had it work a few times, but like this time, sometimes the jars crack. Such a waste! It all looked good… I took the filled lentil vegetable soup jar out of the freezer, set it on the counter, and within 10 minutes, an entire side of the jar fell off! I mean, it really just slid away from the rest of the jar!

For those of you who have had success freezing foods in mason jars, will you pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaasssse share your secret with me????????

Anyway, none of this should take away from the deliciousness of this soup. It’s hearty and healthy and warming and yummy…

Just look at the pictures below. The first one shows the beauty of the tomatoes I had and the sliced up collards. The second pic is of my all-time-favorite Chinese herb, Huang Qi (Astragalus). You don’t have to add Chinese herbs to your soup, but I just had to show you these raw Huang Qi sticks. They are like magic; they build qi/give you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. Yes, I know, my family makes fun of my excitement for herbs too, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat the soup, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you make a pot of soup…

If you want a soup that’s really really good, but not a lentil-veg soup, try my Hot And Sour Soup recipe.

lentil vegetable souplentil vegetable souplentil vegetable soup

There are lots of great things in this soup:

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

Collard greens are great for you. They help build strong bones, lessen constipation, help reduce stress and act as a detoxifying food. They have almost no calories but do have a lot of fiber. They contain vitamins A, C, and K and are filled with minerals like calcium and manganese. One of the best things about collards is that they are great at preventing the buildup of bad cholesterol.

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.

lentil vegetable soup

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lentil Vegetable Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This soup is the perfect combination of lentil soup and vegetable soup. And it is so healing and delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ large red onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 bunch collard green leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1 lb heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 qt vegetable broth (here's one I use)
  • 3 (or more) spicy piquillo peppers, sliced (I used the marinated ones at my local olive bar) (you can buy these)
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 raw pieces of Huang Qi (Astragalus) (optional)
  • microgreens, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and and cook, stirring, for 3-minutes.
  4. Add sliced collard leaves and stir for about 2-minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir until combined.
  6. Pour in the broth.
  7. Add the peppers and lentils.
  8. Add raw Chinese herbs if using.
  9. Stir in parsley.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  12. Cover and let cook about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but not mushy.
  13. Ladle into bowls and garnish with micro greens if desired.
  14. Enjoy

 

lentil vegetable soup

Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken

Get the amazing healing benefits of apple cider vinegar in this delicious creamy apple cider vinegar chicken dish!

Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken

I’ve been making a lot of creamy recipes lately. Maybe it’s because it’s cold. Maybe it’s because I’ve been craving comfort food and creamy somehow means comfort to me. Or, maybe it’s for some other reason that I haven’t yet figured out. But, one thing’s for sure: these creamy recipes are delicious. And they are dairy-free. And they are simple to make. So, really, who cares why I want them…

Today is Friday and in New York we are bracing for the blizzard said to be coming our way tonight. There’s no fireplace here In the apartment we just moved to, so there’ll be no sitting around the fire with a blanket. More likely, we’ll be sitting around the TV binge-watching something while eating this Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken recipe.

Did you know that raw apple cider vinegar is one of the 10 Foods To Keep You Young Inside And Out?

I buy boneless organic chicken thighs in bulk. Costco sells them in packages and I keep tons of them in my freezer for occasions just like this one.

I used to much prefer the taste of chicken on the bone. But I have to say, boneless thighs are amazing. They are juicy and flavorful. And, they are so much easier to eat with a plate on your lap in front of the TV (I think House Of Cards will be our pick this weekend!)

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now (okay… always…), so let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. I’ve got a chicken recipe with your name on it…  So CLICK HERE  to be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

And, here’s my new FREE ebook:

Increase Your Athletic PerformanceDownload your free copy of my Optimized Athletic Performance Food Plan ebook now!

Raw apple cider vinegar is something we use a lot of. It’s really kind of a miracle cure for so many issues in our bodies. Steve and I actually drink a big gulp of it every day (and he doesn’t even make as much of a pinched up face anymore when it goes down). Look below at the ingredients for a full explanation of this amazing liquid. So, if I can make a recipe using it, I’m a happy camper. I also love this Romaine Wedge Salad With Minced Vegetable Apple Cider Dressing.

Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken

Binge watching TV may not be so healthy, but here’s why this Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken is:

Raw apple cider vinegar is one of the most amazing ingredients available today. My husband and I really do take a big spoon of it every day along with our other supplements. It helps you maintain a healthy alkaline level in your body, detoxifies the liver, and is good for your heart. This vinegar helps intestinal function, much the way probiotics do. It also acts as an antacid and can help break down mucous in the body. In this recipe the taste is amazing, and, I’m here to tell you that even when taking it straight from the spoon, it’s not so bad…

Chicken is something I always buy organic. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery, childbirth, or illness. Chicken is good for nourishing the blood and it’s a healthy source of protein and vitamin B6.

The creaminess of this dish comes from a can of coconut milk. In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes.

Bone broth is filled with bone marrow and essential fatty acids — these things promote optimal brain health. It also contains glycine, which is an amino acid that helps with memory, concentration, stress, and focus.  You can make your own bone broth, but you don’t have to anymore. Bone broth is now available in tons of markets. (See the recipe below for the awesome ready-made bone broth I used in this soup recipe.) It’s sold in boxes just like chicken or vegetable broth. The glucosamine in bone broth can reduce inflammation and strengthen the bones. It’s also great for your skin, hair, and nails. This is a great thing to use for a quick soup base, or to just sip on during the day. Sometimes I’ll have a hot cup of bone broth first thing in the morning for a quick healing pick me up.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Since it’s cold and flu season now, let me tell you again how amazing onions are. Several times lately I have recommended that patients with bronchitis or severe colds put sliced raw onions in their socks before bedtime. The onion actually draws the toxins out of the body and in the morning many people feel much better. Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Raw Chinese herbs are an amazing tool in the kitchen. If you have access to them, you can add them to tons of things simmering on your stove and let them infuse their magic into your sauces. Here, I used Dang Shen. To the novice, this herb looks like ordinary thick twigs. To me, they are like gold. I added these herbs for energy; to raise my qi. If you are feeling fatigued, I highly recommend looking into this herb.

Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken

If you make this Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken recipe, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish, Chicken
Cuisine: recipe inspired by:healingfamilyeats.com
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This one-pot chicken recipe is amazing. The creamy sauce is made with coconut milk and the apple cider vinegar gives it a delicious flavor and will help keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 lb boneless chicken thighs (about 7 thighs)
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • ⅔ cup raw apple cider vinegar (I use this one)
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth (This is a great organic bone broth)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (use the thick cream on the top and save the liquid for another use) (I buy these cans by the case)
  • 2 sticks of Dang Shen (an optional raw Chinese herb)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken and brown on both sides.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and add the onions and garlic to the pan. Stir for 1-minute.
  5. Pour in the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Pour in the broth.
  7. Put the chicken back into the pan and add the thyme sprigs and raw Chinese herbs if using them.
  8. Cover and simmer 20-minutes, or until it's cooked through (flipping the chicken over halfway through).
  9. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour the coconut cream into the pan. Whisk until combined well and let simmer about 5 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken a bit.
  10. Discard the thyme sprigs and serve.
  11. Enjoy!

 

Creamy Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken

Hot And Sour Soup

Once you make this homemade hot and sour soup, you won’t want take-out again!

Hot And Sour Soup-0852

It’s freezing here in New York. I’m not complaining, because the winter has been so mild, but the mild weather did stop me from making as many pots of hot soup as I usually do. This hot and sour soup made me realize how much I miss having a big pot of healing warming soup in the fridge at all times!

When I was a kid I remember getting hot and sour soup from the Chinese restaurant and we used to top it with those deliciously fried Chinese crispy noodles… does anyone else remember this? I’m so out of the take-out food loop now that I don’t even know if you still get those little waxy bags of crunchy noodles… But, this soup recipe is so good that it doesn’t need the noodles. Really. I did, however, put little dots of sriracha in mine at the end because it looks pretty and made it extra awesome.

The beauty of hot and sour soup is that you can make it as spicy or as mild as you like. Did you know that the spice comes from black pepper? I remember being surprised at that the first time I made it… but this makes it even easier to prepare and to shop for.  You can customize it with whatever mushrooms you like (I rehydrated some dried shiitakes) and whatever seaweed you like (if any).  I added pork to this pot, but feel free to use chicken or if you are vegan, use tofu.

So, this week we kept this pot of comforting, warming, spicy soup in a big pot in the fridge for 4 days. We ate a lot of it. Like, an embarrassing amount. But it’s so good. And it’s so light and healthy. And it just makes you feel good. And, I also remembered another thing that happens here when there’s a pot of soup in the fridge all week. Today I went to take the pot out, got my bowl and spoon ready, opened the lid, and saw about 1/4 cup of soup left in the bottom of the pot. It’s like leaving one sheet of toilet tissue in the bathroom… ugh!!!! So disappointing, but so typical!

If you want to jump on the soup bandwagon, you should definitely also make a pot of my Butternut Squash And Apple Soup.

Hot And Sour Soup (rehydrated shiitakes)-0831

Here’s some of the great things in this soup:

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. Shiitake mushrooms are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process.

I like to use some type of seaweed in my hot and sour soup. I used nori in this pot because it’s what I had on hand, but feel free to use whatever type you like. Seaweed is good for your thyroid gland and your lymphatic system. If you have swelling in your body or you are retaining water, seaweed is great because it acts as a diuretic. In the olden days, seaweed was fed to people to get rid of goiters and tuberculosis.

Bamboo shoots actually make you feel better if you have overeaten and are feeling full and bloated or if you have diarrhea. And, if you have a hangover, reach for the bamboo shoots because they will help you feel better faster. This vegetable can also act as a diuretic, so if you have edema, this would be good for you.

Black pepper is a Chinese herb (Hu Jiao). It helps relieve vomiting and food poisoning.

Pork strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.

Hot And Sour Soup

Hot And Sour Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Recipe adapted fromthekitchn.com. This is better than take-out. It's delicious, healthy, and so incredibly warming!
Ingredients
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in a bowl of hot water for about 20 minutes (be sure to save the soaking liquid to add to the soup)
  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs liquid aminos (or soy sauce) (you can buy aminos here)
  • ⅓ lb pork cutlet, sliced into thin strips (or use tofu for a vegan version)
  • 5 oz can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp (or more to taste) ground black pepper
  • 7 Tbs white vinegar
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch whisked together with 4 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs nori krinkles (or substitute another type of seaweed) (you can get them here)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Optional toppings: extra nori, drizzle of sriracha
Instructions
  1. Soak the mushrooms in a small bowl of water. Drain them and reserve the soaking liquid. Slice the shrooms.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the chicken broth, aminos, and sea salt.
  3. When it comes to a boil, add the mushroom soaking liquid, pork strips, nori, and bamboo shoots.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the vinegar and black pepper.
  6. Bring to a full boil, and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until the soup begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the egg -- stir continuously until it looks like egg drop soup.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with additional nori and sriracha if desired.
  9. Enjoy!

Pork Chili With Bok Choy

This pork chili with bok choy has a great traditional chili taste will some awesome added extra healing ingredients!

pork chili with bok choy

Chili is awesome. It’s warming and delicious and there are about a bazillion different ways to make it. Yes, a bazillion.

I love to open the fridge and put whatever catches my eye into my chili pot.

Right now we are in the process of moving, so sometimes it’s challenging to cook dinner, because half of my things are in the new place and half are in the old place. Sometimes when I start cooking dinner, I forget what’s where and I end up using kitchen tools that really don’t work for the job I need. But chili makes it easy… one pot… no special tools.

There are white chilis and red chilis and hot ones and mild ones. There are meaty versions and veggie versions. There are ones that are sweet and ones that are tangy. OK, now my mouth is watering and my mind is already coming up with another pot I have to make. Soon.

And, it just so happens to be football season now. There’s no better tradition than a big pot of chili for the upcoming playoffs and Superbowl…

When I created this chili I looked in my crisper drawer and saw a few heads of beautiful fresh bok choy. Yes, I know, bok choy is not a traditional chili ingredient, but I figured what the heck, let’s try it.  And the combination of bok choy with pork is just perfect. I’m telling you, this amazing veg is perfect in this meaty chili. I decided not to put any beans in this pot so the bok choy would stand out more, but feel free to add beans if you’re in that kind of mood.  If you’re in the mood to try another really unique but amazing chili, try my Sweet Potato Chili With Goji Berries next time.

pork chili with bok choy

I bet you didn’t know chili could be so healthy, but here are the stats for this one:

Pork strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.

In Eastern medicine, bok choy is used to quench thirst, aid digestion, prevent constipation and treat diabetes. It is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and fiber. And there are only 20 calories in one cup of Bok Choy. So, it’s good for you, it’s easy to prepare, and it tastes good.

Bone broth is filled with bone marrow and essential fatty acids — these things promote optimal brain health. It also contains glycine, which is an amino acid that helps with memory, concentration, stress, and focus.  You can make your own bone broth, but you don’t have to anymore. Bone broth is now available in tons of markets. (See the recipe below for the awesome ready-made bone broth I used in this soup recipe.) It’s sold in boxes just like chicken or vegetable broth. The glucosamine in bone broth can reduce inflammation and strengthen the bones. It’s also great for your skin, hair, and nails. This is a great thing to use for a quick soup base, or to just sip on during the day. Sometimes I’ll have a hot cup of bone broth first thing in the morning for a quick healing pick me up.

Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot peppers you like. And feel free to add more chili powders or spicier ones if you’re a spice-a-holic. The main component of hot peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia. It used to be common in China to use green pepper tea to soothe indigestion.

I also added some raw Chinese Herbs to the pot. My favorite thing about cooking things like soups, stews and chilis, is that it’s a great vehicle for my Chinese herbs because they get lots of time to infuse their healing capabilities into my food. I added Huang Qi (Astragalus) and Shan Yao (Chinese Yam) for energy.

pork chili with bok choy

Pork Chili With Bok Choy
Author: 
Recipe type: chili
Cuisine: mexican, american
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This is a great bowl of healthy chili. It's spicy and refreshing at the same time. The bok choy is an amazing addition! Touchdown!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb ground pork
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of a hot pepper, minced (I used an Anaheim chili)
  • 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth (This is a good organic one)
  • 2 medium heads of bok choy, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • raw Chinese herbs (I used Shan Yao and Huang Qi) (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the pork and saute until most of the pink color is gone.
  3. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, hot pepper, salt and pepper to taste, chili powders, cumin, and turmeric. Stir until the meat is coated with the spices and continue cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the can of tomatoes and the chicken broth. Add raw Chinese herbs if using. Bring to a boil. Add the bok choy, cover the pot, and cook 20 minutes. Then, uncover and cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chili is the consistency you like.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with avocado.
  6. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Recipe

What could be easier than a slow cooker whole chicken recipe? Nothing! And it’s moist and delicious!

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It seems almost everyone is a huge slow cooker fan.

Even though I completely understand the draw — I mean, they are easy — I never completely jumped on the slow cooker bandwagon (mostly because I don’t feel I’m that good at it…)

But, everywhere I turn, I see recipes for EVERYTHING in a slow cooker.

You know what they say… you like what you’re good at? Well, my slow cooker food is often not my best food. When you see me post a slow cooker recipe, I’ve usually had to test it over and over again to finally get a great result. I think this might be due to the fact that once you put the ingredients in, you can’t fiddle with them and keep tasting it to adjust the seasonings, etc.

But, I am a HUGE fan of cooking a whole chicken. Whole roasted chicken is kind of my signature dinner when I’m having friends over.

During Thanksgiving, I saw recipes for turkey breasts in slow cookers… and they looked good! And I saw whole huge roasts being cooked in them.  And big big pieces of everything imaginable.

So, I figured, a whole chicken has to work, right?

RIGHT! 1000 times right! This recipe for slow cooker whole chicken is amazing! The chicken came out so moist! It won’t replace my roasted chicken when I’m in the mood for crispy skin, but for all of my recipes for chicken salad, soup, quesadillas, nachos, pulled chicken, and everything I like to make with shredded chicken or just the meat of the chicken, this is perfect!  Pesto Chicken Salad or Shredded Chicken And Cabbage Slaw would be perfect!

All you do is season the bird, put it on top of your veggies of choice in the slow cooker and leave it alone. I wish I could find the words to tell you how easy and how delicious this is and how moist and juicy the meat is…

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken (shredded)-0246

Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you like in this recipe, but I used what my body needed at the time. Here’s what was in my slow cooker:

Chicken is something I always buy organic. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery or childbirth. People who have some conditions that we consider “excess heat” conditions should limit the amount of chicken they eat. So, if you have an illness that gives you a bright red tongue or severe dryness in your body, check with your doctor first.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. It sounds odd but if you have bronchitis, you can actually put sliced raw onions in your socks when you go to sleep and you will wake up feeling so much better. The onion draws the unhealthy germs right out of your body. Onion is a superhero in the food world! I used red onions in this recipe, but I have to say, I think white or yellow would be better because the beautiful color of the onions gets a bit murky in the slow cooker!

Sweet potatoes are good for your digestive system. They can be good for both constipation and diarrhea. These orange gems also help rid your body of excess water, are good for breast health, help people with diabetes and actually can help ease night blindness. In olden times, it was common in China to rub mashed sweet potatoes on poison insect bites to remove the toxins… I can’t say I’ve tried this, but if need be, I’m game!

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to quench thirst and help with digestion. If a patient of mine comes in with hypertension or dehydration, I will often recommend eating tomatoes. In our country, one of the things that tomatoes are touted for is their choline content. Choline helps with sleep, memory and muscle function. So, between the Eastern and the Western ways, tomatoes are awesome!

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

I also added some raw Chinese Herbs to the pot. My favorite thing about using a slow cooker is that because things cook so slowly, any herbs I add get lots of time to infuse their healing capabilities into my food. I added Huang Qi (Astragalus) and Shan Yao (Chinese Yam) for energy.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken (cooked)-0226

 

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: chicken, dinner, entree, slow cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
What could be better than putting a whole chicken in the slow cooker in the morning and coming home to a delicious moist chicken ready for you? This recipe was inspired by so many of my favorite cooks and bloggers, but I must give a shout out to Heidi at FoodieCrush because her recipe really inspired me!
Ingredients
  • 1 4 lb. whole organic chicken, rinsed inside and out and then dried
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 large or 2 sm/medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 8 cloves of garlic
Instructions
  1. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Sprinkle on the paprika and thyme.
  3. Put all of the veggies and garlic in the slow cooker.
  4. Nestle any Chinese herbs you are using in the vegetable pile.
  5. Lay the seasoned chicken on top of the veggies.
  6. Cook on low heat for 9 hours.
  7. Remove the chicken, and do what you want with it: shred it, eat it as is, cut it up and serve with anything you like...
  8. Remove the veggies and eat them too!
  9. Enjoy!

Spicy Chickpea Turkey And Tomato Stew

This spicy chickpea turkey and tomato stew is so warming and healing!

Spicy Turkey, Chickpeas, And Spinach-9643

Why is it that a big pot of spicy stew makes me smile so much?

Do any of you feel the same way?

Whether it’s chili or hot and sour soup or a spicy meat and veggie concoction, just the smell of it makes me happy. Maybe that’s why a huge pot of chili is often on my stove. Or, maybe it’s because I love football and all of the traditional foods associated with the game.  I’m sure it’s partly because a big pot of simmering goodness is the perfect foil for my Chinese herbs.

But it’s mostly because it’s just so yummy! And warming! And filling!

Whatever the reason, this stew came together because I had a hankering for chili, but it wasn’t football Sunday. So, what’s a cook to do? Lots of times, I just make the chili anyway, but this day I felt like something a little different… more like stew I thought… or maybe a touch Moroccan… I just felt like taking regular chili to another level… a little more gourmet if you will (does that sound too snooty???). Since I was only cooking for a few people instead of a regular big football crowd, I figured I’d experiment. And a successful experiment it was!

I love cooking down the aromatic ingredients and then shoving (literally shoving) as many leafy greens as I can into the pot and watching them melt into the gooey goodness in the pot…

Spicy Turkey, Chickpeas, And Spinach (spinach)-9583

“Pots of stuff” or “stews” are great because you can add in whatever you like and whatever your body needs at that point in time. Here’s some of what I put in this gorgeous pot:

Turkey is a healthy meat. Make sure you buy organic, pasture-raised turkey for the highest nutritional benefits. Recent research has shown turkey helps lower the risk of pancreatic cancer; however I did read some research that suggests that if you eat the skin along with the meat, some of this value is reduced, so don’t eat too much skin — this recipe uses ground turkey so it has no skin involved… Turkey also has a great protein-to-fat ratio, so it keeps you feeling full with less potential for weight gain. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B and selenium.

In my acupuncture practice, some of my favorite conditions to treat are stress, anxiety, and depression. I’m also always looking for foods that will add to the effectiveness of these treatments. Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…

Most people think of Popeye (am I dating myself??) and iron when they think of spinach. It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections. This recipe has canned chopped tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes — double whammy!

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; the onion can actually draw the toxins out of the body!

Chili powder is rich in vitamins A and C and also in essential minerals. Spicy pepper is one of the most nutritious spices available. Consuming small amounts gives you a great source of potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Spicy peppers have been shown to ease the pain of arthritis and muscle soreness.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

I love to add my Chinese herbs to anything that simmers on the stove for awhile. This time I added some Bai Shao. Bai Shao is white peony root and it’s great for yin deficiency (think menopausal symptoms…). If you want more info on this herb, just ask…

Spicy Turkey, Chickpeas, And Spinach (pot)-9633

 

Spicy Chickpea, Turkey, And Tomato Pot
Author: 
Recipe type: stew, chili, one-pot meal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ground turkey, chickpeas, and spinach cook in an amazing, spicy tomato sauce... so warming!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric (just found this one-- I'm buying it for next time!)
  • ½ tsp (or more if you like more spice) chipotle chili powder (here's one I use a lot)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika (this one sounds good - let's try it!)
  • 20 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 5 oz baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 2-minutes.
  2. Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and stir for about 3 minutes, or until it is starting to get some color.
  3. Add chili powders, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring, until no longer pink.
  4. Pour in canned tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. Add chickpeas and bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add the spinach. Let the spinach wilt and stir until it is all well combined.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until it's hot and smelling amazing.
  7. Ladle into bowls. Enjoy!