Fennel Tomato Soup

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This fast and flavorful soup has been a part of my winter repertoire for years.  Fennel is an amazing vegetable and this simple soup lets its delicious taste really shine.

I originally found a recipe for Fennel Tomato Soup from an issue of Vegetarian Times magazine and over time I tweaked it a little here and a little there (adding a healthy dose of greens was an obvious improvement, in my opinion) until it became a recipe I could call my own. Tomato and fennel go together so well; this soup is packed with flavor despite a short ingredient list and prep time.  It’s well-suited to a busy weeknight dinner or even a quick lunch, as it’s on the table in about 20 minutes.

Fennel Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Did you know tomato and fennel are besties? It's true. One taste of this soup will convince you this flavor combo is a match made in garden heaven.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs. avocado or olive oil
  • 4 Italian sausages of choice, sliced into half moons
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 tbs. white cooking wine, mirin, or water
  • 1 large can (28oz.) or jar (32oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 c. vegetable or bone broth
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • 2 large handfuls baby greens (such as spinach, kale, chard or a mixture), chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium. Add sausages and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. 2. Add diced fennel bulb & seeds and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, until fennel is softened.
  2. Pour in cooking wine or water and scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add tomatoes, broth, and season with salt & pepper. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤

 


CocoBerry Pancakes

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Pancakes are such a great vessel for getting nutrition into our kiddos, aren’t they? Making them from scratch with wholesome, real ingredients is super simple. Clearly I love a good pancake recipe (find two more of my recipes here and here)!  This one checks all the boxes though: good source of protein, grain-free, naturally sweetened, AND they’re studded with fruits & veggies (yep, veggies – I’m a big proponent of eating vegetables at breakfast!).

Why veggies at breakfast? Did you know that a 2-3 year old child’s daily intake of vegetables should be one cup? A child aged 4-8 years should have 1.5 cups (source).  Making the most out of every meal and snack is key to reaching these requirements … so veggies for breakfast it is!

If you think your child would reject these pancakes because of the flecks of grated green zucchini, you can certainly toss the batter into your blender or food processor before adding the berries so that the texture is relatively smooth.  I haven’t tried that, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work.

I’ve included an option below for adding honey or maple syrup in the pancake batter so that there’s no need to top them with that sticky (and messy) goodness – unless you just want to!

Other delightful topping ideas include: hemp seeds,  chopped nuts & seeds, bee pollen, ground flax, raisins, more berries, berry chia jam, and/or nut butter.

This recipe makes a fairly large batch; roughly 24 3″ pancakes (measuring the batter with a tablespoon and flattening it out slightly).  We love to repurpose them as “sandwiches” with nut butter or just reheat them to enjoy as snacks or an easy out-the-door breakfast.  Pro Tip: reheat the pancakes in the toaster!  It warms them up nicely and the edges get kinda crispy.  Yum!

CocoBerry Pancakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Grain-free, naturally sweetened pancakes that are studded with berries & shredded zucchini!


Credit: Megan @ Mama Makes Food

Ingredients

  • 2 large, really ripe (spotty) bananas
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini (about half of one medium-sized zucchini)
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds, optional
  • 1-2 tsp. honey or pure maple syrup, optional
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla powder or extract
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 c. coconut flour
  • 1 c. blueberries
  • coconut oil, for greasing skillet/griddle

Directions

  1. Preheat large skillet or griddle over medium low.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add eggs and whisk to combine.
  3. Add zucchini, chia seeds (if using), honey (this completely depends on your child(ren)’s taste – we find the pancakes sweet enough from the bananas and usually do not add additional sweetener), cinnamon, vanilla, & sea salt and whisk again.
  4. Add coconut flour, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Spread a small amount of coconut oil over preheated skillet or griddle (how much depends on the size of your cooking surface – just a thin layer is needed, so a teaspoon or two should do the trick).
  6. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, dollop the pancake batter (it will be thick because of the coconut flour) onto the skillet/griddle. Using the back of your spoon, spread out the batter so that the pancake thickness is about 1/4″. Continue dolloping and spreading out batter until your cook surface is full, leaving about an inch in between each pancake (my griddle holds about 8 pancakes at a time).
  7. Place 5 berries onto the top of each pancake, pushing them down into the batter.
  8. Cook pancakes until golden on the underside, about 5-7 minutes. Carefully flip and flatten the pancake a little with your spatula. Cook until golden again, another 5 minutes or so.
  9. Place pancakes on cooling rack while you cook the next batch(es). A cooling rack keeps the pancakes from getting soggy on the underside.

Notes:

  • You can substitute other fruit in your pancakes – other berries or kiwi, thinly sliced, work well.
  • If you would like to try these pancakes using a different flour, the recipe will likely need twice as much.  I tested these with buckwheat flour and spelt flour, and each time, I needed 1 cup of flour instead of the 1/2 cup that is called for when using coconut flour.  Coconut flour is unlike other kinds of flour because it absorbs a lot of moisture.  We preferred the taste and texture of these when coconut flour was used, so that’s how I wrote the recipe.  They were still good with the other flours too though.
  • Instead of adding the blueberries to the top of each pancake, you can add them to your batter when you put in the coconut flour. I like to make sure that each pancake has plenty of berries though, so I prefer to add them later.
  • If you think your child might be weary of zucchini in their pancakes, consider blending the batter so that the texture is relatively smooth.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤


Chicken Noodle Turmeric Soup

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When using whole food ingredients, it doesn’t get more basic or wholesome than chicken noodle soup.  Everybody knows it, almost everybody loves it.  It’s THE quintessential comfort food.  I slow-cooked a whole chicken the other day (my favorite way to do that is The Natural Nurturer’s recipe for Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Chicken – it’s so simple and delicious). I had the shredded chicken and the bone broth I made from it afterward hanging out in the fridge.  I knew when I woke up this morning and there was a chill in the air that they were destined to become soup.

Traditional chicken noodle soup has celery.  I didn’t have any, but I did have some zucchini.  I thought that would make a fun change.  That got me to thinking what other changes I could make … turmeric.  Yes!  I love incorporating turmeric into the foods we eat because it is such a superfood spice.  Its list of benefits is extensive; in short, turmeric is an awesome anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and it’s considered a “brain booster”.  As I always say though, do your own research! While I am passionate about healthy cooking and eating, I am not a dietitian or a doctor.  The final change I knew I had to make was a no-brainer – I HAD to add some greens.  Always greens.

This soup comes together quickly if you already have cooked chicken on hand, making it the perfect weeknight meal.  Serve with a salad or with some crusty buttered toast.  Mm mmm.  Toddler approved, parent approved.  Healthy.  Flavorful.  What’s more – with a couple yummy and simple substitutions, it can be made vegan.  Sub chickpeas for chicken and switch out vegetable broth for the bone broth.

Chicken Noodle Turmeric Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30mins
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Chicken noodle soup with some fun & flavorful twists – zucchini, turmeric, and greens!.

Ingredients


– 1 tbs. olive oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 2 carrots, diced
– pinch sea salt
– 5 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 medium zucchini, chopped
– 1 tsp. turmeric
– 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
– 6-8 c. bone broth (vegetable broth for vegan option)
– 3 c. cooked shredded chicken (sub chickpeas for vegan option)
– 1 c. uncooked elbow pasta
– 2 large handfuls baby spinach

Directions


1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir occasionally and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until onion is translucent and the carrot is softened.
2. Add garlic, zucchini, turmeric, and poultry seasoning and stir to combine again. Let spices toast for a minute.
3. Pour in just a splash of the bone broth to deglaze the pan; scrap all the yummy bits from the botton of the pan to reincorporate. Add remaining broth and shredded chicken.
4. Increase heat to medium high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until pasta is tender (read package instructions – it will likely be 6-8 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you’re using).
5. Once the noodles are tender, turn off the heat and add spinach. Stir to combine until spinach is wilted.

Happy Food Making, Mamas! ❤