By: Leanne Ely
When I’m looking at a big rack of dried herbs in the grocery store, I often think of dollar bills chopped up and put into bags. For many dried herbs, you might as well just chop up a few dollar bills and sprinkle them on your food for the amount of flavor they add to anything! (Dried parsley? I don’t think so!)
Fresh herbs are used very frequently in my home. I use them in my salads (chop some fresh dill into a bowl of greens and you may never want to eat it any other way ever again!), my soups, with my roast meats, chicken dishes, sauces and the list goes on and on and on.
Fresh herbs don’t only taste great, but many of these fantastic aromatic little green wonders are just packed with nutrition. Sage, rosemary and thyme are much more than just a Simon and Garfunkel hit! These herbs are extremely healthy for you.
Fresh herbs: the basics
Fresh herbs add a certain something to your dishes that you just can’t duplicate with the dried variety. Once you start you won’t want to go back!
Cooking with fresh herbs can be intimidating at first, but it’s really pretty simple. You figure out which herbs go best with your favorite dishes, and you go from there!
But where do you start?
How about by learning which herbs go with what foods! Here’s a cheat sheet for you:
Basil: Amazing on pizza! Basil is almost peppery in flavor, it’s very fragrant and has a wonderful spicy bite to it. Basil almost a must for any dish containing tomatoes. The little leaves at the top of the bunch will be the sweetest.
Dill: Your fish will never the the same again! This grassy herb with its feathery leaves is often paired with fish dishes and it’s amazing in a vinaigrette.
Mint: If you plant your own mint be VERY careful. It is a prolific plant that can easily overtake your entire garden. It’s wonderful in beverages, with lamb and with peas. It’s also nice to chew on to freshen your breath!
Oregano: This wonderful earthy herb is a must for pizza but it’s also fabulous on eggs! Oregano is the one herb that is actually just as good dried as it is fresh.
Parsley: Parsley is great for everything from freshening your breath to chopping into salads, hummus, guacamole, soup – pretty much anything, really! It lends a nice freshness to anything you put it on. But the dried version? A waste of money.
Thyme: This citrusy herb is wonderful with seafood, poultry and many Mediterranean dishes. Here’s a tip for you! It’s a pain to tear off the tiny little leaves from their woody stems so use fork tines to strip them!
Sage: Another easy one to grow at home, this aromatic herb is just wonderful with duck, turkey and sausage.
Rosemary: One of my favorites, rosemary has a flavor that’s almost like pine. It’s wonderful in meat, soups, stews and even breads.
Cilantro: This one seems to be loved or hated! Popular in Mexican, Asian and Indian cooking, cilantro looks like flat leaf parsley but it’s much different in flavor. Some describe it as tasting soapy!
When you bring your herbs home from the store, rinse them in cold water to remove any dirt or bugs (hey, when you buy organic, it happens!). Store them in water in the fridge, covered with a plastic bag and they should keep for a few days. This method does NOT work with basil. Instead, put it in water and leave it on your counter.
PS – The 21 Day Knock Out is happening!!! I’ll sneak you in, but you gotta come right now!!
By: Leanne Ely
Hands up if you plan to have a turkey in the oven at some point over the next couple of days.
I know you’re probably not thinking about what to do with that leftover turkey yet, but I want to catch you before you toss out that beautiful turkey carcass in the trash.
Instead of throwing the carcass away (please don’t throw it away!), you can use it to create wonderful, delicious and nutritious soup stock.
We absolutely love turkey soup in my house, and I know if you try this recipe, you’re going to love it, too!
The trick to making turkey soup is to roast the carcass.
If you are too tired after entertaining family for Thanksgiving Dinner, put the carcass in a freezer bag until you have a couple of hours to give it the proper treatment it deserves!
When you’re ready to get down to business, pull the carcass apart and put it in a roaster with some roughly chopped carrots, celery, onions, and 8 or 9 whole cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, take the roaster out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Turn on one of your largest stovetop elements and place the roaster on top. Cover the carcass with cold water and boil uncovered for an hour. NOTE: METAL ROASTERS ONLY! If you’ve roasted your carcass in a different type of roasting pan, transfer the bones and vegetables to a stockpot for this step!
After an hour of boiling, strain the whole mess and pop it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, remove the layer of fat from the top and get ready to make a big pot of delicious Roast Turkey Carcass Soup!
Roast Turkey Carcass Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast Turkey Carcass broth (see above directions to make)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of thyme (depending on taste and quantity of soup)
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil till hot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook 5 minutes till soft and translucent. Add the carrots and celery, and cook another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper well to taste.
Now add the Roast Turkey Carcass broth. Bring everything to a rolling boil; don’t cover the soup. Add the thyme and enjoy!
This recipe does offer some flexibility. Go ahead and add any other vegetables you like, or toss in some noodles. Or you can even use the broth to replace canned broth in other soups and stews, like in this recipe from our new 10-Day Blitz:
Chicken Rosemary Sweet Potato Stew
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
5 cups low sodium chicken broth, or use homemade roast turkey carcass broth
4 cups chopped kale
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
In a large pot over medium heat, heat coconut oil. To the pot, add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes then add the chicken and sweet potato. Cook for 5 minutes, until chicken is brown.
To the pot, add the remaining ingredients (broth through lemon zest) and stir. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Serve warm.
PS–You can find more delicious recipes, just like this one in our BRAND NEW 10-Day Blitz. It’s the final blitz of the year, and you can still get access with any purchase of Perfect Paleo Protein. Get yours today, and pay nothing for shipping.
By: Leanne Ely
It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a trick, a tip and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?
Today’s focus is on: CELERY
I’ve done my time with celery. Those “diets” that make you eat a lot of celery because the calorie count is so low? Yeah, you did it too, admit it!
And while I don’t eat celery that way anymore (it kind of makes me cranky!), celery is a fabulous veggie. Celery is one of the 3 magical ingredients used in soups with carrots and onions. The carrot is for sweet, the onion for savory and celery is for salt. And since I try to eat soup a lot, especially when the weather cools down, celery is always a resident in my crisper.
Besides being a key soup ingredient, celery is also plenty healthy. It acts as a natural diuretic, it calms your blood pressure, and it helps your immune system too.
Now, it’s time for your Trick!
When you buy celery, only buy organic. Celery is on the Dirty Dozen list because it’s so heavily sprayed. And since most people don’t consume a whole bunch of celery at a time, here’s a bonus trick for you to avoid waste! Cut the end off the celery, wrap the celery in aluminum foil and store it in your crisper drawer. It will last for almost a month this way!
Remember I told you to cut the bottom off your celery? Don’t throw it out! Save it and place it in a glass of water on a sunny window sill. It will regrow new bright green leaves!
And your Recipe:
Chicken Kale Soup
4 cups low sodium chicken broth, or use homemade
3 teaspoons coco-aminos
1 tablespoon grass fed butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 overflowing cups chopped kale
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker; stir well to blend thoroughly. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours, stirring every 2 hours.
By: Leanne Ely
It is definitely pumpkin season! We know all about those classic orange pumpkins, but what about the pretty blue pumpkins?
Queensland Blue is a gorgeous pumpkin with a light blue, silvery skin. It’s a variety that hails from Australia and was introduced to the United States back in 1932. The Queensland Blue looks quite similar to the Jarrahdale pumpkin—another Australian variety.
Some people think these pumpkins look quite similar to Frankenstein’s head when you look at them from the side, making them perfect for spooky fall decor—but rather than toss it in the compost, go on and eat it after it has served its decorative destiny!
This winter squash—as with all winter squash—is chock full of vitamins and minerals. The sweet flavor and dry flesh of the Queensland Blue make it excellent for baking with.
Now that you’re eyeing up your neighbors’ deteriorating fall display with visions of pie in your head, let’s take a look at your trick!
It can be hard to tell when a blue pumpkin is ripe. It’s ready to eat when the stem is dry and starting to wither.
The skin of a Queensland Blue is very hard, so use a good sharp knife to get into it, and take care of those fingers. Try cutting it in half and roasting rather than peeling and chopping. This makes it easier to separate the flesh from the skin.
Beefy Mushroom Soup
1 1/2 pounds 95% lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 1/4 cups low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (recipe below)
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup skim milk
In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, brown ground beef, onion, mushrooms and garlic over medium-high heat; drain off any excess fat. Add broths, water and pumpkin; stir until well blended, thinning with additional water if needed; season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add milk and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Cut top off of whole pumpkin. Cut in half, scoop out seeds pulp from center. Cut pumpkin into quarters or even eighths depending on how big it was to start!
Lay pumpkin on baking sheet and bake in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork tender. Let cool and then scoop the pumpkin away from the skin with knife or spoon. Process baked pumpkin in food processor until it is smooth.