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.
By: Leanne Ely
I almost always have a batch of bone broth simmering in my kitchen. This healing broth is more to me than soup. It’s a wonderful elixir that helps heal my gut and guards me from getting sick.
If you have an autoimmune disorder (like I do), making bone broth a part of your regular daily life helps tremendously with energy levels and digestion, too.
And by the way, I do not mean the cartons of broth you buy at the grocery store. In order to have a good healing bone broth, you need to make your own.
But I understand that’s easier said than done, so I’m here to take you through the entire process start to finish.
First of all, let me remind you why you should be making bone broth a part of your day.
Nutritional Benefits of Bone Broth
Your bowl of bone broth contains a healing helping of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which work together to reduce inflammation, joint pain and other symptoms of arthritis.
Bone broth is excellent for digestion (it will do wonders for your gut), but it’ll also aid your nervous and immune systems and help your muscles grow and repair.
That same broth will also give you a huge boost of minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. It’s also rich in proline, glycine and amino acids.
And did I neglect to mention that bone broth helps to prevent bone loss while building healthy hair, nails and skin?
Now that you know why it’s so good for you, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Start With Good Bones!
Find yourself a very good butcher. You can use bones from any animal as long as it was a good, healthy one. I prefer locally sourced bones, organically grown if possible. At the very least, grass-fed. Do not use factory-farmed animals—they aren’t going to result in a nutritious broth. (Hint: If you can’t source good bones locally, buy bones online from US Wellness Meats).
Keep in mind that the flavor will change based on the kind of animal you use, but it’s okay to mix your bones. And the absolute best bones are marrow bones. You want big bones like knuckles, which contain cartilage. That means more collagen, which means a healthier broth.
How To Make Bone Broth
For best flavor, start by roasting your bones. To do this, place the bones in a pan in a 350 degree oven and roast for one hour. Then move them to your slow cooker with some salt, pepper, onion, celery, carrots, herbs and a few cloves of garlic. Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar so that the minerals and nutrients can be leeched from the bones. Cook on low for at least 8 hours for poultry, 12 for beef. I tend to go much longer, up to 72 hours. You’ll need to replace the water from time to time, so the crock cooker is filled almost to the top.
When the broth has cooked as long as you need it to, strain the broth and let it sit in the fridge until the fat hardens on the surface. Spoon off the fat and in the morning, if you’ve done it just right, the broth should be good and gelatinized.
If your broth doesn’t gel, you might have added too much water, or perhaps you didn’t cook your broth long enough or too vigorously. Remember, the larger the bones, the longer they will need to cook! Also, they need connective tissue—that’s where the gelatin is so bones with joints are helpful. That’s why I LOVE chicken feet! (yeah, I know…gross, but magnificent, delicious gelled bone broth!)
Jiggle Achieved…Now What?
What do you do with that healing elixir?
Drink it from a mug like you would a cup of coffee. This is a great way to start the day! I also make soup from my broth, and I use it in recipes calling for stock. I aim to consume about 8 ounces of bone broth per day (more during flu season because of the immune boost it gives me), which really isn’t that difficult.
Storing Bone Broth
You should use up your broth within 3 or 4 days. If you need longer than that, move it to the freezer. It will keep there for up to a year.
Store some of your bone broth in an ice cube tray so you always have some on hand when your recipe calls for a little bit of stock! (2 cubes for recipes calling for 1/4 cup, 4 cubes to the 1/2 cup).
Want more recipes? Click here.
By: Leanne Ely
If you and kale have an on-again, off-again relationship, there’s a good chance that you just haven’t met the right kale yet. (It’s not kale, it’s you.)
Some types of kale are better for some things than others and all varieties of kale have a slightly different taste and texture.
There are so many amazing health benefits you gain from eating kale that I strongly suggest you find one that you can incorporate into your diet without too much pain!
If you’re not a fan of curly kale, you might really like dino kale. This dark kale with long, flat, textured leaves is also commonly referred to as tuscan kale, black kale or lacinto kale. Many believe this kale to be more versatile, more delicious, and easier to work with than other kale varieties.
Dino kale has a pleasant texture that holds up to a little bit of cooking, but it’s also nice and earthy-sweet when eaten raw.
One cup of this wonderful Italian variety of kale gives you a walloping nutritional punch, providing 100% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamins K and A along with 88% of the Vitamin C you need in the run of a day. A member of the brassica family of plants, tuscan kale is a fabulous source of sulfur compounds that have shown to prevent cancer.
Now, that you’re willing to give dinosaur kale a chance, it’s time for your Trick!
Buy the freshest dino kale that you can because the older it is the more rubbery the texture! Plus, the taste starts to get bitter after a while so buy it fresh and eat it up.
Dino kale is one of the easiest things to grow in your garden! If you plant your own tuscan kale, it can grow up to three feet tall or more. This variety of kale looks very interesting when it grows and it will give an almost prehistoric look to your garden (it is called dino kale after all!). Kale likes lots of sun and rich soil. Kale loves the cold so don’t worry if you’re in a cooler climate.
And your Recipe:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, sliced
1 bunch dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
4 (6-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
Heat the oil in a large soup pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat; add next 9 ingredients (carrots through crushed red pepper flakes). Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables soften. Stir in tomato paste then top with chicken. Pour broth and water over chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Stir shredded chicken into soup.
PS–I want to remind you that we are just 3 days from the start of the first ever 21 Day Knockout! We have great recipes, a guide, and a wonderful support group for this one-of-a-kind event! I hope to see you there! Click here for more info
By: Leanne Ely
Because the weather is still cold, kitchens across North America (at least in the northern part of the continent!) are staying heated up with warm, comforting and familiar dishes.
For me, nothing quite fits the comfort food bill like beef.
Beef is full of protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium. Beef makes our muscles strong, and keeps our hormone levels and our hearts healthy.
There is no such thing as a bad cut of beef, as far as I’m concerned. Whether it’s ground, cubed into stewing beef or cut into steaks, there’s no cut of beef that can’t be transformed into something delicious. And this time of year, it’s all about the comforting beef dishes for me.
The following are some of my favorite ways to warm up my family with beef:
Stew. Yummy beef stew is a bowl full of goodness. Making stew is a cinch. The slow cooker or dutch oven really does all the work. Start by browning your cubed beef (an optional step, but I love the extra layer of flavor browning brings to a dish), add veggies and seasonings, and cover in whatever liquid you like—I like bone broth, tomatoes and red wine. Stewing food means covering it in liquid and letting it simmer at low heat for a good long time. You can make it in the crock pot, on the stovetop or in the oven.
Soup. There are as many ways to make a pot of beef soup as there are spices in my pantry (trust me—there are dozens). Start with your beef broth (preferably your own homemade bone broth), and add ground beef, leftover roast beef, or whatever beef you want. Season it, and add your cubed veggies. Let it bubble away on the stove until you’re ready to devour.
Roasted. There’s something so comforting about a pot roast. The easiest way to prepare one is to let the crockpot do the work. Pop your roast and seasonings in there, along with your vegetables, and let it cook on low for 6–8 hours. Mmmm.
Chili. Ground beef cooked with onions, garlic, chili, cumin, salt, pepper (and whatever other spices you enjoy), beef broth, peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, and kidney beans (if you aren’t a Paleoista — Paleoistas can enjoy a fine pot of chili by simply skipping the beans), makes a delicious meal.
Cottage pie. If you have the right combination of leftovers in your refrigerator, you can put together a wonderful cottage pie. Cottage pie is the same thing as shepherd’s pie, except shepherd’s pie features lamb and cottage pie is made with beef. Fry your beef with some onions, garlic, ketchup, worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings you love. When that’s all cooked, put it in the bottom of a casserole dish and layer with leftover diced veggies, and top the whole works with leftover whipped potatoes—either sweet potatoes or yellow. Bake until the top is golden brown. Yum yum.
I always choose local grass-fed beef and I recommend you do the same if you have the option!
Speaking of comfort food, to celebrate our 50 thousandth like on Facebook, we are taking 50% off the price of our paleo and classic comfort food menus! Click here to learn more
Double-dosing on bone broth
By: Leanne Ely
Bone broth is one of the most nutritious things you can put in your body. Made by simmering animal bones in water over the course of 36-72 hours, bone broth is a delicious, healing elixir.
All those minerals from the bones are infused into the liquid through the simmering, being leeched out with the help of cider vinegar, leaving you with a healing concoction that provides many nutritional benefits including stronger teeth and bones, better gut health and relief from joint pain.
This time of year, when we are all trying to avoid the flu, I increase my daily intake of bone broth as it also helps to boost the immune system.
For this reason, I always have a crock pot bubbling away with this wonderful liquid! I drink some in the morning and eat at least one bowl of soup (bone broth based) every day.
To make your own bone broth:
Put your bones in a pot with some onion, organic celery, carrots, herbs and a few cloves of garlic. Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the works to help leech the minerals and nutrients out of the bones.
Bring your broth to a boil and then let it simmer for at least 12 hours, but preferably for up to 72 hours. This process doesn’t have to take place continuously. You can cook the soup during the day and turn off the stove when you go to bed. Then, turn it back on the next day, and so on and so forth.
Strain the broth when you’ve cooked it as long as you’re going to.
If you’ve done it just right, the broth should gelatinize when you refrigerate it overnight. This gelatin is the key to what makes the broth so nutritious!
Here are some suggestions of ways you can get a 2-cup serving of bone broth in on a daily basis:
• Replace your hot morning drink of tea or coffee with a steaming hot cup of bone broth
• Make a simple egg drop soup by stirring a cracked egg into a simmering pot of broth
• Use bone broth as a stock for vegetable or beef soups or stewsStir some bone broth into your braising liquids as often as possible
Our grandmothers had it right-bones really do make the best soups!
PS–Holidays are here and how would you like to make it easier on yourself this year? Check out the amazing deal we have on our BRAND NEW holiday treat menus! Click here to learn how to make your holidays homemade, the easy way!!