Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup- www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Loaded baked potato soup, creamy goodness top with bacon and green onions.

Any time I have this soup I’m brought back to memories of my family eating at Tony Roma’s. It was THE place we went for my little sis’s birthday and whenever my grandpa came to visit. It was not an ocation to eat light. We loaded up on things like ribs, chicken strips, fries, onion loaf, and of course baked potato soup.

The onion loaf and soup were what made the night. I’m still tinkering with a real food version of their onion loaf, it’s not ready yet. Instead I delved into searching the web for every knock off of baked potato soup known to man. I was flabbergasted on how many recipes called for instant potatoes and cups of heavy cream. I love cream but I can only have so much at once and instant potatoes, well I won’t even go there.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup 2

I found some good ones along the way and finally combined them with some ideas I already had running through my head. While this might not be 100% the same as the family favourite we had at Tony Roma’s it is still very good. It’s been almost 10 years since I had a bowl on my last trip there, where the waiters handed my 20-year-old self a kid’s menu, nothing like boosting your self-confidence…

What I love about this soup is that it shows that you can create nourishing real food dishes that don’t sacrifice a bit of flavor. When you start with homemade broth, satueed onions, and bacon it’s hard to go wrong.

Just looking at the photos makes me want to whipped up another batch. It is rich and filling without being too rich. It’s the perfect soup for a chilly night on these first few nights of spring or any time if you are a soupaholic like me.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (Needs Everything)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 large russet potatoes, baked, peel and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese (optional)
  • ¼ cup arrowroot flour
  • ½ large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 4 green onions, chopped (optional)
  • 1½ tsp unrefined salt
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until almost crisp. Flip once. Remove and set aside for later.
  2. Add the onion to the pot, sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally until almost translucent.
  3. Add the arrowroot powder and mix with the onions. Add ½ a cup of broth, stir until the arrowroot is completely dissolved.
  4. Add ½ the potatoes to the pot. Gently pour in the remaining broth.
  5. Sprinkle in the salt, basil, and thyme.
  6. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Add the remaining potatoes and milk Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the soup is hot.
  8. Serve and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions.

Have you ever eaten at Tony Romas? What is/was your favourite dish there?

Fresh Lemon Whipped Cream

Fresh Lemon Whipped Cream- www.NourishingSimplicity.org

There is something about lemons that make me smile. They are bright, cheery, and hold a promise of something tasty. I even had my room painted to match the tea cup in the picture above when I was in high school.

I have a slight obsession with lemons. When I lived in Mexico I had a seemingly endless supply of them since there were trees on our property. I created all sorts of treats;   lemon curd,  soothing lemon chamomile popsicles, lemon scones, strawberry lemonade,lemon bars, honey-sweetened lemonade, well, you get the picture. Many of those recipes ended up my cookbook Steeped, others made their way to the blog.

Once I moved back to the States lemons didn’t show up as much at my house. I forgot how expensive they can be in the store! Except for a few here or there that I would buy when visiting family I haven’t really bought any in about 10 years. Thankfully I have  an awesome friend that had more lemons than she needed so I had a supply that just recently ran out.

Fresh Lemon Whipped Cream - www.nourishingsimplicity.org

Lemons on the counter again inspired me to start drinking my morning vanilla lemon “tea”. It also left a few to make a tasty treat like this fresh lemon whipped cream. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t eat a few spoonfuls of it as soon as I whipped it up. I’m sure it would be amazing on lemon scones, or better yet with lemon scones and lemon curd. I didn’t have quite enough lemons left to make all three so I stuck with the whipped cream.

That’s another obsession I have, whipped cream. Have you noticed that this is my fourth post about whipped cream? Check out the recipe index to visit my other friends. Believe me there are still more to come this spring.

Back to this tasty lemon whipped cream. It is very easy to make, yet seems so fun and a bit fancy when you serve to your guest with fresh fruit or other dessert of your choice. I prefer to use raw cream but I can’t get my hands on any now so I settle for pasteurized cream from Trader Joe’s.

However you make it I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! Now off to the kitchen with a spoon I go…

Fresh Lemon Whipped Cream
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 4 TBS powdered sugar
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 TBS lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Mix the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Pour in the cream. Whipped on high for about 5 minutes or until slightly stiff peaks begin to form. (if you go to far you will make sweet butter.)

Do you like to make (eat) whipped cream? What is your favourite flavor?

That Time I Talked About Menstrual Cups SckoonCup Review

That Time I Talked About Menstrual Cups SckoonCup Review- www.nourishingsimplicity.org

 “This post was created as part of the SckoonCup Review Campaign in which I am a financially compensated blogger. The opinions are my own and based on my own experience.”

Note: For male readers (those few that I know are out there), this post is not for you. So if you don’t care to read about “Aunt Flow” and things like that now might be the time to click away. I’m not offended, honestly. Come back later for a nice recipe or other natural living tip in a couple of days.

If you have been around Nourishing Simplicity a while you will know that I embrace all things “crunchy”. I’m that gal that ditched regular TP and actually talks about it. I also love all things cloth including cloth menstrual pads so this next item I’m going to talk about really shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. What might that be? The menstrual cup.

My first cup actually came into my life before I embraced all things cloth. I was definitely a closet cup user for a while. Periods aren’t always an easy thing to talk about but once you talk about cloth pads online and interview other bloggers about it, it’s kind of fair game as a friend told me.

Last fall SckoonCup  (ad) asked me to review on of their menstrual cups. I was all on board since my other cup was four years old and not looking so nice. Let me just say I LOVE the color selection! My previous cup was clear and after years of use it was a bit stained. SkcoonCup offers 6 colors to pick from! The bright colors are fun but best of all they don’t stain as easily!

SckoonCup

My lovely blue cup and cute bag to store it in!

 

SkcoonCups come in two sizes Size 1 and Size 2.

Here are some basic rules when it comes to SckoonCup menstrual cup sizing. (From the site.)

Most people who order SckoonCup menstrual cup size 1 will fit some to most of these guidelines:

  • Have not had a vaginal birth
  • Usually under 30ish (if not had vaginal birth)
  • First time users
  • Young people and teenagers who have not had a vaginal birth
  • People who are virgins
  • People who are fit, do yoga, Pilates, and may have strong pelvic muscles
  • If you have bladder sensitivities and need a smaller cup
  • Fits people who have both a “lower” or “high” cervix location
  • Have a medium/heavy to light flow
  • Are worried because you have a “hanging” cervix

SckoonCup size 1 is 1.6 inches in diameter, 1.6 inches in cup length, and the stem is 1.2 inches for a total length of 2.8 inches. SckoonCup size 1 can hold 23ml of fluid.

Most people who order SckoonCup menstrual cup size 2 will fit some or most of these guidelines:

  • Had a vaginal birth
  • Over 30ish (even if you have not had a vaginal birth)
  • Plus sized individuals may benefit from a size 2
  • People who have a very heavy flow may like the size 2
  • People who need a larger cup but not a “longer” cup because of a lower sitting cervix

SckoonCup size 2 is 1.8 inches in diameter, 2.0 inches in cup length, and the stem is 0.8 inches for a total length of 2.8 inches. SckoonCup size 2 can hold 30ml of fluid.

By using SckoonCup you can often collect double to quadruple as much fluid than you can when using a tampon!

These cups are made of medical-grade silicon and are free of synthetic fibers, bleach and dioxin, which makes SckoonCup a healthier and safer alternative to tampons. The reusable menstrual cup can be worn up to 12 hours, even on heavy days. They’re environmentally friendly products made in the USA.

Reasons to Use a Menstrual Cup- www.NourishingSimplicity.org

1. No toxic chemicals

Ever thought about what tampons and pads are made of? Toxic chemicals don’t belong in your near your body. Regardless of what people may say I do not consider disposable pads and tampons to be safe. This list gives you a brief overview of toxic chemicals in products you may buy and the potential health effects.

2. No surprises or stains

There are few things worse than waking up to blood soaked sheets or two having an embarrassing red stain show up while you are out. What woman hasn’t been there? SckoonCups hold 23-30mL of fluid depending on the size you chose. That is more than most tampons can hold. If you have a heavy period or are going to be out for a long time you might want to consider using a cloth pad the first couple days.

If you are worried about being “caught” by surprise you can insert your menstrual cup a day or two before your cycle is supposed to start. (Remember to take it out and rinse it at least once a day.)

Bonus Tip: If you do leak, hydrogen peroxide is GREAT at getting blood stains out. 

3. Easy to use

The SkcoonCup is so easy to use. You insert and can go about your day without needed to empty is for up to 12 hours! You dump, rinse (if you are home), insert and keep on going with your day. It can take a cycle or two to get the knack for using it but once you do I think you are going to love it!

4. Better for the environment

More than 20 million disposable feminine products are thrown away or flushed each year. Most of which end up in land fills or incinerated. Though a large portion are flushed and pass through the sewage plants and into the oceans. Silicone may not be the most amazing thing for the environment but you get many years of use out of your cup before needing a new one. That is a LOT less waste than buying new products every month.

5. Saves you money

SckoonCups may cost a bit when you first buy one but after buying a year or less’ supply of tampons you’ll have your money back. You can continue you use your cup for a few more years. I had my previous cup for four years, I would have used it for another year or two if I hadn’t received my new pretty blue one.

6. On the go

Headed out for the day or going on a trip? I remember the days when I had to fill my purse or suitcase with disposable pads and tampons. With the SkcoonCup you might want to pack a few pads for a long trip but besides that you are good to go! No more taking up extra space.

7. Activity Safe

Looking forward to a day at the beach or a hike? Your SkcoonCup allows you the freedom to continue on with life like normal.

If menstrual cups aren’t your thing Sckoon also sells cloth pads that look like a great product!

How about you? Do you have a menstural cup? Would you give one a try?

 “This post was created as part of the SckoonCup Review Campaign in which I am a financially compensated blogger. The opinions are my own and based on my own experience.”

 

 

Soaked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars-www.nourishingsimplicity.org
(This post was originaly posted on January 19th, 2011) 

My all time favorite cookies are oatmeal chocolate chip. Growing up it was the only kind that my mom would make. There are few deserts that can compare. I’m a simple gal I guess.

Back in the day when I first created this recipe I had never yet to attempt sprouting grains to grind into flour. It all seemed a bit to overwhelming. Soaking* the flour and oats seemed the easiest thing to do. It only problem was cookie recipes don’t call for liquid.

*If you are new to soaking grains and why I find it an essential most days in my kitchen read here.

That was when the idea for these soaked oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bar was born. I know others either can’t afford to buy sprouted wheat flour or don’t have the time to make their own. Cookie bars are fugal, easy on time and give you that cookie flavor you are craving. If you want a cookie that using sprouted flour and looks like the cookies you know and love be sure to check out my this recipe.

These cookies been a favourite in my house for almost five years. My girls when I lived in Mexico would gobble them down, I had to be sure to hide them if I wanted a couple as a late night snack with a cup of hot cocoa! Now my parents and Bible Study friends love them as well!

Soaked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups of flour (I like to use a combination of, hard white wheat, red winter wheat and kamut)
  • 2½ cups Water + 3 TBS acid medium (apple cider vinegar, whey, kombucha or lemon juice)
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup sucanat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. In a glass bowl mix together the oats, flour, water and acid medium. Cover and let soak for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. After your grains have been soaked add in the remaining ingredients. Mix together until completely mixed together.
  3. Pour into an 8 by 12 glass baking pan.
  4. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve hot or at room temperature.

This post is part of Tuesday Twister and Real Food Cookie Exchange

How to Make Sizzling Rice Soup

How to Make Sizzing Rice Soup

A steaming bowl of chicken broth is brought to the table. As the server pours crisped rice into the bowl the air is filled with the sound of sizzling and popping. It’s sizzling rice soup, one of my favourite soups at any Chinese restaurant. It is light and full of flavor. The crispy rice adds a fun crunch with each bite.

Have you ever noticed how it’s hard to not have “just on more bite” when you go to a Chinese restaurant? There are many great chefs in those places, crafting amazing dishes but the “need” to have more is often connected to the addition of monosodium glutamate better known as MSG. It’s what makes cheap Chinese taste better than it is and quality food burst with even more flavor.

When I get Chinese food out I have gotten into the habit of ordering it without added MSG, I’ve noticed that the dishes that once had spot-on, beyond tasty flavor suddenly lack salt and that extra bit of flavor that I had come to expect.

The key to dishes that might normally rely on MGS is to create umami. It’s the “5th taste”. Umami when translated from Japanese can mean “delicious” or “pleasant savory taste”. A Japanese man discovered that the flavor that made food taste so good was L-glutamate. He later went on to create a stable form of it that we now know as MSG.

Want to learn more about umami? Kimi of The Nourishing Gourmet wrote an article on it for Mother Nature Network.

How do you create a natural umami flavor in foods like this sizzling rice soup? The key is in rich homemade chicken stock and naturally fermented soy sauce (or tamari) both of which contain L-glutamate or umami. I love that these flavors can easily be crafted in your own kitchen!

Sizzling rice soup is really not that hard to make, the most difficult part is the rice cakes which you can make ahead of time and the give a quick fry before you add them to your hot soup.

If you don’t have the time to fry the rice cakes you can add them to the soup five minutes before removing it from the heat, you’ll be missing the signature sizzle but the slight crunch will still be there.  Another thought would be to add leftover rice to the soup five minutes before serving. It won’t be quite as fun but the flavor will still be there.

However you fix the soup it is still going to be delicious, making your tongue and stomach very happy. Now I want another bowl of this sizzling rice soup!

How to Make Sizzling Rice Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lb thinly sliced chicken breast, velveted
  • 4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can water chestnuts slices, drained
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • 8 "sizzling rice cakes"
Instructions
  1. Pour the chicken broth into a medium sized sauce pot. Add the ginger and garlic. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  2. While the broth is simmering, slice and velvet the chicken. *
  3. Add the chicken, spinach, water chestnuts, soy sauce and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Ladle into individual bowls and top with a sizzling rice cake.
  6. * If you do not desire to velvet the chicken add to the soup 3 minutes before you add the remaining ingredients.

Sizzling Rice Cakes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cold cooked white rice
  • 4 cups coconut oil/palm shortening/tallow
Instructions
  1. Shape the rice into small flat disks about 2 inches across and ¼ inch thick.
  2. Place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 250 F for 1 hour or until completely dry.
  4. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Break a small piece off of one rice cake. Throw it in the oil. If is puffs up in less than 10 seconds you will know that the oil is hot enough.
  6. Gently place a rice cake in the oil. Once it puffs remove immediately from the oil. Place on a paper towel or cloth towel to drain.
  7. Fry only enough rice cakes for the amount of soup that you will be serving.
  8. Store the remaining rice cakes (if there are any in a glass container) for up to a month. Fry the cakes as needed.
  9. Add to a hot bowl of soup and listen for the sizzle!