Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Chicken Soup)

It’s cold and flu season. My boys are not huge fans of chicken noodle soup. I keep trying recipes and they just don’t like the standard flavors. So I default to my successful Thai Chicken soup. This is full of healthy cold fighting powerhouses and since we have our first head cold of the school year it’s the perfect soup to make tonight.

Tom Kha Gai Soup

Tom Kha Gai Soup

I use my own chicken bone broth so we get the benefits of all the minerals from the bones that our bodies crave. If you don’t have that any organic chicken stock will do. For the Asian spices look in your grocery store in the “Asian food” section or order online at Amazon.

Tom Kha Gai Soup

2 quart bags frozen chicken broth
1 quart bag chicken shredded from whole chicken (about 3-4 cups)
12 Kaffir lime leaves 4 TBSP. lime juice
4 dried pieces of lemongrass (from the Thai Kitchen brand in the Asian food aisle)
4 TBSP. Fish sauce
2 cans full fat coconut milk
1 cup grape tomatoes minced
1 cup mushrooms sliced or minced
1 cup total red and orange bell pepper minced or chopped (depends on the kiddos)
2 tsp. ginger powder
2 tsp. onion powder (my kids are suspicious of onions)
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

minced cilantro and minced green onion for garnish before serving

This has so much packed into it! It’s gluten free. It’s gut healing. It’s cold fighting with the minerals, veggies, and spices. It settles stomaches with the ginger. But most of all it’s a twist on your average chicken soup for colds and a bit exotic. Enjoy!

5 Steps to Avoiding Colds and Flus

Our powerhouse go to aids for cold and flu season

Our powerhouse go to aids for cold and flu season

So we have been on a wellness journey for the past 6 years. My sons were both prone to ear infections as infants and strep throat as kids. I went the standard route of antibiotics and don’t regret that, however, I wish I had known a bit more about preventing these infections before they happened.

Our bodies are amazing! When given the right nutrients, they can fight off a lot of things! Our guts, that wonderful bacteria in our tummies is the first line of defense. I have come to believe through visits with our pediatrician, research, and holistic doctors that by feeding our bodies well and healing our guts we can heal some food intolerances and help to diminish the severity or avoid altogether colds and flus.

Good stuff in and you’re strong…bad stuff in and your bad bacteria cheers and down you go.

So here are the top things we do in our household.

1) Eat an unprocessed whole food diet. If it isn’t the way it comes off of plants…if it had to go through massive changes in a machine or through chemicals…don’t eat it. This includes eating unprocessed sugars only (coconut sugar, maple syrup, and raw honey). So essentially, lots of veggies, fruit, meat, nuts, granola (homemade), quinoa, amaranth, occasional brown or wild rice. We follow the 80/20 rule for this.

The less sugar and starches…the less the bad bacteria has to feed off of. So the good can flourish. Think natural, grass fed and organic when money permits.

2) Supplement with whole food vitamins. We use the Standard Process brand. Daily my boys use a low dose of Congaplex to keep strep throat away. This fills a deficiency and helps to specifically prevent strep throat. We also use their Cyruta Plus to help prevent nose bleeds in my youngest. I blend them up in juice and they drink their vitamins with no aversion.

3) Use therapeutic grade pure essential oils to boost the immune system and fight off the yuckies. My youngest was exposed to the stomach flu this week. He has complained of a tummy ache and looked gray a couple times this weekend but we have been using Young Living Thieves oil on his feet and diffused in the air while we have snuggle reading time. I also rubbed their DiGize oil and Peppermint on his belly and his tummy ache has gone away.

4) Use high quality diverse strains of Probiotics. Your stomach needs this. When my little guy felt yucky I also gave him one probiotic per day to help him fight things off. We also drink kombucha instead of pop and my kids love the fizziness while I love the probiotics in it. You could look to kefir (there are dairy and non-dairy forms) that can help boost your good gut bacteria levels.

5)Get your Vitamin D! This is huge! We are an indoor society now…we don’t get all the vitamin D that we need. My sister survived Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and her oncologist said the majority of people are deficient and should be getting 2000 IU of D per day! Get in the sunshine as much as possible and take a natural formed supplement. We take Cod Liver Oil or krill Oil. My boys get a teaspoon per day that is lemon flavored and a piece of chocolate for their effort.

We can’t avoid everything but I do know that my boys have only thrown up twice in their lives. The enterovirus and Ebola freak me out and other parents as well. I know that the healthier we eat the healthier we are. When I slack off and let them have the suckers and candy or pop…they get sick. It’s just not worth it.

Perspectives

My 6 year old goes through phases of really wanting certain toys. We try to only buy toys at Christmas and birthdays so those events seem set apart and special. However, if he wants to use his own money he can after he waits 24 hours to contemplate his purchase.

One day this fall we were talking about this phenomenon of wanting things and what the source of it is. I said, what I’ve found is that we always want something but once we get it we often find ourselves less than satisfied in a short time and we want something different and better. He agreed that he really wanted his Bruder trucks but now he wished he had the money for expensive remote control cars. I shared some things I periodically wanted and it didn’t make sense to him…the version I had seemed fine. So we talked about perspective. What is cool to me is different than what is cool to him.

Eventually, we came to the point…why do people want something new all the time? What hole are they trying to fill? It’s that God spot. That God shaped hole inside of everyone that longs to be filled. We all have it. We all seek to fill it. Sometimes with stuff, people, money, busy work, the list could go on and on.

So we buy that something and it satisfies us for a moment and then it passes and we want something else. And so life goes…

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can find that security in the One who loves us right where we are. There is One who says if we drink from His cup we will never thirst again. And though it’s so difficult for our earthly mind to comprehend…if we listen to our souls longing we would know it’s true.

Just open His Book…I like to start in John…see what you think…

Present Ponderings…

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I love my life. I realize my perspective on things, my ability to think positive and trust God with the unknown has changed over the years for the better. I have been thrown so many curve balls but the one constant is God’s never stopping, never giving up, always constant love and strength.

I feel good. My heart is good. Our marriage is good. My boys are good. We have been searching for a church home and may have found one and that is good. I love what my day to day looks like. I feel like each day is such a gift and I’m living such a rich and full life…even on the messy days.

I love my boys. That encompasses my Superheroes and my Handsome Hubby. Are they perfect? No. Do we drive each other crazy at times? Yes. But are we perfectly fit for each other? Yes. My weaknesses are buffered by my husbands strengths and vice versa. The patience and grace we show each other…the work we put into communicating everything in a healthy way…it’s what binds us together. The same skills we hope and strive to teach to our boys.

I love our little house. I dream of other houses. I get “Iwant-itis” just like my kiddos do. I see the bigger, newer, etc, in what others have but I also see how simplifying and getting rid of stuff has made my life so much easier. It’s like my brain is less cluttered.

I am learning to let go of others expectations for me “what will they think?” Syndrome. It doesn’t mean I should say hurtful things to others and it doesn’t mean that I don’t get hurt anymore…but I hurt less and I am able to brush things off more and create a healthy boundary with little to no guilt now. I need to take care of me. I need to advocate for myself and care for others…both things.

I am in a place today…at this moment in time of feeling enveloped in God’s love and peace. In this moment…I just want to savor it because I know more curveballs are in our future and I need to remember what they lead us to. Before, the unknown unsettled me…now I look forward in anticipation of what lies ahead.

Throwback Thursday: Strep Throat Smoothies

So in an attempt to slowly switch my content over you will see some old posts showing up on Thursdays. Here is one I like in the spirit of health and wellness. Enjoy!

We love smoothies here! We also love the way we sneak essential vegetables and even vitamins into the smoothies our kids drink. The key…have some strong tasting fruit or lemon juice in there with a little raw honey and you’re good to go.

Our boys are prone to strep throat. They had it 5 or 6 times last year. This school year they had it in September and then I heard about a naturopath that had some vitamin/mineral supplements that could help. I was skeptical. I do the natural and medical path for our family. I read up, research, try, and sometimes we’re successful…sometimes we’re not.

So we started taking Standard Process supplements and when my boys are taking “Congaplex” they don’t get strep. When they stop for awhile or refuse to drink the smoothies I make with it in them… Sure enough they get strep throat. The only problem is it’s a strong tasting supplement. So here’s a sample smoothie that I make which hides the flavor. I also sneak other Standard Process supplements in for nose bleeds (Cyruta Plus), severe runny noses (Antronex) as needed. I test on myself first and the stuff works! I do all of this under the guidance of the naturopath who recommends the correct dosage for their weight and age.

Strep Throat Smoothie

3 capsules of congaplex
3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup apple juice
4 frozen strawberries
4 chunks frozen mango
4 chunks frozen pineapple
2 Tbsp raw honey
water to the 2 cup line of blender

Blend to a smooth consistency and drink away! Enjoy!

Adding to my List…So I Can Check it Off

So many of the good things in my life have come through a great deal of pain.  That isn’t to say I don’t have good things that have come from the mundane or joyful everyday occurrences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   I just think that without the valleys…I don’t think I’d appreciate the mountaintops as much.

 

 

I don’t fit into my small jeans anymore.  There…I’ve said it.  I bought jeans at Target and returned them because I refuse to go up a size.  Instead…I am going to wear my cute skirts and work my tush, legs, chest, until I can’t move.  And through that pain…I will fit into my regular jeans.

My jeans not fitting…that’s just a symptom.  The real core issue that is the catalyst to it all is the grief of my dad passing and the stress of life.  A lot of that stress, I put on myself.  I choose to take that burden and try to manage it alone when it was never meant to be that way.  Sometimes, I take on a new problem/activity/goal  just so I can find a solution to it.  It’s like making a checklist and adding things to the list AFTER you’ve done them…just so you can have the satisfaction of checking it off.  In doing that, I can ignore the real problem…the pain of losing Dad.

So in the forward and backward dance of life…Today I will cling to two passages and try to make them my own…Matthew 6:34 says,  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is it’s own trouble.” and Matthew 11:29 which reminds me to “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me;  For I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Rest.  Rest in the fact that I don’t need to have it all covered.  Rest because I don’t need to be done grieving.  Rest because I don’t need to rush the process.  Rest in the fact that I don’t need to be perfect.  Rest (well actually exercise and rest) because I don’t need to fit into the jeans if I can’t yet.  😉  I just need to rest.  I need to rest in Him.  My loving, forgiving, gracious, Abba father.  Just like a child rests and trusts that life is going to go along smoothly and be taken care of…I need to rest in Him and trust that He’s got me covered.

Creamy Italian Soup with BACON! & Cheesy Biscuits!

imageSo for just a moment, I want you to wipe away the information that has been pushed on us that “low fat” and all animal fats are bad.  I want you to think back to how people used to live and how food used to be.  How animals used to eat and then pass on their healthy grass or free range diet to us.  To keep weight off…calorie intake must equal calorie output.  If you want to lose weight…calorie intake must be less than calorie output.

Now I want you to think about the low fat diets and how they leave you starving.  Wanting more.  Then bingeing on something available.  You didn’t see as many obese people 50-75 years ago.  You definitely didn’t see as many 100 years ago or more.  For one we were more active.  But our diets were different too.  I read a study reported by NPR that kids who drank whole milk versus skim milk actually stayed slimmer in the long term.  Fat keeps you full longer.  You crave less.  So you snack less and eat less.  This equals fewer calories and voîla…weight loss!

The quality of fat you take in is important.  We try to get grass fed or organic butter and cheese.  Luckily, we have a Costco here so we pay significantly less.  We also don’t go through it as quickly because we are full more quickly and eat less.  Grass fed dairy products and meat has a better ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s.  Dairy products help your kids in their synapse development.  It boosts their immune system.  In this Mayo Clinic article it says it also is higher in conjugated linoleic acid which can help in the prevention of heart disease.

So with that all being said.  I started out with the Zuppa Toscana recipe from the Olive Garden and as all recipes do in my kitchen…it morphed into cheesy, bacony goodness.  One bowl left me stuffed.  The Superheroes each gobbled it up.  My Handsome Hubby had a couple bowls.  So serve it up and let me know what you think!

Creamy Italian Soup with Bacon

2 quarts chicken stock (I used my homemade bone broth from the freezer)

2 cups water

2 tsp. Chicken bouillion

2 cans Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed)

1 lb. italian sausage (fried up or baked)

1 1/2 lbs. bacon (crispy and crumbled)

1 yellow onion diced finely

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 cups diced russet potatoes

1 1/2 cups whole milk (ours was organic grass fed milk)

1 1/2  cup grass fed Kerrygold Irish dubliner cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Baby kale *(The nutrients in kale are more easily absorbed by being consumed with the butter or cheese)

  1. Bake italian sausage at 350 F   for 30 minutes and grind up in food processor. Set aside.
  2. Bake bacon on foil lined pan for 20 minutes at 400 F.  Soak up grease with paper towel and crumble.  Set aside.
  3. Sauté onion and garlic in pan on low with Kerrygold Grassfed butter. Set aside.
  4. Sauté potatoes in pan until tender.
  5. Add broth, sausage, bacon, onions, boullion, water, garlic, and potatoes to crock pot.  Cook on low 4 hours.
  6. Add milk and shredded cheese and stir slowly until cheese is melted and mixed in.
  7. Serve with chopped greens sprinkled on top.

 

Cheesy Biscuits

1 egg

1/3 cup grass fed butter

2/3 cup grass fed whole milk

1/4  cup grass fed cheese ( used Kerrygold Dubliner to match the soup) (shredded)

1/4 cup mozzarella (shredded)

1 1/2 tsp. tapioca starch

1 tsp celtic sea salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

 

  1. Place ingredients in blender (wet ingredients first) and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour into lined mini-muffin tins 2/3’s of the way full.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 F until lightly browned.
  4. Serve warm.  They will be chewy biscuits and perfectly paired with the soup.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gut Healing Gummy Goodies!

So healing the gut is how we started this whole food journey.  Superhero #1 was on 7 antibiotics during his first 11 months of life.  As a result, he developed a leaky gut, weakened immune system and food intolerances.  It seemed I couldn’t keep him healthy and could feed him hardly anything!

Fast forward to today.  We’ve gone mostly Paleo, unprocessed, and only have the occasional chocolate bar (dark for my Handsome Hubby and milk or dark for the kiddos).  But gummy bears…ahhhh gummy bears.  Fruit snacks…ahhh fruit snacks.  Those are two things the kids miss.

Gelatin is one of my new favorite healing foods!  It supports the body in healing in so many ways.  To list just a few…

  • Gelatin supports thyroid function.
  • Supports the body during detox.
  • Supports the liver functioning.
  • Supports the biosynthesis of collagen (think less wrinkles!!!!)
  • Supports the digestion of milk products.
  • Soothes and heals the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract.
  • Aids in the prevention of brittle bones.
  • Promotes relaxation and deep sleep.
  • The list goes on and on…here’s the source for all of this data.

So here’s recipe number one.  We tried a couple different teas.  Our favorite so far is lemon if you’re only using tea and then strawberry when we’ve pureéd fruit in.  I’ll post more recipes as I adapt and create more.

Gut Healing Gummy Goodies

Gut Healing Gummy Goodies!

Lemon Gummies

1 cup water

3 bags of lemon tea

2 Tbsp. organic lemon juice

1/4 cup raw honey

3 Tbsp. grass fed gelatin (I use this kind)

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Steep tea 5 minutes, and mix in raw honey and lemon juice.
  3. Slowly whisk in gelatin (DO SLOWLY SO IT DOESN’T CLUMP UP!)
  4. Pour into molds and cool 2 hours.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Strawberry Gummies

1 cup water

5 frozen strawberries

3 bags of strawberry tea

2 Tbsp. organic lemon juice

1/4 cup raw honey

3 Tbsp. grass fed gelatin (I use this kind)

  1. Pureé strawberries with water until smooth (try to pulverize the seeds)
  2. Bring water/strawberry pureé to a boil.
  3. Steep tea 5 minutes, and mix in raw honey and lemon juice.
  4. Slowly whisk in gelatin (DO SLOWLY SO IT DOESN’T CLUMP UP!)
  5. Pour into molds and cool 2 hours.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

We have tried other fruit teas as well and at this point…Lemon and strawberry are our favorites.  I’ll try more and get back to you.  Until then…Enjoy! and HEAL THAT GUT!

 

Strep Throat Smoothies

We love smoothies here!  We also love the way we sneak essential vegetables and even vitamins into the smoothies our kids drink.  The key…have some strong tasting fruit or lemon juice in there with a little raw honey and you’re good to go.

 

Our boys are prone to strep throat.  They had it 5 or 6 times last year.  This school year they had it in September and then I heard about a naturopath that had some vitamin/mineral supplements that could help.  I was skeptical.  I do the natural and medical path for our family.  I read up, research, try, and sometimes we’re successful…sometimes we’re not.

 

Image from mywisemom.com

 

 

 

 

So we started taking Standard Process supplements and when my boys are taking “Congaplex” they don’t get strep.  When they stop for awhile or refuse to drink the smoothies I make with it in them…  Sure enough they get strep throat.  The only problem is it’s a strong tasting supplement.  So here’s a sample smoothie that I make which hides the flavor.  I also sneak other Standard Process supplements in for nose bleeds (Cyruta Plus), severe runny noses (Antronex) as needed.  I test on myself first and the stuff works!  I do all of this under the guidance of the naturopath who recommends the correct dosage for their weight and age.

 

Strep Throat Smoothie

 

3 capsules of congaplex

3-4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup apple juice

4 frozen strawberries

4 chunks frozen mango

4 chunks frozen pineapple

2 Tbsp raw honey

water to the 2 cup line of blender

 

Blend to a smooth consistency and drink away!  Enjoy!

S.O.S. for Moms…The Backstory

The mom group I’m in asked if I would present on something.  I thought about food choices but that can be overdone.  Parenting tips can be so personalized…we all have different ways of parenting so that could be taken the wrong way.  So in my journey to reclaim my life in all areas I settled on living a balanced life as a mom.

I started working on my powerpoint not knowing where it would lead.  Just knowing that God’s hand was in it all and if my story could help others…then I wanted it to be used.  I wanted to have the mask stripped away for a moment so people could see the beauty of healing that can come from the ashes of my past.

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I titled it S.O.S. for Moms.  Did you ever wonder what S.O.S. stands for?  It was used in distress signals for “save our ship” or “save our souls”.  Isn’t that what you feel like as a mom when you have one child with a poopy diaper and teething, another needing to be wiped, your missing a shoe, need to shower, and leave for an appointment in 15 minutes.

I know this page is pretty bare bones at this time but I hope to gradually switch all of my stuff over.  At this point, this story, my story, seemed like a good time to make the switch.  This will be a series from my presentation tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  I’m nervous.  I’ll have to be vulnerable.  I’ll have to be real.  But isn’t that what we usually admire in other people but are so fearful of doing ourselves.

Here’s the first part of my story…You’ll get the rest in the days to come.

In January of 2012, I was stopping by Blockbuster video with our two toddlers.  Everything seemed normal as I pulled the double stroller out of the back of our van.  Then oddly enough, I felt like someone stabbed me in the back.  The sensation didn’t seem to go away so I texted my husband and he immediately called me back.  The conversation went something like this…

Hubby:  “Are you short of breath?”
Me:  “Yeah…I kind of am but it’s not like asthma.”  
Hubby:  “Are you hot? or do you have arm pain?”  
Me:  “I don’t have arm pain but I’m really hot!”

So after sitting in my car for awhile with the boys and feeling the pain subside a bit. I drove home the few miles to our little house.  It was an incredibly blustery day and as I put our two dogs outside upon returning home I felt the sharp stabbing sensation strongly again.  I called my husband and said I think I need to go in.

To spare you some of the details of my long weekend in the hospital I’ll fast forward to the end of my ordeal.  After several tests and a long time of being monitored they determined that I had suffered a  minor heart attack.  My EKG showed a normal heartbeat since I didn’t have total blockage but my troponin levels were elevated.  Troponin is a protein in your blood.  If elevated it shows that there has been some damage to the heart.  My echocardiogram showed swelling as well which indicated damage.  As they did the cardiac catheter through my arm they realized I had blockage.  20 percent plaque had erupted and my platelets attacked it and created a clot that blocked an additional 60 percent.  So in all my blood flow was blocked 80 percent.  I had experienced a heart attack at 34 years of age.

Now you may have a stereotypical image of me.  You’re thinking…overweight.  Eats poorly.  Family history of heart disease.  Never exercises.  None of these was true.

I am an anomaly.

My parent’s fed us a healthy diet that was mostly meat and vegetables.  My mom didn’t buy box mixes for things other than cakes.  We didn’t have a bunch of pop in the house or junk food.  Didn’t do fast food a lot.  We were made to turn off the t.v. and go outside.  My siblings and I played together.  We cross-country skied on the trails in our woods.  We had a garden that we took care of for my mom.  Swam in the summer.  Took walks in the woods.  Biked. 

As I grew older I realized I was gluten and lactose intolerant and I began to eliminate those foods and continue living an active lifestyle.  I’ve always been interested in health and the causes of diseases and health problems.  Always been trying to be a little bit healthier.  I’d go in waves of exercising and eating right and then giving into my sweet and carb tooth for awhile.  This would go in cycles.  Likewise I would go in cycles of taking care of me and giving too much of myself to others so I was spread too thin.

I met my husband.  We married and were gifted with Superhero #1.  He seemed to have several allergies like me so I began to pursue natural routes to take care of all of us.  I read about leaky gut syndrome and other things that cause or contribute to allergies.  I had one miscarriage that broke my heart and was soon after gifted with Superhero #2.  He entered the world with a bang and has been living that way since day one.

Fast forward to today…it’s been 2 years since the heart attack and my true health journey has continued.  There have been ups and downs.  This time I want to stay on the path to health permanently.  When I lay on the table in the hospital room looking at the blockage on the monitor, I realized I had been given a second chance.  I thought I lived life fully before.  I was wrong.  I needed to reclaim the life God had given me.  He wasn’t bringing me home yet.  I was at peace and ready but wanted so much more time with my boys.  I wanted so see them grow up.  I didn’t want to be weak.  I didn’t want a heart attack to stop me from taking canoe trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness like I did when I was single.  I wanted to parasail with them and travel and watch them marry and grow.  I needed to make the most of everyday and live intentionally.  I needed to seize every moment God had granted me and be thankful for everything.  

So this is my story of my reclaimed life.

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