Washington state dairy raw goat milk recalled for possible E. Coli contamination. Details here. If you’re in that neck of the woods, please share with your friends and neighbors. Eat well, be well friends.
Nine Million Pounds. Maybe you don’t eat beef, or don’t eat it much… I’m willing to bet you know folks who do. The amounts being recalled in this and the last beef recall I posted make it imperative to share with as many people as possible. These products were made with “diseased and unsound animals.” If you are in California, Florida, Illionois, or Texas in particular you should check the list for specific products and markings to be aware of. Blech. Eat well, be well.
I know this is not an area we usually focus on, but the big dog sleeping with his head on my lap insists that I share this Pro-Pet pet food recall with you. There are a few different brands/labels involved, so please check the details if you are at all uncertain who makes the food (not what it’s called) your companion eats.
I haven’t really been on the ball with recalls lately, but the quantity here and the reference to “multiple strains of E.Coli” pushed me to share this one. If you or someone you know use beef, please read the details here. Eat safe friends.
Everyone I’ve talked to in the last week or so has at least one person in their house who’s sneezing, coughing, hacking, and otherwise feeling miserable. Both of the Sis sisters have been plagued as well. In my house, all four of us fell to this school born scourge. And so, while appetites have not been hearty around here lately, we do seem to agree on the goodness of soup. All soup, any soup, warm wonderful soup. The fact that we had our first TRUE cold weather of the season only made the call for soup more compelling.
I’m assuming we are not the only coughers and hackers out there, so I thought I’d pause for a moment to do a bit of a soup tour. But why, you might wonder, why worry so much about soup recipes when there is nearly an entire aisle full of prepared soups waiting for me at the grocery store? There are many reasons why we prefer homemade to “factory” soup (my nephew’s designation). Canned soup is extremely high in sodium, when the label says low sodium, it means it’s lower than the salt lick next to it. Canned soup also contains MSG (a good one to avoid according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest) even when it says it doesn’t, apparently. Canned soup contains a plethora of unnecessary preservatives and unusual ingredients (like monster carrots and celery) that are in that can solely because it is a highly, and violently processed, canned food. Finally, canned soup is expensive. No, it’s not the most expensive thing you can buy, but compared to homemade soup, which can be one of the most frugal meal choices you can make, it costs a fortune.
So for all you coughers and hackers, all you frugal home cooks, all you folks who are feeling the first signs of winter, I bring you Soup De Doo!
Soups for Healing
1. Cold Kickin’ Soup - My go to choice for headcolds and other respiratory yuck.
2. Shweet Potato Stew – Super soothing anti-inflammatory sweet potatoes with fantastic flavors.
3. Lentil, Mushroom and Sweet Potato Soup - Warming broth with healing mushrooms and anti-inflammatory sweet potatoes. Greens for added nutrish and power protein lentils.
Crock Pot Wonders
1. Slow Cooker Vegetable, Bean and Barley Stew - So easy, so delish.
2. Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup (DF) – You know you miss that tomato soup – you don’t have to.
3. Slow Cooker Creamed Lentil Soup – A surprising and simple slow cooker soup.
1. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup - Roasting the veggies brings out their sweetness.
2. Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup - Wild rice is so great in soup – never mushy.
3. Bellywarming American Black Bean Soup – We always think of Southwest flavors for black bean soup – this twist reminds us that black beans are very versatile.
Ready for a great big bowl of soup? I know I am (sniffle, hack, cough). Be well, and get better before the gathering extravaganza begins!
Have I mentioned that I LOVE soup? What could be better on these increasingly chilly days than a big bowl of warm and delicious? While I’ve shared quite a few soups with you (you’ll see they have their own category on the sidebar), I’ve admittedly been in a bit of a soup rut. My Go To soups are really delicious, but after a while, the kids “THAT one again?” resonates a little too deeply. I’ve gotten a little tired of my faves, and so went a wandering, with too little time for prep and a well stocked pantry. Problem solved.
Apparently it is possible to make black bean soup that is not Southwestern. It had never occurred to me, despite my bean friendliness, to use those guys for a different flavor profile – talk about being in a rut! Once again my friend Deborah Madison (perhaps I should just call these posts Little Sis and Deborah), showed me the way out of my self-inflicted black bean tunnel vision.
Ms. Madison suggests a simple American styled black bean soup, and with a few adjustments it worked stupendously for Mr. Little Sis and I. After the whole crew tasted it, with lackluster response, Mr. Little Sis and I decided that since the kids had passed on it anyway, we would in fact add the bit of Madeira called for in the original version, and boy howdy was it great, even with my radically shortened cooking time. This one would go gangbusters in a slow cooker. I finished the last bowl tonight and am happy to report that, as with so many soups, it’s even better after a few days.
American Black Bean Soup - adapted for speed and dairy considerations from Deborah Madison’s Black Bean Soup in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
- olive oil for the pot
- 2 c onion, chopped
- 1 c celery, chopped
- 1 c carrot, chopped small
- 2 c green pepper chopped small
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 t chopped rosemary
- 2 t dried thyme
- 2 T tomato paste
- 4 c black beans, soaked, cooked and drained or drained and rinsed from cans
- 4 quarts water
- leftover grains if desired (I used 1.5 c cooked brown rice)
- salt to taste
- 1 c Madeira
- 1 c coconut milk (or cream)
- chopped parsley
Warm oil in the pot. Add onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and herbs and cook until the color deepens a bit. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute. Add the beans and the water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered for at least 20 minutes. Add salt to taste and grains if using. Cook and additional 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves and puree as much of the soup as your textural preferences dictate. A smoother puree can be achieved in a blender, but I don’t like to do all that pouring of hot soup, so I use an immersion blender. Add Madeira and coconut milk (or cream if you do moo). Serve with chopped parsley. Wow. So simple, so delish. Perfect wholesome antidote for Halloween’s madness.
Not when there are so many other things you could do with it. Seriously.
Lately I’ve been pondering the merits of meat, vegetable oil, different oils when heated and even dried fruit. I could point you to all sorts of conflicting opinions, ideas and even science on the merits or demerits of those foods, but no one would argue that while candy might make a child smile, it’s not good for that sweet little tyke’s body. Of course, there is always the all things in moderation argument…. but since when do we do things in moderation anymore? Some houses give out actual little baggies of candy that it would have taken me a whole block to collect when I was a kid…. in the snow…. uphill both ways
So my poor son faces every Halloween knowing there will be a time limit after which the remaining candy gets thrown out. He does not over indulge except for the first night so we always end up throwing quite a bit away. However, the presence and consumption of candy resets the bar for what constitutes a treat, or dessert. I hate when the bar gets reset. It takes a lot longer to get that bar inched upwards than it does to knock the sucker right off of it’s holder!
This year we may participate in our local dentist’s Candy Buy Back. The sign says they are buying Halloween candy on November 1st and 2nd. I don’t know if they are sending the candy to the troops or not, but “Operation Gratitude of the CA Army National Guard” accepts candy donations from dentists collected in buy backs and sends it overseas to the troops. It’s a twist on a nutrition minded Robin Hood – take the candy from the most physically vulnerable and send it to grown ups instead A nice program all around, don’t you think, especially for the men and women overseas who are away from family and tradition.
So what else can you do with the Halloween candy besides sell it? Well, you can build stuff out of it using lots of glue so no one will be tempted to eat it. You’ve heard of gingerbread houses? Make a Halloween House or tower or igloo or yurt by gluing the Halloween candy together (wrappers will probably stick better!)
How about a read the label contest? If you can’t pronounce something on the label then you don’t get to eat it? Okay, okay -that one is mean. Plus the ‘fun size’ little bits that come in big bags are probably not individually labelled. Although it wouldn’t hurt to look up some ingredients on-line. Most companies have their ingredient lists at websites and from there you can check to see what ingredients are found on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s lists of food to avoid and cut back on. You will of course find lots of varieties of sugar and also probably some caramel color and food color which are outlawed in Europe because of evidence of bad effects on health.
You can run some science experiments in the backyard if you have no pets. Place some unwrapped candy outside and see if any creatures will eat it – and see what types of candy last the longest out there. Some might make it til Spring. Does that make you want to eat it? Ever notice there are no expiration dates on candy?
You can do a ‘science experiment’ in the kitchen where you melt a variety of candy in one big pot just to watch the colors and textures swirl around before throwing it away.
You could also do your own buyback where you offer special activities, art supplies, or special time with Mom and/or Dad in exchange for coughing up the sweet goods. And what about poisoning the neighborhood children? Well…. this year I am giving away fake, plastic roaches, because who doesn’t need one or two of those?, as well as boxes of raisins, AND I will have one bowl of candy reserved for the older kids because I do not wish to spend November 1st picking toilet paper out of the trees.
Last year it was plastic spiders and a good many of the older kids opted for spiders over candy…. after all they were getting that everywhere else!
And lastly, emphasize all of the other non-candy elements of the holiday. Enjoy carving pumpkins, drinking special teas or a little hot cider, decorating your yard or house, making or planning costumes, walking around the neighborhood together and telling Halloween jokes…..
What did one casket say to the other?…………………..Is that you coffin?
Ba dum bum. Now THAT’s a little scary