Stuffed Pepper Soup? Yum!

Four Colors of Bell Peppers

I love eating stuffed peppers!

Being ‘soup season’ this recipe allows me to enjoy both the flavors and the comfort that a bowl of warm soup brings on a chilly evening!

With ground beef, peppers and rice, this soup stands on its own!

No need to pair it with a side, unless of course you want a crusty bread for dipping!

However, truth be told, I have been known to add some Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese as a topping!

And, make sure you check out my Cooks Tips section below to see some other ideas you may want to try!

So, here we go!

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 6 cups homemade beef bone broth
  • 1 can (28oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 can (28oz.) diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 2 cups chopped green peppers
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked long grain or brown rice
  • Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Let’s put it all together:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch Oven, cook and stir the beef over medium heat until there is no pink, breaking it into crumbles; drain if necessary.
  2. Stir in the next 7 ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until peppers are tender.
  3. Next, add in the cooked rice and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
  4. If desired, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

Cooks Tips:

  • Make sure you use dark brown sugar as it has more molasses. This gives the soup a much bolder flavor! Don’t like the bolder flavor? No worries, simply use light brown sugar!
  • Give this soup a twist by using sausage, turkey or chicken – just make sure you use chicken bone broth instead of the beef bone broth. Don’t have any on hand? Water will do!
  • If you love garlic, try adding a couple of minced cloves when browning the ground beef!
  • Want a little more kick to your soup? Try adding in some Cayenne pepper or use a can of the diced tomatoes with chilies.
  • For some added color to your soup, try using other colored peppers such as red, yellow or purple!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

TPC - Chicken Noodle Soup (2)

It’s a chilly day here on the homestead, and it’s raining!

Feeling a little under the weather, I thought it was the perfect time to make my favorite comfort food – homemade Chicken Noodle Soup! It’s so hearty and comforting – just like mom used to make!

Chicken Noodle Soup is a meal in and of itself, so you don’t really need to pair it with anything – unless you like to add some saltine crackers in your soup!

However, if you feel the need to add a little something extra, try pairing it with a crusty French baguette for dipping. Or, you could pair it with some toasted garlic bread.

But if you really feel like going the extra mile, you can combine it with a grilled cheese sandwich!

So, let’s get started!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium onion, sliced and diced
  • 1-2 celery stalks, sliced and diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2-4 medium carrots, sliced (about 1-1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped and cooked
  • 8 cups homemade chicken bone broth
  • 5 oz. dried wide egg noodles (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Let’s put it all together:

  1. Melt butter with oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots and cook until veggies are fork tender.
  2. Next, add the chicken broth, cooked chicken, egg noodles, salt and thyme. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked to your liking.
  4. Add parsley to garnish. Serve and enjoy!

Cooks Tips:

  • Try using basil and oregano for a mildly different flavor.
  • Instead of cooking the chicken beforehand, you can cook the chicken in the broth and build the soup from there. This makes the broth a bit richer and the chicken more tender.
  • You can also try using turmeric to season your soup, which is great for digestion.
  • This recipe can be made in the slow-cooker as well, simply wait to add the noodles until the last 20 minutes before serving.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

~ Sheri

Butternut Squash Soup

pexels-photo-Buttnernut Squash

Another of my favorite cold weather soups is Butternut Squash.

This soup is so smooth and creamy it’s sure to warm you up on a chilly day!

Like my recipe for Minestrone (find it here), this soup is great paired with a salad or sandwich, or you can simply combine it with a crusty bread for dipping!

For this recipe, I use both butter and oil to sauté the veggies. Most people only use oil, but I like to use butter… because let’s face it, everything tastes better with butter!

Also, for the sake of time, I am using 3 cups of butternut squash from my stash of freeze-dried goods, which you can purchase it here.

I will be honest with you. Due to my digestive system, this soup is very basic. So, if you enjoy lots of flavor, I’ve included some ideas in the Cooks Tips section below. Feel free to mix and match as desired to enhance the flavor to your liking!

Butternut Squash Soup

What you need:

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium apple, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced and cubed
  • 1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cubed – (or 3 cups freeze-dried)
  • 4 cups homemade chicken bone broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s put it all together:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil.
  2. Next, add in the onion, apple, carrot, potatoes and squash. Sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Add in enough broth to just cover the veggies. Bring to a boil and simmer until all veggies are fork tender. About 40-45 minutes.
  4. At this time, you’ll want to use a stick blender to blend the veggies until smooth. Once blended, add in any remaining broth to reach desired consistency.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

Cooks Tips:

  1. If you don’t have a stick blender, simply transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth and transfer the soup back to the pot to add in the remaining broth.
  2. If you want to kick the flavor up a notch, try sautéing the vegetables in bacon fat.
  3. Add in some of these favorites: fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme; warm spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cayenne; green onions, chives; and cheeses such as parmesan or gruyere.

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

How to Make Minestrone Soup

Canva - It's Soup Season

Baby, it’s cold outside and that means it’s soup weather! So, over the course of the next few weeks, you will find me sharing my favorite soup recipes!

Today, I am making a family favorite – Minestrone!

So, what is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone is an Italian soup which is basically made with beans, veggies, and pasta. Throw in some broth and you’re done!

Well, almost!

There is really no set recipe for minestrone since it is usually made with whatever veggies are in season – or in my case, whatever I have in my pantry!

The great thing about Minestrone Soup is that it so versatile! It can be vegetarian, or it can contain meat. You can also make it with veggies and opt for a meat stock/broth such as my homemade chicken bone broth!

It’s hearty enough that you can eat it alone, or you can serve it with some garlic bread or dinner rolls.

You’ll also find that it’s great paired with a salad – such as a salad of mixed greens or a simple Caesar Salad.

You can even pair it with a tasty grilled cheese sandwich!

So, with all that said, let’s get started!

Minestrone Soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¾ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup sliced celery
  • ½ cup carrots, quartered and sliced
  • 1 zucchini quartered and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups broth – veggie or chicken
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 – 15oz can small white beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15oz can kidney – drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup green beans
  • ½ cup small shell pasta
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Let’s put it all together:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and zucchini to the pot, and cook until the veggies are tender. About 3-5 minutes.
  2. Next, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Season the veggies with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the tomatoes, broth, tomato paste and seasoning and bring to a simmer.
  5. Now you want to add in the beans – both kinds – along with the pasta, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta and veggies are tender.
  6. Taste and see if you need to add in some more salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Next, you want to add in the spinach leaves and cook until they’re wilted.
  8. Sprinkle on the parsley and serve!

Cooks Tips:

  • If when making this soup and it comes out a little bland, try adding some vegetable broth. If this isn’t to your liking, try adding in a few different herbs and seasonings. Ground paprika, turmeric, nutmeg, ground ginger are a few to start with because these seasonings seem to bring out the best flavor in soups! Simply add them to your liking and enjoy!
  • Try making this soup in the slow cooker. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors come out of the food and into the soup!
  • You can use fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried veggies, which you can get here!

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

~ Sheri

What is Your Meal Prep Personality?

Canva - Kitchen Cooking (2)

What it comes to cooking, we all have a personality type!

I’m more of a “Daily Dora.” This simply means that I enjoy going to the store each day to shop for the ingredients we need for that day.

However, there are at least four other personalities when it comes to meal prepping. Which type are you?

There’s the “Last Minute Lila.” This means it’s already 5pm and you haven’t a clue as to what you are going to make for dinner! Time to start thinking!

Or perhaps you think “Cooking? Who has time for that?!?” If that’s the case, then you my friend are a “Take Out Taylor!”

Maybe you like to plan and prepare meals for a week at a time? If so, than consider yourself a “Planning Poly.”

However, if you enjoy everything – shopping, prepping, and even freezing enough meals for a month – than you fall into the category of a “Freezing Francesca!”

No matter what your personality type, just know that there is no wrong way to go about it. Simply enjoy the process!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

~ Sheri

Mealtime – It’s Not Just About Food

Food Photo - Pork Chop on Bed of Lettuce

It’s true, we need to eat to sustain our lives… however, the mealtime itself is just as important as what we are eating!

Sitting down to a good meal with friends and family is good for the soul!

Turning off distractions such as our cellphones or the TV creates a feeling of peace, thus allowing for conversations. This builds strong relationships!

And let’s face it, we live in a high-stress society, so having a peaceful, enjoyable meal is important! Not only do we nurture our relationships, but a peaceful mealtime also aids in our digestion and our mood!

Even when eating alone, turning off distractions allows our meals to be a time of rest and reflection… or a time where we can just simply sit somewhere and enjoy a pretty view!

Just the simple act of offering a prayer of thanks before we eat creates an ‘attitude of gratitude!’

So, with that said, I am going to pack a simple meal of chicken and fresh veggies, and find myself a beautiful view to enjoy!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

~ Sheri

Prepping My Kitchen for Success

Canva - Kitchen Essentials - What are we cooking

If you’re like me, you want to get healthy! And to do so, it’s always best to do a little prep work in the kitchen before you begin!

One of the easiest ways to prepare your kitchen is of course, to make sure you have healthy foods on hand!

As your budget allows, stock you freezer, fridge and pantry with wholesome and fresh ingredients! And more importantly, get rid of all the foods that will sabotage your healthy eating habits! You can find my list of foods I will be eating here.

And don’t worry, if following a recipe makes you anxious, have no fear! You don’t need to cook complicated meals from fancy or elaborate recipes to eat healthy! All you really need are fresh ingredients and some basic kitchen skills!

In fact, some of my family favorites were created with just a few simple ingredients – no recipe required!

And before I go on, let me just say this — I am a firm believer that ‘fresh is always best!’’ However, due to our fridge still not working — because we are waiting on parts — I have been relying on our stash of freeze-dried goods, which you can check out here!

These I have organized into four sections: proteins, veggies, fruits and dairy. This allows me to see what I have on hand and what I need to order!

As for fresh ingredients, I purchase those from the store as needed. Any leftovers go into the slow cooker to create a soup or stew for another meal!

Equally as important as the ingredients, I want to make sure that I have all the essential tools on hand for cooking our meals!

When it comes to pots and pans, some say you need about 3-4 pots ranging from a small sauce pan (1-2 quarts) to a large pot (3-4 quart) Dutch oven. However, with limited space in our RV, we rely on a 4-quart sauce pan, a 10-inch skillet, our Dutch oven, and of course our slow cooker! If you have a family of 4, I would suggest having a 12-inch skillet instead.

Of course, measuring spoons and cups are good to have on hand as well. And, I usually have two glass measuring bowls with a pour spout (big enough to measure 4-8 cups). I use the first to measure things such as when I am making my homemade mayonnaise. You can find the recipe here. And the other bowl I use to keep all the discards in while slicing and dicing my veggies!

I also like to roast my veggies, so I keep 2 roasting pans on hand. And I prefer to keep two wood (maple) cutting boards on hand as well – 1 for veggies, and 1 for meats. However, I must admit that I do have several flexible cutting boards on hand because they’re easier to carry in and out of the RV when I cook outside!

As I mentioned, expect to be cutting, slicing and dicing, so of course you will need a good set of knives. My go-to pieces are a paring knife and a really good Chefs knife.

Garlic is something that I use in a lot of my recipes! It’s great for my digestion, so I like to keep a garlic press on hand too. This makes the job of mincing garlic a breeze!

And although it isn’t a necessity, I am thinking of purchasing a grill basket! Sure you can grill and roast your veggies in the oven, but I think they’re is just something special about roasting veggies over an open fire!

So, that’s me, prepping my kitchen for success!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

~ Sheri

Eat What Heals You!

Canva - Eat What Heals You

I grew up in a household where there were no restrictions on what we could eat. In other words, snacks were not always healthy… chips, soda and cupcakes were a childhood favorite!

However, no restrictions did not allow me to dictate to my mother what I would or would not eat at our family dinners! In other words, if I didn’t like what mom made for dinner, she was not about to make something else just to appease me! If I didn’t eat what she made, then I would just go hungry until the next meal!

Actually, most of the time, mom did make good and tasty meals, though usually our meals focused mainly on meat and potatoes and oodles of noodles!

Yet, looking back to the beginning of time, I find that we were originally meant to be vegetarians – eating only foods that came from seeds… meats weren’t actually introduced until after the flood of Noah!

Four Colors of Bell Peppers

So, with this thought in mind, I was definitely willing to experiment with a vegetarian eating plan, however, my doctor advised against it due to my digestive disorders.

Still, I want to eat healthy, and I want to try to heal my body with the food I eat.

Doable? Yes!

Am I willing to stay the course to bring about said healing? Yes!

So, what shall I be eating?

I plan to eat 5-6 smaller meals during the day, and focusing on eating REAL food – nothing processed here, unless I am processing it by cutting, dicing and slicing!

Foods will include the following:

  • Healthy fats and oils such as olive oil and animal fats etc. All butters, such as ghee (clarified butter), coconut butter, and nut butters, olives, nuts and seeds, avocados and coconut milk.
  • Proteins: fish, eggs, chicken, beef, turkey
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Fresh and dried herbs and spices
  • And some homemade pantry staples such as my homemade bone broths which you can find out how to make here.

IMG_4797

My plan is to start this coming Sunday at sunrise.

Still, any time we change our eating habits, our bodies react – and sometimes not in a good way! So, to minimize any withdrawal symptoms, over the next few days, I will stop cold turkey of all sweets. And, I will drink about 8-10 glasses of water a day. This will help to flush out any toxins and minimize the withdrawal side effects.

I have to admit, I am looking forward to getting healthy again! So, here’s to eating what heals me!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

~ Sheri

Looking Forward to Our Spring Garden

Food - Garden - Container (7)

This morning, my focus seems to be on food. Especially the seed-bearing kind!

From the time that earth began, man was created to take care of the land… so essentially, we were meant to be farmers!

Therefore, this longing I have is proof that I am meant to get back to a traditional homestead! Growing my own food is in my genes!

Yet, while I currently do not have a traditional homestead, with campground permission, I can have a small container garden! This allows me to keep my hands in the soil and grow at least some of my own food!

Garden Sticks

It may only be January, but I am already prepping for what I will grow this year… this time I have a larger space, and there will be lots of sun!

I’ve already pulled out my seed packets to see what I have… and what I will need to purchase!

I’m also looking forward to upgrading the type of container as well, thus allowing me better control of watering and feeding the soil!

What are you looking forward to this spring?

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!

Goals are Dreams with a Deadline

Canva - Life is better on the farm

For a while now, I have been dreaming of being back on a more traditional homestead. More and more, I find myself missing… and even longing to get my hands back in the soil, and raising chickens!

However, without a defined time, my dream is only that… a dream!

So, as of today, I have given myself to the end of the year to find the homestead of my dreams!

This is going to take commitment!

For one thing, it’s going to take money! And for that, I have decided to put more effort into my food business, which you can check out here!

And, I have become more specific in what I am looking for in our future homestead.

Not only am I looking for the basics – such as enough land to grow a garden – but I also need that land to be large enough so that I can free-range my chickens!

I will also have to make sure that land will allow me to have/raise chickens! Not all areas are chicken/rooster friendly!

I would also love to have a large pantry to store our preserved foods!  And a personal must-have is a covered porch! That way I can sit outside and chat with the neighbors, even on a warm, rainy day!

My goal is a BIG one! It’s going to take commitment! But I believe with determination and a whole lot of prayer, it will happen!

Until next time,

Peace, love and safe travels!