Fuel your body during COVID-19: Easy Veggie Soup with Sausage – (use old veggies that look ugly/go bad)

the veg

Hello everyone. Yup I had a fridge full of the ugly veggies that I took pictures of for my previous fuel your body post. I wanted to do something with them, so I decided to make it easy on myself and make a veggie sausage soup. You can totally make this vegan with no sausage, but with my family of pre teens they will riot if I don’t feed them.

I had onions, carrots, cellary that was starting to look wilting, and one stalk even looked a little anemic. I had tomatoes that were not firm any more, bell peppers that were wrinkly and not as beautiful, and a staple in my house Yukon Gold potatoes. I had one container of chicken stock, but you can sub veggie stock to make it vegetarian/vegan.

Our stores still don’t have all the products we are used to. Our shipping is over loaded. So I bought what was on sale, and what I could find. When I got home I realized I bought beer bratwurst. So I just went with it.

This recipe can be altered to be:

  1. Vegetarian/Vegan

This recipe is:

  1. Gluten Free (unless you make the bred below)
  2. Dairy Free
  3. Full of Fiber
  4. Full of nutrients
  5. Low in fat
  6. Low in salt

Anyway it came out fantastic. So here is what I did.


Easy Veggie Soup with Sausage

Ingredients:

Yield: 8 servings

  1. 4 cups of stock Chicken/Veggie your preference
  2. 4 really ripe soft tomatoes chopped
  3. 4 cups of Yukon Gold potatoes chopped
  4. 2 cups of carrots chopped
  5. 4 stalks of celery chopped even the leafy tops
  6. 1 yellow onion chopped
  7. 2 green bell peppers or 2 cups chopped
  8. 1 tablespoon of ginger sliced about the top part of your thumb worth of ginger
  9. 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  10. 2 cups of water
  11. 1 tablespoon of salt
  12. Pepper to taste
  13. Beer Bratwurst 5 casing cut removed and sauteed

Directions:

  1. Saute onions, ginger till fragrant, add meat that has been removed from casing, and saute till cooked.
  2. Add hard veggies and the rest of the aromatics, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and celery. Stir together to heat.
  3. Add stock, and water, bring to a boil and lower heat to medium. Let cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add soft veggies tomatoes, and peppers. Let cook another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve piping hot. I made home made bread with it, and the family gobbled it up. It made enough to have it for two nights with 4 people.

I will put a link to the bread recipe I used. It is a no knead dough, that uses yeast.

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/rustic-crusty-bread-a-simple-how-to/?fbclid=IwAR1pfUZw-Be0sV68x6MwE51elzx_49rAYZsfv8_nyxR2Xgj-SXh2s5RBHOA

This was a hit with my family. We had warm crusty bread. Delicious soup with so much depth of flavor. They gobbled it up.

I hope this post finds you and your family healthy and happy. Please stay safe, wash your hands, and take the precautions you need. Thank you for reading. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Would you like to see posts about baking breads?

Fuel Yourself During The Pandemic: Fresh or not so Fresh Fruits or Veggies

During this time of Pandemic fruits and veggies are getting hard to find. Maybe you stocked up and forgot about that bunch of broccoli in the back of your refrigerator, or those tomatoes are looking a little wrinkly.

How do you know what to eat and what to toss?

I am going to tell you some of the ways I look at our fruits and veggies. How I assess what I have and what we can use, and some ways to use them in your cooking. As a chef a lot of these would just be thrown away during times of plenty. The idea being you want to serve the best of the best to your clientele. However, we are also taught what is healthy, how to use all of the product you have, and what you can get away with trimming. We cover how to avoid food waste a great deal as well.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or what ever you are drinking its going to be a bit of a long blog.

As always use your best judgment, and stay safe.

These are some of the most common grocery, and produce items you can get here. If I missed something that is common where you live please feel free to ask, I will answer, and let you know if I have any familiarity with that product.

Cheese –

This is not produce but it is important. Hard cheese you can keep if it has mold on it. Rule of thumb is cut about an inch around and under the mold to remove the mold spot, then wrap in a new piece of plastic.

Dairy (like sour cream and yogurt), and Jam/jellies/preserves –

Throw these out. They may contain poisons, and toxins that are very dangerous. Never take chances with these.

Bread –

If it is moldy throw it out. The mold can be very dangerous on bread.

Hint: If you have the freezer space you can freeze your extra bread. Place it on the counter to come to room temp after freezing. It is better to buy fresh, but this can help stock up to stay at home.

Hard vegetables and Fruits you can generally cut away the mold and use.

(Example: Carrots, Bell Pepper, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, root veggies, etc.)

Produce and what to do with them:

Tomatoes –

  1. If your tomatoes are wrinkly and not firm they are good for cooking, sauces and soups.
  2. If they are moldy throw them away. Remember mold on soft fruits, berries, etc you should throw away.

Carrots –

  1. If your carrot is looking limp, feeling flimsy, and the tops/greens looking yellowish, and limp. They are good for roasting, cooking in soup, making a sauce, sauteing up.
  2. If your carrot is moldy, cut about inch around the mold off. If for instance at the tip, I just cut the tip off.

Onions –

  1. If your onion has a black sooty mold on outer skin, peel till you see new flesh/skin. If you don’t need that onion right away a new papery brown skin will form from the new skin you exposed.
    • That black, sooty-looking substance on the skins of onions is a mold. Aspergillus niger is its name. It is a common fungus found on onions in the field in and stored in bags at the grocery store. It is found on the outside of the onion and is typically harmless.
    • What to do if a bunch is touching an onion that has some mold. I remove both. Peel them down, and rinse them with water. Then dry them thoroughly.
  2. You can cook them right away but they are still shelf stable.
  3. If it is at all looking wet or slimy throw it away.

Broccoli –

  1. If your broccoli is browning on the crown in spots, and or the stalks looking warn and old. Trim the brown spots off and remove the stems.
  2. If it is at all looking wet or slimy throw it away.

Cabbage –

  1. If your cabbage is looking old and limp. You can use it in stir fry, soup, even roasted. Hard veggies and fruits you can cut off around and under any moldy spots about 1 inch in.
  2. If it is wet and slimy throw it away.

Greens –

  1. Lettuces and greens, tend to get wet and break down fast. So throw them away if they start looking moldy, wet, slimy.
  2. Should you throw away if it looks limp? If it has just lost its vigor but does not smell bad feel slimy you can try soaking it in cold water, to see if it crisps up and then use it.

Bananas –

  1. If the banana is moldy throw it away.
  2. If the banana is brown, bruised, almost black, you can still use it in baking, smoothies, fruit soups, etc.

Berries –

  1. If your berries, or other soft fruits and veggies are moldy throw them away.
  2. If your berries are just looking a little sad, but not moldy, that is a great time to puree them into a smoothie, or bake them into baked goods.

Mushrooms –

  1. If they are moldy throw them away.
  2. If they have dark spots use them now, in roasting, soup, sauces, baking etc. Use them in anything that they don’t have to be pretty.
  3. If they get wrinkly, they are drying out, and better to just throw away.
  4. If the are odorous or stinky throw them out.

Apples –

  1. If your apple bruised and ugly it is still ok to eat. Just cut off the bruised spot. Eat raw, or you can cook them down into apple sauce. You can grate them and use them in baking.
  2. If your apple has mold throw it away.
  3. If it is in a bag with others that have mold, throw away the offending apple, and take all others out wash them and dry them really well.

Oranges –

  1. If your orange has mold on it throw it out.
  2. If one goes bad in the bag what should you do? Throw out the moldy orange. Then wash the other oranges and dry thoroughly. Those should be safe to eat.

Peppers –

  1. If your peppers are wrinkly, you can still eat them. They would be great for roasting, in casseroles, sauces, or soups.
  2. If your pepper is a little moldy cut off an inch around. However, I tend to throw it out if the mold is found inside of the pepper.

Avocado –

  1. After you cut it the avocado and it gets brown/oxydized, you cut it a day ago and it looks terrible. It is still ok to eat generally. You can cut off the ugly oxydized parts.
  2. If it is moldy throw it out.

Here is an example of the dinner I made for my family with produce that was not the freshest. I used the broccoli, and carrots pictured above.

Tilapia, mushroom medley, carrots broccoli onion saute, and rice.

The list goes on, and on, and on, but I don’t have the time to go through every fruit and vegetable here. I hope this helps.

Be careful what you eat and use your best judgment. Stopping food waste is a great thing to learn. Consequently during this time of pandemic it may just help your food budget go further.

So when you venture out to get your supplies. Don’t fear the ugly produce. Eat the ugly produce. If it is a sad looking and all you can get, you can still use it. If nothing else throw it all in a stock pot with some water, and boil it down. Make a veggie stock to use in your other cooking.

Thank you for reading. Stay safe, and lets all flatten the curve by keeping our social distance. At least we can talk online right? Subscribe and comment if you want.

Note: Sorry for so many posts. I just wanted to get these out because I thought they could be helpful for so many people.

Fuel my body, during COVID-19 shortages…Strawberry Banana Lime Oatmeal Breakfast Bake

Good morning… yup I hear my family fussing about hunger. So here is what I came up with this morning.

This recipe is:

  1. Gluten free if you need it(make sure to get the gluten free oats/means it is processed away from glutenous products)
  2. Can be dairy free
  3. Vegetarian
  4. Can Be Sugar free if you choose sugar alternatives (like Stevia, equal)
  5. Natural Sugar ( Like honey, or agave nectar) or omit the sugar all together.
  6. Has a good amount of protein and fiber to fill your family up.

Right now there is a shortage of eggs in my area. I had to go to 3 stores to find them. A lot of the pre-made or instant items are being taken, so you are left with rolled oats, some produce, milk if you are lucky, but soy, almond, and alternative milks are around.

This is a great recipe for using “ugly” fruit. Fruits and or Veggies that are not the prettiest, and have been picked over, are great in baked items. My banana was going the way of the Dodo, and had some bruises, however, it still baked up just fine.

Luckily for me??? Am I lucky? I am lactose intolerant. So I tend to have alternative milk products around.

I was able to find strawberries, bananas, limes, had coconut milk, and had non instant oatmeal at home.

I decided to make a tropical-ish baked oatmeal breakfast… Can we imagine we are away on a deserted island, I mean we have the isolation part right? Win!

You can make this the night ahead and heat it up in the morning. You can also remove from the pan and wrap completely, and freeze if you have leftovers.


Enough talking here is the recipe:

Strawberry Banana Lime Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups of rolled oats
  2. 1/3 cup of granulated sweetener ** (or leave it out)
  3. 1 1/2 cups of milk (sub almond, soy, coconut)
  4. 1/2 cups of milk (sub lime juice, orange juice, or water)
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 8 oz/221 grams of Strawberries
  8. 1 each/100 grams ripe banana
  9. 1 egg
  10. 1 lime zested (optional)
  11. 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Mix the dry ingredients, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, mix in half of the strawberries, and half zest
  3. Grease or spray a 2 quart pan, and put dry ingredients down. Layer fruit on top.
  4. Whisk together wet ingredients, milk, juice, egg, vanilla
  5. Pour wet ingredients over
  6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, depending on oven. Take it out when top of the oatmeal is browned nicely.
  7. Enjoy hot, or let it cool down and enjoy at room temperature.

I hope you get a chance to try this. It is adaptable to other fruits, and keep in mind it is a great use of fruits that are not the prettiest.

This serves ~ 6 servings. Total calories depends on the ingredients you use. But about 200 to 250 calories.

** Use any type of granulated sugar or sugar substitute that you can measure same as sugar. Honey is sweeter on the pallet. So conversion is 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of honey.

Thank you for reading. You can use this time to adapt your goals and try something new. You can still stick to your healthy lifestyle its just going to take some tweaks and ingenuity. Have a great day and stay healthy.

Quick Note: Don’t throw away those squeezed limes. You can slice them up and put those in your water, for lime flavored water.

Fuel my body, during COVID-19 shortages? Berry Chia Coconut Pudding!

I had to make it instagram pretty.

So in this time of toilet paper, and hand sanitizer shortages. Shortages on meat, shelf stable staples (rice, noodles, beans, canned goods), and water. (This is the case at least in the good old U.S.A.) I noticed the foods that are readily available still are the highly processed granola bars, terrible chips/snacks (although those are going quickly too), fresh veggies, and the healthy food section.

I am going to put up recipes in this Fueling My Body During COVID-19 Shortages, that utilize the health foods (such as chia, vegan protein powders, quinoa and the likes), veggies that are getting left behind, and other products it looks like people are not using.

Interesting to note, the first pastas to go were the spaghetti and angel hair pasta. The linguine were left behind, people were not buying it. Do they not know you can still use that pasta in many pasta dishes? Even substitute it in spaghetti dishes. It may not be traditional but it will still feed you and your family.

So for today I made a berry chia coconut pudding. Aside from the coconut milk which I was out of. All these ingredients I regularly have in my pantry. Because I love to use them in my foods.

Enough with the expounding or lets be honest my prattling on, here is the recipe.

Berry Chia Coconut Pudding

Ingredients:

  1. 6 tablespoons/ 60grams of Chia seeds
  2. 1 tablespoon/23 grams of honey
  3. 1/4 cup/20 oz of coconut milk
  4. 1 whole/108 grams of ripe banana
  5. 1 cup/131 grams of frozen berries

Optional Toppings:

  1. 1 tsp/15 grams yogurt (omit for dairy free, vegan)
  2. 2 tbs/20 grams frozen berries
  3. pinch of desiccated coconut

Directions:

  1. Blend together a banana, and a cup of frozen berries. If you need to splash a little coconut milk in it to allow for better pureeing.
  2. Measure out chia seeds, and milk and mix together in a bowl.
  3. Pour in fruit blend. Taste… it is plenty sweet with the fruit, but I wanted a more dessert like taste for this so I added the 1 tbs of honey to the mixture.
  4. If you are going to make it pretty spoon it in to the individual serving cups
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight like I did.
  6. Serve alone, it is delicious, or add berries, yogurt if you have it and desiccated coconut.

Yield: 6 servings

Calories 696, Fat 37 g, Fiber 35.8 g, Carbs 85.1 g, Sodium 9.5 mg,
Protein 14.8 g

1 serving:
Calories 116, Fat 6.2 g, Fiber 6 g, Carbs 14.2 g, Sodium 1.6 mg, Protein 2.5g

It is delicious. My entire family loved it. This is a great thing to make ahead of time, for meal prepping. It will last covered for up to 7 days in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long, because my family will eat it all before 7 days are up.

This is gluten free, vegetarian, and without the yogurt dairy free and vegan.

Lets use this time, when we are unsure of what is happening in our world. When the normal foods we eat are not around, or being snapped up fast. Lets try some new things if this is new to you. If its not help your loved one try out the “new healthy” foods. They may like them, and we will come out of this pandemic hopefully healthier, and with healthier eating habits.

Thank you for reading and I will post more recipes of healthy foods I make with what I can find at the grocery store. Tell me what you think and if you have any questions. Stay kind to each other, and help your neighbors. Stay safe and strong.

Chimichurri Burrito Bowl Lunch Meal Prep

If you are new to my blog. I am a Chef. I have both a culinary and baking and pastry degree. I am on a fitness journey that I will be on for the rest of my life.

I like to cook, and like any chef I like to eat. Now I try to eat with the thought of fueling my body for my fitness journey. We truely are an amazing bio machine and we need good foods to fuel it.

I train Martial Arts 5 to 6 days a week for upwards of 10 hours a week total. So to support that I need to eat well. Now do I always eat well? Do I always pass up that cupcake. Heck no! But I do try to make good decisions.

Enough rambling so here is what I made. A chimichurri burrito bowl. This bowl is full of protein, gluten free, dairy free, low fat, contains lots of veggies, slow digesting carbs, and most importantly has lots of flavor.

I took a short cut and got chicken that was pre marinated at the grocery store, but I regularly make chimichurri sauce on my own and will include that in this recipe.


Chimichurri Burrito Bowl

Yield: 5 servings for lunch

Ingredients:

  1. 3 bell peppers that I charred on the gas stove, and placing them in a bowl with plastic wrap to steam
  2. 1 jalapeno that I charred on the gas, and placing them in a bowl with plastic wrap to steam
  3. 1 onion that I charred on the gas stove, and placing them in a bowl with plastic wrap to steam
  4. 1.5 lbs of chicken marinated in chimichurri
  5. 3.75 cups of brown rice cooked
  6. 10 tablespoons of black beans
  7. 5 tablespoons of salsa – Optional
  8. 5 pinches of cilantro – Optional
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. granulated garlic to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook brown rice to directions on package
  2. Char your veggies over a BBQ or on a gas stove. Place them in a bowl with plastic wrap to steam them.
  3. Cook your chicken marinated in chimichurri
  4. Chop up veggies, and lightly sautee them in a pan, adding pepper, salt, and granulated garlic to taste
  5. Heat up canned black beans, drained
  6. Add 3/4 cup/ 112g of brown rice to bowl, add 1 cup/130 g of chicken to each bowl, add 1 cup/148 g of veggies to bowl, add 2 tablespoons/52g of black beans, add 1 tablespoons/32 g of salsa.

Chimichurri sauce

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  3. 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  4. 3-4 cloves garlic , finely chopped or minced
  5. 2 small red chilies , or 1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon finely chopped chili)
  6. 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1 level teaspoon coarse salt
  8. pepper , to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together. Let sit for at least a few minutes. Letting it sit for 2 hours before use is much better. Marinate meat over night, reserve some for topping.

Nutritional Stats:
Calories 555, Fat 8.7 g, Fiber 11.7 g, Carbs 65.1 g, Sodium 1553.5 mg,
Protein 45.8 g


I hope you get a chance to try this recipe. You can reduce the sodium if you are concerned by omitting the salsa, and taking some of the salt out of the chimichurri sauce.

It was/is delicious and easy to make. It took about 40 minutes to prep for a whole week of lunches.

Try it out. Thank you for reading, if you liked this please let me know and feel free to share.

Easy Turkey Bulgogi Lunch Meal Prep

I don’t have a lot of time, so meal preps that don’t take long to do are a must for me. This one was fast, simple, and is delicious to boot. I prepped this past Sunday for this week. It took me 30 minutes. That is fantastic in my book.

I made this for my husband and I for our lunches for the week. I took a short cut and got frozen veggies to help me prep. I also used pre-made bulgogi sauce.

This is low in fat, has good carbs, and great fiber, lean protein.

All you have to do is cook up some rice, saute up some ground turkey, add the sauce, spiced, and steam up some broccoli. I added some green onions, sriracha sauce, and kimchi but that is all optional. See easy peasy.. I will of course add more information below and a full recipe with nutritional stats.

Turkey Bulgogi Lunch

Ingredients:

  1. rice
  2. 1 lb ground turkey
  3. frozen stir fry veggies
  4. broccoli
  5. 1 tsp ground ginger or to taste
  6. 1 tsp ground garlic or to taste
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1 tbs oil
  9. Bulgogi sauce
    Optional
  10. green onions
  11. Sriracha sauce
  12. Kimchi

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to directions on package
  2. Heat pan with oil, saute ground turkey, add spices and salt. Once meat is cooked add frozen stir fry veggies, and bulgogi sauce. Cook on medium for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Steam broccoli
  4. Add 3/4 of cup of rice on one side of the container, 3/4 cup of bulgogi meat mixture next to rice, add 1 cup of broccoli.
  5. Top wit green onions, sprinkle Sriracha, add kimchi and enjoy

Stats:

Calories 633, Fat 26.2 g, Fiber 5.6 g, Carbs 64.2 g, Sodium 798.8 mg,
Protein 34.9 g

I hope you get a chance to try this out. The meat is fantastic without the sauce if you want to omit that part. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading, and keep working to be the best that you can be.

Chocolate Protein Pancakes

I wanted pancakes, but I wanted healthy and I wanted to stay on track so I made these. They don’t have any extra sugar in them other than what is in your protein powder, and bananas. A bit of honey is what they needed to top them off. They were delicious, and exactly what I wanted.

This is gluten free, dairy free because I use (Vega protein powder), vegetarian, full of protein, low in fat, and have fiber in them.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup chocolate protein powder ( I use Vega)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, for cooking
  • fruit garnish (I had frozen fruit)
  • Honey for serving

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend together in the blender.

Cook them as you would a regular pancake.

Keep in mind when you cook anything chocolate it can be hard to tell when something is done due to the darkness of the batter.

Calories/Stats: Serving Size 2 servings, sans honey and fruit

Calories 800, Fat 31.6 g, Fiber 11.5 g, Carbs 80.7 g, Sodium 835.9 mg, Protein 56.7 g

I hope you all get a chance to try this out. Let me know what you think, and if you have a chance to try it out.