Friday, November 28, 2014

Flavorful Friday: Simply Soup Recipe!

Philippians 4:6 ESV
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Me with my husband and son out
at "The Farm" (Stonefield Organic Farm) 
Ahhh, the many joys of Thanksgiving!  Time off work, relaxing with loved ones, and plenty of good food to eat!  I hope that you enjoyed the day with those dear to you, and maybe even got a few great deals today.  As Thanksgiving leftovers fill your fridge, I thought I would offer a suggestion today of something you can do with all that Turkey other than the traditional Turkey Sandwiches.  Try Turkey Soup!  This Simply Soup Recipe is great as a vegetable soup that can give your body a much needed break after over-indulgence, or add a bit of shredded or diced turkey for a new twist on an old favorite!  Trying to ward off the holiday sickies?  Add some chicken instead for a wonderfully nutritious chicken soup!  Any way you make it, this soup is sure to warm you to the soul.  A few of the ingredients are listed as "Optional", but really, most of these ingredients are optional, so just add what you like and leave off the rest!

I would love to hear from you!  Tell me, what is your favorite, non-traditional soup ingredient?

Here's to a wonderful weekend and a joy and spirit-filled Holiday Season!

Yours Truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Simply Soup Recipe (Vegetables with Optional Chicken or Turkey)

Chicken Soup with extra Smoked Paprika added

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Large Yellow Onion, diced
½ Small Cabbage (red or green), chopped into about 1 inch pieces
1 C Carrots, sliced or diced
Potato- 1 Russet or 2-3 small Red, diced
1-2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Dried Basil (or a few large fresh leaves, minced)
½ tsp Dried Parsley (or a small handful of fresh leaves, minced)
¼ tsp Dried Oregano (or a few fresh leaves, minced)
¼ tsp Ground Pepper Medley
¼ tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced (optional)
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced (optional)
1 C Okra, sliced into ½ inch pieces, stems removed (optional)
About 4 C Homemade Bone Broth
1-2 C Green Beans, fresh or frozen, cut into about 1-2” pieces
1 Zucchini, diced
3-4 Large Kale Leaves, torn or cut into about 1 inch pieces, with stems chopped
6-8 Garlic Cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Meat of one cooked Chicken, all except the breast, shredded or diced (optional)
Cooked Turkey meat, about 1-2 C, shredded or diced (optional)
Filtered Water (or more Bone Broth), as needed to cover everything with liquid


Heat a 6 Quart Pot over medium heat while chopping the Onion.  Add Olive Oil to pan and allow it to heat for about 30 seconds.  Add Onions to pot and stir.  Chop Cabbage, add to pot and stir.  Chop Carrots, then add to pot and stir.  Chop Potatoes, then add to pot and stir.  Add Butter and Seasonings to pot and then stir.  If using, dice Optional Bell Peppers, slice Optional Okra, add to pot and stir.  Add Bone Broth to pot and stir.  Remove stems from Green Beans, cut beans and add to pot and stir.  Dice Zucchini, add to pot and stir.  Tear or cut Kale leaves, and chop Kale stems, add to pot and then stir.  Peal Garlic Cloves, slice thinly, add to pot and stir.  Add shredded, pre-cooked Chicken or Turkey if using, then stir well.  Add Filtered Water or Bone Broth until everything is just covered.  Stir well, cover with lid.  Bring to a boil on Medium heat, then reduce to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour to keep crispness in vegetables, longer for softer vegetables.  Note: Food will continue to cook long after the heat is removed if it is left in the pot to cool.

For storage, allow soup to cool at room temperature for about half an hour, then ladle soup into food storage jars, leaving about 1” at the top, cover with lid and allow to cool in the refrigerator.  Once cooled thoroughly (overnight is good), slightly loosen lid and transfer to freezer, right side up.  I like to store some in Quart Size jars for the family, and some in Pint Size jars for single servings.

Serving Suggestions:

·      Serve simply As Is
·      Serve with hot sauce
·      Serve over rice
·      Serve over noodles
·      Serve with rolls or bread on the side
·      Serve with a cheese quesadilla on the side

·      Serve with corn chips on top or on the side

Monday, November 24, 2014

FREE GOODIE BAG from the Dallas Gluten & Allergen Free Expo!

Matthew 6:19-21 NASB
 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

You've heard me talking about a FREE GOODIE BAG from the Dallas Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, and here it is!  Many of you wanted to be there but weren't able to make it, so I'm bringing the Expo to you!  See below for a list of the contents of the gift bag, provided for you by vendors at the show, and collected for you by me and my family.  Then read on to find out how YOU can be the winner and take home this bag of goodies for yourself!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In no particular order…

Boom Chicka Pop- Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

Crunchmaster- Multi-Grain Crackers- Sea Salt

Crunchmaster- Multi-Seed Crackers- Original

Van’s- Say Cheese- Crispy Whole Grain Baked Crackers

Glutino- Pretzel Twists

Milton’s- Crispy Sea Salt- Baked Crackers

Mediterranean Snacks- Lentil Crackers- Cracked Pepper

Nutrasumma- Pea Protein Powder- Chocolate Flavor

Linwoods- Milled flaxseed, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts and Q10

Gopicnic- Maple Turkey Sausage, Fruit & Nut mix ready-to-eat breakfast

SOYJOY- baked whole soy & fruit bar in 3 flavors (banana, berry, blueberry)

Breeze Bar- Chocolate Cranberry

Pamela’s- Figgies and Jammies- Raspberry & Fig Cookie

Nogii- Paleo Bar- Nuts About Nuts

A3 Bar- White Lightning Marshmallow

Nature’s Path Organic- Dark Chocolate Chip- Chewy Granola Bar

Enjoy Life- Vanilla Honey Graham Crunchy Cookie

Pamela’s- Simplebites Cookies in 2 flavors (Extreme Chocolate and Ginger Snapz)

Wholesome Sweeteners- Organic Stevia

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Okay, so how do you win this bag?!?!  Act fast!  The first person to comment below on my blog and tell me what it would mean to you to have this bag full of GLUTEN FREE SAMPLES and COUPONS is the winner!  Sometimes the early bird gets the worm, and today you can be the hungry bird! (Disclaimer: I live in Plano so if you live outside of this area you will need to pay for S&H.)

Thanks for reading and I hope you'll all look into the products above.  I'm still working on sampling all of these and more, and will be sharing my thoughts and reviews soon, so stay tuned!

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flavorful Friday: Bok Choy Recipe!

Luke 10:27 NIV
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind"

It's been a busy week catching up and reviewing products from the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Dallas last week.  I feel so blessed to have been gifted all this free food!  And yesterday our chiropractor, Dr. Grant Fulcher at Prime Life Chiropractic, was giving away free turkeys to all of his patients who came in today!  Incredible!  Our whole family goes to see him, so we got one turkey for our family, one to cook and give away, and we left one with him to give away to a local organization.  So much abundance is all around us, it feels good to be able to share.

Speaking of sharing, I have put together a fabulous gift bag from my freebies at the Expo.  I'll be announcing the contest for that prize next week so stay on the lookout!

With all that's been going on, I'm going to keep this week's Flavorful Friday simple with an easy, healthy and affordable side dish.  This could even make an appearance on your Thanksgiving table if you're looking for some new alternatives to the old traditionals.  My husband and I both love this recipe for Bok Choy, and my son, well, he can't seem to make up his mind, one day he loves it, the next day not so much.  But hey, he's young and I'm sure his taste buds are changing all the time to there you have it.  Let me know how this goes over with your own little ones!

Yours truly,

Bok choy, butternut squash, bbq pork country ribs

Sautéed Bok Choy Recipe

1 Head Bok Choy
½ Yellow Onion, sliced
1 Tbsp Unrefined Coconut Oil
2-3 Tbsp Bone Broth
½ tsp Celtic Sea Salt
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper Medley

Cut off the root end of the Bok Choy head.  Wash each piece under running water, rubbing with your fingers or a vegetable brush to remove dirt.  Cut the whites into ¼” slices.  Cut the greens into approximately 1” squares.

Heat 10” skillet over medium heat to warm pan.  Add coconut oil, Bok Choy, and Yellow Onion to pan and stir to coat.  Add Bone Broth, Celtic Sea Salt, Garlic Powder, and Fresh Ground Pepper Medley to vegetables and stir to coat.  Allow to sauté about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

This is a great side for most pork, chicken, or turkey dishes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Dallas 2014- Sunday Top Picks!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Wow!  What a weekend it was!  I feel honored and blessed to have attended the Dallas Gluten & Allergen Free Expo as a blogger.  It was amazing seeing how many people were there, and how many vendors as well.  I have only been on this Gluten Free journey for 4 years now, and the developments of gluten free foods has been astounding even in this short amount of time.  The products represented ranged from cookies and crackers, to protein bars and shakes, to pizza and beer.  There were wonderful and educational presentations offered all day long, leaving me wondering, "Do I go to the class or go to the booths?"  All-in-all it was a great experience and I'm so glad I went.

Be on the lookout for a GIVEAWAY from me in the coming days.  The product vendors were kind enough to pass on tons of free samples for my readers, so I'll be giving away a full goodie bag for one lucky person!  Stay tuned for details...

Here are my highlights from Sunday at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in Dallas.

Most unique thing I learned: you can use sorghum based beer ounce for ounce and cup for cup as a milk replacement in baking!  Wow, who knew?!  According to Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod, the Executive Editor of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine and author of
The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook: Spicing Up Life with Italian, Asian, and Mexican Recipes, using beer in place of milk adds a nice sweetness and fluffiness to many recipes such as pancakes, porridge, and flatbread. It's an easy way to replace milk if you are going dairy free, and using sorghum based beer like Bard's (her recommendation) makes it still gluten free! Sounds good to me!

Favorite vendor product line: Simple Mills.  Why I am totally thrilled to have discovered this company is well-summed up in a message from the founder, who I had the privilege and honor of meeting in person.  
"When I discovered that my family and I had several allergies to common foods, I first turned to the shelves at grocery stores. But I discovered that many foods contained long ingredient lists, large amounts of refined sugar (often the first ingredient!), preservatives, and other strange things that I couldn't pronounce. I didn't cook with these things at home, and surely didn't want to feed them to my family... So why did I have to buy them in food and mixes at the store? I thought there had to be a better way and that's why I created Simple Mills. 
At Simple Mills, we sincerely believe simple is best. We create delicious products made of nutrient-rich, real-food ingredients that are easily available in nature (not created in a laboratory somewhere). We never use refined sugar, high-glycemic flours, gluten, or genetically-modified ingredients. This means that our products not only taste great, they also make you feel great! 
-Katlin, Founder of Simple Mills"
There you have it, real food, plain and simple. Thank you, Katlin!

Greatest mystery solved: I have been researching Essential Oils for quite some time, and have often wondered about the effectiveness of each brand.  On Sunday I took the opportunity to pit doTERRA and Young Living against each other in a head to head battle for pain relief.  I showed up with a lot of pain in my knee, low back, and neck and stopped first thing at the two essential oils booths in the show.  I am happy to say that both products relieved my pain completely, and within half an hour I was no longer thinking about how much my body hurt and was free to enjoy the show.  A huge thanks to Pat of Young Living and Randy of doTERRA for so generously helping me out!  Pat used Young Living's Valor, Pan Away and Peppermint for a great pain relieving trio.   Randy used doTERRA's Deep Blue Rub for a simple one-step application.  I'm not going to debate which company or product line is better overall, but as far as pain relief goes, both are a winner in my book.

Favorite Blogger: The Gluten Free Makeup Gal.  She is so sweet and down-to-earth, and tons of fun to be around.  This Gal and I had some serious fun watching Stuart's presentation of Kitchen Craft cookware (which, by the way, I now want every piece of!)  

Okay, that's enough for now.  I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks on product reviews and more highlights from the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo.  This in a national event, so if you missed Dallas be sure to check their website for other upcoming shows, and mark your calendars for November 2015 when they'll be back in Dallas!

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Dallas 2014- Saturday Top Picks!

Psalm 37:3-4 NASV
"Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart."

Wow!  What a day!  I just got home from attending my first ever Gluten & Allergen Free Expo and I just gotta say it was amazing.  With over 150 Vendor Booths, and a full day of Classes, it was impossible to experience everything.  I'm so glad I'll be going back tomorrow.  Here I am with my goodies from the O'Mission Beer Blogger Swag Bag.

I'll write more in depth in the coming weeks with product reviews and what I've learned from the classes, but for now I wanted to give my Day 1 Top Picks.

My top favorite sponsor is definitely O'Mission Beer.  They sponsored a Blogger Meet & Greet this morning with special swag bags and free t-shirts and hats.  I normally wouldn't be drinking at 10:30am, but sampling their Gluten Free Beers among friends was a lot of fun.  I've been a big fan of O'Mission for quite some time, and they definitely went out of their way to make us feel special and appreciated.  I swapped cards with a lot of other bloggers and look forward to collaborating with some of them in future endeavors!

My top favorite vendor booth was absolutely, hands down Kim and Jake's.  Their Gluten Free crusty bread was simply delicious.  The BEST gluten free bread I have ever had.  They have perfected the crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside in a beautiful and flavorful sourdough base that is out of this world.  Oh yeah, they have a fan for life in me!

My top favorite presenter was Betty Murray, CN.  Ms. Murray is a Certified Nutritionist and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner who has dealt personally with a gluten-free lifestyle and managing an autoimmune condition.  One of the greatest and most eye-opening things I learned from her is that Celiac's Disease and Gluten Intolerance can be present with NO GUT SYMPTOMS.  Wow.  This means that a person can have a reaction to gluten and never know it, since they don't
present "classic" Celiac symptoms like distended belly and irritable bowel syndrome.  Things like neurological disorders, joint problems, skin rashes, etc. can all be traced directly to gluten even if a person doesn't seem to have direct gluten symptoms.  Incredible.  She also said it averages up to 11 years for a person to be correctly diagnosed, as our current diagnostic tools often can only detect Celiac's once it is severe and there is complete destruction of the intestines.  Whoa.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to wait until I am entirely broken to be fixed.  She recommends gluten free for anybody with any health issues, and offers extensive and thorough, yet simple and cost-effective testing in her office to determine what foods you may be sensitive to, including gluten.  Bottom line, if you feel better after about a week of gluten free, you'll probably feel a whole lot better by going gluten free completely.

My top favorite service represented was the Great Gluten Escape at Gilmont.  This week-long summer camp is entirely gluten free!  This is a chance for gluten free children ages 7-15 to be able to just be a kid, relax, and let go with friends, knowing that they don't have to be singled out or miss out on goodies to protect their bodies and be healthy.  How cool is that?!  Well, even cooler, this Christian camp offers an incredible program for families with children who have special needs.  Circle of Friends is offered entirely free of charge, and gives parents a much-needed respite from providing constant care to their special needs children.  I look forward to plugging in to this organization in sacrificial service for a wonderful crusade.  Check it out online and learn how you can donate time and resources to keep this incredible program successful.  And please share with anyone you know who has a child with special needs, so they can have this incredible camping experience where everyone is included, accepted, and loved.

Be sure to keep an eye on my Facebook Page where I'll be posting more LIVE updates and pictures from Day 2 of the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Dallas, Tx.  Join me there if you can for a day full of fun and more freebies than you can shake a stick at! (My husband, son, and I came home with 4 full bags of goodies, not to mention full bellies from all the free samples!)  It's from 9-3 at the Dallas Market Hall – North Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207.  Tickets at the door are $20 for adults and $5 for kids.

Yours truly,
Country Mama Hippie Chic
aka Brandi Schunk