Wednesday, January 4, 2012

SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP

Hi everyone,

I've been doing really well on my journey into eating gluten free and eating real food.  The GAPS diet has been a really good, extremely healing diet for my ulcerative proctitis. Ulcerative proctitis is a minor form of colitis, which is an auto-immune condition.  I'm going to try and make Thursdays the day I talk about healthy eating, my weight-loss journey and anything else related to those two things :) So, pray for me, because this is something that I really believe in. It's been very healing for my body...and I hope, that in some small measure, sharing my story with all it's ups and downs, will encourage you all in some way :) :)

I'm now on Phase 4 of the Intro Diet for GAPS.  I'm feeling better all the time, although I do still struggle with coffee. It is an addiction for me...a happy one, but one that is not at all good for my body. So I'm still struggling with that, but let me tell you about something totally yummy and delicious. 

Homemade chicken broth/soup with vegetables is really easy to make.  Prior to starting the GAPS diet, I usually avoided the kitchen. Thanks to GAPS, I've had to spend more time in the kitchen, learning how to cook real food on my own. This is how I made my yummy soup:
THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE VEGGIES I USED IN MY CHICKEN SOUP.   THIS ISN'T THE BEGINNING OF THE RECIPE. I JUST LIKE THIS PHOTO BECAUSE IT IS FULL OF COLOR.


FIRST, YOU GET A SWEET, OLD DOG TO HELP SUPERVISE ALL THE MEAL PREPARATIONS. IN THIS CASE, ROSIE "HELPED" ME.  THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN AFTER THE CHICKEN WAS FINISHED IN THE SLOW-COOKER. EVEN ROSIE KNOWS REAL GOOD FOOD WHEN SHE SMELLS IT :)  SHE HAS ARTHRITIS, SO SHE SITS A LOT. ROSIE ALSO EATS A LOT,BUT THAT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HER DOGGIE ARTHRITIS.

FIRST, YOU NEED A WHOLE CHICKEN.  I USE A WHOLE, ORGANIC CHICKEN FROM TRADER JOE'S.  IT REALLY IS UP TO YOU WHAT KIND OF MEAT YOU CAN AFFORD, BUT FOR ME IT IS SIMPLE.  YOU ARE WHAT YOUR ANIMALS EAT, SO I CHOOSE TO SPEND A LITTLE EXTRA FOR A NICE, ORGANIC CHICKEN.  IT COMES WITH GIBLETS.

Now my chicken came wrapped in plastic. Inside, it has what looks like a chicken maxi pad covering the "butt" area to catch all the chicken juices.  The giblets will be inside the bird, in a closed paper bag.  Remove the giblets from inside the chicken. You will include the giblets when making your broth. The giblets have lots of good stuff for the body, plus it helps the broth to form a nice gelatin when  you put it in the refrigerator.

So once you've removed the chicken and giblets from their packaging, place all of it in your slow cooker.  Now add some water to the slow-cooker. You have some options here.  I added six cups of purified water to the chicken in the slow-cooker. It's up to you. You can adjust the water, more or less, according to your needs and what you like :) :) I add lots of water, because it helps stretch this out for many, many meals :)

Also, add one teaspoon of either Celtic seal salt or pink Himalayan salt.

Slow-cook the chicken on "low" for 7 - 8 hours.  I let my chicken slow-cook for a full 8 hours. About an hour before your chicken is finished, add some fresh, chopped garlic to taste. I add four cloves of fresh, chopped garlic. However, this time, I forgot, so I added the garlic after I had cooked the chicken and vegetables.

AFTER YOUR CHICKEN IS FINISHED COOKING IN THE SLOW-COOKER, IT SHOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS.  OH, YEAH, YOU CAN'T TELL HERE, BUT IT SMELLS SO G-O-O-D IN HERE.













NEXT, PREPARE YOUR FAVORITE VEGETABLES TO ADD TO YOUR SOUP.

While my chicken is in the slow-cooker, I like to prepare my vegetables.  About 30 minutes to an hour before your chicken is done, gather your vegetables. For this particular batch of soup I used fresh, organic red onions, rainbow carrots and organic broccolo florets. Chop them up and put them in the steamer.  Steam your veggies until they are nice and soft.  With my steamer, I find that 35 minutes is a good amount of time. They veggies are nice and soft.

ONCE THE VEGGIES ARE DONE STEAMING, PLACE THEM IN A NICE STOCKPOT OR SOUP POT.

When the vegetables are done steaming, I put them in a nice, large pot perfect for soups or stews.  I also added four cloves of fresh, chopped organic garlic.  This should have been added when the chicken was in the slow-cooker...but I forgot.  You can add the garlic whenever you like. Garlic adds a nice aroma and flavor to your cooking.

FRESH CHICKEN STRAIGHT FROM THE SLOW-COOKER.

By the time your vegetables are fully cooked, your chicken should be ready.  I deboned the chicken and put all the good meat into the stock/soup pot.  I used a fork and knife to seperate the meat, because I wasn't interested in touching it with my hands :) :)  Rosie, the dog, made sure to catch anything that fell to the floor. Nothing fell to the floor, but I did give her two small pieces of chicken. She ate it up right away.
HERE I AM STRAINING THE BROTH BEFORE I ADD IT TO THE SOUP.

Once you have removed all the meat from the chicken, it is time to strain the broth.  I place a fine, mesh sieve over the soup/stock pot. Then I used a measuring cup and slowly strained the chicken broth. This allows you to get all that yummy, healthy chicken broth without all the extra gross bits like cartilage etc.  I also added the chicken liver to the soup as well. Just chop it up super fine. You don't taste it. The chicken liver is also really healthy and good for me, so in it goes.

HERE IS MY BOWL OF FRESH-MADE CHICKEN BROTH, WITH CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES. DOESN'T IT LOOK OH SO TASTY GOOD?


Now at this point, what you do, is up to you.  I placed some of that fresh made chicken/vegetable soup in a bowl. Sorry that my bowl is messy...but that's real life, folks. I don't have people to wipe it up neat for photos :)  You can heat everything through again if you want, too. However, it wasn't necessary, since the broth and the veggies were still hot.

What to do with the leftover soup? Well, that is also up to you. This is what I do and it works well for me.
I PUT THE LEFTOVER CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP IN CANNING JARS. THEN I PUT THOSE JARS IN THE REFRIGERATOR.


All I do is place the extra chicken/vegetable soup in canning jars.  Those jars I place in the refrigerator. I don't know how to can/put up stuff. Besides that, I eat a lot of this soup, so it doesn't last very long anyway. 

To make this soup even more tasty/healing for my body, I add two teaspoons of clarified butter (ghee) and a 1/3 of  a mashed avocado, and 1 tsp of sauerkraut. The avocado is something I'll usually add at dinnertime. I do the sauerkraut in every bowl of soup.


This soup is really easy to make. It's very healthy for you and it tastes super good :) :) 

Why do I add clarified butter to my soup?  It's a healthy fat that has all the casein elements removed.  My body doesn't tolerate regular dairy very well, so I make clarified butter, which give me the best parts of the butter without the casein bits that irritate my tummy.  I'll post on how to make clarified butter soon. It is really easy.


Why do I add avocado to my soup? It's another healthy fat :) :)  I use an organic avocado. 

Why do I add 1 tsp of sauerkraut to every bowl of soup?  It is a natural probiotic. 

I'm sure you all have some questions. I'm still on the learning process myself...but if you want to ask questions about why I decided to take this journey, feel free to leave questions here, as long as they're nice :)  I'm not a doctor, so I cannot give medical advice.  This is a choice that I made for myself, after much thought, education and discussion. It's a plan that really works for me.  I would highly suggest talking with a naturopath or other medical person of your choice before embarking on any kind of new eating plan.


That's the news from California today. Love and hugs from the ocean shores, Heather :)


P.S. I'm linking up with the following blogs this week.  See below for details... Also check my right side-bar for blog buttons to their sites.

Thriving On Thursdays at Domesblissity

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Our Simple Country Life

Homemaker's Cottage





21 comments:

Parsley said...

Makes me hungry! So fun to see you cooking and your dog watching. That happens to me all the time with 6 dogs. lol

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Parsley,

I'd love to see a picture of that...I can only imagine Rosie...times six :) :) It's funny, because she's always begging for food...but she doesn't watch me like that except when I'm making real chicken broth and healthy pancakes. This dog knows real food!!!

Love and hugs, Heather :)

Beatrice said...

Miss Rosie is a connoisseur! She knows what real food is... you can always trust your dog's nose!
Your pictures and writing are beautiful Heather! Thank you for sharing!
Beatrice

Michelle said...

The soup looks real good. I am also on a journey to lose weight. Same reason heath problems. I make one meal for me and another for my family. I am always looking for recipes that will work for all of us.Your soup is one that I will be adding to my recipe box.

Angie Berry said...

LOL... you were commenting on my blog at the same time I was commenting on your blog, that is too funny! =]

I'm so proud of you Heather for making a difference in your diet and losing so much weight! That is wonderful! Even if you didn't lost weight, just going to a healthier eating plan is a very good thing!

I agree with you... I love all the color in your pot of veggies, haha! Your soup looks and sounds so delicious especially on this chilly evening. My dog is like Rosie. He will come and sit in the kitchen any time he knows I'm in there. I guess it's my fault for spoiling him with a snippet every now and then. =]

Enjoy your soup. Have a delightful week my friend~

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

@Beatrice - Yes, Rosie is really funny...she always wants food. It's funny to watch her hover near me when I'm making real food ;) :) She is a gourmet ;) Thanks for your compliment. I'm going to be adding a new page to my blog, just for GAPS stuff...I'll do that as soon as I figure out how :)

@Michelle - yes, this is easy...and I'm not much of a cook, really. The only "hard" part is separating the meat from the bones of the chicken...If you scroll down my right sidebar a ways, there's a link with different key words...words that hehlp categorize what a particular blog post is all about. Click on the one for GAPS. There was an earlier post where I post a link to the site that explains what the diet/lifestyle is all about. Or you can go to www.gaps.me All the information is there!!!

@Angie Berry - that's funny. Yes, we spoil Rosie, too..but she's worth it and we love her a lot :) :) I have lost quite a bit of weight since September 1st...a total of 56.4 pounds so far :)

Faye Henry said...

Oh, I am such soup junkee. That looks delicious and the veggies are so colourful..
Our dog sits near me, too ...
You look great cooking away there.. smile..
I always put leftover soup in mason jars and either eat it or freeze it..
Loved your post..
Blessings.

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

HI Faye :) :)
Thanks for your complimenet :)
I need to find Mason jar lids that are rim and lid all in one. Does that make sense? Otherwise, what I have works great :) :) I like the wide-mouth Ball mason jars :) :) I haven't frozen soup yet...but I might, because someday I'm not going to want to cook nothing, but I'm still going to want to eat something :) :)

A Primitive Homestead said...

The bowl of veggies is so pretty. I like to use my canned goods to decorate my kitchen cupboard. After using up some I have to rearrange a bit. I really like using my slower cooker. It is very easy to put up the extra soup by using the water bath method. I do this with my left over chilie. I seen you mentioned wanting a one piece lid for storing. I have plastic lids by ball mason. They are all white. I have purchased them from Lowes Walmart & tractor supply. They were right in with the cases of jars & flats. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Prayers for a healthy 2012 & lots of happiness. Blessings!
Lara

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

We've been GF for over a year now and it's cleared up a lot of problems for a couple of people in the family. I'm all about cooking healthy and that soup looks delicious. I LOVE veggies.
I've given up 99% of sugar and have seen great results with that but coffee I refuse to give up unless someone tells me it's going to be the source of my destruction. LOL!
Keep up the good work. It'll pay off!
Hugs from the East Coast of FLorida!
Kim

Under Her Wings said...

The recipe looks delicious, Heather. We like soups around here, especially in the winter. We also prefer eating as natural as possible. We love venison and buy grass fed beef.

Rebecca said...

Wow, Heather, you have really learned a lot! You don't just know WHAT to do....you know WHY you're doing it.

The soup looks scrumptious! Your weigh loss is amazing! Congratulations.

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Hi everyone :) :)

@Lara - thanks for the tip about the lids. I'm going to look for some. I was hoping they make metal one-piece lids..Either way, it's good :) :) Ourpantry is kind of empty right now, but we're only buying what we actually eat. Although my plan is to build up the pantry. I like your idea of displaying some of the cans. That's cool :)

@Kim - that's so cool about being GF...gluten free :) :) I've been gluten free since September 1st. It's been really, really good for me. The coffee....unfortunately, is not good for my body :( :( Unless you have a reaction to it ,there's no reason to give it up :) I'm hoping once my gut is heal, that I can tolerate coffee again :) I've given up all sugar. The only sugar I do have is raw, unheated honey for my ginger tea and that's it right now :)

@Under Her Wings - Glora, my dad and I get organic beef at Trader Joe's. The price is fairly decent. I've never had venison. That does sound yummy...but I have had buffalo meat..That's also really good :)

@Rebecca - thank you :) :) Yes, it's been good to learn how to cook real food and to know why it's good for me :)

Love and hugs to all of you sweet ladies ;) :) :)

Little Natural Cottage said...

This looks SO good, Heather! Sounds like you are doing an amazing job with eating whole foods and gluten free. (We are gluten free too!).

Thank you so much for linking up with our Natural Living feature!

Camille said...

Well done Heather! You are doing great!!! Don't you just *love* how the house smells when you hwave chicken cooking?? And homemade soup...what can be better than that???

Keep it up!
Blessings,
Camille

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

@Little Natural Cottage - thanks for letting me link up with you today. I'm really loving the whole subject of natural living etc. Thanks for visiting me :) :) Come back again :) :)

@Camille - Nothing compares to the smells of home-cooked food...so GOOD!!! :) :) :)

Love and hugs to you all :) :) :)

Kim B said...

That looks delicious. I hope you are doing well. Its gorgeous there!
The dog is super cute. I love animals. Happy 2012. Love & Hugs,
Kim B

Rebecca said...

miss H...that dinner looks divine! I opted for Weight Watchers last January '10 and I lost 40lbs and somehow have kept off 39. I feel GREAT! Nothing better than home cooked chicken in a great big pot. I have one just like yours! LOVE IT!

xoRebecca

Annesphamily said...

We grew up eating this healthy stuff! My mom could whip up a soup and yum, I can still smell and taste it! I think I might have to whip u a batch of chicken soup! Yum! Hugs Anne

KarenLynn@Lil'SuburbanHomestead said...

Your soup looks amazing! I am definitely trying this Heather! I love coffee maybe that's one of my issues with losing weight but I am not ready to give it up yet....my in laws just got us a Keurig for Christmas! We use the refillable coffee reservoirs! :)

Anonymous said...

You know you might want to eat the cartilage too. It's supposed to be very healthy as well - perhaps helpful in particular with conditions like osteoarthritis/osteoporosis.