Chicken Soup

Chicken SoupChicken soup is a good for the soul and the whole body. Check out this article by Dr. Mercola and you’ll be making chicken soup every week. Just one benefit is that it contains calcium and magnesium for strong healthy bones. And my personal favorite is that it tastes really good and gives me a feeling of home. Homemade chicken soup is a comfort food in many ways.

Here is an easy 3 hour soup to simmer and serve for a hearty and healthy dinner. This recipe can also be prepared in the crockpot and cooked on low all day.

Chicken Soup

  • 8 chicken thighs with bone and skin (can be skinless)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 2 cups celery

Options: add 1 cup of rice or quinoa with the vegetables for last hour of cooking.

Put fresh or frozen chicken thighs in stock pot (make sure there are no plastic pieces/sheets on chicken if it’s frozen…)

Cover chicken with water in an 8 quart stock pot – about 3 inches deep. Add onion and garlic. Add all spices and salt and pepper to taste. I shake the dried thyme, parsley and sage so there is a nice covering of spice on the water.

Simmer the soup on medium to low heat for 3 hours. After 2 hours, add the vegetables (and rice if using) for the last hour. After 3 hours, remove skin, debone and chop chicken pieces. Return chicken to soup, stir and serve.

Crock Pot directions: Add chicken to large crock pot and cover well with water (about 3 inches deep). Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook all day on low. Debone, remove skin and chop chicken pieces. Return chopped chicken to crock pot. Add rice in last hour as option.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Oil and Vinegar Dressing on a Green Salad

Oil and Vinegar Dressing on a Green SaladI’m not sure when I stopped buying pre-made salad dressing but it was a while ago…one year, maybe two? I would always read the labels and undoubtedly there were in ingredients in them that were less than stellar – canola oil, vegetable oil, additives I didn’t recognize, sugar. So I started making my own on a regular basis. I often have dressing made up in the refrigerator ready to go but I’ve noticed lately that I really enjoy making a salad that’s dressed already for dinner. I like the opportunity to toss the dressing. The taste is lighter on the ingredients and I enjoy the salad being evenly covered, not smothered in dressing. So, this post is really about inspiration, it’s not necessarily a recipe to follow to a T. I’ll give you some guidelines as to how I simply (and maybe literally) throw together a vinegar and oil dressing on top of a salad I’ve just made.

Oil and Vinegar Dressing on a Green Salad

  • salad greens
  • chopped vegetables of your choice (i.e. peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, thin onions, tomatoes, avocado)
  • olive oil
  • vinegar (I use apple cider and/or balsamic)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • optional adds: squeeze of fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic for a kick)

In a large bowl with extra room for tossing, create your salad using bright colored vegetables. Sprinkle olive oil on top layer of salad. Follow up with about 1/3 the amount of vinegar. Add any optional ingredients like fresh lemon juice. Follow up with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and serve immediately.

(Note – when starting out this method, go light on the olive oil and vinegar and do a taste test after all ingredients are added. If you need more, add a little more.) I promise this will get easy and it’s so simple and healthy!

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Quinoa SaladSpring and asparagus are here again and a light roasting of asparagus with red pepper really brings out the flavor of the vegetables. I topped the salad with avocado for a richer flavor and served it on a bed of spinach. The salad can also be served on it’s own as a side dish.

Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup prepared quinoa cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • one avocado
  • raw spinach

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool.

  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Prepare green onions, asparagus and red pepper and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper in a 9×13 roasting pan.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Dressing – Mix together:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of one small lemon
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic clove, minced

In a medium sized bowl mix the prepared quinoa and roasted vegetables. And dressing and mix to combine. Serve on a bed of raw spinach with avocado. Serves 4.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Broccoli Mozzarella Arugula Omelette

Broccoli Mozzarella Arugula OmeletteCreating new breakfast options can be a challenge. I happened to have arugula in stock and decided it would go well in an omelette. I tried the arugula and added broccoli for an extra kick of vitamins and flavor. It’s topped off with mozzarella and voila – I have a new omelette in the repertoire.

Broccoli Mozzarella Arugula Omelette

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • one large pat of butter
  • handful of broccoli
  • handful of arugula
  • 2 healthy slices of mozzarella cheese or a handful of shredded
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Using a small omelette pan, add the pat of butter to pan and melt.  Add the handful of rinsed and chopped broccoli pieces to the pan.  Cook broccoli on low to medium for a few minutes until broccoli is bright green stirring with a spatula a few times to cook evenly. Move broccoli to one half of the pan with spatula. Break eggs into bowl and beat with a fork until blended. Add eggs to the pan and pick up pan and angle it to spread the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the mozzarella cut in pieces or a handful of shredded cheese on top of the eggs. Cook until the eggs are firm to your personal preference and cheese is melted. Sprinkle a handful of arugula on top of the broccoli. With a spatula, take one side of the omelette and fold over to form a half fold traditional omelette. Slice the avocado and serve on the side. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 1.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesLooking for a quick easy dessert for your Valentines dinner? Chocolate dipped strawberries are simple and your kids can help you prepare them. They would be a great treat to have when you return from a night out with a glass of red wine, or they can be served alongside a bowl of ice cream. If you have leftover chocolate it can be used as ‘chocolate shell’ for ice cream. There are many uses for this recipe and one true fact – strawberries and chocolate just go together.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

  • 6-8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s – 17.6 oz bar…about 10 pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • At least a dozen fresh strawberries

Rinse and dry your strawberries well ahead of dipping time. Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a heavy small saucepan under very low heat. Stir frequently until all chocolate is melted and combined well with oil. Prepare a cookie sheet or baking dish lined with waxed paper. Dip the strawberries one by one in the melted chocolate and place in waxed paper dish. Refrigerate at least an hour until chocolate has hardened. Leave the strawberries in the refrigerator until served. Serve same day and enjoy.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Chocolate Almond Smoothie

Chocolate Almond SmoothieThis smoothie has been a big part of my breakfast life the last few weeks. I have adapted this smoothie from Against All Grain. I was hesitant to try it because I just wasn’t sure how an avocado would flavor a smoothie. But truth be told an avocado makes a smoothie creamy and doesn’t have a strong flavor. The chocolate and almond stand out more and the cream is added from almond milk and texture from the avocado. A redeeming attribute of this smoothie is it has high fat content and keeps me satisfied for a good 3-4 hours after consuming – and I drink this whole recipe for breakfast when I have it. So, go ahead, try it! I think you’ll like the result and make sure you get raw cacao and raw honey (from health food or natural foods store).

Chocolate Almond Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • good handful of ice cubes
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Serves 1 immediately.

Source: Adapted from Against All Grain.

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Weeknight Marinara with Italian Sausage

Weeknight MarinaraIt’s true, we don’t always have the time to cook a marinara sauce all day long. My favorite marinaras are slow cooked but in a pinch this recipe can fill in for a hearty meal, you just need to allow about 45 minutes for the sauce to cook after the work is done. To serve it gluten free, cook up some rice pasta or even serve the marinara over vegetables. Tonight I reheated the sauce for dinner and for my main meal I had sauce topped with perfectly ripe avocado. It was delish.

Weeknight Marinara

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • olive oil, a few tablespoons
  • 1 pound ground italian sausage
  • 1 – 25 ounce jar marinara sauce (without meat)
  • 2 – 14.5 ounce cans (petite) diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion on medium heat in a few tablespoons of olive oil in large saucepan until softened. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink on medium to low heat. While sausage is cooking, stir and break up the sausage into bite size pieces. Add marinara and diced tomatoes, basil, oregano. Simmer for about 45 minutes on medium to low heat until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed (sausage could be salty and peppery enough). Serve over your choice of pasta, steamed vegetables or with avocado on top.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

There’s something magical about the flavor of gingerbread this time of year. The taste of dark molasses, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon are so holiday laden. I’ve adapted a recipe from Sun River Coffee Co’s Gingerbread with Whipped Cream and snipped the recipe from the Oregonian years ago. I’ve made this as a dessert and served with fresh whipped cream. However, keep your options open as it can also be a tasty breakfast or brunch treat. This gingerbread was made without the lemon adds or the lemon drizzle and was quite delicious. I’ve made the cake with and without the lemon and each is great. If you want to go with the lower sugar version skip the drizzle and add the lemon peel.

Enjoy your family, friends and the flavors of the Season!

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Preheat oven to 350.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup applesauce

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing. Add vanilla, lemon peel, water, molasses and apple sauce. Carefully mix batter with boiling water on a low speed until well combined. Finish by stirring in the flour mixture. Pour batter into bundt pan greased with butter. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lemon Drizzle

After bundt cake is turned onto a plate (let cake cool about 15 minutes before turning), blend these two ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle on warm cake.

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

At highest speed with electric blender whip 1 cup whipping cream until peaks are formed. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Serve whipped cream with gingerbread bundt cake.

Serves 8-10.

Source: Adapted from Sunriver Coffee Co’s Gingerbread with Whipped Cream.

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Triple Berry Crisp

Triple Berry Crisp

The holidays are fast approaching and I’m sharing a dessert that is a take off of my Mom’s crisp recipe. As I wrote in my very first post Living Beyond Lingonberry Lane this is a go to recipe on many occasions for me. It is quick, easy and delicious and enjoyed by many. It is a beautiful holiday dessert that can be varied according to which bags of frozen (or fresh) berries you have in stock. This is my own variation of Carol’s original.

Triple Berry Crisp

Berries…..mix in 9×13 pan:

  • 2 – 16 ounce bags of frozen blueberries, raspberries and blackberries (I used Trader Joe’s Triple Berry) or 6 cups berries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Topping….in large bowl with pastry blender mix:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1  cube (1/2 cup) frozen or chilled butter, cut up
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden and berries are bubbly. Serve warm with real whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Options: Vary the berries with cranberry or rhubarb. Cranberry/blueberry combination or cranberry/raspberry are very tasty.

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Blue Skies in November

Blue Skies Portland doesn’t usually grace us with blue skies in November but this Fall of 2013 has been atypical and I like it. The sky has been blue for about a week and these crisp mornings bring me back to fall in Alaska when the lingonberries are in a burgundy freeze. I look out my in the back ‘yard’ with the thick dense trees dormant until next spring.

Every other year I am well into the planning for the turkey and fixings by this time. Every other year we travel to Gig Harbor to celebrate with friends and homestead neighbors the Mack family would gather with often for holidays. This is the the time of year when I pause and realize how fleeting time is and how important these holidays are for our family. I have many holiday memories as a kid in Soldotna, they include mostly happy and some sad memories. I choose to recall the fond memories of laughter at a table covered in our best table cloth and special crystal bowl we used only for the lingonberry sauce every single holiday. I hold dear the holidays surrounded by family and friends and lingering at the dinner table. And I hash over the not so fond memories and wonder how my Dad must have struggled inside to not come home to his family on Thanksgiving that one year. And my Mom who made such a beautiful meal and worked so hard to make memories for us must have cried inside over the circumstance. I know we all wanted to cry but we tried to be strong.

I am so thankful for my family and every holiday we spend together. In this world of iPhones and iPads and soccer year round there are few too many times spent baking and preparing together and laughing and playing games with friends and family. These times of memory making are what I look forward to every holiday season and I count my blessings and my beautiful family + 1 that I get to spend these days with. Tomorrow we will bake Grandma’s rolls, pumpkin pie, some Danish treats and Alaskan salmon dip. We will proudly bring our treats to ‘the Gig’ and enjoy sharing our gifts and the wonderful meals our friends prepare. We will walk by the harbor all bundled up and ferry into Seattle on Friday to show our Danish girl just how crazy Americans can be on Black Friday. We’ll take photos of the Northwest’s beauty and the beauty of our families. We’ll reminisce about homestead days and we’ll laugh about what happened last week. We’ll make memories and enjoy the moments.

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