Fast And Easy Chili

This is such a classic cool weather stand-by I almost hesitate to put up a recipe for it. But my version is very fast, very easy, and ultra healthy, so why not! It is also a Perfect Pantry recipe, so chances are you already have everything you need on hand right now (or would if you had my Perfect Pantry shopping list. Download free at: http://lindaliving.com/).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef/chicken/turkey/lamb/pork/venison – please buy organic, and even better, grass fed/pasture raised.
  • 2 15oz cans organic kidney beans (other varieties are fine too), rinsed and drained
  • 2 15oz cans organic fire roasted tomato with green chillies (available at Trader Joe’s) – you can also use leftover salsa and diced fresh tomatoes if you have some that need to be used up.
  • 1 4oz can of diced green chillies
  • Seasoning to taste – I like the flavors of the main ingredients to shine through in my chili, so I go very light here and use only a dash of Mexican meat seasoning. Ground cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder are the traditional spices used in chili. If desired, use 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 TBS. chili powder. Add salt only if absolutely necessary. The tomatoes and beans will have plenty in them already.

Directions:

  1. Brown the meat in a large frying pan deep enough to hold all of the ingredients. Have the lid or a frying screen handy.
  2. Drain off any fat created by cooking the meat.
  3. Add the tomatoes, salsa, and green chillies to the pan while it is still very hot. Allow to cook at a high heat for 5-7 minutes (covered to reduce splatter). Stir frequently and add seasonings all except for salt.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add beans. Cook for another 10 minutes covered. Add salt only if required.
  5. Serve over rice, quinoa, or with corn chips, with slices of avocado. (skip the cheese and sour cream; you will never miss it!)

Enjoy!

Coconut Squash Soup

This is one of my all-time favorite soups. It is simple, rich, and sweet while being still light yet filling. Coconut squash soupIt was served at my local Vietnamese restaurant and I was heart broken when it closed. So, I set out to make my own soup. And who knew it would be SO easy!?

You could use any kind of winter squash although I prefer either a hubbard or a kobucha type.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 cups squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 1 qt vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 15oz can coconut milk
  • 1 small bundle glass noodles, soaked for 10 min. in hot water and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • pinch of salt or to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoon sliced scallion to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Peel and dice squash into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Simmer them for 10-15 minutes in broth until they are fork tender.
  3. Add coconut milk and simmer a minute or two more.
  4. Salt to taste.
  5. Turn off heat and add glass noodles and scallion.

Serves 4 – 6 people

Enjoy!

Burrito in a Bowl

Ok, this is not really a burrito although it does have all of the best components– minus the ones that you would not think you would never miss. It has no tortilla, no cheese, no sour cream, and does not require rice. I LOVE burritos, and this recipe TOTALLY satisfies my desires for the more authentic version. As an added bonus, I feel good after I have this one.

To start, cook up some of your favorite burrito filling (chicken, pork, carne asada (steak), beans, or even grilled vegetables). I usually make a combination of seasoned ground beef (or buffalo) and kidney beans and I always make enough so that I can have a quick lunch or simple dinner without having to cook again.

Burrito in a Bowl – serves 4

Ingredients:

“Filling”:
* 1 lb ground beef (substitute buffalo, elk, ostrich, or even turkey for a lower fat alternative)
* 1 15oz can organic kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
* 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or other Mexican meat seasoning
* 1 tablespoon olive oil

Other components:
* 2 cups cooked brown rice
* non-fat Greek style yogurt
* salsa (make your own or use pre-made)
* 1-2 avocados
* cilantro and minced onion for garnish – optional

Directions:
-Saute onion and garlic in a skillet over a medium heat until it is translucent and aromatic.
-Add the meat and break it up into pieces. When it is about 1/2 cooked, add the cumin and chili powder.
-Continue cooking until the meat is completely cooked. Add the beans and mix thoroughly to incorporate.
-Taste for seasoning, add salt if desired.

To assemble the burrito heat the rice and put 1/2 cup (or desired amount) in a bowl. Top with 3/4 cup of “filling”. Add a dollop of yogurt, salsa to taste and diced avocado. Sprinkle finely minced onion and cilantro on top.

Enjoy!

4-Bean Salad


This is a fabulously easy recipe that adds variety and contrast to almost any meal. It is perfect for your home-cooked meals, salads, or even as a snack. It is an excellent accompaniment to a BBQ, and a perfect pot luck dish; It is fast and easy, keeps well, and is inexpensive too.
An added benefit is that it is extremely high in fiber, a dietary component that is often severely lacking in the modern American diet. Beans are a protein rich, high fiber superfood. This recipe will help you fall in love with BEANS if you are not already!

You can cook your own beans if you would like, the finished product will be even better if you do. Canned will work just fine though. Do be sure to choose organic whenever possible!

4-Bean Salad

Ingredients:
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
½ lb green beans steamed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1T honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
1. In a large bowl mix the beans, celery, onion, parsley.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the beans. Toss to coat.

3. Chill beans in the refrigerator for several hours, to allow the beans to soak up the flavor of the dressing.

Serves 4 to 8. – Keeps well for up to a week sealed in an airtight container.

The Ultimate Sports Drink

(Recipe included)

I recently gave an injured friend of mine a small jar of SOLE (so-lay). SOLE, a saturated salt solution made from Himalayan salt crystals, is natural salt complete with all of the 84 minerals found in the human body. In contrast, regular salt is washed clean of all other minerals leaving ONLY sodium chloride and possibly some iodine added back to it.

“Jack” had torn his hamstring during a baseball game. As he was describing the event, how he felt leading up to it, how it happened, and that it had happened before (and he expected it to happen again), it became clear to me that he was describing chronic dehydration. He drinks plenty of water and plenty of sports drinks, and yet, he was dehydrated. This is more common than you might think. If fluids consumed are not absorbed by the body hydration is not achieved. There are many reasons for this, including improper electrolyte balance.

Jack called me a few weeks later to let me know he was back out on the ball field and almost totally healed. He said his whole body felt different and better. His daughter, also an athlete, shared the new electrolyte supplement with her dad. Since the first day she began to use the SOLE, (instead of drinking commercial sports drinks) she has not had to use her inhaler once!! Yes, that’s right, asthma is directly affected by hydration (read more)!! I can’t emphasize the importance of hydration for health enough. It is fundamental for all cellular functions; joint health, brain function, digestion and elimination, immune function, hormone regulation, and the list goes on and on.

I am inspired to post the SOLE recipe here since it is so effective, inexpensive, and easy to make. It is not, it’s self, a sports drink per-sey, although it will be fabulous in helping to regulate hydration. Sports drinks are a mixture of electrolytes (salts and minerals), carbohydrates (which help with exercise recovery), and water. I found some recipes on line for home-made sports drinks but they were ANYTHING BUT healthy!!! They had ingredients like table salt, white sugar, honey, fruit juice, and even kool-aid mix. I will skip ranting about how bad for you this kind of nutritionally empty beverage can be…This recipe I have posted is guaranteed to be delicious and good for you too.

Preparation of Sole: (I keep a jar of it in my kitchen at all times)

1. Place several Himalayan Crystal Salt stones in a glass container and add spring water until full. The larger the container, the more salt and water you will need so don’t go too big.

2. After approximately 24 hours, look to see if the salt crystals have completely dissolved. If so, add a few more crystals. When the water can no longer dissolve any more salt, the salt crystals will sit at the bottom of the jar without dissolving. At this point the solution becomes saturated at 26%, which is stable and ready for consumption.

3. Take 1 teaspoon of the solution in a glass of water every morning. This is sufficient for the average daily intake. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

NOTES:
• Use only the solution from the top 1/3 of the jar leaving the sediment at the bottom.
• The glass container can be refilled again and again with water and salt, to continue the process.

Linda’s Home-Made Sports Drink Recipe:

• 16oz filtered or spring water
• Juice of 1-2 lemons
• 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon sole
• For an added kick you can put in a dash of cayenne pepper –which is a vasodilator and will help to keep you cool in hot weather.
Mix ingredients together and keep cool until consumed.

More about my recipe:
I chose all of the ingredients and amounts for this recipe for specific reasons.

–Lemons– are a great source of minerals, especially magnesium and potassium, and very rich as vitamin-C as well. They are full of phyto-nutrients and enzymes and without the high levels of fructose found in other juices. They are also delicious, refreshing, and easy to find.

–Grade B maple syrup– is full of minerals as well. It is an excellent source of manganese and zinc, and also has potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and more. It is important to use Grade B since the lighter syrups are also lighter in mineral content. An additional benefit of maple syrup as a sweetener is that it is sucrose, not fructose which has been linked to metabolic syndrome and decreased glucose tolerance. For the purposes of re-hydration and recovery, a 6% solution is best; too much sugar is dehydrating, too little will not be particularly beneficial in recovery.

–SOLE– is a solution of Himalayan salt, containing all of the 84 minerals found in the human body, and is mined from deep in the earth. Because of this it is free of toxins and impurities.

–Cayenne pepper– is optional in this recipe. Its health benefits include: increased metabolism, improved circulation and heart health, benefits digestive function, immune function, and many others…(read more)

–Spring water– is best, filtered water is second best, and tap water is last choice, especially if it is chlorinated and fluoridated.

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I would love to hear your feedback on this topic. I would especially like to hear more stories like “Jack’s”☺, so please send them on after you have tried this!!