The Best Homemade Turkey Vegetable Soup

When you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday, this is a great way to use it up instead of making the typical leftover recipes. This is a fairly simple recipe and it makes a bold and hearty soup that can be served at lunch or dinner. It is a complete meal by itself or you can add a small side salad and a roll if so desired, but it is really not necessary.

Here are the ingredients required for the recipe:

4-5 cups diced cooked turkey (You can use a combination of dark and white meat)
4 small to medium size green zucchini squash
3 small to medium size yellow squash
2 red peppers (green peppers make the soup too bitter so red are better to use)
1-2 large sized brown or white onions
4-5 stalks of celery
1 bag small baby carrots
1-2 cups of green beans
3-4 medium sized potatoes either white or red skin
2 cans of diced tomatoes 8 oz size
4 cans of tomato sauce 8 oz size
1 cup dried barley
1 can of corn kernels
Salt, pepper, parsley flakes, granulated garlic and thyme to taste

Many people traditionally make turkey soup…similar to chicken soup with left over turkey and the carcass. Why not make a bolder soup that is chock full of vegetables and nutrients instead of traditional turkey soup. This is a fairly easy recipe to make. The most difficult part is cutting everything up prior to placing it into a dutch oven to cook on your stove. First you need a large dutch oven to place all the ingredients in and also a lid for the dutch oven. Set the dutch oven aside since you will be placing all the ingredients directly into it.

Wash and dry all the vegetables thoroughly and set them all aside until it is time to cut them and add them to the dutch oven.

Cut the already cooked turkey into cubes and place it into the dutch oven. Make sure that you remove any skin or bones from the turkey since you do not want to have any of the skin or bones in your soup.

Slice the fresh uncooked green zucchini squash and fresh uncooked yellow squash either into thin circles or cubes and place it all into the pot. Make sure you cut off the ends of the squash and discard them. Some people may prefer to cut the skin off of the squash and discard it, but when you do this you loose a lot of the valuable nutrients contained in the squash, so it is best to leave the skin on the squash when cooking it in the soup.

Peel and clean the onions as well as the red peppers and celery. Wash all of it off and then dry it.
Now dice the onions, red peppers and celery and place it all into the pot.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Now peel the raw potatoes and cut them into cubes and add them to the pot.

Add the bag of washed baby carrots into the pot.

Wash and dry the fresh uncooked green beans. Cut the ends of the fresh uncooked green beans off and then cut each green bean into half or into three pieces and place them all into the pot.

Open the cans of diced tomatoes and also the tomato sauce and add them into the pot.

Drain the liquid from the can of corn and add it to the pot.

Put the cup of dried barley in a strainer and rinse it with cold water, and then shake the excess water off and place the barley into the pot with all the other ingredients.

Now add the spices, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, thyme and parsley flakes to the pot.

Fill the pot the rest of the way with water so it is about a few inches from the top. Stir all of the ingredients thoroughly.

Place the pot on the stove and turn the stove to high heat until the mixture until comes to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium and remove any soup scum from the top of the pot and throw it away.

Cook the soup for a number of hours until it becomes thicker in texture. Taste the soup periodically to see if you need to add more more of the seasonings to it for flavor. It is always a personal preference regarding taste and spices. Some people like things to be a little bolder in flavor then others so you need to be the judge of what is best for you and your family. So enjoy this bold and healthy soup on a cold winter night. As I mentioned above you can serve it with a side salad and also add rolls or corn bread with the soup for a nice hearty, healthy meal.

Inexpensive Healthy Food Options

How can I eat Healthy? For many people it’s just not as simple as buying healthier foods. Have you shopped the local co-op lately? The $7 gallon of milk and $15/lb organic meats don’t exactly fit within the budgets for many of us. Fortunately, their are many healthy alternatives available at the grocery store, that are more affordable.

Canned Tuna
Tuna is great for sandwiches, casseroles, salads, or eating on crackers. Tuna provides an inexpensive source for protein.
*Nutrition info:: About 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (0.5 gram), 60 calories, and 13 grams of protein.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Great for making sandwiches, appetizers, or creating the perfect healthy pizza.
*Nutrition info: One pita contains 140 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 6 grams of protein.

Frozen Vegetables
Frozen veggies can be added to your casserole, stew, or eaten as a side dish.
*Nutrition info: A 1-cup serving of frozen mixed vegetables (classic mix) has 82 calories, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 115% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 8% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% of the Daily Value for potassium.

Bananas can be a great addition to a child’s lunch and make a healthy alternative as a snack.
*Nutrition info: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin B6.

Canned Refried Beans
Refried beans are perfect for burritos and enchiladas. The can also be used to make a tasty dip.
*Nutrition info: About 140 calories (vegetarian), 7 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 4% of the Daily Value for calcium and 10% of the Daily Value for iron.

Carrots are excellent for stews or as a side. They also make an excellent snack plain or with dip.
*Nutrition info: Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, folate, Vitamin B6, and other nutrients

Whole Wheat/Multi-Grain Pasta
Great for various pasta dishes as a main course
*Nutrition info: Approximately 200 calories, 7 grams protein, and 6 grams fiber

Excellent for fruit cups or as a snack
*Nutrition info: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Fiber, Phytonutrient and Potassium

Oatmeal has long been a top choice for a healthy breakfast. Add fruit for flavor and additional nutrients
*Nutrition info: An excellent source of Fiber and Protein

Brown Rice
Rice has many uses, it can be a side item, used in soup, stew, casseroles, or as fried rice
*Nutrition info:170 calories, 2 grams Fiber, and 4 grams Protein

Healthy Habits Every Women Should Follow

A recent study on women’s health shows that moderate exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer. Another study is relating women being overweight with ovarian cancer. The struggle to be in shape that many women face is not just a matter of looking good. Health is at stake, and that is all we need to know start making better choices today.

The benefits of exercising are undeniable. Not only does it burn calories, but it also relieves stress as well as PMS symptoms. More lean muscle and less fat in your body will make you stronger and more energetic. It is a boost for your self-esteem as much as a prevention tool for many conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Therefore, the first health habit you should adopt is to include 30 minutes of your physical activity of choice at least 3 times a week.

The second habit all women should have is avoiding processed foods and cutting dairy out of their diet completely. The daily consumption of milk and cheese leads to poor digestion and excessive estrogen. Hormonal imbalances affect everything from your skin to your mood. The chemicals found in processed foods worsen these imbalances, causing fatigue, bloating and excessive fat around the belly and tights. Therefore, use alternative products such as almond milk, rice milk and organic products in general.

The third health habit you should start today is drinking herbal teas. You can get great health benefits from a variety of flavors of your choice. For example, Dandelion Root tea is a great liver detox. That means it helps your liver flush out impurities in your body through digestion. Red Raspberry Leaf tea is a known uterus tonic, helping in prevention of uterine conditions such as ovarian cysts and fibroids, and it is safe to drink during pregnancy. Jasmine or Ginger tea are a great aid for digestion. Drinking tea is a great habit because it will keep you hydrated and minimize cravings between meals.

Small changes like these can have a great impact in your life. It is all common sense. Nevertheless, it is not always easy to change bad habits. That is why we should start with three things only. You will feel better within days. Your energy, mood, the quality of your sleep and digestion will speak for themselves. In addition, you will be likely reducing your risks for the most common women’s cancers.

Benefits Of Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that helps keep a regular fluid balance between cells while stimulating muscle contraction and aiding kidney function. Typically, a potassium deficiency occurs when excess urine is lost from taking certain medications such as diuretics. Potassium can be replaced with foods like oranges, tomatoes, melons, and bananas.

A high potassium level is called hyperkalemia and a low potassium level is called hypokalemia, but regardless of whether it’s high or low, it can be controlled with simple diet changes. However, in some cases, potassium levels may need to be regulated with supplements.

Potassium levels depend on sodium. Excess sweating from sports events can quickly lower potassium levels, which is why sports drinks were developed. The first sports drink was developed for the Florida Gators, hence the name, “Gator Aid.”

Seniors are susceptible to hyperkalemia, due in part to many of the medications associated with the problems of aging, along with kidney function which typically decreases with age. Potassium supplements are often recommended for seniors to help regulate potassium levels, but supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a physician.

There are a number of medications that can raise potassium levels which include:

– Trimethoprim
– Thiazide diuretics
– Heparin
– Beta-blockers
– Cyclosporine

Medications that can lower potassium levels include:

– Antacids
– Theophylline
– Laxatives
– Corticosteroids
– Certain diuretics
– Theophylline
– Insulin

Potassium levels can be affected by any number of medications, which is why consulting a physician is recommended before taking a potassium supplement.

The symptoms of low potassium levels (hypokalemia) include muscle cramps, weakness, lethargy, stomach problems, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. High potassium levels (hyperkalemia) can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, nausea, and diarrhea.

Fresh, unprocessed foods such as avocados, potatoes, bananas, apricots, fish, and whole grains are excellent sources of potassium, along with fortified cereals.

The early Christians believed that pomegranates, an excellent source of potassium, were from the tree of life. The fruit itself is difficult to eat as it is full of seeds surrounded by a red gel. This gel is sucked off and the seeds are spit out. Be that as it may, pomegranates are loaded with potassium and the juice is sold in most any grocery store.

Therefore, in order to maintain proper muscle response and help regulate vital bodily functions, incorporate foods rich in potassium into your daily diet. However, considering the high potassium content of the pomegranate, adding at least one glass of pomegranate juice per day should provide your daily potassium requirements.

5 Summer Food Options For Runners

Summer is the season for cookouts, Fourth of July picnics, and other outdoor get-togethers. These events usually have certain foods that you know will be served. If you’re a runner, and trying to watch your diet, here are 5 foods that will fill you up without packing on the pounds.

1) Fruit Salad: A party favorite, this one is obviously a runner’s friend. Fruits are loaded with water, which helps keep you hydrated, as well as vitamins and phytochemicals. Most fruits (with the exception of avocado, not often found in fruit salad) are virtually fat free, contain fiber and also some sugar, which will keep your carbohydrate stores topped off. If possible, look for salad with Kiwi, perhaps the most nutritionally dense fruit.

2) Baked Beans: Beans are a nutritional powerhouse, being very high in fiber (10 grams per cup), as well as protein, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin A. They are somewhat high in sodium, but runners usually require more sodium than the average American, so as long as you watch your intake from other foods you should be good to go.

3) Corn on the Cob: This summertime favorite has taken a slight beating from the Atkins diet era, but it is a very good choice for runners, who don’t have to worry so much about eating too many carbs. Corn is relatively high in protein for a vegetable, and also contains fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It’s also sometimes the only vegetable served at picnics, and runners more than anyone need to get the 3 to 5 daily recommended servings.

4) Barbecued Chicken Breast: Don’t worry, I wouldn’t make a list of 5 picnic foods for runners without including at least some barbeque. Chicken, like corn on the cob, has gotten a bad rap in recent years, with warnings that the skin can be very high in fat. But a 3 oz chicken breast with skin only has 7 grams of fat, while containing 25 grams of protein.

5) Angel Food Cake: Typically served with strawberries, Angel food cake is dessert often served in the summer months because it is lighter and not as rich. For a treat, it is unbelievably low in fat and calories overall. If you need a sweet end to the meal, reach for this fluffy favorite.

Picnics can be a nutritional minefield, but with these reliable options, you can keep lean and fit!

Spicy Veggie Goulash

Whenever I try a new recipe I always like to change or tweak something about it to make it my own. Quite often for my own personal taste that involves adding some spice!! The base for this goulash recipe I got from a cook book years ago when I was at university, and I have altered a few things to mold my own recipe. Its an economical dish as it can be made using practically any vegetable you have available to you in your kitchen. For anyone who is unfamiliar with goulash, it is a dish that comes from Eastern Europe and is very common in countries like Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland etc. My own little version of a vegetable goulash is to add some paprika and cumin.

As with most of my recipes I like to keep ingredients simple, and for the most part to consist of things that most kitchens will already have.

For four people you will need:

1 onion
2 medium sized potatoes
2 carrots
half a cauliflower
1 tbsp of olive oil or vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsps of paprika
2 tsps of cumin
2 tbsps of plain flour
2 cups of vegetable stock
14oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp of mixed herbs or dried basil
pinch of salt and pepper

Start off by peeling and chopping up the onion, potatoes and carrots into little cubes or chunks, however you like. Clean up the cauliflower by pulling any leaves off and rinsing it in water. Cut off the florets (the top bits that look like mini trees) and throw away the stalk.

Gently heat the onion and garlic on low in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Once the onions have softened sprinkle in the paprika, cumin and flour and stir well.

Pour the vegetable stock into the saucepan then add the potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, chopped tomatoes, and pepper and give it all a good mix. Turn up the heat so that the goulash can come to the boil. When it does boil reduce the heat so that it simmers. Put the lid on the pan and leave to cook for around 25 minutes (until the vegetables are cooked).

Serve straight away with a little bit of creme fresh and some rustic bread and you have yourself a nice Eastern European meal with a little spiced twist!!

Benefits Of The Black Elderberry

The black elderberry which has long been a folk remedy for so many years has many curative properties. These unique berry types go back to prehistorical times in the Stone Age. These berries boost the immune system, thus helping you to fight off colds and flus. They also help heart health, aid in curing sore throats and tonsillitis, bacterial and viral infections. These berries are now being researched once again for the many great health benefits they have.

Elderberries have several natural ingredients within them that make them curative for so many illnesses. This is due to the fact that they contain so many organic pigments such as amono acids, which is an important part of our health. They have Vitamins A, B, and a larger amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C as I have said many times over the past, really empowers the immune system, which explains what I said at the beginning for elderberries fighting off illnesses. Antivirin is actually a type of protein in elderberries that serves almost as a natural antibiotic.

There were also clinical trials conducted on people that were having various flu-type symptoms in the year of 1992 and 93. People that took the elderberry extract Sambucol showed a marked improvement over those that were only given a placebo.

Other studies that were conducted within that same time period showed improvements in patients with HIV. There was a marked reduction in the viral load from using Sambucol elderberry extract.

I have also read that black elderberry extract has been very effective for helping to prevent H5N1 type of bird flu. The extract not only is effective for that reason, but it also helps to protect your healthy cells more prodcutively.

There are tannins in elderberries along with carotenoids and flavonoids. These compounds contained naturally in elderberries serve as a natural type of a laxative and also a diuretic.

Since the black elderberry has been found to fight off so many free radical types, scientists feel that elderberries help the skin to look younger. This is due to the fact that they protect a person from harmful ultra violet rays from sun.

When you consume elderberries, it is best to mix them in foods. Place them in muffin mixes, or other breads. You can also get creative and put these in a smoothie with vanilla flavored yogurt, or put a few in your wine. You shouldn’t eat them raw. If you do, they can cause effects such as a lot of diarrhea since it tends to have a laxative effect. They can also make you have an upset stomach when eaten raw.

Harvest Lentil Soup

Harvest Lentil Soup
(serves 8)

1 ½ cups French lentils (or red or green lentils soaked for 1 hour)
olive oil
1 large onion
2 medium sweet potatoes
4 carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 celery stalks
1 rutabaga
24 oz. crushed tomatoes
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tbsp. basil
2 tbsp oregano
2 cups vegetable stock

Scrub the carrots and sweet potatoes (peel each if desired). Using a sharp paring knife, peel the thick outer rind of the rutabaga. Chop all ingredients into bite-sized pieces.

In a large stew pot on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the mustard seeds and garlic. When the mustard seeds begin to pop and brown, add the onion. After cooking the onion for 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium, add the vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, and lentils. Cook for 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, then add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover all ingredients, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes. Sample the soup to ensure all components are tender (simmer longer if necessary). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a hearty, whole grain bread or add cooked brown rice if desired.

Rosemary Potato Spears

Rosemary Potato Spears
(serves 6-8 as a side dish)

8-10 new potatoes, or a comparable amount of your favorite spud
¼ cup olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped finely (equals ~4 tbsp)
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped fine
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the scrubbed potatoes lengthwise, then, continue to slice lengthwise dividing each half into 4-6 spears (depending on how thick you want them). Mix the oil, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place the potato spears into the oil mixture and toss to coat.

Spread the potatoes onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Pour any of the remaining herbed oil evenly over the potatoes. Fold the excess foil over to completely cover the spears, and fold the sides in to ensure none of the oil will leak out. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the foil packet onto the other side, and bake for 15 more minutes.

(Optionally, after removing the potato spears, preheat the broiler, and broil uncovered for 1-2 minutes for an extra crisp.)

Asian Butternut Squash

Asian Butternut Squash
(serves 4 as a side dish, or 2-3 as a main entrée)

1 large butternut squash (an acorn squash may also be substituted)
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ tsp ground cloves or anise
1 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375. Using a sharp knife, slice the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and, if desired, peel the outer rind with a paring knife or vegetable grater. (For an added mineral bonus, leave the peel on. It will soften as it cooks and has a flavor that’s indistinguishable from the flesh.) Cut into 1 inch cubes.

Mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl, add the cubed squash, and toss to evenly coat. Transfer the glazed squash to a shallow, glass casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dish, mix the squash with a spoon or spatula to redistribute the glaze, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Check to make sure the squash is tender by piercing a piece with a fork. When the fork slides in easily, it’s ready. If needed, bake a few more minutes (baking times vary due to cube size and differences among oven brands). Sprinkle with a bit of salt and serve immediately.