Gotta love the face after his first sip : )
Since my last blog, my dad has agreed to allow me to start introducing more raw foods into his diet, which is a big breakthrough. We've been making encouraging progress during the days, but he still desires a warm, comfort-food style dinner, so I am doing my best to come up with dishes that are thoughtfully prepared with fresh, organic ingredients that are vitamin, mineral and antioxidant rich. I'm also trying to add in as many herbs and spices as I can that are known for their cancer-fighting properties.
So we've been having fresh fruit or smoothies in the early mornings, a mid-morning juice or shake made with Rockin' Wellness and Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein, lots of salads for lunch & sometimes a bit of left-overs from the prior evening's dinner. I am sharing some of the favorite dishes from this week with you here. I hope you will enjoy!
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
dash of dried red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cartons organic vegetable broth (64 oz.)
2 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices (I used about 4 cups fresh organic tomatoes - but canned will work)
2 cups carrots (about 4), sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup celery (about 3 stalks), diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced (any color but green is good)
1 big handful fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 -2 cups broccoli bits
1/2 cup fresh herbs (use flat-leafed parsley, basil, cilantro - whatever you like), minced
water, as needed to reach desired consistency
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 lemon, juiced
additional salt & pepper, to taste
In a large stock pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add in onion and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook another minute or so until fragrant. Add red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Continue to cook for another minute or so. Add in the broth and tomatoes and stir. Add in the carrots, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms. Allow to simmer until the carrots are almost tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add in the broccoli, herbs and turmeric. Bring back up to simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, an additional 10 minutes or so. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and additional salt & pepper, to taste.
This turned out to be a marvelous main entree. Serve with a colorful side salad for a feel-good meal. If your family eats cheese, a bit of shredded white cheddar or gruyere added would likely make it extra yummy, but it was very good as the vegan preparation below.
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped baby bello mushrooms (any variety is fine)
Vegetable broth, as needed
Himalayan salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
I cooked the rice while I was chopping the vegetables.
In a large stock pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add in onion and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook another couple of minutes, stir in the remaining ingredients and stir until all are well combined. Taste to see if it needs any additional salt or pepper. Pour in a cup or two of vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover, cooking until the vegetables start to get soft, about 10 minutes.
In a large glass casserole dish (mine was 9 x 13), combine the vegetables with the brown rice, using some of the vegetable broth to create a casserole like consistency, making sure not to make it soupy with too much liquid. Put into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.
Sauteing the veggies before I add the tomatoes
Epic Garden Vegetable Marinara Sauce
We have been so blessed with an abundance of tomatoes from dad's garden this year. This sauce was created from the last harvest of the season and it was truly spectacular.
2 tablespoons coconut oil (you can use a good quality olive oil - but I prefer evco when cooking these days)
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red peppers, seeded and diced (a roasted pepper or two would be delightful)
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms (diced)
2 - 28 fluid ounces canned plum tomatoes, include liquid (use fresh tomatoes if possible, skins removed & seeded)
6 ounces tomato paste (I used a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked and blended)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
3 large bay leaves
2 teaspoons local honey
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet, heat the oil; add onions, sauteing until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes, add garlic and stirring frequently for another minute or two. Add diced peppers, carrots and celery; saute' for an additional few minutes. Transfer mixture to a large stock pot. Add mushrooms, tomatoes (including liquid), sun-dried tomato paste, oregano, dried basil, fresh basil, bay leaves, honey, salt and pepper Bring sauce to boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Adjust seasonings to taste. Remove bay leaves and discard.
I used an immersion blender to make the sauce more smooth, but it would be equally as delicious if left chunky.
Serve sauce over pasta of your choice or serve over stemmed veggies. This sauce could be canned while it is hot, just follow canning instructions carefully. It also freezes well.