Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last night I made Christmas dinner for a friend of mine.  It was probably about 95% clean and healthy, which is pretty darned good to my thinking!

I haven't made Christmas dinner in a long time--I don't have the space in my apartment unfortunately to host a dinner, so friends over for dinner tend to take the form of "friend" over for dinner instead.  That's OK--so long as I get to cook!

Anyway, I wanted to make a dinner that was also more on the "old fashioned" side.  Not figgy pudding or anything, but something that people may have made back when there weren't processed foods, when marshmallows weren't considered a topping for vegetables, and food actually was good for the body, instead of harmful.

So, what I made was a naturally-raised chicken, which I stuffed with fresh rosemary and sage, and a hot lemon (which I boiled whole, with the potatoes before putting the potatoes to roast with some rosemary in the oven) which I pierced.  Normally I cook my chickens breast-side-down, so the meat is really juicy and tender, because I don't eat the skin anyway, but I thought maybe my friend would like some crispy skin, so I made it in the conventional way.  I sprayed the skin with some olive oil, and then used some sea salt, fresh-ground black pepper, and some fresh rosemary.  So simple but also SO delicious and tender. 

I made a roasted vegetable pot-pie, using the vegetables shown in the image above right.  I also roasted a whole head of garlic, and added it with the vegetables, which you can see on the middle right edge of the image.

To that, I roasted 3 types of baby potatoes (white skin, red skin, and purple!), clean stuffing (I added 2x the seasoning the recipe called for, because I like my stuffing with lots of flavour, and also cooked it outside of the bird), and finished it off with an apple/cranberry pie.  I only used a crust on the top, as I did with the vegetable pot pie.  That was a concession I was happy to make--half the crust, but I still get crust! lol

I had apple cider mulling on the stove when my friend walked in.  As soon as she entered, she exclaimed how good my home smelled!  I used the Jamie Olive recipe the link is to, but didn't add pomegranate seeds, and of course no sugar.  It's quite sweet enough!

All of it was totally delicious, and almost totally clean!  Amazing!

We each have another serving of Christmas dinner to enjoy tonight, and I'll make chicken stock out of the leftover bones.  So the joy just keeps coming!

Creamy Root Vegetable Casserole with Roasted Garlic

Chop into large pieces, turnips, carrots, leeks, potatoes.  The amount will depend on how many servings you need--make sure to increase the other ingredients too if you're making more. :)

Spray aluminum foil with olive oil. Place chunks of vegetables on it, and sprinkle again with olive oil, and sea salt. Optional—roast with fresh rosemary.

Roast root vegetables, potatoes and garlic, until about halfway done.

In a medium (or large, whatever you need) combine 1 cup chicken stock with fresh thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper, nutritional yeast and roasted garlic, and simmer for a few minutes.  Add the roasted vegetables.

In a small bowl, dissolve 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or soft whole wheat pastry flower.  Add to pot, stirring until combined.  Simmer over medium heat until it begins to thicken.  Slowly add in 1 cup 1% milk, then nutmeg.  Simmer on medium-low heat for a few moments.

Using a metal sieve and a bowl, drain some of the sauce from the veggie mixture, and sauce set aside.  This will allow the veggies to be firmer, and you can use the sauce as a gravy!!

Pour veggies into a baking dish.  Heat at 375F until heated through.  If using pasty, cook until the pasty is a lovely golden brown.

Lovely Apple-Cranberry Dessert

1 sweet apple, like Pink Lady
1 tart apple, like Granny Smith
2 tbsp no-sugar-added cranberries (not Craisins--they're full of sugar)
1 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or to taste
1 tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)
Pinch of ground clove
Pinch of fresh-ground nutmeg (try grating your own nutmeg--I guarantee you'll never go back to the pre-ground kind!)

Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan or pot for a few minutes to let the flavours meld.  Pour into a serving dish.  If you're adding pastry, bake at 375F until the pastry is golden brown.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

To my mind, if  a healthy version of an unhealthy recipe doesn't taste like the original, then it's not really a healthier version.  Cream of mushroom soup MUST be creamy and mushroomy, otherwise it's pointless. 

I've always loved cream soups, especially cream of mushroom.  Unfortunately, it can run the gamut for taste--sometimes it tastes like it's made from a package, and other times, though it may be delicious, it's also terrible for you!  Cream of mushroom of course has a use in more than just the bowl--many comfort-food recipes call for it, like casseroles. 

I hadn't considered making those kind of comfort-food meals...until I came up with this recipe!  It's totally delish and super easy!!

Clean Cream of Mushroom Soup


•1/4 lb dried assorted mushrooms

•1 cup chicken broth

•1 tsp olive oil

•1 cup homo milk

•2 tbsp whole wheat pastry (soft) flour

•1 tbsp Braggs Liquid Amenos/All-Purpose Soy Seasoning


Now, I know you're going to see that the milk I say to use is whole milk. In cream soups, one of the things that I think is absolutely necessary is enough of a creamy texture and taste. Of course using cream is out of the question, but to my great surprise and delight, using homo milk gives enough of that creaminess, without sacrificing it being clean. This recipe is 3 servings, so the milk is a measly 2.6 grams of total fat (1.5 sat fat) per serving. To my mind, it's SO worth it!

Make sure you don't accidentally pour out the mushroom soaking liquid. It'll add some serious mushroominess to this soup, which in my opinion is VERY important!


1/4 lb dried assorted mushrooms (1/2 lb soaked). Make sure they're very mushroomy-smelling.

1 cup chicken broth (no sugar added, low sodium is good. Home made is best)

1 tsp. olive oil

1 cup homo (3.25) milk

2 tbsp wheat pastry flour

1 tbsp. Braggs Liquid Amenos (it's called Braggs All-Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning here in Canada)


For this recipe, you will need:

• 1 large soup pot

Step 1 – Quickly rinse mushrooms, then soak in 1 cup water. DO NOT THROW OUT SOAKING LIQUID.

Step 2 – Chop mushrooms into different sizes, then saute the mushrooms over medium heat in the oil until semi-cooked.

Step 3 – Add a couple tbsp of the soaking liquid. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and saute. Most or all of the liquid will be soaked up by the flour. Add the Bragg's Liquid Aminos and saute for a few moments.

Step 4 – Pour the chicken broth into your soup pot.

Step 5 – Add milk and the rest of the mushroom soaking liquid (adds a LOT of flavour!).

Step 6 – Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Step 7 -- Move the pot from the burner, and let cool for a few moments before serving.

That's it!!

Tips & Bonus Information

My personal tips after making this recipe: Remember "bring to a boil" means that you DON'T actually allow it to boil. Only bring it to the boiling point, and then turn it down. Keep an eye on it, and stir every couple of minutes. It's a quick recipe, so keep near the stove. Also, it makes the texture more interesting if you chop the mushrooms unevenly. I think so anyway! Serve with a salad or some other veggies, a lovely piece of crusty whole grain bread, and you're set!

Yield: About 3 servings as a side

Preparation Time: About 20 minutes soaking time, plus about 5 minutes chopping for mushrooms

Cooking Time: Couple minutes saute, couple to bring to a boil, then 10 to simmer, and cooling time so maybe 20 minutes