Cleansing Chicken Soup: Welcoming a Year of Health

Whoo!!! All that holiday food was DEEEE-licious! However, if you are like me after the holidays, you feel ever so slightly like, well…let’s see, how can I explain it? Death. Haha. Or chubby. Or like nothing actually tastes that good any more because of over indulgence. Or even if you have escaped all of those symptoms…you probably can feel the heart burn or lethargy!!

Now you know me, I do not oppose to the occasional treat! But most of us probably had a few too many, not-so-occasional treats. That being the truth for Mr. Rodgers and I…and wanting to start the year off on the right foot so I can meet my health goals and he can shed those stubborn pounds…we decided to do a cleanse. And not just any cleanse, the Maker’s Diet Cleanse. If you have been with me from the beginning, you will remember that most of my first recipes came from adapting Maker’s Diet meals. It has been the system that has worked for us the best. It is not strictly about limiting calories or eating less (in fact when we followed it to the T we ate more often than normal!)…and it is DEFINITELY NOT about losing weight while still eating whatever you want. (Don’t get me started…biggest peeve ever!) It is about making HEALTH the goal, not a number…with the belief that if you educate yourself, eat what will heal your body and make it flourish…that your body will find it’s perfect weight and you will live with energy and real LIFE!

If you want more information about the exact system of the cleanse, then check out The Maker’s Diet.  There are specifics of how many bowls of soup to eat on each day, specific salads, what days you can add in nuts, etc…  For now, however, I am just going to give you the Rodger’s Family version of the Maker’s Diet Cleansing Chicken Soup…(basically we just added a couple veggies for varitie’s sake ;))

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Whole Chicken (Free Range) OR if you are like me and bones completely freak you out…about 6 Free Range Breasts
  • 3-4 Quarts Filtered Water
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 onions, Diced
  • 8 Carrots, Sliced
  • 6 Stalks Celery, Sliced
  • 2 Zucchini, Chopped
  • 1 lb Green Beans
  • 1 Small Bag Frozen Green Peas
  • 1 Carton Brussels Sprouts, Trimmed and Halved
  • 1 Bunch Broccoli, Chopped
  • 4 Inches Ginger, Grated
  • 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Confession…I forgot this!)
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 2-4 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Bunch Parsley, Chopped

And here is how you do it:

  1. First, you are either going to need one GIANT pot.  I’m talking like Iron Chef sized.  Or you will need two normal sized pots.  I used my one soup pot and my large crock pot.
  2. Prep all your veggies as directed.
  3. Place chicken in the bottom of your pot (Or pots.  If you are using two pots, just split everything evenly between the two.)
  4. Toss in all of your veggies and seasonings except parsley.
  5. Pour in as much water as you can fit…at least to just cover the veggies.
  6. Let stand for 10 minutes.  Bring to a boil and remove the scum layer that rises to the top.  Then reduce the heat and simmer 8 – 12 hours.  The point here is to cook it as long as possible, because we want this to be as easy to digest as possible.  Add parsley 15 minutes before serving.

And there you go!!  A wonderfully cleansing soup!  Perfect for this weather…I heard today that 90% of the United States is frozen!!  Crazy!!  I haven’t worked in two days because most of my town is shut down…which is a big deal for the North Country I must say!

Mr. Rodgers and I are day 7 into our cleanse.  (It is a 10 day cleanse, soup 4 times a day with a salad at the end of the day).  I must say, I am really surprised at how I feel!  Usually when I take a stark 180* toward health, I get headaches, confusion, dizziness.  I have had one light headed moment, but for the most part…I FEEL AWESOME!  No heart burn, plenty of energy and motivation…it’s been great!! It’s been a little harder on Mr. Rodgers since he requires a larger calorie intake.  But I am so proud of us, and other than a few handfuls of fruit and nuts to get us through a lack of soup because of being snowed in we have really stuck to it!  Figured it was best not to starve ourselves haha.  I am so excited to start out CLEAN.  My insides feel so good!!  If you want to feel good too…look up the Maker’s Diet and make this amazing soup!  Cleansing is FAR from easy, but so worth it.  Let me know how it goes for you!

 

Here is one of my pots!

Photo (10)

Add your chicken!

Photo (11)

Add everything but the parsley…

Photo (12)

Fill with water.  Bring to a boil, clean scum off the top, simmer for 8-12 hours.  Add parsley 15 minutes before serving.

 

Flavorful Navy Bean Soup (Sick Day Comforts!)

Seeing as I am on a roll with super simple recipes, I decided to take it a step farther and pull this guy from the archives.  Soup and I have a growing relationship; our love only deepens with time.  Now usually I cram whatever I can into my poor overflowing pot when I make soup (much like I do with stir fry, as you learned in my Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry post!)  However, in the beginning of our journey to health, we strictly followed recipes straight from the website perfectweightamerica.com.  I found this recipe and didn’t stray from it hardly at all.  I wasn’t too hopeful about the outcome.  I mean, how good could it be?  It was just beans and onions after all!  HA!  Well.  Boy was my paradigm rocked!

Apparently you don’t have to cram your whole pantry into the pot for soup to rock your world.

It was easy.  Really easy.

It was tasty.  So tasty.

It was comforting, especially for my man that was curled up in bed sick all day.

It was cheap.  Have you priced dry beans?!

To sum it up, for the night we were having, it was perfection.

Let me share this perfection with you:

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Navy Beans
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Onions
  • 6 C Chicken Stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Parsley to Garnish

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Soak your beans over night…or at least 8 hours.  Seriously…beans are so cheap…go for the dry ones!
  2. Peel and dice your onions.
  3. Melt the butter in your soup pot over medium heat, and caramelize your onions.  Basically, you are just going sauté those guys for 25-30 minutes till they’re golden brown and have a fantastic rich flavor.
  4. Add your navy beans, stir, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock, stir, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for two hours.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. If you want a creamier texture, take a few cups of the beans and stock and blend it till smooth, then stir it back in.
  8. Garnish with parsley and sprinkle in some red pepper flakes if you like heat.  I liked the heat.  And the flavor it added was perfect!  Enjoy!

 

Navy Bean 1Yummyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!

Navy Bean Soup 2

And this is my poor sick man, curled up in blankies watching Clone Wars.  The soup was perfect to help him feel better!!!

 

Hearty Roast Beef and Swiss Salad

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings!!!  I just got that song in my head, because of this salad.  This is pulling from the archives, but I felt it was time for a nice big hearty salad recipe; it’s been a while.  However it has been long enough that I was studying the picture to help me remember exactly what I put in it…and I found myself thinking “what did I put in this salad other than beef and swiss?  Well…my favorite things!!”  Then without warning my mind was transported to a dance scene with the Van Trapps, haha.  Anywho.  Back to food.

This salad was fantastic.  It was one from the very beginning of our Maker’s Diet adventure, in fact it was adapted right from perfectweightamerica.com!  It was also one of the first days of summer last year…and I was still nannying.  I had put the baby to bed for her nap and went outside, sat on the wicker furniture, soaked in the sunshine that really wasn’t all that warm yet…and ate my salad and felt sooooooo good.  🙂  I was surprised how happy it made me!  You should try it so it can make you happy too!  🙂  Oh, and, as always…feel free to play with it!!  More or less of what you like….add things….have fun with it!  Salads are a great canvas!  This will stuff you…yay for healthy lunches that stuff you!!!

 

So…here’s what you need!

  • 1 Heart Romaine, rinsed and chopped or ripped into bite size pieces
  • A couple handfuls of spinach or mixed greens
  • 1/2 lb(ish) deli roast beef, sliced into strips
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • Dressing of choice (my favorite includes EVOO, AC Vinegar, Lemon Juice, tiny bit of Greek Yogurt, Dijon Mustard, and Sriracha!)
  • Swiss Cheese, grated to taste (I believe I used about 3 oz)
  • 1 Avocado, sliced

 

And, here’s how you do it.  (honestly, I don’ think this needs directions haha)

  1. Get your eggs boiling.
  2. Rinse and cut all your veggies, meat, and cheese accordingly.
  3. Put lettuce and greens in a large bowl and top with other ingredients.  Toss if you desire.
  4. Mix up your dressing (or take a bottle out of the fridge).  Dress each serving separately because this is a large salad and you don’t want it to get wilty…cause you can eat it for lunch tomorrow too!
  5. Eat and be amazed.  Tasty, so your “buds” are satisfied.  Filling, so your tummy is satisfied.  And yet healthy, so you don’t feel like you have bricks in your gut.  PERFECT for hot summer days!!

 

 

Here’s some pictures, to show you how crazy easy this is 😉

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 1

 

Make sure your eggs are boiled or boiling.  Prep your veggies, slice your beef and grate your cheese.  And theeeeen…

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 2Put it all in a bowl!!!  Whoo!!  That was difficult 😛

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 3Yummy! Protein, vitamins, AND flavor!  How?!  I don’t know, but it’s wonderful….!

Roast Beef and Swiss SaladAll tossed together!!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Maker’s Diet Tomato Basil Soup

Tomatoes and I…are not best friends.  In fact, growing up we were more like enemies.  But I decided to be brave and try this soup.  And it caused me to decide that I should give tomatoes another chance, cause it was real tasty!  It’s pretty simple too, and creamy even though there is no dairy!  You know any soup that causes you to reconsider your entire view on a vegetable (or fruit?  I get so confused when people argue if its a fruit or veggie)…has to be something pretty special. 🙂  If you like tomato soup…you should try this.  Even the smell is worlds better than the stuff from a can!

I made this the first potentially summery day this year.  There was still a chill in the air, so the warmness of the soup was a wonderful touch to the day.  However, the freshness of the soup also made it feel summery and added to the celebration that was happening inside of me because “the winter is over and the time of singing has come!”  Yaaaaay.  When you live in Northern New York, you appreciate the coming of the sun much much more .

Adapted from perfectweightamerica.com…only because, as always, I had double the amount of garlic, haha!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 1 C Basil leaves, julienned
  • 2 Large Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 6 C Chicken Stock

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and saute until beginning to soften.  Add garlic and saute another minute or so.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add basil and vinegar.  Blend with an immersion blender or in a normal blender, in batches if necessary.

Melt coconut oil.  Saute onions.  Add garlic and saute another couple of minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes, then add stock and simmer 10 minutes.

Add basil and vinegar.

Tomato Basil Soup 1

Bleeeeeeeend to make it nice and creamy!

Tomato Basil Soup 2

Pour yourself a cup, put on a sweatshirt, and go play outside!!

Tomato Basil Soup 3See my pure glee at the sunshine?!

Tomato Basil Soup 5Such a good day, I actually did my hair, got to play outside with the baby (GOSH I MISS HER), made a healthy lunch, and got to soak in some vitamin D from its original source instead of a supplement, yaaaay!!!

Tomato Basil Soup 6Wouldn’t this face make your day a good day too?  SO stinking precious.  All morning she was almost in tears begging me “ouside? ouside? ousiddddeee!!?”  Sweet girl.  Do you like my scary chalk T-Rex?  😉

Tomato Basil Soup 4Beautiful day.  Beautiful baby.  Beautiful soup.  I feel like this is a soup you could play with too…a good base for artistic license 🙂  I topped it with shredded parmesan at one point…that was delicious.  I bet it would be good with croutons too.  But that would take away the whole “Maker’s Diet” super healthy aspect.  🙂  Let me know how you like it!

Caper Green Beans

This…was the lovely side to the leg of lamb that I posted last week 🙂  I’ve been surprised at how many different tastes you can get simply by taking some veggies, cooking them or leaving them cold…and tossing them with a vinaigrette!  In fact I’ve been so inspired by it that I have started trying my own combos!  But those, we will save for another day!  Today, I will show you one from perfectweightamerica.com.  I was very excited to try it, because through making his favorite white bean tuna salad for lunches (like seriously…he eats it every day, haha!) my husband has fallen in love with the taste capers add to the dish.  So it was fun to try another recipe that used them 🙂  As always, I upped the garlic 🙂  We opted to eat these warm, but you can also toss them into a bowl of ice water after cooking them if you want a cold bean salad 🙂

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 lbs Green Beans, trimmed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 Leaves Basil, chopped
  • 2 Leaves Oregano, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil

 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, ensuring that it will be enough to cover the beans.
  2. Salt it generously, the original says about a tsp of salt per quart of water 🙂
  3. Toss in the beans and cook 8-10 minutes.
  4. Mix up the vinaigrette ingredients (everything else) and toss it with the green beans.
  5. Serve, eat, enjoy the taste and nutrition you are loving your body with 🙂

 

Super easy, quick, and healthy 🙂

Caper Green Beans

 

Marinated Rosemary Mustard Lamb

Yum.  I was crazy about this roast.  I’ve heard that some people don’t like the taste of lamb.  I think…that is madness.  Especially after you have tasted something like this.  D.  Lish.  I cooked this at my boss’s house on a night I knew was going to busy.  I’m all about having family dinners, where you make nice fancy food, sit down together; everything stops and you just eat and talk about your day.However, unfortunately in real life that can’t always happen.  Boo.  There are times where we eat dinner in the car between jobs.  Which was one such night when I made this.  However, as we sat in our car in a parking lot eating this roast with some nice green veggies on the side…it was like I was transported from my Le Sabre into a fancy restaurant, out on a date with my man.  It.  Was.  Fabulous.  In fact my boss was kind of hinting that she wouldn’t mind if I left some of the food that made that wonderful smell at her house, haha!

So before I tell you how to do this, let me just make a note.  I KNOW lamb roast is expensive.  Sad day.  But guess what we realized?  We used a roast that was about 4 lbs.  And it lasted us 3 nights!  So when you do the math…it wasn’t that expensive for three dinners at all!!  And that was with feeding our bestie Joseph one night as well.  He came over for a Psych party.  Yeah.  That happened.  Lamb roast, green beans, best friends and Psych.  What more could you need?

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp Soy Sauce, depending on your tastes 🙂
  • 1 Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary, chopped
  • 1 inch Ginger, peeled and minced (Or a good squeeze of paste!)
  • Leg of Lamb Roast, about 6 lbs.  We ended up using a 4 lb roast, but this definitely makes enough sauce for a larger roast.

 

 

And here’s what you do:

  1. Make some shallow slashes in the roast, and stuff a sliver of garlic in each.  Yum.
  2. Whisk together the marinade ingredients (everything else) and brush (or dump like I did, haha!) it over the roast.  Put it in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours.  Mine marinated all morning.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place roast in the oven and cook until about medium doneness…probably about an hour and a half.  But take note of what the directions on the wrapper said. 🙂  Let it rest before you slice it.

 

Thanks to perfectweightamerica.com for this roast.  🙂

 

 

Here is my roast, ready to marinate 🙂  Yeah, I know…lots of marinade.  I probably could have halved it, HOWEVER…it made for a great browned sauce to scoop onto my slices.  So I probably wouldn’t change a thing 🙂  It made a sort of shell, which held in the moisture that made it super moist.  Don’t be alarmed that the sauce gets brown.  It makes it super delish 🙂

Dijon Leg Of Lamb 1

 

 

 

Oh yum!!!  I want it right now!

 

Dijon Leg of Lamb 3

 

Dijon Leg of Lamb 2