The poor potato has gotten quite the bad rap over the last couple of decades, but it is not as bad as it seems.
A Little Potato History
The lowly potato hails from the South American regions of Peru and Bolivia, and has been a staple in the diets of these regions for over 10,000 years. Traditionally potatoes were naturally freeze dried into Chuno.
It was only after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America, that the Potato made it's way to the rest of the world.
A Little Potato Nutrition
Yes, potatoes are a super starchy vegetable, that has a high glycemic index. And, sadly, that is what is it is most known for. Probably because we peel them, and fry them more often than using them whole.
Nutritionally they are full of Vitamins, Minerals and Phytonutrients
Potatoes Contain 30+% of your daily B6
B6 is necessary in the formation of blood cells, metabolism of carbohydrates, production of neurotransmitters, and aid in Liver detoxification processes
Potatoes Contain 25+% of your daily Potassium
Potassium is necessary for regulating blood pressure, reduced risk of kidney stones, neutralizes acidic food in your diet, and is an important electrolyte for the cells
Potatoes Contain 20+% of your daily Vitamin C
Vitamin C is necessary for proper immune function, in the formation of collagen, in the production of neurotransmitters, and in reducing inflammation
Potatoes Contain 20+% of your daily Copper
Copper is necessary to reduce nerve inflammation, in the formation of enzymes, in the formation of collagen, in the formation of red blood cells, and carbohydrate metabolism
Potatoes Contain 15+% of your daily Manganese
Manganese is necessary for proper bone formation, in the formation of collagen, skin protection from UV rays, and in the formation of enzymes used to regulate blood sugar
Potatoes Contain 15+% of your daily Phosphorus
Phosphorus is necessary in the formation of DNA and gene expression, for the strength of bones, and in the processes of cell energy, balancing body pH
Potatoes Contain 15+% of your daily Vitamin B3 Niacin
Vitamin B3 Niacin is necessary in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, in DNA repair, for stress responses, for balancing blood cholesterols, and in skin formation and healing
Potatoes Contain 15+% of your daily Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, in the formation of cholesterol based hormones, in blood cell formation, in the formation of adrenal hormones, for moisturizing the skin and skin healing, in the formation of neurotransmitters, and in the metabolism of drugs and medication
Potatoes Contain 15+% of your daily Fiber
Fiber is necessary for proper digestion, probiotic balance and growth, as fuel for intestinal cells, for balancing blood cholesterol, and for balancing the digestion of fats and carbohydrates
Potatoes Contain Kukoamines
Kukoamines are phytochemicals that are being researched for the their effects on reducing blood pressure. Kukoamines were previously only discovered in Goji Berries (a TCM herb). They are also shown to protect your body from the harmful compounds formed from high temperature cooking meat.
Crockpot Dairy Free Potato and Leek Chowder
In a crockpot, add the leeks, potatoes, thyme, garlic, and cover with chicken broth. Set on low for 8 hours.
Stir, and slightly mash potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in Potato Flakes and let sit 15 minutes.
Top with fresh parsley, bacon, and green onions.
BEETS! You either love them or you hate them, and sometimes you hate them because you've never had GOOD beets. I find it really fun to change people's mentality when it comes to foods. I have had many friends and family tell me they do not like a particular food, and it becomes a game for me to make them like it. Like beets.
If you tell me you don't like them, then be prepared to have to try them the next time you come over for dinner. I can almost guarantee I can change your mind about them.
The key to beets, in my opinion, is to cook them low and slow, let their natural juices caramelize. I am also a lazy beet cooker, I do not peel my beets.
Beets are a staple at our house. This year was the first year I have grown a successful beet crop. In the process I found a favorite, and often under utilized, portion of the beets...their greens. How many of you buy beets, cut off the green and discard them...I use to be guilty. Mainly because I didn't know what to do with the greens.
Beet greens are amazing! Enough Said! If you like Swiss Chard, Kale, Spinach, you'll love beet greens.
This dish uses the entire beet in one recipe. Bringing out all that the beet has to offer. Cooking them on the grill in a cast iron skillet is a great use of summer cooking. You could also use this recipe for camping!
A cast iron skillet is essential in any kitchen. If you don't have one, get one. The best ones are found in thrift stores...no lie. Find an old, beat up skillet, and season it. Don't get one of those new coated ones (I have one, it's not the same). This skillet is probably 100 years old. My husband found it in his grandfather's old barn, rusted. He cleaned it, seasoned it, and gave it to me as a gift...He knows how to win my heart. I use this skillet pretty much every day. The key to keeping it seasoned...don't clean it. Seriously, you can ruin a skillet by cleaning it with soap and water. Just take a paper towel and wipe it out. The little browned bits add flavor to the next dish.
This dish has quickly become a favorite of my kids. My oldest adores all things beets. She will easily order a beet salad for dinner at restaurants. (I have to catch her when she is outside. She ate half of the beet crop straight from the garden! That sneaky devil.)
Skillet Grilled Beets and Greens
1. Heat grill, and cast iron skillet, over medium high heat
2. Add bacon drippings, and melt.
3. Add in diced beets, thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to coat.
4. Cook beets until they are soft, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. ~ 45min
5. When soft, add in greens. Cooked until wilted.
6. Taste, and season with salt and pepper to desire.
With all this cold weather we have been having lately, and the next batch of snow rolling in today, I can't help but want to make soup.
This soup is a family favorite and it is packed with nutrition. I call this recipe a "Labor of Love." It's actually pretty easy, it just takes a good afternoon at home to get the most out of it. So pick a nice snowy day.
The key to this soup is the homemade Bone Broth. I highly recommend Craig Fear's "How to Make Bone Broth 101."
"Good broth will resurrect the dead." South American Proverb
As the proverb states, bone broth, when made correctly, is packed with minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus. Although the proverb may be an exaggeration, there are many cultures that value good broth as not only delicious, but also medicinal.
Not only is broth full of minerals and vitamins, it also aids in digestion, boosts the immune system, and contains Glucosamine and Chondroitin which can decrease joint irritation and inflammation.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) contains extremely high amounts of Vitamin K (1366% DV), high amounts of Vitamin A, C, and Mineral Iron.
Medicinally Parsley has the benefits of...
Thyme (Thymus vulgarus) is rich in Vitamin A, C, and Minerals Iron and Manganese. It also provides 125 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per ounce.
Medicinally Thyme has the benefits of...
Bay Leaves (Laurus nobilis) are extremely high in Vitamin A (6185 IU/206% DV), high in Vitamin C, Folic Acid, extremely high in Iron (43mg/537% DV), Manganese (43mg/355% DV), and high in Calcium, Copper, Zinc and Magnesium.
Medicinally Bay has the benefits of...
Spinach provides high amounts of Vitamin K (181% DV), Vitamin A (56% DV), Minerals Manganese, Iron, and Calcium.
Celery provides Vitamin K, and Mineral Potassium.
Carrots provide high amounts of Vitamin A (41% DV).
English Peas provide high amounts of Vitamin C (97%), Vitamin K (45%), and high amounts of Vitamin A, Folate, Thiamin, and Minerals Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc.
Mushrooms provide Vitamin D, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Minerals Selenium, Copper, Phosphorus and Potassium
In a large stock pot put whole chicken, giblets, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme and apple cider vinegar. Cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and let cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until meat is able to be pulled apart. (I know most recipes call for a single bay leaf, but I find that you never get the flavor out of it, and I personally love the flavor bay leaf offers)
Remove chicken and let cook in a colander. While chicken cools, chop parsley, celery, carrots, and onion. Remove thyme stems from broth and add in chopped vegetables, peas, and salt. Return to a simmer.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, debone and shred chicken meat. )I am not one to waste, so I typically keep the skin and gristle for my dog. She knows the routine and waits patiently for her serving of chicken soup.)
Add the shredded chicken back to the pot and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, 45 min.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking at the spinach and mushrooms.
There you have it! A super healthy, super tasty soup from the bare bones (literally). This soup stores well and can be reheated later in the week for lunches as well. This soup makes about 8 hearty bowls.
This is one of my "go to" recipes for weeknights. As it says in the name, it is quick! I can usually get everything done in 30 minutes. It is also delicious and one of those meals that my children eat up.
In my garden I grow fresh sage and thyme, which I highly recommend adding to your landscaping. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but both are evergreen in Colorado, allowing you to pick and use fresh herbs year round. We all know fresh is better, for nutritional value and for taste.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a wonderful herb that provides high amounts of B Vitamins, Vitamin A, C, E and K, and Minerals Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese, as well as Electrolyte Potassium.
Medicinally Sage has the benefits of...
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is another very useful herb that provides high levels of Vitamin A and C, and Minerals Iron and Manganese. In lower levels in also provides B vitamins, Minerals Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc, and Electrolyte Potassium.
Medicinally Thyme has the benefits of...
Season Pork generously with Salt and Pepper. In a large cast iron skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add pork and cook through, flipping half way...usually 20 minutes, set aside.
In the same skillet, add red onion and cook till softened. Add the thyme, sage and wine. Cook until liquid is reduced slightly. Return pork and coat in sauce.
Thats it! Simple and delicious!
We like to serve this with seasonal veggies, and some quinoa to soak up some of the juice. Please play around with the amount of herbs used. I personally love sage and so I've gone a little heavy handed in the recipe, if you are not a huge sage lover, go slow.