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My Favorite Fall Soups/Chili

My Favorite Healthy Fall SoupsChili

 

As the weather is slowly cooling off and fall is settling in, all my favorite soup and chili recipes start making their appearances on our weekly meal plans.

If you’re like me, then you love a good soup recipe for a couple of reasons. Not only does it just put you in the fall/winter spirit to warm up to a delicious bowl of soup, but soup is also so easy to double or triple up on recipes to either freeze for later or make last multiple meals so that you aren’t cooking every single night.

Over the years I have tried multiple soup and chili recipes and below I am sharing with you the ones that have made it into our regular rotation because they are just SO good! I’m actually currently making most of these in bulk this week to store in our freezer to have handy once baby Eli James makes his grand debut in less than two weeks. All of these recipes are Paleo and Whole30.

Enjoy and let me know what you think you if you try any of these recipes!

Sweet Potato and Poblano Pepper Soup – We love eating this served with Emergency Meatballs by Stupid Easy Paleo and a simple mixed green salad on the side. You will also definitely want to garnish your soup with the cilantro and diced red onions that are optional in this recipe. It’s the perfect top off!

Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Spices – If you would like protein added to this, we love to pair this soup with Aidelles Chicken Apple Sausage links, sliced and sautéed until warm. We usually just dump them into the soup. We typically add a simple mixed green salad to this meal as well to get our greens in!

Paleo Tomato Basil and Beef Soup – This is a great stand alone meal since it already has the beef added in. I would recommend buying grass-fed beef. You could omit the beef if you would prefer too and it would still be delicious! If you tolerate grains and dairy well this would be delicious paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, especially if you ommitted the beef to fill you up a little bit more. I would recommend making your sandwich with some sprouted grain bread like Ezekiel bread and some raw cheddar or mozzarella cheese. My mouth is watering thinking about this right now!!

Zuppa Tuscana – (I can’t find the link to this original recipe so I have provided the recipe I use below for you)

  • 1-2 pounds grassfed ground beef
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red peppers
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 32 oz. or 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 3 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced or cut into large cubes (either works, just depends on the texture you would like in your soup.)
  • 1/2 bunch of organic kale, chopped (I typically just eyeball this and add a ton of kale. It most likely is way more than half a bunch by the end of me throwing it all in.)
  1. Saute beef with red pepper flakes over medium heat on the stove
  2. In a large pot, sauce the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant in some good quality fat (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
  3. Add in the broth to the large pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, add in your cubed or thinly sliced potatoes and bring down to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft and fall apart with a fork
  5. Lastly add in your cooked beef, chopped kale and coconut milk. Stir until kale wilts some and all is mixed in well.

Paleo Crockpot Chili – I love that this chili has so many crunchy vegetables added to it so it’s not all meat and beans like your typical chili. This is a hearty meal that the whole family will love!

I’m not kidding when I say we make these all the time! Having at least five “go-to’s” when it comes to soups/chili helps me to not get bored with eating the same ones over and over. I’ll make each of these most likely once a month throughout the fall/winter. If I find any other great recipes I will try and remember to come back and update this post and add them to share with you all!

 

 

 

 

Rx Bars Review

“Rx Bars. Pure and Simple. No BS.”

This is Rx Bars catchy slogan and their words definitely match up with the delicious healthy real food product they have created.

I have been meaning to try these for awhile now and I finally got my hands on them the other day, and boy did they not disappoint!!

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Each of their bars is made with only 8 ingredients or less, all of which you can pronounce, recognize and find in nature. That is the best part to me and something I always encourage everyone to look for when buying any food product. There are so many protein bars/shakes sold these days that are marketed with health phrases like “only “x” amount of carbs”, “10 g Fiber!” “0 g. sugar” etc..” to make you believe they are good for you when in reality they are filled with preservatives , artificial ingredients, and poor quality highly processed protein powders that you are just wasting your money on. Don’t fall for that. Read the ingredients, not the label on the front, and buy products that are simple, real foods that you don’t even have to question, like Rx Bars.

Each bar contains 12 g. of protein derived from pure egg whites and almonds. The base of each bar is made up of figs and dates to give it it’s sweet flavor and chewy texture. The rest of the natural ingredients added to each individual bar make up their 5 delicious flavors: coconut cacao, coffee cacao, blueberry, apple cinnamon and peanut butter. All bars are free of gluten, dairy, soy, and GMO’s. My personal favorite was the coffee cacao! If you are a coffee lover you will love this one! I personally don’t even drink coffee and I loved this flavor.

If you are familiar with the whole30 program you will be happy to know that 4 out of their 5 flavors are whole30 approved excluding the peanut butter bar! If you are joining me in my upcoming Nutrition Challenge, these would be a great option for you to have on hand, plus you might be getting some in your goodie bag at the end of your challenge from me!!

Larabars are another great example of a whole foods bar, but I personally like Rx bars better because of the added protein from pure egg whites. Larabars are still a great option, but because they are naturally higher in sugar (natural sugars from dried fruit) without very much protein, they can cause your blood sugar levels to swing much like a candy bar still. Sugar is still sugar even when it’s from natural sources. People who already struggle with blood sugar issues really need to be careful eating these types of foods especially if it’s not paired with a balanced meal or a good source of protein and fat.

Rx Bars have a better balanced ratio of sugars to protein with the added protein from egg whites as well as less sugar overall in each bar that will prevent such a quick sugar rush followed by a crash and will also keep you feeling fuller longer. The ratio of sugar to protein in most Larabars is on average 4:1 vs. Rx Bars average of 2:1 varying just slightly in each bar.

Now before you go out and buy a ton of these, because trust me you will want to..don’t hear me saying that these are a food you can/should eat all the time even though it is a healthy whole foods choice. Rx Bars, just like Larabars or Epic Bars or any other whole foods bar that I recommend should not ever replace well balanced healthy meals. These should be treated as emergency foods for times you are out, busy, hungry and have no healthy options around you. These bars also would serve great as pre or post workout fuel or an afternoon snack.

My only concern with bars like these is for the people who are trying to adopt a whole foods lifestyle yet still struggle with sugar addiction, which is a majority of people. I have seen these bars simply replace sweets and are often eaten to satisfy that sweet tooth everyday, sometimes two times a day or more. Yes this is a healthy whole foods option as a snack or sweet treat every now and then, but if you find that you are eating these bars to satisfy your sweet tooth regularly, or find yourself craving them regularly, you might need to lay off these for awhile. Yes there is such thing as too much of a good thing, RxBars being one of them. Overall though these bars are a great option to have on hand and I highly recommend them!

If you would like to purchase these you can order them through their website here. I also have a link to their products through my shopping guide page as well.

I hope this was helpful and gave you a new idea for a quick easy snack/emergency food!

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by RxBar but I did receive a free sample of their bars to review on my blog. All the statements above are my own, unbiased opinion.

This Week’s Meal Plan: 1/26/15

Hey Hey! I am really excited about some of the meals I am sharing this week with you all. I keep it pretty simple most of the time, but try and find a couple of new recipes to add to my favorite “go-to’s” at home each week, and some of these definitely will be added as repeats for a long time! My husband’s birthday was Monday, so that was definitely inspiration to find a new tasty recipe we both would enjoy! Head over here to read more about my meal plans and why I decided to start sharing them with you all.

Nutrition Highlight from this week’s menu is: Wild Caught Salmon

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Wild Salmon is not only an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, but has almost a perfect ratio of omega6 to omega 3 fatty acids at approximately 1:1. This is largely due to the natural environment they are raised in which allows them to eat wild sea plants like krill that have a perfect fatty acid ratio. Farm raised fish unfortunately do not have access to wild plant sea life and are supplemented with a diet that is not natural for them including a variety of grains that are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids. Farm raised fish have been shown to have a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids at approximately 4.5:1. This still is not too bad, but if you are striving for optimal health, wild caught fish is definitely a better option and also more sustainable for the environment. There is rising concern about the levels of heavy metals and other pesticide residues in fish these days and wild caught fish is known to contain the lowest levels of these toxins. In fact one study investigated over 700 samples of salmon samples from around the world and found that on average the PCB concentrations in  farm raised salmon were eight times higher than in wild caught salmon. PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) are strongly associated with cancer and other health problems. While the these levels are reportedly safe according to the FDA, there are definitely fewer risks associated with eating wild caught salmon.

Wild caught Salmon is also high in selenium, a mineral that plays an important role as an antioxidant, preventing free-radical damage to cell membranes. Low levels of selenium raise a risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases and many other health problems (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray). It also is important for healthy thyroid function.

If you are looking for a high quality source of wild caught salmon, this is one I recommend. If you are shopping at the grocery store, just make sure to read your labels and look for wild caught (Alaskan preferrably), and not farm raised. Any fish with the msc (marine stewardship council) label on it are also a good indicator that it was raised sustainably.

**And now for this week’s meal plan**

Monday

Lunch: Grass-fed Buffalo Summer Sausage slices with a side of baby carrots and 1 full avocado

Dinner: Bacon Wrapped Dates and Pineapple Chunks (purchase sugar free bacon from wild caught pork), Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa and Red Rainbow Cabbage Salad from Practical Paleo

  • It was my husband’s birthday so I went all out with a full course meal! It was a hit!
  • I baked my salmon at 350 for about 12 minutes and it was still fabulous!!
  • The salad recipe I used is exclusively available only in the Practical Paleo cookbook. I highly recommend it, but this recipe is similar if you want to make it without purchasing the book. If you are strictly trying to eliminate all added sugars from your diet just don’t use the maple syrup in this recipe.

Tuesday

Lunch: Grassfed Buffalo Summer Sausage slices with a large side salad

  • Side Salad: 2 handfuls mixed greens, 1 full avocado, cucumber slices, diced tomatoes, and topped with some leftover red rainbow cabbage salad

Dinner: Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs, Homemade Sweet Potato Fries and Steamed Broccoli

  • I used only 1 piece of bacon per chicken thigh and that was plenty
  • I prefer to sprinkle sea salt on my homemade sweet potato fries and use coconut oil, but both are delicious. Ground Cinnamon used in this recipe makes for more of a sweet taste.

Wednesday

Lunch: Grassfed Buffalo Summer Sausage Slices + Side Salad

  • Yes I eat almost the same thing for lunches everyday if it’s not leftovers. Why make things more complicated than they need to be? Find what works for you and your schedule and stick with it! This never gets old to me, is healthy and most importantly, quick and easy during busy days. The summer sausage also makes for great healthy lunchables for kiddos!
  • Side Salad: 2 handfuls of mixed greens, shredded carrots, pineapple chunks, drizzled with raspberry vinegar

Dinner: Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls

Thursday

Lunch: Grassfed Beef Salami Roll-Ups

  • Roll up sliced avocado and any other raw veggies you like (bell peppers, onions, tomatoes etc.) into the salami and eat like a wrap. Eat as many as you need to to satisfy your appetite and keep you full for the next 4-5 hours.

Dinner: Leftover Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls

Friday

Lunch: Leftover Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls

  • Again? Why yes indeed! I love making tons to last me throughout the week if that means it saves me time in the kitchen! If you don’t like eating the same thing everyday, store your leftovers in the freezer and pull it out when you’re ready to eat it again maybe next week.

Dinner: We will be eating out!

 

Meal Prepping Tips

  • Make a note of when to take meats out of the freezer to dethaw at least 5 hours before and put that note somewhere where you will see it! I don’t know how many times I have forgotten to dethaw meat and it is the most frustrating thing ever when you are starving. Don’t let that happen to you with this simple tip.
  • On allotted meal prep day at beginning of week, do the following:
  1. For Monday’s dinner: chop up the whole head of red cabbage, shred carrots (only if you didn’t buy pre-shredded), chop up broccoli stems, chop up all onions, chop up mango. Store all in zip lock baggies or individual containers to mix together for red rainbow cabbage salad the next day.
  2. For Tuesdays dinner: make the Smoky Spice Blend, chop up all sweet potatoes into fries and store in the fridge
  3. For Wednesday’s dinner: chop up the onions, and peppers and break cauliflower into florets to easily throw in a blender. Look at your schedule. You will need to either make a note to prep this meal Tuesday night to slow cook all night, or make sure you have time Wednesday morning to get it in the crockpot.
  4. For all lunches: slice up all lunch meats and chop up tomatoes, cucumber and any other veggies you will be adding to your lunch salads/roll-ups

 

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