Category Archives: Soups

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder (with Homemade Croutons on top!)

By | Soups, Vegetarian | 22 Comments

Cheesy Veggie Chowder

When the seasons change and the weather gets cold, one of my favorite things to eat is soup! I love trying new recipes, switching up ones I find in cookbooks or online (or Pinterest!), or creating new ones!

This Cheesy Vegetable Chowder is a favorite in our family. It was inspired by the Garden Chowder recipe over at Passionate Homemaking – go check out Lindsay’s site as it is very inspiring! I’ve changed up this recipe to meet our tastes and preferences. I also serve it with homemade croutons. See the recipe for that at the bottom!

*Note: if you are dairy intolerant but can do cheese okay, simply substitute coconut milk for the milk. You can also make the croutons from gluten-free bread if you desire! Using raw milk and cheese would be ideal, but any kind will work just fine.

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder


1/2 a medium sized onion, diced small

3 garlic cloves (or garlic powder to taste)

1/4 cup coconut oil

3 medium-sized potatoes, diced into bite-sized cubes

3 large carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 -2 cups broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 cup green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 cups homemade chicken broth

1 tsp salt

pepper, to taste

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or if gluten intolerate you can substitute another flour)

2 cups of milk

2 Tbsp fresh or 1 Tbsp dry parsley, minced

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp paprika

2 or 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded




1. Heat coconut oil in soup pot over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent.

2.  Add broth to pan and get to a gentle boil. Add all veggies and cook for 10 minutes until veggies are tender.

3. Mix milk and flour together in a glass measuring cup and whisk until relatively smooth. Then add the milk mixture to the broth/veggies and stir until thickened.

4. Add salt, pepper and dry mustard, stir until mixed well.

5. Lastly, add cheese a little at a time until fully melted.

6. Taste it! If it’s not quite right, add whatever you need to make it better – you can really add whatever you think would go well with these flavors to fit your tastes!

Serve hot with homemade croutons on top!


Homemade Croutons

6 slices of bread (I used some from my loaf of soaked whole wheat bread that I make in my bread machine)

1/4 cup butter, melted

Garlic salt or seasoning salt


1. cut bread into cubes and place in medium bowl

2. pour butter over bread cubes, toss well to coat

3. Place bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet

4. Sprinkle with garlic/seasoning salt.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or so in a 375 degree oven (until crisp but not burned).



This was shared at: Monday Mania, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Fat Tuesday, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Family Table Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, The Hearth & Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Nap-time Creations, Tuesday Confessional, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Allergy Free Wednesday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Creative Juice, Full Plate Thursday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck, Weekend Wonders

Tomato Soup: A Great Homemade Recipe (using fresh tomatoes)

By | Soups, Vegetarian | 17 Comments

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! Tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato salsa. And my favorite – TOMATO SOUP! This is a great recipe for this time of year when tomatoes are going crazy. It’s easy, not too time-consuming, and is perfect for freezing in containers to use throughout the winter. There is not much that is better than a fresh-tasting bowl of tomato soup to go with that grilled cheese while the snow is flying outside.

The recipe for this tomato soup recipe is originally from Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking. I’ve made a few minor adjustments.



4 cups tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chicken broth (more or less, depending on how thick you like your soup)

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbs dried Italian seasoning

2-3 Tbs sucanat or other natural sweetener


1. Saute onions and garlic until translucent and soft.

2. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Puree in a food processor, blender or keep in the pot and use my favorite tool, an immersion blender like this one to blend.

4. Add salt, basil/italian seasoning and sweetener.

5. Taste. Add more of anything in step #4 to make it taste awesome. Add in some cream or a little sour cream on top if desired.


Please share your favorite tomato recipes below!

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Sunday School, Thursday Ultimate Recipe Swap, Pennywise Platter

Homemade Chicken Broth

By | Kitchen & Real Food How-to's, Soups | 27 Comments

During the last several years that we have been on our “Real Food” journey, we have made dozens of changes – from the things we eat to how we prepare our food. It is SO easy to get overwhelmed once you start making changes! Have you found that to be true as well? That’s why I found it best to take baby steps in the changes you make. Not only will it feel less overwhelming, but it will also help those changes stick rather than just become a fad. Know what I mean?

One of the changes I started making early on was to make my own homemade Chicken Broth. It is not only SUPER nutritious, but also ends up being very frugal. 

Before I show you how to make great chicken broth (and believe me, it is incredibly easy!), let me try to convince you how much healthier it is. First of all, if you are still using ANY sort of bouillon cubes, please stop! Here is the ingredient list from one of the leading brands:

Salt, Sugar, Mechanically Separated Cooked Ground Chicken Meat, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Corn Maltodextrin, Onion Powder, Chicken Fat, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten Protein, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Water, Garlic Powder, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Dextrose, Cooked Chicken Powder, Natural Chicken Flavor, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Calcium Silicate, Gelatin, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Turmeric, Corn Syrup Solids, Spice, Modified Corn Starch, Silicon Dioxide, Diacetyl (Flavor), Artificial Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Alpha Tocopherol (Antioxidant), Corn Oil, Bha (Preservative), Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid, Bht (Preservative).

Ick! You’ll see the 5th ingredient is Monosodium Glutamate, also know as MSG. MSG is nasty, nasty stuff. You can read more about that over at the Kelly the Kitchen Kop site where she has some info on “MSG Dangers”.

So, enter a SUPER healthy and nutritious option – homemade chicken broth/stock. I’m sure you all have heard that chicken soup can heal you from a cold/sickness, right? BUT, the key is that it  to be homemade soup – soup made from a bone broth. The reason is that this kind of broth actually contains a whole bunch of minerals and vitamins in the form our body can best absorb. It becomes a boost to our immune system in that way. To save you from my babbling, I highly suggest you go on over to an article written by Sally Fallon called Broth is Beautiful”. It is very informative in regards to the history and nutritional benefits of homemade broth/stock.

To get the best possible results I definitely recommend using a whole, pastured, organic chicken. I get mine from Grassfields Cheese/Farm. This chicken is SOOOOOO delicious – I put a whole, thawed chicken in my crockpot for about 6-8 hrs on low. I put maybe a cup or two of water and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. If I want to get really wild, I throw in a few halved garlic cloves and some rosemary. Even with ONLY salt and pepper, this chicken is sooooooo good. I promise you that you will notice a difference in how good it tastes compared to whatever chicken you are eating now (unless you are already eating it from a local, organic, pastured farm!)

After I cook my chicken, I take all the meat off of the bones. This chicken is usually enough for 3 meals’ worth. I usually put in fridge for a few days, or if we aren’t going to use it right away I put in a Ziploc bag or container and freeze it for later use. We ate a bunch of it for dinner last night and this is what was left over after eating 1/3 of it:


Then, I throw all the bones and pieces in my crockpot. I LOVE this crockpot by the way – it’s the Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel Programable Slow Cooker:

Then, I add:

1 onion, quartered

several halved cloves of garlic

celery (if I have some)

carrots (if I have some)

sea salt or celery salt

some thyme, rosemary or parsley (or a combo of them)

about 1/4 cup vinegar (I usually use this apple cider vinegar)

filtered water until it gets almost to the top

***The vinegar is an important addition as it actually helps PULL OUT additional minerals/vitamins from the chicken bones! Ideally, you would let the mixture sit in the vinegar for about and hour before turning on your crockpot as it will help pull out even more minerals.***

In this picture I had some extra turnips and so I added those. You really can use whatever you have on hand:

I then put on low for about 12-24 hours. My house smells SO good when this is cooking. Once it is done and the broth has cooled, I simply strain the broth into different sized containers (left over 32oz yogurt containers work really well!) and freeze them for later use. This makes it SUPER easy to use chicken stock for homemade soups, in place of water for cooking rice/couscous/quinoa, etc.

You really cannot ruin something like chicken broth, I promise! **BUT, beware. This kind of chicken broth will “gel” when it is cooled and placed in fridge. IT IS OKAY!!! It actually means it is super-healthy for your gut (which you learned about if you read the whole “Broth is Beautiful” article above). It will re-liquify once you heat it up. With all of the health benefits of chicken stock, I really believe it is one of the EASIEST but most nutritionally-beneficial changes you can start making for your family right now!

top photo credit

Easy Cheesy Tortilla Soup

By | Soups | No Comments

When my mom was here helping after Andrew (our 3rd) was born, she took this recipe along and made some for us! It was super yummy! Although its not technically all-natural, or whole food-y, its still really yummy and there is really nothing “bad” in it!! You could easily make it more “healthy” by using soaked beans, make your own refried beans, use organic free-range chicken broth, etc. I think the idea of this soup, though, is to be easy and frugal.

Eat it with tortilla chips – our favorite are the Garden of Eatin’ organic blue corn tortilla chips

And here’s the recipe:

Easy, Cheesy Tortilla Soup

1 can refried beans (16oz)

1 can black beans, drained (15oz) *or even better, use soaked/cooked beans and puree’ half in place of refried beans

2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn

3/4 cup chunky salsa

3/4 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast *ideally from a pastured chicken, of course!

1/2 cup water

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese – divided

tortilla chips

1) Combine 1st 7 ingredients, bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes

2) Add 1 cup of the cheese – cook on low and heat until melted.

Sprinkle with remainder of cheese or mix into soup…ENJOY!!!!

*works well to make a double batch and freeze half!