Tag Archives: #CleanEatingIsBeautiful

Canning Soup and Having a Baby

My favourite soup, the one that got me through my pregnancy when I didn’t want to eat anything else, is Minestrone. But not any Minestrone soup will do. I love the Clean-Eating Minestrone Soup from The Eat-Clean Diet (2007) book.

Last August I made about 16 litres of the soup. Much of the soup was made up of vegetables from our garden. Last week, so over a year later, I finished eating the very last jar of soup. My heart sank. What soup was I going to eat now?

Lately my baking and cooking and photography and blogging efforts have been put on hold as I care for my lovely daughter. However, she is now 5 months old and taking longer naps. This allows me to get back to big batch cooking, baking, some photography (mostly of her), and blogging! Yay!

Making this soup and canning it from start to finish takes about 6 hours. Six hours when it was just me and endless summer hours on hand. I was a bit disheartened as there was no way that my daughter would (and I wouldn’t want her to) sleep while I made the soup. It was time to plan like never before for cooking!

Step 1 (Day 1): Hire Oma to babysit while I grocery shop for all of the ingredients. At this point the baby doesn’t fit in the cart with all of the groceries I needed. Unfortunately I was not able to use many vegetables from our garden this year, because let’s face it, being a new mom and gardening was too much for me! I admire you supermoms who can do it! Maybe next year.

Step 1B (Day 1-2): Prepare dried beans for overnight soak.

Step 2 (Day 2): Start cleaning and chopping chunks of produce while the baby naps.

Step 3: Baby’s up, take a break from chopping.

Step 4: Baby’s down, continue chopping.

Step 5: Baby’s up, feed and take into the kitchen to finish a batch of chopping.

Step 6: Baby’s down, keep chopping.

Step 7: Wonder if all this work is worth it.

Step 8: Finish chopping and prepping vegetables just as baby wakes up from final nap of the day!

Step 9 (Day 2-3): Once our daughter goes down for bed in the night she is very unlikely to wake up until early morning. I know, we’re very lucky! So once she went down in the evening that’s when I started cooking and then canning soup. The cooking and canning part took about 4 hours. The chopping of all the vegetables during her naps throughout the day was about 3 hours. I made a double batch so there was more chopping to do than usual. The first night I made one batch of soup (that’s all I can fit in the pot). I made a second batch of soup the next night, taking another 4 hours. My sister says I’m dedicated! I just really love this healthy soup I guess. In total I spent about 11 hours making 18 and 1/2 litres of soup! This is much longer than before, but it’s totally worth it! I got to spend time with my daughter and work around her sleep schedule to cook healthy meals for our family.

Throughout this process there was absolutely no time for food photography! The photographs from this post were taken last August when I made the soup. However, the objective of having clean-eating soup for winter was accomplished!

Here is the recipe: Healthy Minestrone Soup

Clean 3

Zucchini Muffins

PicMonkey Collagerecipe I got this recipe a few years ago from my friend Amanda. She had offered me some zucchini loaf at her place. After I tried some I knew I just had to have the recipe! I have made some changes to turn the loaf into muffins for easy lunches and sharing! So far this summer I have made at least 6 dozen muffins from all the zucchini in my garden–and I will probably make 6 dozen more. They freeze fairly well. Many friends and relatives have been asking for the recipe, so here it is:

Prep Time: 20 minutes     Bake Time: 30 minutes  Yield: 24 muffins
Ingredients:
3 eggsIMG_5436
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups fresh grated zucchini

3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour (original recipe calls for sorghum flour, but I can never find this type of flour in the store!)
1/4 cup cornstarch (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup arrowroot powder)
1/2 tsp. saltIMG_5462
1 tbsp. xantham gum
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Fresh fruit: blueberries and raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 350°F
  2. Mix wet ingredients together: beat the eggs, and then add in the sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Once well blended together add zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the rest of the dry ingredients together, and gradually add to the wet while stirring. Keep stirring until all the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth texture.
  4. Prepare muffin tin with muffin papers. I tend not to grease the tin for this recipe. If you would like to I suggest using coconut oil.
  5. Place a couple of blueberries at the bottom of each muffin paper.
  6. Fill muffin papers as desired but it is important to note that they will rise a lot in the oven! To make 24 muffins I fill each muffin paper halfway with batter.
  7. Place a few more blueberries on top of each muffin as well as one raspberry
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Use the “sticky knife” test to check if they are done.
  9. Allow to cool and enjoy!

IMG_5574 IMG_5587

Playing with Pinterest

I have been doing some research on how to make pins more favourable on Pinterest. One recommendation is to make them long to get more repins. I was stumped on how to do this– besides taking a picture vertically! One blog suggested Pic Monkey. It is a free site where you can upload and edit your photographs. I have only just started playing with it, but here is what I have found so far.

PicMonkey Collage2

I believe Pic Collage offers many of the same features as the above pin. The main thing I wanted to do was create long pins. I was not able to achieve this is Pic Collage (although I am not an expert); but had success in Pic Monkey.

PicMonkey Collage3

I also had some fun with the text/font features and filters.

PicMonkey Collage7

Raising money for charity. Check out our events page to see what we’re doing!

Fun in the Kitchen!

This weekend I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Thought I would make the most of it by keeping my camera handy! Lately I have been reading a lot of food blogs about photography; hoping to step up my game. I am happy to say I am proud of my work so far this weekend!  So far… because I am hoping I will have time to do more!

IMG_4150

When I woke up this morning I knew the lighting was right in my kitchen (natural from the windows)– I’ve always had a sense about lighting and photographs. What stumped me in the past was how to take full advantage of this lighting when inside a building. I had found that sometimes the way the food lays on the counter is not the most favourable location. After reading some food blogs I have learned that it is okay to move the food! I was given ideas such as take the food to another room, put it directly in front of the window, etc. This is exactly what I did for some shots.

IMG_4173

IMG_4154

Thinking ahead, I was also trying to take shots that would lead to nice looking pins. (More about playing with pins in a future post). I took some photos that I wouldn’t usually take. For example, I took a shot of the recipe book I was using.

IMG_4163

I look forward to sharing more about my food prep this weekend; hope you enjoy reading!

IMG_4191 IMG_4176 IMG_4168

As always, my ultimate goal is to raise money for charity. Please see my events page to see which charity we’re raising money for this month.