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    I am a health-conscious wife and mother of two. I am independent consultant with a direct sales company called Verefina, which makes natural personal care products (katiez.verefina.net). I also write about various health topics on my blog, The Cleaner, Greener Home (cleanergreenerhome.com).

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    Jefferson Adams
    Sweet apples and sophisticated spices amplify this otherwise unassuming version of carrot soup. This soup is an excellent way to offer your family or guests the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables in one pot. Including the fresh apple creates another layer of texture and complements the freshness of the apples in the soup. Whether you’re using it as a starter to your meal, or enjoying a large bowl to yourself while curled up during these chilling winter months, this soup is satisfying without being overbearing.
    Ingredients:
    1½ pounds peeled and diced carrots
    1 Fuji or Braburn apple peeled and diced, divided
    1½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    1 medium diced white onion
    ½ cup apple juice
    3½ cups chicken broth
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    ¼ teaspoon allspice
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon pepper
    Chopped mint for garnish
    Preparation:
    Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions until they begin to sweat and are translucent, about 2 minutes.
    Add chicken broth, ¾ cup apple, ginger, diced carrot. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer 20-30 minutes, or until carrots are tender when pierced.
    Puree soup in batches in the blender and return to pan. Add apple juice and spices and reheat on low-medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
    Mix remaining apple with mint in a bowl. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with apple-mint mixture.


    Jefferson Adams
    One of the few things better than a delicious soup is a rich, delicious soup that is easy and quick to make.
    In this recipe for potato leek soup, butter, chicken broth, leeks, cream and potatoes come together to yield a rich, luscious soup that goes great with your favorite toasted gluten-free bread.
    Ingredients:
    1 cup butter
    2 leeks, sliced
    2 bay leaves
    2 tablespoons chives, chopped
    4 sprigs fresh thyme
    10 black peppercorns
    1 quart gluten-free chicken broth
    1 cup dry white wine
    4 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
    1½ cups heavy cream
    ½ tablespoon white pepper
    salt and pepper to taste
     
    Directions:
    Trim away the green portions of the leek, leaving just the white part.
    Keep the two largest and longest leaves, and make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. Or, place two leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.
    Cut the white part of the leek in half lengthwise, and rinse well under cold running water to make sure the leek is clean. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.
    In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
    Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.
    Remove the herbs and peppercorns. Adding just a little bit at a time, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. Be careful! Cover top with a towel to prevent scalding if any soup escapes.
    Stir in the creme and season with salt and pepper as desired.
    Spoon soup into serving bowls and top with chopped chives.

    Jefferson Adams
    For many years now, every winter I've made this vegetable bacon soup that is so rich and hearty it resembles a stew. Savory bacon, chunky vegetables, beans, Parmesan rind and chard deliver big, bold flavors. This recipe owes a debt of gratitude to Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa's, Winter Minestrone recipe for the inspired addition of pesto.
    Ingredients:
    Olive oil 6 cups chicken stock 24 ounces canned or boxed chopped tomatoes 8 ounces fresh chard, stalk removed, chopped 15-ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed 4 ounces pancetta, or quality bacon ½-inch-diced 3-4 carrots, diced 3 stalks celery, diced 1 large yellow onion, chopped 2 cups peeled butternut squash, diced into ½-inch cubes 5 cloves minced garlic 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons pesto 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves ½ cup dry white wine 1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind 1 fresh rosemary sprig Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, as desired Directions:
    In a large, heavy soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat
    Add pancetta and cook over medium-low heat until lightly browned.
    Add shallots, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
    Add Parmesan cheese rind, tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, rosemary sprig, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper.
    Bring pot to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
    Discard the bay leaf and rosemary sprig.
    Add the beans and heat until simmering.
    The soup should be nice and thick. If it’s too thick, add more chicken stock. If you want it thicker, let it cook a bit longer.
    Add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender. Stir in the white wine and the pesto.
    Salt as needed.
    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/27/2015 - You can thank me for this later, after this delicious homemade mustard has dazzled your hot dogs, souped-up your sausages and generally brightened your culinary life. This recipe makes about 1 cup of mustard that will keep up to a year in your refrigerator.
    Ingredients:
    ½ cup mustard powder ½ cup mustard seeds ⅓-½ cup dry white wine ⅓ cup cider or white wine vinegar ¼ cup water 2 tablespoons honey, to taste 1 teaspoon ground turmeric ½ teaspoon salt a few teaspoons warm water, as needed 1 tablespoon prepared or fresh grated horseradish (to taste) Directions:
    Lightly grind the whole mustard seeds by hand with a mortar and pestle.
    You want them mostly whole, just a bit crushed.
    Pour the semi-ground seeds into a bowl and add the salt and mustard powder. If using, add one of the optional ingredients, too.
    Pour in the vinegar and wine or water, then stir well.
    When everything is together, pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge.
    Wait at least 12 hours before using.

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