Monday, December 15, 2014

Dabbling in Paleo -- Grain Free Wedding Soup (21 Day Fix approved!)

There is something about being cold outside or maybe being stressed and crazy over all the Christmas to-do....but it makes me want to eat soup. It must be a deep rooted comfort thing because I want to make it all the time. Soup and a big old loaf of crusty bread for dinner sounds like perfection.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and feel like I need to cut back on the eating of grains thing. This past summer I was having a lot of issues dropping weight no matter what meal plan and workout I was doing. I wondered if food allergies were to blame. I set out to do an elimination diet and shortly after that found out I was preggers. So following my doctor's advice, I am putting that off until the baby is here and my hormones settle down. Until then I am dabbling in different ways of eating. Following the 21 Day Fix meal plan (with the added calories I need for a healthy pregnancy) and just generally cutting back on grains as a whole. I am trying to stick to 2-3 servings a day. Many of my pregnancy cravings have revolved around white bread and bagels and that has thrown me down a slippery slope to wanting to eat more of those than fresh veggies.

Not to mention the fact that when I am not pregnant....I tend to crave (and really want) to eat more of a plant based diet. Meat just doesn't appeal to me. There is something going on with my hormones that is totally making me want to eat things like every meal. Since this is a healthy craving (as opposed to chocolate and donuts) I decided to go with it and am incorporating more animal based protein into my diet, at least for now. Post baby I am probably going to go back to my plant based tendencies but we will figure that out when we are there. Right now I am taking things one day at a time.

Last night I was able to finally use the homemade chicken stock I made back in September. It has been sitting in my freezer for months waiting for the perfect recipe to make use of it's golden goodness and this one was a winner. In fact it made such a difference in this recipe that I never want to go back to buying store bought stock again. Not only is the color totally different but the flavor of homemade stock is amazing. I used to think I hated soup but in reality I never really had good soup until I started eating homemade soup. No more cans of soup for this girl. Ever. And making my own stock was one of the easiest things I have ever done. I am not going to be that weird relative that asks to take home the turkey or chicken carcass from family dinners and stores them in my freezer until I have time to make stock. I never want to let the amazingness of them go to waste again. Who knew the secret to the best soup ever was in a typically discarded carcass of chicken bones? aunt made a recipe similar to this when we were visiting in Texas and I also picked up a new (totally awesome) cookbook by Danielle Walker, Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple and am slightly obsessed with it. So this recipe is kind of a fusion between her soup and my aunt's. (Although my aunt added tortellini to hers and it was kind of awesome.) And if you have a recipe for grandma's or great grandma's mini meatballs for wedding soup....feel free to sub it and use that instead. Unlike most of my friends, I do not have Italian roots so I don't have attachments to things like sauce and meatballs. If you are trying to do the Paleo or gluten free thing there are so many substitutes for breadcrumbs you can try until you get it just right. Gluten free oats, almond meal, quinoa, minced long as you get it to bind.

I opted out of adding any type of noodle and honestly this soup was so full of flavor and other goodies I didn't miss it. At all. (Which for my bread addicted self, that is kind of a big deal.) You can also use parmesan cheese instead of nutritional yeast. I don't do well on dairy so I try to only have it when it makes a HUGE difference in a recipe (or because I just really want to eat a hunk of cheese.)

So here is what I did:


(for the meatballs)
1/2 medium sweet onion
1 large egg - scrambled
2 cloves of garlic - minced or grated
2 teaspoons of coconut flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb of grass fed ground beef
1/2 lb of ground lamb

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups peeled and diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
10 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of baby spinach

To make the meatballs:

1. Grate or mince the onion
2. Combine onion, egg, garlic, coconut flour, nutritional yeast, salt pepper, and ground meat.
3. Mix well and roll into bite size meatballs
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use

To make the Soup:

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot until melted. Saute carrots and celery until slightly cooked (maybe about 5 minutes)

2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil

3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the meatballs. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through (about 10 minutes) and start to float to the top.

4. Turn the heat down to low. When ready to serve add the spinach and let cook about five minutes or until wilted.

5. Season to taste

I didn't add any additional salt to my soup but if you feel that it needs salt and pepper feel free to add. You can also play with the type of meat used in the meatballs too. Subbing in turkey or ground pork for the lamb. And I feel like this recipe could be made easily in the slow cooker. Adding the spinach just before serving. There is something that is awesome about coming home to a house that smells like dinner after a long day (and having very little to do before you can eat!)

21 Day Fix containers used: (per 2 cup serving)

1 red
1 green
1/2 teaspoon*

*There is very little oil used in this recipe once portioned out. Technically less than half a if you are over on your teaspoons for the day, I wouldn't sweat it.

Here is what Autumn has to say about soup and the containers. I was pretty close. Since this soup has no grain in it but is loaded with spinach and other veggies I swapped out the yellow container for the green.

Happy Eating!

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