Feel Better Broth

Photo of Feel Better BrothA couple of years ago, we visited friends and family in Texas over the holidays. I worked in a doctor’s office at the time and had managed to escape getting sick before our trip. I was so proud of myself for taking all the extra precautions to stay healthy because I really wanted to enjoy my time with the people I love the most in the world.

Did I mention I was also pregnant? Because I was. I had extra incentive to stay healthy because pregnant Carrie + air travel + sickness = misery. I was fine the day we traveled, but my immune system couldn’t hack the long plane ride and day of travel, plus the shockingly sunny warmth of Houston in December. I woke up the on Christmas Eve and felt retched. Stuffy head, chills, cough, and lethargy. I wanted to feel better fast. I looked longingly at the fresh cinnamon rolls coming out of oven, knowing sugar would suppress my immune system even more. I made a cup of tea instead and tried not to let the pregnancy/sickie/holiday blues overwhelm me. I decided I would try to restore some of my health through good, clean eating and be glad to be with my family. My sickness would NOT get the best of me.

I dug through my mother-in-law’s pantry, looking for something to help me feel better. After foraging for a few minutes, I found ingredients for a soothing remedy comprised of free-range chicken broth, garlic, green onion, lemon juice, and parsley.  It took 10 minutes to make, and I was able to sip it all day long. I perked up quickly, my head cleared, and I started to feel human again.

During the holiday season, we always stock up on homeopathic remedies, kombucha, Tulsi lemon-ginger tea, and detoxifying baths.  We also keep ingredients on hand to make a batch of the Feel Better Broth, because it is so delicious and fortifying. Chicken broth is excellent for the immune system.  There’s a reason why chicken soup is popular for colds.  It’s a scientific fact that chicken soup boosts immunity.  Green onion has been used to fight colds in Japan for centuries.  Garlic is a natural anti-microbial/bacterial and cleans out the liver.  Parsley is a natural detoxifier.  Lemon juice draws impurities out of the lymphatic system where cold and flu germs like to hang out and keep you sick.  It’s the first thing I make for friends or family who get the flu and they always feel better after a mug of it.

Food is medicine.  This broth is delightful, comforting, and soothing, and warm.  You’ll feel better, I promise.


1 quart free range chicken or bone broth
  • 1-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 green onions, chopped (including white stem)
1 small lemon
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Bring broth, garlic, and white stems of green onion to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until garlic is soft.
  3. Add fresh lemon juice to taste.
  4. Put some fresh parsley and green onion in bottom of mug or bowl and pour broth over it.  (This method keeps it the greens fresh and optimal for consumption.)
  5. Drink up!  Keep it warming on the stove and put a lid on it.  Drink it all day.  Feel better.

Crab and Asparagus Bisque

Photo of Crab Asparagus BisqueI grew up on a lot of canned vegetables.  My family often struggled to make ends meet and eat a veggie-heavy diet living on an island in southeastern Alaska, and canned vegetables were a way to bridge both of those gaps. My mom always did her very best to feed us well, even when we were short on funds. (She also chopped firewood, which we used exclusively to keep us warm 9 months out of the year. She’s a remarkable and resourceful lady.)

As a special treat when I was young, my mom bought canned asparagus for me.  I loved it so much.  I would walk wistfully down the canned veggie aisle, gazing longingly at the Jolly Green Giant lording over those delicious green spears.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that asparagus wasn’t grown in a can, and could be prepared fresh.  I almost went broke buying it.  Anytime I went out to eat, I ordered the asparagus.  If a dish had asparagus listed as an ingredient, I was sold.  On a shoestring budget during most of my 20’s, I would still manage to find money for a bunch.

What I didn’t know then is how great asparagus is for health. It’s full of Vitamins A, B12, C, D, K and loaded with inulin, which is important for folks who suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions. It is also a natural diuretic and helps prevent kidney stones. The benefits go on and on, but needless to say, this is a really tasty vegetable that packs a powerful nutrient punch. And yes, it makes your pee smell but that’s okay. Not every vegetable can be smart, sexy, nice, funny AND smell good.

A few weeks ago, I found asparagus on sale for less than $1 a pound.  Of course I bought way too much.  I bought enough to eat it twice a day for a week, which I’m pretty certain is the definition of “way too much”.  So, I got a little creative.  I oven-roasted it, pan-seared it, steamed it, added it to a salad.  And then I souped it.  Yep, “souped” is a word.  And I did it.  And it changed my life.


  • 2 lbs of fresh asparagus, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces (be sure to snap off the tough, woody ends first)
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small clove minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
1-2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids
  • 4 oz of cream cheese (or roasted cauliflower puree for a creamy paleo-friendly base)
  • 4 oz lump crabmeat
  • (optional)
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large saucepan or small stockpot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft
  2. Add asparagus and chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, Braggs, coriander, and celery salt
  4. Once asparagus is tender (but still bright green), transfer mixture to a blender, one cup at a time
  5. Blend each batch with 1-2 ounces of cream cheese (or the roasted cauliflower).
  6. Once blended, return to pot and heat over medium-low and add lump crabmeat. Continue to heat until warm enough to serve.  Be sure to taste it and add salt and pepper and any additional seasoning you might like at this time.
  7. Garnish with asparagus, lump crab meat, or Parmesan cheese.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Picture of Chocolate Chia Seed PuddingChia seeds…love them or hate them, they are packed full of micro-nutrients. While chia seeds are a relatively new food to the United States, they sustained ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures for generations. In fact, in the ancient Mayan language, the word “chia” literally translates to “strength”. How great is that? Food should make us strong. And stable. And restore our vitality. And be genetic building blocks to produce other, stable, strong, healthy, whole, and vital offspring. According to the USDA, this is how a single ounce of chia seeds help keep folks healthy today:

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
  • Decent additional amounts of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

So, why are we not eating chia seeds by the handful?

First off, they’re seeds. They are tiny and get stuck in your teeth and taste like seeds. Not like pumpkin seeds, which are pretty flavorful when roasted. These taste…earthy. Earthy isn’t bad, it’s just not always palatable as a stand-alone flavor. Chia seeds also absorb liquid, which makes them challenging to chew. The good news is, they are very easy to add to salads, side dishes, main dishes, drinks and desserts. They quickly take on the flavor of other foods they are prepared with, and trade in their earthy flavor without any resentment.

My favorite vehicle for this nutrient-dense food is a no-cook, dairy-free pudding. It’s so simple, ridiculously satisfying, easy to prepare, and appeals to many palates. My dad loves tapioca pudding, and I originally created this for him. My young nieces also like it, so I consider this a multi-generational food win. It is also easy to mak


  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut crystals or other low-glycemic sweetener
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
10-15 drops vanilla stevia (optional)


  1. Mix everything together until well-combined.
  2. Chill for 2-3 hours, or up to 4 days.

Alternate Preparations:

*You can omit the chia seeds. Of course, then this will just be Pudding, not Chia Seed Pudding.  If you do omit the seeds, also omit the almond milk.  Chia absorbs moisture and thickens things up, so your pudding won’t hold up otherwise. It will look more like cold, chocolate coconut soup.

**You can also put the pudding in popsicle molds, which is delicious and will last much longer.

Charlie Brown Bars

Picture of Charlie Brown BarsI am not a morning person.  And I know roughly 97% of America can relate.  I’m usually a give-me-coffee-so-I-can-be-human kind of girl.  No, that’s not entirely true.  The complete truth is, I literally stumble around for the first 15 minutes I’m awake.  (I once tripped getting out of bed and fell into my open closet, then managed to knock the sliding closet door off it’s hinges as Itried to get up.)  So, after I stumble dazedly about for a bit, THEN I get my coffee and become human.

Making breakfast is a struggle for me.  I used to grab a protein bar or piece of toast with some peanut butter on it and eat it on the way to work.  Then I stopped eating protein bars and bread.  Then I had a kid and had even less energy to put toward breakfast. I’m not so keen on trying to make breakfast when I can barely function as it is.  What to do, what to do…

Oh, I KNOW!  Eat chocolate and peanut butter.  For breakfast.  (And although I think cold breakfast is generally not the best option, I think not eating at all is much worse.)

Apparently, these are called Charlie Brown Bars (maybe because of the peanuts?), but I’ve been making them for ages.  I saw them on display in the fancy dessert case at a certain store that sells “whole foods”, and guess most of the world eats them for dessert.  To each their own.  The great thing about it is you can use whatever nut or seed butter you like, and eat them whenever you want.  They are packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and calories, so you might have to watch your serving size.

*Please note due to the coconut oil, these bars need to stay cold or they turn to mush.  Delicious mush.

Ingredients for Bars:

1 1/2 cups nut or seed butter (no sugar, unsalted is best)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup unsalted nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup coconut crystals or erythritol (I prefer to powder mine in a coffee grinder first)
1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30 drops liquid stevia
  • Pinch of salt
cinnamon to taste

Directions for Bars:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt nut butter and coconut oil together over low heat, then add vanilla extract and stevia
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine nuts, seeds, coconut, erythritol, and cinnamon and mix
  3. Pour melted coconut oil and nut butter mixture into bowl, and mix with a non-stick spatula until combined
  4. Spread mixture into 9×13 pan and refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or until very firm)

Ingredients for Chocolate Topping:

  • 3 oz 90% cacao chocolate
1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 15 drops stevia

Directions for Chocolate Topping:

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in your home-made double boiler
  2. Add vanilla and stevia
  3. Once melted and stirred well, pour into the pan of chilled nut butter mixture
  4. (Optional and delicious step: Spread a layer plain nut butter over the pan first, then pour your chocolate over it.)
  5. Allow to harden in the refrigerator for an hour, then cut into serving sized pieces and store.

Brown-Butter Apple Crumble

Pic of Brown-Butter Apple CrumbleWhen making sweet treats, I typically aim for three things:

  • Layers of flavor
  • Great texture
  • Easy to create

While this recipe certainly aces the first two criteria, it does require a bit more time, focus and effort in the kitchen than I typically like to spend.  I save this recipe for birthdays, holidays, or when I really want to impress someone…so, approximately twice a year.  Probably less now that I have a toddler and NOTHING gets done in a timely manner anymore.  Okay.  Ever.

If you’re willing to take the time, this is definitely worth the effort.

Ingredients for Brown Butter Apples:

5-6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick.  I suggest using a tasty apple like Gala or Honeycrisp.
  • 1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamon

Ingredients for Crumble:

3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut crystals or other low-glycemic sweetener
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
a sprinkle of nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preparation for Apples:

  1. Brown the butter in a small sauce pan. Be sure to watch it closely. The difference in a lovely rich nutty flavor and the acrid burnt taste is just seconds apart. If you’re unsure how to make brown butter, here is a video.  :)
  2. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, sauté apples with butter, ginger and spices until apples are slightly tender.
  3. Add vanilla extract and honey at the very end of cooking process and mix thoroughly.
  4. Transfer apples and any remaining butter sauce in the bottom of the pan to a glass baking dish.

Preparation for Crumble:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Melt butter and stir in vanilla extract and honey.
  3. Pour butter and vanilla mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with your hands.
  4. Sprinkle over the top of apples and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serve with 1 part heavy cream and 1 part marscarpone whipped together with a dash of vanilla and stevia or honey.