For The Love Of Smoothie Bowls

 

My family loves smoothies.  We drink them almost everyday!  It’s an excellent way to add a nutritious treat as well as a great way to start the day!

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I have been noticing this trend with smoothie bowls, so decided what better time to try one than when pairing Stonyfield Yogurt and Bob’s Red Mill Steel Oats?  Oh my goodness was this good!  I already know we love our Stonyfield, but to pair it in this way just upped the breakfast game.  We added Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats on top for a really yummy oatmeal flavor and texture!  And it looks so pretty!  I highly recommend trying this, you will be so happy!

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Here is the recipe for our Morning Smoothie Bowl (This will make two 16oz bowls):

1 1/2 cup frozen fruit – You can use whatever fruit you want really.  We used a mix of strawberries, bananas, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

1 whole banana

1 cup Stonyfield Yogurt – we used the French Vanilla Whole Milk organic yogurt

1 cup Almond Milk, or milk of your choice

4 scoops protein powder of your choice

3 drops Young Living Orange Vitality Essential Oil

 

Put all ingredients in blender.  For a smoothie bowl you want it rather thick, so if too thin add a little more frozen fruit or ice cubes will work too!  Once blended, pour into your bowl.  You can add just about anything on top.  We added sliced bananas, strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, raspberries, black chia seeds, golden flax seed, Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats and organic whipped cream.  The whole preparation took about 15 minutes from start to finish.

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Your family will feel special when you set these down in front of them at breakfast, or even for an afternoon snack or dessert!!   And you can always feel good serving Stonyfield to your family.  We will be trying different variations for sure!  Enjoy!

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**The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

Tips On How You Can Help

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Did you know September is Hunger Action Month?

According to a 2014 study by Feeding America46.5 million Americans utilize a food bank.

Lisa Tomasi, Philanthropy Expert and Founder of e-giving site YouGiveGoods, stresses that while many may feel that a small effort isn’t enough to make a change, every little bit helps someone who is facing hunger. Lisa has provided her insight for those who want to band together and help a good cause.

Tips to Fight Back During Hunger Action Month:

  1. Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.
  2. Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.
  3. Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use YouGiveGoods.com to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.
  4. Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.
  5. Donate food. Don’t just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises.

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For more ways you can help, see Lisa’s site or contact your local Food Bank.  There is really no reason we should have a hunger problem here in America.

Pack It With Stonyfield and Justin’s For Back-to-School Lunches!

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Lunch time is easy when you have Stonyfield squeezers and Justin’s to go butters.  I know my kids are getting a great balance in nutrition, and they love the taste!    The Maple Almond Butter is hands down their favorite!  Easy to open pouches, I can throw these in with some crackers and they are thrilled.  Plus the Justin’s company is full of integrity!  Their values on sustainability, nutritionally sound, all natural products and giving back to the community fall right in line with our family values.   They have a variety of butters and snack items and can be found in your local grocery store.  I highly encourage you to try them and see how easy they are for kids on the go and how yummy they all taste!

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Adding Stonyfield Yogurt Squeezers to the bag makes their lunch even more special.  My youngest daughter loves the Lemonade flavor best.  We also freeze these for tasty after school treats!!  And Stonyfield is full of nothing but goodness for their bodies.  I know they are getting everything they need without all the junk they don’t!

Our newest addition to the back-to-school lunch routine is also our newest favorite!  The PackIt Lunch Cooler is so convenient and fun!  PackIt is the only bag that keeps food and drinks cool for up to 10 hours—no ice packs needed. Its secret sauce? A patented freezable gel that’s built into the walls of the bag.  It’s so simple to use, just throw store it in freezer and when it’s time to pack it, just open it and it’s ready to go!   Plus the patterns are fun and it comes in a huge variety of styles and colors!  We are definitely going to be picking up a couple more of these!  We got the Freezable Lunch Bag and it’s so simple to use.  Folds up neatly to the size of a thick paperback book. It secures with a handy Velcro tab for compact storage.  The entire bag goes in your freezer overnight (12 hours) to activate its built-in freezable gel. By morning, the walls of the bag will be completely frozen and ready to chill just like a fridge.  Everything stays cool and fresh all day!

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With our busy lives, it’s important to make the mornings go as smoothly as possible and these products certainly help!  Check out the PackIt systems here, and grab your Stonyfield and Justin’s products at your local grocery.  Your kids will thank you and your morning will run a bit smoother!!

**The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

 

Stonyfield YoBaby Happiness Plus GIVEAWAY!

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Did you hear the news?!  *Stonyfield YoBaby is the #1 pediatrician recommended brand for 6 month to 2 year olds among refrigerated yogurts (IMS Health ProVoice Survey, 12/01/15 -02/29/16)!

Say what?!  That’s right!  The number 1 yogurt for your beautiful babes.    I have been using Stonyfield brand for years with my kids and now with my grandson.  He will be 2 in November and absolutely loves his yogurt snack time!  I wish I had a story to tell of how he wouldn’t eat a thing until Stonyfield, etc…but honestly, he is a good eater and has loved his yogurt since he started on solids!  I even use it in smoothies for him.  Plus, all Stonyfield yogurts are organic so I can feel good knowing they’re made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones or GMOs.  YoBaby has been available for over 16 years and continues to get better and better.  That’s a generation of young people who got their start on Stonyfield YoBaby!  Several flavors are available including, Plain, Vanilla, Blueberry/Apple, Banana/Mango and Peach/Pear.  Emmet loves the Banana and Mango flavors!

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The first time I tried YoBaby was with my youngest daughter.  I was so excited to find a yogurt that was formulated for her little system.  We were exclusively nursing when it became obvious she wanted to “eat” with us.  I wasn’t worried about fruits and veggies, but her older sister loved yogurt and Xiola seemed to want that as well.   I knew I didn’t want her having cow milk, so I did alot of research on giving her yogurt, mainly because I loved it and knew there are benefits to eating a good organic yogurt.  Thanks to the live, active cultures that break down the lactose and protein, it’s much easier for babies to digest.  YoBaby yogurt is naturally rich in calcium and fortified with vitamin D, two must-have nutrients for babies. And there’s no worry that yogurt would replace breast milk or formula in the diet.  For these reasons, pediatricians give yogurt the green light for babies beginning at six months.   That was good information!   Since we were practicing child led weaning, it was a huge plus that it wouldn’t replace her main source of nutrition at that time.  Both girls were nursed until they decided they were finished.  We didn’t introduce solids into their diet until they seemed to want it.  Our first daughter was a year old and Xiola was about 7 months.  We let the girls feed themselves to the best of their ability.  So yogurt time was also a time to explore the gooiness and sensations of the food itself.  Yogurt art on the high chair tray is common in our home today as well.  Ha!  With Xiola, her yogurt journey began at around 8 months of age and she is now almost 11.  And her love for it has only grown.  Now we make smoothies, popsicles…we use it in baking and on granola.  Pretty much any where we can add yogurt we do!  And it’s always Stonyfield.

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Right now, Stonyfield wants to  help you get started with YoBaby by giving away a 3 months supply (coupns for Free yogurt will be sent)!  All you need to do is comment on this post about what your favorite yogurt flavor is and I will pick a winner through random drawing!  3 months of YoBaby Happiness!  They might even throw in some extra goodies, you never know!  So leave your comment and you may win a 3 months supply of the number 1 recommended yogurt for your youngster.  Deadline to enter is August 18th!   Good luck!

You can find Stonyfield products at most grocery stores.  The yogurt is also perfect to use in recipes subbing out higher fat ingredients…we use it everyday!  Hope you and your little ones enjoy!

 

 

*The claim was validated by AlphaImpactRx, a provider of primary research-based insights, analytics and solutions. Using the ProVoice survey methodology, AlphalmpacRx fielded to 736 U.S. pediatricians from 12/01/15 to 02/29/16, recording recommendations and validating the claim. For details about AlphaImpactRx please go to http://www.alphaimpactrx.com .  For details about ProVoice, please go to http://www.alphaimpactrx.com/products-andservices/provoice/ .

To Stonyfield’s knowledge, Stonyfield YoBaby yogurt is the only one currently making the claim in the U.S. that it is the #1 Pediatrician Recommended refrigerated yogurt for babies between 6 months to 2 years.  It is anticipated that the new YoBaby yogurt packaging bearing the claim will be on the shelves in or about September 2016, but consumers may see a mix of packaging on the shelf for a brief period of time.  Stonyfield has not had a similar survey or claim validation conducted for YoKids or YoTot products. Stonyfield is not making the above claim with regard to YoKids or YoTot.

**The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

Stonyfield Goodness

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Hey all!  This month Stonyfield challenged the Yo Getters to come up with some recipes using Stonyfield Yogurt and Nativas Naturals products.  I received the Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.  Both of these are super nutritious additions to any recipe.

Why do you want these in your pantry?  Read on…

Mulberry Berries

Mulberries are native to the Morus genus of trees and can be found in many parts of the world nowadays, but they originated in the Far East, traveling along the Silk Road from China to Turkey. Beyond their sweet and delicate flavor, mulberries are an excellent source of nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin C, protein and fiber.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds provide a healthy dose of protein, omega fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

Hemp is a well-balanced vegetarian protein source that includes all of the essential amino acids. Not only is hemp one of the best veggie sources of protein, it’s easy for the body to digest and assimilate. Hemp also features plenty of other nutrients including abundant fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids.

The Recipes

I made the best dinner the other night using Stonyfield Yogurts and Navita Naturals products.  I love testing new recipes and decided instead of doing just one recipe with my yogurt, why not base an entire meal around it?

So for your enjoyment, here is what I made:

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Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken

I love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean style food.  The spices and freshness are so appealing and healthy.  For this dish, the spices and yogurt were a perfect match.

INGREDIENTS

1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken

DIRECTIONS

Mix the yogurt with the seasonings and place in a plastic bag with the chicken.

Marinate for 2 hours to overnight.

Pound chicken in the bag with the marinade to 1/2 thick and grill, saute, skewer or bake until lightly browned and cooked through.

Serve with rice or pasta and salad and enjoy!

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Greek Inspired Salad

For the salad I chopped up Romaine lettuce and added heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, goat cheese crumbles, chopped cucumbers and topped it with Navitas Naturals Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.  Super simple!  The dressing is a yogurt dressing I made and oh my gosh, Stonyfield organic yogurt is perfect for this.  All the flavor of Ranch without all the bad for you fat and extra ingredients!  This didn’t last the night.

Lemon-Dill Yogurt Dressing

1 cup while milk Stonyfield plain yogurt, drained for 1 hour in a strainer (save the whey that drips out for smoothies!)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

After yogurt has drained and thickened, combine everything into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.  Great with salads or as a dip!!

And to top off the meal, a dessert using my yogurt and toppings!  These also didn’t hang out for long.

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French Yogurt Cupcakes

Nonstick canola oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup plain whole-milk Stonyfield yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Navitas Naturals Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cupcake pan with canola oil spray or paper liners.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

Using your fingers, rub raw sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle help seeds and mulberries on top if desired. Bake until top of cakecakes are golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely.  Can top with homemade whipped cream if desired.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

So there you have it!  My Stonyfield based meal!  You can find Stonyfield products at most grocery stores.  The yogurt is perfect to use in recipes subbing out higher fat ingredients…we use it everyday!  Hope you enjoy and let me know what you have made with your Stonyfield products!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

Ice Chips Review!

I recently received an assortment of Ice Chips from Bev and Charlotte to review and am thrilled with them!  What a great way to get the benefits of Xylitol in a sweet treat that I feel good giving to my girls.  Love them!

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Who are the Ice Chips Grandmas?

Bev Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary have known each other since 1986.  They met in Washington state and bonded over their shared entrepreneurial spirits and love of all natural products.  Over the years they had many ideas they put into place, including all natural herbal salves and lotions.

In the fall of 2009, they were looking for a way to make Xylitol candy. They knew Xylitol was great for teeth and diabetics could enjoy it.  They wanted to create a good for you treat.  They had tried ordering a few different kinds but could not find one with the zing and the burst of flavors they wanted.  They are both grandmas and between them they have 37 grandchildren. They wanted a healthy candy that would taste good enough so that their grandchildren would gobble it the same way they gobbled sugar. Thus, Ice Chips Candy® was born.

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What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a polyol, a sugar alcohol. It is all natural, safe for diabetics and has many health benefits.

Mostly, it is made from birch bark or corn. Ice Chips Candy uses only the birch bark Xylitol in order to avoid any chance of using Genetically Modified Corn (GMO).

What are some of the benefits of Xylitol?

  • Strengthens teeth
  • Reduces new tooth decay
  • Reduces cavity-causing bacteria
  • Inhibits growth of dental plaque
  • Stimulates saliva flow
  • Does NOT impact insulin levels
  • Contains zero net effective carbs
  • Delicious and satisfying
  • The FDA has approved xylitol as a Natural Sweetener
  • Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables
  • Xylitol is found in small amounts in the human body
  • One teaspoon of xylitol contains 40% less calories than sugar
  • Savoring ICE CHIPS Candy 3 to 5 times a day delivers maximum benefits
  • Use ICE CHIPS Candy immediately after meals or snacks
  • Recent studies have found a link between consuming Xylitol during pregnancy and stronger teeth in infants

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I have to say, these little tins won’t be lasting long in our house!  The kids love them and I know they are getting some great benefits!  The Root Beer Float is my girls favorite!  I love the Peppermint.  But they all taste fantastic!

You can find Ice Chips at most Whole Foods and other health food stores.  Or you can order directly from the Grandmas!!

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The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

A Few Beautiful Blogs

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I wanted to share a few blogs on my blog roll this week.  With rainy days all week, these are a few of the places I am visiting when baby is napping.  All are beautiful in their own way.  Relax and enjoy!

Attic 24 – Oh the color!  The yarn!  The patterns!  The crochet!  I absolutely adore this one so very much!  Lucy is most inspiring!

Sew Liberated – After a hiatus, Meg McElwee is back with a revamped blog that I adore!! I have both her sewing books, Sew Liberated and Growing Up Sew Liberated, and love every pattern.  Definitely one of my favorites!

A Beautiful Mess – Talk about inspiring, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman have created a gorgeous lifestyle blog that is beyond beautiful!  I want every photo to be my life!

Design Mom – Another lifestyle blog that I could stare at for hours.  Gabrielle Blair created a gorgeous blog full of gorgeous things.

Magic Onions – This is a sweet Waldorf Blog I have been perusing for years.  I love all the crafts and ideas!  Many of these have been created in our home when the girls were young.  I love all things Waldorf.

So there you have it….a few blogs I am reading this week!  Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, you may be here awhile!

Enjoy!!

*contains affiliate links

Review: Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt

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Who here doesn’t love a good yogurt?  We are a huge fan in this house and have always used Stonyfield for everything from eating it alone, to smoothies, to substituting it for milk in recipes, even as a sour cream substitute!  This month I tried the Organic Greek Yogurt for the first time and have to say we are all hooked!  Such a great thick and smooth texture, fresh flavors and of course the Stonyfield quality!  My 18 month old grandson loves it with almost every meal!  I use it in the kids morning smoothies and even used the Blueberry flavored yogurt in waffle mix!!  Yum!

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One of the best things Stonyfield did with this yogurt is keep the flavor separate from the actual yogurt.  This works well in my family because my oldest daughter loves full flavor, while my youngest likes it lighter.  Satisfies both of them!

If you haven’t tried the Greek Yogurt yet, don’t walk, run and get it.  I promise you will never go back to regular!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine.  I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like.  Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

Ratatouille

Last month I had the extreme pleasure to attend my dear friend, Jaime Rubensteins’s January Cooking Class.   Jaime is an art and cooking instructor and holds classes in both mediums once a month.  They are fantastic!!  I had the best afternoon and met some really beautiful people!

For the January class, Jaime taught us how to make Ratatouille, Hummus, and DIY Pita Chips.  I love Mediterranean food and so this class really appealed to my taste buds!  Jaime had also just taken an amazing journey through Israel last Fall, so I knew she would have some authentic tips.

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We started off by roasting the vegetables for the Ratatouille.  The smell in that kitchen was heavenly!  I never really thought about roasting vegetables much prior to using in dishes, however Jaime explained to us that this brings out the true flavors.  We drizzled with Olive Oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes.  After they had cooled they were chopped up and sauted on the stove.  The great thing about Ratatouille is there are no really wrong ways to make it.  We used squash, eggplant, onions and tomatoes, but you can add and subtract anything.  And you can spice it up as much as you want.  What Jaime made for us was amazing!

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While veggies were roasting for the Ratatouille, we worked on the hummus.  Simple and easy!!  I have this same Ninja and I have to say it is my favorite kitchen appliance next to my Instant Pot!  Everything for the hummus just goes in here and walla!  There are so many different things you can put into it too!  Delicious and fresh hummus was ready!  The pita chips were made with pita bread cut into triangles and drizzled with olive oil and spices.  Again, you can spice these up as much as you want!   We baked them under the roasting vegetables for about 15 minutes.  Delicious!!!  I could have eaten the whole bowl by myself!

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If you are local to the Austin area, I highly recommend getting on Jaime’s email list and taking one or more of her classes.  They are fun, affordable and best of all, delicious!!!!  Bon Apetit!!

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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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I love this time of year when the weather is cold and soup is hot!  The other day I made the best soup! Chicken and Wild Rice using Young Living oils.  The flavors blended beautifully.  I have to say I even impressed myself.  The real test came with my youngest.  She is super picky, but loved it so much she went back for more!  I coupled it with Pamela’s brand gluten free bread mix for a homemade bread.  This is definitely a new staple in our home.

 

Here is the recipe.  I promise you will love it!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice blend
2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cup diced carrots (from 4 medium)
2 cup diced celery (from 5 stalks)
14 Tbsp butter, diced, divided
2 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs shredded chicken
9 cups chicken broth
2-3 drops each thyme, marjoram, sage and rosemary oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 lbs chicken, shredded
1 cup flour
3 cups milk (I used Milkman Instant Powdered milk according to package directions)
1 cup heavy cream (I didn’t have heavy cream, so to make soup richer I added 3/4 cup of Milkman milk with 1/3 cup melted butter)
2 tsp lemon zest

Directions

Prepare rice according to directions listed on package.

Halfway through the rice cooking, in a separate large pot, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and saute until slightly tender, about 4 minutes, adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sauteing. Add chicken broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high, add chicken and bring mixture to a boil. If chicken is uncooked, cover pot with lid and allow mixture to boil 12 – 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (rotating chicken to opposite side once during cooking for thicker chicken pieces – if they don’t fully immerse in broth). Remove chicken and set aside on cutting board to cool 5 minutes then shred into small bite size pieces. If chicken is cooked then just shred it and add it and continue from here… Reduce heat to low and add cooked rice.

In a separate medium saucepan (I just rinsed and wiped out the rice pan), melt remaining 12 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly. Then, while whisking vigorously, slowly pour milk into butter/flour mixture. Cook mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens. Add milk mixture to soup mixture in pot and cook about 5 minutes longer, or until soup is thickened (at this point, you can simmer the soup for a longer period of time if you want the rice to soften more, just cover with lid first and stir occasionally. You can also add more chicken broth if desired). Stir in heavy cream and lemon zest and serve warm.

Original recipe can be found here.

I did modify it and double it for my large family.  I also boiled a whole chicken with onions, celery, carrots, rosemary and salt and pepper and then shredded the meat for the soup and continued boiling the bones for the broth.  Yum!!!

 

Perfect meal for even the skeptics in your house.  Enjoy!

~Peace and Love,

Cat