creamy apple fennel soup

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It’s winter in California, which means that delicious apples are everywhere. For that reason, it’s also the only time of year that I crave them. It’s pretty impressive how the body can be so in tune with the seasons, even so much so that cravings follow suit. That crisp bite, the sweet aroma and flavor. Apples are all kinds of good. Every week, my husband and I get a bunch of apples from the “aesthetically challenged” bin at Farmers Market, and I get to put some creativity to work. I have been using them in all sorts of recipes, from walnut butter bacon apple omelets and fermented farmers market chutney to apple butter pumpkin pie and everything in between (stay tuned for more recipes like butter baked cinnamon apples and fermented apple cider), but I thought it was time to take this delectable fruit to the dinner table.

Winter is great for apples, yes, but it is also the perfect season for soul warming soups. When taking things savory, one of my favorite foods to pair the sweetness of apple with is the somewhat sweet, anise-like bite of fresh, seasonal fennel (apple fennel sausage anyone?). So, with that in mind, I went to work creating a perfectly creamy sweet and savory apple fennel soup, and the finished product is so good that we have had it 4 nights over the past week. The sunchoke (also abundant this time of year) adds texture and creaminess, plus plenty of fiber for a soup to keep you feeling full – mind, body, and soul.

See for yourself! Recreate. Share. Enjoy <3

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Creamy Apple Fennel Soup (GF, NF, DF)

  • Servings: 3-5
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 TB grass fed butter or ghee (bacon grease, tallow, or coconut oil will work, but I love the flavor that the ghee adds to this)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 organic apples, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets*
  • 3 cups of homemade bone broth
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Optional – choose your toppings: Lewis Labs brewers yeast, raw cheese, maple glazed or roasted walnuts, bacon bits, etc.

*The original recipe used sunchokes or potatoes here. In a happy accident, I used cauli instead, and WOW, what an improvement. The flavors of the apple and fennel take the stage, and the texture is perfect. Enjoy!

WHAT YOU DO:

  • melt cooking fat in a sauce pan over medium heat
  • cook onion and fennel until soft
  • add apple, cauliflower, broth, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, bring to simmer, cover, and let cook until everything is soft (about 15-20 minutes)
  • blend in Vitamix or blender until smooth (in batches if needed)
  • return to sauce pan and add a bit more salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • serve warm with desired toppings and ENJOY!

We had ours topped with grated raw aged cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and maple Old Dog Ranch walnuts. This is great as an appetizer, side dish, or in some cases a main meal. Enjoy! <3

shaved brussie bacon salad

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This is a good one, a real original. What we’ve got here is a cool, crisp salad that works well in winter, filled with many of the flavors from my bacon apple nut brussies (a real hit with you guys), but with a unique twist.

Brussel sprouts and apples are in season right now, and I just can’t seem to leave farmers market without bags filled with them. Maybe it’s the friendly farmers who know me by name. Maybe it’s the fact that I LOVE both. Maybe it’s because we’re going to blink, and this time of year will be gone and a whole new crop of new fruits and veggies will be in season. Most likely, though, it’s all of these reasons.

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There’s something really amazing about the combination of brussel sprouts, apples, and bacon. Add the sweetly soft but crunchy cashews and the salty crumbly cheese, and it’s hard to beat this simple salad that can be whipped up in minutes. So grill up a steak or roast some crispy chicken, and sit down to a fancy meal that you can make at home because shaved brussel sprouts scream class, and no one will know how easy this was to make!

As always… Recreate. Share. Enjoy! <3

Shaved Brussie Bacon Salad (GF, DF option)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 cups of organic brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 8 strips of pastured bacon
  • 1 large organic apple
  • 2 oz raw crumbly cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

  • chop your bacon into bits, cook in a pan over medium heat until crispy
  • use a slotted spoon to move bits to a small bowl, and save your grease for later (always)
  • shave your brussel sprouts either with a mandoline OR by cutting the stems, tossing them into a Vitamix and pulsing until they’re shaved (so easy, but not as pretty)
  • dump the shaved brussies into a salad bowl
  • now, put your cashews into the Vitamix, pulse until chopped, and add to the salad bowl
  • dice your apple and add that, along with your crumbled cheese and the bacon bits
  • mix olive oil and vinegar, pour over ingredients, and toss
  • sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • serve and ENJOY!

Let me know what you think! Cheers.

cocoa nut butter zucchini muffins

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MY husband and I have gotten really good at a once a week shopping trip to farmers market that lasts us the whole week. Usually, Friday and Saturday turn out some pretty awesome, creative meals as we work to use up whatever is left  before our Sunday trip. Soups turn to sauces, meals might look like slop (but taste like heaven), and sometimes, I am inspired to create some of my most loved recipes. This week, we had a lone zucchini left, and I had an itch to bake with chocolate on my mind. So with that, these cocoa nut butter zucchini muffins were born.

They’re moist and flavorful from creamy sunflower butter, zucchini shreds, and a touch of pure maple syrup and organic cocoa powder. Plus, they’ve got the perfect crunch from organic Old Dog Ranch walnuts. Fool your friends and family into starting the day off with some veg by serving up these zucchinis in disguise. They last all week and are a great snack on the go.

But don’t just read this and believe it. Give this simple recipe a shot, and as always… Recreate. Share. Enjoy! <3

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Cocoa Nut Butter Zucchini Muffins (GF, DF)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 medium zucchini (be sure it’s organic; HERE’s why)
  • 1 cup nut or seed butter of your choice (I went with organic sunflower seed butter*)
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 TB coconut flour
  • 2 TB cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

*note: sometimes sunflower seed butter makes the muffins turn green. It’s totally natural, and actually pretty damn cool. St. Patty’s day anyone?

HERE are notes for my ingredients

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 375F
  • shred/pulse zucchini and press the water out with paper towels
  • combine nut butter, eggs, syrup, vanilla, and salt until smooth
  • stir in the coconut flour and cocoa powder until combined
  • fold in your pressed zucchini
  • and then fold in your chopped walnuts
  • use 1/4 to spoon the batter into muffin wrappers in a muffin tin
  • put them in the oven and reduce heat to 350F
  • bake for 20 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)
  • ENJOY! These are great all week and a delicious breakfast treat <3

Let me know what you guys think of these. And as always, feel free to reach out with questions about this recipe or any. I am always happy to respond to comments or email. Cheers!

walnut butter bacon apple omelet

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I can’t think of any better way to start this blog post (a post celebrating three of my favorite things and three of my favorite farmers) than with a story for you guys. So here goes…

I’m standing in line to buy some of the most delicious organic apples (that I have picked from the “aesthetically challenged” bin because they’re cheaper and have more character, with all the flavor), and the guy in front of me steps up to pay for his apples that are $2.50 a pound but worth every penny. When the lady (lovingly referred to by us as “the apple lady”) tells him the cost, he looks at her in disbelief, and says something along the lines of, “this apple is a whole dollar??” Her response, in her perfect Italian accent, was priceless… “You think this is expensive? Why don’t you just go buy a bag of candy for a dollar then? These apples are worth the cost. Health is worth the cost.” He, of course, paid for the apples because they ARE worth the cost and moved on. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh aloud, admiring her unapologetic response and the pride she takes in the literal fruits of her labor. After a morning like that, I came home inspired and extra appreciative of the apples that I bought from this little old lady with a big heart and passion for growing organic, nutrient dense foods to sell to others who care about their health and the health of the earth.

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So, this recipe comes to you as an ode to my three favorite farmers at the Mountain View farmers market. The apple lady for her vivacity. Molly from Old Dog Ranch for being so cool, fun to talk to, and for never failing to make the most amazing walnut butter you’ll ever taste (and who just happens to be named after to dog that Old Dog Ranch is named after – how cool is that?). And Lisa from Pasture Chick Ranch for her uncanny ability to know how I am feeling and cheer me up when I need it, for being the first stop on our farmers market walk every week, and for renewing my love for poultry because I finally found true pastured chicken (whole birds, hearts, livers, heads, feet, and eggs) that tastes and nourishes like it’s supposed to.

I appreciate every farmer, of course, but these three have become more to me. They’re friends. They’re role models. And they are people passionate about nourishment – mind, body, and soul. So cheers to you three and a lifetime of doing what you love, early Sunday mornings and all <3

I bring to you an omelet of Pasture Chick eggs, Old Dog Ranch walnut butter, and our apple lady’s delicious aesthetically challenged apples (with bacon thrown in because… well, bacon). It’s basically like an apple pie melded with bacon that you can eat for breakfast, and it’s so damn good. So as always… Recreate. Share. Enjoy!

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Walnut Butter Bacon Apple Omelet (GF, DF, QCA)

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-3 slices pastured bacon
  • 3 pastured eggs
  • 2 TB organic walnut butter

WHAT YOU DO:

  • put apple, water, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in a small sauce pan and bring to boil
  • once boiling, set to simmer and leave lid slightly open to let apples cook down, stirring and crushing down occasionally (about 30 minutes or until soft and chunky with the water mostly gone)
  • dice your bacon and cook in a pan over medium heat
  • once your bacon is crispy, use a slotted spoon to move to a plate, and pour your grease into a ramekin for later use (but leave enough to cook your omelet in)
  • whisk your eggs (you can use a bit of coconut milk too) and pour into bacon greased pan
  • using a spatula, lift edges and move pan around so that you the eggs cook evenly into the diameter of the pan
  • once eggs are almost cooked through (just the top is still jiggly), add most of your apple sauce to just one half of the eggs, leaving about 1/4 inch diameter
  • then add a layer of your walnut butter, topped with a sprinkle of cooked bacon
  • fold your eggs over, and press down lightly
  • let cook for about a minute, and then flip
  • once your omelet is cooked through, plate, and then top with any remaining apple sauce, a bit of walnut butter, and a sprinkle of bacon
  • Enjoy!! This leaves me satiated and happy for hours. <3