If you have a moment, could you read and leave a comment on yesterday’s post about “defining healthy eating”? I really appreciate your thoughts…thanks!

I came down with a cold earlier this week and that meant only one thing: I had to make soup.

Chicken soup to be exact: because there is nothing like a steaming bowl (or 5 or 6, consumed throughout the day) when I am not feeling well. There’s a reason why it’s nicknamed Jewish penicillin, after all.

chicken soup

Though I always make chicken soup pretty much the same way, I like to change up the basic recipe just a tad each time I make it. Sometimes I add miso (instead of salt) into a serving of soup and sometimes I make it with fresh ginger and dust it with a little cayenne pepper. Sometimes I make it with potatoes or sweet potatoes and sometimes I cook in some noodles at the end (I like 100% buckwheat soba or rice noodles). Sometimes I add crème fraiche or coconut milk just before serving…you get the picture, right?

chicken soup image

This particular version makes use of seasonally available turnip greens as well as rutabaga that came out of my garden. You are free to use another green that you like, as well as parsnips or turnips instead of the rutabaga, if you prefer.

Remember not to discard your picked over chicken bones; keep them in the freezer so that you can make chicken stock.

Recipe for Chicken Soup with Rutabaga and Greens

inspired by my dad, Barry Wine

Ingredients:

*1 whole chicken, approximately 3-4 pounds, preferably organic/free-range
*1 tablespoon organic butter
*1 tablespoons olive oil
*1 large onion, peeled and chopped
*3 large organic carrots, peeled and chopped
*3 stalks organic celery, cleaned and chopped
*1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped (or use chopped parsnips or turnips)
*approximately 4 cups chopped turnip greens (or other dark leafy greens like kale)
*coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
*sriracha chili sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)- to taste

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot. Place chicken in the pot and allow to sear for a minute or so on each side. Add a little water if necessary to prevent the chicken from burning.

2. Add chopped onion and cook for several minutes, moving the chicken around, again adding a little water to prevent burning.

3. Add the rest of the vegetables (but not the greens: add them at the end), then add enough water to cover the chicken (about 10 cups). Bring to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 50 minutes-1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

4. Turn off heat. Carefully remove the chicken and allow to cool in a separate bowl.

5. If you are going to serve all of the soup right away, you’ll want to remove the meat from the chicken bones, chop or shred it, and add it back into the soup (make sure you don’t burn yourself). If not serving all of the soup now, you can store the chicken separately and make use of it however you like: I often use some to make chicken salad.

6. Add greens about five minutes before serving: the heat of the soup will wilt them down. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

chicken soup photo

This recipe is linked to Kitchen Bootcamp‘s January challenge: Soups!

It’s the New Year and just about everyone I know is on some sort of healthy eating regime. Among food bloggers, the “4 Weeks to Your Best Self” plan from Whole Living seems to be pretty popular. So does the Food Lover’s Cleanse from Bon Appetit.

So I am curious.
Are you trying to eat healthy this week? This month? This year? And what exactly does that mean to you?

I am not on any particular healthy eating plan right now. I’m not doing anything new (aside from cutting way back on sweets: I ate far more sugar than I normally do throughout the entire holiday season). I’m not doing anything different because I am happy with how I eat. I feel that I eat healthy. I’ve been eating the way I eat for years…it works for me and I have no complaints about my weight or my health. So there’s really no reason for me to do anything different in terms of the way I eat or the recipes I share just because it’s January.

But maybe how I eat (and the recipes I feature on this blog) don’t mesh with your ideas of healthy.

Sure I advocate eating tons of vegetables, but I’m also big on butter. Maybe you don’t think butter is healthy?

I don’t count calories. Ever. I refuse to post the calorie count for my recipes. Maybe you think you have to count calories to eat healthy?

I eat meat. Not alot, and always grass-fed, but I eat it. Maybe you don’t think eating meat is healthy?

Again, I’d like to know what eating healthy means to you. I have no intention of saying anything negative about your comment if we don’t feel the same way about something. And I ask the same of you…please be respectful. We don’t have to agree on everything.

My blog has the word “healthy” in the title, and while I know what the word means to me, I really want to know what it means to you. Does it mean avoiding processed foods? Refined sugar? Wheat? Dairy? Fat? Does it mean eating everything, but making sure to do so in moderation?

After I get some feedback on this question, maybe I’ll publish a healthy eating FAQ of sorts. The guidelines I follow, and why I follow them. And I’d love to have an ongoing dialogue about healthy eating, because my main goal with this blog has always been to inspire others to eat in a way that benefits their health.

So help me out here: what are your thoughts on healthy eating? What does healthy eating mean to you?

Last January, my main resolution was to eat breakfast each and every day. I am happy to report that I’ve been able to stick to said plan. :)

I posted this ochazuke recipe when I announced the resolution early in 2010; ochazuke with egg is something I still enjoy quite frequently, especially in the winter.

ochazuke

I love this recipe because it’s both nutritious and tasty. Another plus is that if you’ve got leftover brown rice in the refrigerator, you can prepare it in a couple of minutes. Wakame seaweed is something you may not have in your pantry, but believe me: you should. Seaweeds are chock full of minerals and excellent for helping to detoxify the body. If you don’t have the seaweed, though, you could use some shredded kale (or another dark leafy green) and cook it with the shallots.

If the fiber and B-vitamins from the rice and the superfoods profile of the seaweed aren’t enough to talk you into this dish, you’ve also got the anti-oxidant rich green tea, the protein from the egg(s) and all the beneficial compounds in the shallots. Do I need to go on?

While this recipe does make a great savory breakfast, it can, of course, be enjoyed any time of the day. If you don’t eat eggs, you could try this with cooked tempeh or fish (salmon would be great).

ochazuke photo

Feel free to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the ochazuke before serving, as well.

Recipe for Ochazuke with Caramelized Shallots and Fried Egg

Serves 2

Ingredients:

* 1- 1 1/2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (you could use white rice instead, but it's not as good for you)
* 2 tablespoons dried wakame seaweed rehydrated for a few minutes in 1 cup of very hot green tea (sencha, hojicha or genmaicha are best; matcha is not generally used for ochazuke, but I've used it when I don't have the others)

* 1-2 tablespoons organic coconut oil or olive oil
* 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
* 2-4 eggs, preferably organic and free-range (I use eggs from my backyard chickens)

* coarse sea salt (black lava salt is nice, if you can find it)

Directions:

1. Divide the brown rice into two bowls. Pour the green tea (along with the rehydrated wakame) over the brown rice. Allow to steep while you prepare the shallots and the eggs.

2. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet. Add the shallots and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until very soft and brown. Move the shallots over to the edge of the pan. Add a little more oil to the pan if it seems too dry.

3. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the whites are solid. For over-easy eggs, flip and cook for another minute or two on the other side.

4. Top the rice/green tea/seaweed with the cooked eggs and the shallots. Sprinkle with a little sea salt before serving.

More Ochazuke Recipes:

Classic Ochazuke from Eat a Duck I Must
Ochazuke from Roti n Rice
Salmon Ochazuke from Food52