Watercress Soup

Lately I have been making a new version of soup based on my Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup base. It is delicious and I love the addition of watercress, which is a nutrient powerhouse, and is naturally anti-histamine. This version is made in my Instant Pot, but can also be done stovetop if you don’t have one. I use water as the liquid, but you can certainly opt for broth. Meat broth or juices are often problematic for me due to their high histamine content, but they do make an even tastier soup, so if you tolerate them, GO for it!

2 1 lb bags of frozen cauliflower, I use the organic 365 brand from Whole Foods
2 large leeks, white part only, trimmed and washed thoroughly. Slice them in half lengthwise so you can really rinse out the dirt between the layers
2 or 3 big handfuls of watercress
2 shallots, peeled
2 celery stalks
2 1/2 cups of water or chicken broth

Add the ingredients to your Instant Pot and hit the SOUP function.
When the cooking is complete you can either use quick release, or let the pressure release naturally.

If you are blending in a plastic blender jar, let the soup cool. I use my beloved Blendtec blender and ingredients need to be 115 or less for blending, so I cover the soup with this silicone lid and refrigerate for a few hours.
If you are using an immersion blender or glass jar blender, you can let it cool slightly for safety and then blend. You may need to blend in batches depending on the capacity of your jar.
If you are using water as the liquid, then drizzle in about 2 T of olive oil as you blend to aid in emulsification of the soup. This creates a creamier soup texture. The soup should be really creamy and fairly thick.
Season to taste. I like smoked sea salt.

Like my other soups I jar these up in 10 oz servings using pint size wide mouth mason jars for my #freezerstash. Due to my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and its associate histamine issues I freeze all of my batch prepped foods right away to reduce the opportunity for histamine build up which occurs in leftover foods.

FYI this soup is even better the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to blend.

Pictured with the soup are my yummy home grown micros. You can grow them too. Read all about them in my prior post here.

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I appreciate when you use affiliate links, which help support this blog. Most things I share about here I purchase myself, but I do occasionally receive sample items from vendors to be able to test out new things. However I never share about anything I don’t use myself and totally love!

Fall 2018 South Florida Garden Update…Year 4 of My Raised Bed Garden

It’s the start of our Florida garden season and I am so excited to be out in the garden again!
This is the start of year 4 of my gardening journey and I am trying a few new things that may or may not work, but the beauty of gardening is that some things fail and that is ok! If some of the crops that are new to me don’t work out, I will just pull them and put something else in their place. No biggie. I am known to some on instagram as the radish lady, because there are radishes on so many of my plates! I just LOVE them, but have had little success growing them in the past. They grew nice greens, which I ate all last season, but they would just not bulb! This year I am trying them again with fingers crossed and at a minimum I will enjoy their greens. I am also trying carrots, but I added some sand and coconut coir to the soil in their squares to loosen it up a bit…another experiment. We shall see about that!
Of course the BULK of my beds will be my beloved greens. I love kale and bok choy so they are taking up a big chunk of my garden plan. I also adore ball turnips since they are a 2 for 1 crop…you get the turnip and its greens…winning! I love using the seed tape by Park Seed Company as it makes planting so easy! Unroll and cover with dirt…done. I know that Territorial Seed also sells seed tapes and I want to try them next, after I use up what I already own. I think they have a slightly larger variety of seed tapes, and also offer seed mats and disks designed for containers. Cool!
I love the square foot garden planner on the Gardeners.com website as you can map out a garden plan. In prior years I would just head to the plant sale without a plan and end up with too much of some things and too little of others. The planner will even tell you how many plants per square with planting tips which are handy. Once I have my plan all mapped out and I head out to the raised beds, I like using the Seeding Square to make planting from seed easy. You can use a tape measure, but I just find the Seeding Square really helps make planting quicker and neater, and I do love a good organization hack.
This year I am leaving space in my plan for some succession planting a few weeks in to the season, so that I can stagger some of my harvesting. I do a lot of “cut and come again” with my greens, but may pull and replace plants sooner this year if they show any hints of struggle. I am also doing a combo of planting “starts” I purchase from an upcoming plant sale at my awesome local farm, Little River Cooperative, as well as planting some seeds which will take longer to mature. That will serve as another form of succession planting, giving me plants of different ages. I have learned a ton from my friendly local farmers Tiffany Noe and Chris French through workshops and consults and chatting at their amazing sales. Just love learning from and supporting young energetic and inspiring local farmers! If you are in South Florida be sure to catch their upcoming plant sale on Oct 20 and 21 from 10 am to 2 pm at 771 NW 24th Street, Miami FL 33137. Their plant sales are EPIC! They do them RIGHT!

You can look back at my older posts from 2016 here and here which document the start of my garden journey after my husband built me my first bed as a birthday gift in the fall of 2015. The gift that keeps on giving! If you are contemplating starting a garden, JUST DO IT! It has changed my life!

Pyrex Glass and Silicone Lids

I like storing leftovers in glass or stainless steel to avoid plastic chemical nasties. I have a large collection of Pyrex storage containers and they honestly get used every day! I prep my workday salads in the 6 cup and my on the go hot meals in the 3 cup rectangular storage dishes. I had a combination of their basic blue simply store lids and the solid grey or clear and red plastic “no leak” lids from purchases over the years. The plastic lids degrade over time, cracking and peeling at the edges and sometimes warping making them ill fitting, but the bases…well I may be handing those down to my future grandchildren some day, since pyrex glass lasts for YEARS! So when I discovered that their new Ultimate lid system made of glass and silicone is now sold separately as a replacement lid, well I counted up every one of my bases and ordered new lids for them all. And let me tell you, these new lids deliver.
There is much to love about these lids. First of all, lids made of only Pyrex glass and silicone…..YES please! I really try to reduce my plastic usage for health reasons, not to mention environmental stewardship. Goodbye warping chipping plastic lids!

Furthermore since they are Pyrex glass on top you can see what’s in them, bonus. Hoping that will reduce the number of lid lifting nightmares at the fridge door discovering forgotten leftovers left to rot. I also like that the silicone frame of the lid is easy to lift open, and yet has been staying closed nicely in transit to and from work. There is a triangle of just silicone at the edge. After initially seating the lid into the container, you lift that corner to allow air out and then press that down to complete the seal. Have not yet attempted to transport anything really soupy or liquid in them, so cannot speak to a perfect on the go leakproof seal, but we did run this highly scientific test for you….

I bought the white lids, as I have an all white kitchen and I love the clean simple look of white. Crossing my fingers that they will stay nice and white over time. So far they have come out of the dishwasher (top rack safe) sparkling clean. It’s good to keep in mind that silicone is a porous material which can take on the color or odor of foods it comes in contact with.

Of course they sell the base and lid combo as well, so you can always choose that option if you don’t own already own the bases or you just need a few more. These are a workhorse in our kitchen!

So start counting up your lids and place that order! Here is a link right to the page.

Affiliate links:
I appreciate when you use affiliate links, which help support this blog. Most things I share about here I purchase myself, but I do occasionally receive sample items from vendors to be able to test out new things. However I never share about anything I don’t use myself and totally love!

I bought these lids on my own.

Clean and Green Household: Spray Cleaner

In my quest to reduce exposure to toxins anywhere I can, I had been struggling to find a household cleaner. Not only am I sensitive to lots of chemicals, but I am really triggered by many scents and fragrances…are any of you with me? I know anyone with mast cell or histamine issues like me will totally get that!

I had been seeing Force of Nature Clean all over instagram in accounts of many people I follow and respect and finally decided to give it a try.
About a week after I started using it I had an AHA moment. I had been reaching for this spray bottle left and right, and I usually avoid ALL spray cleaners like the plague! I have even been known to run in the other room if my husband breaks out the one he likes (I really have!). I casually said to him “Do you know why I really like this new cleaner?”, and he replied “Yes. Because it has no smell.” BOOM. He nailed it. It in fact does have a very mild smell, some have likened to very mild pool water, but it just smells fresh and clean and there are no added nasties to trigger me. I am using this now everywhere and I have to say, it works really well. Don’t just take my word on it, go to their website and read all about it. They have the science there to back it up for those of you that are science-y like me and need a little proof.

I also love that it is a greener option since you don’t have bottles to toss and there are no nasty chemicals to harm your home, or our environment for that matter. You receive capsules in the mail that you mix with water and activate in the device (left in the picture) to create the cleaner. It’s fun to watch as it bubbles like mad. The capsules contain only salt and vinegar in just the right ratio and you add the water to create electrolyzed water. Yeah, go read about it. They have a nice video that will take you back to high school chemistry, well maybe more like middle school chemistry. It’s cute and easy to follow and will give you everything you need to know about it.

My only hesitation so far was the plastic spray bottle, although I know glass might not be appealing to everyone. I did contact the company and they told me the liquid can certainly be transferred to a glass spray bottle. I have and like this one, so I may give that a go, although I don’t plan to toss this bottle, as that would defeat the purpose. Maybe in the future they might offer a glass bottle upgrade to the kit? (Hint hint…hope you are you listening Force of Nature?)

From now until October 31 you can use the code Paleogirl50 to get a whopping 50% off of starter kits, PLUS free shipping!! And who doesn’t like to save?!!!

Affiliate links:
I appreciate when you use affiliate links, which help support this blog. Most things I share about here I purchase myself, but I do occasionally receive sample items from vendors to be able to test out new things. However I never share about anything I don’t use myself and totally love!

Clean and Green Beauty: Blowout Styling Products

Back in the fall of 2017 when I was making the switch to cleaner and greener body and haircare products I discovered the line by FlourishBeautyLab and can’t believe I am just getting around to sharing about it! It’s been a busy year! I just LOVE their lavender mint scent! My 2 FAVORITE smells blended together are ON POINT!

I use Continue reading

Easiest Ever Microgreens

Recently I have been trying to perfect growing microgreens ahead of our summer fallow season in Miami….too hot to grow much outside, but I still want something fresh and homegrown! I tried growing micros in soil…and it was, well, messy. I tried growing them on hemp mats and got all sorts of mold overgrowth…couldn’t get the amount of watering just right…overwatered some batches and some dried up. And THEN….I discovered Hamama micros on Instagram. This is an INGENIOUS and crazy simple system. It comes with Continue reading