What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Corn Chowder

It’s been wintry outside and I’m feeling a little under the weather so I had to whip up some good ol’ comfort food. ¬†There is nothing better than a big warm bowl of soup and a slice of homemade bread…okay maybe except cinnamon rolls. ūüôā ¬†Anyway, I threw this together and put it in the crock pot before I took the boys to their very first swim class! ¬†Tear! ¬†I can’t believe I finally have kids old enough to do that kind of stuff. ¬†Anyway, it really hit the spot to come home all wet and drippy and slurp down this delicious stuff. ¬†Mom, shield your eyes! (she hates corn).

Corn Chowder with Parmesan Cheese (original picture and recipe from For The Love of Cooking)

  • 3-4 pieces of bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Cook the bacon over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Once cooked, remove and drain grease on a paper towel, crumble and set aside. Add chopped onions, celery, carrots, red bell pepper, and thyme to the pan and saute for 8-9 minutes or until soft; add garlic and cook for 45 seconds stirring frequently. Add stock, bay leaf, potatoes, corn, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. In a separate bowl, ladle hot soup slowly into the 2 cups of milk until it becomes warm; once it‚Äôs warm pour slowly into the hot soup.¬†Note: Never pour cold milk into hot soup ‚Äď it will curdle.¬†Cook until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. If you like a chunky soup leave as is, but if you like a smoother soup, use your immersion blender (don‚Äôt forget to remove your bay leaf first). Mix in the Parmesan cheese and parsley just before serving. Garnish with bacon crumbles.

Consensus:

The Mr.:  Not his favorite soup, but had 2 helpings.

Me: ¬†Pretty good…but I wish I had taken the time to put it in the blender. ¬†It probably tastes better with a creamier texture.

The Wild One:  Ate it over bread

Tornado: ¬†Ate it! ¬†And it went shockingly fast through his digestive tract…if you know what I’m sayin.’

 

Want to See a Tiny Camera go Through Your Digestive Tract?

The Mr. showed me this article in The Huffington Post a couple of weeks ago. ¬†If you can get over the annoying commentator, it’s pretty interesting stuff. ¬†It shows what happens when you eat Top Ramen, Gatorade, and Gummy Bears versus Homemade Noodles. If you are squeamish about bodily juices and stuff, don’t watch it. ūüėČ

Bottom line:  Food coloring basically has no federal regulations, and processed food is digested completely differently in your body than whole foods.

Tortilla Soup – Crock Pot Edition

Hi Everyone,

Oh my goodness. ¬†I just barely got back in town from a week long vacation (heavenly) and wow- there is a lot to do. ¬†While I get my act together, here’s a delicious recipe I made the other night. ¬†I am always on the lookout for a yummy tortilla soup and this one is seriously no hassle as you can just dump it in the crock pot and go. ¬†The best part is that it uses up all my odds and ends vegetables I have lying around.

Crock Pot Tortilla Soup (original recipe from Super Healthy Kids)

  • 1 lb. cooked and chopped meat of choice (I used some shredded chicken I had leftover in the freezer)
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or 3 cups of finely chopped fresh tomatoes. ¬†I had fresh tomatoes, so I used those up)
  • 2 cups frozen corn (or 1 can, 15 ounce corn)
  • 2 cups black beans (or 1 can 15 ounce black beans)
  • 2 cups red kidney beans (or 1, 15 ounce can)
  • 1 envelope Ranch seasoning mix¬† (Or use recipe below, which is what I did)
  • 2 TBL Taco seasoning
  • 1 small onion, chopped

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on low for  4-6 hours.

To avoid the packaged Ranch seasoning mix, make your own. This recipe comes from reader Lisa L!

  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Consensus: EVERYONE ate it and loved it.  YAHOO!! Thumbs up all around.  Thanks for the great recipe Super Healthy Kids!!

I thought I was a pretty cool mom this morning when I cut strawberries and bananas in heart shapes (idea from here), but it turned into a mom fail when The Wild One started bawling, “I don’t LIKE these strawberries…I just want regular strawberries!” ¬†Woops. ¬†Guess I should have eased him into that one?

Heart shaped potatoes for dinner produced a better result.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day from our house to yours!

Book Summary – The China Study, Part 1 Continued

Chapter 4:  Lessons from China

  • In the early 1970’s a survey was conducted in the entire country of China, which revealed that cancer was geographically localized. ¬†In some areas, cancer rates were 100 times the rates of the lower areas (in the U.S. we see at most 2 to 3 times, so 100 times is enormous).
  • Why? ¬†This was the beginning of “The China Study.”
  • In the USA, 15-16% of total calories comes from protein (80% of that protein is animal protein), and in rural China, only 9-10% total calories come from protein (only 10% of that is from animal sources).
  • The Chinese are consuming an average of 2641 calories, with 14.5% fat, and Americans are consuming 1989 calories with 38% fat. ¬† The Chinese eat higher calories, less fat, less protein, less animal protein, more fiber, and more iron.
  • Diseases of Affluence (Nutritional¬†Extravagance): Cancer, Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diseases of Poverty (Nutritional Inadequacy and Poor Sanitation):Pneumonia, Ulcers, Digestive Diseases, Tuberculosis,¬†Parasitic¬†Diseases, Rheumatic Heart Disease. ¬†Notice no cancer!
  • One of the strongest predictors of Western Diseases (diseases of affluence) is blood cholesterol.
  • Lower blood cholesterol levels are linked to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other western diseases.
  • Many prominent heart doctors have never seen a heart disease fatality among their patients with a blood cholesterol level below 150.
  • Nutrients from plant-based foods are associated with decreasing levels of blood cholesterol.
  • There is a lot of confusion among scientists regarding questions with dietary fat – how much, what kind, Omega-6 or 3, what kinds of oils are okay, etc. ¬†When details are studied in isolation, results can be misleading. ¬†We need to look at how networks of chemicals behave instead.
  • Only 2-3% of all cancers are attributed to genes. ¬†The rest are strongly influenced by diet.
  • There is an interesting relationship with dietary fat and breast cancer. ¬†Higher fat can influence early¬†menstruation, high cholesterol, late menopause, and higher exposure to female hormones. ¬†This can extend the reproductive life from beginning to end by 9-10 years. ¬†This extra decade of exposure to hormones can greatly influence a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
  • A large survey in China revealed that the average age of a woman’s first period was 15-19 years old. ¬†In America, the average age is 11.
  • The more colorful your produce, the higher antioxidant levels, which shield you from free-radicals (cancer-causing agents).
  • Again, the benefits do not lie in an individual nutrient or mineral, but in the whole food.
  • Don’t reach for a vitamin. ¬†Eat it in a fruit or vegetable instead.
  • The Atkins diet reaks havoc on your system. ¬†Don’t do it.
  • The low-carb diet craze is unfortunate. ¬†Carbs are our friends. ¬†Just make sure they are from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. ¬† ¬†Many people think they are eating a healthy vegetarian diet by eating lots of pastas, highly processed crackers and chips, white flour, etc. ¬†This is the reason carbs have gotten a bad rap. ¬†That is the stuff that puts on weight and doesn’t add nutritional value.
  • Chinese are more physically active than Americans. ¬†Their calorie intake is 30% higher, yet their body weight is 20% lower.
  • They are eating the right foods (plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and riding their bikes!

Book Summary: The China Study, Part 1

Guess what happened this weekend?¬† I went on a plane ride all by myself.¬† I sat in a chair all by myself and read for an hour and a half without shoving snacks in anyone’s mouth, or getting out new toys every 2 minutes, or changing diapers.¬† So I finally got to read a bit of “The China Study” by T. Collin Campbell.¬† I’ve been meaning to read this for years now, and finally found a chance to crack it open.¬† It’s a little extreme in some parts, but interesting research.¬† Here’s the first section’s summary.

Introduction

  • We are more confused than ever about how to be healthy, and many of our doctors don’t even know what we need to do to achieve optimum health.
  • Many diseases can be reversed through healthy diet and lifestyle (duh).
  • Collins grew up on a dairy farm and drank two quarts of milk a day.¬† In his early career he worked at MIT trying to figure out why millions of chicks were dying from an unknown toxin in their feed.¬† He helped discover dioxin, which is part of Agent Orange (BEING FED TO CHICKEN, PEOPLE!).
  • He then went to the Philippines to discover why there was a high prevalence¬† of liver cancer in Filipino children.¬† His team (backed by a government organization) aimed at getting those¬† kids as much protein as possible, thinking this was healthy for impoverished children.¬† However, he discovered that children who ate the highest protein diets were the ones most likely to get cancer.¬† They belonged to wealthy families.
  • This led to research (using rats) about protein, and the role of nutrition in cancer.¬† In his research he discovered he could turn cancer on and off simply by changing the level of protein consumed.
  • Casein (87% of the protein in cow’s milk) strongly promoted cancer.¬† Protein from plants was safe.
  • People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease, and people who ate mostly plant based foods avoided chronic disease.
  • This research went against everything he knew growing up, and his colleagues scoffed at him.¬† He had to tread carefully since his research was being paid for by the government.¬† Yet, he knew they would not like the results…and possibly pull his funding.
  • p.8 “The distinctions between government, industry, science and medicine have become blurred.¬† The distinctions between making a profit and promoting health have become blurred.¬† The problems with the system do not come in the form of Hollywood-style corruption.¬† The problems are much more subtle, and yet much more dangerous.¬† The result is massive amounts of misinformation, for which average Am4erican consumers pay twice.¬† They provide the tax money to do the research, and then they provide the money for their health care to treat their largely preventable diseases.”

Chapter  1 РProblems We Face, Solutions We Need

  • If you are male, you have a 47% chance of getting cancer.¬† 38% for females.
  • Heart Disease kills 1 out of 3 Americans.
  • Leading Causes of Death in ranking order:
  1. Diseases of the heart
  2. Cancer
  3. Medical Care (Scary), and we pay for our healthcare than any other country in the world.
  4. Stroke
  • We need to stop focusing on isolated nutrients, and look at the larger context instead.
  • Cancer can be turned on and off by nutrition, despite very strong genetic predisposition.

Chapter 2 – A House of Proteins

  • Back to the research in the Philippines:¬† This particular type of liver cancer was only occurring in Western countries after age 40.¬† In the Philippines, children under10 years were getting it.
  • Children who got liver cancer were from the best-fed and wealthiest families. They were consuming more protein than anyone else in the country, and yet they were the ones getting the cancer.
  • Back to the rats: He fed one group a diet made up of 20% protein and one group only 5% protein.¬† Every single rat on the 20% diet got liver cancer.¬† Not a single one in the 5% group got it.¬† This is a 100%¬† versus 0% result.¬† Almost unheard of in scientific research.
  • More observational research led to his advocacy for a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Chapter 3 – Turning Off Cancer

  • Cancer-causing agents have been added to our food (nitrites, dyes, toxins).¬† These chemicals increase cancer rates in experimental animals.¬† These often get a lot of press and explode in the media.
  • Another chemical that causes cancer but gets no press is protein.
  • Getting cancer is like growing grass.
  1. Initiation is like putting the seeds in the soil
  2. Promotion is when grass starts to grow
  3. Progression is when it gets completely out of control.
  • With cancer, the initiation phase is irreversible.
  • The promotion phase can last many many years.¬† It is reversible depending on whether it is given the right conditions to grow or not.
  • The third phase usually ends in death.¬† The goal is to take away optimum conditions for cancer cell growth in the promotion phase.
  • Many studies were done with Casein (in Cow’s milk).¬† When animals ate more protein than their body growth rate, disease onset began.¬† Animals that ate 20% protein were either dead or nearly dead from liver tumors at 100 weeks.
  • Protein from plants did not promote cancer growth, even at higher intake levels than casein.
  • Nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.

To be Continued…