In May, Kory and I decided to take the plunge on a massive dietary overhaul called Whole30. We took the Whole30 Challenge between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and it’s changed our lives.
We’ve learned about the connection between what we put into our bodies and how we feel (dairy and gluten, especially combined, are tough on us day in and day out), and we’re learning that food not only affects us physically, but it can also take a toll on how we feel emotionally and mentally. Both of us admit that after days on end of unclean eating, the world appears a bit “bluer,” we’re both more fatigued, and we have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
The Whole30 has been a great investment of our time.
The downside to doing Whole30 though, is that, well, we’ve done Whole30.
So now we know.
And most of the recipes we’ve used through 16 years of marriage are not compliant. So now we’ve taken the plunge on a massive cooking overhaul. Because both of us love to cook, and we can’t bear the thought of eating the same meals over and over again.
So our kitchen is becoming quite the laboratory, where we’re trying new things regularly, testing out new techniques, and sourcing substitutes for things like soy sauce and sugar, so Asian cuisine and sweet sauces can remain mid-week staples.
And we’re having some success!
In fact, I’m learning more about cooking than I ever did following recipes from Food Network because I’m being forced to think for myself, engage my resourcefulness, and try some new things.
About a month ago, it occurred to me that I shouldn’t keep these things to myself. I’ve thought about adding a recipe component to Confessions Of A Pastor’s Family for a while, so now seems like the perfect time.
So here’s the concept.
Each Sunday, I will post a recipe along with a few thoughts the weekend has conjured up in my head. Most of the recipes will be Whole30 or paleo compliant. But I’m not throwing the baby out with the bath water. I’ll also share some of my all-time favorite meals as we rotate them through our menu periodically as treats.
I may even bake!
Because we’re not rigid about how we eat. While we strive to be “clean” day in and day out, we still indulge. We just don’t indulge every day.
My hope is that this series will allow us to connect with you a third day each week. To inspire you in the kitchen. To help you think outside the box.
And let’s be honest.
It will keep a fire under my feet to continue creating on my own! I need to be churning out new things in our kitchen or we will fall off the healthy eating bandwagon simply because we long for variety.
Tomato Basil Soup
With mornings and evenings slowly giving way to hints of fall around here, my mind has been in soup heaven. My family loves soup, and I love to make soups because they’re easy, they require one pot, they can be doubled for freezing, and I can sneak lots of good stuff into them without getting many complaints.
Tomato basil soup has been a staple around here since I don’t even know when. In the old days, I’d serve it with grilled cheese paninis hot off the press, using mayo in lieu of butter to crisp the bread up just right.
My mouth is officially watering. Delicious!
Tomato basil soup might be my favorite meal. And my kids adore it. Because nothing says “yummy” like dunking a crispy, sour dough, grilled cheese sandwich into a bowl of tomato basil soup. But I save that for special occasions now, and serve the soup instead, with a grilled chicken salad, a charcuterie platter, or some raw fruits and veggies and a dipping sauce. My sister even suggested a Quiche or frittata, which I thought was a great idea.
I’m including the original recipe below and adding our dietary adjustments in parenthesis so these posts might appeal to a larger group. I’ll probably never go back to the dairy-laden version, but I will add the grilled cheese sandwich every once in a while! (On homemade bread, of course!)
Here’s what you need (printable at bottom of post):
First, in a large stock pot or dutch oven, combine the whole tomatoes and tomato juice. If you want your soup to be smooth, throw the roasted garlic tomatoes in too. Otherwise, reserve the roasted garlic tomatoes until after you puree as shown below.
Then, if you desire a smooth soup, add the basil leaves and puree. Otherwise, puree, then add the basil leaves. (This tip from a household with little people who don’t like “chunks” in their food. Kory and I prefer the texture of the chunky roasted garlic tomatoes and basil leaves, but the things we do for our children, right?).
This recipe makes enough for our family of five to have 2 meals, plus some leftovers for lunch boxes and snacking. It also freezes well. So make a big pot, enjoy half of it, put the other half into a gallon-sized zip top bag (inserted into a second one in case it springs a leak, eliminate air in the bag, flatten it out), and freeze it for a rainy day!
Tomato Basil Soup
2,28 oz Cans Whole, Peeled Tomatoes (I use San Marzano)
1, 46 oz Jug Tomato Juice
1, 14.5 oz Can Roasted Garlic Tomatoes (Optional)
12-14 Basil Leaves
1 Cup Heavy Cream (I use Coconut Cream or Full Fat Coconut Milk)
1 Stick Butter (I use 1/4 Cup Ghee, plus Salt to taste)
Pepper, to taste
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, combine tomatoes, tomato juice, and roasted garlic tomatoes. Simmer them for 30 minutes. Add the basil leaves. Then puree (for households with little people who don’t like “chunks” in their food follow this procedure; otherwise, you can wait to put the roasted garlic tomatoes and basil into the soup until after the tomatoes have been pureed to create some texture). Add cream, butter, pepper, and lemon juice. Simmer 15 additional minutes. Serve.
To make Coconut Cream, simply put a can of Full Fat Coconut Milk into the refrigerator until it’s chilled. The cream will rise to the top, and it makes almost exactly 1 cup.
Ghee is made from unsalted butter. So if you’re using Ghee as a substitute, this recipe will need some salt. If you’re using butter, you should not need to add any salt for flavor.