Soup Starter

Beet soup with almond milk instead of coconut milk.

Beet soup with almond milk instead of coconut milk.

The recipe for beet soup that I found on the Internet is not the story here.  What is the story, is that even though the recipe turned out delicious when my mother made it, she followed the recipe with only one substitution.  When I decided to make it today, I made several changes.  In particular, I lacked the canned coconut milk that was part of the original recipe and used much more ginger.  I wish the recipe would have given the number of ounces of fresh ginger root.

Since I decided to double the recipe, I have limited space in my refrigerator, and the recipe called for the coconut milk after cooking the rest of the ingredients, this turned out to be the perfect storm of inspiration to make a soup starter or concentrate.

I decided to blog about this idea, since so many people these days are like me.  They have whole whipping cream, almond milk, coconut milk, A2 cow milk, plain greek yogurt, etc. taking up valuable real estate in their refrigerator.  Sometimes this is due to trying too many recipes and sometimes it’s because your family members are on different diets.

Here is a picture of some of the starter or concentrate that I made before having several bowls with different types of milk stirred in just before serving:

Beet Soup before any type of milk is added.

Beet Soup before any type of milk is added.

Now it’s time for me to clean up the kitchen.  I am glad that I doubled the recipe. I don’t want to go through this beet splatter clean up again this week.  Did someone say CSI photos are less messy?


Make Ahead Make Over 4 Bean Salad

4 Bean Salad

4 Bean Salad, no sugar added recipe

Recently, my mother was ill and I catered her a meal that included four bean salad.  Store bought mixtures are far too sweet tasting for me, so I made over a recipe from the early 1970’s.  This original recipe was in the Better Homes and Gardens Blender Cook Book.  My make over version eliminates table sugar and cuts the sodium by at least half.  You can find my version by going to my main web site, www. and clicking on the “Cooking At Home” tab.

If the site is down for maintenance, it means that I am busy posting the recipe and check back in about 20 minutes for the computers to update.  But do check out this recipe.  It is fast, easy, nutritious, and can be stored in the refrigerate until you finish eating it up.  I have never seen it go bad, although I am sure it’s possible.  I enjoy having something like this that can be eaten cold, which is great for catering, picnics, hot weather, and a spur of the moment pot luck dish.

In the case of my mother, I had to drive more than an hour to her home.  All the food I took could be eaten cold and kept well in a cooler with ice.  It was just luck that I made this and other recipes when she happen to need it.  She was better by the next day; I think having good food ready for her to eat had something to do with it.

Hibiscus Tea and Fruit Punch Recipe

hibiscus tea and fruit punch

Hibiscus tea and fruit punch

The Twinings Tea Company, which has a presentation at the Festival Center at EPCOT, this weekend, has inspired me to make this post of a herbal tea and fruit juice punch recipe which I created. I was told that Twinings carries a hibiscus, pomegranate, and raspberry tea. This sounds delicious, and when I find it, I will try it.

Although I didn’t know about the Twinings hibiscus tea, and am not using it for this recipe, it is possible that you might use it to substitute for the Nile Valley brand which I am using. Depending on the amount of flavorings in the Twinings tea, you might want to reduce some of the fruit juice in my recipe.

This might make the punch recipe a bit more economical, as pure cranberry juice is quite expensive and difficult to find. Usually, I need to make a trip to the health food store. Big box stores carry apple juice flavored with cranberry juice. Pure doesn’t mean 100 per cent one type of juice. Read the ingredient statement carefully. The labels are very misleading.

Here is my original recipe, it has a sweet tart flavor and it’s very addictive:

Florida Fun Times Hibiscus Punch

6 pure hibiscus tea bags (I order this from Nile Valley Herbs)
spring water
3 stevia plus monk fruit packets, I use the Kal Brand
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup 100 % cranberry juice with no additives, sweeteners, or other juices
2 cups Pom Wonderful juice, or other brand of 100 % unsweetened pomegranate juice

In a saucepan, place tea bags and enough spring water to cover plus half inch. Bring to a boil. Boil for five to seven minutes. Turn off the heat and let the infusion of water and tea sit until it is cool.

Meanwhile squeeze and measure out 1/4 cup of lime juice. Set aside.

When the tea has cooled, remove each tea bag, and give them a good squeeze to save every drop.

Place a canning funnel, or other funnel, on top of a 64 ounce glass container. Pour in the hibiscus infusion. I usually sit the glass container in the sink. It’s easier that way.

Kal Stevia plus Monk Fruit

Kal Stevia plus Monk Fruit

With a table knife, one at a time, stir in each of the three Kal packets, mixing well after each one with the long table knife.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well.

Add enough spring water to fill the glass container. Cover with the container top, or with waxed paper and a rubber band.

Keep refrigerated. Enjoy over ice, or straight up.

Breakfast Brings Family Together

Florida Fun Times Waffle Blintz

Quick and easy technique.


Check out the “Cooking at Home” tab for a new, fast, easy, healthy, breakfast recipe.  It’s more of a technique than a recipe.  After years of putting food on the table for my family and attending other family member’s dinners, this is my best advice for achieving family harmony and happiness.

1.) Develop kitchen techniques that do not involve complicated, messy, time consuming work which leaves you exhausted, unpleasant, or worse.

2.) Your self worth is not dependent on your ability to cook.  Life is not a Norman Rockwell painting.

3.)  Use a slow cooker whenever possible.

4.) Always eat a good breakfast and eat small portions.

5.) Have healthy snacks available at all times.

6.)  Set out an array of healthy options that don’t require your direct involvement or supervision, if everyone is an adult.  Always supervise children.

7.) Pot lucks are fine, going out to a restaurant is better.

8.) The ultimate prize is a happy healthy family that have fond memories of how you make them feel.

9.) Remember to take a lot of pictures.