What Not To Say…Add it to the list

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It’s been 2,136 days or 5 years, 10 months, and 3 days since I lost my son. By now I thought I had heard every heartfelt, but misguided thing a person could muster in an attempt to comfort me. Remember this blog post about what not to say?  Well, I was wrong in thinking I had heard it all. Let’s add 1 more to the list of what not to say.

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North Conway 1997

 

Do NOT say to a grieving parent who is now a grandparent: “You must be all better now that you have a grandchild.”  Honestly, I am not trying to be harsh here. I understand if you have never been through the loss of a child that you can’t know how one feels, but common sense should dictate that one child could never replace another. Each child is their own unique joy. Each child has their own unique place in a parent’s/grandparent’s heart. A parent does not ever forget about the lost child by filling the void with another. When I think back on that moment, I am 100% certain I caused great discomfort to the person who was hoping I was better now. Without warning tears and quite possibly rage welled my eyes and the person made a quick exit stage right.

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Thanks for letting me vent today. Now let’s just get comfortable with a steaming hot, nourishing bowl of soup. We just had our first snow, so let’s warm up with a hearty wild rice & chicken version. This recipe packs a bit of smoky spice and chocolate because after all it’s still Valentine’s week. Enjoy.

“Soup puts the heart at ease and calms

down the violence of hunger”

~ Escoffier

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Heart Warming Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 medium orange bell pepper, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh ground back pepper

1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced

¾ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, oregano, smoked paprika, red pepper, salt and a few turns of black pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, tomatoes with chilies, chicken stock and wild rice; bring to boil. Add the chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender and puffy, about 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in the corn. Ladle the soup into bowls.

Garnish with fresh herbs, sour cream and crispy tortilla strips, if desired.

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Wild Blueberry Frozen Hot Chocolate Smoothie

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By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

What I enjoy most about recipe challenges are the memories they conjure up. That creative process of mixing something new and different comes from a place deep in the heart and brain. It usually hits about 3 am and reminds me that those I love and where I have been inspire my food.

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From the time the kids were small we vacationed in Maine. In summer, we joined friends at Pine Point beach searching for and discovering sand dollars. The wild wonders of Mother Nature enticing the kids to dig deeper into the numbing cold ocean water always did my heart good. Then pre-Christmas shopping in Freeport, Maine enjoying a cozy fire at a quaint B&B and in spring and fall girls’ weekends to Ogunquit and guys’ fishing trips to Rangeley, respectively. Suffice to say lots of wonderful family time was spent in the Pine Tree state.

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William & Caitlin 11/26/1991

If nothing else entering recipe contests brings some good food to the table and a reminder of just how blessed I have been with great memories. It’s been a real pleasure creating this final entry for the #wildyoursmoothie recipe contest which could potentially bring me back to Maine to learn more about wild blueberries. Here is what I already know.

  • wild blueberries have been growing in Maine and Canada for about 10,000 year
  • wild blueberries have 2x the antioxidants of larger cultivated blueberries
  • wild blueberries are part of a heart healthy diet and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • wild blueberries have a well balanced sweet-tart flavor

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In my latest inspired recipe wild blueberries and dark organic chocolate blend with coconut water to make a powerful antioxidant drink that will energize the day or replenish after a work-out. Freezing the coconut water into ice cubes is a bit of flavorful genius that allows that sweet-tart balance of the wild blueberries to shine through the richness of the chocolate. Share it with someone you love. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Wild Blueberry Frozen Hot Chocolate Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 ½ cups pure coconut water

2 ounces organic dark chocolate (72% cacao or greater), chopped

1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao

3 pitted medjool dates

1 cup frozen wild blueberries, plus additional for garnish

2 heart shaped marshmallows, optional

Pour 1 cup of coconut water into an ice cube tray and freeze. Place chocolate and cocoa in a small heatproof 1-cup measure. In a small saucepan bring remaining coconut water to a boil; pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Stir mixture until chocolate is melted. Add dates to hot chocolate and let cool to room temperature. In high-speed blender, combine cooled chocolate-date-coconut water mixture, frozen wild blueberries and frozen coconut water cubes; blend until smooth. Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with marshmallow and wild blueberries, if desired.

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Frozen at harvest to lock in nutrition individually quick frozen (IQF) wild blueberries are available all your round in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Check the package for the word “wild” or feel it for pea-sized wild blueberries to insure you are buying wild and not cultivated blueberries.

Warm & Wild Blueberry Smoothie Latte

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Baby it’s cold outside! Get out the warm wool sweaters, favorite fleece lined boots and the blender. Blender? Yes, I said blender because we are making smoothies. Believe it or not winter is one of the most popular times of the year for smoothie making because it fits right in with those healthy new year resolutions. Smoothies are the easy way to pack more nutrition into your diet.

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Now let’s talk about wild blueberries.

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Wild blueberries are little purple powerhouses of nutrition. Grown in barrens across Maine and Canada wild blueberries are quite different from those that are planted or cultivated.  Wild blueberries have grown naturally under harsh conditions for 10,000 years, so they have adapted with more than 2x the antioxidants and fiber of cultivated blueberries. Frozen at harvest to lock in the goodness studies show that they may help prevent the onset of cancer, heart disease, alzheimer’s and diabetes.  With a well balanced sweet-tart flavor just about everything pairs well with these super fruits in a smoothie.

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Webster’s dictionary defines a smoothie as “a creamy beverage made of fruit blended with juice, milk, or yogurt.” Much to my delight it doesn’t seem like I am breaking any smoothie rules by going warm instead of cold because did you hear me earlier? It’s freezing outside here in Pennsylvania and I can use all the antioxidants I can get to boost my immune system. Fighting off a cold or the flu? I have a smoothie for you!

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and yes, I really did accidentally spill all that froth all over the counter

Infused with green tea, pomegranate and warm revitalizing cleansing spices this deliciously wild blueberry smoothie will certainly cure your winter blues.

Warm & Wild Blueberry Smoothie Latte

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup frozen wild blueberries

1 ½ tablespoons real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup water

2 green tea with pomegranate tea bags

1/2 cup milk (or almond milk)

Place blueberries and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in blender. In small bowl, combine cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice; stir to blend spices. In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and ¼ teaspoon of spice mixture; stir and let steep for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, heat milk with remaining ½ tablespoon of maple syrup and 1/8 teaspoon of spice mixture just to a simmer, stirring to combine. Stir and strain hot tea mixture into blender with blueberries. Add ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture; blend well. Re-warm mixture in pan on stove to desired temperature. Froth the remaining milk mixture with an immersion blender or tool specially designed for frothing milk. Divide the hot tea mixture among two mugs and top with frothy milk. Sprinkle with additional blueberries and spice mixture, if desired. Serve warm. 


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wish you could see my wild blueberry smoothie latte mustache right now

Frozen wild blueberries are available all year long.Click this link to find a store near you: grocery store. Click here if you would like to try my Easy as A-B-C Wild Blueberry Smoothie