Thursday, March 9, 2017

Classic Chicken Soup (grain-free : gluten-free : nutrient-dense)

Soup is one of my favorite things about the cool months. I love how simple and nourishing soup can be, and how it can be a complete meal in one pot.  It seems like every year, there is one soup I keep coming back to again and again. This year it's Classic Chicken Soup.

Moist, tender chicken with lots of veggies and just enough salty broth - this is my favorite soup this year. My husband and daughter eat this soup just as it is, while my son and I often like to eat it with a scoop of nutrient-dense white rice added in. Either way, this Classic Chicken Soup is super simple and super yummy.

Classic Chicken Soup

  1. Chop the onion and celery. I always use my favorite Wusthof knife for chopping soup veggies.
  2. In a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and celery, and a little sprinkle of salt. Saute for 8-10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. A bamboo spatula works great for this step.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots. (I love my Rada vegetable peeler!)
  4. Add the carrots, chicken thighs, and broth to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper. I use about 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper and 1&1/2 Tb of salt (but use less salt if your broth is salted; my homemade broth is unsalted). Nestle the chicken thighs down into the broth and bring to a low boil.
  5. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top of the broth.  Then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer.
  6. Simmer for 35 minutes, until the chicken thighs are cooked through.
  7. In the meantime, slice the mushrooms. Cook the (optional) nutrient-dense white rice in a separate pot.
  8. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and place in a large bowl to cool.
  9. Add the mushrooms to the soup pot. Taste the broth and adjust the salt/pepper as desired.
  10. Once the chicken has cooled long enough to handle easily, remove and discard most of the chicken skin. If you like boiled chicken skin, leave the skin on by all means. But I prefer to get rid of most of the skin at this point. (The dog is happy with my decision since it means he gets to eat chicken skin with his dinner.)
  11. Use a fork or your hands to remove the chicken from the bones.  (I save and freeze the chicken thigh bones until I have accumulated enough of them to make a pot of homemade chicken bone broth.)  Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  12. Add the chicken back to the pot and cook just long enough to warm it through.
  13. Serve and enjoy! If desired, add a generous scoop of nutrient-dense white rice to each bowl.

What is your current favorite soup? Does your favorite soup change from year-to-year, like mine, or is it always the same?

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My Daughter's Orthodontics - Three Year Update

I've received a few requests lately to post an update on my daughter's journey with her orthodontic treatment.  

My daughter, Alina, is almost 10 years old, and she's been using an orthodontic appliance for nearly 3 years. We started Alina's orthodontic treatment early so that we could make the most of her growing years. Rather than using braces, which are well known to not work very well in the long-term, we are using an orthodontic appliance designed to stimulate the palate and jaw to grow larger.

Despite a nutrient-dense diet, Alina's palate and jaw did not naturally develop large enough to accommodate her adult teeth. After researching alternatives to braces and talking with an excellent pediatric dentist who specializes in developmental orthodontics, we decided to use a plastic myofunctional appliance made by Ortho-Tain.

How Alina Uses Her Orthodontic Appliance

Alina wears her Ortho-Tain orthodontic appliance every night while she sleeps. Because we started her treatment early, she does not need to wear the appliance during the daytime at all (whereas if we had waited a few more years before starting, she would have needed to wear it at night as well as for a few hours in the daytime).  Alina tries to remember to bite down hard on her appliance a few times whenever she puts it in her mouth, to strengthen the muscles in her mouth and jaw and further encourage her palate to enlarge.

Alina has been very cooperative with this whole process and has done a fantastic job of wearing her appliance. Her orthodontist is very pleased with her progress and gives her all the credit for being the one to do the work of wearing the appliance and following his instructions.

Our Results From Three Years of Treatment

Over the course of her orthodontic treatment, Alina has progressed through three sizes of orthodontic appliance. This means that her palate and jaw have grown significantly so that she was able to progress to increasingly larger appliances. Currently, Alina has lost 8 baby teeth.  Based on the size of her adult teeth, the appliance Alina is currently using may be the last one she needs (but we will know more when she loses more of her baby teeth).

And now for the pictures!

Pre-treatment (April 2014) - Alina's baby teeth have no space between them (minus the one spot where she is missing a tooth)

February 2017 - Her beautiful smile, after almost 3 years of orthodontic treatment

There is more space for her adult teeth on the bottom now compared to in the last update I posted
There is plenty of room for all of her adult teeth thus far

For information about our journey into orthodontic care, check out the rest of the articles in this series:  


Have you tried any alternatives to conventional orthodontics? What were your results?