Homemade Vegetable Stock


Exciting things are happening at Food and Hearth. I am going to be doing a lot of cooking and baking, and one of the upcoming recipes calls for vegetable stock.

Boxed stock works in a pinch, but the thing about homemade stock is that it is easy to make, it is vibrant and nutritious and will give your recipes a lot of depth and flavor. Handling organic vegetables and cooking them down to produce this liquid gold gives you and your cozy home a real lift.

I use vegetable stock for soups and to make rice, quinoa and lentils. My very favorite way to use broths and stocks however is to drink them straight from a mug. Just like herbal teas and raw vegetable juices, broths have their own special way of nourishing the body. Their main benefit is delivering minerals. If you are feeling under the weather — physically or emotionally — vegetable broth is good for the body and soul.

I don’t add salt to this stock on the front end, so be sure to salt your recipes when you’re using your broth. I like to use real salt which has flecks of color, versus the more processed version of table salt, which lacks mineral balance.


  • 2 organic yellow onions, keep papery peels on
  • 3 medium organic carrots
  • 4 organic celery stalks, keep leaves on
  • 2 organic leeks with dark green parts
  • 1 bunch organic parsley
  • 1 to 2 cups of organic mushrooms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • water


  1. Wash any visible dirt off the vegetables.
  2. Roughly chop veggies.
  3. Place vegetables in a pot big enough to hold them all easily.
  4. Fill your large pot with water, covering the vegetables by about one inch.
  5. Over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil (not a rolling boil).
  6. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover pot.
  7. Simmer for one hour, stirring the mixture periodically.
  8. Take the pot off the heat after about an hour.
  9. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon.
  10. Strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  11. Transfer to large Ball jars.
  12. Allow the broth to cool completely.
  13. Refrigerate or freeze.
  14. If refrigerated, use within one week. If freezing, use within one month.




Slowcooker Chicken with Cashew Milk and Spices


This recipe is a fan favorite! It was inspired by a korma dish my children love to get from our local Indian restaurant. In an effort to duplicate those flavors at home, this is a new take on the korma but it’s gluten-, dairy- and nightshade-free (which is great for those following an anti-inflammatory diet). Like korma, it’s warming and flavorful but not spicy so it is super kid-friendly. Turmeric and ginger add to the layers of flavor and the anti-inflammatory quality.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 2 pounds of organic chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces or strips
  • sea salt or real salt
  • 1 cup of cashews soaked for at least 4 hours, but as long as overnight
  • 1 cup fresh water
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • generous handful of fresh cilantro, chopped



  • Soak cashews in water for at least 4 hours or overnight
  • In a large pan, over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering
  • Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes
  • Add bayleaves, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, coriander and ginger root and sauté until spices evenly coat the chopped onion and garlic, about 3 minutes
  • Stir in the broth and deglaze pan, and bring the mixture to a boil
  • Add raw chicken to your slow cooker and season with salt
  • After the spice/onion/garlic mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat and transfer it into the slow cooker, pouring over the chicken until chicken is all covered
  • Set slow cooker to high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours (low setting is preferred)
  • Rinse soaked cashews and add them to your blender with 1 cup of fresh water, blend until finely puréed to the consistency of buttermilk.
  • Add cashew milk to the slow cooker about 30 minutes before chicken is done
  • Stir gently to combine cashew milk with the chicken
  • Remove bayleaves
  • Garnish with cilantro
  • Serve alone or over a starch like sweet potatoes or cauliflower rice, with a green vegetable on the side, and enjoy!

Lamb Ragu with Carrots, Ginger and Coconut


Don’t let the unexpected ingredient combination of this sauce discourage you from trying it!

Of all the meals I make in any given week, of all the soups and stews, this is the recipe that garners the most cheers from my kids! It’s also a versatile recipe… When you first make it, you will have a lamb dish, which serves as a main dish for night number one. The left over sauce will thicken during cooking and will be available as a chunky ragu, which you can serve over cauliflower rice or another grain type (for us that may be an occasional gluten-free pasta night) on night number two.

There are two options for meat when making this stew/sauce: (1) boneless lamb stew meat will mean more meat as a main dish on the first night. I use boneless stew meat if I am having additional dinner guests so I have enough meat for everyone, and no one has to work to get the lamb off the bones. (2) bone-in lamb stew meat can be used if you want to maximize the nutrition in the ragu sauce.

Cooking with bones is a wonderful way to infuse a wide range of minerals and other nutrients into your broths and sauces, including calcium, phosphorus and collagen, giving you and your family an additional nutrient profile, beyond what you will get in more commonly consumed muscle meat.

Either way, this recipe is yummy, delicious and very warming and will give you at least two nights of dinners.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • about 2 pounds of lamb stew meat (without bones will give you more meat, bone-in will add some additional nourishment to you sauce.)
  • sea salt or real salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 32 ounces of coconut milk
  • 1–26 ounce box of crushed tomatoes


  • In a large stockpot, over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering
  • Season lamb stew meat with salt and pepper and add lamb stew meat, and brown lightly on all sides
  • Remove lamb from stock pot and set aside
  • Add onion, garlic and carrots to stockpot and sauté until fragrant and tender
  • Add water to the vegetables. If there are brown bits on the bottom of the pan, add water and to help scrape them from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon so they mix with the vegetables and water. You don’t want to over-brown the vegetables, but a little bit of browning will add flavor to your overall dish.
  • Add lamb back into the stock pot, along with ginger and allspice
  • Then pour in coconut milk and crushed tomatoes
  • Bring the stew to a boil and then reduce to a simmer over medium heat
  • Stirring occasionally, let stew simmer for up to 2 hours, until lamb meat is fork tender
  • Serve the lamb meat on the first night, along with a green veggie and a starch like sweet potatoes or cauliflower rice.
  • Save the left over sauce for dinner on the following night. You will have about 1 large mason jar of sauce; refrigerate it and serve over pasta or cauliflower rice tomorrow night!

Almond Chicken Soup with Sweet Potato, Spinach and Ginger

In January 2011, when my second baby was just months old and I was suffering from some pretty extreme postpartum blues, I took a chance and applied to become a featured blogger for Whole Living Magazine. What I’d be doing as a featured blogger was following Whole Living’s 28-Day Action Plan, which was a basically the Whole30, before the Whole30 came on the scene.

As I embarked on the 28-Day Action Plan, and cut out all refined foods, including coffee, gluten, sugar and dairy, I was excited. But my excitement soon turned to searing headaches, frustrating cooking sessions in my original 1940s kitchen, steep learning curves and a hunger like I hadn’t experienced before. As a tired, nursing mother, all I wanted to do was sit down with a plate of cheese and Wheat Thins, but I endeavored to stay true to the challenge.

Once I rounded the bend and felt like I could more efficiently and easily prepare health-promoting foods, I found this soup recipe on the Whole Living blog. It became one of the first recipes I made that satisfied me, warmed my insides, and was easy enough for me to prepare, double batch and reheat in a pinch. I ate it for lunch, dinner, and, on somedays, for breakfast!

Over the last six years, I have modified the recipe to make it easier to prepare — for instance, I use baby spinach instead of collards because I can easily grab a generous handful of greens from a pre-washed box, versus washing and trimming large collard leaves, but you can use collards or kale or any type of dark leafy green. I also have the butcher cut my chicken breasts into one-inch cubes so I don’t have to do that step at home.

I consider this recipe the one that ushered me into the world of whole-foods cooking and nutrition, so it holds a special place in my heart. Here you go; I hope you enjoy it!


4 cups chicken stock
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 minced garlic clove
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
1 cup baby spinach
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lime
1 avocado
Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant in large stockpot.
Add the sweet potato, then the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chicken, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter and 1/2 cup of the soup mixture into a thick paste.
Add the spinach and ginger to the soup and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
Stir in the almond butter paste. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and top generously with cubed avocados in lime juice.
Recipe Inspiration
Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine

Easy Chili with Cinnamon and Cacao

Once the chill of late fall hits and glimpses of winter start to appear, we start to have soups, stews and chili on the regular. This chili recipe is my go-to because it’s quick, has simple, versatile ingredients, uses one pot, can be easily double-batched and is a fan-favorite of the most discerning customers — my kids.

A few weeks ago, I had eight for dinner on a Sunday night, and this chili was simple and filling and as low maintenance as it gets. It works just as well for a dinner party as it does on a Monday night. I am excited to share the recipe!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cacao
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 28-oz can or box of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 15-oz cans or boxes of black beans, rinsed
  • 2 15-oz cans or boxes of kidney beans, rinsed




  • place olive oil and onions and garlic in a large pot and sauté over medium heat until slightly browned and tender.
  • add ground beef and cook over medium heat until browned.
  • drain off the excess fat.
  • pour in vegetable broth, chili powder, cinnamon and cacao and increase heat to bring to a simmer.
  • add crushed tomatoes, then both types of beans, and return to a simmer.
  • stir together well, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • simmer for up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • if the chili becomes overly dry, add water as needed.
  • serve with sliced avocado or guacamole and/or shredded cheddar cheese and corn tortillas or corn bread + a simple green salad!

Feel free to substitute ground turkey for beef, and decrease beans to one box of each if you prefer. It is also okay to bump the amount of chili powder up or down (a little chili powder goes a long way, so depending on tolerance to spice, you might want to start with a small amount and increase over time).

Makes 8 hearty servings. Store leftovers in the refrigerator over night …. Your chili will taste even better the next day.