There is nothing that brings me more pleasure than going to the farmer's market, getting some beautiful produce and turning them into something totally delicious... and totally simple.  Something about homemade makes everything taste better.  You taste what is put into it + the dedication of the person making it.  But most importantly: it is good for you.  Yes, there are times when we must grab a can of tomatoes or beans but whenever possible I like to go for the fresh stuff.  

Here is what I like about fresh food: what you get is what you see.  A radish is a radish and an apple is an apple.  It is honest and humble.  You eat it when ripped and it nourishes the body.  I was all about eating fast foods and whatever I could find and then I remember reading this quote:  

It stopped me on my tracks because it was simple but boy-- did it bring the point home.  Especially when you start reading about "pink stuff" in meats or food that does not melt even when put to the fire.  And so I made a conscious decision to eat more foods in the natural state and the farmer's market became my new favorite place to shop for food.

This past weekend the market was full of so much beautiful produce {yes, I find food beautiful} and my eyes immediately focused on tomatoes, peppers and herbs.  I am a person that eats with my eyes first and a ranbow of color produce always makes me smile.  So how did I decide on what to make?  I follow one rule of thumb: try to keep the produce as close to natural as possible.  In the end I settled for two recipes: a roasted peppers and tomato soup.  And also a tomatoes and green bean salad.  It does not get any fresher than that. 

Ever since I came back from Minnesota with the tomatoes my future MIL grew in her garden, I wished I had more to make some tomato soup.  It is my favorite soup in the world and really had a taste for it this weekend.  Thankfully the market fixed that.  The best past about this soup?  It is only veggies and veggie broth.  It is creamy without the heavy cream which mean is does not pack the heavy calories and fat content canned or others have.  Plus there is the whole freshness. 

The flavor was pretty amazing and it gets better the next day.  It is creamy without being too rich with a slightly subtle sweet taste thanks to the roasting process which brought out the natural sugars and caramelized them beautifully. 

I am also a huge fan of eating raw tomatoes which is why I made a tomatoes + green beans salad dressed up with nothing but olive oil, Maldon salt and pepper.  The trick was simply cut the tomatoes in half and let them marinate in olive oil an hour before I served them.  Then I added to them some blanched green beans and it was a delicious and healthy feast. 

Again, the whole point of these two recipes was to enjoy the freshness of the produce and let their own summer flavors shine. And that they did.  It was a perfect way to nourish my body throughout the weekend especially in this heat when heavy foods just do not sit well in my stomach.  Both dishes were light and summer perfect.  I hope you have gotten to enjoy the bountiful of fresh produce that summer had to offer.  Have a wonderful day!





4 lbs. tomatoes, chopped into quarters (do not seed them)
1-2 red or yellow peppers, seeded and chopped into quarters
1 bulb of garlic
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
olive oil
Herbes de Provence olive oil (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
a handful of fresh basil
1.  Preheat oven to 400F. 
2.  In a bowl combine tomatoes (including any juices you gathered while chopping) and peppers, then add enough olive oil to coat them, and salt & pepper to taste.  Toss and spread on a baking sheet. 
3.  Take the garlic bulb and cut in half.  Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.  Put the foil packet in the same baking sheet as the tomatoes.  And roast for the same amount of time.
3.  Roast for 30-35 minutes.  Once everything is roasted, let it cool a bit.  Transfer the tomatoes and peppers to a blender.  Add 4-5 leaves of basil and squeeze the soften garlic out of the garlic casing and into the blender.  Give it a quick pulse to combine together.  Add the vegetable broth (add water if you want the soup thinner) and blend away until the soup is smooth and silky.   Taste to make sure the flavors and seasoning are good, and adjust as necessary. 
4.  Once done, serve, granish with chiffonade basil leaves and croutons (I used ezequiel bread croutons), drizzle a little of the herbs de provence oil and enjoy.  It is that simple!

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Ooooeeh!  This was one hot weekend.  This summer has been fairly cool here in Kansas but this weekend summer decided to come out and play and did it! Saturday it was blistering by 1000 when I went to the farmer's market to pick up some stuff.  And it did not help that I was feeling rotten.  Luckily I was able to be in and out of the market in 15 minutes.  Afterwards, I went home and took a nap trying to feel better.  Later in the afternoon, I practiced some more calligraphy.  I started this week and I am loving it so far. 


Sunday I woke up feeling much better, enough to go for a run after church.  The temperature was not too bad when I got to park where I run but by the time I was half way the temperature went to 100F.  Yeap... that sucker got 10 degrees hotter while on the run.  And as you can see below-- not a lot of shade.  Luckily there was a summer fest at the park and the Fire Department had misting fans going.  You better believe I stood in front of them for a while to cool off.


By the time I made it home I was ready for shower, dinner and movies.  Yes, it was so hot I did not want to do anything outside.  And I was in the mood for wine-related movies.  Probably because I still have the Napa earthquake in my mind {how scary was that?}.  When I heard about it this morning the first thing I thought of was of friends I have in the area and of bloggers I follow who may have been affected.  I hope they are all ok. 
Back to the movies: I spent the afternoon being lazy and watching Bottle Shock (my favorite wine movie) followed by a documentary called A Year in Burgundy.  If you get a chance to watch this documentary, please do.  It it follows wine makers in Bordeaux as they shape their wines and explores the ins and outs of wine making against the backdrop of beautiful chateaux and vineyards.  It was simply blissful and a lovely way to end the weekend.
How was your weekend?  Anything exciting?  Is it hot in your area?

 Mingle Monday. Monday Morning Gossip. Monday Link-Up
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Hey guys!  For a while know I have been thinking about writing a special weekend post dedicated to nourishing the body and mind.  And this is the first of those posts.  It will include a topic and various links related to it.  And this is the first of those posts. 
This basket of produce {below} is beautiful and the first words that come to mind are fresh, nourishing and healthy-- among others.  Nourishing vegetables can heal the body and there have been many articles that break that topic down to Barney level {because I do not do complicated}.  I love talking and reading about food because I like to learn from others and engage in meaningful discussion about our food sources, how to use food to heal the body, bring people together, etc. 
Yet this beautiful basket, while very healthy for many, is not very good for me-- a hypothryoid.  This is very frustrating because these foods have been linked to healing the body and in maintaining a healthy weight, which is VERY important (and hard to do) for hypothyroids.  It is always interesting to see people's expression when I tell them that I cannot eat certain veggies because they are not "good" for me. The look? Confused.  So today I want to talk about the impact of some veggies due to a substance called goitrogens.


If you have heard the term "goitrogen" before it is probably related to thyroid function or thyroid disease.  And when used in this context it is referred to naturally occuring substances that interfere with thyroid function most specifically enlargement of the thryoid gland.  There are many substances that can contribute to a enlarged thyroid gland or "goiter" and some of it is naturally occuring in foods, mostly cruciferous and soyfoods. 
I have to clarify that these foods DO NOT cause a goiter when consumed and they do not interfere with the thyroid function of a healthy person Goitrogenic food are not "bad foods" they are healthy foods containing nutrients which under certain circumnstances can also interefere with thryoid function.  What causes problems for certain individuals is not the food itself but the mismatched nature of certain substances within the food to their unique health situation. (WHF.org).       


The good news for hypothyroids is that there is a little light at the end of the tunnel: many health professionals believe that cooking may inactivate goitrogens.  So if you are just dying to have some of these foods make sure you cook them.  Also, some health professionals believe that if you have had your thyroid removed surgically, you should not worry too much about goitrogens {still, I do}.  


Believe me when I tell you that after I learned about goitrogens I felt as if there was no way of eating healthy.  It was frustrating because I like all these foods but I should not eat them.  But with a little bit of patience and planning I started making changes to improve my nutrition.  How?

1.  I had to have to find other options for veggies intake.  That is the major bottom like.  I literally had a printed list of the "no" foods with me when I went shopping to help me.  And then I discovered that there were still plenty of veggies and foods that I could eat. 
2.  Go green.  It has been found that green vegetables are essential to the immune system, which can be stressed during intense athletic activities.

3.  Quality protein.  I once tried to go vegetarian, but it lasted about two months.  Towards the end I was ready to eat me a big ol' steak.  And I did!  But this showed me that I am a carnivore.  One interesting thing I have noticed about looking GF blogs is that the majority of the recipes I have come across are for baked goods.  I however, tend to go towards two things mostly: salads and meat.  So I think in that area, I will be good.  Because I am not allergic to eggs, another good source of protein, I like to use them for breakfast mostly.  Hypothyroids, one source of protein that is the cause of much controversy is soy, and whether it interferes with the body's ability to absorb the medication. The verdict still out on this but it is food for thought.  I personally avoid it.  The world of proteins is immense, so pick the one that best fits your lifestyle.

4.   The delightful beet.  I'm on a beet kick right now, and I am eating them anyway I can.  Beets are jam-packed with nutrients.  And they help to cleanse the blood and create more red blood cells.  One of the best effects for me is that it helps with age-related eye issues.  This is huge for me because when I had Graves disease it affected my eyesight-- which was awesome up until that point. 

5.  Turmeric. The spice with the exotic name is really good for joint pains.  And it is one of those spices that is good to alleviate thyroid inflammation.  After a long hard workout I like to end the night with a cup of warm almond milk with cinnamon and turmeric.  Really hits the spot and it does a body good.   

6.  Let's talk gluten-free.  I am not crazy about gluten-free YET it is basically the only way I see results in combating the hypothryoidism associated weight gain that some hypothyroids (not all) experience.  So I am basically back to semi-gluten free.  I found that if you keep saying " I am on a GF diet" it feels very resctrictive.  However if you stick to fresh veggies, fruits and meats you will be on a GF diet by default. 

And there you have it, an oversimplified look at goitrogens and eating healthy as a hypothyroid.  Do you have hypothryoidism?  any other tips?