Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 Comforting Soups

       When the weather takes a cooler turn, nothing provides warmth and comfort quite like a good soup. I figured that I’d share some of my favorite Fall and Winter time soups with you today.

1. This soup is a hearty, healthy, veggie filled comfort soup that’s perfect for Fall and Winter. If you want to make this with dairy instead of the dairy alternatives, simply use butter instead of coconut oil and milk instead of cashew milk. You can also use chicken or bone broth instead of vegetable broth if you prefer. It also helps to keep an extra cup or two of broth handy just in case the rice gets a bit over cooked and soaks up all the broth. With this in mind, Wild Rice takes longer to cook, if you want to use white or brown rice, or want to use a mixture, shorten your cooking time for the rice.

Mushroom and Wild Rice

6 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup uncooked Wild Rice
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 small Red Onion, diced
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
3 sprigs Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh Parsley, chopped
¼ cup All Purpose, Gluten Free Flour
1 ½ cups Cashew Milk
3 cups Baby Spinach, roughly chopped

     In a large stock pot, over Medium-High heat, heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil. Add Yellow Onion and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir in the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add in the broth, wild rice, mushrooms, carrots, celery, red onions, thyme and bay leaves. Give it a good stir and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Once it reaches that point, cover it and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
     During the final 10 minutes of your broth mixture, it’s time to work on that cream sauce in a separate sauce pan. Melt the coconut oil on Medium-High heat. Whisk in the flour, until combined (there should be no lumps). Add in the cashew milk and cook for about 1 minute, constantly stirring. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture almost comes to a simmer, it should be quite thick at this point.
     Add the creamy mixture and the spinach to the broth mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

2. This traditional, Native American, soup is inspired by three of the most important crops that they grew, and they grew them together. These plants helped to support one another and keep each other healthy as they were growing. They also work well together in this comforting soup. It’s easy to add some chicken, turkey, or beef to this if you want to make it a bit more hearty.

Three Sisters Soup

2 lbs Winter Squash, the ones I use most often is Butternut or Acorn
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 sprig Thyme
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced
6 cups Vegetable Stock
1 can (15oz) Cannelloni Beans, drained and rinsed
½ lb Corn Kernels, or about 1 ½ medium ears of Corn
1 bunch fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice squash in half and remove seeds, then roast for 40 minutes. Allow squash to cool, then remove the flesh and save the liquid in the squash for later. Cut the squash into about ½ inch squares. In a large pot, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until brown. Add thyme and garlic and stir until the garlic turns brown. Slowly add vegetable stock and squash. Allow mixture to simmer for a few minutes before adding beans and corn. Simmer for about 20 minutes, add in the parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.

3. To me, the best comfort food is a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. This recipe takes that concept from basic and kicks it up a notch. I like to serve this with a Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese sandwich, or a Cheese Quesadilla.

Southwest Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
½ medium Red Onion, diced
½ medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 Poblano Pepper, diced
2 teaspoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Paprika
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Coriander
1 can (15oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
30 oz Tomato Sauce, low sodium or no salt added
2 cups Vegetable Broth
¼ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Top with Sour Cream *optional

     Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and blend, either with an immersion blender or a food processor. Add beans, sauce, broth to the blended veggies and mix together. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with cilantro right before serving. Serve hot, and top each bowl with a dollop of sour cream (optional).

4. Chowders are wonderfully chunky, hearty, and comforting soups. They’re great for cooler weather. But this chowder has a twist, instead of using potatoes, it uses roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Chowder

1 head Cauliflower
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks Celery, diced
¼ cup All Purpose, Gluten Free, Flour
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup Coconut Milk
1 Bay Leaf
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Chop the cauliflower and its stem into bite-sized pieces. Place the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, toss to combine, and spread into an even layer. Roast until just golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
     On medium-high heat, in a large sauce pot, drizzle the olive oil  and add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in vegetable broth and coconut milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the roasted cauliflower and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more coconut milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Top the chowder with parsley right before serving. Serve hot.

5. Lentils and Rice is a classic dish, but so is Lemon Orzo soup. This hearty soup combines the best of both dishes. This classic flavor will bring comfort and warmth this fall/winter season.

Lemon Lentil Soup with Orzo

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups (12 ounces) Lentils, picked and rinsed
8 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Kale, shredded
juice of 1 to 2 Lemons
1 cup uncooked Orzo pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 handful fresh Dill, chopped

     Heat the oil in a large stock pot, over medium heat. Add the onions and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally until they are softened and starting to smell sweet, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more.
     Stir in the lentils and broth. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Taste then adjust with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Add in the Orzo and Kale and cook, uncovered, another 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender.
     Take the soup off of the heat, and then stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the fresh herbs. Taste the soup, and then season with additional salt and/or lemon juice. Serve hot.

     If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Find me on YouTube and check out my videos! I also have a few things up on Teespring, check it out! Also, if you like what I do and what to see more, Become a Patron!

Saturday, November 9, 2019


     Who doesn't love Koalas? The adorable, fluffy, wild marsupials are one of a handful of animals that can live off a diet of mostly Eucalyptus. While these endangered animals are a great reason to learn about this wonderful plant, there are a number of other reasons as well. Though it’s really amazing to find out that fresh Eucalyptus (and large quantities of the oil) is toxic to most species of animal on Earth, but that 3 marsupials in particular have not only developed the ability to consume it without harm, but have made the Eucalyptus trees their primary food source. The Koala, Greater Glider, and Ringtail Possum are these animals. Other animals use Eucalyptus to line their nests, gather pollen for honey, and a number of other uses.

     Eucalyptus is actually a large genus of more than 660 species of shrubs and tall trees of the Myrtaceae, or myrtle, family. They are native to Australia, Tasmania, and a few other nearby islands. In Australia the eucalypti are commonly known as Gum Trees or Stringy Bark Trees. Many species are cultivated widely throughout the temperate regions of the world as shade trees or in forestry plantations. About 500 of these species are used for producing essential oils for medicinal, industrial, and aromatic uses. These trees grow rapidly, and many species get quite tall. The Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), of Victoria and Tasmania, is one of the largest species and attains a height of about 90 metres (300 feet) and a circumference of 7.5 metres (24.5 feet). Many species continually shed the dead outermost layer of bark in flakes or ribbons (giving rise to the common name of Stringy Bark Tree), however, certain other species have thick textured bark. The leaves are leathery and often hang vertically and most species are evergreen. The flower petals fuse together to form a cap which is shed when the flower expands, exposing the fluffy stamens that make up the major portion of the decoration of these unusual flowers. These stamens can be white, cream, yellow, red, or pink. The fruit is surrounded by a woody cup-shaped capsule and contains a large number of small seeds. Possibly the largest fruits, about 5 to 6 cm (2 to 2.5 inches) in diameter, are borne by Mottlecah, or Silverleaf Eucalyptus (E. macrocarpa).

     So how is Eucalyptus helpful for us? It’s a great medicinal herb that helps in a large number of conditions, predominantly those that have to do with the respiratory system. Certain species are also a major source of nectar and pollen for honey. The trees produce wood that is used in a number of ways, for building material, paper, etc. And areas that are commonly swampy and riddled with malaria can be dried up naturally, in a few years, by planting Eucalyptus trees, that also repel those pesky, malaria carrying, mosquitoes.

Medicinal Uses:

Common Names- Tasmanian Blue Gum, Blue Gum Tree, Stringy Bark Tree, Strawberry Gum, Fever Tree Leaf

Scientific Name- Eucalyptus globulus is the most commonly used for medicinal purposes, however all Eucalyptus species have similar medicinal properties.

Edibility- Most Eucalyptus trees are inedible, however where they are native, Eucalyptus flowers are significant producers of honey, flower nectar, and “manna” sweet dripping directly from the tree or scraped from leaves, and in some cases even edible bark and seeds.

Summary of Actions- Analgesic, anodyne, antibacterial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, bitter, decongestant, deodorant, depurative, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, refrigerant, stimulant, and vulnerary

Energetics and Flavors- Aromatic, Pungent, Slightly Bitter, Cool, Dry, Moist

Parts Used- Dried Leaves and Essential Oil

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)- Known as An Shu (whole tree) and An Ye (leaf only), Eucalyptus effects the Lung and Bladder meridians. It promotes sweating, releases to the exterior, and relieves wind heat. This means that it’s used to treat sore throat, cold, aches, pains, sinusitis, headaches, and acute rheumatism. It soothes the lungs and expels phlegm, making it useful for bronchitis, asthma, and tuberculosis. It clears toxins and supports immunity, so it’s often called on for lung infections, urogenital infections, and skin eruptions. It reduces inflammation, helping to relieve nerve pain, neuralgia, wounds, and burns. Eucalyptus also expels parasites and repels Insects, so it’s useful to treat roundworm, pinworm, lice, and is used as an insect repellent.

Ayurveda- Known as Nilgiri in Hindi, and Tailpama in Sandskrit, Eucalyptus is known for increasing pitta dosha and pacifying kapha and vata dosha, making it ideal for clearing breathing pathways, opening airways, and promoting vigor and vitality.

Essential Oil and Aromatherapy- Eucalyptus Essential Oil is inhaled and perceived as refreshing and can be inhaled to promote a sense of vitality. It’s also invigorating and helps to relieve stress. It has traditionally been used to relieve the discomforts associated with fatigue, headaches, colds, sinusitis, mucous congestion, muscle aches and pains, and asthma. A few drops can also be diluted and used as an effective mouthwash.

Respiratory and Allergies- Research has shown that Eucalyptus can decrease mucus and expand the bronchi and bronchioles of your lungs. It’s also a great anti-inflammatory and may help improve asthma symptoms. It’s also soothing to the mucus membranes, so it helps reduce pain and inflammation in the sinus cavities, helping reduce some of the symptoms of hay-fever and sinusitis. This is especially effective if you add a drop or two of the essential oil to a sinus irrigation treatment such as the Neti Pot.

Insect Repellent- Research has shown that it’s effective at warding off mosquitoes and other biting insects for up to eight hours after topical application. The higher the eucalyptol content of Eucalyptus oil, the longer and more effectively it works as a repellent. Eucalyptus oil may also treat head lice. In one randomized study, this oil was twice as effective as a popular head lice treatment at curing head lice.

Cold, Flu, & Malaria- A tea made from this herb relieves cold symptoms like cough, nasal congestion, and headache by decreasing inflammation and mucus buildup. The vapors and essential oil act as a decongestant. This herb also is said to help reduce fevers and stimulate the immune system. The tree has also been used to transform swampy environments infested with malaria into habitable neighborhoods.

Blood Sugar- Eucalyptus oil has potential as a treatment for diabetes. Experts believe that it may play a role in lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes, but caution should be taken as it may interfere with certain medications.

Burns, Cuts, & Wounds- The Australian aborigines used Eucalyptus leaves to treat wounds and prevent infection. Today the diluted oil may still be used on the skin to fight inflammation and promote the healing of burns, cuts, fungal infections, and other minor wounds.

Muscle & Joint Pain- Current research suggests that Eucalyptus oil eases joint pain. In fact, many popular over-the- counter creams and ointments used to soothe pain from conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis contain this essential oil.

Household Uses- During the 19th century in England, Eucalyptus oil was used in hospitals to clean urinary catheters. Many studies later revealed that Eucalyptus oil contains substances with microbial properties, confirming the British use as a cleaning agent. Eucalyptus Oil effectively removes grease and grime, making it an excellent cleaning product for the kitchen. It may also be mixed-in with homemade hand soaps and laundry detergents. Added to natural homemade sprays as a cleaning agent, it can be used for washing toilet bowls, floors, counter tops, and windows, just to name a few surfaces. The clean scent makes an effective fabric freshener, and it can be mixed with Lemon or Tea Tree Essential Oils, diluted with water, then applied to odorous materials such as the insides of shoes. Furthermore, as an air cleanser, Eucalyptus Oil is beneficial for eliminating mold that could contribute to respiratory issues.

Cautions, Contraindications, and Warnings- Eucalyptus Essential Oil is extremely stimulating to the brain, anyone who experiences seizures and similar issues should avoid this oil as it may induce a seizure.
     While eucalyptus leaves are generally recognized as safe, there are some serious health risks associated with consuming eucalyptus oil, as it can lead to toxicity. It’s also important to note that children are at higher risk of toxicity. Seizures, difficulty breathing, a lowered level of consciousness, and even death have been reported.
     Avoid Eucalyptus if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
     Some people experience contact dermatitis upon applying eucalyptus oil to their skin. Use a carrier oil, such as olive oil or jojoba oil, to reduce your risk of skin irritation. Before using the oil, do a patch test to ensure you don’t have a reaction.
     Finally, eucalyptus oil may interact with certain medications, such as those for diabetes, high cholesterol, acid reflux, and psychiatric disorders. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before using it

     I only included a basic introduction to this highly aromatic and exotic plant. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram or updates on my adventures in Nature. Find me on YouTube and check out my videos! I also have a few things up on Teespring, check it out! Also, if you like what I do and what to see more, Become a Patron!


7 Impressive Benefits of Eucalyptus Leaves: Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eucalyptus-leaves

9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Eucalyptus Trees: Tree Coin: https://tree-coin.io/9-facts-eucalyptus-trees/

9 Unexpected Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil: Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/9-ways-eucalyptus-oil-can-help

Eucalyptus: Gaia Herbs: https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/herbs/eucalyptus

Eucalyptus: A Modern Herbal: https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/e/eucaly14.html

Eucalyptus: White Rabbit Institute of Healing: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/eucalyptus/

Eucalyptus Globulus: Always Ayurveda: https://www.alwaysayurveda.com/eucalyptus-globulus/

Eucalyptus Oil Varieties, Benefits, and Uses: New Directions Aromatics Blog: https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/blog/products/all-about-eucalyptus-oil.html

Tasmanian Blue Gum: Natural Medicinal Herbs: http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/e/eucalyptus-globulus=tasmanian-blue-gum.php

The Health Benefits of Eucalyptus: Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266580.php

Useful Eucalyptus The Many Uses of Eucalyptus: Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/alternative-health/useful-eucalyptus-many-uses-eucalyptus/

Uses of Eucalyptus Oil: Purusha Ayurveda: http://www.purushaayurveda.com/articles/2016/4/11/uses-of-eucalyptus-oil


Greetings from the Bat Lady!

     Welcome to Bat Lady Herbals.  I have been fascinated by herbs and various herbal uses for quite a few years now.  Plants are amazing t...