Balsamic Tomato and Basil Salad

I know it's not summer anymore, but I have to share one of my favorite tomato dishes that I think is yummy any time of the year. 

It's been 2 months now that we've been doing a food challenge where we stay away from sugar and processed foods. A couple weeks into the challenge my friend shared this tomato recipe and I'm loving it! Seriously, I eat it all the time!!

 It's a great side dish to any meal or just to snack on during the day. It only takes minutes to put together and has a wonderful fresh flavor.

Balsamic Tomato and Basil Salad

1 large package of cherry or grape tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt

Slice the tomatoes in half and put in a bowl. Finely chop the basil and add to bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add sea salt to taste.


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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

One of my favorite things about the weather getting cooler is that I can start making yummy soups for dinner. This makes me so happy!! 

Every Halloween, some of our neighbors gather together outside at a home for dinner and everyone brings a soup to share. It's heaven to sample each of the soups. This year I found a recipe for a turkey and wild rice soup but changed it up a bit and used chicken instead. It's a winner in my book and we'll be making it often this winter.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(adapted from Lindsey's Luscious)

9 cups chicken stock + a possible 1 cup chicken stock for later
8 oz. uncooked wild rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, diced

2 carrots, diced

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chicken soup base-(I used Better Than Bouillon brand. Instead of a bouillon cube it's a paste)

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups half-and-half

2 cups diced cooked chicken

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Add nine cups of stock and the uncooked wild rice to a crock pot set to high. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute onion, celery and carrots until onion is transparent. Season with the black pepper, and add the sauteed veggies to the crock pot. Stir in the chicken soup base. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (or on low for 6-8 hours) until the wild rice and veggies are tender.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick of butter. Whisk in the flour, and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.  Once thickened and completely smooth, add the white sauce to the crock pot and stir to combine. Add the chicken and the parsley (and another cup of stock if you prefer a thinner soup), and cook on high for another 20 minutes or until heated through.