With the colder months upon us, now is the time to nourish and warm your body from within with the foods you eat, working in harmony with nature and the winter season. One way of protecting your body from the winter chill is to ensure your foods are 'warm' or heated rather than served cold. Winter is not the time for salads or too many cold fruits. Always add ginger to any fresh juices and stew fruits (served warm) to harmonise the cold element. Cook up hearty, nutritious soups and stews filled with as many vegetables you can manage. A big pot of organic chicken and vegetable soup (with added garlic and ginger of course) is a nourishing winter feast and another great way to aid recovery from illness. Add in some shitake mushrooms to give your immune system a powerful boost; they contain lentinan that helps to fight off disease and infection. Flavour your foods with pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, cayenne, tumeric and small amounts of chilli. These foods gently heat the body and stimulate the circulation while garlic has the added benefit of fighting both bacterial and viral infections and breaking down mucous. Garlic is a great natural remedy for colds and flus; add it to your cooking or mix it with lemon, warm water and honey for a really powerful immune system kick.

Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free

1/4 cup organic unbleached white flour or organic rice flour (if wheat free recipe is desired)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 ground black pepper
4 free range organic chicken breasts
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 cup chopped carrot, peeled if desired
1 cup chopped and peeled parsnip or turnip
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup fresh sliced shitake mushrooms
1/3 cup quinoa
1/4 - 1/2 cup free range chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the salt and pepper. Toss the cubed chicken into the flour mixture, coating all sides and reserving any left over flour. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken on all sides and remove to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Stir in the celery, onion, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook the vegetables, stirring for two minutes.

Add the quinoa and continue to cook, stirring for an additional minute. Stir 1/4 cup chicken stock (or more if needed) into the remaining flour until completely blended. Add this along with the rest of the broth back into the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, cook for one hour or until thickened into a stew. Garnish with chopped parsley.


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