The Ultimate Gazpacho.

This gazpacho recipe is the best! It's a refreshing summertime soup, perfect for your garden tomatoes and cucumber. Vegan and gluten free. cookieandkate.com

This post is brought to you by the Vidalia Onion Committee.

Gazpacho! The chilled, raw tomato and vegetable soup from Andalusia, Spain. Ever had it? Love it? Hate it? I can’t say I’ve always loved it, but if you get it right, gazpacho can be so good. At its best, gazpacho is super refreshing and bursting with fresh-from-the-garden summer flavors. At its worst, gazpacho tastes like chunky cold salsa or thin tomato juice, neither of which do I particularly enjoy.

I wanted a texture somewhere in between the two, and far superior flavor. The trick, I discovered, is to blend half of ingredients into creamy oblivion. Then, add the other half and blitz until they break into tiny pieces. You’ll end up with a delicious, rich base, with tiny pieces of tomatoes, cucumber and pepper adding intrigue.

Vidalia onion and tomatoes

I used a Vidalia onion to kick the flavor up by a few more notches. Vidalias aren’t grown in Spain; they’re grown exclusively within 20 designated counties in South Georgia. The mild winters and low sulphur soil produce a distinctively mellow, sweet flavor that works well in recipes ranging from onion dip to dessert. Yes, dessert!

Vidalia onions are available only in the spring and summer (from April to August), so they seemed perfectly suited for gazpacho. Gazpacho is a raw soup, and other varieties of raw onion are too pungent to let the other flavors shine through. Combined with red, ripe, juicy summer tomatoes, this is the gazpacho that dreams are made of.

Continue to the recipe…

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How to Make Chimichurri

You'll love this traditional chimichurri recipe! Chimichurri is a popular parsley sauce recipe in Argentina with a super bold, fresh flavor. cookieandkate.com

I’m going to burst! This morning, my publisher told me this morning that Love Real Food hit Amazon’s Best Cookbooks of 2017 list. I have no doubt this is due in part to your amazing Amazon reviews. After devoting nearly two years of my life to the book, it’s incredibly rewarding to hear that you are putting it to good use in your kitchens and loving the results. Thank you!

Since we talked all about basil pesto last week, and summer is the season for grilling, let’s talk chimichurri sauce today. Chimichurri verde is a boldly flavored, fresh green sauce made of parsley, garlic, red onion, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It’s typically served on steak in Argentina and throughout South America.

chimichurri ingredients

Some chimichurri verde recipes call for fresh cilantro in addition to parsley, but several Argentineans have told me that they don’t actually add cilantro in Argentina. So, I took their word for it and made my chimichurri sauce with just parsley. You’ll also see some recipes with oregano, whether fresh or dried; I like it better without.

Chimichurri verde isn’t just for steak! It brightens up grilled vegetables, and goes great with mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, and whole grains like brown or wild rice, farro and quinoa. I think it might even be nice as a salad dressing or on grilled corn on the cob, too. Please let me know how you put it to use.

More fun book stuff:

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6 Reasons to Use a Meal Plan

spicy carrot salad

Where I live there’s an awesome local play group. We’ve been blessed to meet many other families in the area.

The other day, our playgroup talk turned to food and cooking as it often does when I’m around. (Why is that?)

We were chatting about the challenges of mid-week family dinners.

There seemed to be two camps. One group was resigned to putting up with ‘sub standard meals’ during the week and the other resorted to having dinner really late.

My heart really went out to them.

It made me realize how lucky I am. Most of the time I don’t have either problem.

Sometimes I have the problem of trying to cook with a hungry one-year-old attached to my leg. But that’s a whole other story.

It got me thinking why our mid-week family dinners are (mostly) pretty tasty and are (mostly) on the table by 6pm.

Working from home definitely helps but I think the biggest factor is that I’m pretty organized. I love thinking about what I’m going to cook and I usually have some sort of plan.

So I thought today we’d have a look at some of the benefits of meal planning…

6 Reasons to Use a Meal Plan

1. Better Tasting Meals.
I’m a food lover. The most important thing for me is that my meals taste good. Life is to short to put up with sub standard dinners.

When I was talking to members of ‘Soupstones‘ (my done-for-you meal planning service) a little while back, many people mentioned their meals had been tastier and they’d been getting more compliments since using my meal plans. There you go.

2. Increase your likelihood of cooking at home.
Cooking for yourself is one of the biggest game changers to help you look and feel your best. Having ingredients in the house and some idea of what to make with those ingredients makes it much, much easier to cook. Especially when you’re tired at the end of a long day.

3. Variety
Getting stuck in a food rut is no fun and not the best from a nutritional perspective either. Using some sort of plan is a great way to inject some fresh ideas and ensure you try new recipes from time to time.

4. Reduce Waste and Save Money
Having a meal plan that works means you’ll be buying the right amount and types of food each week and actually using them. So you’ll be less likely to be throwing out ‘veg gone bad’ at the end of the week. Both result in more dollars in your pocket and a happier planet.

5. Saving Time
By planning ahead you can save yourself time on many levels. First you can buy more when you do shop, saving you extra trips to pick up ‘this and that’ at the store.

Plus having a plan allows you to prep ahead and prep in bulk (if you like), meaning less time to get dinner on the table on those busy week nights.

6. Less Deciding What to Cook
It’s much harder to make decisions when you’re tired. Following a meal plan means the pressure is off having to ‘decide’. The decision part has already been done so you can just walk into the kitchen and immerse yourself in the soothing world of chopping and stirring.

It’s my favourite way to relax at the end of the day (apart from when there’s that one-year-old-leg situation I mentioned earlier 😉

Like Some Help with Your Meal Planning?

Then you’re in luck!

To celebrate the 3-and-a-half Birthday of Soupstones, my simple done-for-you meal planning service, I’m having a quick 50% OFF Sale.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the ‘1/2 Birthday Sale’
use your link below:

www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/

NOTE: Sale for a strictly limited time.

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“I nearly cried when your planner came through today! My life is really hectic at the moment, lots of decision making needed, stress etc and to have the planner with recipes that are easy and scrummy, portion controlled and a shopping list it was such a relief. Thank you, thank you!”
Cecelia, Soupstones Member.
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spicy carrot salad-2

Spicy Carrot & Chicken Salad

Harissa is a very hot paste made with lots of chillies. It’s commonly found in Tunisia and Morocco and is one of my favourite ingredients. You can buy it online or from good delis. My supermarket stocks it. It comes in a tube and is brilliant to keep in the fridge for an instant chilli hit. If you can’t find commercial harissa you know I’ve got you covered in the variations below.

enough for: 2
takes: 45 minutes
2 onions finely sliced into 1/2 moons
1 bunch baby carrots, tops reserved
4 chicken thigh fillets, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon harissa
1 tablespoon sherry or wine vinegar

1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Place onion, carrots and chicken in a roasting tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

2. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring about half way through.

3. Meanwhile, combine harissa, vinegar and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season.

4. When the carrots, onion and chicken are cooked remove from the oven and drizzle over the dressing. Serve with carrot tops sprinkled over.

Variations

side salad – skip the chicken if you prefer.

no carrot tops – if your carrot tops aren’t nice (or a non existent) replace with a bag of salad leaves or bunch of flat leaf parsley or coriander leaves.

grown-up carrots – replace baby carrots with 4 regular carrots halved lengthwise.

vegetarian / vegan – replace chicken with a drained can of chickpeas, white beans, mushrooms or eggplant.

no harissa – replace with any chilli paste or hot sauce such as sambal oleck or sriracha. You could also substitute 2-4 large fresh red chillies that have been finely chopped.

different veg – also lovely with sweet potato, parsnip, regular potatos, swede or beets. Some veg may need cooking for longer.

more substantial – serve with flat bread or couscous that has been cooked according to the packet with some extra butter added or serve with cooked quinoa, brown rice or boiled potatoes.

short on time – pan fry chicken and onions instead and serve with the dressing raw grated carrots.

more veg – serve with a green salad or add mushrooms or eggplant with the chicken.

family friendly – use less harissa or serve dressing on the side.

low carb – replace carrots with 1 large head broccoli or a small cauliflower. And use baby spinach or salad leaves instead of the carrot tops.

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Soupstones Square Logo no border

ps. Not sure if my meal plans would work for you?

Here’s what Marjorie and Emma said about their experience:

“It took me a bit to get going on it, but when I made a leap and just went and shopped from your list — Voila! It was marvelous. I made everything like you said, even if I thought, we are not going to like this recipe. It’s pretty amazing, but my husband and I have liked every single meal. I’ve heard him talk about Soupstones Meal Plans to people and he says, You read the recipe and you doubt it’s going to taste good — but it ALWAYS does! He gets very excited now to see what’s in store for the week.”
Marjorie, Soupstones Member.

“What I love most about it is that I don’t need to think of what’s for dinner. Thinking of a healthy meal for the family during the working week is tricky so I really appreciate the inspiration from your meal plans. The hard work is done”.
Emma, Soupstones Member.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the ‘1/2 Birthday Sale’
use your link below:

www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/

NOTE: Sale for a strictly limited time.

____________________

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Spice Giveaway & Vegan Mac and Cheese

You won't believe how delicious dairy-free mac and cheese can be. Vegan and easily gluten free. cookieandkate.com

This post is brought to you by Frontier Co-op.

Did you know that this seven-year-old vegetarian food blog did not have a macaroni and cheese recipe until today? It’s true. I’ve failed you on the mac and cheese front, but I’m making it up to you with this vegan (I repeat: dairy free) mac and cheese recipe. From one cheese lover to another, I’m here to tell you that this mac and “cheese” is remarkably cheese-like and absolutely delicious.

ingredients

I’ve been slowly working on this mac and cheese since I published my vegan queso recipe two months ago. The first time, I tried to use pasta cooking water instead of my queso’s secret ingredient (grated potato), and it was just ok. Then, I went back to the potato, which makes this cashew-based queso super silky and creamy.

Nutritional yeast is key in both recipes. It offers some cheesy flavor and color. Frontier Co-Op just started offering it in smaller bottles, and after using it in this recipe, I really believe their product is superior. It has less funk than the regular store-bought brand, so if you haven’t enjoyed nutritional yeast in the past, please give it a shot.

Continue to the recipe…

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Fast Roast Cabbage with Crunchy Bacon Gremolata

Roast Cabbage with Chunky Bacon Gremolata-2

This week I have not one but two special treats for you.

The first is a simple idea. But one it’s taken me a while to cotton on to. Sometimes I’m a slow learner.

We’re talking one of my favourite vegetables, cabbage. And we’re talking one of my favourite cooking techniques, the fast roast.

To cut a long story short, we’re talking match made in heaven.

Even if you think you’re not a fan of cabbage, I really encourage you to try it. Seriously, cabbage cooked like this is the business.

The second idea probably won’t need as much convincing because, yes, there’s bacon. (Although if you’re vegetarian, like my friend Dominica, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Just skip down to the variations below).

Gremolata is usually an Italian topping of parsley, garlic and lemon zest used to add freshness to slow cooked dishes. This bacon and almond version takes the idea to a whole new level and has a million and one uses.

My favourite is to use it on simply cooked veggies like this cabbage but it’s also fab to add crunch to soups or as a salsa to serve with cooked chicken. It’s also a brilliant way to jazz up poached or fried eggs for a super tasty brunch.

It’s so, so good!

Want to win a copy of my print book ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes?

I really want to hear from you!
What do you like about Stonesoup? Do you have any ideas to make it better? What would you like to see more of?
Let me know in the comments below.

The winner for June is Ferryn from Austria.

A new winner will be chosen early July.

With love,
Jules
xoxo
www.thestonesoup.com

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Roast Cabbage with Chunky Bacon Gremolata-3

Roast Cabbage with Crunchy Bacon Gremolata

Inspired by the lovely Andrea Bemis from my favourite vegetable-loving blog Dishing Up the Dirt.

We’ve had this for breakfast and dinner on different days and it’s great at any time of day. I’ve also made it with white and red cabbage and have a slight preference for red because it looks prettier.

enough for: 2
takes: 40 minutes
1/2 medium red cabbage
4 slices bacon
2 handfuls roasted almonds
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
zest 1 small lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Slice cabbage into 4-5 slices each about 2cm (3/4in) thick. Place sliced on a baking tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil or duck fat.

2. Roast cabbage for about 15 minutes. Turn and keep cooking for another 10-15 minutes or until cabbage is crispy around the edges and no longer crunchy in the middle.

3. While the cabbage is roasting cook bacon in a frying pan on a medium high heat until well browned and crispy. Cool for a few minutes.

4. When the bacon isn’t too hot chop coarsley. Chop almonds and parsley (stalks and all) and combine with the bacon along with the lemon zest.

5. Divide cabbage between 2 plates and top with bacon gremolata.

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Variations

more substantial – serve with poached or fried eggs or as a side to roast or pan fried chicken or fish. A dollop of home made mayo is also lovely.

carb-lovers – Toss in some cooked pasta, serve with crusty bread and butter or pile everything on a slice of well buttered sourdough toast.

vegetarian – make an almond gremolata by doubling the almonds, skipping the bacon and adding a small clove of finely chopped garlic. If you have smoked almonds even better.

pescetarian – replace bacon with a drained can of tuna in chilli oil.

budget – use chunky sour dough bread crumbs instead of the almonds (or substitute some).

different veg – brussels sprouts are an obvious choice and won’t need as long in the oven. Also brilliant with regular broccoli, broccolini or cauliflower – just adjust roasting time as needed. The gremolata is also great on cooked greens like spinach, chard or kale.

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Pink Drink

This pink drink is my interpretation of the Starbucks drink. Made with hibiscus tea, orange juice and coconut milk, this punch recipe is fresh, fruity and super refreshing. cookieandkate.com

Rewind to yoga class one month ago. Before we got started, the instructor started off with a story about her recent experience at Starbucks. She ordered her drink (the “pink drink”) and was super friendly to the barista (I forgot the details). In turn, she got her drink for free! Treat others well and you will be treated will in return. Treat your body well and it will treat you well in return, she said.

Her golden rule analogy was lost on me because I was entranced by this “pink drink” idea. She mentioned that it had hibiscus tea and coconut milk in it. Inhale, cat, exhale, cow, hibiscus tea, coconut milk. Hmmm. Downward dog, hibiscus tea, right leg up, lunge, coconut milk.

ingredients

I know I’m supposed to focus solely on yoga during class, but I could not stop thinking about the pink drink. Did you see the hibiscus pink lemonade in the cookbook? I really like hibiscus tea and its naturally bright pink color.

So, I went home and started playing around with the idea. I created a pink drink that I really enjoyed before I even drove to Starbucks to try their version. I finally ordered one a couple of weeks later (it’s not on the menu; you have to ask for it). Here’s the kicker, though—I didn’t like it! I liked mine much better, and everyone who has tried it loves it, too.

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12 Delicious Pesto Recipes

Vegetarian pesto, squash noodles and spaghetti with burst cherry tomatoes - cookieandkate.com

Hello from Mexico City! I’m on a much-needed post-cookbook vacation, eating many tacos and drinking many margaritas. You can probably catch a glimpse of the trip on Instagram stories—we’re cookieandkate.

Since we talked all about basil pesto earlier this week, I thought I’d share a collection of my favorite recipes that include pesto today, in some form or another. I love to make unconventional pestos with arugula, kale, cilantro and parsley. Sometimes I even throw in an avocado to make them creamy. They’re a great way to incorporate fresh greens in regular meals.

You can view all of my pesto recipes here. You can also find a few of my favorite herb/nut combinations in my cookbook. I included my basic pesto recipe on the cut-out cheat sheet, so you can tape it to the inside of your cabinet for easy reference! Learn more and get your copy right here.

1) Pesto Squash Noodles and Spaghetti with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

“This recipe is divine! I’m a newlywed looking for easy, but delicious recipes and this was exactly it; my husband loved it! Plus I just planted basil…making a perfect excuse to make this all the time!” – Grace

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How to Make Basil Pesto

The best basil pesto recipe—learn all my tricks here! cookieandkate.com

It’s hot outside, so let’s to talk about basil pesto! Have you made pesto at home yet? It’s one of my absolute favorite, ultra-flavorful sauces, and it seems fancier than it actually is. You can serve pesto on pasta or zucchini noodles, pizza, sandwiches and much more.

pesto ingredients

Homemade pesto is infinitely more tasty than the jarred varieties, and it’s very easy to make if you have a food processor or blender. Traditionally speaking, pesto is made in a mortar and pestle, but I can’t imagine anything worse than crushing basil by hand, one handful at a time. (Actually, I can: washing a sink full of dishes by hand.)

Surprisingly, Kenji from Serious Eats says that if you freeze and thaw the basil leaves first, the food processor makes even better pesto. I haven’t tried yet, but I’m intrigued. Keep reading to learn all about basil pesto!

Fun book updates:

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How to Make Bone Broth (Stock)

Bone Broth

Do you struggle to get organized to make broth or stock on a regular basis? Well as my friend Rico says, ‘I hear ya honey‘!

I used to be the same.

Having a good supply of home made stock seems like such a great idea because the store bought stuff is never as good. But there’s also the ‘too much effort (and waste) for not enough reward’ perception.

These days, however, I’ve been loving my stock making. Especially with my Monday Night Soup project I wrote about recently.

What Caused the Change?

1. I got a good system for collecting bones.
Basically I have a large ziplock bag in the freezer labelled ‘bones’. Yes, I thought long and hard about that one 😉 So now whenever I cook something with bones, they go straight into the freezer bag.

2. I developed a good workflow.
Like most of cooking (and life) having a good system and practicing makes a huge difference. Now that I have my system I look forward to my stock making days.

3. I discovered the ‘remy’.
One of my gripes about broth / stock making was disposing of all the bones afterwards. It seemed like so much waste. Then I discovered the idea of a remouillage or remy for short. Basically, it’s a weaker broth / stock you make with the bones after you’ve made the original batch of full strength broth / stock.

There are still the bones to discard at the end but it feels more worthwhile when I’ve made this extra batch.

What’s the Difference Between Bone Broth and Stock?

There’s a lot of talk about bone broths these days and really the two terms can be used interchangeably. Although for me a broth is something you’re planning to be drinking on it’s own or as a simple soup. Whereas a stock is something you use as an ingredient.

When making stock / broth the bones provide the minerals and gelatine (to give the body) and meat on the bones provides the flavour. So broths tend to include more meat but I don’t get too worried about it.

How I Make Bone Broth (Stock)

Like my recent post on making muesli for my boys, this isn’t so much a recipe as a work flow. There are no right or wrong ways to go about this. Every batch I make is slightly different but that’s part of the beauty.

makes: how long is a piece of string?
takes: 1-2 days

enough bones to fill your stock pot
2 carrots, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
optional extras (see variations below)

Day 1.
1. Place bones in your pot (mine come straight from the freezer). Cover with cold water, leaving about 2 inches from the top so the broth won’t boil over.

2. Place on a high heat and bring to the boil. If you can be bothered, skim any foam from the top and discard it. I often don’t bother but removing this fat and protein makes for a clearer stock so I try and do it a couple of times.

3. While the stock is coming to the boil prep your veg and add to the pot.

4. When the stock has boiled, reduce heat and simmer gently uncovered for 4 – 12 hours. Top up with some boiling water if the level reduces too much. Remove from the heat and cover. You can refrigerate in the pot or just leave on the stove top like I do.

Day 2.
1. Remove bones from the pot using a strainer or skimmer and place in another large pot or a really big bowl (like I do) and save for your remy. Bring broth to a rapid boil to kill off any bacteria that have grown overnight.

2. Pour stock through a fine sieve into a heat proof jug (I do this in batches). And then transfer the strained stock into storage containers (I use glass jars about 2 cup capacity). Remember it will expand when frozen so leave some space. Seal jars / containers and pop in the fridge to cool.

3. When the fat has solidified you can remove it and save for other cooking. Or just leave it on (like I mostly do).

4. Broth will keep in the fridge for up to about 5 days (sometimes I leave it longer but I always make sure it gets a good boiling before consumption). Keeps for months in the freezer.

Day 2. The Remy
1. Place your saved bones back in the stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for as long as you’ve got (4-12 hours). Don’t top up with water because you want to concentrate the flavours.

2. Remove and discard bones. Strain remy through a fine sieve into storage containers or directly into a large saucepan to make a batch of soup (like I usually do.). If storing, refrigerate or freeze as per the full-flavoured broth.

Variations

optional extras – bunch thyme, bunch flat leaf parsley, can diced tomatoes, vegetable peelings.

more chicken flavour – include some chicken wings with your bones.

more flavour – roast bones in the oven until well browned. 200C / 400F for about 60 minutes is usually enough. I generally don’t bother but sometimes I do and it makes a richer darker stock.

more body / gelatine – add some (well scrubbed) chicken feet!

short on time – You can do everything in the one day if you like. Or skip making the remy at the end.

stronger flavoured remy – add an extra carrot, onion and stick of celery to the bones.

Like to learn more?

The best resource I’ve come across is a little book called ‘Brodo – a bone broth cookbook‘ by New York Chef Marco Cannora. It contains a whole host of broth and soup recipes (including vegetarian broths) and is well worth checking out.

And you might enjoy my 7 Surprising Reasons to Eat More Soup.

With love,
Jules xoxo
www.thestonesoup.com

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ps. Want to win a copy of my print book ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes?

5 ingredients 10 minutes cover image

I really want to hear from you!
What’s your favourite Stonesoup recipe?
Let me know in the comments below.

The winner for June will be judged on and announced next week.

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Almond-Sesame Soba Zoodles with Quick-Pickled Veggies

Almond sesame soba noodles with zucchini noodles - cookieandkate.com

I love this time of year! The days are long and filled with sunshine, and I feel like the energizer bunny. After a rough winter, this month has been entirely rejuvenating. Today, I’m bringing you a refreshing dinner recipe from Phoebe Lapine’s new book, The Wellness Project. It’s an ideal option for warm summer evenings.

This dish starts with soba noodles, which are tossed with zucchini noodles (“zoodles,” if you will) and a delicious, savory almond butter sauce. I wouldn’t have thought to top this concoction with quick-pickled cucumber and radish, but they’re perfect—crisp, colorful and tart.

ingredients

You may know Phoebe from her blog, Feed Me Phoebe. In her new book, she walks us through her year-long experiment to regain her health, from drinking more water and less alcohol, to gut health and physical therapy. Each chapter concludes with actionable tips based on her experiences.

Phoebe has Hashimoto’s, a thyroid disorder, but the book is entirely relatable to anyone who has struggled with chronic health issues or needs to hear a voice of reason in the wellness sphere. The book is an easy and informative read, and I love Phoebe’s frank, conversational writing style. She shares her encounters with crazy naturopaths and her switch to natural skincare products, but my favorite part was when she writes about the benefits of dog ownership.

Dogs are, no surprise, excellent “rewilding” agents. Meaning that all the dirt and “environmental detritus” they bring inside actually “increase the immunity of their families by maximizing their exposure to all matters of microbial diversity. In fact, children who grow up with furry friends have far fewer instances of allergies and asthma than their dog-less peers.” Yes!

Continue to the recipe…

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