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The forecast for this week?

Highs in the high 20s, low 30s. Snow. Possible freezing rain. Nighttime temperatures in the teens. The teens!

It is too cold, too early. If we ever get this frigid, it doesn’t usually happen until February.

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So all I want is soup.

Creamy, potato soup.

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And after coming home from church Sunday to more snow and blustery cold weather, I decided we needed soup for lunch.

This came together in 30 minutes, and even though it is a creamy soup, there’s no heavy cream used. Using a little flour to thicken the soup and fat free evaporated milk makes for a silky creamy soup that’s a little lighter than a typical cream soup (which are sometimes too rich for me).

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Creamy Potato, White Bean, and Corn Soup

  • 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (12 oz.) fat free evaporated milk
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  1. Put diced potatoes in large microwave safe bowl and cover. Heat 5-6 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, heat large pot over medium heat and add olive oil.
  3. Toss in diced onions, garlic, and carrots and cook 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  4. Sprinkle in flour and stir until vegetables are covered and you don’t see any white flour spots any longer.
  5. Pour in vegetable broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly until it’s all combined.
  6. Add water, seasonings, beans, corn, and potatoes to pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Let simmer 5-10 minutes or until veggies are tender and soup has thickened a bit.
  8. Pour in milk and cook 5 more minutes until heated through.

 

Help Holly + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season for  giving – we hope you’ll join us in this challenge.

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As soon as I was finished making the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with the Tropical Traditions coconut oil, I knew I needed to make something savory with it – and soon.

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Thankfully, the season for soup is here! While we’re having some unreasonably warm weather this week, last week had a few evenings that were practically begging for a big pot of soup, bubbling on the stovetop.

When it’s already dark once we get home from work…I want soup.

And this, being my first time ever using red lentils, may be my new favorite.

Red Lentil, Couscous, and Kale Soup

  • 1.5 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous (I used Israeli – it’s doughy!)
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  1. In large pot, heat coconut oil and olive oil.
  2. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in seasonings and tomato paste and let cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add in lentils, broth, and water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and let cook 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in couscous and kale and let cook 10-15 minutes more or until lentils and couscous are cooked.
  7. Stir in coconut milk.
  8. Serve, topped with cashews or peanuts.

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I loved how the soup had great spice but wasn’t too hot. If you love hot and spicy foods, it would be delicious with a sprinkling of crushed red pepper or Sriracha hot sauce.

And while Nick doesn’t normally add the peanuts or cashews, I love the added crunch they gave to the thick soup, tender lentils, and soft couscous.

 

Have you ever cooked with red lentils?

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Although its now summer, I still love having soup. It’s such a quick and easy meal, it makes a LOT of food, and it’s great for leftovers for my work lunches. This recipe is based off my chicken-based soup in this post. I still use chicken broth in my veggie tortilla soup, which doesn’t make it vegetarian, but I’m positive that a simple vegetable broth would work very well here!

Bean Tortilla Soup
2 boxes (48 oz) of chicken/vegetable broth
1 can of black beans
1 can of pink/pinto beans
1 onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 cups of frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can of petite cut tomatoes or 4 tomatoes diced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
cayenne pepper, dash (or hot sauce to taste)
cheddar cheese, freshly grated
tortilla chips (whichever you prefer)
chopped scallions, for garnish

Saute onion over medium heat for several minutes. Add bell pepper and zucchini and cook until tender. Throw in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add beans and corn and cook for a minute or two. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and add spices (add more to taste). Add about 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne (again, more or less to taste). Then heat the broth to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Then, ready!

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Just garnish with scallions, cheese, and a few crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

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Jennifer and Jessica

Keep It Simple Foods

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Giveaways!

Nature’s Path Cereal from Kimberly!

Cookies AND crackers over at An Apple A Day

– Free cheese AND a charm? Sign up at Mara’s!

– Want a spiralizer? You can win from the chocolate-covered queen here.

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Sweat ‘Til You Drop

Oh man – Body Pump was killer today! I am going to be sooooooore tomorrow.

I’ll get back to that in a minute.

 

I knew I needed a snack before going to BodyPump so I finally got to try this Kashi bar that I got in my prize package from Lindsay!

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Yum! This flavor was so good! I really liked the texture of this bar because it took me a while to eat it  🙂  This tasted like a healthier cinnamon roll!  Thanks again Lindsay!

 

So…Body Pump was ridiculous. I only upped my weights on biceps tonight, but I was sweating more than I ever have in that class! It was pretty packed in there, but still  – I had sweat dripping down my elbows at the end of the squat track, which is the FIRST track in the class! I got a good work out in tonight, that’s for sure.

Dinner needed to be easy + fast, and that’s what it was.

 

Another Variation of the Chicken Barley Chilichikchili

 

This version had:

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cans full of water
  • 1 cup quick cooking barley
  • 1.5 cups roasted corn from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 12 oz. cans white meat chicken, drained
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • chili powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • red onion flakes
  • Cowboy barbeque seasonings from The Spice Hunter
  • avocado, diced for topping
  1. Put tomato sauce, beans and water in large pot.
  2. Bring to boil.
  3. Stir in barley, seasonings, and corn.
  4. Let cook about 1o minutes, or until barley is cooked.
  5. Serve!

 

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the giveaway – I hope to have many, many more in the future.

I’m off to work on an editing project and probably have a big glass of chocolate milk  🙂

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Comfort Food + Cookies

Today was not what I expected! I thought the weather was going to be like yesterday – in the 40s and rainy. It’s only been in the 30s today and it’s been snowing/raining all day! We have probably close to an inch at our house, but we saw on the news that there’s more near work. I’m hoping there will be enough by morning to get work cancelled – it’s a long shot, but I have to be optimistic  🙂

 

Since it was so cold today, I changed my original dinner plans and made this instead.

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Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 4 chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 packet Ranch dressing seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1 bag frozen veggies (I used one with green beans, peas, carrots, and corn)
  1. Put chicken in crock pot. Pour tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, onion, and seasonings over chicken.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, take out of crockpot.
  4. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and return to crockpot.
  5. Steam frozen veggies, then add to soup.
  6. Let cook for 5-10 minutes more.
  7. Serve!

 

I toasted a ww tortilla in the toaster oven to make some “tortilla chips” to have with my soup.

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This is just what I needed today. It was so warm, spicy, and comforting.

And…..these didn’t hurt either  🙂

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I used the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe here, but used chocolate chips instead of raisins.  I love cinnamon with chocolate – I think all chocolate chip cookie recipes should call for a little cinnamon. There’s just something about the combination of the two.

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Bread Experimentimg_1439c Update!

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Interestingly enough, both slices still look fine! Today is day 7 of the experiment, and I don’t see any spots on either slice. Now, neither have been exposed to any air since I put them in the ziploc bags, but I am surprised that I can’t see any changes yet.

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I’m about to have a few cookies and a big glass of cold milk and get ready to watch an all new Iron Chef.

 

A la cuisine!

Make sure to check in tomorrow for the next Heart Health Installment!

 

Also – Check out the cool giveaway Krista is doing!

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Yoga Monday

Ah….why don’t I do yoga more often?

I really wanted to go for a run today, but it was 30 degrees when we got home and windy – no thanks. Instead, I got dinner started then went downstairs and did an hour of a full class yogajournal.com download. This one was free to try and the whole thing was about 1 hr and 20 minutes. I needed to check on dinner so I stopped right around an hour, but it was starting to wind down at that point, so it was a good place to stop.

I feel so good! I know I love yoga, but it’s hard for me to find the motivation to do it on my own at home. I really liked this podcast, so I’ll definitely have to try some more. My arms are so sore! Lots of downward facing dog, plank, and chatarunga (is that how you spell it?).

 

Dinner tonight started with this soup mix

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This is from the awesome Dayton market near Nick’s parents house – they sell tons of cool stuff and it’s so affordable! I always buy stuff when we go there, and this is one of my favorite soup mixes yet.

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For this soup, I used:

  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1.5 cups soup mix
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • salt, pepper

 

Pretty easy to make, too! I just cooked the veggies, added the turkey, and then added everything else and let it simmer while I was doing yoga.

I came upstairs, stirred it and ate!

With a slice of my homemade whole wheat bread  🙂

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More info about the baked goods experiment coming soon! I just have a few more pictures to take  🙂

Heart Health series is starting tomorrow! Make sure to tune in!

 Since I had 3 people interested in being interviewed, I’ll interview all of you! Emails coming soon.

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Kickin’ Butt with Kale!

BodyPump was great tonight! I felt really strong in class, and I feel like I can really tell a difference in my muscles. Sa-weet! I upped my weights tonight a little, and it worked me hard!

I ate a hard boiled egg a few hours before class for a little protein kick

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Once we got home, I started dinner, hopped in the shower, and then put the finishing touches on the meal.

 

Creamy Curried Lentil and Kale Soup

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Spicy, but good!

I used the rest of our curried lentils as the base, but here’s the whole recipe (with my modifications) if making it all in one night.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 cup lentils, dry (you can use precooked ones if you have them on hand – you’ll want 2-3 cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 4 cups kale, chopped
  • cilantro
  • lime juice
  1.  Cook onion and ginger in oil of your choice until softened.
  2. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils are cooked. Drain any excess water.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices and let cook 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  4. Take half of lentil mixture and puree in the blender or food processor. Add back to pot.
  5. Stir in kale, curry paste, and coconut milk.
  6. Cook 10 minutes or until kale is cooked to your liking.
  7. Top with lime juice and cilantro.

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On the side, I had a toasted whole grain Arnold Thin

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Nick and I are about to share our last 2 truffles from my Valentine’s box of chocolates! Reviews will come later  🙂

 

I hope you’re watching LOST!

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Buzzin’ for Food

Did you notice anything new?

No…not a new haircut.

Not a new shirt, sadly.

I’m now a Featured Publisher for FoodBuzz!!!  I am so excited about this – I love FoodBuzz! I love that you can find tons of stuff on their site just about food and other foodies and restaurants…it’s like my dream come true.

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Breakfast today was good, as usual.

I try to make my eggs look good in the pictures….it’s hard since the eggs are white, on top of white grits, in a white bowl….

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At least they taste good  🙂

A big bowl of kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries

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and some milk, which I apparently did not take a picture of!

I’m so glad today is humpday already! I only work one more day this week, so today is actually my Thursday! I have something kind of exciting on Friday (which I won’t explain yet) but I’m super excited and nervous and ready for it be here already!

There may also be a special blogger something happening on Friday that I am even MORE excited about!!! But you’ll have to wait to find out  🙂

Lunch today is the last of my black bean burgers with some steamed broccoli  and the last of my corn soup. Sad to see it go, but it sure does hold me over well!

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Plus an apple to round out my meal.

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Plan for today?

  • snack later
  • BodyPump
  • Dinner
  • Work on project for Friday

Exciting Blog Related News:

  1. Meghann is giving away an awesome sports bra!
  2. Beadie is giving away some good lookin’ BBQ sauce!
  3. Mara announced the BSI for this week – send in those recipes!
  4. Today is the cut off for Zesty’s Grill Charms giveaway! Put your name in and check out his blondie recipe today – yumm.

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Roy G. Biv

Have you met Roy G. Biv?

I think I’ve filled every spot (or close to it) and I have even eaten dinner yet!

I have to get my Biv colors in early – other wise, it sometimes doesn’t happen.

So, I bring you my Berry Bananza!

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This bowl was full of texture, flavor, and antioxidants!

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 4 strawberries
  • palmful of blueberries
  • palmful of raspberries

Can I get a holy yum?

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I had to run some errands at lunch (aka, go buy chocolate!), and am now sitting at my desk, blogging, and eating lunch.

More colorful food!

2 of my homemade black bean burgers on top of some green beans

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Plus a cup of my leftover corn chowdah –  not a horribly appetizing picture, but it tastes great!

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and she has returned. Did you miss her?

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That’s it folks!  Back to the grind.

Make sure to check out the contest on Beadie’s blog!

And don’t forget to see what this week’s BSI is – Mara’s in charge this week  🙂

See you later for dinner and be ready for another review soon  🙂

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Soup and Accidental salad

I’m so happy everyone is so interested in the BSI contest this week!!!  I’ve already asked Nick to help me decide the winner because I know I won’t be able to make a final decision!

 

 

Today for lunch, I planned on having my homemade corn soup with some black bean burgers. I normally buy the Morningstar Farm spicy black bean burgers, but today, I decided to try my luck at making my own.

 

While the flavor was good, I think I need to work on the binding/technique. Mine fell apart so I topped my salad with it, but the rest turned out great!

 

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My burgers were a mix of:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • about 1/2 cup fat free refried beans
  • 2 Tbsp finely ground cornmeal
  • salt
  • cumin
  • cayenne
  • garlic powder

 

I mashed all of the ingredients together in a bowl, formed them into patties and cooked them in a pan until crispy on the outside.

 

Nick had his on an Arnold Thin, and I put mine on a salad of romaine, tomato, and avocado with some lime juice.

 

Yum!  These tasted great!

 

I also had about a cup of my soup:

 

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Brandi’s Kinda’ Corn Chowder

  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can fat free evaporated milk
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

 

1. Saute onion and pepper in a little oil until softened.

2. Add in bag of corn and water and cook until corn is heated through/no longer frozen.

3. Stir in seasonings and milk. Puree 1/2 of soup in blender and return to pot.

4. Enjoy!

 

 

I’m working on the last of the laundry right now and we’re planning on going running in a little bit while we still have nice weather! Cleaning, dinner, and Iron Chef are up next  🙂

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