an overabundance of herbs

I used to be of the opinion that growing an herb garden was a massive waste of my time.

You can eat a tomato.  You can roast a couple of beets.  But, herbs?  Nobody makes a salad solely with parsley.

And then I found myself smack dab in the middle of summer with a large crop of basil and no idea what to do with it.  Bunches and bunches and bunches of aromatic, gorgeous basil.

Being the economical person that I am, I decided to use it in whichever ways that I could.  And so, beyond just freezing it, I added it to savory oats and pasta and pizza.  Sushi and hummus.

And eggs.

Tomatoes and eggs go together like peanut butter and jam.  Meant to be together. The addition of brightly flavored basil makes perfection.  The heat of the pan will inspire the basil to release its fragrant oils, contributing to the most wonderful smell on earth.

And the goat cheese?  The goat cheese is just because.

My overabundance of herbs—more specifically, basil—is quickly running out.  I can hardly wait until summer, when I’ll once again have a bunch of herbs that I have no idea what to do with.

Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Basil and Tomatoes

Serves 1

I love goat cheese with scrambled eggs, but fresh ricotta or mozzarella would be equally delicious.  Enjoy with a couple of whole wheat toasts and your favorite fruit for a complete meal. 😀

  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white
  • splash of milk
  • 1 roma tomato, deseeded
  • handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. onions, chopped
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray.  Heat over medium, add onions and cook until soft but still firm.  Add deseeded tomatoes and basil, add just a splash of balsamic vinegar and continue cooking until vegetables are tender and liquid has evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt and pepper.
  3. With vegetables still in pan, spray with more cooking spray.  Add eggs, and scrape down sides with a spatula, letting the uncooked eggs run underneath.  Cook until eggs are no longer runny, chopping every now and then.  Transfer to plate and top with goat cheese.  Enjoy! 😀

QUESTION: Do you grow a garden in the summer?  What is one of your favorite things to grow?

baked haddock with crumbs

I don’t think this is quite normal, but as a kid I can remember always looking forward to eating a dinner of smelts at my grandparents’ house on Sunday night.  Memere would be fussing in the kitchen, standing watch over a pan of tiny fish that had been coated in white flour and then fried into thin, buttery bites.  If we were lucky, she’d pan fry some potatoes and onions on the side, too.

I was in love with the fish.  Or maybe I was in love with being served dinner by Memere on some Sunday evening.  Whatever the reason, I still find myself looking forward to any dinner that involves fish.  Be it trout, cod, tilapia, salmon or sardines.

I love fish.

Did you know that the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least 8 oz. of fish a week?  This can come easily, in the form of a tuna fish sandwich.  Or, if you’re brave, a chopped sardine salad (it really is delicious, by the way.)

Of course, considering how quick and simple it is to make most fish in general anyways, you may find it to be the perfect weeknight dinner.

Baked Haddock with Crumbs + Steamed Asparagus with Lemon + Brown Rice

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A Healthy 30 Minute Dinner

This is one of my most favorite weeknight meals.  It’s not always easy to find simple dinners that are both healthy and delicious.  This one fits the bill just fine.

I love fish.

Baked Haddock with Crumbs

For the breadcrumbs, I usually just make my own with a loaf of Ezekiel sandwich bread.  About one medium slice of bread equals 1/4 cup of dry breadcrumbs, so this recipe would require you to pull out 4 slices.  Simply chop into small bits, toss on a baking sheet, and heat in a 350 degree oven.  Check it every 3 minutes or so, cooking until dry but not overdone.  Grind in a blender or food processor to the consistency of breadcrumbs (optional: add italian seasoning and freshly grated Parmesan.)

I highly recommend squeezing some fresh lemon juice on top of the fillets right before serving, as this really does enhance all the flavors.  ENJOY! 😀

  • 2 lb. haddock fillets
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. sage or italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix bread crumbs and spices in a bowls.  Beat egg in small bowl; add milk in another small bowl.  Spray a square casserole dish well.
  3. Dip each piece of fish in milk, then egg, then coat well with bread crumbs.  Place breaded fish pieces in casserole dish; sprinkle with lemon juice and dot with butter if desired.  Bake 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Fish…yay or nay?  And what kinds do you prefer?  How do you usually prepare it?

Memere’s Kitchen.

 

Memere was quite the French Canadian chef.  

From her tiny little kitchen, she produced countless warm graham cracker pies.  Fluffy banana cream pies that made your tastebuds melt—absolutely melt.  Deep, chocolatey fudge that made you close your eyes and dream only in chocolate.

It’s funny, because despite all of those things, whenever I think of Memere’s kitchen, I think of baked beans.

 

 

Memere and I had a lot of similar tastes when it came to food.  One of them being that we both loved baked beans.  Especially when smeered over puffy white pancakes.

(I always liked the fact that Memere would serve me pancakes and beans for breakfast.  I loved that this was totally normal.  Just your typical, standard ol’ breakfast fare.)

  

 

It was in February (or March?) of 2010 that I set out to make Memere a batch of beans.  We were both sitting in her living room, watching Food Network, and discussing the seriousness of making the perfect batch of beans.

“You won’t put bacon in there, right?  I don’t want bacon in my beans.”  Memere would say this with such a disgusted look on her face, that I knew this was a very critical step.  I scribbled it down on my notepad.   

 

I’m pretty sure the menfolk would have liked the addition.  The bacon, I mean.  And I’m pretty sure that many baked bean connoisseurs and baked bean snobs (because I know they’re out there) would have thrown in some sort of pork or rind or bacon.

But I knew better than to argue with Memere.  I just listened carefully to her instructions.  I took notes: No bacon.  Lots of molasses.  A long, slow bake

 

It was but an hour into preparing the beans, when I knew immediately that I must have forgotten something.  Something important.  The  beans were done—completely finished! 

I thought this was absolutely great.  Memere sounded totally worried.  “I don’t know,” she said.  “Baked beans should take at least a couple of hours.”

 

 

After a quick, Memere-to-me, step by step discussion, I realized what I had done.  The stovetop heat had been too high.  The beans had become too soft.  The flavors never even stood a chance of being able to meld and mix and mingle.  They were, in a word, bland.

It was back to the drawing board.  This time with further, more specific instructions from Memere.

 

 

As an aside, baking beans is a little like baking bread.  You need a lot of patience.  This isn’t always (ever?) easy.

 

 

The second time around, however, the results were baked bean perfection.  The beans remained firm but tender.  The molasses really shined through.  The ingredients were baked together in a long, dreamy process.

And there was no bacon in sight.

I served us bowls of beans for lunch.  Memere made us a loaf of her homemade bread and served me a thick slice covered in butter.  After a couple of silent bites in, Memere approved with a bright smile and a sharp nod.  And then we went on to discuss the serious matters of fashion, food, and Rachael Ray.

And that is why I always think of baked beans, whenever I think of Memere’s kitchen.

 

 

Boston Baked Beans

Serves about 4-5 main entrees

These beans are delicious a main entree, when served with a side salad and a whole grain cornbread.  Or, try serving on the side of your favorite meal (poultry or tofu come to mind.)  Better yet, serve over a plate of warm, puffy pancakes and eat them for breakfast.  They freeze well and can be stored in single serve containers, and brought to work when you need a quick lunch.

(p.s. They’re also the perfection addition to a Super Bowl Buffet!)

If you like your beans with a kick, add some hot sauce to the sauce mixture.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2 c. navy beans
  • 1-2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water.  The next day, bring beans to a boil in the same water.  Immediately bring heat to low and cook for approximately 1 to 2 hrs.  Drain and reserve liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish and top with onions.
  4. In a saucepan, combine rest of ingredients, onions through brown sugar.  Add hot sauce if desired.  Bring mixture to a bowl and pour over beans.  Pour in just enough of reserved bean water to cover the beans.  Stir gently with rubber spatula and cover dish with lid or aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 3 to 4 hrs in preheated oven.  Stir at least every hour.
  6. ENJOY!

 Question: Who or what are the cooking inspirations in your life?  Bon Appetit magazine, Memere, Julia Childs (because she never cried over a few mistakes!) and Mollie Katzen.

hello, garbanzo bean.

 

Garbanzo beans and I used to be the best of friends.  I would sprinkle the little chicks onto (and into) everything.  From salads to pilafs to hummus to ridiculously spicy, Indian-inspired entrees.  It was quite the little love affair.

And then, somehow, we fell out of touch with each other.  I’m the one to blame.  I neglected and abandoned the innocent little garbanzos.  Sure, I still cracked open a can now and then (they make for a nice, quick source of protein during a busy weeknight!)  But it was never really anything…you know…special.  Certainly nothing worth talking about.

 

Obviously, it was about time that I reacquainted myself with the simple little bean. 

 

 

Garbanzos are simple.  Very simple.  And they prefer to stay fresh and bright and cheery whenever they can.  For this simple garbanzo bean salad, I chose the freshest ingredients that I happened to have on hand.  A spritz of lemon.  Olive oil.  Fresh basil reserved from the summer.   A small handful of walnuts, thereby adding just a touch of earthiness to the entire dish. 

 

 

I came pretty close to sitting right down, grabbing a spoon, and making a straight up meal out of this garbanzo salad. 

But I practiced some willpower and made sure to reserve some for my lunch.

 

 

Hello, garbanzo bean. 

It’s really nice to see you again.

 

 

Lemony Basil Garbanzo Bean Salad

This simple bean salad is very, very versatile.  Feel free to change up the types and amounts of herbs that you use.  Same goes for the spices.  And—well—same goes for the garbanzo beans (I promise I won’t tell!)

Serve this mild and tangy salad over a fresh garden salad, stuffed into a whole wheat pita pocket, or presented as a side with your favorite meal.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 15-oz. can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 large handfuls of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of garlic
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Let sit overnight for the best flavors.  Serve and enjoy!

Question: Do you enjoy eating beans and legumes?  What are some of your favorite ways to serve them?

 

sometimes it’s worth it

 

It was during a snow storm two weeks ago, when mom and I went grocery shopping together.

You should know that this is an entirely rare moment.  Something that doesn’t typically happen.  Something that we don’t typically LET happen.

 

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Why, you ask?

Well, for starters, we tend to over discuss certain things.  One hour shopping trips easily turn into three.  Because, as you know, the choice of apples and cereals and coffee is of no simple matter.

And then there’s the thing with looking at the final grocery bill.  It seems to mysteriously tally up just a little bit higher when we’re together (kind of like when my sister and I shop for hair products together at Target, but that’s another story for another day.)  😉

There’s also the issue of neither of us ever really being able to agree on just one thing.  Mr. Indecisiveness always get in the way.  (Come to think of it, this probably explains the grocery bill!!)   

 

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One things for sure.  In my family, nobody will ever disagree with cheese.  Or noodles and sauce, for that matter.

Nobody ever disagrees with lasagna.

 

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Rich, meaty lasagnas are nice.  And yet, I find myself always going back to the vegetarian lasagna.  I find them to be much more simple and laid back—in a classic, purist kind of way.  They don’t feel at all heavy like some of the more meaty lasagnas.  Best of all, they leave all of the bragging rights to the cheese and veggies.  Front.and.center.

I kind of like that about the vegetarian lasagna. 

 

3

  

Over dinner, mom and I both agreed that it was worth buying the magazine. 

Worth making the vegetarian lasagna. 

Worth going grocery shopping together, every now and then. 

Because sometimes, those three hour shopping trips are—you know—totally worth it.

 

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Kale Lasagna Diavolo—as seen in the Vegetarian Times Magazine
(serves 6-8)

We chose not to change much from the original recipe, other then substituting whole wheat noodles, and adding in three extra noodles.  The original recipe calls for pureed tomatoes, but feel free to use crushed.  Or, partially crush a can of diced tomatoes.  Play around with the different textures, to see what you like.  Also, although the recipe calls for kale, you could easily substitute spinach.  Just be sure to increase the portion used, as cooked spinach will greatly reduce once it’s cooked.

This meal is best served with a large side salad.  And, perhaps, if you really want to go all out, serve this meal with some thick slices of warmed garlic bread.  This meal will leave even veggie haters begging for more. Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 tsp. olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
  • 1 8-oz. bunch kale, stems removed
  • 1 15-oz. pkg fat free ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. soft goat cheese, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups prepared tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Coat 8-inch square baking pan with oil. 
  2. Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes.  Drain, and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Thoroughly wring out kale, then chop.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Set aside.
  3. Mash together ricotta and goat in bowl, set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add garlic, and cook 15 seconds or until fragrant.  Add tomato puree and red pepper flakes.  Simmer 5 minutes, or until thickened.  Taste, and add extra seasonings and garlic as preferred.
  5. Spread 1/4 c. sauce in prepared baking pan.  Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of sauce.  Top with half of cheese mixture, half of kale and 1/3 c. sauce.  Top with three more noodles, remaining cheese and remaining kale.  Top with remaining lasagna noodles, and cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake 40 minutes, or until cheese has melted and lasagna is bubbly.  ENJOY!

Question: Do you enjoy reading magazines?  What are some of your favorites?  I regularly read Real Simple, Runners World, Bon Appetit, Eating Well, and Self.  There are a few others that catch my eye as well, here and there.  As of right now, I’m seriously considering a subscription to Vegetarian Times. 😀

a pretty bowl of lentils

Cars won’t start.  Doors won’t open.  Only a select few of the towns’ runners will be seen traipsing through the snow.  They wave to each other—a moment of mutual respect for the other

It is a cold, cold day here in New England.  Frigid, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, should my fingers be this blue? kind of cold.

I think it’s about time to hug a big bowl of hot, steamy soup.

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I’ve made many types of lentil soups in my life.  Spicy.  Sweet.  Earthy.  Zingy.  Powerful.  Mild.  I have a special place in my heart for each of them, and it’s really no secret at all that I am head over heels in love for the little brown lentil.

And yet, I’ll be the first to admit it. Lentil soup is not much to look at.  Unless, of course, you like the color brown.  Because that is really the only way to describe such a mono colored soup. 

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As I was meandering my way through blogs and recipes, I fell upon this lentil soup from Two Peas and Their Pod.  It most literally popped right up and out of my computer screen.  There were lots of lentils.  Sweet potatoes.  And spinach.  All combining to form a bowl of beauty.  Who knew the lentil had such possibilities? 

Yes.  It’s true.  I was instantaneously sold on the soups’ rustic good looks, hoping that a bright personality would come along too. 

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I quickly realized that there were many ingredients that I did not have on hand for this soup, but the idea of bundling up and making my way to the grocery store was not such a happy one.  Thankfully, I had plenty of good substitutes on hand, all of which worked out really, really well. 

In the end, the soup remained as pretty as the original version.  And its personality was better than even I expected.  So I guess you could say that this recipe is—in a way—fool proof.  Easy to tweak based on what you like (or what you happen to have on hand!)  I think bell peppers would make a nice addition. 😀

4

Cold winter days.

Frigid, falling temperatures.

Hugging a bowl of soup. 

Life is good.

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Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Spinach—tweaked from the original version as seen on Two Peas and Their Pod

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
16-oz dry, brown lentils
4 (15 ounce) cans vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cans (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
16oz. frozen spinach, dethawed
Tabasco sauce, to taste

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender and garlic is light brown in color. Add celery and sweet potatoes. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, and water. Add the diced tomatoes, thyme, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

3. Add the fresh spinach and stir. If necessary, season with salt and pepper. Serve hot and ENJOY!

Serves 8-10

Question: Do you often use leftovers for lunch the following day?

hug a bowl of soup

I am cold, and all I want is soup.

Most of my favorite soups are the ones that will never win a beauty contest. 

Split pea soup.  Lentil soup.  Brazilian Black Bean Soup.  Creamy Mushroom Soup.  They leave me feeling more and more comforted with each delightful bight.  Happy with life in general, no matter what kind of crazy day I may have had.  Soups that are filled to the absolute brim with bright and beautiful personalities.  Warm and friendly and totally indulgent.

This creamy mushroom soup—from the latest Eating Well magazines—is one of my current favorite soups.  It’s rich, smooth and full of body.  Come to think of it, it’s a little like warming up to a bowl of savory mushroom gravy and realizing that such a guilty indulgence is actually okay.  More than okay.  That it’s actually healthy for both your mind and your body.  Really, it’s enough to make a girl sing.

Side Dish: Salad

Side Dish: Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
(made with blackstrap molasses)

There is nothing quite like hugging a bowl of creamy mushroom soup after a chilly January run. 

Life is so delicious.

Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup—as seen in Eating Well Magazine

I recommend doubling this recipe and serving it out on the chilliest of winter nights.  It pairs lovely with a rich, dark bread and a simple side salad. 

Each bowlful of this creamy soup offers you more than just flavor.  You’ll also get a healthy dose of calcium, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, fiber and protein.   Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 4 cups mushroom broth or reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are very soft, about 3 minutes more. Add flour, paprika and dill and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add broth, milk and potatoes; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream and salt. 

Question: What are some of your favorite soups?

a list of five

FIVE Things That I’m Loving Right Now.

#1: Tuesday and Thursday night runs.  

Me time.  Chatting with dad time.  Destressing time

 #2: Walks With Mom and Dad.

Silliness.  Exercise.  Fun.

#3: Snow.

Four inches on the ground.  Twelve to fourteen inches expected on Wednesday.  Lots and lots of snowshoeing in my future!!

#4: Easy Breezy, Ten Minute Morning Walks.

Short ‘n’ Sweet.  A refreshing start to my day.  Deliciously energizing.

#5: Breakfast.

Simple.  Melty.  Sweet ‘n’ Spicy.

Ooey gooey, melted apples + one crispy whole wheat pita + a drizzle of agave = a very delicious bite.

 Breakfast Pita with Spicy Apples

This recipe comes together quicker than your typical bowl of oats or plate of eggs.  You’ll enjoy the crisp texture of the pita after it spends some time in your frying pan, but be sure to keep the heat low at first in order to give those apples some time to soften.  As for the peanut butter, just let it do its own thing, as it will ooze and spread throughout the entire pita.  And, most of all, ENJOY!!

  • 1 whole wheat pita (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • agave syrup or honey
  1. Heat nonstick frying pan to medium low.  Meanwhile, spread peanut butter inside of pita bread, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, and layer the apples inside the pita and into the back and corners. 
  2. Place the pita on the frying pan.  Cook until browned on one side.  Flip, increase heat to medium, and continue cooking until lightly browned.  Cut in half and drizzle with agave syrup.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What are you loving right now?

a bowl of broccoli soup

I went a little crazy over the broccoli in the produce isle.

 I’ve been feeling this dreadfully slow pattern of a head cold coming on over the past few days.  Yesterday, it was just a little soreness in my throat.  This morning, it was uncontrollable sneazing.  Tonight, I felt like a heavy brick that just wants to lie down and sleep.  Forever.

And when a cold is indecisively lingering, not really sure if it wants to hit me hard or just up and leave altogether, all I ever really want to eat is soup.  A hot, steaming bowl of soup.

More precisely, a hot, steaming bowl of veggie soup.  

The broccoli was on sale so I took five pounds.  It was much, much, much more than I needed—even for a double batch—so there will be plenty of broccoli both now and in my future. 

The original recipe comes from the most recent Eating Well magazine, but I made my own subtle changes to it.  Such as adding milk instead of the half and half.  And adding in some white beans to help thicken the soup, while also providing some extra protein and fiber.  And I just love how buttery white beans taste.  It was an all-around tasty addition.

Stir, stir, stir…

I’m still sneezing.  I definitely feel like sleeping.  But I have a belly full of warm broccoli soup and I’m feeling just fine.

I just hope it’s Dad who’s feeling motivated for tonight’s run, because I sure could use the pep talk… 😉

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Broccoli Soup

I fell upon this recipe in the most recent Eating Well magazine and knew instantly that I had to make it. 

The soup is very gentle.  Very delicate, with just a hint of creaminess.  If you want to up the richness factor, use part milk and part “half & half.”  Or use the milk but add a handful of sharp cheddar cheese after you’ve blended everything together, allowing it to melt into the soup.

Serve out bowls of broccoli soup with homemade croutons and a few shavings of parmesan cheese.  Or serve with a roasted veggie quesadilla.  This is an easy to make, delightful soup that will warm up any chilly winter evening.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 c. chopped broccoli
  • 4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 c. water
  • One 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c. milk, warmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts.  Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-6 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme; cook for about 10 seconds.
  2. Stir in broccoli.  Add broth and water; bring to a lively simmer over high heat.  Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes.  Add beans.
  3. Puree soup in batches in a blender.  Stir in milk, salt and pepper.  ENJOY!

Question: Do you continue to eat a lot of salads in the winter or do you switch to “warmer’ vegetables such as soups?  I’ve continued eating an abundance of salads, but I’ve been realizing more and more how much I love soups during the chillier months.  They make the perfect dinner after a long, busy day, and—really—I can’t think of a nicer way to warm up after a cold, winter run than hugging a hot bowl of soup.  😀

running partner

I am not a night runner.

I get up early.  I wake up with the sun.  I run in the crisp morning air.  I indulge in the smells of coffee and bagels and fried eggs. 

At night, I am sleepy.  Ready to relax with a good magazine.  Or maybe fit in a quick yoga session.  Maybe.

I am not a night runner. 

Putting that all aside, tonight I ran my heart out.

Dad and I have made a mutual agreement to set aside both Tuesday and Thursday nights for running, as it fits nicely into both of our schedules.  And, really, I think having a runner partner is going to do me—and my motivation—a world of good.  There are definitely times when I’d rather not run (yes, especially at night!) and having someone who’s up and ready keeps me going.

My dad pushes me harder than I think I’m capable of.  He dashes up hills.  He pushes through moments of feeling tired.  Just after a week or so of running consistently with his pace, I feel like my endurance has already improved dramatically.

A breezy 3 miles felt absolutely invigorating! 😀

And then I came home to eat a gigantic sardine sandwich. :mrgreen:

Forget those thoughts of slimy, canned fish.

When sardines are heated in a pan, mashed together with dijon (or even honey mustard) and mixed with crunchy, diced celery, the results are pretty darn yummy.  Place in between two toasted slices of seedy bread, and serve with a mixture of your favorite veggies. 😀 

I am exhausted tonight.  My second day at the hospital left me with a huge workload, along with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Once I fell into the groove, however, I found myself really enjoying it.  Nutrition assessments.  Education (I love the elderly patients! 😀 ).  Nutrition screening.  I think I’ll learn a lot.  And very quickly. 😉

Tomorrow, I’ll be on my own for a couple of hours in the early morning.  Ready or not, here I come. 😀

Question: Do you have an exercise partner or do you prefer going solo?