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?

life’s not always a piece of cake.

On my right hand, I can count the most memorable desserts in my life. 

I ate one of these this past year in 2010. 

During a monthly office visit at a local veterans’ hospital, Janice— a fellow foodie and preceptor—shared with me a slice of her famous three layer German Chocolate Cake.  I took one bite and my tongue felt as if it had instantly entered chocoholic’s heaven.  It was light and buttery.  Smooth but strong.  Sweet and bold.  I knew this was something special, even before realizing how famous this cake actually was.

In a sense, it was the dessert that defined Jan and her cooking style.  A little like Julia and her beef bourguignon. Everyone raved about it.  Each slice sold for $6 at bake sales.  Most people claimed a slice before the sale actually started, just to make sure that they had a peice or two.  

And so, I wanted to recreate this masterpiece.  I wanted to delve head first into chocolate and coconut and pecans and share this same heavenly experience with my family.

I wanted to make this German Chocolate Cake for mom on her birthday.

Unfortunately, life isn’t always a piece of cake.  Because somehow I misread the recipe.  In fact, I misread an entire sentence.  

“Place wax paper on bottom of cake pan.”

Oops.

“Oops” is an understatement.  In fact, if Nicole hadn’t been there, I probably would have broke down into a fit of tears. 

But really, it’s impossible to cry when your sister is trying to console you while also snapping pictures, because “this totally makes good blogging material,” all at the same time.  So instead, I just scraped up the pan, threw everything into the trash, and grabbed my purse.

“Nicole?”  I said matter of factly.  “We are driving to a bakery.  We are going to get mom a beautiful piece of cake.  And then we are going to Starbucks and we are getting a latte.”

I’m not saying that I’m giving up on this cake.  In fact, I’ve just begun.

Valentines Day is February 14.  I will make this cake every single weekend if I have to, until it tastes and looks like that favorite dessert that I remember so well.

In the meantime, I am very thankful for my favorite little bakery down the road. 

And I am very thankful that they make a spectacular German Chocolate Cake.

You know what else I’m thankful for?  A family who loves me through tears and moods and life. 

A family that continues to make me smile. 

A family that is always there for me.

A family that doesn’t take life too seriously.

A family who loves me through all the crumbs and cake. 

Happy Birthday to Mom!  And I promise you the most beautiful of homemade German Chocolate Cakes in the year of 2011.  😉

Question: Have you ever made a major cooking flop?  How did you react?  I’ve noticed that most of my flops have involve baked goods.  And I”ve got to be honest, I definitely overreact in such a situation! 😉 

New Years Eve

Happy New Years Eve!!!!

I love everything about New Years Eve.  In fact, if I didn’t love Thanksgiving and Christmas so much, I might even say that it’s my most favorite day of the year.

Nicole and Nate came over the house to celebrate over Chinese food. 

And then we headed right into playing a game called Apples to Apples. 

Nicole told me that this would be a friendly game.  Perfect for a competitive family like mine.  No fights or brauls or any of that sort of thing. 

And, really, I’m not much of a competitive person to begin with.  Not with running, school, or life in general.  I guess I never picked that trait up from the rest of the family.

But then I played this “no-feud game” and found myself growing increasingly stubborn and fierce.  I kind of surprised myself with how competitive I was feeling, arguing over each card that was selected.  Where did this girl come from?? :mrgreen:

Even still, there were no fights involved. 😉

My family wishes you the most wonderful of New Years!  Have fun, celebrate and enjoy each last moment of 2010.  And then welcome in the brand new year! 😀 

My Goals for 2011

  • Train for (and finish!) my first half marathon.
  • Introduce more strength training (2-3 times a week with a focus on core strength)
  • Read a book a month.  Dr. Seuss is to be used only as a last resort during a very busy month. 😉
  • Trust God more.
  • Become a Registered Dietitian and land a good job!!
  • Continue to learn how to enjoy each and every moment of life.
  • Hug more.  Smile more.  Frown less.  Take life less serious.
  • Include more Video Blogs and GiveAways on Running To Slow Things Down! 😀

Question: What are you doing to ring in 2011?