a favorite kind of soup.

There are many recipes that I just don’t blog about.  Recipes that simply feel too…well…simple.  Overused and much overdone.

Like oatmeal.  Or hummus veggie sandwiches.

Or my daily consumption of peanut butter.  (Besides, I’d hate to think that I might scare you away.)

Soup is a pretty regular thing in my kitchen too.  Sadly, many of these recipes flitter and float around but never really get spoken of.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy them.  Or that I want to ignore them.  It’s just that.  Well.  They’re just nothing special (ouch!)

However, this recipe made me very, very happy.

And for that reason alone, I am blogging about it.  Because I think you’ll feel delightfully happy and content with it as well.  And that’s a feeling worth sharing.

Bountiful Black Bean Soup—as seen on the back of the package of Bob’s Red Mill Black Beans

This soup pairs perfectly with homemade corn bread or cheese quesadillas.  You could tweak it and make it your own by adding spinach, mushrooms, and other such veggies as well.  Or, spice it up with some cayenne or red pepper.  I absolutely love this soup and I almost always double the batch so that I can have some for lunch during the week.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2 cups roasted corn (roast frozen corn in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 package of Bob’s Red Mill black bean soup mix (or about 1-1/2 to 2 cups dry black beans)
  • 1-28 oz. can tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into large, bite sized cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; add onions and celery.  Saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute for one more minute.
  3. Carefully pour in stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.  Stir in black beans and tomatoes.  Add butternut squash and roasted corn.  Add herbs, stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 1/2 hr.  Add more stock or water if beans and squash absorb too much liquid.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What is your favorite kind of soup?

a childhood flashback

It all started when I posted this picture over the weekend.

Childhood artwork, circa 1990’s

Normally, I can’t stand the thought of mushy spaghetti and meatballs being stored in a shelf stable can.  Really now, who had the imagination to come up with the idea of storing spaghetti in a can??  A can! Not to mention the mystery meat.

But this silly little drawing left me smiling.  It also left me in the mood for tomato smothered noodles.  And soup too.  I’m not sure if Chef Boyardee has come up with this sort of thing yet (spaghetti & meatball soup?) but this recipe from Moosewood Restaurant’s Cookbook brought me instantly back to my childhood.

You know.  In a totally delicious, non-canned, sort of way.

I like to think this is the grown up, healthified, adult version of an old childhood favorite.

Only there’s more vegetables.  No mystery meat.  Much less salt.  And a lot more flavor.

I think you’ll enjoy it. 😀

Moosewood’s Eastern European Minestrone—as seen on this website.

Minestrone soups will always leave you with countless options, and you can change the ingredients to fit your own personal taste preferences.  Broccoli would make a nice addition, as would water chestnuts, asparagus tips, and/or beets.  Use whatever your kitchen happens to have on hand, and you really can’t go wrong.

I highly recommend doubling this recipe, as it freezes well and can be used for lunches throughout the week.  Serve with a warm, crusty hunk of bread and enjoy! 😀

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground caraway seeds
  • 1 cup diced  carrots
  • 3/4 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled turnips
  • 3/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart (4 cups) water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 1-inch long pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  1. In a large soup pot on medium heat, cook the onions, garlic, and celery in the olive oil for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the paprika and caraway, and stir for a minute.
  2. Add the carrots, green beans, turnips and bell peppers, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the white beans, tomatoes, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the pasta pieces, cover and simmer on medium heat until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir in the dill.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What were some of your favorite school lunches when you were small?  Do you still enjoy them or have your tastebuds changed over the years?

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.

7 

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. 

5

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. 

6

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.

1    

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 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… 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.  😀

that perfect afternoon

The weathermen aren’t always right, you know.

The expected 12-24 inches went off to other towns.  Other areas.  Namely, Boston, which I heard received about a foot and a half of fluffy white.

Here, we still received about 8-12 inches.  And I’m totally happy with that.  😀

Just enough snow to make everything look delicious and fresh. 

Not too much snow to keep me trapped indoors and off the roads.

That perfect amount.

Speaking of “that perfect amount,” walking in the snow provides a whole new level of working out. 

Mom and I threw on our hiking boots, donned our scarves and warmest jackets, and trekked our way across mounds of snow.  Four miles worth of taking two steps forward, one slippery step back.   It was such an old school way of going to the post office, just to mail a package.  But it was fun and productive, and it felt absolutely wonderful on the legs! 😀

By the time I came back, everything felt exhausted.  The windy gusts had knocked me around like a rag doll.  And my face was slowly—slowly—dethawing.

My appetite was ferocious.

And nothing but soup made sense.

Carrot soup is one of my most favorite of vegetable soups.

Maybe it’s because there’s not much to be expected from the humble carrot, and I like to prove a world of tastebuds wrong.  Most people think of raw, boring carrot sticks taking up space on the side of a plate.  Or carrot cake, which certainly does earn a high reputation, but that’s besides the point.

Carrot soup is where it’s at.  Warm, inviting.  Bright and savory.  Both nutritious and delicious.

It pairs as a lovely side to any salad or sandwich.  And since my appetite was throught the roof after a walk in the cold and snow, I took the sandwich route; my teeth felt like they needed to bite into something.

I toasted a simple lemon & dill hummus sandwich on some grainy Ezekiel bread slices.  A warm, satisfying meal.

That perfect amount of snow.

That perfect meal to warm up with after a chilly walk.

That perfect afternoon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Herbed Carrot Soup—as seen in Moosewood Cookbook and on this website.

This is one of my most treasured, favorite recipes.  It’s simple to make and goes wonderfully with grilled cheese sandwiches or just as is with a couple of croutons and a scoop of greek yogurt.  I’ve seen some people eat it over a bowl of rice, transforming the “soup” into a “sauce.”  Whichever way you eat it, this warming recipe is simply delicious.

  • 2 pounds peeled, chopped carrots
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1-2 small cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  1. Place carrots, liquid, and potato into a medium sized soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer it for 12-15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Saute the onion and salt in the oil for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and herbs until onions are tender (about 5 more minutes.)  Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Puree everything together in a blender until smooth.  Place back in pot and keep on low heat until ready to serve.  ENJOY!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lemon Dill Hummus

A container of fresh dill was sitting in my fridge, with absolutely no purpose other than to look pretty.  And that is how this simple, savory spread was born. 

Lemon and dill are two flavors that always go well together, and hummus is no exception for this lively pair.  Enjoy this bright spread on crackers, sandwiches or salads.

  • 1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1-2 T. fresh dill
  • dash of cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, mix all of the ingredients together.  Taste and adjust seasonings as preferred.
  2. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you making any New Years Resolutions?  How far ahead do you start to plan them out?  What are some ways you make sure they’re successful (are they successful?) 

a bowl full of veggies (and noodles!)

Ginger and I have a love-hate relationship.

Love.  When my Memere handed me a hot, sugar dusted ginger cookie.  Licking my fingers to make sure I didn’t miss a single crumb.  

Hate.  When I accidentally dumped half a bottle into my morning bowl of oatmeal.    

Ginger is just one of those things that can be used or abused. 

Some people say the more the merrier.  I tend to err on the side of caution, using a little as I go.  Tasting.  Adjusting.  Finding that sweet spot.  Ginger is strong and can easily overpower the foods that you’re trying so hard to emphasize.  A little goes a long, long way.

This is especially true in soups and broths.  A very simple but tasty broth can be found in the combination of your favorite vegetable broth (I recommend using a base in which you add your own water OR making your own!), a couple handfuls of cabbage and a little ginger (or a lot if you’re a “more the merrier” kind of person. 😀 )

I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to make out of my ginger-infused broth, but I knew I wanted to put these brown rice noodles to good use.  So—I thought to mysef—why not a veggie noodle bowl?

I let the broth simmer for the entire time that it took to dice the veggies and cook the noodles (which, by the way, takes a grand total of 2 minutes!)

Part of the fun to be found in a noodle bowl is having the chance to make your very own.  Spinach?  Carrots?  Celery?  Mushrooms?  Onions?  All of the above?

Peanuts are traditional.  Sunflower seeds are unexpected.  Both act as fun, crunchy toppings!

Brown rice noodles remind me of the ramen noodles I ate as a kid.  Thin.  Stretchy.  Fun. 

(With a whole lot more fiber and nutrients than the “kid” version. 😉 )

After piling my bowl full of the stretchy noodles, I added in some sliced tofu.

And added—of course—all of the toppings.  A few ladles of ginger-infused veggie broth on top, and dinner was on.

Veggie Noodle Bowlserves 2-3

You can easily make the very same meal for the vegetarians and carnivores in your life.  Offer a separate plate for the tofu, shrimp, or chicken, and allow everyone to take as they please.  Dinner doesn’t get any easier (or more fun!) 

Helpful Tip: Be sure to slice the veggies super thin, since you won’t technically be “cooking” them. 

  • 4 cups of prepared vegetable broth
  • a few handfuls of chopped cabbage
  • ginger, fresh or dried
  • 2 servings of brown rice noodles, cooked, rained and rinsed with cold water
  • 2 servings of tofu, chicken, or shrimp
  • thinly sliced veggies (ideas: carrots, celery, spinach, mushrooms, baby bok choy, red onions, etc.)
  • sunflower seeds and walnuts
  1. Bring vegetable broth, cabbage and ginger to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place cooked noodles in a soup bowl.  Top with tofu, chicken or shrimp.
  3. Add veggies of choice on top.  Ladle a few scoops of hot broth on top, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and serve.  ENJOY! 😀

Question:  What is your favorite and least favorite spice/herb?  Favorite = cinnamon.  Least favorite = oregano!

breakfast and a bowl of soup

So—well—I kind of lied.

Breakfast did start with ‘p.’  And it did end in ‘umpkin.’ 

But there were oats involved too.  I have nothing more to say, other than I simply couldn’t help myself.

Breakfast Bonanza, Day 3: “Pumpkin Pie Smoothie”

Pumpkin is perfect for smoothies.  Where frozen bananas supply the frothy sweetness, canned pumpkin gives you that creamy, indulgent texture.  They’re really a match made in smoothie heaven.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Don’t be afraid to add the oats!  Some people don’t like the texture of raw oats in things, but the blender does a fine job of grinding them up into a texture that’s similar to oat bran.  This whole grain addition gives you fiber, nutrients, and energy for a busy morning. 

(p.s. Have fun with the toppings!)

  • 1/2 c. regular rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 banana, frozen and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a splash of vanilla
  • toppings: sweetened coconut, Trader Joe’s apple cranberry butter, walnuts

Blend everything together, except for toppings.  Pour into a large bowl, top with your favorite of things, and enjoy each delicious bite!

~~~**~~~     ~~~**~~~     ~~~**~~~

Today was a very productive day.  I cleaned.  I set up appointments that needed to be set.  I ate.  I completed many homework assignments.

I made a pot of soup.

I know I’ve stated this before (probably more than once,) but it deserves repeating.  If your recipe calls for chicken, beef or vegetable broth and you don’t have your own homemade version on hand, buy this broth base!

The name says it all: “better than bouillon.” 

I’ve never tried their beef base, but I’m a huge fan of the chicken and veggie.  The flavor is as close to homemade as I’ve yet to find.  Way better than bouillon cubes or cans. 

As much as I love whisking things, I also love simmering soups.  Who  needs therapy? 

Once the vegetable soup was simmering long enough to cook the barley, I added in some crushed tomatoes…

…and white beans.

This soup was such a quickie to throw together.   Ready in a matter of minutes (about 30, to be exact…even less if you had a batch of cooked barley or brown rice on hand.) 

The rich tomato flavor was a lovely reminder of being welcomed home with hot tomato soup after playing outside all day long.  It warms you, heart and soul.

Tomato Vegetable Soup (serves 4-6)
Idea taken and tweaked from a Taste of Home cookbook

Veggie soups are one of my favorite autumn eats.  This tomato soup takes on more veggies and protein than your typical tomato soup version might, giving you more nutrition per bite. 

I ate my hot bowl of soup with toasted honey wheat bread.  But I’m thinking that a grilled cheese sandwich would make this meal perfect and complete. 

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 c. vegetable broth (preferrably low sodium)
  • 1/4 c. uncooked barley
  • 1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (15-oz. each) white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28-oz. each) crushed tomatoes
  1. In a medium pot, saute onion, carrot and celery in oil until crisp-tender.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute longer. 
  2. Add broth, barley, Italian seasoning, and pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  3. Add beans and tomatoes, simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  4. ENJOY!

Question: What do you consider to be the perfect autumn meal?

Tomorrow is *Day 4* of the Breakfast Bonanza.  If you haven’t started yet, that’s okay!  You can jump in any time.  Just let me know what breakfast(s!) you want to include on the breakfast post for next week.  Even if you want to throw just *one* breakfast into the mix, go for it.  And, most of all, have fun! 😀

a bowl of super soup

Tis the season for colds and things.

Bring.  On.  The.  Soup!

I’m proud of the fact that—for the most part—my immune system keeps me far, far away from the little things that tend to plague people.  A head cold here.  A flu there.  They never seem to bother me.  That being said, when I do get sick, I get *sick.*  There’s absolutely no fooling around.  I’ve learned to simply wave my white flag and surrender. 

In other words, I spent most of the day in my pj’s.  Resting.  Relaxing. 

Making a big batch of veggie soup.

 Usually when I make a soup that calls for use of the blender, there is intensive time involved.  Not always.  But usually.  Between the simmering and cooling times, the soup making process is a long one.

Not so with this recipe.  The blending came pre-cooking.  Just a can of diced tomatoes and three cans of white beans.  The consistency—which reminded me of refried beans!!!—made for an awesome thickener.  I need to remember this for future soups!

The rest of the soup recipe was just as easy.  Just as simple.  And it involved many…

…many…

…many, many, many…

…many, many, many vegetables. 

I can practically hear my immune system thanking me. 😉

While the soup was simmering, dad picked up some crusty, artisan sourdough bread to accompany dinner.

The bread was absolutely perfect.  Crusty on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside. 
 

Cold season may be in full swing around here.  But it’s nothing that a little veggie soup can’t handle.

Loaded-with-Veggies Soup Recipe—courtesy of Woman’s Day Magazine

  • 3 cans (15.5 oz each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 bulb fennel, chopped, or 4 cups chopped celery
  • 1⁄2 small butternut squash peeled and cut into 1⁄2-in. pieces, or 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini (8 oz), halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 8 oz broccoli rabe (thick stems removed), cut crosswise into 1-in. strips, or 8 oz broccoli florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Olive oil

1. Purée beans and diced tomatoes with their juice in food processor, in batches, if necessary. Pour into a 6-qt pot. Stir in water, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes.

2. Add remaining vegetables except peas. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in peas and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

3. Drizzle olive oil over each bowl of soup; serve with crusty bread, if desired

Question: What is your favorite kind of soup?  I love a soup that’s jam packed with veggies.  Chicken stew is definitely on my list of favorites too. 😀

Apparently, the weather doesn’t care if fall is official.  It would much rather be summer.  Who am I to argue?

My morning run consisted of all good things.

Feeling good for 5 miles…well.  Let’s be honest.  Feeling good for 4 miles.  That first mile seems to always feel a bit creeky.

Sunny sky.

And a running revelation.  Don’t you love when this happens? 

What was my running revelation?  Well, I’ll tell you. 

It occurred to me as I was running along on my third mile, that I used to beat myself up over taking a walking break during a morning run. 

“Sarah, where’s your endurance?”  “You’re giving up!”  “Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!”

And now?  Now, I’m convinced that taking the occasional walking break is not only okay, but it can also be extremely beneficial.   It’s part of living intuitively.  We hear so much about intuitive eating, but what about intuitive exercising?  Whether you’re having an ‘off day’ or are increasing your mileage, plan on structuring in some walking breaks.  This doesn’t mean taking a break whenever you grow tired and it doesn’t mean never pushing yourself—which really does help to build endurance.  But it means respecting what your body is telling you. 

If you’re experiencing abnormal pain related to an injury, STOP running.  And if you find that you’re becoming tired or starting to slouch, take a walking break!   A slouched, tired running form can cause you to run differently, leading to injuries. 

BREAKFAST

Libby and I, we’ve been best friends lately. 

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • cinnamon + nutmeg
  • 1 banana, thinly sliced
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. canned Libby pumpkin
  • topping: 2 T. walnuts, Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

I chomped my way through this bowl of deliciousness before heading out for my run.  It was easy on my stomach.  Dairy used to bother me on my runs, but no more.  I think I’ve built up a tolerance level. 😉

Post run, I was starving. 

As in, “is it lunch time even though it’s only 10 o’clock” kind of starving.

One whole wheat tortilla wrapped with ricotta cheese later, I was again feeling like my normal self.

LUNCH

Chopsticks.

Whole wheat bunny crackers.

Deliciousness.

  • mesculin greens
  • carrot
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • garbanzo beans (about 1/2 c.)
  • 2 T. dried cranberries
  • black olives, sliced
  • feta cheeese (about 2 T.)
  • olive oil

There’s something about having a day off that makes me crave Starbucks.  I’m so glad there isn’t one too close to my house.  I could foresee the following scenarios happening all too frequently:

“Oh, it’s Monday, I think I’ll treat myself to a morning latte.”

“Oh, it’s Hump Day, Starbucks would be a fun treat.”

“Oh, it’s Saturday, I think I’ll hit up Starbucks with Nicole for a coffee date.”

“Oh…”

You get the picture.  My entire paycheck would end up in Starbucks’ wallet.  It wouldn’t be pretty. 😉

Today I went with a grande soy misto with one pump of toffee mocha.  Mmmm….

Afternoon Snack: almonds and grapes

DINNER

If I had to choose just one thing to cook for the rest of my life, I would choose soups.  At least, for the time being.  Next month I may say differently.  But for now?  Soups!

This is one of my favorites.  It’s simple, rustic, and super hearty.  You could easily make this vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.  That being said, however, nothing quite takes the place of a homemade chicken stock in this soup.  The next time you boil a chicken, save the broth specifically for this soup.  It is definitely worth it. 😀

Mushroom Barley Soup
from the Culinary Institute of America, “Book of Soups” with some minor variations

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 3 c. sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 2 qts. chicken broth
  • 1/2-3/4 c. pearl barley
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T. parsley
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes
  2. Add vegetables up to mushrooms.  Stir, cover and cook on low for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and add broth and barley.  Bring to a simmer and cook until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the parsley.  Stir in vinegar.  Serve in heated bowls.
  5. ENJOY! 😀

A pear for dessert!

I’m off for a walk.  Nothing celebrates the upcoming weekend like a relaxing after-dinner walk. 😀

Question: Do you take walking breaks during runs? 

AND/OR

Question: If you were to cook one type of meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?