December 10, 2013
Oh last Friday…Also known as:
That random day where I had the genius idea to throw every leftover veggie and container of cooked rice into the crock pot as a surprise, leave for work in the drizzle and come home in a cold wet down pour to an “extra two points” from the Hubs because our house smelled like a delicious warm bowl of soup that was ready to eat. And when I say that, I mean, with huge hunks of fresh baguette smeared in earth balance, duh.
That, my friends – is the magic of a crock pot.
This soup was seriously delicious, it absolutely hit the spot. We had been craving a veggie soup since the explosion of food that is otherwise known as Thanksgiving week. I normally use two big cans of diced tomatoes, but this time around I switched out one of those cans for a can of crushed tomatoes. The switch added a little more tomatoey depth (technical term folks, use it) to the soup and with that change plus the leftover rice from the night before, the soup really thickened up into almost a stew, especially with the meaty cremini mushrooms thrown in. More magic? I was feeling pretty lazy when I threw the soup together in morning, so the mushrooms only got cut in half, the celery, squash and zucc were chopped REALLY thick, tore up the green beans with an “eh…that looks about even” form of measurement and didn’t even bother to take knife to the baby carrots – in they go!. A can of corn with its liquid and a few bay leaves, a healthy dose of cumin, garlic powder and black pepper and I was done. Honestly – no recipe. Just went with what I had and it turned out perfect. We froze a bunch for another cold night and had the leftovers for our snow day on Sunday and it tasted just as good. There’s just something about soup that makes you want to curl up in thick cozy socks and be warm and comfortable, especially after a cold wintry day.
We have another snow day today and so I’m hanging out at home. While the adult in me is really frustrated that I can’t get into work and get some things done (when did THAT happen?), I’m trying really hard to embrace the extra day I’ve been given to get some other things done too. I have a few things I can do to work from home, so I am grateful for that – and I now have a few more hours in the day to get some presents wrapped, the rest of the decorations up, an early workout in and some more cookies baked. I’ve got my best gal friends on speed dial (text?) to keep me company and a mug with my name on it. Plus, it really is hard to waste so much energy being frustrated, when something is so beautiful and we are safe and warm enough to enjoy it.
And another perfect day for another perfect bowl of soup. I’m thinking this recipe:
Wherever you are, I hope you are warm and safe and dry!
And happy 🙂
November 13, 2013
Sick = soup, always – right?
While I’m definitely not full blown sick, I have been feeling pretty drained and under the weather lately. I’ve been trying to keep up my workouts at a lower intensity and keep my body fueled with good healthy foods to fight off whatever it is that’s wrong with me (my money is on a Sinus Infection/Tooth Infection – yuck).
Yesterday was a particularly rough one and by the time I was home and had finished my workout, I had ZERO appetite. Not eating wasn’t an option, so instead I threw together this easy soup that reminded me of my “mom, can I have a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup?” days. Salty, comforting and with a few extra healthy bits and pieces to satisfy my lifestyle.
I started with half a cube of Veggie broth bouillon into 2 cups of water and added some diced carrots and celery I had already cut up in the fridge. Next went half a package of pre-cubed tofu cubes, some freshly grated ginger, cayenne pepper and garlic powder, a trifecta of sick blasters! Once the veggies were nice and tender and the soup was ready to eat, I threw in a handful of torn up kale and let it steam a bit, to up the greens factor.
The result was cozy and comforting, salty and nourishing. Not too heavy, but still nutritious enough to satisfy. A big bowl of this would fill me up on a regular (feeling good) day, especially with the addition of some grains or noodles. But for now, it was perfect as was. Tonight, I’m feeling like a hungry beast, so I’m hoping a nice solid biceps/back workout will put me in the mood for some roasted acorn squash….get in mah bellay!
I’m off to the dentist tomorrow (I really hate the dentist…) to try and figure out if the tooth is the problem, or the sinuses are the problem. Chicken or the egg?
See also – go give my friend Dom some serious love over at his page. He just got back from running the NYC marathon. Major inspiration right there.
February 26, 2013
It’s no secret that I love my crockpot and last night’s soup did nothing to change my mind. However, it is a little more prep than normal involved. I came up with this idea after a serious hankering for some root veggies roasted with a healthy dose of Smoked Spanish Paprika. Normally I’d be perfectly content to toss the veggies with some pasta and call it a day. The problem, was that last night my husband needed a fuss free dinner and a clean kitchen. So a crockpot meal was in order. Besides, roasted veggies is a weekend meal in my book, since otherwise it would mean eating dinner at 10. Not really, but it would still make for a late night meal.
Instead of giving up on the idea, I went ahead with roasting the veggies on Sunday night, including 2 sweet potatoes, 3 large carrots, 1/2 medium celery root (peeled), 3 cloves of garlic, 1 small/medium onion, tossed in olive oil and smoked paprika. The next morning I threw them all into a crockpot with about 5 cups of water and half a veggie bouillon cube and let it cook away on low for the day. You wouldn’t need the crockpot either, you could absolutely roast the veggies and simmer in some veggie broth directly afterwards. For us, the crockpot was the way to go and when we got home, it smelled great as was, but didn’t look altogether appetizing and I already had my mind set on a bisque of sorts, so I used my immersion blender to whiz it up, adding in more water bits at a time (and a splash of almond milk, although I don’t think it needed it) until I got the right consistency. Alternatively, you could’ve thrown it into a blender in smaller batches and pureed it that way. The immersion blender is fast and easy and requires less transporting of the soup, which in my book = less mess and a happy husband.
To top of the soup I added in some more paprika (plus a garnish for my soup, I can’t help it, the stuff is addicting!), a touch of cinnamon and a splash of Rye (Bourbon would do the same thing). We served it with a side of homemade molasses cornbread, where I replaced the sugar (we have none in the house right now) with molasses. It had the perfect amount of sweet, without being overly so. Slathered with some earthbalance, it was a proud moment for me when I got the “this is pretty good” nod from B. Baking without sugar in the house has been an adventure to say the least, but its just not something we’re looking to add to the grocery list right now unless we have a reason to. Saving money can be so fun :-p Actually, this non-sugar thing has been a fun experiment, to see what it is we really need in order to satisfy our “sweet cravings”, which happen few and far between to begin with. I have to say that the molasses served its purpose well and may be a future replacement for most cornbread options from hereon out in our house!
Life can be stressful sometimes, especially on a Monday after a sleepless weekend, but bowls of soup like this are a nice way escape it for a while. 🙂
If you try it let me know and enjoy!
February 21, 2013
It’s been one of those weeks, where I had a big presentation on Monday, and instead of having that exhale moment where I go home, have a cup of tea and relax, I stay at work late, can’t sleep and generally don’t relax. I have upped my mug of tea quota though. So at least there’s that.
In other news: this justins chocolate almond butter needs to simultaneously get in my belly and out of my drawer at work, because it is delicious and very hard to not eat. I had some on a banana this afternoon for a snack, but eventually cut out the middleman and knife fed it to myself. I managed to stop before things got bad. Thank goodness.
Dinners have been a bit meh this week. But last night it was nice to finish off the last of our asparagus with this fun new salad recipe from an old vegetarian cookbook. Steamed asparagus, grape tomatoes and orange sections on a bed of spinach with a whip it up quick citrus vinaigrette. Easy, quick and a refreshing change from the heavy winter foods as of late.
Fear the purr.
February 12, 2013
We’re big fans of Caesar salads at our house and since discovering Alicia Silverstones Caesar dressing from The Kind Life, it’s been on constant rotation. The thing that is fun for me, is deciding what to put on top of the salad. Since meat and seafood are out, I tend to lean towards some marinated portabellas as our topping of choice. This past summer I tried out some roasted cauliflower (delicious) and last week, in an attempt to clear our fridge of leftovers, I grabbed the final stalks of asparagus and cooked them up in our grill pan with lots of fresh ground pepper. As a side, they would’ve been tasty, but wanting. As a salad topper, they were delicious and added a fun new twist. So you can imagine how happy I was, when I offered up bellas or asparagus as toppings for Caesar salad to my husband, who responded with a “yes”. So tonight, it’s Caesar salad with bellas and asparagus. Y.u.m. Anyone else choose fun things for salad toppings besides me?
Friday at last. I was hoping to sneak in one more workout this week before the weekend hit, but a late night at work put that on hold.
Truth be told, I could use the rest, we’ve been traveling non stop lately, combo that with late night’s at work and poor sleep, I am definitely fighting off a cold. I sneezed no fewer than a gazillion times today and used about as many tissues. Yikes! It’s definitely a kick in the butt to remember to eat healthy and keep up with my workouts.
But for now, I’ll leave you with my most recently completed project.
While we were in Richmond a few weekends back, I saw a rainbow scarf at Claire’s that wasn’t worth the price, but definitely caught my eye. Lucky for me, Michaels was right next door and I found this fun yarn to try and recreate the scarf!
I used dbl crochet front post stitches for the length of the scarf and kept it relatively skinny. I absolutely love the finished look and have been wearing it a ton this week!
Another fun project off the hook and in the books! Happy weekend friends
January 23, 2013
Ya’ll, my to-do list was a mile long today. Which makes for a long Wednesday with no yoga (at a studio, at least), but the productivity is 100% worth it.
In other and more fun news, I finished my crochet project last night! I was a little nervous about it, since general guidelines aside, I went from scratch with this puppy – but I’m super happy with how it turned out. I have this beautiful soft grey yarn that I picked up and wanted to make a wearable, but unique hat out of it. I didn’t like any of the designs online for what I had in mind, so I just went with what I thought might look nice together. For my first go at it, I think it went pretty well.
For you crocheters out there, I decided to crochet from the brim, UP as opposed to the top down. The brim was stitched as one long band and sewed together to make the base of the hat. And since I liked the stitches for the brim (front post single crochets), I used the same style stitches for the hat, alternating between single and dbl back post crochet stitches, which would end up being perpendicular to the stitches on the brim. Since its my first time using any of these stitches, I just sort’ve went with it, without truly knowing how it would turn out.
I really like it! Its wearable, unique and WARM, a huge plus for the chilly weather everyone’s been having lately.
Its just long enough for my head, but can also be worn back a bit for that slouchy beanie style, or with the brim folded up for a slightly dressier look.
I’m super glad to have it done, although now that its finished, i’m itching to get another project back on a hook!
I hope everyone is staying warm this week, it is COLD out. I’m ever so grateful to be coming home to a crockput full of homemade soup and the opportunity for some at-home yoga alone in my room.