Soup Success!

February 26, 2013

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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.

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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!

xo

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Friends, if you are looking for a soup that will clear your sinuses, do I have a recipe for you.

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Wednesday nights, as you know – are my yoga nights, which means quick and easy meals are the go-to for dinners.   Last night we tried a new recipe from my Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook, “Chinese Hot-Pot Soup”.  Which is simply a combination of ginger and onions, chili pepper flakes, soy sauce, garlic and a bunch of veggies like carrots and water chestnuts, with snowpeas, tofu and mushrooms added at the end.

It smelled great walking in the door, but I may have been a little heavy handed with the spices 😉 (I added a little extra of the chili pepper flakes, and then, because I’m evil – some Sriacha sauce and chili paste.  Who AM I?).  This soup definitely tested the limits of my husband’s spice tolerance, and if we’re being honest here – mine too.   We were sniffing up a storm by the end of dinner, so this soup is definitely in the “I have a cold and can’t breathe out of my nose”, rotation But for the purposes of having something quick, healthy and lite to eat before zipping off to spend some time with my yoga mat, I’d say it was a success.image

I should warn you though, that on its own, the soup isn’t overly substantial.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for yoga, seeing as how I shouldn’t even really eat before class anyhow – but it was also a great excuse for me to make my newest obsession.   Cheezy Kale.  Seriously, 3 nights this week and I have had this side dish each.night.   Lucky me it also falls into the simple category – kale, olive oil and nutritional yeast.  Oven, stir. Boom.  A plate full of addicting.  At least to me, Brandon sort’ve snarls at it.  Have I mentioned kale is my happy food?

And can we just talk for a second, about how freaky it is when you go to class with something on your mind and your instructor either has a class or meditation planned that addresses those thoughts?  Sometimes its something as simple as hearing a song to reset your thoughts (raise your hand if this happened to you this week at the gym, because I know it did for me) – other times, like last night, it was something overly blatant, like naming the thoughts I had in my head.  It doesnt’ always happen, but it sure as hell is an amazing experience when it does, so enlightening, empowering and freeing, especially when you’re able to leave it all drain out of you afterwards.

So that is my healthy decision for last night, to take the cue and consciously decide to leave the thoughts I had in my head all in the yoga room.

Today’s decision was lunch.  In order to use up the soup, which wasn’t very appealing for a substantial lunch, I opted to drain the veggies from the spicy broth, cook up some millet and make a nice little veggies and grains macro lunch.  I may or may not have added some hot sauce.  I may or may not have a problem. 

xo

Make ahead Meals

November 29, 2012

 

I swear to you, in the mornings, I am like Pavlov’s Dog.   I’ll wake up naturally, not overly tired, pleasantly alert and decide, I’ll just cuddle under the covers for a little while longer until the alarm goes off – and the minute the alarm goes off? I’m super tired, my body decides it needs another dose of snooze buttons to feel fully rested.  Which leaves me running around in the mornings, feeling like I’m consistently 2 minutes behind the imaginary schedule I have in my mind. 

All of this to pre-empt my crock pot story.  Because yesterday was one of those mornings, but especially busy, because Wednesady are my yoga days.  Since moving the yoga class from 7:30 pm to 7 pm, I’ve lost a little more time in the evening between when I get home from work and when I have to leave for my class.   Enter – the crockpot, long tauted as one ah-may-zing piece of kitchen appliance (don’t have a yoga class and a starving husband to motivate you? No worries, it works great regardless 😉 )

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So, when last we met, I teased you a bit with my picture of reason number 32987512359807 that I was rushing out the door yesterday morning.  Making sure I got all of the ingredients for last night’s dinner ready to go in the crockpot – and on a chilly day like yesterday, a hot, homemade and ready to eat soup sounded absolutely perfect.   So we found a Betty Crocker Recipe for this potato and dbl corn chowder.  Simple ingredient list = simple flavors = Brandon’s eyes lit up like the 4th of July.  Seriously – Frozen hashbrowns, a can of corn, a can of cream corn, some milk (we used almond).  In the end I added a splash of Ume Vinegar to brighten up the flavors a bit.  It called for Worsteschire but we had none in the house.   Brandon was pleased with it and I’m glad to have a simple, but equally versatile recipe to have on hand for those days where we want to come home to something hot and ready to eat.  This time around we used the standard frozen shredded hashbrowns, but I can see this soup being really good with some of the homefry style seasoned hashbrowns.  Or add a little kick with some red pepper flakes.  Mmmm kick.

The one thing this soup didn’t have though, was something non-starchy in it.  So, to satisfy my veggie self, I cooked up some easy teriyaki brussel sprouts. 

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Just an easy saute’ and a drizzle of teriyaki sauce to top them off.   I’ve been obsessed with cooking brussel sprouts like this lately and nothing else will suffice when the craving hits! 

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Brandon whipped up some Garlic toast to top off the meal – and for a rushed around AM, I think this qualifies as worth it. 

Although we ARE running out of make-ahead-meal ideas…hint hint 😉

xo