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Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? OVER.

12 Jan

The soup diet is over.

It was tough, but I made it.

I know you all feel for me.

My last soup recipe (for quite a while!) is from a book I have called:
Cheap & Easy: A Cookbook for Girls on the Go

It’s called “Fred & Ginger”, and is a pumpkin soup. My husband refused to try it. Much like when his first Thanksgiving when I told him the best part was pumpkin pie and he thought that was so gross and didn’t want to try it. Until he saw it in person and I caught him with a slice after dinner and now he begs me every year to make it (sometimes I even have to make an extra for our house). He’s got this weird aversion to pumpkin things until he tries them. PS he loves butternut squash soup and didn’t want to hear that pumpkins are basically squash. Whatever, his loss.

Fred & Ginger Pumpkin Soup
– 1 cups chicken or vegetable broth
– 1 15 oz. can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
– 1 cup milk or cream
– 1 tbs. grated fresh ginger
– salt to taste
– chopped chives and sour cream for serving

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot (except those for serving), bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Notes: Something burnt during the bringing to a boil part and tasted really gross when I got a big chunk of it in the soup. I’m not sure if it was the pumpkin itself or a combo of things, but MAN. PS I usually love burnt things. Carcinogens are my favorite. Not this time. I think next time I would try cream instead of milk as well because the texture wasn’t as thick and I’m thinking that had something to do with the burning. But it was still good!

Now… heading out to dinner! SO EXCITED. Going to stuff my face and erase all the healthy eating of the past 12 days.



Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? Day IDON’TKNOWISITOVERYET??

11 Jan

Ok, so… soup diet for 12 days… maybe not such a great idea.

I love soup and all, but… do you know how hard it is to eat soup every single day for 12 days? I’m at the point of gagging, to be honest. Which is why you haven’t heard from me since chili. I had an awful lot of chili last weekend. And now I’m not super inspired to make any other soups at this point for a few reasons. 1 – I have so many leftover soups I still need to eat. 2 – The aforementioned gagging. I really think if this “diet” were to go on for 14 days instead of 12 I actually would be gagging. At this point I’m just having to stear clear of all the soups I love because I’m over them and all of their ingredients!  3 – Um, yeah. If you know me, you’re going to be shocked at this statement: I can’t eat anything tomato-based at the moment. I loooove tomatoes. Fresh, in sauce, in soups, whatever. But due to that love, a lot of the soups I picked for these 12 days were tomato-based and, therefore, I need some space for the time being. Tomatoes, it’s not you, it’s me. Ok, it’s kind of you, but you know I’ll come running back to you soon enough.

Have I mentioned my husband gave up on the soup diet, and thought nothing of it? He was like, “I don’t understand why it’s a big deal, I’m eating a salad instead of a soup, so I’m still eating healthy.” Um, because a salad is not soup. But I guess he doesn’t blog about his soup diet so I’m the only one he has to answer to when he decides he doesn’t want to eat soup anymore. But I have held strong! Soup at least once a day for 12 days. Go me.

He also wanted to know how his mum knew we were on a soup diet. Um… because she reads my blog. Obvi.

Last night was a dark moment in the diet. I was so uninspired and glaring at my cans of tomatoes like they were evil. I bought some ginger last week to make Bon Appetit’s Cleansing Ginger Chicken Soup, which I thought of testing out last night until I read on my way home from work something about 2 1/2 hours of cooking time and screw that I WAS HUNGRY. So hungry. But determined to not use tomatoes and wanted to give my ginger a whirl, so with a bit of googling I found a gem of a recipe.

Healing Asian Soup with Ginger via Kalyn’s Kitchen
– 4 cups chicken broth
– 3-4 thick slices fresh ginger root
– 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I don’t like mushrooms, but it needed something so I added 1 cup diced carrots)
– 1 cup spinach leaves, sliced/torn into ribbons
– 1 green onion, very thinly sliced

In medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a low simmer. Add ginger slices and let simmer at least 15 minutes or longer. If you’d like a clear soup, use a yogurt strainer or coffee filter to strain the ginger-infused chicken stock, then rinse pan and put strained stock back into pan. Add a small amount of water if the stock has reduced very much. While ginger simmers in stock, wash and slice mushrooms and thinly slice spinach leaves. Clean green onion and slice into very thin slices. Bring infused stock back to a low simmer, then add mushrooms and simmer 1 minute. Add sliced spinach and simmer one minute more. Turn off heat, add green onions and serve.

This soup was delish, and I’m definitely keeping it in my soup arsenal for the next time I have a cold. It’s perfect for when you’re sick! Or when you’re not and just on a soup diet. For one week too long. Note to self: Next time try soup diet one week, salad diet the next. Or just stay fat.

One more day…


Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? Days 6-8.

8 Jan

When I mentioned to my husband that I’d probably be having chili all weekend long at my mom’s house he screamed and cried and begged me to make him some for while I was away.

Or something like that.

My point being, I had to have chili Friday when I made it for him, and then Saturday and Sunday at my mom’s. I love chili, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post, now, does it?? Especially since our chili, while delicious, is pretty much a recipe for dummies. I won’t ever change it, because I think it’s perfect as is, but this is not going to blow your mind, people. It’s just not:

Non-Spicy Chili (That’s what I named it in my recipe book, because I don’t like spicy things.  You can easily pick the spicy chili packet, instead of the mild, at the grocery store to alter this.)
– 1 lb. ground beef
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 32 oz. can stewed tomatoes
– 2 cans (or 1 large can) red kidney beans
– 1 packet mild chili seasoning
– sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese for serving.

So… you brown your meat with the onion, drain the fat, add everything else into a stockpot and cook until the beans are done.

Mindblowing, I know.

Uh, sorry. If it’s any consolation and you’ve never made chili in your life, try the “recipe” above. It’s delish. And you can use the leftovers to make taco salad, which is truly the best part about chili anyway, in my opinion! Lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. Yummmm.

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best anyway.


Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? Day 5.

7 Jan

Day 5’s soup almost didn’t happen. It was a harrowing, stressful 5 minutes time. But I pulled through! Which makes me proud. I guess trying all these new soups back to back is a good learning experience. You learn what you like and what you’ll substitute, you learn how some substitutes make it so that you need additions of something else to balance out tastes and textures, and you learn that it’s hard to eat soup every day for 12 days. Especially when you realize you’re not going to be home for 4 of those days right AFTER you declare that you’re going on a soup diet for 12 days on your blog. Ooooops.

I’ll be at my mom’s house in NJ until Tuesday, and let’s just say my mom doesn’t like to try new things. Nor does she like anything that’s green, except lettuce. Or any other vegetable other than tomatoes really. Oh right, that’s technically a fruit. So… yeah. This is going to be a challenge. I think I’m going to “cheat” and have chili, because I know she eats and likes that. It’s not really cheating though, right? Chili’s soup-like. It’s just not healthy-trim-your-waistline-soup-like. I think I’ll bring a leftover soup or two with me to eat for lunch at least so that I really do complete my mission!

Yes, I am on a mission!

Day 5 is a soup I’ve been holding onto in my soup recipe hoard collection for a while now. One of my favorite blogs to follow is Eat Live Run. She’s such a fun girl, and she makes yummy food!

mmm... stoup...

Greek Alphabet Orzo Stoup (adapted from Eat Live Run)
– 1 cup orzo pasta (I didn’t have alphabet on hand, and orzo was pretty yummy in it, but if you want to use alphabet soup use 16 oz. of it.)
– 1 tbs. olive oil
– 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
– 1 32 oz. can diced tomatoes (or whole tomatoes, chopped and cooked, see below)
– 1 10 oz. bag baby spinach
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 2 lemons, zested (didn’t have, so used 2 tsp. lemon juice)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced

Oooops. I usually hoard cans of tomatoes in my pantry, but the soup diet has severly depleted my stash and I didn’t have any! Luckily I had 4 decent-sized fresh tomatoes that I chopped up, put in the pot first, threw a little salt and some of the minced garlic in with, covered and cooked on low for about 10 minutes or until it gets as much liquid out of the tomatoes as possible. I liked the taste of the fresh stewed tomatoes, so I’d probably do it again. If using fresh tomatoes, cook the pasta in lightly salted water while doing this. If using canned, cook the pasta first before proceeding. Drain and set aside. In a stock pot (but off the heat), add the garlic, olive oil, lemon zest (or juice), vinegar, tomatoes, salt and pepper (I hate pepper, but I know this is abnormal. Add it if you like it.). Add the pasta and spinach and place back over low/medium heat and cook until the spinach wilts. Remove pasta from stove and add the feta to serve.

Mmmm feta.

So my first issue was oops, didn’t have canned tomatoes. Second issue was for some reason this turned out like pasta, not like soup! The opposite of what happened to me on day 4, ha. Jenna (of ELR) does call it a STOUP (as in, combination of soup and stew, not quite either), but this didn’t even seem like stew, just pasta. I’m sure not having the right canned tomatoes played some role in this, since there’s usually plenty of liquid in those cans. But it was odd to me that the recipe didn’t call for any water or broth or anything liquid really. So after standing there, staring at the pot of pasta, for 5 minutes trying to figure out A if I did anything wrong (besides not having canned tomatoes) and B how to make it soup-like, I ended up adding 3/4 cup of water and shook some chicken boullion in so that we weren’t eating pasta for dinner instead of soup. I think it still would’ve been good, but this is a soup diet, damnit! Disaster avoided. Phew. That was a tough one.

Anyway, it was really really good and I kind of don’t want to share the leftovers with my husband so that’s one of the soups I’ll be taking to my mom’s house to eat all by myself. When my husband really likes something I cook he immediately says “You can make this again”. I beat him to it. I WILL be making this again.

It probably has something to do with the feta.

Mmmm feta.

I have a slight cheese obsession, in case you didn’t know.

I mean, who doesn’t, really?


Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? Day 4.

6 Jan

Day 4 = soup with meat in it. Men everywhere rejoice.

Hubby and I were both meeting (separate) friends for drinks after work this day so I put it in the crockpot to cook all day so we could both just eat it whenever we get home. I do love my new programmable crockpot! I said it before, I’ll say it again: programmable = genius.

So what did we have on this 4th day-o-soup diet? Well, a recipe found via Pinterest of course! I ❤ Pinterest so bad.

Chicken Tortilla Soup via Miller Musings
– 2 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
– 2 cans Ro-Tel (or diced tomatoes)
– 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 can corn
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
– 1-2 cups of water
– 1 Tbsp garlic powder*
– 1 Tbsp chile powder*
– 1 Tbsp ground cumin*
– 1 Tbsp dried cilantro*
– tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese for serving

*Instead of these spices, you could use a packet of Taco seasoning (I did, but only about a half packet because I don’t like spicy food and a full one would’ve been too much! I also added a bit more cilantro and garlic powder. Let your own taste buds decide what’s right for you!)

Put chopped onion, cans of beans, rotel, corn, chicken broth, water, and spices in Crock Pot and stir to mix. Put chicken breasts on top of mixture and make sure they’re at least partly submerged in liquid. Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove the chicken breasts from soup and shred, if needed, (sometimes they’ll just fall apart on their own). Return chicken to CrockPot, stir to combine.

The taste of the soup was really good, like a chili, but for some reason it turned out reaaaally watery. And even after sitting in the fridge overnight, when I find that most soups will thicken, it didn’t. Still good enough to make again, but I think next time I’ll leave out the 2 cups of water.

This soup is slightly less healthy than the others, considering it’s served with such awesome things as cheese and sour cream (mmmm). Oh well. It’s still soup! Soup = healthy always. Right? Right.


Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? Days 2 & 3.

4 Jan

I got these amazing little soup tureens for Christmas from my MIL. I hinted pretty hard that I wanted them when I saw hers the last time we visited. 🙂

i love you, but my husband doesn't love cleaning you.

Aren’t they adorable??

And now they are getting TONS of use with our soup diet.

As is my new favorite toy, that I got for Christmas from my mom, my GREEN cast iron dutch oven. This baby can go anywhere but the microwave. LOVE.

marry me?

Day 2 we had a yummy tomato soup for lunch (we had off work). I did follow a recipe for this one.

so... I christened it by cooking some delicious-smelling onions in it.

Triple Tomato Soup (from Better Homes and Gardens)
– 1 large onion, sliced
– 1 tbs. butter or olive oil
– 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained
– 3/4 cup dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
– 1/2 of a 6 oz. can no-salt added tomato paste (oops – just realized i used the whole can. turned out fab anyway!)
– 1 14 oz. can reduced sodium chicken or veg broth
– 1/2 cup sliced celery (thought i had some, but didn’t, so added 1 tbs. celery salt instead)
– 2 tbs. snipped fresh parsley (used 1 tbs. dried parsley)
– 2-3 tsp. lime or lemon juice (used 2 tsp. lemon juice)
– sour cream, optional, for serving

Cook onion in oil in Dutch oven, covered, on med-low heat for 10 min. or until tender and delicious-smelling (can you tell I like onions??). Add canned tomatoes, 1/2 cup dried tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, celery, and parsley. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until celery and onion are very tender. Remove from heat to cool slightly (spoiler alert: it’s going in your (probably glass) blender). Place remaining dried tomatoes in a small microwave-safe bowl; add enough water to cover. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Cool about 15 minutes, drain, and snip tomatoes into pieces. Set aside. Place half of the tomato-broth mix into a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat with reamining mixture. Return all to dutch oven, add lime juice and heat through. Top with snipped dried tomatoes, fresh parsley, and serve with sour cream if desired (I did and it was yumz).

I thought it was going to taste like a bloody mary because that’s what it kind of smelled like (I don’t like bloody marys), but it didn’t. It was soooo good! Hubby enjoyed as well. Oddly enough he seems to have never really had dried tomatoes before and that was his favorite part of the soup. Whatever, I’m now 2 for 2 on new recipes. Score!

Hubby started complaining later that afternoon that he was going through meat withdrawal, because he’s manly like that I guess. Lol. Let it be known that I am not trying to do this whole thing without meat entirely. We just eat so much meat generally that I try to sneak vegetarian meals in there from time to time to preserve my waistline. So this seemed like the perfect time to throw in a bunch of vegetarian soups since he’s a willing participant in this diet! I went through all of my cookbooks (there are a LOT) and picked out potential recipes for our 12 days, and I can assure you there are some meat in soup recipes. I am not depriving my husband of all meat!

We had soup for TWO meals on day 2, and leftovers of the next soup provided dinner for day 3 as well.

My Minestrone (this is a recipe I compiled from several others and have made before and is super easy and yummy, but it is my own little creation)
– 1-2 tbs. olive oil
– 1 cup carrots, chopped
– 1 cup celery, chopped (again, I thought I had it, but didn’t, so left it of this soup)
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 cup red or white wine (personal preference, or whatever’s open in my house)
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 3 cups chicken broth
– 2 cups water
– 1 can white beans (cannelini, great northern, whatevs)
– 1 can red kidney beans (i actually skipped the red kidney beans because i was saving the ones i had for another recipe and added a can of butter beans instead)
– 1/2 box rotini pasta
– 2 tsp. chopped basil
– 1 tsp. oregano
– salt

Cook onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil in stock pot/dutch oven over med-high heat 7-8 minutes or until tender and delicious-smelling. Add wine and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Stir in broth, water, herbs, pasta, and beans. Cook until pasta is done. Pull off burner and let stand 10 minutes (at least that’s what I have to do because it’s so freaking hot). Serve with shredded cheese.

Still no meat, but lots of beans and pasta so hubby piped down a bit. 🙂

Also, my friend Ryann sent me a couple yummy looking soup recipes. If you’ve got more to share, I’d love to add them to my ever-growing folder-o-soups!


Food Obsession of the Moment: Soup… Diet? Day 1.

3 Jan

I’ve really been obsessed with soup for, like, the past year, if I’m honest. I love to cook, and am a very competent “chef”, but soup is the one thing I feel like I can wing and it turns out great 99% of the time. The other 1% is when I try something only for myself and don’t have high hopes for it anyway, so it pretty much doesn’t even count. Oh yes, I follow soup recipes as well, but more often than not I’ll look at a recipe, want to make it, then set out making it and end up using only like 3 of the ingredients or one of the methods included in the recipe. Soups make me happy. I can get lost in making soups, just thinking about what else I can add to blend with the other flavors. Now that I’ve discovered the wonders of making soup, I’m pretty sure if I lived alone I’d probably make it multiple times a week. But, alas, my husband craves meat and not all soups contain meat. Which brings me to our soup diet.

As mothers tend to do, when we were in England for Christmas my mother-in-law stuffed us to the brim with delicious food the entire time. We went to the gym 4 times while we were there, but it did absolutely nothing to balance out the caloric intake we withstood for 12 days! While we were there I read an article in Bon Appetit magazine where a family does a soup cleanse to start their new year. There were two recipes included, but really I just liked the idea that I could probably convince my meat obsessed husband to eat soup for an entire week since we both put on about 20 lbs over the holidays (only a slight exaggeration). I told him about it and he liked the idea, and even upped the ante to 2 weeks! He said since we had 2 weeks of overindulgence, we should have 2 weeks of soup diet to even it out. Works for me! So it was decided that we would have soup for a meal at least once a day until January 12th (ok, only 12 days, but we have a gift certificate to a restaurant we love that expires that day, so that’s our cutoff!). I’m shooting for twice a day for myself, since I’ll bring in leftover soup to work for lunch, but he won’t.

We started New Year’s Day, using the Restorative Beef Broth recipe from Bon Appetit as a guide. But really the only thing that was the same was the idea of a beef broth.

My Beef Broth Recipe:
– 1 tbs. olive oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 6 cups beef broth (I used the cubes, Bon Appetit used short ribs and strained them out)
– 1 1/2 tbs. chopped garlic
– 2 tbs. flaxseed
– 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Cook onions in olive oil until tender and delicious-smelling. Add broth, garlic, flaxseed (helps with digestion, but also thickens the soup just a bit), and sea salt.

I know it’s just a broth, but it was delicious. And my hubby said so as well. It was more of an onion soup than a broth I guess, but whatever. We’re eating healthy, yay!

I may or may not have added shredded cheese on top of mine. Um… dairy’s still healthy.

He was hungry 2 hours later (we had the broth for lunch and agreed we’d get salads from our favorite cafe for dinner). I guess that’s the downside of this diet/cleanse/whatever you want to call it. We’re now used to eating such ginormous portions that just soup is hard for our stomachs to adjust to! But adjust we will… besides, we’re not doing it for a whole year, only 12 days!

I promise the other recipes are more exciting than beef broth. 🙂