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What I Ate Wednesday #286: Basic Fall

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. Hope you’re having a great day. My sister told me about a funny thing she saw on the internet the other day. Something like, “If you look in the mirror and say ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte’ three times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you all the things she loves about fall.” That gave me a laugh because, well, yeah.

This week’s installment of this blog link-up marks the first of fall 2016, so I’m going to share some snaps from this past weekend, which had all the wonderfully basic hallmarks of fall happiness: apple picking, hot coffee, baking pie, and even some yoga pants, cute dogs, and sushi thrown in for good measure. The only thing missing was a pumpkin spice latte.

Friday night I took a bus out to the burbs and went out for all-you-can-eat sushi with my sister, her boyfriend, and his brother.

sushi x
We brought a bottle of wine with us, which we enjoyed in these…goblets.

wine goblets

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Hearty Chickpea and Sausage Soup

I’m one of those people who loves fall. Totally unapologetic about it. Summer is great, but there’s something I just love about the crisp Autumn air and renewed get-to-work energy. I also love foods and flavors associated with fall. Bring on the root veggies. Soup is one of my favorite cool-weather foods, and I have fun coming up with different variations.

Noticing a change in the types of foods we want and feel like we need is totally normal as we cycle through the seasons. When our surroundings change (light, temperature, temperament), it makes sense that, in order to stay in balance, we would need to alter what we’re eating. I find that this time of year, for example, I start to crave meat a little bit more often than I do in the summer. I think it has a bit to do with changes in energy levels, given the decreased daylight. Since I feel like food cravings are the body’s way of telling us what it needs, I find ways to incorporate some but in small quantities in order to avoid overdoing it.

Soup is an awesome way to combine the plant protein found in beans, peas, or lentils with a bit of animal protein for a delicious flavor and satisfying balance of nutrients. A spice that I didn’t really get into until the last couple years is paprika, a bright red powder that’s made from grinding sweet red peppers. In this recipe, I used it with chickpeas, kale, and andouille sausage, which is traditionally made from pork and contains garlic, chili powder, cumin, and (yep) paprika. The end result? A slightly spicy, smoky soup that’s perfect for those first days of fall.

chickpea andouille sausage soup

Chickpea Andouille Sausage Soup Read More »

Ways to Use Miso

I first got into miso after reading Mark Bittman’s Food Matters cookbook when it came out in 2010. It’s since become one of my kitchen staples. This fermented soy product has a smooth texture and warm, salty flavor. A little goes a long way in adding a salty, “OMFG—what is that umami amazingness” note. Does anyone even say “OMFG” anymore? No matter.

What I love about miso is how versatile it is. I recently published an article on Tabelog sharing some of my favorite ways I love to use it.mushroom miso soup

It makes a great soup base, but I also love to mix it with tahini to make a dressing. It’s great in marinades (like in this salmon) but you can even use it to make your own fake meat. I haven’t made a seitan log in ages, but it’s super-simple.

Do you ever use miso paste? 

Chicken and Cabbage Soup

Good morning! Hope you had a great Saint Patrick’s Day—or are at least recovering well if you celebrated in the traditional way. I once went to Hoboken to visit a friend who’d just moved there, not knowing it was their St. Paddy’s Day celebration (which happens earlier in the month each year), and I was so confused when I saw everybody in green on a seemingly random day in March. That was a long time ago. I barely know anyone who lives in Hoboken anymore. All my rowdy friends have settled down, as the song goes. I like Elliott Smith’s version the best because I’m not emo at all.

Growing up, my mom used to make corned beef and cabbage every year on March 17th, but the holiday is just not on my radar. This is about as close as it’s gonna get. I love shredded cabbage in soups because it lends a hearty texture and subtle flavor but with minimal fuss. It’s also wicked cheap and bulks up a meal (and adds a potent dose of vitamins and minerals) without breaking the bank.

I made the chicken in a pressure cooker, but you can use any leftover cooked chicken you have on hand. Even store-bought rotisserie chicken would work here.chicken cabbage soup

Chicken and Cabbage Soup: For when you and your rowdy friends are settled down Read More »

Thinking Out Loud: Show yourself some love

Regardless of whether you adore or despise the holiday, Valentines Day brings love into focus during February. There are different kinds of love: romantic love, yes, but also love for friends, family, pets, and—the one we usually forget to add to the list—love for ourselves.

A few years ago, I wrote a post listing 10 ways to show yourself some love in February, though it’s always important.  Here are a few of my favorites from the list that I’ve been putting into practice in my own life this month. Read More »

What I Ate Wednesday #253

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. The mid-way point of the week seems to get here quickly, no? Pros and cons. Time flies when you’re busy…being busy? I think it’s time for some coffee.

I’ve talked on here about how I actually enjoy working weekend shifts at the hospital because it gives me more time during the week, but it was really nice to have a weekend to myself for a change. Though I did carve out time to see friends and catch up on work/life stuff, I mostly soaked up the relaxed vibe (and a long, slow yoga class Sunday morning), since I knew I had a crazy week ahead. I also took a little extra time in the kitchen. Here’s a look at what I ate Saturday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with flax, pumpkin puree, egg white, and cocoa powder cooked in. I added a half-tablespoon of peanut butter on top and a garnish of mini chocolate chips.

chocolate pumpkin oats

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Gnocchi Chicken Soup

I think I go through a soup phase every winter. Couldn’t call it unexpected, I suppose. Since learning the value of dressing for the weather, I don’t hate winter nearly as much as I used to, but I’m certainly no stranger to the “OMG when the f*** will this end” blues.

A lot of people panic about carb cravings in the colder, darker months, but they’re actually a normal response to lack of sunlight and blah emotions. Carbohydrates play a role in serotonin production, so when we experience a dip in serotonin levels and start feeling bummed out, our body starts begging for carbs to help make more.

The good news is that working nutritious sources of complex carbohydrates into your diet with a balance of protein and healthy fats can give you the energy and mood boost you need without sending you into a food coma. Pasta is a common carb craving, and there’s no reason to take even white pasta off the menu completely either. Portion is key. Of course, you can also go for whole grain and bean-based varieties as well. Here’s a way to enjoy a little of what you’re hankering for in a soup that also provides plenty of protein and veggies. Enjoy! gnocchi chicken soup

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Thinking Out Loud: Cooking My Feelings

Happy Thursday! First week of February, how did we get here? I haven’t done a proper brain-dump thinking out loud post in a while, so here’s a small collection of random.

*We all have our ways of dealing with emotional situations. I’ve been cleaning a bunch and cooking my feelings lately (so what else is new?). Apparently my feelings are ancient grains and sautéed mushrooms & shallots. How did I manage to go so long without eating farro? Crispy chickpeas with greens and fried egg have also been on the menu.

And so. Much. Soup. gnocchi chicken soup

The other night I made a chickpea pancake and topped it with leftover greens, some avocado, and nutritional yeast. That was good too. Why don’t I do it more often?

IMG_5227

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What I Ate Wednesday #252

I’ve been joking recently about descending into a life of workaholism. Since taking a legit day off is still a skill I’ve yet to master, as I was writing on here recently, I’ve taken to finding little ways to fit in “me” time, whether it’s a favorite workout or yoga class or even just cooking myself a nice meal. For this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, I thought I’d share a look at what I ate on a day I worked from home.  Read More »

White Bean Potato Soup (vegan)

So apparently there is a right way to lock the lid on a Vitamix so you don’t end up with a soup or smoothie explosion all over your counter. Totally winning at adulting over here. Anyway, with this newly acquired knowledge handy, I proceeded to make a blended white bean potato soup the other night. Success! And no mess to clean up. Win-win situation.

This makes a delicious (and super-easy) dinner on a cold evening and also happens to be vegan. You’ll get a hefty dose of fiber, protein, and potassium, plus some vitamin A. You can also make it gluten-free if you use a gluten-free broth.

White bean potato soup

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add onion and garlic. Sautee until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add rosemary, potato, beans, and broth.
  2. Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer until potato is soft.
  3. Allow soup to cool about 10 minutes and then blend either using a stick blender or by pouring in batches into a standing blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour soup back into pot and heat until desired temperature or pour into a storage container and place in fridge for later use.
  5. To serve: pour over steamed kale, garnish with hemp seeds

(serves 2)

What’s your favorite cold-weather meal? 

 

 

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