Cold Cure

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I didn’t grow up drinking tea. In fact, it took me a long time to grow an affinity for it. Yet it has become one of those things that comforts me when I have a cold. The warmth of the hot liquid, just like soup, makes me feel better, if only mentally. Although there is some truth to hot liquids and steam opening the sinuses.

Recently, after a day or two of a slight scratchy throat, I woke up with a stuffy nose and head one morning. That night, when I tried to go to sleep, breathing out of my nose was impossible and I woke up with another scratchy throat for a different reason – I had been snoring.

Groggy, it was a morning of indecisiveness. So I got the idea to look up on the interwebs to find out what the best tea would be for a cold. As you can imagine, there is a wealth of knowledge and a number of opinions! {I’ve also found that while Hot Toddies in the evening may be be comforting, but I’m always left feeling a little more stuffed (and dehydrated) the next day.}

Last week, though, I think I found the trick! I drank this concoction and the next day…

I felt better.

Now I wasn’t 100% yet, but I woke up and could breathe freely through my nose. Usually, the morning of a cold is the worst. I ended up having another one before breakfast, too…

The DIY Stuffy Nose Remedy includes three medicinal ingredients:

  • honey
  • lemon
  • ginger

This is such an easy, natural tea you can make yourself using ingredients that have been known to treat symptoms for thousands of years. You can get the “recipe” here. But the truth is that there is no right or wrong ratio of these components – you can make it to taste. Here are the tips I’d like to offer that I think help make this tea best:

  1. You need a big mug – one that can hold two cups of water, like in the recipe. Otherwise, you’ll need to make yourself a second cup of tea and when you’re sick, that’s just a PITA. Get a big mug – or bowl – and settle in. This one did the trick for me. Just shy of two cups:
  2. Do not skimp on the ingredients!
    • Do not substitute stevia or another sweetener or leave out the honey! It’s the medicinal qualities in the honey that are helping you fight infection. The sweetening properties are just a bonus!
    • I found my personal best ratio is about 1 Tbsp or so of honey, juice of half of a lemon, 3/4″ piece of fresh ginger (freshly grated) and 2 cups of water. My humongo lemons from Costco were a bit much the first time around, so I upped the honey a bit. You can adjust to taste.
    • You might be able to use ground ginger or even a ginger tea in a pinch in place of fresh; but I haven’t tried and can’t vouch for it.
  3. Put the ingredients in your mug first.
  4. Boil your water separately.
    • Often, when I make tea, I heat the water in a mug in the microwave and add the teabag afterward. I know it’s better to pour boiling water over the teabag; but sometimes I’m just lazy. I don’t have a kettle and think it’d be silly to boil water for just one cup of tea.
    • This is a time that it’s worth it to heat your two cups of water in a separate bowl in the microwave – 3 to 4 minutes should do.
    • Take the water out of the mic using a pot holder and pour over your ingredients and stir.
  5. Adjust ingredients to taste. It tastes good and will make you feel good, too!

Do you have any home remedies you swear by for colds?

Be Well!
Carrie

 

 

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Soup (Book) Week: The One That Changed My Thinking…

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And here we arrive… the last Soup Cookbook review of the week. Are you fed up with soup by now? I’M NOT! 🙂

And just to recap in case you missed:

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Soup Cleanse Cookbook
by Nicole Centeno (cookbook) – worth a READ

WOW. This book.

Knowing it would deserve it’s own review, I came up with Soup Week rather than doing a 5 for Friday with 5 cookbooks in one post.

At first glance, I flipped through these recipes and thought, “Where is the protein?” and “I’m not going to make very many of these.” I do not eat a vegan, nor a vegetarian diet. Maybe it’s psychological, but I always feel like I need some sort of protein in order for a meal to feel “complete” to me, whether that be meat, eggs or beans. I really did skip over a lot of recipes in this book.

But then… 

I did what I do what I do with every cookbook I read (unless I’m in search of one specific, quick recipe!)…

I read it like a novel… from cover to cover.

And boy did I learn so much. This soup cookbook is the one that changed my thinking… and when I wasn’t looking to change it at all. It is also the book that got me out of my comfort zone to try a bunch of those unusual ingredients that I was not really inspired to in some of those other cookbooks I mentioned this week.

And I have since made 10 recipes from it.

This is the book that actioned me out of my comfort zone!

Word of Caution:  If you are looking for a book with a few good soup recipes to peruse, this book may not be for you. It most certainly wasn’t what I was looking for when I went in search of soup cookbooks. This book embodies more of a plan – a plan to eat real food… plant-based food.

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Now if you are still intrigued… here is what I learned:

  • Only 13 % of the American population gets enough vegetables. Do you really believe you are part of that 13%? Do you get 30-60% of your calories from vegetables?
  • We seem to have worry about not getting enough protein in our diets; when for most Americans, that is not an issue. (Especially, compared to the issue of getting enough vegetables!) And get this, if you increase your vegetable intake, you’ll be adding protein to your diet, too. While the protein amounts in plants seem lower than traditional protein sources; when you star adding those extra vegetable servings to the diet, those little bits add up.
  • In the past five years, I’ve heard more and more nutritionist and dietitian advice to the lines of “eat real food, mostly plants.”

What I Loved About This Book:

The author’s goal is not to get you to give up meat or really even overhaul your diet. We put too much pressure on what we should restrict from our diets. What about the things that are missing? What if we added real, plant-based food and the rest followed?

Along with each recipe, Centeno points out specific ingredients and what they will do for your body. And why some items should prepared a certain way. Maybe this is what sold me?!

While I don’t specifically like the term cleanse (or diet) because it sounds so restricting; Centeno’s suggestion on how to eat her soups goes like this:

  • Pick one day to make 5 soups – one from each category of  purees, beans and lentils, sweeter spoonfuls, stews, restorative broths.
  • Each soup makes 4 servings, so your soups will last you two weeks. (Two servings of each soup will be eaten this week, the other two servings of each soup can go in the freezer for the following week.)
  • On the first day, you will eat only soup – one of each of the soups in order. Yes, this part is a restrictive; but it’s more about mindfulness. Soup forces us to slow down.
  • On the following five days, you replace one meal – any meal – with a soup. She recommends lunch, because it makes lunch easy, especially during the work week. But you can really do any meal, based on your schedule.

These recipes are all made of real ingredients, are plant-based and filling. What’s more is that most of the soups do not have broth or stock on the ingredient list, so almost all of the flavor you are getting is from the fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains themselves!

It kind of wowed me that each soup had as much flavor as they did. Only one have I found I needed to season with salt. The recipes are also pretty forgiving. I’ve messed up a step and ingredient or two.

What I Didn’t Like About Souping:

You’ll need to set aside a lot of time on the day you make these soups – like 3 hours or so. I’ve done it twice and have been pretty exhausted afterward. But I think it’s been worth it to have healthy, cleansing meals at the ready all week long – for two weeks! Sometimes I’ve just made four of the soups on a Sunday for my Monday Souping Day and would make the 5th soup for dinner, just like I would make dinner on Monday night.

Sometimes the soup’s textures aren’t as smooth or creamy as I’d like them to be; but I don’t have a blender, just a food processor. I did invest in an immersion blender and am slowly learning how to use that. But you don’t have to always blend the soups. And if the texture or a style of soup is something you don’t like, Centeno suggests choosing something from another category. Also, when I’m making soups for the week, I try to choose soups that might have some overlapping ingredients so I don’t have a lot of leftover ingredients or waste.

A day of souping can be a (mental) challenge, but it’s just one day. And I love ending the day with a restorative broth and a warm tummy full of it.

~

Recipes I’ve tried from each category:

  • Purees
    • Carrot and Turmeric – This one wouldn’t puree in a food processor. My newly purchased immersion blender did the trick, when I figured out how to use it! Still, not as silky smooth looking as the photo. I’m still learning.
    • Cumin Sweet Potato – I don’t even really like sweet potatoes IRL. I gave it a go anyway. This one is flavorful. I think it’s the “sweet” I don’t like in sweet potatoes, but now I know if you add some Mexican or spicy flair, you’ve got me!
  • Beans & Lentils
    • Lentil and Kale – I don’t remember much about this soup, but I think that’s a good thing. It means it had good flavor and wasn’t too weird in texture. The ones that were lacking flavor or had weird texture were the ones that stood out.
    • Beans and Greens – Out of all the soups, this is the only one I needed to season, liberally, with salt. It was also the first time I’ve ever used dried beans. While canned beans are totally acceptable, I thought I decided to go all out and start with dried beans, sorting, rinsing and soaking them the night before. I thought all of this and the long simmer on the stove would make them taste the same as canned. (Or better?) But they were a little too al dente to my taste when I actually ate the soup. (And a bit more difficult to… ahem, digest.) Why didn’t I think to taste them after the allotted stove time?! Also, the resulting soup water just tasted “dirty” to me for some reason.
  • Sweeter Spoonfuls
    • Spiced Fig & Cashew – My fig and date ratios were off, but this still came out beautifully. I found that I liked to replace breakfast with the Sweeter Spoonful soups.
    • Vanilla Pistachio with Oats – I think my oats were undercooked and this wasn’t really sweet, just a little dull.
  • Stews
    • Courgette Stew – You might wonder how it is a stew without any big chunks of meat or even beans, but this was so flavorful! The stews really surprised me.
    • Curly Kale Stew – In my opinion, some of these recipes are misnamed. Yes, kale is an ingredient, but my overall feel for this stew is for the warming coconut curry! So comforting in winter.
  • Restorative Broths
    • Lime Pepper Broth – I loved the little kick of jalapeno! Centeno does not strain any of her broths, so veggies used are fresh and you’ll get to benefit from their nutrients. My only complaint about the broths is the suggestion to used sliced onion. I feel like I’m slurping up noodles! If you like that kind of thing, fine. I’ll be dicing all of my onions next time.
    • Spirulina and Kale Broth – Here is an example of an uncommon ingredient I bought – Spirulina Powder! It’s made of sea algae and is loaded with Omega-3s as well as protien, iron and potassium. Still, Centeno did what I love – she recommended using other types of ingredients like nori or wakame or even doubling up on the Kale if needed. The deep blue-green color of the spirulina powder was a bit of a trip, though!

I have never felt deprived eating any of her soups, even if (with my mindset) there is a lack of traditional protein in many soups. I’ve actually eaten slower and been more mindful of each bite. This coming weekend is my next weekend to prep soups. But I am just getting settled in my new digs at work. I need to establish my routine, so I’m going to hold off for a bit.

In the meantime, I’m going to lunch from my freezer to continue to empty it so that we can make room for more upcoming soups – whether they be for this new souping ritual or for any of my favorite soups. (I’m looking at you, Immunity Soup, Provencal Lentil Soup and Crockpot Italian Chicken and Quinoa Soup)!

And if you are looking for posts on traditional soups:

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What books have you read that have altered your thinking?

P.S. Ever since I published the post on Clean Soups, I’ve heard kombu used in recipes (on tv and in print) several times! Maybe I just never noticed this ingredient before. Either it’s not too unusual after all… or I’m just now noticing it. 🙂

Cheers~
Carrie

Soup (Book) Week: Skinny Soups

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It’s Soup Week!!! Or, rather, Soup Cookbook Week. This week, I’m reviewing 5 soup cookbooks I’ve recently discovered.

In case you missed it:

Let’s hop right along to the next one…

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Skinny Soups:
80 flavor-packed recipes of less than 300 calories

by Kathryn Bruton (cookbook) – worth a flip

Truth be told, I checked out this cookbook from the library and keep renewing it because I have 15 pages flagged but haven’t made any soups from it yet. So many soups, so little time (and freezer space!)

I like the fact that Bruton has a page explaining some of the unusual ingredients in her cookbook! Some of the oddball ingredients in Magic Soup threw me off because I didn’t know if they were completely necessary. She also has a page on how to make a simplistic stock – whatever the meat (or no meat) of choice may be.

I’ve been reluctant to bring this book back because I have recipes such as these flagged:

  • Blackened Tomato and Ancho Chile Soup with Citrus Sour Cream – because I have some dried anchos in the pantry that need a home!
  • The Quickest Tomato Soup – I’m still looking for one we love.
  • Egg Drop Soup – I’ve never made this.
  • Mexican Posole Verde
  • Turkey and Black Quinoa with Peas & Basil
  • The Hangover Soup – I have recently learned that soup is the cure.
  • Black Rice, Banana and Coconut Breakfast Bowl – so not soup

I’ve added this cookbook to my lists at both PaperbackSwap.com and Thriftbooks.com {<– referral links!} since; but it’s never in stock. And guess what? At the time of this writing, I just did a quick check on Amazon and found it for just $4.50 with free Prime Shipping FTW! As soon as I receive it, I can swap out the flags and relax that I can make these soups any ol’ time I please.

Is there a book you’ve been reluctant to bring back to the library or return to a friend until you get your own copy?!

Cheers~
Carrie

Soup (Book) Week: Clean Soups

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Welcome back to Soup Week, where I review the 5 latest Soup Cookbooks I’ve read.  Let’s get right to it.

But in case you missed it:

Clean Soups:
Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health & Vitality
by Rebecca Katz (cookbook) – worth a flip

I really prefer soups made with real food. That is one of the reasons I chose to check this book out from our local library. What I didn’t know was that this book is really about how to do a soup cleanse! I feel they didn’t go with a title indicating such because the soups in this book are worth enjoying even if you aren’t doing a cleanse. The cleansing is a mere suggestion. The author just wants you to incorporate more healthy, revitalizing soup into your life!

BROTH

Katz states that once you make your own broth, you’ll never go back.

I have, but based only on suggestions on the interwebs to use up any leftover veg, bones or carcasses and throw in some herbs, spices and salt. I’ve never found my versions quite as flavorful as the box stuff. I think I know why. Katz’ recipes for broths are detailed – very detailed! I think the hardest thing about these broths for me is knowing that the ingredients to make them are then discarded and, in mind, WASTED! I guess I’m going to have to get over that. 🙂

That being said, there are still a number of ingredients in these broths I would never buy {like in this soup book}. Of her seven broth recipes, I could see myself making two of them. Her Magic Mineral Broth requires an 8-inch strip of kombu <–what? and 4 whole allspice or juniper berries. They aren’t listed as optional. I don’t know why, but whenever there is an ingredient listed that I’m not intrigued enough to venture out and try, I either need:

  1. The author’s extra encouragement to really give it a try because the ingredient will make it amazing or
  2. Their permission to skip it and it’ll still turn out lovely.

Otherwise, I shy away from the recipe completely.

She also indicates earlier in the book, which broths work best for which soups, but that they can usually be interchanged. I find this difficult to believe when her Thai Coconut Broth requires a coconut milk! I’m either going to have to suck it up and go find some lemongrass and kaffir leaves to make this broth or just skip the soup recipes that suggest it as the base. Or perhaps I could just add a can of coconut milk at the end? Hmm…

TYPES OF SOUP

She describes soups as blended or traditional. Blended soups are when all or part of the soup is put in a blender to create a creamy paradise. She goes one step further to call these velvety concoctions cashmere soups. I love that! I giggle now because I think about the time when I learned that my father-in-law prefers traditional soups. When we were on a family trip to Ireland, by the third or fourth lunch, he said, “Sure, I’ll try your vegetable soup, but you guys tend to pulverize the hell out of them!”

I know a lot of the soups in this book I’m shying away from because I don’t think I’ll ever make their accompanying broth base. Maybe it’s my intimidation that actioned me to put this book on my wish list at PaperbackSwap and Thriftbooks {<–referral links}. The photos really are alluring and taunting me with all that comforting goodness that comes with the warmth and aromatics of a good soup. It seems the chicken soups are the ones I marked most and the clean-out-the-fridge soup might be a staple in a pinch.

SOUP REVIEW

Here’s the thing… I did give one of the recipes a shot using regular boxed broth anyway: Provencal Lentil Soup. I pretty much already had the ingredients for it and instead of making the Many Herb Drizzle recipe listed in the back of the book, I substituted some deli pesto. Let me tell you, this soup was divine! This was supposed to make 6 servings, but since it was so low-cal, I divided it into 4 and the portions were very generous. I gave my husband a half-serving, just to taste… He wasn’t sure if he could eat lentils… and HE ATE THE ENTIRE BOWL!

I’ve since returned this book to the library. But it’s still on my wish list. I might have to give some of the other soups a try…

Have you made your own broth?
If so, what method do you use to ensure something flavorful?

Cheers,
Carrie

Soup (Book) Week: Magic Soup

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Welcome back to Soup Week, where I review the 5 latest Soup Cookbooks I’ve read. Depending where you are, you may be still putting up with bitter cold… If things are looking up and getting warmer, chances are, it’s still a bit chilly, at least when the sun goes down. A nice bowl of soup is still a comforting way to get that chill out.

In case you missed it:

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Magic Soup
by Nicole Pisani & Kate Adams 
(cookbook) – worth a flip

Isn’t the cover of this book just beautiful?! I was drawn to it. I am not sure where I found it; but it was not at my local library. I had it in hand and was determined to find some new-to-me-recipes.

I love the introduction and learned many things in this book! Like did you know that the “first restaurants in Paris served restauratifs (restoratives), in other words, bone broths”?

The title of this book came from the name of a soup made in Mauritius that women traditionally eat after the birth of a child to help her with the nutrition she needs to heal her body and be strong. But we all know that soup can be magical in its own right, the way it warms us, makes us feel comforted, basically nurturing and healing us from the inside out.

However, there were very few recipes in this cookbook that I can realistically see myself attempting to make. 😦

There are a few reasons for this. One is that this book was ultimately written for Brits, even though this version is adapted for an American audience. I know that shouldn’t be an excuse because I’ve overcome all of the odd-to-me (Australian) measurements in the best cookbook you’ve never read, fairly easily. The measurements have been adapted in this book, but are sometimes just odd… like 1 lb, 2 oz of tomatoes or 2 tbsp of quinoa.

Some of the ingredients are confusing or strange, too. I thought maybe 1 tbsp of tomato puree might actually be tomato paste because a lot of recipes only called for that amount. But then I ran into a recipe with an odd 10.5 oz amount of this ingredient.

Maybe I’m not open-minded enough to try some of the unusual ingredients, or maybe I’m just too lazy to search for them. Maybe if there was something that was totally intriguing or if I’d could make a variation or swap, I’d give it a go; but that didn’t happen so much as I flipped though the book. I mostly admired the photos! Although Nicole and Kate say that many of these ingredients can be found at specialty markets and online now, if I read one odd-ball ingredient, I pretty much admired the photo and moved on. Though, now that I’m sitting at a computer I can look a few of these items up!

Just to name a few of the bizarre ingredients:

  • lovage leaves – I’m finding fennel leaves as substitute, but that’s not something I’d normally buy either
  • white miso paste
  • one green chile – this could mean anything!
  • black onion seeds
  • calçot onions
  • sumac
  • nettle tops
  • sundried tomato puree – they make this? or is this sundried tomato pesto?
  • Hojicha green tea
  • umeboshi plum
  • lily bulb flakes
  • samphire
  • asafetida (To be fair, this was listed as an optional ingredient, so it shouldn’t deter me from making the recipe. It was the mung beans that did.)
  • chicory heads
  • curry leaves – I thought curry wasn’t actually a spice, but a spice blend or dish?! I didn’t know these existed.
  • air-dried mountain ham – I’ll just go out back to my mountain and get this. (Joking, I am pretty sure I could have substituted prosciutto here.)
  • runner beans
  • umami paste

Most of the recipes call for hot stock. I’m not sure why the stock has to be hot before adding it to the other ingredients. It was never explained.

Recipes I do want to try from this cookbook, though, include:

  • Greens & Grains – I can see this one as being highly adaptable
  • Herb Soup – This is one of the few that looks so easy! Stock, rice, mixed herbs, soy sauce or lemon juice. Done. No wasted herbs ever again.
  • Magic Soup – I have to try this namesake of this book!
  • Garlic Soup – I tried one version of this {see above from 300 Sensation Soups!} and it was horrible. Here’s to giving it another shot!
  • Portuguese Chicken, Lemon & Mint – As far as herbs go, mint is not one I usually buy or grow. But I am intrigued here.

If you are really adventurous in the kitchen and want to amp up your soup game, this book might be for you! I’m sure that I’d go crazy over many of these soups if I’d had them in a restaurant or someone else had served them to me; but creating them with some of these unfamiliar and intimidating ingredients is what’s holding me back.

UPDATE: I did make a couple of soups from Magic Soup before I published this post!

Portuguese Chicken, Lemon & Mint Soup

This soup was so good and refreshing! I was just wanting some extra veg like carrots or celery. It’s quite low cal and the servings seem small until you start shoveling in that quinoa that falls to the bottom. 😉

~

Greens & Grains Soup (no photo)

This soup didn’t come out at all like I had expected. By the time the farro was finished, there really wasn’t any broth left, making it not much of a soup. I did end up adding a little later, but still ate this “soup” with a fork! However, I still loved the extremely nutty flavor I got from the farro, tahini and almonds. I’ve never had anything like it! If I made this again this is what I would change:

  • I would add more hot broth and/or water after the farro is cooking to make it more of a soup.
  • Instead of topping the soup with kale or spinach, I would put the greens at the bottom of the bowl and top with soup so that the greens have time to wilt.
  • I’d add some any other leftover veg I had on hand, perhaps carrots, zucchini or bell peppers.

~

I now have all the ingredients to make this soup’s namesake. I’ll report back as soon as I do so.

What new-to-you ingredients have you shied away from or are happy you tried?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Soup Week! Books on Soup

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I must tell you, at this time of year, soup just sings to my soul. My original post on Books on Soup ended up being entirely too long because I wrote at least some of my thoughts and sometimes a full review after I read each book. There is no way you’d want to sit down and read 4000 words on soup books in one sitting. I know I wouldn’t.

But I’m kind of obsessed with soup right now! So I thought a Soup Week, with one post per book would be better. I’m going to start you off with a short one.

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300 Sensational Soups
by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds
 (cookbook) – on the fence

Remember back when I checked this book out from the library and I was so overwhelmed that I decided to just get my own copy? Well, I did snag a copy from either PaperbackSwap.com or Thriftbooks.com (<– referral links!). We have several recipes flagged, but I’ve only made all of one!  It was a Garlic Soup with Aioli and it was not a success. It was such a weird texture and didn’t really have that much garlic. That being said, this book of soups was highly recommended by a blogger who makes one of my favorite lasagna soups. And it is chock full with all different kinds of soups from creamy, to broth-based to all sorts of different ethnic soups that I have never even dreamed exist. The Cheddar, Beer and Kielbasa Soup remains on our wishlist. But we’re waiting until we pick up some kielbasa up from the Polish Wisconsin town where I grew up.

In the meantime, here are few other posts I’ve done on soups:

What is your favorite soup cookbook?

Cheers~
Carrie

Five for Friday: 5 Things I’ve Cooked This Week

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Whenever Racheal at Running with Racheal does her Thankful Thursday posts, she always lists at the end the recipes she made, along with what was liked or what she changed. I love that after all these years she continues to list things she’s thankful for every day!

But there is something to be said about including and being grateful for those tried and true recipes that always seem to work out for your family as well those new ones you’ve attempted to add to your rotation. (I do know that when she posts a recipe often, that it’s one I really need to action soon!)

I occasionally post new recipes I try and have, in the past, posted my plans for the upcoming week. It’s been a while, though. Today, I thought I’d just give a shout out to those recipes that treated us well this week.

~

Here are 5 recipes I made this past week:

Spicy Ground Pork & Zucchini Stir Fry

You guys. Where has this recipe been all my life? If you want to make some healthified Asian food at home, go for this recipe. In my opinion, though, it isn’t spicy {we add sriracha for that!}, but it does have flavor. This go round, I ground my own pork from pork sirloin. It really is the way to go so you don’t get any I-don’t-know-what-that-hard-thing-I-just-bit-into moments in the supermarket ground pork.

Want to make this recipe even easier and more versatile? You can adapt this it with what you have on hand by doing 1 part sauce (see recipe) with 1 lb ground meat of choice {but I think any thinly sliced, quick-cooking meat could work!} and 1 lb chopped vegetables of choice. The first two times I made this recipe, I stuck to the zucchini. But the last couple times I’ve added carrots and bokchoy. Whatever you’ve got and/or like will work!

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White Bean and Avocado Salad

You guessed it… I’m still cooking my way through the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read aka 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes by Jules Clancy. I guess you can’t call this “cooking” so much as throwing a few ingredients onto a plate!

Ingredients: lemon juice, can of white beans, baby spinach, avocado, roasted almonds

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • I didn’t time it like I often do for these “10-minute” recipes from the book, but I bet you can guess how quickly one can put some spinach on a plate, empty and rinse a can of beans and top a salad with olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of crunch!
  • This served two. Instead of mixing everything together, I kept the spinach separately, so I could save the marinated beans atop another bed of velvety goodness the next day.
  • Instead of roasted almonds, I went with some sunflower seeds.
  • Lots of S&P, maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes is all that’s needed here!
  • I’ve made a few salads from this cookbook before and you’d be amazed how great beans are in them!
  • Will make again. 

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Mexican Lentil Soup

This was a brand new one for us! You guys may know by now that my husband is allergic to the meat of animals with fins and feathers. Lentils are something we’ve been trying out as another protein source since it’s pork and beef he’s mostly eating. And that gets old. {Did I mention he’s allergic to most beans, too?!}

In any case, I did add just a bit of leftover barbacoa beef we had in the freezer to his bowl to amp up the protein for his lifting workouts. My bowl? Avocado was added! Because Mexican. And because… avocado, duh! Rob said this soup was seasoned perfectly; but I think a little heat would have been nice. Maybe throw in some jalapeno or red pepper flakes next time’ round? It made 7 well-rounded servings!

~

Crockpot Italian Chicken, Quinoa & Vegetable Soup

I made this one for the girls on Girls Dinner Night In. I’ve made a few crockpot recipes from Chelsea’s Messy Apron before, so I looking forward to a home run on this newbie. It was! I added it to my recipe arsenal! Here is a not-too-pretty photo of an almost-empty bowl.

There is no spinach in this recipe. But lately, to get a little more veg in my diet, I’ve been putting some spinach on plate or in a bowl and topping it with my meal. I served a nice hunk of oven-baked baguette alongside. The girls and I loved it! And I attempted dessert, too…

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Unbaked Cookie Dough Bars

This one was way out of my comfort zone. I’ve been following Chocolate Covered Katie‘s blog for as long as I’ve known about blogs and I’ve only made one or two recipes! But I had all of the ingredients on hand and wanted a sweet treat for the girls. This dessert is made with – BEANS! I didn’t tell the girls. But they did suspect coconut and Jen guessed correctly on the flaxseed! She said they reminded her of her energy balls she makes sometimes.

Katie offers a lot of substitutions and variations in her Unbaked Cookie Dough Bars recipe. Here are the options I used based on what I had on hand: Great Northern Beans, almond butter, coconut oil, pure maple syrup, ground flaxseed and for the topping I went with the second option. Mine didn’t come out as pretty-looking as hers did, but they tasted good, if a bit rich.

What did you make this week that you loved?

Cheers~
Carrie