Sickness Needs Soup

It’s no secret that I love soups and chilis and this blog is full of recipes for them.  I eat soup year round but like to make it almost every week in the winter time.  This December has been odd (50 degrees and rain), and my soup/chili make has been a little less frequent.  However, when I came down with a full on sinus infection this weekend, I knew I needed some soup.

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And I knew I wanted to make it in my brand new Dutch oven!!!

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It had to be a flavorful one since my taste is a bit off from congestion.  I found a recipe chock full of veggies and nutrients on the Goop website, so I had to give it a try.

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I knew right away that the BOY was not going to eat it, which gave me freedom to add in whatever I wanted!

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My big substitute was taking out the farro and throwing in some chicken sausage that I had in the fridge.

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I had soup made before lunch time with more than enough for the week ahead.

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The BOY made plans to come home a little earlier, so I had dinner (and dessert) made and picked up the new Mission Impossible movie at the Redbox for us.  We ate an early dinner and then settled in for a quiet night with plans to get back into our normal routine tomorrow.

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What do you make when you are sick?

 

Winter Minestrone Soup

Slightly Adapted from GOOP

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely-diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 precooked chicken sausages, diced

2 teaspoons rosemary, finely-chopped (I used dried)

1 teaspoon thyme, finely-chopped (I used dried)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

2 cups packed chopped kale

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 large zucchini, diced

salt and pepper

 

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in a pot of dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a large pinch of salt and sauté 5 minutes.

2. Add sausage, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, and another generous pinch of salt and cook 2 more minutes.

3. Add chicken stock and water, bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add kale, beans, and another pinch of salt and return to a boil.

5. Reduce heat and simmer another 10 minutes.

6. Add diced zucchini, turn off the heat, and let zucchini cook in the warm broth for 1 minute.

7. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

8. Serve hot garnished with crushed red chili flakes and pesto, if desired.

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Sponsored by the Letter Zee

Good Evening Friends!  How goes this short week? 

OVER! Woo hoo!

I left you with a cliff hanger which means that I owe you a recipe.  I actually have a few as this post was sponsored by the letter Zee for Zucchini!  I had 3 zucchini’s hanging in the fridge and now that my oven is fixed, it was time to bake up a quick bread.  I stuck with the cookbook theme of Monday and whipped up this simple bread from Better Homes.

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It was super easy and low fuss!  Since it makes two loaves, I made one plain one and one with dark chocolate chunks. Dark chocolate makes everything better : )

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Even after two loaves of bread, I had some leftover shredded zucchini that I thought would be perfect to add to one of my favorite breakfasts, the quinoa cake.  I kept mine pretty plain and unsweetened, but you could definitely sweeten it up for a more decadent breakfast.

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The only thing I was missing that I wanted to add was walnuts.  Then it would be a zuchhini bread bake : )  Zucchini also made an appearance in my most recent smoothie from the Detoxinista book!

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It’s got cashews, banana, zucchini, cinnamon, and flax…filling and fantastic!

Other Recipes Sponsored by Zee(cchini)

Zucchini Pineapple Bread *Blogger FAVE!

Healthy New Year Soup

Coconut Ginger Zucchini Bread

Turkey and Vegetable Chili

Paleo Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

 

What is your favorite Zucchini recipe?  Link ‘em up!

Zucchini Bread

From Better Homes Baking

2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or dark chocolate chunks)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of 2 loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine egg, sugar, shredded zucchini, oil, and vanilla. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

 

Zucchini Breakfast Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 tbsp flax (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more to taste)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • Optional: sugar, stevia, banana, maple syrup, or your favorite sweetener!

Directions

Combine all ingredients in microwave safe bowl, sprayed with cooking spray.  Stir to combine. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Remove from bowl and top with nut butter, fruit, or maple syrup.

My Kinda Town

It was the BOY who said ‘How many 72 degree days do we get in Chicago?’ and his point was well taken!

After a dramatic week, I happily drove down to the city Friday after work to drink wine and eat cheese with my sister in law.  As always, we stayed up way too late with one (possibly two) too many glasses of bubbles before crashing into bed exhausted by life with the happy buzz of friendship.

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Saturday morning, we were up by 9 and out the door in our matching gym shoes headed towards the lake.  We wove our way down to the Green City Market with a stop by Starbucks for some fuel.

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The market was packed!  We worked our way through the cheeses, jelly’s, and greens sampling what we could.  Others waited in long lines for tamales and incredible looking crepes.

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After the market, we walked into Old Town to some shops, including The Spice House where I purchased the most amazing smelling curry powder.  Then we walked our way back home, stopping at a few more stores and eventually at 2:30 finding a patio for lunch. 

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We figured that we had to have walked more than 8 miles and hungrily dug into lunch and rose.

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We walked back in the door with about 15 minutes for me to shower, change, and pack up my stuff for my next stop, a friend’s 4 year old birthday party.  I returned home almost exactly 24 hours after I left.  The BOY (whose face was bright red from sun after 2 hours of tennis today) grilled up dinner and snuggled in for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

While watching the game, I went looking for a curry recipe to use my new spice mix.  The Hawks lost (boo!) and I went up to bed early to catch up on some missed sleep from the night before.  My alarm came a little too early this morning, but I was excited to go to the 8am hot yoga class.  The class was challenging, and I left dripping wet.

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On my way home from yoga, I decided I want to bake some zucchini bread.  I found a simple recipe and crafted 4 tiny loaves to share with friends.  I didn’t realize that the bread uses honey instead of sugar.  It’s not as sweet as your typical bread and really delish!  I also made a sweet no bake treat to take into work this week.  We’ve all been super busy and deserve a little fun.

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Of course, Cooper found the best spot in the kitchen.  After baking, I met some friends for a run. We weren’t sure how the weather would be, but the rain held off and we were able to get in an awesome (and sweaty) 1 hour run followed by coffee.

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Chicago is definitely my kind of town…especially with spring (and almost summer) in the air!

Ps I meant to have the zucchini recipe here (it has zucchini and apple!), but I had a bit of a computer melt down and ran out of town before my eyelids got heavy, but you can find it on the True Aim website.

Weekend. Family. Photos. Food.

My long weekend was  HUGE success!

Friday started with a tough strength session (I’m still sore).  Then, I did some wedding stuff with my number one assistant, my mom…followed by dinner and NY vs NY baseball with my dad.  I was in bed pretty early cuddled up with Cooper while the BOY stayed out playing poker.

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Saturday morning I woke up to grey skies and rain.  I thought about a run but instead settled into the couch with breakfast and tea.  I spent the morning with Law&Order reruns researching some wedding invitations.  There are so many cute options!  The BOY slept in and Cooper I enjoyed a quiet (although wet) start to the day.  Around noon, I convinced the BOY that we needed to do a Costco run.  A big mistake on my part as it ended up costing me more money with all of the stuff he threw into the cart (ie new fancy toothbrushes).

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On the way home, we met my brother and SIL at our favorite Mediterranean place to take in lunch.  They were visiting the burbs for a wedding so we offered them a place to stay.  They left for their wedding and the BOY and I hit up my gym for a tennis date.

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We are trying to get back to playing weekly and although neither one of us is very good (as evidenced by the child tennis prodigy playing two courts over), we always have a lot of fun with it!  We stopped by the store on our way home and then got cozy for the night.  There were sports to watch (Bulls and Blackhawks) and the BOY made dinner while I started working on our weekly meal plan.

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Cooper struggled to stay awake and I wasn’t sure I’d make it until our guests came home.  But they didn’t stay out too late and so when they got back, there was plenty of time for wine, cigars, and a  2am cheese plate.

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Sunday morning is best when brunch is involved.  The BOY and I made TJ’s cinnamon bread, bacon, eggs, and fruit.  We hung out a bit eating our breakfast al fresco enjoying the sunshine after yesterday’s yucky day. 

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I had to eat and run to an 11:45am coffee date with a friend of mine, who I dragged along to the gong meditation.  It turned out that she wasn’t able to do the gong due to her schedule but was able to take another class at the studio. 

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All week, people were asking what I had going on this week and I got mixed facial expressions and comments when I told them I was headed to another hot yoga and gong meditation.

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What can I say…I love the gong! 

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This morning’s session did not disappoint.  I left feeling incredibly refreshed, reenergized, and cleansed.   I had one last stop at the grocery store where I treated myself to a green smoothie while I shopped.  I really wanted to bake/cook at least one thing this week.  And I’m prepping for next month’s goal of eating more whole foods.

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When I came home, I found the BOY and Cooper resting where I left them (we stayed up way too late last night).

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I unpacked my groceries and got busy whipping up some Zucchini Bread.  With the windows opened, it really felt like spring and perfect time for a delicious spring bread.  I tried a new recipe and although the dough looked a little thick and sticky, my mini breads turned out beautiful!

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The BOY and I are settling in for a quiet Sunday night movie.  I’ve had the most amazing day and a fun weekend and I can’t wait for one more day of the weekend to come!

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Meal Plan 4/26/15 (might go something like this)

Sunday: Tilapia Asian Salad

Monday: Crockpot Turkey Sloppy Joes (new recipe)

Tuesday: Grilled Pork and Veggies

Wednesday: TBD

Thursday: Premade Costco dinner that the BOY picked out

 

Here are a few of my other favorite quick bread recipes!

Banana Strawberry Bread

Blueberry Muffin Bread

Cinnamon Apple Raisin Bread

Coconut Ginger Zucchini Bread

Paleo Zucchini Almond Butter Bread

Zucchini Pineapple Bread

Meet Me at the Barre

I should start by confessing that I have been moving and thinking non stop for 12 hour and am thrilled to sit down, unwind, and blog a bit.  That being said, hang in there with me if I sound a bit loopy as I collect my thoughts : )

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This morning started with a wake up from Cooper, breakfast, and paperwork.  My abs were talking to me a bit after yesterday’s yoga class, which is always a good feeling.  Then I braved the cold to get my car emissions checked before my training session at the gym.  I was ready to go after missing last week’s session to work.   Afterwards, I grabbed my yoga mat and attended the 11am barre class.  Although I don’t typically double up on workouts, I have been wanting to try a barre class for a year or so.  My yoga studio just added them to their schedule…hooray!

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The class times don’t work great with my work schedule except for this one, so I had to check it out.  The class got started and we never stopped.  I was expecting a bit of warm up…maybe a stretch or two, but no.  We did lunges, plies, releves, and arm work.  And that was just the first 10 minutes.  After my strength session, I could barely lift my arms without the weights, but I hung in there.  And then we got to our glutes.  The glute series was brutal and my new friend next to me (who came from the yoga class) and I were laughing by the end because if not, I think I might have cried…ha ha!  And then we finished with core, which was phenomenal and 1 hour later, I was nothing shy of exhausted…but also exhilarated.  The class was REALLY fun!

By the time I arrived home, I was starving.  I had some leftover chicken for lunch on a salad, showered quickly, and then the BOY and I headed out to Costco and the grocery store.  I must say that we have fallen into an easy rhythm of meal planning, and I have fallen into the habit of letting him make dinners during the week.  A habit I could get used to!

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When we got home, we had enough time to unpack our groceries, love on Cooper, and pack up our bags for the library.  The BOY has been a trooper about coming with me while I study, and I find I am way more efficient outside of the house.  The other exciting thing (after 3 straight days at the library) is that I discovered that it has TONS of CD’s.  I have been borrowing some new age and kids music to update my yoga playlists.

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We came back home around 6:30pm and noshed on cheese, crackers, and apples while we started cooking dinner.  The BOY made some delicious shrimp to top our pasta and zoodles.

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I call this photo #couplesthatcooktogether.  Dinner turned out wonderful!  And I even have leftover shrimp for lunch tomorrow.

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Which brings me to now…finally a moment to sit and relax (in between folding laundry) and complain about my sore and tired muscles…ahh!  I had plans to bake these bars tonight, but crashed with some dark chocolate instead.  Life has been exhausting and busy lately.  It has occurred to me that for the next two months that is probably just how it will be…moving from one place to the next, cramming in study sessions where I can.  I’ll  definitely try to sneak in some good workouts (more barre please) and baking too!

 

Have you tried a barre class?  Any tips for beginners?

 

Meal Planning 1/26/15

Monday: Pasta/Zoodles and Shrimp

Tuesday: BBQ Pulled Pork

Wednesday: Chili Night

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

Zoodles of Fun!

Just like last year, the BOY and I joined my parents at my sister in laws family a few hours south for the weekend celebrating Christmas and an exciting 2014!  There were drinks and dinner, music, laugher and games, flappy bird and football, and of course presents!

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The BOY and I had so much fun!  We did this week’s mini meal plan (I am working Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday) on the way home swinging by the grocery store before finally unloading our car.  For dinner tonight, I was really excited to give my new veggie slicer a try.

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I made my first batch of zoodles (zucchini noodles) with the help of Cooper and the BOY.

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Then topped them with some premade chicken meatballs, sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese.

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My dinner was delicious and I have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

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I know that there will be zoodles of more fun to come (next year and with my cool new peeler).

Do you have a veggie peeler? How do you use it?

What fun gifts did you get for the holidays?

Healthy New Year Soup

I am swapping the sugary sweet holiday baked goods in for some veggie packed recipes.  Well, at least one veggie packed recipe.  I woke up January 1st with a craving for breakfast.  I whipped up a batch of these Banana Flax Pancakes.

 

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I forget how easy and satisfying these guys are!

 

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The BOY and I spent my last day of winter vacation laying low, and watching some college football.  Despite finishing my antibiotic, I am still nowhere near 100%.  This definitely frustrates me (who wants to be sick for over a week?), and I just don’t have my usual energy levels.  So I took advantage of my last day home finishing my third book this break, Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong (which in my opinion is her best book to date!) and cooking up some food for the week ahead.

 

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We did make one trip out of the house to the grocery store to stock up on some fresh produce for the week.  Since my soup pot was out and clean after NYE dinner, I figured some veggie soup was in order.  I haven’t made a plain veggie soup in some time.  Mostly, because my Mom makes some wonderful soups and is always happy to supply me with her leftovers.

 

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I know that I have commented before on my huge soup pot.  It was a gift to me along with some lessons in soup making when my Mom and our friend Beth came to visit me in Memphis a little over 5 years ago.

 

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Beth makes some wonderful soups, and it was with her in mind that I picked up some cabbage along with all my other veggies for this Healthy New Year Soup.

 

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I think once you’ve made a few veggie soups, you get a feel for what veggies to add, when to add them, and what spices work best.  Needless to say, I ‘m not there yet!

 

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So I just sorta winged it, chopping up veggies and sprinkling in spices to create this veggie packed soup.  The outcome was a thick and hearty soup guaranteed to keep you warm in a winter chill and help you get started with your healthy new year.  However, this doesn’t make it easy to write out a recipe.  I’m not quite positive what I did, if it is typical of making soup, but I know the results worked.  I will do my best to share the recipe but feel free to add in any thoughts or suggestions (I mean you Beth!)

 

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This soup freezes well, so I know that I am well stocked with healthy options for the next few weeks (unless you want some soup and in which case I am happy to share).  Sadly, I downed tonight’s dinner without getting a better photo of my colorful concoction.  What can I say…after my first day back at work, I was starving when I walked in the door. 

 

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So I overcompensated by taking plenty of pictures of tomorrow’s lunch!  I must say that it was tough to get up today.  When my alarm went off at 6am, I had NO idea what the noise was (I hadn’t heard it in 2 weeks).  Even my car seemed a little perturbed to be up and at ‘em before the sun.  But it was nice to be back at work catching up with my friends after the break.  This means that my posts might be a little less frequent as I adjust to the work/life balance and for right now I am done writing because I started book number four, Eat & Run (Thanks Brittany for the suggestion), and I am eager to get back to it.

 

 

Healthy New Year Soup

 

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

10 stalks of celery, chopped

1 package of mushrooms, chopped

1 head of cabbage, chopped

6 carrots, pealed and chopped

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

6 cups of water

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

Sea Salt (to taste)

Seasonings (I used a mix of basil, garlic, and a veggie mix)

1 bag frozen green beans

1 bag frozen zucchini (fresh if you can find it, but it didn’t look good)

 

Optional: Add your favorite seasonal veggies and sub in frozen as needed!  Other ideas include okra, corn, peppers, beans, etc.

 

 

Directions

Spray the bottom of a large soup pot with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add in onion and garlic.  Stir until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes or so).  Add in celery, mushrooms, and cabbage.

Stir often as flavors begin to blend and veggies soften (another 7-8 minutes).

Add in veggie broth, water, spices, and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil (this takes time with a huge pot).

Add in frozen veggies (whatever you want, but I chose beans and zucchini…okra is good too!) and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Freeze in air tight containers and you’ll be set for the winter!

 

 

What healthy recipes are you staring the year with?