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Posts Tagged ‘soup

Happy New Month!

A time to renew ourselves and make new plans, right? Especially since the weather has been shining bright upon us up here. I checked the weather report, and it’s not supposed to rain again until next FRIDAY. Yes, that’s next week. Do I live in Seattle????

I wish I could get in all of my running now! I’m doing my best to train for an April half-marathon. My last major hip surgery was only 11 months ago, so I’m taking an easier path. I’m using one of Hal Higdon’s plans and hope to get to the starting line! I have no time goals, since this is proof of concept that I can actually run one again, but maybe next time I’ll improve my pace!

So, I just made an interesting soup for a lunch group. Interesting? Yes… because I read the recipe and had no idea what it would taste like! So I had to do it. And… it’s subtle but comforting. Fluffy, light quinoa, and the feta melts into the warm soup just enough to make the broth lightly creamy. The texture is light, not too brothy, and hearty for a chilly winter day. Try it!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison)

3/4 c quinoa, rinsed
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or more, if you’re me)
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (I used yukon gold), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, finely sliced into rounds
3 c finely chopped spinach
1/4 lb feta cheese, finely chopped
1/3 c chopped cilantro
(1 hard-cooked egg, chopped. I don’t like hard boiled eggs, so I omitted this.)

1. Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir.

3. Add the cumin, 1 tsp salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water (which smells so nutty and good… kinda like me) and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season the soup with pepper and garnish with the chopped egg (if you’re into that sort of thing).

This is supposedly South American… but I can’t vouch for it. I know! I need to take a field trip there to find out where this soup is native to, don’tcha think?

Enjoy! Happy weekend!


Good busy news from me! I’m running about 12-15 miles per week, I have one more class to go to make 9 fitness classes taught this week, and… while I’m a bit exhausted, everything seems to be in working order! Go, me!

So, I’ve been trying to find recipes that aren’t too challenging (yeah, I really don’t feel like standing up in the kitchen for hours this week, nor do I feel like cleaning a ton of stuff) but provide a lot of nutrition. A quick web search led me to this veggie-filled recipe, which I tweaked in several places.

This is one of those recipes where it’s tough to figure out a name, since it’s full of so much stuff! It also contains spinach, onions, garlic, a few seasonings…. wait, don’t run away! There isn’t a long ingredient list, don’t worry.

I cut back on the amount of liquid in the soup (this was based on the comments at the end) and it ends up giving you more of a stew, not much broth. If you want more broth, increase the amount that you add. THe original recipe calls for 5 cups of broth, and I probably wouldn’t go quite that high.

White Bean, Fennel, and Tomato Soup
based on an All Recipes recipe

1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 c veggie broth (more if desired)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 c shredded fresh spinach

1. Saute onion, garlic, and fennel in oil over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, until starting to soften.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, thyme, pepper, salt, red pepper, and bay leaf and bring to boil, Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let simmer another 30 minutes or until fennel is tender. Remove bay leaf.

3. Add spinach and cook another ~3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve!

The weather is wonderfully sunny outside, so I’m going to take advantage with a longer run in a few minutes! (I did see one of the news stations predict a low of 17 degrees today, though–hopefully that’s passed! Brrrr!!!) Go and make it a great weekend, whatever it is you’re doing!

Last chance for a Recipe Friday this year! So… here it is! I made this yesterday, and it’s wonderfully warm comfort food. Healthy, too: lots of good-for you fiber, anti-inflammatory turmeric in the curry, and the peas are a great vegetarian protein source.

Now, I grew up with grandparents who loved their split pea soup… but that was back in the day when bean soups and split pea soups were merely a bacon or ham flavor delivery mechanism. I had a container of dried split peas, but not being a bacon fan (please don’t stop reading my blog, I promise I’m still cool) I wanted something different. I didn’t have to search far to find this yummy alternative.

Curried Split Pea Soup
based on Alton Brown’s recipe

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 c chopped onion
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 c split peas, rinsed and picked through
5 c vegetable or chicken broth
1 tbsp curry powder

1. Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and a large pinch of salt and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and continue to saute another 1-2 minutes, making sure that neither onion nor garlic brown.

2. Add curry powder and saute for an additional minute to lightly toast the spices in the oil. Then add peas and broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until peas are tender and no longer hold their shape.

3. Using either an immersion blender or blending in batches in a regular blender, process soup until smooth. Adjust seasoning as desired.

This is such yummy comfort food… trust me on this one! Some cultures ring in the new year with black eyed peas for good luck… why not try split peas?

Start thinking about goals for the coming year! I’ll be back in a few days to talk more on that!


OK, I’m back and recovered from Thanksgiving. I made an Indian feast (worthy of many Recipe Friday posts)… it included:

Papads with tamarind chutney

Minted lamb patties (wow, these were so good)

Baked spicy chicken (almost tandoori-ish)

Homemade chai

Stir-fried red lentils

Garlic naan (storebought….)



And we shared it with a friend who worked part of the day. Good stuff! The lamb dish will certainly be happening again… I’ll admit that it was my first time cooking lamb!


<i>Did you all have a great holiday weekend? Did you cook anything out of the ordinary?</i>


I’m prepping for another big holiday adventure, coming up here in a few weeks, but meanwhile, here’s a few fun holiday links:


1. Easy gifts for the holidays, or just fun things to share: holiday cake pops and candy apples.


2. The perfect Christmas gift for the cat.


3. This sweet minty Chex mix looks promising…. not healthy, but use a good quality white chocolate like Callebaut, and you’re set!


4. Make your house smell like the holidays! Boil a pot of water, add some orange peels and a few cinnamon sticks.


5. And to balance out the less-healthy eats above, here’s a good-looking recipe for curried sweet potato soup. It’s been soup weather for a while here, so why not make a big pot?


It’s December in a few days… can you believe it? I made a great red lentil and potato soup a few days ago, and I’ll share it with you all on Friday–big-time comfort food. Healthy, too!


Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Happy Post-Halloween!

Unfortunately, we live on a long dead-end (bwa-ha-ha… appropriate) and get no trick-or-treaters. I went to a few events, both yesterday evening and Saturday night, though, and rocked my punny costume: I bought a bag of Smarties and taped some to my pants, making me… wait for it… Smartie Pants! Ha ha!!! (Best of all, it was a cheap costume, and one we could eat afterward!)

Anything fun that you all did for Halloween?

I continue on my rehab path… (which one? you ask. recovering from the hip surgeries is the most straightforward one.) I set a pretty lofty running goal at the beginning of October, and I met it on Saturday! Go, me! I remember at the beginning of September, I hadn’t even tried running (post-op) at all, and I didn’t even know if it was an option anymore. Now, after only 6 weeks back at it, I’m able to finish 30 minutes of run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute intervals!! It’s not easy, but I also imagine I’ll be able to run 30 minutes nonstop before the end of the year… just set your mind to it, and you can do it!!!

The holidays are soon upon us!! (for better or for worse…) My link list today is all food-oriented, but with a healthier spin. Let’s all vow to not gain the Holiday 10!

1. This is a Mark Bittman article that I have printed out as a reference on my cookbook shelf… 101 Simple Salads. It also teaches you to cook by eye and by taste, as he doesn’t give precise proportions. Trust your brain and tongue!

2. Halloween may be over this year, but this is one I’ll have to remember for next year, because it’s so darn cute: Frozen Boo-nana Pops

3. Can’t avoid pumpkin spice lattes during the holiday season? This healthy pumpkin spice latte looks yummy!

4. It’s totally soup weather (just went for an 11am run, and it’s in the high 30’s outside!), so here are a few healthy soup recipes.

5. And I’m intrigued by this one. If someone tries it before me, let me know what you think… ??? 100 calorie moist chocolate cupcakes It looks like they’re bigger than a thimble, so that’s not how they get away with the calorie count.

Finally… for those who have done any traveling like me, if you have been to the Cinque Terre in Italy, sadly, two of the towns were devastated by flooding last week (see photos here). I’m thinking the restaurant and the market were ones I visited and enjoyed. One more reminder to go out and see the world while we still can.

Stay strong and healthy!

Happy Thanksgiving to fellow Americans! I’m not big on turkey, myself, and always eat “non-traditionally” on this holiday, so I thought I’d offer my turkey day alternative. Last week, fellow Seattle foodie (and fellow Pilates instructor! and fellow Brooke!) La Femme commented that lentil soup kept her warm and toasty in the winter. That reminded me of this lentil soup variation—definitely different, mildly acidic, and definitely fantastic! From the first time I made it, I fell in love!

Per cookbook author Deborah Madison’s suggestion, I served this over basmati rice, to give the soup more body. She also suggests adding pieces of pita that have been sautéed in olive oil until crisp—doesn’t that sound great!

Red Lentil Soup with Lime
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 c red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tbsp turmeric
4 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely diced (about 2 c)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp mustard seeds (or 1 tsp ground mustard)
1 bunch chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 limes (or to taste)
1 large bunch spinach leaves, chopped into small pieces
1 c cooked rice
4-6 tbsp yogurt

1. Put the lentils in a soup pot with 2 ½ qts water, then the turmeric, 1 tbsp of the butter, and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Puree for a smooth and nicer-looking soup, if desired.

2. While the soup is cooking, prepare the onion flavoring: In a medium skillet over low heat, cook the onion in 2 tbsp of the remaining butter with the cumin and mustard, stirring occasionally. When soft, about the time the lentils are cooked or after 15 minutes, add the cilantro and cook for a minute more. Add the onion mixture to the soup, then add the juice of two limes. Taste, then add more if needed to bring up the flavors. The soup should be a tad sour.

3. Just before serving, add the last tbsp of butter to a wide skillet. When foamy, add the spinach, sprinkle with salt, and cook just long enough to wilt. If the rice is warm, place a spoonful in each bowl. If it’s leftover rice, add it to the soup and let it heat through for a minute. Serve the soup, divide the spinach among the bowls, and swirl in a spoonful of yogurt.

I tell ya, this is great stuff, especially if you like the slightly sour like I do!!! And even if you aren’t celebrating a food-engorging four-day weekend, this is great comfort food on a chilly day.

Chilly? Yep, I’m sure Seattle has made national news. My Seattle suburb got down to 9 degrees last night, and my 50-mile roundtrip airport run on Monday took 8 ½ hours… never thought I’d spend the equivalent of a workday in a car, in such a small radius! I hope it’s over, now…… (and I hope LaFemme got to Tucson!)

Are you all celebrating Thanksgiving traditionally, or non-traditionally?

It’s soup time! We have our first (potential) snow (maybe) predicted in the area for the weekend… (can you tell how much I trust the forecasters around here?) and in any case, I definitely feel a new chill in the air. A few days ago, I tried this soup recipe that I saw in the recent Shape magazine. I don’t usually make the recipes from fitness magazines, but hey, when it looks good, why not?

This one is full of good vegetables that all come together with great flavor: sweet potato, corn, tomatoes, green onion… Also, shrimp contain a lot of lowfat protein. The sweetness of the corn and sweet potatoes balanced nicely with the savory broth and thyme. It came together quickly, and was a hearty dinner with a crusty bread.

Sweet Potato and Shrimp Chowder
from Shape Magazine

¾ pound large shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped scallions
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp flour
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c diced sweet potato
1 c frozen corn
1 c diced green pepper
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp thyme leaves

1. Peel and devein shrimp, and set aside.

2. (Be prepared: this part moves fast!) In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add ½ c of the scallions and the garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 5 seconds. Add tomatoes, broth, and 1 ½ c cold water, then increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

3. Add potato, corn, green pepper, and black pepper and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Add shrimp and thyme leaves, raise heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp are just cooked.

4. Garnish with remaining ½ c scallions.

Enjoy! What’s your favorite winter soup?

Happy Friday! I’m starting a tradition of posting recipes to start off the weekend, so be sure to check here each Friday if you’re looking for something interesting to cook up!

I made this soup for the first time last weekend, and I have to share it with you all, it’s that good. I licked the spoon, the bowl, nearly the pot! It’s thick and hearty… hey, it’s still soup weather up here in Seattle! Another plus? It’s also vegan!

This soup uses pureed sweet potatoes as a thickener, but the real star is the hint of peanut flavor. The savoriness of the peanuts, onions, and garlic plays off nicely against the sweet spices. I guarantee you that this will feature regularly in your repertoire!

African Tomato and Peanut Soup

1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 (or more!) garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp ground coriander
0.5 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large (about 1.5 lbs) sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
4.5 c water
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne (optional)
¼ c chopped dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp peanut butter (I added a little more to taste)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. In a large saucepan or small stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion browns around the edges. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.

2. Add the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

4. With a food processor or blender (warning! since the soup is hot, process in batches, not filling the container more than halfway at a time to avoid burns), blend the soup almost to a puree. Taste, and add the cayenne if you like. Add the peanuts and the peanut butter, and whisk until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.

5. To serve, reheat the soup, and ladle it into bowls. Top with the chopped cilantro. Serves 6.

*Recipe from Vegetarian Planet, Didi Emmons.

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