fabulous friday #38

Happy Friday! You know what this means, right?¬†One week till Halloween!! Do you have any ghoul-tastic plans yet? {Haha, someone is obviously a liiittle too hyped up on caffeine right now… sorry!} Earl Grey before yoga + post-yoga endorphins + pumpkin chai latte from Starbucks after yoga = this version of me you are hearing from right now ūüôā

Moving right along… this weekend, Allyn and I are going pumpkin-patching {don’t know if that’s actually a verb, but it is now} and I’m planning to hit up a craft store for a couple last-minute touches for my Halloween costume. If you’re looking for an easy, fun Halloween costume but don’t have any ideas, feel free to¬†check out this post with some costumes that have worked well for me in the past!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. This beautiful autumn bouquet from ProFlowers that arrived on my doorstep a couple days ago from my incredibly sweet and thoughtful dad! He sent them just because he was thinking of me and wanted to send some sunshine my way. How amazing is that? I am the luckiest daughter on the planet. I miss you, Daddy!

autumn flowers from dad

2. My favorite dessert of late: peanut butter toast topped with mini chocolate chips!

pb toast

3.¬†Every time this song comes on the radio I do a little happy dance: “Riptide” by Vance Joy.

4.¬†This heart-wrenchingly¬†beautiful and wise short essay my brother wrote for HuffPost called¬†The Girl Effect and My Grandmother. Read it, and believe me — you’ll be glad you did! Here’s a teaser:

“The agony of these missing parts applies not only to our deceased loved ones — it applies to when we allow fear to dampen courage; ignorance to imprison knowledge; and hatred to overwhelm love.”

5. My grandma’s soup. Her chicken tortilla soup just might be my favorite, but she also makes a mean split pea and curried lentil + barley. I’ll try to get the recipes for those latter two up on here soon!

grandma tortilla soup.jpg

Oh yeah, and one more thing that might explain why I’m feeling so dang happy and excited … I FINISHED MY NOVEL!!!

finished novel doc

Happy weekend, friends! Sending lots of love & joy your way! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere. It means a lot to me ūüôā

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

grandma’s tortilla soup

As I’ve mentioned on here before, one reason I love living with my grandma is getting to spend time with her in the kitchen — she is teaching me so many wonderful recipes! {such as: curried butternut squash & apple soup¬†/ asian chicken curried salad / apple cake with brown sugar glaze … mmm!}

Today I have a new recipe to share, one of my very favorites, perfect for the drizzly weather we’ve been having here lately:

grandma tortilla soup.jpg

grandma’s tortilla soup
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 6 scallions, thinly sliced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 cup diced tomatoes {canned or fresh}
– 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
– ¬Ĺ cup chopped cilantro
– ¬Ĺ tsp oregano
– ¬Ĺ tsp salt
– 1 cup frozen corn kernels
– 2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tsp olive oil over low heat.

2. Add half the scallions and the garlic and cook about one minute, until scallions are tender.

3. Stir in tomatoes, broth, ¬ľ cup cilantro, oregano, salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook ten minutes.

4. Add corn and cook another few minutes.

5. To serve, stir in tortilla chips, remaining scallions, cilantro, lime juice.

Bonus: this soup makes the house smell aaaaaamazing!! Enjoy!

tortilla soup

if you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
savory pumpkin & kale stew
crock-pot chicken & veggie stew
shrimp & sausage stew
creamy blended cauliflower & potato soup

curried butternut squash & apple soup

apple week

Oh my goodness you guys. This soup. My grandma pulled out the recipe the other day and I was thinking, “Are we really going to try to make this??” I was intimidated by the blender part of the process. But it really wasn’t difficult at all. The toughest part of the whole recipe was cutting up the butternut squash! Next time we are definitely going for the easy pre-cut packaged option … definitely worth the extra couple bucks, in my opinion.

Anyway … I highly recommend this soup! Healthy, hearty, creamy, the slight spice of the curry mingling with the sweetness of the apples and squash … YUM. This soup = autumn in a bowl. Enjoy!

butternut squash soup

curried butternut squash and apple soup

– 3 lbs butternut squash, cubed
– 2 apples, peeled and chopped {we used gala apples}
– 2 cups onions, diced
– 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
– 4 or 5 tbsp curry powder {depending on your taste for curry}
– 1 cup apple juice
– salt & pepper to taste
– green apple for garnish, if desired

1. Peel and chop your squash and apples. As mentioned previously, I would highly recommend using pre-packaged chopped butternut squash for this recipe, but if not I’d recommend baking the squash in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until soft. That will make it much easier to peel and chop!

2. Saute the diced onions in a little bit of butter or olive oil. Add curry powder and cook until onions are translucent.

3. Add the squash, apples and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

soup pre blend

4. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, half-covered, for approximately 25 minutes, until the squash and apples are soft.

5. Pour soup through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Blend the squash/apple/onion mixture in a blender or food processor until creamy.

6. Transfer blended soup back into the pot. Add the apple juice. Gradually stir in the reserved liquid until the soup reaches desired consistency.

soup creamy

7. Heat the soup on the stove until warmed through.

8. If desired, garnish with grated green apple. Serve warm.

I paired mine with a grilled cheese sandwich and it was the perfect dinner on a crisp autumn night!

grilled cheese

Question of the morning:

  • What are some of your favorite apple recipes? #appleweek

if you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
creamy blended potato & cauliflower soup
savory pumpkin & kale stew
shrimp & sausage stew

creamy blended cauliflower & potato soup

Look what I got!

stick blender

Yaaaaay, a stick blender! I’ve been wanting one of these ever since I started cooking more at home and using my regular stand blender to make dishes like homemade hummus. I love my stand blender, but cleaning it out can be a pain — the stick blender appealed to me when making smaller blended dishes like personalized morning smoothies, or …

… creamy blended soups like this one!

cauliflower potato soup

As soon as I came across this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, I knew I had to try it out with my new immersion blender! It turned out great, and was much easier than I expected. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could use a regular stand blender to blend this soup in batches. I tweaked it slightly, omitting the cheese and adding potato and kale. Here’s my recipe:

creamy cauliflower & potato soup

– 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
– 1 russet potato, diced
– 3 tsp minced garlic
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 2 celery stalks, diced
– 1 cup chopped kale
– 4 cups vegetable broth
– 2 teaspoons thyme
– 1 tablespoon rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Toss cauliflower and potatoes with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown.

roasted cauliflower

3. While cauliflower and potato mixture is roasting, saute onion, garlic and celery in olive oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add vegetable broth, kale, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil.

4. Add roasted cauliflower and potato. Simmer 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

soup

5. Using an immersion blender {or in batches in a blender/food processor}, blend the soup until it is smooth.

blending soup

6. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm. {Ours tasted perfect paired with these low-fat garlic cheese biscuits!}

cauliflower soup

This soup was delicious, perfect for a snowy winter night. And I love how healthy it is! Such a creamy soup, without any cream!

Anyone else loving immersion blenders and blended soups?

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if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
chicken & veggie stew in the crock-pot
savory pumpkin & kale stew
my favorite mashed potatoes
easy sausage, veggie & potato bake

pumpkin week: savory {and easy!} pumpkin & kale stew

Whew, what a night! After a whirlwind election day, I was in the mood for something simple for dinner.  When I saw this recipe for savory pumpkin and kale stew on one of my favorite cooking blogs The Pajama Chef, I thought it would be the perfect dish to try as part of my pumpkin week series!

I must admit, I had never had pumpkin soup before and was a little skeptical, but after reading Sarah The Pajama Chef’s rave reviews, my curiosity won out and I decided to try out the dish myself!

This soup turned out absolutely delicious. It’s hearty thanks to the chicken and veggies, creamy thanks to the pumpkin and dash of cream, and very flavorful. It just tastes like autumn — warm and comforting. And it’s super healthy with the kale, carrots, and Vitamin-A-filled pumpkin!

{Here is my recipe, modified a little from the one I found on The Pajama Chef}

ingredients:

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 small onion, diced
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– freshly ground black pepper
– 4 cups chicken broth
– 1 & 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
– 2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
– 3-4 leaves kale, chopped {about 2-3 loosely packed cups}
– 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
– 2 tablespoons half and half

1. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic, and season with black pepper. Saute for about 5-6 minutes or until soft and translucent.

2. Next, add chicken broth, pumpkin, black beans, chicken, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until combined, then cover and bring to a boil. {Sarah’s original recipe includes adding a can of stewed tomatoes as well, which I’m sure would be delicious. I took the tomatoes out of my recipe because Mike is allergic.}

3. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add kale and sage, and cook for another minute or two.

5. Stir in half and half and serve immediately.

This meal was a winner for me and I will definitely be making it again! And I’m already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. ūüėČ

What are some of your favorite stew and soup recipes? Have you ever made pumpkin or butternut squash soup?

Till tomorrow,
-Dallas

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– Time: about 30 mins
– Cost: less than $10