Lemony Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup3

I am fully aware that I have no business talking about winter. Our California winter could barely be described as “mild.” But, I’ve become a wuss. Now, when it drops below 60, I need a big jacket and a beanie. That…and a big bowl of soup. On one particularly chilly day in February after I put my son to bed I needed 3 things: my cozy bathrobe, The Bachelor on DVR, and this soup.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup

My husband is always extremely complimentary about my cooking. I’m lucky that he likes most things so he’s pretty easy to please. He likes soup, but has this “thing”… he doesn’t consider soup a meal. An appetizer? Yes. Part of a meal? Sure. But soup period for dinner isn’t usually his first choice.

So you can imagine my surprise when he could not stop raving about this soup. Period.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup2

In fact, it was this soup that made him say, “You really need to start blogging again. People need to know about this soup!” So, here it is!

The secret to this soup is the lemon. The recipe calls for a good amount (1/2 cup) of lemon juice – more than you’d find in most soups. But don’t worry, the soup doesn’t turn out sour at all. The acidity is the perfect offset for the bitterness of the kale. Using chicken thighs gives you the richness you need to make the soup hearty and the white beans bulk up the soup and add just the right texture. Everything works together in perfect harmony.

Lemon, Chicken, & Kale Soup 4


Go low carb and serve it as is, or get crazy and add a big hunk of warmed bread. For all of you in other parts of the country, this is just what you need to warm you up from those freezing temperatures. For those of you in California, I hear it is going to dip below 70 soon. Better have a bowl of this soup ready!

Recipe: Lemony Chicken, Kale, and White Bean Soup


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 10 oz package kale
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper chicken thighs. Roast 20-25 minutes. Coarsely chop. Set aside.
  2. Preheat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Swirl with oil to coat. Add shallot and cook 1 minute, add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add stock, lemon juice, and kale. Bring liquid to a boil. Stir kale until it begins to wilt and all kale is covered by the liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially and cook 15 minutes.
  4. Add white beans. Cook 5-10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle into big bowls. Top with lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.




Truffled Pea Soup


Hi there!

Last week was my spring break and I spent it soaking up some family time in Chicago with my mom and sisters. We had so much fun! But, I realized that “spring” in Chicago is very different than “spring” in Northern California. It was quite chilly and windy and we were wearing coats everywhere we went. The really funny thing was, as soon as it got up past 50 degrees, all these crazy people in shorts came out! It was like shorts, sun dresses, and tank tops everywhere! I couldn’t believe it!  I guess they had spent a very long winter in sweaters and coats and they are ready to change up the wardrobe, but geeze! At 50 degrees I’m still in a parka! (Ok, I’m a bit of a wuss).

So, basically what I’m trying to say is, here’s something for those of you that think that spring means 50 degrees and windy :)
This pea soup couldn’t be easier, or more delicious! It requires just a few ingredients and a bit of time to bring together.
The secret ingredient that brings this soup from “yum” to “OHMYGOSHTHATSGREAT” is a teeny bit of truffle oil. A little of this stuff goes a long way so I suggest getting a small bottle of the good stuff rather than a big bottle of the ok-but-not-great stuff.
After sautéing the garlic and onions, just add the peas, straight from the freezer. Couldn’t be easier! Toss in some chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make a totally vegetarian dish) and let cook for about 20 minutes. Then blend it up in the blender until you have a smooth, silky, soup you’ll enjoy no matter what climate you’re in.
The great thing about this soup is it is perfect for the season if your spring is 70 and sunny and you can buy fresh peas in the farmer’s market and have a bowl on your porch, but it’s also perfect if your spring is 50 and windy and need something to warm you up after your chilly walk home. So make up a batch asap! I think I might have to go back to Chicago just to prove my point! ;)

Recipe: Truffled Pea Soup


  • 1 16 oz bag frozen peas or 2 1/2 cups fresh peas (shelled)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have it!)
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • white truffel oil for drizzling


  1. Preheat a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Cook 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add frozen peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, 15-20 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Make sure to remove the top circle of the blender so that steam can escape.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with a drizzle (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) of white truffle oil.

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with parmesan crisps

Happy Friday!

Isn’t the week back after vacation just the worst? Ever since I got back I just keep thinking, “If I were in Hawaii I’d be doing (blank)” and it’s always something WAY cooler then I’m really doing. Speaking of cool, I’m also freezing all the time because I want to wear things that show off my tan before it disappears but mother nature does not seem to be agreeing with me! I know, really serious problems, huh? :)
My solution to the post vacation blues? Park my butt in the kitchen! I’ve been whipping up lots of new things and I can’t wait to share them, starting with these cute-as-a-button soup shooters.
I made them as an appetizer, hence the tiny size, but you could just as easily serve this chunky, flavorful, healthy soup in as big a bowl as you can handle. Soup is one of my favorite things to make because it is quick, easy, and perfect for “health-ing up.” That’s to say, when you make your own soup you can leave out or substitute for things like butter, cream, etc. that many ready made soups contain. This soup is very low in calories but you’d never know by how good it tastes!
First, you have to broil the tomatoes and red bell pepper. Just place them on a baking sheet and place under the broiler on the top rack until the tomatoes begin to pop and peppers begin to char. This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on your broiler. You’ll want to turn the peppers to make sure they char evenly.
When you remove them, immediately place the peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This steams the peppers and makes the charred skin really easy to remove. If you’ve ever tried skinning a pepper without doing this, you know how tough it can be. After you try this way you’ll never do it any other way! Just let to sit for about 10 minutes and then peel the skin off with ease!
Meanwhile, chop up your onion and garlic and sauté in a medium sauce pot with olive oil. Then add the tomatoes and skinned bell peppers. Add in the seasonings and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer.
While the soup is cooking, you can make the parmesan crisps. These are pretty tough, so get ready. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 9 parmesan mounds. Place in the oven to cook. Remove. Voila! They are so easy, and so perfect for crumbling over your soup!
Using an immersion blender or a regular one, puree the soup (in batches if you are using a regular blender). Serve in whatever kind of cup you like – I like these cute multi colored ones! Top with greek yogurt, chives, and a parmesan crisp.


Recipe: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with parmesan crisps


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 1/4 cups parmesan cheese
  • greek yogurt and chives for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to broil. Position the rack in the highest position. Place tomatoes and bell peppers on a baking sheet and broil, watching constantly, for 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes start to pop and peppers char. Turn peppers at least once to evenly char.
  2. Remove tomatoes and peppers from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a boil and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove plastic wrap carefully and peel skin from peppers. Coarsely chop.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and bell peppers along with seasonings and 1/2 cup chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer uncovered 15 minutes.
  4. Puree soup in a blender or using an immersion blender. At this point, if you want the soup a little thinner, add the other 1/2 cup of chicken stock or water. The texture of your soup will depend on how juicy your tomatoes were!
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese 2″ apart. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before removing from the parchment.
  7. Top pureed soup with greek yogurt, chives, and parmesan crisps.

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

Hey there!

Are you ready for something warm? I am! I know a lot has been made recently of Californians’ inability to deal with cold weather…If you haven’t seen this video, check it out for a serious laugh! It is pretty darn funny for a girl from Washington to watch a group of California kids mesmerized by a tiny bit of ice that had formed on the slide. It was like it was the coolest thing they had ever seen! Pretty funny for someone who used to have to put on snow pants for recess!
My mom used to make this soup (or a better version of it!) all the time after we had roast chicken or turkey – you can easily substitute turkey for the chicken! And this was my first try recreating it myself. I have to say it turned out pretty great, but something’s always better about having your mom make it for you :)
If you’re looking for something to warm your belly this evening, and possibly defrost you from sub 60 degree temperatures ;) this old-fashioned chicken noodle soup is just what you’re looking for!
This soup is packed with lots of veggies and tons of chicken. You can use leftover roasted chicken or roast some up just for this. OR you can grab one of the pre-roasted chickens at the supermarket…shhh..no one will know!!! :)
I like keeping my chicken and veggies in pretty big chunks. It makes the soup feel rustic and homemade.
I love making my own chicken stock. Sometimes on the weekend I’ll get a couple pots going on the stove and end up with quarts and quarts of the good stuff. This recipe really works best with homemade stock if you can swing it, but in a pinch, the store bought stuff works too.
I’ve heard the flu is going around…have you caught it yet? I got my flu shot already, so so far so good! I’m washing my hands like a madman though! This soup would be perfect if you’re feeling the beginnings of a bug, but it’s pretty darn good if you’re perfectly healthy too!

One batch of this will last you though a few chilly evenings. One tip is, when reheating the soup on day 2, add a few fresh noodles. Another trick I learned form good ol’ mom and it really makes a difference !


Recipe: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 4 cups chopped carrot
  • 4 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 cups chopped, rosted chicken
  • 8-10 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups dried egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, garlic, and carrot. Sautee ove medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until soft. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Add chicken and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 30-40 minutes.
  4. Add noodles and cook according to package directions.
  5. Serve immediately.


Carrot Ginger Soup

Happy Friday!

Ok, so I might not be the biggest fan of resolutions, but I do love the unofficial New Year’s “cleanse.” It seems like a good chunk of the population participates in this cleanse in one way or another. Some people are really serious (which I am hearing about all over my facebook news feed right now) and do things like juice cleanses or really restrictive food cleanses. More power to ya, but drinking nothing but juice for a week sounds like how they torture people into giving up secrets to me. Others start hitting the gym a little harder, and while I am exercise’s #1 fan, is there anything worse than the gym in January???? All those people! I have to get to my favorite spin class like 30 minutes early and then I spend the whole class giving a dirty look to the guy who stole my favorite bike thinking “I know you won’t be here in three weeks you fair weather gym-er…don’t ever take my bike again!”
Ok, I’ve taken a few deep breaths. I’m OK.
Still more people decide to clean up their eating; a welcome change from the month and a half of indulgence that is the holiday season.  I am 100% on board with this. I definitely let myself be a little less careful during the holiday season. I mean, it only happens once a year so I have to take advantage, right? But come January-ish, it’s time to get back on track.
One of my favorite ways to get my eating back on a cleaner track is by making lots and lots of soup! Soups are a great way to “detox” without feeling like you are detoxing. You can fill them with with veggies, control the amount of fat and calories, and make a big batch so dinner is just a few minutes and zero thinking away.
This carrot ginger soup is perfect for a chilly day (much like we are currently having in California!) and packs in tons of good-for-you stuff without skimping on the flavor.
This soup is packed with lots and lots and LOTS of ginger. The carrot/ginger combo is kind of a no brainer, but really loading up on the ginger makes the spicy, tangy, root the star of the show. Maybe I should have called it ginger carrot soup! A quick ginger tip: I always peel my ginger as soon as I get it home – it’s a pain, but saves lots of time later. Then I stick it in the freezer. It is much easier to grate while frozen, and most recipes call for grated ginger. This recipe, however, uses chopped ginger, so if you store your’s in the fridge, just take it out about 30 minutes before chopping.
The carrots and ginger get a little help from a few very important ingredients. Carrots are naturally sweet, so red pepper flakes are a perfect balance. Although ginger is spicy, it is in a different way then the pepper flakes. They all work together really well.
Speaking of.. my secret ingredient in this soup is (shhhh!!) orange juice!
The sweetness goes perfectly with the carrots and the acid balances everything out. It really makes the soup special.
You can easily make this a vegetarian soup by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, but I always have homemade chicken stock in the freezer I need to use up (plus I think it tastes great!). This soup with also be perfect if you or a loved one has caught that cold that seems to be going around. If you haven’t caught it yet, this soup also freezes really well so you can store some in the freezer for when you do! :)

Recipe: Carrot Ginger Soup


  • 4 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped ginger (about 3 2″ long roots)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8-10 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange juice


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add carrot and cook 5-7 minutes, until beginning to tenderize. Add ginger, salt and pepper. Cook 5 more minutes.
  2. Add about 8 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir the soup every now and then and add more stock if necessary.
  3. When carrots are tender, remove pan from heat and puree soup. You can do this with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. Stir in orange juice. If soup is too thick stir in more chicken stock, up to 10 cups.
  4. Season again to taste with salt and pepper.


Spicy Kabocha Squash Soup with Sage


The rains have come to California! Last weekend we were hit hard with a crazy storm that had me up half the night listening to rain pound down on my roof while I crossed my fingers and toes that nothing would start to leak!
Lucky for me, I love the rain. Well…I love the rain when I have nothing to do except stay inside in my coziest clothes while watching various Harry Potter movies (don’t judge me!) or episodes of Friends while cooking or baking something delicious.

On this rainy weekend, that something delicious was Spicy Kabocha Squash Soup.

Kabocha squash, you ask? Never heard of it? Don’t worry. I hadn’t either till last year when I noticed it pop up in my farmer’s market. So I bought one not knowing what in the world I was going to do with it. So I turned to the trusty world wide web and found out that they are particularly good for soup making. I tried it. And boy, they weren’t kidding! This squash makes a smooth, silky soup that you’ll want to make again and again.

And I have! But each time I tweak my base recipe a little. This time it was with the addition of some HOT peppers.
Cayenne peppers to be exact. I’ve never really seen them in whole form, only in the super spicy powder I have to make sure to wash my hands after using, but I picked these up and wanted to give them a try.

Turns out, they are SPICY! But more on that later :)

I roasted the squash until it was really tender and then tossed it in with some leeks I had been sautéing. After a few minutes of cooking, I added chicken stock and the cayenne peppers I had roasted with the squash.

When you are ready to blend the soup, it’s decision time. You can leave both peppers in and blend them into the soup, take them both out, or leave one in. I chose to leave one in (thinking I could always add the second one later), and the soup turned out spicy! Now, I like spice and it was even a bit spicy to me, so tread carefully! If you aren’t a spice fan, cooking the peppers in the soup will still add lots of good flavor without all the spice.

Look at me, spending all this time talking about the peppers and I’ve totally left out the other super special ingredient in this soup – the sage! Do you like sage? I think sage is a pretty underused herb. Sure, you always use it when stuffing your Thanksgiving turkey, and we know it goes well with sausage, but I love sage with squash. Think about it, when’s the last time you had a butternut squash ravioli without sage in the sauce? ;) It just works.

As does everything else going on in this soup. Give it a try and you’ll see ;)



Recipe: Spicy Kabocha Squash Soup with Sage


  • 2 medium Kabocha Squash
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh cayenne peppers (or other fresh hot pepper)
  • 8-10 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Roughly chop squash. Place on a baking sheet with the 2 cayenne peppers. Roast, shaking the pan a few times, about 60 minutes, until squash is tender.
  3. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add leeks and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  4. Add squash and chicken broth to cover. Add roasted peppers. Add chopped sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until squash is very tender.
  5. Now is the time to remove one or both of the peppers if you choose!
  6. Puree soup in batches using a blender, or in the pot using an immersion blender. Garnish with fresh sage.
  7. Serving suggestion: this soup is wonderful with a big dollop of greek yogurt on top!


Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale

Hey there!


I made this recipe a couple days ago and I was so delicious I was telling everyone about it. When I told my dad about this flavorful, hearty, soup, he told me, “You know, I think you should change the name of your blog to Tara’s Kale Blog!” Hahaha :) Ok Dad, so maybe I love kale. Maybe I eat it all the time and can’t get enough…maybe I put it in everything from soups to salads to smoothies…but come on, that name has absolutely no ring to it :)
If this was “Tara’s Kale Blog” I would tell you how a couple years ago my husband hated kale. How I had to hide it, disguise it, and dress it up for him to eat it. I’d also tell you how now, he eats it all the time and said while eating this soup, “the kale in here is so great, it adds so much flavor!” But it’s not Tara’s Kale Blog…so I won’t. ;)
This soup has all the makings of a comforting fall supper. It’s packed with lots of good-for-you vitamins and nutrients and it’ll keep you full well past dessert time.
Active work time on this soup is really low. Chop and saute the vegetables over medium low heat until translucent. Then add the herbs: rosemary and thyme. I just threw a whole thyme bunch in and let it cook till the leaves fall off. Just don’t forget to fish out the twigs before you serve, no one wants a branch in their soup!
Add the chicken stock, lentils, sausage. When you are almost ready to serve, stir in the kale. Lots and lots of kale. You are thinking 10-15 cups?? Are you crazy!? Nope. Guys, trust me, the kale cooks down so much you might even end up adding a few extra handfulls like I did!
I made a huge batch of this soup and froze half to have ready for a quick weeknight meal. It’ll freeze well on plastic containers, or in a big ziplock bag!


Recipe: Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale


  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 cups chopped celery
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 1 large sprig thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 4 cups green lentils
  • 10-15 cups loosely packed baby kale
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 chicken sausage links, sliced
  • olive oil


  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large pot, heat over medium low heat.
  2. Add celery, carrots, leeks, onion, and garlic. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent (but not brown).
  3. Add herbs and chicken stock, bring to a boil.
  4. Add lentils and sausage reduce heat, simmer partially covered, about 40 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  5. Add kale and cook until kale is reduced and tender.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Happy Halloween!!!

Today I’m doing, “What I’m eating Wednesday” as I’ll be having this for dinner tonight!

When I was a kid, every Halloween was the same routine. We’d get home from school and get ready in our costumes. My mom was pretty handy with a sewing machine and created some pretty awesome looks for us over the years. Some of my favorites? One year I was a pirate with a coffee ground beard. Also, I loved my 50′s girl costume so much I think I wore at for at least 5 or 6 Halloween’s. After getting all gussied up, we’d sit down to dinner at about 4 o’clock. I remember so well how early it was because it was strange, but also because it was so exciting to know that after we scarfed down dinner we’d get to stuff our bellies with tons and tons of candy!

Every single Halloween we’d have a big pot of soup or chili. Every year. Growing up in Washington, Halloween was usually a pretty chili (hahaha totally didn’t mean to do that!) time of year. Like, long underwear under your costume kinda chili. So we’d always get started off on our marathon bell ringing night with something warm in our bellies. So this Halloween chili is a tribute to my mom and all those warm-your-body-and-soul Halloween dinners.

This chili will warm your body, soul, and tongue! It packs a punch with a spicy chipotle sauce.

Usually, when I make chili I use canned beans. They are so easy to work with and really cut down on cooking time. But for this recipe, I used dried black beans.

The extra cooking time adds so much depth of flavor to the chili. And cooking the dried beans in the chili lets the flavor and starch of the beans seep into the chili broth in a supremely delicious way.

Speaking of flavor…

There’s lots of it in here! Mexican Oregano, Chili Powder, and Cumin help make this chili a flavor bomb before you even add anything else in! (But you’re still gonna!)

This is a vegetarian dish that won’t leave you missing meat at all. It’s also so hearty and packed with protein and fiber from the beans, that you’ll be full enough to walk door to door all night long.

The big chunks of sweet potato not only add lots of substance to the dish, but also balance the spicy chipotle flavor really well. I leave the skins on, what can I say? I like the skins! But if you are a skin-less sweet potato person, by all means, peel em’!

Despite a long cooking time, this is actually a pretty hands off dish. After you get everything mixed in, you just add water and let it do its thing for about 2 hours.

Don’t forget to get all your fixins ready! I used all these and a big dollop of greek yogurt. Pile lots and lots on top and dig in.

Just don’t forget to save a little room for candy! :)


Recipe: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 2 chipotle chiles from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • About 4 cups diced sweet potato (peeled or not)
  • Fixins: diced red onion, greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeño, cornbread, etc.


  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder, Mexican oregano, and coriander over; stir 1 minute.
  2. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, chipotles, and oregano. Add 10 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
  3. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Stir sweet potato into chili. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until potato chunks are tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide chili among bowls. Serve with fixins.
  7. Chili can be made up to 2 days ahead.

***NOTE: If you are making this with canned beans use about half the water. You don’t need as much because the beans won’t soak it up! (thanks Rachel!)

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Butternut squash and quinoa soup with kale pesto

Hey there!

It’s been a rainy windy fall day today and nothing sounds better than a hot bowl of soup. I adore soup. Especially around this time of year. It’s so enjoyable to me to cozy up to the table with a steamy bowl of soup. Preferably in my coziest sweater holding the bowl so my hands warm up too. Ahhh fall….

I could eat soup for dinner every day from mid-October through December. My husband…not so much. He is of the mindset that one should not be able to drink dinner. I could see where he is coming from (even though I love pureed soups, sometimes they can seem a little first-course-ish), so I was trying to think of some creative ways to elevate pureed soups to fit-for-dinner quality. Then it hit me.


I cooked some tri-color (any kind will do!) quinoa and added it to the pureed soup and WOW! It totally changes the dish. The al dente quinoa adds lots of texture and makes the soup much more filling. This is a dish that will satisfy you and that you can feel good about eating.

You start off by roasting the butternut squash. Some soups call for boiling or (eek!) microwaving the squash, but I really love the flavor of roasted squash. Plus, it couldn’t be easier. Just throw it on a pan with some olive oil and let it do its thing!

While the squash is roasting you can make the kale pesto.

Lots of kale, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Let it go in a blender or food processor, set it aside, and try to resist dipping your finger in every 5 seconds. Good luck.

Just before the butternut squash is set to be done, heat some oil in a soup pot and sauté a clove of garlic and one chopped onion. Remove the squash and dump it in the pot. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer.

Time to puree!

One very important step: before you puree, let the soup cool about 10 minutes. You kitchen walls will thank you when they are butternut squash puree free :)

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot, add the quinoa, and warm through.

Ladle into bowls and top with kale pesto. Feel free to get creative, designs, messages to your dinner guests, whatever you feel like! :)

This silky, healthy, filling, soup is sure to get your through some rainy nights AND please your soup-judgmental husband. At least it did mine. :)


Recipe: Butternut squash soup with quinoa and kale pesto


  • 1 small butternut squash (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kale Pesto
  • 2 cups densely packed kale leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)


  1. For kale pesto: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth, adding more olive oil in necessary.
  2. For soup:
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop butternut squash. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place chopped squash on parchment and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender.
  4. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium pot. Add chopped garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add roasted squash and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot, turn heat to medium.
  7. Add cooked quinoa and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and warm through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Ladle into soup bowls and top with kale pesto.

Number of servings (yield): 2



Roasted Heirloom Tomato Basil Soup with Lemon Creme

Hey there! Happy Friday!

It’s soup weather people. And I for one am so excited about it!

This soup is a great way to use up those extra tomatoes you’ve got growing in your garden, or that you purchased from someone else’s garden. :)

This post is dedicated to my friend Meagan. In fact, I’m in Austin, Texas right now gearing up for her wedding tomorrow (and eating some ridiculous BBQ!!). Why is this post dedicated to her? Well, in celebration of her impending nuptials of course, but also because she is always telling me, “I am so excited to make your recipes after I get married and finally have some stuff in my kitchen!” Having just been married myself a little over a year ago, I can vouch for the fact that a wedding does wonders for filling up the kitchen cabinets :) Meagan is always telling me how she can’t wait to get some new stuff, and for some reason always mentions an immersion blender. Well, I guess I do use mine ALL the time. It is one of my favorite kitchen toys, and it is essential to this amazing soup.

So Meagan, this one is for you. Hopefully this will be the first thing you make with your newly wedded kitchen gadget bliss!

Heirloom tomatoes are at the peak of freshness now. Which means you can get them at the store or market for a really good price. In fact, this soup can feed a crowd for just a few bucks (or you and your husband for three days straight!)

This soup uses lots and lots of fresh tomatoes, roasted in the oven until they are blistered, but I also threw in a large can of whole plum tomatoes with their juice.

This is a trick I learned from the incomparable Ina Garten, my favorite food personality. She includes canned tomatoes in her soup recipe and ever since I made it, I toss a can in every variation I make.

Another absolutely essential ingredient: red pepper flakes. I am really lucky because my mom dries peppers she grows in her garden and grinds them up to make homemade pr flakes…and they are amazing. But if you don’t have access to my mom’s peppers…just leave your address on the comments section and she’ll send you some the store bought version will work just fine. ;)

Since I wanted to keep this soup really healthy, I didn’t want to add a bunch (or any!) of cream like you often find in tomato soup. Instead I whipped up – literally – this oh-so-easy lemon creme. Just greek yogurt and lemon juice. You’ll add a lot of lemon juice, more than you think you will need, but you want it to be pretty thin so that it melts flawlessly into the soup. I know you might me thinking…lemon on tomato? acid on acid? Yep. It works. Beautifully. Trust me.

Time to whip out your immersion blender! Blend the soup until you’ve got a creamy, only the slightest bit chunky, light, healthy, oh so delicious soup. Top with lemon creme and freshly chopped basil.

For dinner, I served ours up alongside a chicken and spinach panini, but you could just add some crusty bread and lightly dressed mixed greens and you’ve got a perfect lunch or light dinner. Hope you like this silky soup as much as I do!

Congrats Meagan and Carl!



Recipe: Roasted Heirloom Tomato Basil Soup with Lemon Creme


  • 4-5 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 bunches fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 28oz can plum tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 2 16 oz cans low sodium chicken broth
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • For Lemon Creme
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Halve tomatoes and arrange on a foil lined baking sheet
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. Roast for 40 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat
  6. Chop onions and garlic, add to heated oil and cook 3-5 minutes
  7. Add red pepper flakes
  8. Stir in roasted tomatoes with their juices, add canned tomatoes
  9. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in basil
  10. Cook 30-40 minutes
  11. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth
  12. Season again with salt and pepper
  13. To make creme: whisk together lemon juice and greek yogurt
  14. Top soup with creme and fresh basil

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8



Field Greens Salad with Strawberries and Candied Walnuts

Oh hey there!

Happy Monday!

I seem to be on a bit of a salad kick lately…but it has been so nice out and the produce round this time of year is so fresh, it’s kind of all I’ve been wanting to eat! This salad is bright, light, and flavorful. Perfect for an afternoon lunch in the back yard or as a starter to your next BBQ’d meal.

The addition of homemade candied walnuts is amazing! They add texture, flavor, and just a hint of sweetness that works perfectly with the fresh strawberries and salty cheese. Yum!

Candied nuts are a cinch to make. There are various ways of sugar coating these nutritional powerhouses, but I find that sometimes, the easiest way is the best!

Continue reading →

Faux Pho


I just made this last night and literally could not wait to post it for you guys!

I think there must be two kind of people when it comes to Pho (pronounced fuh, rhymes with duh); those who LOVE it, and those who have never tried it. I am convinced that to try it is to love it. I mean, how could you not? It is filled with so many wonderful things: silky noodles, tender beef, crunchy sprouts, spicy chilies, fresh basil, and the most flavorful broth in the world! Pho broth is something I always thought was better left to the professionals, which is why I had never attempted this famous Vietnamese dish at home, but when I saw a “Faux pho” recipe as I was going through a stack of old Bon Appetite magazines, I thought, “I can do this!” and decided to give it a try.

The reason this is “Faux” Pho is because you don’t cook the broth from scratch, you use beef stack and add in lots of intense flavors like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and star anise, to recreate the day long simmering broth from your favorite pho restaurant. Now, if I’m being honest, I thought it was….fantastic! I’ll admit I didn’t achieve quite the depth of flavor that my local pho joint does, but it was pretty darn good.

Continue reading →

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...