Roasted Pepper & Potato Soup

Sundays are becoming my favorite days to make soup (and, yes, I resisted the urge to title this post “Souper Sunday”). There’s something so cozy about listening to music, chopping veggies, and letting a big pot of soup simmer on the stove and permeate the house with an aroma that can only be described as comfy. Or as I often tell Dave, “It smells like Thanksgiving!” It’s not even so much about the smell as the whole general feeling of contentedness.

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Dave and I have started a little tradition with our friends Dan and Em (who, at this point, are more like family): much like the friendship plate that circulates with cookies, we pass back and forth a mason jar filled with different varieties of soup. Dave will bring over curried white bean soup and they’ll give back potato leek soup. I’ll send over stuffed pepper soup, and they’ll drop off spicy chili.

For this reason, and because I like freezing leftover soup for late nights when we don’t have time to cook, I tend to make big batches. This soup supposedly serves 12, but realistically is more like 6. Because when you eat soup for dinner, it’s hard to stop at one bowl.

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Roasted Pepper & Potato Soup

  • 3 bell peppers, diced (red, orange, & yellow work best)
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (4 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 tbsp and 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups diced potatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine diced peppers with one tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt in a roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

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In a large saucepan over medium high heat, saute onions in remaining tablespoon of olive oil until tender. Stir in the roasted peppers, chilies, cumin, paprika, salt, and peppers. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Stir in potatoes, broth, and milk and bring to a boil.

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Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in lemon juice. Use a stick blender to puree soup to desired consistency.

*Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home

Ravioli Skillet Lasagna

We made it to Friday! Hurray! Let’s cook something quick and easy, like this 30 minute ravioli skillet lasagna.

Who wants to stand around the stove when there are places to go and people to see? (Even if that place is the couch and those people are on Netflix?)

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Ravioli Skillet Lasagna

  • 12 oz frozen or fresh ravioli of your choice (I used a refrigerated caprese blend because…caprese)
  • 1 jar (25 oz) pasta sauce (or you can be cool and make your own sauce like me–all it takes is some crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, lots of herbs, and diced, fresh garlic)
  • 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • salt & pepper to taste

**I used a cast iron skillet to make this “lasagna” which always makes Dave nervous. We have umpteen cast iron pans, so he wants me to use them, but then he’s always worried about his babies after I cook in them. Silly guy.**

Spray a 10″ cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Tomatoes are very acidic to cast iron, so this will protect your baby.

Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in the skillet before adding your ravioli. Let it simmer for a few minutes while you mix together the ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Dot the thawed spinach over the ravioli-sauce mixture, and spread with the back of a spoon or spatula.

003Spread ricotta over spinach mixture and cook for about ten more minutes. Pop that baby under the broiler in your oven to help it set and get a little brown. Annnnnnd…..done!

(As soon as you’re done cooking, clean & season your pan. No soap!)

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Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower

Last weekend I had the house all to myself. That meant I got to sleep with a quilt over my legs without fear of it being kicked away by Dave, and I could eat one of the two things I like but Dave doesn’t: cauliflower. (The other is mac and cheese).

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Dave says cauliflower tastes like death. I asked him how he knows what death tastes like and he answered, “You don’t want to know.”

Well then.

I had this cauliflower recipe pinned for a few months, and this weekend was the perfect time to make it. It was so easy and soooo good. If you like cauliflower and buffalo sauce, that is.

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Buffalo-Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of buffalo-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a 13 x 9 pan, toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, turning once.

Remove florets from oven. In a glass bowl, toss florets with butter and buffalo sauce. (I just eyeballed the amount of sauce while stirring with a rubber scraper until all the florets were covered). Transfer the cauliflower back to the baking pan.

Turn broiler on, and cook the cauliflower under the broiler for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cauliflower starts getting a little browned and crispy-looking.

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I served my Buffalo-Roasted Cauliflower with a dip I made from plain Greek yogurt, ranch powder, and bleu cheese crumbles. That was my dinner. An entire head of cauliflower with bleu cheese dip. Nobody ever got fat from eating too many vegetables, right?

Sausage and Roasted Grape Pizza

Hey guys! Happy Friday! I have an awesome pizza recipe for you today. The idea stemmed from a hot pasta dish I made two years ago with the unlikely combination of sausage and roasted grapes. I made the dish twice, loved it, and promptly forgot about it. When I bought sausage at the market a few weeks ago and was trying to figure out what to do with it, I suddenly remembered, and I’m so glad I did!

With no pasta in the house yet (weird), I decided the combo could make a great pizza. And it did. The sweetness of the grapes meshes perfectly with the saltiness of the sausage, and the addition of cheese is always a winner.

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Sausage and Roasted Grape Pizza

  • your favorite pizza dough
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 6 oz Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage for about 15 minutes, until browned. Move to a paper towel. Add oil to the skillet and return to medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add grapes, red pepper flakes, and a splash of water to keep grapes from sticking. Cook until grapes soften or burst, about 10-15 minutes. Add sausage back to the pan.

Roll out pizza dough.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, 2 tbsp of Parmesan, and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Spread over pizza dough. (If cream cheese is not soft enough, warm in the microwave for 15-20 seconds until it is easily spreadable).

Top dough with the sausage and grape mixture, mozzarella, remaining Parmesan, and spinach.

Bake at 500 for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbling.

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Next time I make this, I may drizzle a little good balsamic vinegar over the top.

If you like thinking outside the cheese-and-pepperoni pizza box, I highly recommend this pizza. It’s already one of my new favorites!

The Easiest Dip Ever

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this with you yet! It is my new favorite healthy dip. I bring it to work with fresh veggies, and it is so tasty and filling.

Here’s what you need:

and:

Seriously, that’s it. One 18-oz (ish) container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt and one packet of Ranch dressing mix. (You can use regular yogurt too, but I’m obsessed with Greek yogurt).

Hidden Valley is always saying “Ranch dressing gets kids to eat their veggies!” but this homemade dip with the ranch packet is soooo much better.

And the best news? The serving size for regular Ranch dressing is 2 tbsp for 140 calories. The entire 8 oz container of Ranch Dip Yogurt has only 350 calories.

Go make some!

 

*This post is dedicated to one of my BFF’s Shelby, who loves ranch dip, and who inspired me to create this masterpiece when she couldn’t find Ranch dressing at the store to go with her pizza.

Braised Lamb Shank and Pureed Parsnips

Dave has a standing phone date with his parents on Sunday. “I’m going to call the parental units,” he’ll tell me, and when he finishes, I ask first how his family is doing and second, what his dad is making for dinner.

I figured he would be making something extra special for Easter, so I couldn’t wait to hear. “Lamb kebabs,” Dave told me. “With tzatiki sauce and naan.”

“Why didn’t I think of that?!” I groaned. Here I was, making delicious braised lamb shanks with pureed parsnips and complaining that I wasn’t brilliant enough to think of lamb kebabs. Foodies, I tell ya.

Slow-Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks with Pureed Parsnips

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup demi-glace
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed (in this case, I used one upper lamb shank, which was huge)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine

Put the onion, celery stalks, carrots, garlic cloves, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves in a crock pot, and stir to combine. I was fortunate enough to have some of Dave’s homemade demi-glace to add at this point. If you don’t have demi-glace, I would recommend adding more wine and stock and an extra dash of salt and pepper later on.

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Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan over medium high heat, warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, about five minutes total. Transfer to crock pot.

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Add the wine to the saute pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the wine to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for two hours, then turn heat to low for about four more hours. (Internal temperature for medium done should read about 140 degrees).

Remove the lamb from the slow cooker and transfer to a large plate. Remove bay leaves from the sauce, and use a stick blender to puree the sauce until smooth.

Recipe adapted from: Williams Sonoma

Meanwhile, prepare parsnips.

Pureed Parsnips

  • 2 lbs parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425. Toss parsnips with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are browned. Move parsnips to a blender or food processor and combine with water, milk, butter, salt & pepper.

Serve lamb shank over pureed parsnips and top with sauce.

You could also serve the lamb over mashed potatoes or egg noodles, but I highly recommend trying the parsnips. They taste like a cross between a potato and carrot–creamy when pureed, with a slight earthy, nutty taste. A perfect bed for lamb!

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Three Days

That’s how long all weekends should be, don’t you think? Sure, a fourth day would have been nice, but the three I had off were quite lovely.

Saturday was concert day, so after running a few errands and doing dishes, we packed our bags and headed to Madison. Naturally, Dave drove; for one, because he hates being a passenger and for another, because I hate city driving with a fiery passion. I was surprised that the drive to Madison wasn’t that bad at all, even right in the city. Must be because the hipsters love walking. Good for them!

Dave found this gem of a hotel called Hotel Ruby Marie, and I fell in love with it as soon as we walked in the door.

018 I requested a room with a king size bed and a fireplace, and it was just lovely from the comfy armchairs to the pull-chain toilet and jacuzzi jet tub.

021After the snowy drive, it was nice settling down in our comfy room in front of the fireplace.

020We will definitely come back here if we’re ever in Madison again.

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Happy hour started in our room as our friends arrived and then we headed down to the hotel’s attached bar to redeem our free drink voucher that was given to us upon our arrival. After a drink, we headed past our hotel to their attached German restaurant, Essen Haus.

068 Obviously, we had to order a few boots of beer for the table.

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I wasn’t terribly hungry but I hadn’t eaten much that day and knew I needed something besides beer in my system. I ordered the Veggie Reuben with the Deutsch Salad.

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The Deutsch salad consisted of marinated kidney beans, carrots, beets, and coleslaw. I only picked at the salad, since the marinated vegetables were a bit sweet for my taste.

I had no trouble polishing off my delicious reuben, though.

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Mmmm, sauerkraut.

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At our friend JD’s suggestion, we hopped a bus to take to the Barrymore Theatre where Cloud Cult was playing. I think we startled the normal bus patrons as our group stormed the public transportation. There weren’t enough seats, so many of us grabbed on to the handle bars. and as I struggled to keep myself upright as we lurched and turned, I couldn’t help but think of The Knight Bus: “Take it away, Ernie!”

Cloud Cult had no opening band, they simply played themselves for two sets: one acoustic and one electric. As they played, two of the band members drew pictures that would be auctioned off at the end of the show. It was wonderful being so close to the stage–the lead singer, Craig, was so cute! There is no other way to describe his dimpled face.

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On our way out, our friend Nicole tried to get us a cab while Shelby and I got our picture taken with a polar bear advertising for…something.

061The Madison cab was apparently going to take at least a half hour to pick us up. A half hour? In Madison? Shouldn’t they have a bevy of taxis?

So we started to walk. Two miles. In the freezing cold. I stayed positive, but I don’t think anybody else wanted to try that hard.The night ended much later than I wanted it to, and Dave and I got fewer than six hours of sleep in our comfy, king-sized bed before I woke up and took myself to the jacuzzi-jet bath with my book.

After checkout, we walked to the hotel’s breakfast place, Come Back In, to redeem our breakfast vouchers.

069 I was expecting the menu to be simple: eggs, toast, and hashbrowns, but they had a wide array of delicious-sounding breakfast items. I ordered the Veggie Benedict, which was chock-full of veggies seasoned with curry and served with breakfast potatoes.

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It was so good, I wished I was hungrier.  Dave and I split so he could go home with Dan & Em, and I could drive to Green Bay to see my family for an Oscar party.

It’s always so funny when I don’t see my family for awhile, because when we’re all together, we just talk over each other and it’s really chaotic. Adding a toddler to the bunch didn’t help with the volume–that girl has got lungs on her!

We headed to the store to get groceries for our Oscar night. On the menu: Champagne (of course), White Chicken Chili, Brie en Croute, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Tuna Topped Wonton Crisps, Veggies & Dip, and Cheese & Crackers.

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These Tuna-Topped Wonton Crisps that Mom made were a recipe from Hungry Girl made a really tasty appetizer.

  • 12 square wonton wrappers
  • 2 pouches Starkist Tuna Creations Sweet & Spicy
  • 1 cup bagged broccoli cole slaw, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lowfat sesame ginger dressing (Newman’s is great)
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray, and lay the wrappers on the baking sheets. Bake until edges have browned, about five minutes.

Remove from sheet and let cool.

Meanwhile, flake tuna with a fork in a medium bowl. Add chopped broccoli slaw and dressing and mix well.

Top wonton crisps with tuna mixture and sprinkle scallions on top.

Recipe can be found here.

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As usual, we printed off our Oscar sheets, made our votes, sat back and waited for the stars to dazzle us while munching on delicious food and enjoying champagne.

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075The highlights of the event included the hostess Ellen (love her!) ordering pizza and passing it out amongst the crowd (the delivery guy got a huge tip that night), Jared Leto looking like a Hot Jesus with his long unkempt hair, Benedict Cumberbatch being Benedict Cumberbatch, and Aurelia singing and dancing along to the songs.

Well, when she wasn’t sitting in a box.

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It was so fun watching it with my family, which included my mom, my sisters Emily and Moriah, my aunt Dina, my grandma, my uncle Howie, and Aurelia. Needless to say, it was a little loud. I insisted Dina get a hearing aid after she said, “Who won?!” for the hundredth time.

I lost spectacularly, guessing only 9 of the 24 categories correctly. Moriah won with 19, the little cheater. The injustice of it all! At least I guessed Best Picture (12 Years a Slave) and Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) correctly.

After putting ourselves to bed, the next day we woke up with coffee and pretty much rewatched the Oscars as it was being rehashed on the morning TV shows.

The gang of us (minus Emily who had to work) went to Nicolet for brunch. It’s in a new building now in De Pere, but before that, nearly all of us had worked there before. Oh, how I miss the days of food service….

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I had to order an old favorite: A seaburger with all the fixings and french fries.

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The food is definitely not as good as the old Nicolet, but at least the taste of nostalgia is still sweet.

I said my goodbyes to my family soon after lunch and started the drive home to Stevens Point after my three day weekend, eager to see Dave, Athena, and Artemis again. There’s always something to look forward to, isn’t there?

Mexican Lasagna

Boy, when is the last time I posted a recipe? This is a food blog after all, isn’t it?

Except I know you all read it just for my musings on life (ie complaining about winter and wishing people happy birthdays)…..005

 

The other night, I made a really good dinner. Good enough to share. Of course I never keep track of what I’m throwing together, but I think I can figure it out for this one.

Mexican Lasagna

  • 10 (6 inch) corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, diced shrimp (or shredded chicken, beef, or black beans…any protein will work)
  • 1 oz taco seasoning (you can use prepared, make your own, or simply throw in spices like I do)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up one tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, green peppers, and tomatoes and cook until tender. Turn off heat and stir in cooked shrimp.

Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with tortillas. Spread tortillas with refried beans and top with shrimp mixture and a handful of shredded cheese. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Spread salsa over the top layer of tortillas and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with Greek yogurt and chopped black olives. Guacamole would be great on top, too.

Happy Friday!

Baking Fools

Hey everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty low-key, but nice.

On Saturday I got out of doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen by going outside to shovel for an hour or so.

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It was good exercise, and it was nice to finally be outside again in warm weather (ie, 30 degrees). Dave stayed in to clean the kitchen and then started on some bread with a 50 lb bag of flour he brought home last week from work.

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Tarragon, garlic, and sharp cheddar.

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(Yes, this loaf of bread is gone already).

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He also made a loaf of caraway rye bread and a bread bowl for some lucky girl’s soup this week.

I wanted to bake a special treat for my co-worker Jessica’s birthday on Monday, so I took a quick poll online and settled on caramel brownies. (One of my friends suggested jello shot strawberries….too bad they’re for work!)

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I took a trip to the store and ended up with this bundle of ingredients. No, there is definitely nothing good for you in here. That’s why I made it for other people.

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The other Chelsea Leahy who lives in Washington (whose last name is now different) emailed me the recipe. She said it’s a popular one in her family, and I can see why. Chocolate, caramel, more chocolate….

Caramel Brownies

  • 50 unwrapped caramels
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 pkg German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 8 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add unwrapped caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk to a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted.

In a separate bowl, mix butter, cake mix, and the remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk.

Press half of the cake mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for six minutes. Remove from oven and pour caramel mixture over the top, sprinkle with chocolate chips, top with the remaining cake mix, and bake for 18 more minutes.

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Dave and I each had one piece before I cut and boxed them up for work.

I started getting hungry around 6:00pm but didn’t want to eat dinner yet, so Dave made me a snack plate with pickles, cheese, crackers, and sardines. I was so full after my snack plate that my plans for reubens were dinner were squashed, and I decided to make myself a breakfast reuben the next morning instead.

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Sandwiches on homemade bread are the best.

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Especially when they’re filled with some of Dad’s homemade sauerkraut and my favorite mustard ever (creamy lemon caper dill).

I felt like baking again on Sunday, so I decided on Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I can’t remember which recipe I used last time, but I found this one on Real Simple’s website. I didn’t have any shortening, so instead of adding more butter, I decided to substitute some milled flax seed, a., because I have a lot of it, and b., because it makes you really smart. Too bad I only ate one.

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I boxed up the majority of the cookies and brought them over to my friends Dan and Em’s house as a thank you for them letting me continue to bum their car. We also brought over our new game Castle Panic to play since football season is now over. We don’t want Em to get bored. 😉

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The first round did not go well. We did a very poor job at protecting our castle, and the monsters stormed the citadel.

Fortunately, the second round went much better.

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Hooray for co-op games! It’s really fun working as a team against the game instead of against each other. I guess someone came up with this idea after too many Monopoly fights with their siblings (“If you don’t sell me Park Place, you’re stupid!” “Hey, you didn’t tell me you landed on that one with all the hotels last turn!” Oh, those were the days).

Dave and I stopped at the grocery store for a few items, and I whipped us up a big salad and some French bread pizzas for dinner.

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Whenever I make a big salad for dinner, I try to make it like Panera’s Greek salad, which is my favorite. I used spring mix, red onions, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese, then tossed it with just a smidge of Newman’s Lite Sundried Tomato Dressing. Despite the fact that I put a few too many onion slices in it, it was delicious.

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I made pizza sauce with crushed tomatoes and herbs, then sauteed some mushrooms, green peppers, and onions for the topping.

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Complete with olives, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Dave and I ate dinner while watching the second episode of Sherlock: The Sign of the Three. It was so good, I want to watch it again already. I laughed, I cried, I was sad when it was over.

And I’m not just talking about the weekend.

Broken Record

We did it! After 80 years, Wisconsin broke the cold daytime temperature record by dropping to -2 degrees for a high.

It didn’t seem so bad after I read that Antartica’s record is -135.8 degrees.

I used to positively hate the cold, and though I’m not a huge fan of it now, I don’t mind the winter weather as much as I did when I was in college.

001Trudging to classes in the blustery cold with a stack of books or to my car on weekend mornings to go to work (which was unfortunately parked half a mile away) was just plain awful.

002But now I’m lucky enough to have plenty of warm jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves, and the ability to heat my house. I still walk and drive in the snow like a little old lady, though. No broken bones or going in the ditch for me, thankyouverymuch.

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Other ways I’ve been keeping warm include dressing silly, like yesterday when I came home from work and immediately changed into fleece-lined leggings, fuzzy socks, an argyle sweater, and a cable knit cowl.

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Taking baths and drinking wine or hot apple cider helps a lot, too. And of course, eating soup, which I’ve had four times this week already. Yesterday’s was the best, though. Spicy Garlic Chickpea with Spinach…delicious. This recipe is a real winner. I remember when my mom first made it from her vegetarian cookbook, and I finally tracked down the recipe online with my sister Moriah’s help.

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Spicy Garlic, Chickpea, and Spinach Soup

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 350 g potatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 200 g of spinach, shredded
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic and onions until soft and golden. Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for one minute. Add the stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and simmer for another 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mix the corn starch, cream and tahini together, then stir into the soup with the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring and simmering for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper before serving.

*****

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The only adaptations I made from the original recipe (which can be found here) was to increase the garlic and use milk instead of cream.

On the side, I whipped up a Greek salad with romaine, diced tomatoes, feta, red onion, kalamata olives and a bit of Newman’s Lite Sundried Tomato Dressing.

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It was such a warm and comforting dinner.

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Made even more so by the fact that Athena fell asleep on my lap after dinner while I was knitting, and my hot pad served as a perfect blanket for her.

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Maybe winter isn’t so bad after all.