First Full Week of 2015

Happy First Full Week of 2015!

This week has been super busy with everyone in my family trying to get back into their normal routine (both work-wise, exercise-wise, and eating-wise). I started Food Service Systems this week and have been immersed in the world of management, menu development, and sanitation. So far, it’s been… interesting. I will be doing some menu planning next week, so that should be more fun (and more my speed)!

But besides getting back into the swing of things, I have been eating lots of delicious things (and not cooking… oops!).

Like this delightful frozen yogurt I enjoyed for lunch with one of my best friends from college.

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Yes, nothing says happiness like chocolate froyo topped with brownie bits, sprinkles, and bits of candy (and some strawberries… got to get some nutrition in there too!). It was a perfect accompaniment to a long catch-up chat! Friends and froyo, what more could I ask for?

Despite my sweet treat of a lunch earlier in the week, I tried something new and healthy for dinner.

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Kale and spinach dumplings were definitely a surprise when my family saw them on the menu of our favorite Chinese restaurant. So we tried them. My parents thought they were okay. I thought they were brilliant. Plus, that spring green is absolutely beautiful!

Then the temperature dipped to below freezing, which made the thoughts of light meals disappear (goodbye dreams of kale-spinach dumplings!). Soups, stews, and pot roast were the meals I began to crave, so my mom whipped up something delightful.

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Sweet and spicy shredded pork with potatoes and onions, a Crockpot staple in my house. And salad… which I actually made! A great end to a busy week.

But good food wasn’t the only highlight of this first week of 2015…

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I said goodbye to my glorious, beloved frosting-covered iPhone and traded up to a new, not frosting-covered iPhone! I’m very excited and promise that I will not drop it into a bowl of frosting (at least try not too!).

 

This year has been amazing so far… I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Your 2015 lovin’ friend,

C

Carrot-Ginger Soup

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Happy 3rd day of 2015! Can you believe that we are actually in January? Does anyone feel like Thanksgiving was yesterday? Okay, good.

I usually don’t make resolutions, but I use the start of a new year as a time to reset and to start getting back into my regular eating routine (because eating a gingerbread cookie after each meal is starting to become a little excessive).

Soup is a great way to get back into the healthy eating swing, packing vitamins and minerals in a warm, comforting package. I make many different types of soup (Greek Avgolemono, lentil, split pea), but nothing seemed festive enough for a celebratory dinner for the first soup supper of the year. Until I remembered one of my favorite soups from a local supermarket – super orange, sweet/spicy carrot-ginger soup.

Confession: I’m a carrot junkie. Seriously. My mom stopped buying carrots in August because I was eating one pound of carrots every day or so and was starting to turn orange… yes, literally orange (my hands looked like they belonged on an Oompa Loompa). I have since de-oranged and the carrot has returned to our household. Life is good!

Back to our soup making saga, carrot-ginger soup starts like may other soups…

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…with onion and garlic sautéed in a little olive oil.

Then I tossed in some parsnips.

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Which look a little like carrots and add a nice body and sweetness to the soup.

And then come the carrots.

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I used baby carrots but regular carrots work too!

The spicing of the soup is simple…

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Salt, pepper, and some nutmeg. You can’t taste it, but it adds a little somethin’, somethin’.

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Pour in some low-sodium chicken broth.

And grate in the second star ingredient – fresh ginger.

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Fresh is the only way to go here, kids. My mom buys a big chunk of ginger, peels it, cuts it up into 1-2” pieces, and freezes it. Then you always have fresh ginger to make carrot-ginger soup!

Then you bring the soup up to a boil and let it cook for 10-15 minutes until the carrots and parsnips become tender.

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Now comes the slightly dangerous part – the pureeing of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, I am super jealous. You can puree the soup right in the pot and be done with it. If you don’t, grab your blender or your food processor. Working in small batches (either filling only half the blender or filling to only the max liquid line of a food processor), puree the soup until smooth. I transferred the soup to a big bowl so that I could reuse my soup pot – it made it a little easier and I had slightly less clean-up!

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Perfectly pureed!

Now, this is the slight naughty part of this soup.

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I add a small splash of heavy cream for a little richness, but you can leave it out if you want.

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Then dish it up and dig in!

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A perfect start to 2015.

 

Hope you all enjoy this easy (and healthy) soup recipe.

Your soup makin’ friend,

C

 

Carrot-Ginger Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

4½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional

 

Steps:

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add in olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook until onions become tender and translucent.
  2. Add in parsnips and carrots, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until the vegetables become slightly tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in chicken stock, add the ginger, raise heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, partially cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables become tender.
  4. To puree the soup, use an immersion blender, conventional blender, or a food processor. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend directly in the soup pot.

If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Working in batches, puree the soup and then pour into another soup pot.

  1. Place the pureed soup back onto medium-low heat until warmed though. If you desire, stir in heavy cream. Serve alongside your favorite sliced bread or crackers.

Happy 2015!!

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Wishing you all a wonderful year full of happy memories, healthy family and friends, amazing adventures, and fabulous food! I hope you all have a great day today and best of luck with all of your resolutions!

Can’t wait to hear all about your NYE celebrations!
Love,
Your Grad School Foodie friend,
C

New Beginnings

Happy January, everyone! It is a time for new beginnings – resolutions to get in shape, be better people, and help change the world for the better. This time of year inspires people to be their best selves. I like this time of year because January is the best time to start using all the fabulous new gadgets you got for the holidays!

This year, my sister (E) and I decided to throw practicality to the wind and get my parents an ice cream maker. This decision also stemmed from the fact that Crate and Barrel discontinued our family’s “everyday mugs” (our awesome, original gift idea) – we decided that instead of purchasing my parents a whole new set of coffee mugs, an ice cream maker would benefit us more. It also looked really cool. My parents were not as excited about our gift at first; but as they began to use it, they became excited with the prospect of making a sweet treat in the comfort of our own home.

I personally entered the 21st century by treating myself to a fancy new camera. It was so exciting to get a camera that could take lovely close-up pictures, especially when it came to photographing food. I tested my camera’s new skills by taking hundreds of pictures of the ice cream we made with the brand new ice cream maker – food never photographed this well on my iPhone (but that be from when I dropped it into frosting that one time…).

Here are some of the glamour shots…

The Most Amazing Waffle Sundae

This is my dessert magnum opus – a lovely, homemade Belgium waffle topped with homemade vanilla ice cream, copious amounts of chocolate syrup, and enough rainbow sprinkles to cover every surface. It was the best thing I had ever eaten.

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E also made a waffle sundae with vanilla ice cream, but she used chocolate syrup, chocolate-peanut butter hard shell syrup, and chopped nuts to top it off. A perfect blend of salty and sweet.

The ice cream maker (and my camera) provided endless family fun and entertainment for the last two weeks of winter break. The “together time” was the best way to begin a new year – it reminded me that family is the foundation on which everything is built, especially when it comes to food.

May your year be happy, healthful, and amazing!

C