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SOUP TIME!!!! (finally…)

I live in Texas. Except for the August heat, I love the weather here. After months of HOT, we get a month or two of cold weather, maybe 2 snow days, although Texas Snow is really sleet, hail and flurries that turn to road hazards the moment they hit the ground.

baby its cold outside

I look forward to the cold months for a couple of reasons:

  1. I get to warm my icy feet on my dear husband’s legs and make him curse me every single night (MUAHAHAHA),
  2. I can go for months without worrying about my toenails being presentable,
  3. There is the possibility of going on a ski trip (YAY!),
  4. And it’s not unbearably hot when I use the stove and oven to cook or bake!

The hubs pretends to HATE #1, but I am really doing him a favor since he’s always hot and I’m always cold – it evens it out! #4 means that it’s time to make hot things – like snickerdoodles, kartoffelsuppe, cakes, and kale soup.

Since I have been lax in posting, this will be a two-fer. Just for you!

The soup making began with a request for something with kale.

DSCF1048

I like kale, but I never know what to do with it besides kale chips, and anytime I don’t know what to do with a vegetable, soup is usually the fallback. So I decided to make a kale soup. I added sausage to it, and it actually turned out kind of like the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden, only better.

Yummy soup in my favorite bowls

Yummy soup in my favorite bowls

The next soup-making quest began with a craving for german food. We eat at Everything German in Bedford fairly often, and I LOVE their kartoffelsuppe (german potato soup). We eat out way too much, so in an effort to cut back on our food costs, I decided to take a crack at making it myself. It was a smashing success, if I do say so myself.

New wine was on sale - so I bought a red and a white, we drank both bottles that night. ;-)

New wine was on sale – so I bought a red and a white, we drank both bottles that night. 😉

As with any meal, the animals in our lives benefit as well:

Carrot Peels = happy chickens (and darker yolks!)

Carrot Peels = happy chickens (and darker yolks!)

Kale ribs = happy bunnies

Kale ribs = happy bunnies

Kale/Sausage Soup

What You Need

  • 2 bunches Kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (I give the ribs to the bunnies)
  • 5 medium Carrots, sliced
  • 12 whole Red Potatoes, slided (I used a mandolin slicer)
  • 1 whole Onion, diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Half-and-half (optional)
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper

What to Do With All That

  1. In a medium pot, boil sliced potatoes and carrots until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large soup pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage. Drain as much as the fat as you can. Stir in the red pepper flakes, oregano, chicken broth and half-and-half (if desires, if not, replace with water).
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Add the potatoes, then stir in the kale. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, then serve.
  6. If one of you wants creamy soup and one doesn’t, splash some half and half into your bowl at the end. I like it better that way, hubs disagrees.

DSCF1050

Kartoffelsuppe

What You Need

  1. 6 large Russet Potatoes
  2. 4 medium Carrots
  3. 2 stalk of Celery
  4. 3 Leeks
  5. Sprig of Parsley
  6. 2 Onions
  7. 4 slices of Bacon (more fat the better)
  8. 2 Tbsp Butter
  9. 3 Tbsp Flour
  10. 8 cups Salted Water
  11. Pinch of Marjoram
  12. Salt and Pepper to taste

What to Do With All That

  1. Slice Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Leeks, dice Onions and mince Parsley
  2. Add to Salted Water and bring to a slow boil in a large pot
  3. Cook until Potatoes are tender
  4. Chop Bacon into small pieces and fry in large skillet
  5. Add Butter and onion and sauté in skillet until browned
  6. Add Flour to skillet and mix thoroughly, cook over medium heat for 2 minutes
  7. Slowly add 1 cup of liquid from soup pot to skillet, stirring until combined
  8. Add skillet mixture to soup pot
  9. Stir in Marjoram
  10. Simmer for 25 minutes
  11. Puree using an immersion blender
  12. Add water until desired consistency is achieved
  13. Salt and pepper to taste
  14. Bring to a slow boil, then serve

ENJOY!

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Delicious Foil Salmon & The Advocare 24-day Challenge

The recipe at the end of this post is my absolute favorite way to fix salmon (besides salmon patties, but those are too sinful to have very often!). I’ve fixed it before, but I was re-inspired to make it while coming up with a meal plan for the 24-day challenge that I just started thanks to my good friend Janel!

Salmon and tomato mixture, ready to be sealed and baked!

Janel and her husband started using Advocare products early this year, and Janel gave me some samples of Spark at a game night. Spark is a mental focus and energy drink mix that works better than a pot of coffee. I was skeptical, so the samples stayed in my purse for a few months completely forgotten (oops). One day at work, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and focused on the task at hand, so I went digging for some gum. Lo and behold – the spark samples fell out of my purse! I thought “what the hell, why not,” and mixed it up, drank it down and got back to my desk. Within 10-20 minutes, my eyes were open, I was furiously working away, and I felt like I could keep going all afternoon and well into the evening. I used the other 2 samples over the next 2 days, and I was truly amazed. I had plenty of energy, and I was focused like a laser beam!

So… I told the hubs about it, and he asked me to look into the company, the products, and the opportunity. After talking more to Janel, we went to a “mixer” (the dreaded… mixer…). What sold me on giving the challenge a shot was hearing the amazing before and after stories from others as they described losing weight, having more energy, and learning to make better healthy choices all at the same time.

The challenge is broken into 2 parts: Cleanse & Max (or Lean). Besides taking certain supplements, you are supposed to minimize fried foods, dairy, alcohol, refined sugars, white starches, bread, crackers, corn, coffee & soda for the first phase, and minimize alcohol, white starches and dairy during the second phase.

These limits meant that I needed to plan meals out, so I created a spreadsheet (of course)! I had to keep things interesting and tasty since the kids and husband would still be eating the same things, so I went back into my stash of recipes to find ones that met the criteria. The recipe below, adapted from Giada de Laurentiis, was one of them!

3 sealed packets and one open

Salmon Baked in Foil

What You Need:

  • 4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2+ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Foil

What to Do With It:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir the tomatoes, onions, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
  4. Make “boats” out of 4 12″ square pieces of foil.
  5. Spoon half of the tomato mixture evenly on the boats.
  6. Place a salmon fillet on top.
  7. Spoon the rest of the mixture on top of the salmon.
  8. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed.
  9. Place the foil packets on a heavy large baking sheet.
  10. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  11. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

Enjoy with brown rice for a yummy, healthy, advocare 24-day challenge friendly meal!!

Serve with brown rice – yum!!

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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