Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simple Soup

I have been meaning to try some version of tortilla soup for awhile now. Eventually I would like to make something good enough that I no longer need Qdoba's "Mexican Gumbo" (I tell them it is not gumbo, they do not listen. Its tortilla soup, or burrito soup).

This, is not a version of tortilla soup. But thinking about it got me here. It is simply a delicious simple vegetarian soup (except I used chicken broth).

I sauteed garlic, crushed pepper, dried rosemary, half a red onion (because it was started), a green bell pepper (because it needed to be used), some celery and carrots until the onion was soft and I felt it was long enough. I then added my serendipity ingredient - two big heaping soup spoons full of Newman's Own Salsa (that was not getting eaten fast enough). You see, salsa adds that slightly tomoatoey, slightly thick, spicey element to the soup. Next came 48ounces broth (I used chicken, veggie works) and some frozen okra (needed to be used!) which I brought to a boil, and let simmer. Finally, for some protein, I added a rinsed off can of garbanzo beans. When the carrots were tender I turned it off and voila!

The verdict? Despite being so utterly simple this soup was delicious. I would not call it hearty, just a simple light soup.

I could have added the potatoes waiting to be used in my fridge. Little pasta or rice or some other grain (bulgar, barley) would probably also work well.

I love this soup because it was one of those random experiments where I toss a bunch of stuff together, and hope it works. And it did! So, I now have a base to build on. I now know salsa works in brothy soups (it was so flavourful I did not have to add any salt!). Perhaps it is too simple for a blog post, but I'm so pleased with it I had to share!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Breakfast in a Hurry

I am having a harder and harder time getting out of bed. What this amounts to is; after hitting snooze several times, I just have enough time to make some tea, stumble into my clothes (set out next to my bed and waiting), brush my teeth, and grab my lunch - which I had prepped the night before. When I manage to get out of bed earlier, I usually fry an egg and make a sandwich to go. Lately I've just grabbed a granola bar and stumbled out the door. A granola bar hardly lasts me until lunch.

The perfect solution? Frozen breakfast burritos. Except, cheaper, healthier and better. I figured, if I can make my lunch ahead of time and freeze a bunch of those, why not breakfast?
I bought some multigrain tortillas (for fiber), eggs (lasting protein & something else I'm sure), frozen spinach (fiber vitamins & protein), cheese and veggie bacon.

Assembly was fairly quick and easy.
  • Microwave the spinach, bacon, and tortillas (for ease of folding)
  • grate the cheese,
  • cook the eggs with garlic, crushed red pepper, Mrs. Dash.
  • Add in the spinach.
  • When the eggs are cooked put it all together. Tortilla, cheese, fake bacon & eggy mixture. Fold 'em up (mine folded horribly, I blame the multigrain tortillas), set them on a baking sheet in the freezer for a bit, then wrap them individually and freeze.

I suppose if you were going to let this sit a long time you might date them, but I only make enough for about a week - I don't know how long they'd really last in there. I microwave mine for about a minute, flip and rub (you have to rub your frozen burrito to distribute the frozen part!!) and go 30 seconds or so more. I also like to use veggie sausage in place of fake bacon because it holds up so well and has more protein - I microwave that a bit and then cook it with the eggs. About 4 sausages per 6 burritos and maybe 8 eggs. I may try frozen broccoli next time as it is supposed to have a lot of fiber & protein (both of which help keep you full longer) and I forgot jalapenos.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

canned soup

I think I have perfected my potato & kale sausage soup. I was aiming for something similar to Olive Garden's "Zuppa Toscanna" and but I'm not sure what I ended up with. I knew I wanted sausage, greens and potatoes in it. I searched around the web for inspiration, bought a few ingredients and went from there.

I sauteed a lot of garlic, and crushed pepper, followed by an onion then some carrots and celery. After they seemed cooked enough I added the sausage and let that brown awhile. I then added a bunch of water (enough so that it would still be soupy after all the ingredients were in) a can of kidney beans and the potatoes. I cut up the sausage and took a shower so all the flavors would meld. When I got out the soup needed a little more flavour (I should have used stock instead of water) so I threw in two or three veggie bullion cubes. I tossed in most of a bag of collard greens (kale would work fine, I use greens interchangeably), let it cook until just soft and voila! Delicousness. I filled three of my Ball freezable canning jars (I love them!) and froze to add to my stockpile of "grab n go" frozen lunches.

Simple, delicous, hearty and adaptable. There is something wonderful about sausage potato and greens soup. Someday I shall have to try it vegetarian. Veggie sausage maybe?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

the year in review, goals and resolutiuons

Wopee, another year has come and gone. Its 2010 - I still haven't heard if we're calling it twenty-ten or two-thousand-ten. Its that time of year when we're supposed to feel refreshed and start over. Its a new year! A new month, a new week, a new day...

First though, lets review the year(s) we're leaving behind. The one thing that pops into my mind, the thing that has been bothering me a lot lately, is grammar. I think the last few years have marked the downfall of grammar. I am certainly no grammar queen - I hated those sentence charts we used to have to do. I blame this on technology and social networking. Because of texts and tweets people are using a new form of shorthand, and then forgetting when it is appropriate. If you are sending me a quick text message and you have an old phone, typing "c u soon" is fine. But if your sending me an email, please take the time to write out "see you soon" and perhaps you will. I have no doubt that many elementary, high school and college teachers are dealing with these mistakes (and the often inappropriately used "lol") in many papers. Another grammar mistake that has been bothering me is using words that sound the same in the wrong place. Remember, "quick, be quiet, or I am quite sure I will quit". Not to mention "we're sure you were where we were". Its one thing when someone for whom English is their second language makes these mistakes, its another when you were born using it. Remember, spell-check is your friend, and Mozilla makes it easier by underlining misspelled words!
(now the grammarians will attack my post. "Well, you forgot an apostrophe here, and you shouldn't start a sentence with a preposition!")

Aside from grammar I think manners have also gone down the wayside. Who will teach children and adults when it is and when it is not appropriate to text message or talk on the phone? I have seen articles in Wireless magazine and heard commentaries on NPR on the subject, but how many people is this reaching? To make it easier, here are the basics. Don't talk on your cell phone when you are at a cash register - it is rude to the cashier. The same applies for when you are in line for a latte etc - are they supposed to wait for you to finish your conversation before taking your order, or skip to the next person? I personally find it rude if I am in the same car with someone and they call someone. I can not leave to avoid hearing your conversation, nor can I call someone else (as neither person would hear their conversation clearly). If you must make or take a call excuse yourself first "sorry, I have to take this/make a quick call". Also, if your having lunch with someone, don't carry one a text message conversation at the same time. If you get a text message check it, but if you'd rather carry on a conversation via texts, perhaps you shouldn't be sitting with actual humans.

Were there any improvements this year? Obama took office and I moved into my first apartment. I suppose that is it.

Now that all of that is out of the way, on to my goals and resolutions for the year. This year I intend to take steps that will help me get into the field I want to work in. If that involves moving, I mean to get a dog.

As to resolutions, um, how about I try to get out more and be more positive?
Stress less. Its important to make resolutions that you probably won't keep.
Continue to find ways to cut down on my carbon and ecological foot print.
Cut down on the amount of plastics I use by buying things that are biodegradable, recyclable and preferably made from recycled materials.
Use my purchasing power wisely by buying things that are sustainably made and with a fair wage being earned by those who make it.

which is more important? i.e. which would you choose at the exclusion of the other?