Chorizo Butternut Black Bean Soup

How’s that for a title, eh?!  And that isn’t even mentioning the leek, or cabbage, or garlic…this soup is just CRAMMED with good stuff.

 

This soup also makes me laugh.  You want to know why?  Well…it came out of this beautiful book (I don’t think I’ve showed you this one yet, also from my favorite store 5 Below…which means I probably paid $4 for the thing!)

 

100 Best Fresh Soups

(If you are interested in it and don’t have a 5 Below, it’s on Amazon, I just checked!)

Anyways, back to my laughing…you see, I SAY this recipe came out of that book…but it was originally Sausage and Red Cabbage Soup…with potatoes and black eyed peas and cream…

Then one thing led to another…and now it is nothing like the original!  But I must still give credit, because this beautiful soup never would have happened without the inspiration of this lovely little book!

It started with the potatoes… Mr. Rodgers can’t have potatoes!  My first thought was “Well, I can just use sweet potatoes…wait!  Mr. Rodgers can’t have sweet potatoes either…what is kind of like a sweet potato???  Butternut squash!  We’ll try that.”  Step one in the transformation.

Then came the black eyed peas.  They are probably fine…but the husband has a specific list of what beans/legumes he can and cannot have…some are “eat every chance you get,” like black beans.  Some are “in moderation,” like chick peas.  So I just wasn’t sure about the black eyed peas, I’d hate to make something he couldn’t eat, or would be a bit of a compromise.  So I decided what the heck, I have a pantry full of black beans, we’ll use those instead.

Then I went to 3 or 4 stores looking for sausages without sugar or corn syrup or dextrose…NOTHING!  So annoying!!  But I grabbed some chorizo for a meatloaf recipe I will make later…NO SUGAR!  Hmmmm…I’ll use that for my soup too!

Then I went to add my almond milk instead of cream…and it was expired.  I guess this will be a brothy soup.

And there you have it.  Soup transformation.  I was so nervous because of all the changes…but this soup was BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t even describe how great the flavors worked together, and how comforting it was!  And I have to tell you…the day I made this was just the best day ever!!  I will tell you more about it in my pictures!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Leek, Sliced (I had never used a leek before!  Life changing!  YouTube will show you how to cut them if its your first time!)
  • 6 C Chicken Stock
  • 1 Small Butternut Squash, Cubed (About 1 lb)
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo (or more…it was enough, but I might add more if I make it again to be more “paleo”)
  • 1/4 Large Red Cabbage, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it!

Note:  I used the chorizo in a way I am sure it was not intended, but I loved the outcome!  If you prefer to use it as a ground meat, feel free to brown it up before hand and add it back in right before the broth!  I wanted larger bites of meat, so I cooked it like you would a dumpling….and it worked!  I was so excited!!

  1. Prep all your veggies!  It’s easiest to have them all ready in bowls so you can dump as you go…but if you prefer to chop as you go that’s up to you!
  2. Melt your oil/butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes, until starting to get tender
  3. Add the leek and cook another 3 minutes or so.  Doesn’t it smell good?!
  4. Stir in the broth, add the butternut squash.  Now comes my crazy chorizo cooking method.  Since it came in a tubular shape, I cut it into small bite sized pieces and dropped it into the soup like dumplings and let it boil!  And it worked!  I was left with little chorizo bites throughout the soup!  Yay!!  Some oil from the chorizo will rise to the top of the soup…if this bothers you, use a spoon to remove it!  I left it though and it was perfectly fine.
  5. Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Stir in your red cabbage and black beans and cook 5-10 more minutes until the cabbage is starting to get tender.  Check your squash and make sure it is tender (but preferably not falling apart).  Spoon into bowls and top with some fresh cracked pepper!!

 

 

Peectures!

 

Chorizo Soup 1

The great gathering of the ingredients!

Chorizo Soup 2

Prepped and ready!

Chorizo Soup 3

Sauté onions and garlic for 3 minutes, add leeks and repeat!

Chorizo Soup 4

Add broth…

Chorizo Soup 5

If you’re curious, this is how I cut my chorizo…just little bite size pieces…

Chorizo Soup 6

Add squash and chorizo and simmer for 20-25 minutes…

Chorizo Soup 7

Look at that beautiful color that comes from the chorizo!  Since I had never used it I did a little research, and that red color is from the peppers they use!

Chorizo Soup 8

Add cabbage and black beans, gently stir in, and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but the squash is not falling apart.

Chorizo Soup 9

Bam!  Scoop into bowls and serve!

Chorizo Soup 10

See my little chorizo meat balls?  Delicious!!

Chorizo Soup 11

I was so pleased with how the flavors played off each other…not to mention all the great textures!

Chorizo Soup 12

Yummy.  I’m sad it’s gone now.  Didn’t last long.

 

 

And now you get to see why I had the best day ever.  You know the first part…I adapted a recipe, took lots of risks, and it was successful!!  Great feeling already!!  Not only that, but I had been instructed to sleep in by my fabulous husband so I felt rested (it’s amazing you should try it!).  Then the sun came out and I got to lay in the grass near my flower bed, eat yummy soup, and spend time with my sweet Jesus.  Lately I have really been trying to cut back on the movies and tv shows, and spend more time just “be-ing.”  Having real moments, be they productive moments, thoughtful moments, “connected with others” moments (I’m bad at that one, Lord help me!),  prayerful moments…let me tell you, it’s only been a few days, and already I notice a difference.  My home is full of peace when I focus on abstaining from distractions and instead just “being.”  You guys should try it.  Aim for moments like these:

 

Chorizo Soup 13

I don’t know why I ever forget how good life can be when you stop to enjoy the weather (all kinds,) to enjoy a good hearty meal, and to talk to my Creator!!  Speaking of…wanna see some of the lovely flowers I got to enjoy on this “best day ever”?

 

Chorizo SOup 14

Pink!

Chorizo Soup 15

Stripey!  I love how full the stripey ones get!

Chorizo SOup 16

And my beautiful sunflower, the only one that has bloomed so far…she’s a survivor…broken nearly in half and still grew up from the ground and bloomed!  There’s gotta be a lesson in that!!

 

Okay, forgive me, this blog is getting way too long.  I will bid you goodnight…I hope you love my soup, and feel inspired to enjoy it in quiet, undistracted peace!!

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Fall Lentil Carrot Soup

As much as I HATE to admit that summer is coming to a close (no no no no no no nooo!), the first day of fall has been announced, and so I am determined to look at the bright side!  I will refuse to think about the impending 7 months of subzero temperatures and snow measured of feet.  Instead I will dwell on this positive point: DELICIOUS, COMFORTING FALL FOOD!  First up?  Lentil Carrot Soup!

I actually made this months ago, but have been waiting for just the right moment to post it!  The moment is now, yay!   The funny thing is, since I made this in the heat of summer, I had intended it as I side dish to accompany our main dishes for a few days.  However…it was SO delicious that both Mr. Rodgers and I gobbled it up as is, unaccompanied.  That’s gotta tell you something!

 

Side note, remember this book?

Meditteranean Frittata 1

This $4 treasure I found at an Ollie’s Outlet?  That’s where this recipe originated (with some Rodgers family tweaks of course!).  You really should go online and snag one for yourself!

 

So, enough talking!!  Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, or Grass Fed Butter
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Carrots, Shredded
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  • 2 C Lentils, rinsed
  • 8 C Chicken Broth (Or water)
  • 8 Green Onions, sliced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Prep all your veggies!
  2. Heat your oil in a large pot and dump in your veggies.  Cook and stir until they are tender.
  3. Add lentils, water (or broth), salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, probably about 10 minutes.  Add the green onion and cook for another minute or so.  And you’re done!  Just adjust as needed, and enjoy!!

 

 

Peectures!

Lentil Soup 1

Prep your veggies and start them cooking!

Lentil Soup 2

Look!  It must have been a “comfort” day for all…because these little ladies would not get more than a foot away from me!  Look how frumpy they are!  They’ve both had hair cuts since then.

Lentil Soup 3

And lentils, your liquid, salt and pepper.  Simmer until lentils are tender.

Lentil Soup 4

Add green onions…

Lentil Soup 5

Stir it all together and cook for another minute or so.

Lentil Soup 6

Lentil Soup 7

Lentil Soup 8

 

 

 

Paleo Almond Pistachio Breakfast “Granola”

I must apologize for a short stretch of silence there!  You see, my little brother….(I call him my little brother, but let’s be honest here, he’s been bigger than me since oh, fifth grade? ;))…is moving to Virginia!  And he stopped here on his way through!!  He is still here, actually.  I just decided I could take a moment to blog, because he and Mr. Rodgers are very much engrossed in a game of NFL Blitz on Nintendo 64 right now.  Yeah.  Be jealous!!  Anywho, I haven’t abandoned you my friends, I have just been spending time with the fam.  It is the most important thing in the world to me, and I haven’t seen my side for a year!!  So I’m soaking up every minute!

But here I am!  I promise I’m still cooking!!  And here is a little treat for you!  I call it breakfast, but in all honesty….the few days after I made this, it was more like breakfast granola…then mid morning snack granola…then lunch granola…then mid afternoon granola…you get the picture.  😉  I.  LOVE.  GRANOLA!  But my options are limited since most granolas have sugar…or even if they are a healthy organic brand, they are mostly oatmeal.  Which I LOVE, but definitely react to.  Sad day!  Needless to say, I was stoked when I found this Abel Jame’s recipe for “Caveman Crunch.”  I tweaked it a bit, and whabam!!  Granola is back in my life!  I want it to be in your life too, so here you go:

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 C Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/2 C Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 C Almond Flour
  • 1 C Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 C Almonds
  • 1 C Pistachios (Shelled)
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 C Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1/3-1/2 C Raw Honey (melted)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Raisins (THIS IS MY ADDITION!  I am okay with raisins, but some paleo people are not!  If you don’t want the added fruit sugar, then you can leave it out.)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325*
  2. If your almonds and pistachios are not slivered or chopped, then place them in  a food processor and pulse until a good, granola-like consistency.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (minus the raisins) in a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, combine the oil, honey, and vanilla.
  5. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.  Dump the wet ingredients over the dry and mix together till it is evenly coated.  Spread it out on your cookie sheet.  It should be in a nice thin layer.
  6. Bake in the oven until just starting to brown.  The original says 25 minutes, but mine never lasted that long.  You are cooking with honey, which burns VERY QUICKLY.  So check it often, and stir it at least once while cooking.  About 5-10 minutes before its done, sprinkle your raisins in.  Remove, let it cool, and serve however makes you happy!  I eat it in a bowl with unsweetened almond milk!  Would also be good on top of some Greek yogurt…whatever you can think up!

 

Peectures:

Granola 1

Measure out your nuts!

Granola 2

Put them in a food processor if they didn’t come slivered or chopped…

Granola 3

And whiz until you get a good “granola” texture.

Granola 5

Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl minus the raisins.

Granola 6

Stir together all your wet ingredients.

Granola 7]

Pour the wet stuff over the dry stuff and stir to coat.  Spread thinly over a foil line cookie sheet.

Granola 8

Bake at 325* until just starting to brown, stirring at least once and keeping a sharp eye out for burning!  Add raisins a few minutes before it is done.

Granola 9

Enjoy however you desire!!!

 

Avocado Salsa Featuring Persian Lime Olive Oil

I must tell you a story.  A few Mondays ago (Mondays are our day off, so always turn into a date day extravaganza!), we decided to go visit one of our favorite towns called Clayton!  Clayton is about 20 minutes away, and is right on the Saint Lawrence river, which is home to the Thousand Islands.  Yes, the Thousand Islands is a place, not just a dressing!  We stroll by the Inn where the dressing was first served all the time!

So like I said, we love Clayton!  However, it is pretty small, and there is only so much to do…so we drove there with only a little bit of concern that we would not be able to find anything new to do, and that we would end up just wandering around aimlessly.  But, our cares must have wafted up to Heaven and been heard, because we had a blast at a new place we didn’t even know was there!  If you are a foodie like me (as I am assuming you are if you are reading this blog,) you will appreciate our little mini-adventure.  Right next to the River Rat Cheese Store we always stop by (SO MANY AWESOME CHEESES!), we noticed a new store front called The 1000 Islands Cruet.  So we decided to wander in.

Quickly we were greeted by a jolly gentleman who obviously loved his business.  What was that business?!  VINEGAR AND OLIVE OIL!  Most of you probably guessed that by the “Cruet” in the title…but I had no idea what a cruet was so I thought I’d mention it for the newbs like myself.  😉  Before long we had little paper cups and bits of bread and were trying all sorts of samples…mixing this with that, nerding out about what we would use it for, and hearing endless fun facts from the owner and his wife.  It was truly really fun!  And the different flavors they had were amazing!  We were mixing things like orange infused olive oil with chocolate balsamic vinegar!  I wish I could remember more, because the possibilities were endless and so tasty!

And so, to end our adventure we decided to choose one oil to bring home that we knew we would use often.  Our final decision?  Persian Lime Olive Oil.

So.  Good.  And incredibly useful!

I wanted to share with you the first thing I used this incredible oil for!  I’ve had to step up my game before it is all out, Mr. Rodgers is loving it on his salads and I can hardly keep up!  So here is my first creation:  Avocado Salsa!  Easy enough!

This recipe came out of necessity, as I was halfway through preparing my salsa for my fish taco bowls (coming soon) and I realized I had no lime juice.  Then…LIGHTBULB. <—Please read that in Gru’s voice.  I remembered this bottle of magicalness that I had hiding on my lazy susan.

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Avocado, Diced
  • 1 Large or 2 Small Tomatoes, Diced
  • About 1/4 C Red Onion, Minced (Depending on taste, you can use more or less)
  • Good squeeze of cilantro paste, or a handful of fresh
  • 1-2 Tbsp Persian Lime Infused Olive Oil…just enough to coat everything with a limey flavor
  • Optional: A dash of red wine vinegar for an extra twang

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Dice all your veggies and toss together in a bowl.  Gently combine so your avocado doesn’t break down.
  2. Add oil, paste, and vinegar if you are using it.  Stir gently.  Taste, add salt or pepper if needed, and adjust any flavors as you desire.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

 

And that’s it!  I will soon post the beautiful dish I used this salsa with, but until then, enjoy this just as it is!  Goes great on top of meat, with chips, as a dressing for a salad…whatever your mind can think up!

 

What would you use Persian Lime infused Olive Oil for?

Lime Oil 2

Lime Oil

Fish Taco 1

Fish Taco 12

Delicioso!  Enjoy!

 

 

Absolutely Simple Honey Garlic Roasted Chicken

For real. Whole chickens are the best ever. They’re so cheap. Why did no one ever tell me how cheap a whole chicken is?!  And it will last for many meals!  AND THEY ARE SO EASY!!  This one literally has 4 ingredients.  5 if you count salt and pepper, baha!

Not to mention that it is delicious.  My mother in law kinda freaked out when she tasted it!  So…I will share it with you!  Here we go!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 6 Tbsp Grass Fed Butter, Melted
  • 3-4 T Raw Honey, Melted
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. Rinse your chicken and make sure there are no goodies in the cavity.  Pat dry.
  3. Salt and pepper your chicken generously.
  4. Mix together butter, honey, and garlic.
  5. Baste/pour butter sauce all over (and in) the chicken.
  6. Put in your oven and roast for about an hour and a half…it will depend on the size of your chicken!  Keep an eye on it because honey does burn…but you do want a little bit of darkness!  Just not a burn taste.  🙂

 

And BAM!  You’re done!  Easy peasy!!

 

Honey Chicken1

Honey Chicken 2

Honey Chicken 3

Smokey Bacon Asparagus Wraps

Yeah. Isn’t that title enough to make you drool already?! I’m drooling. Really. Two of my favorite things in the world? Asparagus. And bacon. Hallelujah!

This is a little gem from Abel James! The spice rub gives it a “barbecue” feel, the bacon adds that smokey flavor, and of course the asparagus gives you your greens! Not to mention it is probably the best vegetable. Ever. Can I get an amen?!

Whoo. Calm down Rodgers. Apparently this recipe makes me go gospel. PRAISE THE LORD! For bacon is delicious and His love never fails!! 😀

ANYWAYS! Back to the recipe! I used turkey bacon, because I am still up in arms about pork. I love pork. But does it love me? I just don’t know.

So, here’s what you need:

 

  • 1 lb Asparagus, tough ends popped off
  • 8 to 10 Slices Turkey Bacon
  • 1/2 tsp each of: sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika (optional, add a dash of chipotle chile powder for a kick!)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and cover a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Combine spice mixture in a small bowl.
  3. After your asparagus is trimmed, separate it into 8 to 10 even piles, with 4-5 pieces each.  Obviously this will depend on the size of your spears ;).
  4. Wrap the bacon around each bundle, taking care to not overlap too much, as you don’t want the bacon to be too thick or the bottom layer will not cook all the way.
  5. Lay your bundles on the baking sheet, with seam down.  Sprinkle each bundle generously with your spice rub.
  6. Slide into your preheated oven and cook for 20 or more minutes, until asparagus is tender crisp and the bacon is cooked through.
  7. Serve along side a protein and be happy!  This is most definitely a man pleaser!  Even for a man that loves vegetables like my Mr. Rodgers…they always look more alluring when wrapped in bacon, haha!!  Let me know how you like it!

 

Peectures:

Photo

Here’s my little bundles, all wrapped up and ready to go!

Photo (1)

Then they got their spices!

Photo (2)

And cooked…oh yummy!

Photo (4)

Is your mouth watering yet?

Photo (5)

It surprised me how much the spice rub acgtually did taste like barbecue!

Photo (3)

And serve with your protein!  This was with a lovely roasted chicken!  And we actually got to sit down at the dinner table together and eat!  It was amazing!!  And then Mr. Rodgers did the cutest thing!  His computer was sitting on the table, and he pulled up a video of a crackling fire place while we finished our dinner…it was so romantic!!  I hope you guys have a memory just as sweet to go with this asparagus, hehe!