Pesto bean soup

This is a simple and tasty soup. I am a big fan of broth based soups as they are filling, generally low-calorie and a great starter/side for meals.

I made this after having some left over pesto from a shrimp pesto pasta that I had made. I found this recipe on the Food Network website when looking for pesto recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

Saute garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until garlic is fragrant.

Add cannellini beans and one cup water. Simmer until thick, about 10 minutes.

Add in pesto and Parmesan cheese. Stir well.

Add vegetable broth and celery and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Stir in olives and peppers.

Serve hot.

This soup would be great with some crusty bread.

Activity in the kitchen

I finally really got back in the kitchen tonight…and it felt good. We have been eating out a lot lately. I’ve been in a cooking funk and haven’t been feeling creative or inspired.

After spending a few hours in there and preparing meals for the week, I’m excited about the food I made.

I broiled some mushrooms to use as a side. Made the fillings for vegetarian tofu and black bean fajitas, a pot of brown rice to mix in dishes later in the week and a pot of potato tomato leek soup.

Looking forward to blogging soon, but now I must finish up the soup!

Adjustments

First of all, my apologies for the lack of blogging lately. I have been cooking, not a whole lot of new stuff, but I do have a few recipes to be putting up soon.

Since I switched jobs in the middle of January, I have been adjusting to my new schedule. Since I am getting home later in the evening I have much less time to get things done. I have been trying to focus on fitness more, which has taken away from my blogging time. After my run today, I decided that I needed to sit down at my computer and put out an apology for my absenteeism.

While sitting down to blog, I opened up my new Coco Exposed drink to hydrate. Earlier this year, I discovered a great site called Vitacost. Vitacost has tons of health foods, vitamins, teas…all sorts of things at a decent discount. They also have an awesome rewards program that if you refer someone and they make an order, they get $10 off and you get a voucher for $10 to use in the future(if you find things you would like to order, send me your email and I will gladly refer you). Awesome.

So I ordered a bottle of Coco Exposed pure coconut water and real aloe vera with wheatgrass. Oh my goodness! It might be the most amazing thing I have ever drank. It has pure young coconut water, real aloe vera juice and pulp with a 1oz shot of wheat grass  in a 11.8oz bottle. I must find out where I can buy it locally or order some immediately!

Chickpea salad aka faux Tuna salad

This is a great tangy and crunchy salad that you can use in wraps for topping on a salad. It is very filling and full of fiber and protein.

Adapted from Oh She Glows.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, lightly mashed
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 chopped dill pickle
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon regular mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put chickpeas in a large bowl and lightly mash.

Add in all other ingredients.

Stir until combined.

Use in wraps or on top salads.

This is a very healthy and easy lunch to make that travels well. It’s also ridiculously inexpensive. It probably cost $2 today to make it.

Adventures in the Pacific Northwest

Did you think I only had food related adventure while in the Pacific Northwest? Well, I didn’t.

Upon arrival at our gracious guest’s place, we had water at the bedside and posh toiletries on our pillows.

After a night of fine dining and shaking our asses in the bars, we headed up into the mountains for some snow shoeing. Our trek was powered by some amazing homemade granola bars made by Jeremiah. I want one right now just thinking about them. Yummm.

On the way to our trail of choice, we hit a little bump in the road. Really, where was our sense of adventure?

So we turned around, found another trail. Here, I got to use my first Honey Bucket…

Then we were on our happy way where we snowshoed(or is it snowshod?) over this bridge. The snow was so packed on it that we were walking above where the handrails were. A bit scary at first…

But we had to cross it, so we could get down by the water’s edge. Snow shoes were removed…

And snow was rolled…

Until a 6’5″ snowman was built…

After some more snow shoeing we drove to Snoqualmie Falls and took in a magnificent waterfall.

Then headed back to the city to take in the most iconic view of Seattle.

On Sunday we headed to the market, where I was in Heaven.

We bought a whole Rockfish.

And made a magnificent feast of a dinner out of ‘Ole Rocky(post coming soon). While we were there, Aaron caught a fish.

The crowd loved it!

On the way back , this woman in the airport couldn’t believe that you couldn’t take your Starbucks through security. So, she put all of her stuff on the best to go through, then sat down to enjoy her drink while the line was held up. It was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen in airport security.

It was an amazing trip with tons of adventure and fun. I’m fortunate to have such great friends…that live in great places to visit!

 

Green smoothie break

Today at work we took a mid-morning break to make green smoothies.

They were awesome and I think we convinced a few more people that while they may look scary, they taste awesome!

We used a combo of super greens food, fresh spinach, banana, frozen blueberries, cultured coconut milk and avocado. So creamy and delicious.

Social appetizer

While in Seattle, I was introduced to my new favorite appetizer.

Steamed artichoke.

It’s such a sophisticated and social appetizer that is extremely easy to prepare, if you have the time. Aaron made one for us before dinner on Sunday with a frost tipped artichoke from the market. We hadn’t heard of frost tipped artichokes(as noted by the brownish tips) before, but the man promised up that it would be more flavorful than your average artichoke and that they are only available during limited times throughout the year. It had an extremely nutty and delicious flavor.

Mel and I were so impressed by the artichoke that upon returning home and having my friend Katie over for dinner, we decided to make it a second night in a row. This artichoke was not frost tipped, but bought at the local grocery store and was far less flavorful than the one we had in Seattle.

To make:

Cut the sharp tips off the leaves of the artichoke. Steam on the stove top for 40-50 minutes. While it is steaming, melt a little butter in a bowl for dipping. I added some garlic and pepper to the butter, which gave it nice flavor.

When the ‘choke is done steaming, place it in a bowl and set it out for guests to pull off one leaf at a time and dip in butter. Eat the white, meaty part at the end that was connected to the heart of the ‘choke. The outer most leaves will have very little “meat” on the end to eat with more as you get towards the center.

Discard leaf in spare bowl. Continue pulling and dipping.

Seattle’s tastiest bites

After a long weekend trip to Seattle that involved lots of eating I’m going to share some of the tastiest things I ate.

On my first night in Seattle we ate at Terra Plata and ordered about one of every dish on the menu. Everything was amazing. The three things that probably stood out the most were the fennel crusted tuna, the maple brussels sprouts that were charred on the outside and caramelized to perfection and the marrow. I had never had marrow before and was quite frightened to try it, but it was absolutely delightful.

Jeremiah showing his love for the marrow:

Sunday morning we got a dozen of Seattle’s famous Top Pot doughnuts and shared so we could get a good variety. We then had a voting system to determine the best one. The winner was the bullseye, then the best apple fritter any of us had ever had, followed by the old-fashioned glazed. Insanely fresh and full of flavor.

After digesting our doughnuts we went for a late lunch at Skillet Diner. They are known for their brunch and fried chicken. Not being a huge fan of fried chicken, I decided that I would try theirs. I got the kale caesar salad with a fried chicken thigh. Holy cow. This may have been the best salad I have ever eaten. The fried chicken was really good, too. Nice and crispy on the outside and there were caraway seeds in the batter which added an amazing layer of flavor. Can you tell that I liked it?

And for a late night bite? I would recommend trying Po Dogs, where you can get just about any kind of hot dog you’d like. Jeremiah and I split a Philly dog that had cream cheese and scallions on top.

After reliving much of what I ate over the last few days, I see a lot of running in my near future. If you are ever in Seattle, give these places a try. You won’t regret it.