Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup

"Summer Solstice" vegetable soup with garlic cheese bread

I’ve recently found out that onions are generally a bad idea for me.  If I don’t want to end up having certain health issues that I won’t discuss here, I need to generally avoid them like the plague.

To say the least, this has really put a cramp in my cooking-style.

Almost every recipe out there involves onions of some description or another. Sliced, diced, chopped, minced, pureed… somehow, it’s present in everything from soups and stews to burgers and meatloaf. What’s an onion-avoiding girl to do??

With the recent rainstorms and cooler summer weather, I’ve found myself craving a good, hearty, warming soup. Yes, soup in the summer — I’m not crazy, I promise! But again: soup = onions. Right? Well, not exactly. I’ve found  that I have no adverse effects from onion powder. There’s hope yet! Based on this and wanting to get something equally tasty and nutritious into me, I went out to buy some veggies I haven’t had in recent days: cabbage  and sweet potatoes.

Sure, I’ve got potatoes in my pantry but the  sweet potatoes are generally so much better for you and they just have a different taste. So, today, after I had gotten up from a short afternoon nap, I started chopping and slicing and  whipped up this yummy little number. I’ve dubbed it Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup because I created it on the Summer Solstice and the flavours are warming without being “spicy”. Feel free to play with the seasonings to make it more to your taste, but  I have to say that this turned out better than I originally imaged!

This also makes a huuuuuuuuuge pot of soup/stew, so feel free  to cut these measurements in half to make a dutch oven’s worth of soup. This one took my large stewing pot, just as a warning.  (See the end of this posting to see the “leftovers” after hubby and I both had two full bowlfuls!) Also, this was an instant hit with my hubby, though there was no meat in the soup. Woo! Here’s what I did…

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A little extra work goes a long way: Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Sandwiches

Pesto stuffed chicken sandwich on a six inch whole wheat sub bun

Every now and then, I crave a good sandwich. But since I’ve pretty much sworn off of most deli meats due to the high sodium levels, I’ve not had many sandwiches as of late. We had some chicken in the fridge a couple of weeks ago, so I looked in the cupboards to see what I could do. I could just make a sliced chicken sandwich, a grilled cheese with chicken on it or even a chicken salad sandwich, but I’m not a huge fan of that last one, either. But all of these had me thinking, “Ho, hum, boring.”

Even a Chicken Club sandwich wasn’t giving me much excitement.

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Mom’s “Hamburger Hash (stew)”, made my way

hamburger-hash-stew

This one’s an old family favourite for me. It’s one that we had very frequently as kids and I always looked forward to it. It wasn’t until recently that I said my mom, “Remember when you used to make hamburger hash for us? I used to love that and haven’t had it in years!” My mom told me she had, ironically, just made it a few days prior. So I asked her, “How do you make it??” I said, “Do you first brown the meat–?” She cut me off and said, “Oh, god no! That’s too much work!” or something very similar. She told me how she did it all those years ago and now I’m going to share with you how I made it recently for my hubby and myself.

Oh, but wait. What is hamburger hash, you ask? Oh! It’s not like a breakfast hash made with potatoes. It’s more like a ground beef stew that’s poured over mashed potatoes. When I was a kid, it was made with onion and ground beef and was in a really thick gravy. I imagine it was a favoured dish because it was relatively cheap and easy to make — which of course made it really easy to feed a family of four on a budget and without having to spend hours in the kitchen. Here’s what I did…

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Low-carb adventures: bacon cheeseburger soup

A bowl of bacon cheeseburger soup topped with shredded lettuceI think all the rain we got over the beginning of the month got me searching for comfort foods and I’m still on that kick. I’ve been craving cheeseburgers. Bacon cheeseburgers. But I’ve been avoiding buns and bread for obvious reasons. So, why not make a soup with all the familiar flavours of a bacon cheeseburger? Here’s what I threw together in a pot:

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Low-carb adventures: cauliflower for breakfast!

A baked patty made out of mashed cauliflower topped with a dollop of ketchup.

This endeavour to make healthier meal choices has really opened up a lot of new foods for me. One thing I’ve discovered is that I really enjoy cauliflower. I used to prefer broccoli, but now I’m finding that I prefer cauliflower. I love both, however! But this story is about cauliflower, so let’s focus on that.

Earlier in the week, I had made up a pureed curried cauliflower soup, as well as some garlic/lemon roasted cauliflower for a different meal. They both needed to get used up and I was looking for an alternate to the potato hash I used to make for brunch for hubby and I on the weekends. I still wanted something similar to potatoes and had even considered some kind of potato/tuna patty, so that I wouldn’t get so much potato. You see, I love potatoes, but I know they’re not ‘the best’ food to have a lot of. So I had heard you could mash up cauliflower like potatoes, so I got cracking and ended up experimenting. Here’s what I did…

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Too hot to bake? Try microwaving! Apple-raisin-cinnamon nuked muffin.

A white rectangular plate holds an apple-cinnamon muffin which has been baked in a cup in the microwave.It’s been too hot to cook, too hot to bake, but I’ve had a craving for muffins. So of course, I went scouring through search after search, just making myself more and more hungry, until I stumbled across a recipe called “Blueberry Muffin for One”, which gave baking instructions for both the conventional oven, as well as the microwave!

I didn’t have all of the same ingredients, so I played around with it a bit and substituted some things out with what I actually had. Here are the results… Continue reading

Chicken schnitzel? Yes please!

A bowl of egg noodles with peas, tomatoes, green onions & red peppers sits in front of a plate with a piece of chicken schnitzel.I have a confession to make: I love chicken schnitzel. I love it, I love it, I love it. It is so tasty. But this does not mean that I get to actually eat it very often.

The last time I ate it was the last time I was at a German restaurant. And that was back when there was actually snow on the ground, so it’s been many, many moons.

Surprisingly enough, I had never made schnitzel, myself. I thought, for some reason, that it was a really tough dish to make and that I wouldn’t get the knack or do it justice. After watching the Food Network over time, I have learned this is not so.

And since hubby had picked me up a meat tenderizer at one point, I thought this week I’d try my hand at it. I only wish that I had a third hand to take pictures, because this was so incredibly easy that I want the world to know and have everyone make their own because it is just so darned yummy. Continue reading