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Winter Tomato Soup

Jan 19 2014 030 Edited Winter Tomato Soup

In the thick of awards season, do you find yourself imagining your acceptance speech when you accept your Golden Globe/Grammy/Oscar? Come on, you know you do. I tried to imagine mine the other day, but all I could come up with is thank you.

Seems like I should have more to say, but thank you says it all. Those two little words express I am grateful, I am appreciative, and I recognize I had some help along the way.

I am never going to win an award. Nevertheless, I would still like to say, to whoever is reading this and whenever you are reading it, “Thank you.”

Seriously, I read one of my old blog posts tonight and thought, “Oh my, this is really terrible.” As in, I just kept yapping without really saying anything that anyone could have construed as useful or interesting or remotely entertaining.

Jan 19 2014 023 Edited Winter Tomato Soup

Somewhat appalled by my unsophisticated style, it was only natural to think I owed a debt of gratitude for anyone who reads anything on this blog. The fact that people who are not obligated to me through blood or life-long friendships have read these posts from the start or who, equally shocking,  looked at a terrible old post and then came back to read more is truly something that deserves a shout out now and then.

And on second thought, I take back what I said about never winning an award. My first year of blog posts is probably worthy of the blog-equivalent of a Razzie. I imagine that sort of acceptance speech involves ducking quite a few tomatoes thrown my way.

No worries; I’m food blogger! I’ll just take those tomatoes and make this winter tomato soup. Enjoy!

Jan 19 2014 027 Edited Winter Tomato Soup


Winter Tomato Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounce each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft, about five minutes.
  3. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, chipotle in adobo, basil and bay leaf.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and search for and remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the saucepan, or transfer the mixture to a stand blender or food processor to puree. If using one of the latter, allow the soup to cool to room temperature before pureeing, then return the pureed soup to the pot.
  6. Stir in the milk and the Greek yogurt, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve warm.
I substituted 2 tablespoons of chipotle in adobo for 2 tablespoons of tomato paste called for in the original recipe. I simply scooped out 2 tablespoons from the canned chipotle in adobo, which included both chipotles and the adobo sauce. You may also use dried thyme in place of the dried basil.


What the Kale Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 13 1013 053 Edited What the Kale Chocolate Chip Cookies

How are everyone’s “eat healthier” resolutions holding up? Mine were going along great until I downed an entire box of Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel Delights) today.

Yep, an entire box. 15 cookies at approximately 70 calories each. I can’t bring myself to go any further with the math.

Am I proud of my behavior? Can’t say that I am. Disappointed in myself? Somewhat (but not all that much, truth be told). Fully sated? You betcha.

Did I think eating 15 cookies was a good idea? Not particularly. But it was not nearly as bad an idea as baking kale into chocolate chip cookies.

January 13 1013 036 Edited What the Kale Chocolate Chip Cookies

Traveling even further down the sad path that leads to these cookies, the recipe is not even something that my half-cracked brain thought up. I found it in an actual cookbook.

People with the power to publish books forgot that with great power, comes great responsibility, and they allowed this to happen.

Were the cookies good? I ate them. Not that my behavior should be indicative of anything remotely akin to a good idea.

Kale and cookies. Is this quirky gone too far? A time-saving two-in-one gone terribly, drastically wrong? I mean, really. What’s next?

January 13 1013 038 Edited What the Kale Chocolate Chip Cookies

Are we supposed to let the cookies we do not eat go stale, and then bake them up a second time to make chocolate chip cookie croutons for our kale salads?

If one must mix greens and sweets, eat a kale salad and then have a normal, standard, regular, all-things-generic chocolate chip cookie for dessert.

All joking aside, I actually think this recipe would yield a solid chocolate chip cookie – minus the kale, of course.

Who knows? You may try them and give them a “Kale, yeah!” review. Me? I’m sticking with my, “Oh, kale no.” Enjoy!

January 13 1013 063 Edited What the Kale Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Kale Cookies
  • 1¼ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup kale leaves, torn and packed
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Stir the flour, oats, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the brown sugar and butter together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the molasses and the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  4. Next add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Pulse the kale in a food processor until it is finely chopped (but not pureed). Fold the tiny kale bits into the cookie dough along with the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes until the cookies are firm around the edges but slightly soft in the center.


Butternut Squash Dip

Jan 19 2014 053 Edited Butternut Squash Dip

Week 12 of 12 has arrived. I chose a butternut squash dip for my 12 Weeks of Winter Squash finale, picking the recipe with a thought along the lines of “this will be quaint.”

I did not expect to love it, but I do. My love for it runs so deep that saying it took me by surprise is an understatement. I was actually shocked by love for it.

I maintained a semblance of control and served it with roasted carrots and parsnips (I also forgot how much I love roasted parsnips) and a few pita chips. But really, I wanted to dip potato chips in it or slather it on a sandwich like pimento cheese.

Jan 19 2014 037 Edited Butternut Squash Dip

I have never been a fan saying that something is so good I want to stick my face in it. I simply can not get over the image of that mess and the idea of food stuck in my eyelashes or stuffed up my nose. However, this dip comes close to making me use that phrase.

I do not wish to stick my face in it, but I would be willing to figure out a way to turn it into a facial mask.

Although I jumped in at week 4, I appreciated having this project to hold me accountable to this space at least once a week. I enjoyed getting to know some other bloggers and seeing their creative recipes. I hope you will check out their creations and find some that make the rest of winter a little tastier. Enjoy!

Jan 19 2014 056 Edited Butternut Squash Dip

Butternut Squash Dip
Serves: 2½ cups
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling if desired
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and garlic and season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Distribute evenly across a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
  3. When roasted and cool enough to handle, transfer the butternut squash into a food processor.
  4. Add the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
  5. Puree until smooth, adding a bit of water if the dip is too thick for your liking. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil if desired.
  6. Serve at room temperature with roasted root vegetables, pita chips or any food of your choice.
I used minced garlic from the jar, but the original recipe called for roasting one head of garlic. Here’s how: Cut 1 inch off the top of the garlic head and place it on a piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap it tightly. Roast the garlic along with squash, but allow it to sit in the oven for about 1 hour instead of 35 to 40 minutes. The garlic should be soft when done. Allow it to cool, then squeeze the cloves from their skins into the food processor along with the other ingredients.

Not sure where to find tahini paste? At my store, it is located next to the peanut butter.