The fall weather is well under swing. But honestly, I don’t need sweater weather to justify making a soup. Soup is a staple around here because it is so gosh dang easy to make on a week day. It counts as an entire meal when all you really did was a make main dish. And with three kids, a full time job, and a husband who thinks he’s done the dishes when he actually only washed 3/4 of the dirty dishes, soup wins.
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 carrots, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounce sizes)
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
6 basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream (can sub for half/half if need be)
handful of croutons per bowl
Grab your big old soup pot and melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add in the carrots and onions and cook until the onions get see-through (about 5ish minutes).
Add in tomatoes, bay leaves, olive oil, salt, pepper, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer (classic soup makin’ move).
Cook uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the carrots are soft, toss in the basil and grab your immersion blender.
Blend until the soup is smooth and no large chunks remain. Be careful not to blend those bay leaves. You can take them out if you want. But if so, put them back in once you are done blending. Because someone needs those leaves to find their way to their bowls so they get good luck.
Add in the cream and stir.
Ladle into a bowl and top with croutons. If you got a bay leaf in your bowl, you get good luck!
I have a handful of recipes that I am confident they will wow. The recipe that I have a solid grasp on how to make and what to modify to cater to whoever is joining us for dinner. This is one of those meals. When you make it, this is what will happen. Your guest will devour the meal. But after a first couple of spoonfuls, they will look at you and remark, “what is that spice? This is so good, but I cannot place these flavors.”
At this point, you have a couple options. Make them guess (they will probably say curry and you will laugh and shake your head). Say you’ll never tell. Or reveal it is cinnamon, ginger, and cumin. And that this combination smells and tastes heavenly.
But the point is, this is a great soup. It’s easy to make. It’ll impress whoever is at your dinner table. But most importantly, it’s gosh dang delicious.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
4 carrots, coined
3 celery ribs, sliced
1 sweet potato, cubed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 dashes cinnamon
2 dashes ginger
2 bay leaves
2 cups red lentils
2 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
6-7 cups of vegetable broth (can sub out for water)
1 cup white wine (but can sub with more broth or water)
1 cup kale, long shredded (can sub in spinach)
lime juice (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Add olive oil to large pot and heat on medium heat. Toss in onions. Once the onions start to get soft, add in carrots and celery. Add in sweet potatoes and continue to stir periodically.
As vegetables get soft, add in garlic. Once garlic starts to get fragrant, mix in cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and bay leaves. Add in lentils, dates, and liquid (broth/wine/water).
Bring to boil. Then reduce heat to slow, bring to a simmer, and cover.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Once the lentils are cooked, add in kale. Stir until cooked.
Remove from heat and pour into bowls. In each bowl, top with cilantro. Squeeze a bit of lime juice into your bowl. Top with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
Simple ingredients always seem to make the best meal. Just let the natural flavors of the real food stand out on its own. That is why I love this soup. The list of ingredients is minimal. There is not much to do it. But the soup has so much flavor and texture. And you are not stuck to the same taste palate. You can top the soup with so many different options to mix it up, all while staying true to the base flavor. This is my new favorite soup.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Pesto, a spoonful per bowl (very much recommend!)
French’s fried onions
Heat olive oil to medium size pot. Add in onions and garlic and cook until soft.
Add in beans and broth. Take an immersion blender to blend until beans are chopped up. Add in red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover and let cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring periodically.
Ladle into bowl. Top with optional toppings and add salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is the absolute best. It is so easy to make. Most people have the ingredients they need on hand in the fridge or pantry already (or you can sub out fairly easily). And it is a fresh take on soups because that Frank’s Red Hot brings the soup to an entirely different level. I love it.
I modified this recipe from an Instagramer that Matt and I met in Italy. We were eating at the same restaurant and had some small talk about posting on Instagram. She was very kind and expressed how she was on her way to being an influencer. And I was a jerk. There is no way to reframe this encounter to make me look good. I was dismissive about her being an influencer for literally no good reason. Which is additionally shitty given my husband is a freaking influencer. And ever since, I look back on that encounter and feel so shameful about how I acted. I was a jerk.
But jokes on me. The next day I realized I was so insensitive and followed her and saw that her posts were legit. I felt so stupid, and I sincerely think about it at least once a month. I am sure my terrible self rolled off her back and she probably has no memory of it. And she has blown up as an influencer. She has some seriously awesome content. Her photos are creative. Her podcast is genuinely helpful for people wanting to get into content creating. She is killing it. What a good, freaking example of not letting the haters get to you!
So yeah, me being a shitty person is how I found this recipe. Be better than me and support someone’s dream from the outset. Not after you feel terrible the next day when you realize you were an absolute ass. But if you are like me, and you realize you were a jerk to someone, support the hell out of them. They deserve it.
1 pound ground chicken
4 stalks celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz chicken broth
1/4-1/2 cup French’s Red Hot
1 can Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 packet Ranch dressing package
8 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
Toss ground chicken into large pot and cook until browned. Add dashes salt and pepper and garlic.
Add in remaining ingredients, except for cream cheese. Bring to boil.
Once boiling, add cream cheese. Cut cream cheese into 1 inch cubes, as they melt easier.
Traditions. If I could sum up November and December in one word, it would be traditions. We have traditions for how we celebrate Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve. All of it. Each day has been specifically calculated to include rituals we have done for years and years. Molding my family’s traditions, with Matt’s family’s traditions, with our own hybrid traditions. I love it. It feels like it is part of what defines what it means to be part of our family. To know, celebrate, understand these traditions means you are a Cremona/Watson.
And after Thanksgiving, we use the leftover ham to make split pea soup (yes, we always have turkey and ham at Thanksgiving). That is this soup. After spending an entire day stuffing our faces with turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie, we stock up on Black Friday deals and make this soup. There is something so comforting about dipping a chunk of crusty bread into this soup as we flip through the big box ads with my sister, dad, and sister-in-law. It’s part of the Cremona/Watson family Thanksgiving weekend. Just doesn’t feel like the holiday without it.
You guys, I am 7 months pregnant with my third baby. How are we already only two(ish) months away from becoming a family of five?!?! We are anything but prepared. Our house only has two bedrooms so we haven’t had to put together a nursery since JR was born. Poor Maxie never got his own room (his crib is in our room, and JR and Max share a closet and dresser). So while we don’t have to worry about designing a nursery, it also means we have no where to put the baby’s clothes or diapers or really anything. Hence why we still need to prepare for Toastie Three’s arrival.
But the lack of preparation has no correlation to my level of anticipation for the baby’s arrival. I am really looking forward to having an infant again. Sure, there is less sleep, and I can only imagine that having three babies v. two babies will have it’s own challenges. But my maternity leaves have always been so much fun.
I have heard multiple mothers say they found maternity leave to be isolating and lonely. Typically, her husband has no more than a week or two of time off after the baby is born. Once the father goes back to work, it is just the mom and the baby alone for a huge chunk of the day. Sometimes the mom has no time to grab a shower or a solid meal since there is no one to help watch the baby and so many babies won’t sleep unless they are being held. I am lucky to have had quite the opposite experience. Since Matt works at home, we spend so much time together as a family. We eat every meal together. Our day starts with Matt making us pancakes for breakfast (because who wants to lose baby weight). While Matt will head to the basement or workshop after breakfast, he joins us for lunch and frequently stops up to say hi throughout the day. I’ve never gone a day without showering, brushing my teeth, or putting on make-up because Matt is happy to take a break throughout the day to help out when needed. And by 6:00 p.m., we are all sitting down together for dinner. Both maternity leaves were so rejuvenating, and I am really looking forward to soaking up the extra family time while we adjust to a family of five.
Still, knowing we will soon have three kids sounds more than just a little overwhelming. And while I know I have Matt to help throughout the day, he does have to work and we have to respect working hours. Ideally, I want to be able to cook dinner and watch the three kids while Matt works. So I’ve been trying to find easy recipes that do not require too many steps. Finding meals that can be made in one pot is even better. Less dishes sounds lovely (for Matt–he is the dish washer in the family).
This soup will likely make a reappearance once the baby arrives. Beyond chopping up vegetables, it consists of just dumping everything into one pot and letting it cook. Also, I love love love cooked cabbage, and the boys always finish their bowls whenever I make it. So it’s a win win.
Remember picture day back in high school? It was such a big ordeal. Picking out the perfect outfit, applying gobs of makeup, and finding a hair-style that’s just right. Yes, very similar to Goldilock’s adventure. Unfortunately for me, every year my pictures turned out the same. Eyes mid-blink. Uncomfortable smile. Messy hair.
Today, we had picture day at work. Well, kinda. See, our firm hired two new employees who needed photos for our website. Since the photographer was already going to be around taking their pictures, I thought, “hey, this is a great opportunity for me to get a better picture.” Maybe I can just sneak in and get a new pic. [no worries. I got the thumbs up from our marketing coordinator].
Why did I need a new picture you ask? Yeah–I’m not the most photographic of individuals. It wasn’t my best work. Meaning I’m that girl who has been complaining about her work picture ever since it was taken.
Today was the third time I’ve had my picture professionally taken for work. Move over, Beyonce. There’s a new diva running this town. But, channeling my inner celebrity paid off. I got to look at my new work pictures, and while I won’t be auditioning for America’s Next Top Model anytime soon, I no longer looked frazzled.
Photographing soup has always been a bit of a challenge for me. If it isn’t full of chunky ingredients, a creamy soup looks bland. What I should do is buy some cute, unique bowls from Goodwill to jazz it up. But its so easy to get lazy when it comes laying out colorful and eye-catching backdrops for my website. Thankfully, this recipe is full of delicious chunky ingredients, so my fiestaware bowls sufficed. This spicy soup was delicious, easy to make, and can be ready in twenty minutes. The perfect meal after a long day of work!
It’s that time of the year where everyone is either sick, getting over a sickness, or is about to be sick. No gusta. This sickness cloud sat over our house for a couple days last week. Matt couldn’t get out of bed. I went home from work early (a true sign of sickness–I’ve never called in sick or went home early from work since I was 16). Now that we can stomach food again, I had the urge to make some comfort food.
With my health back, I was ready for a challenge. I’ve been wanting to make homemade tomato pesto soup for quite some time after having a delicious tomato pesto at Crave, a local restaurant. And this recipe not only met my expectations, it surpassed it. To my surprise, this recipe isn’t as challenging as I thought it was going to be. Sure, there are multiple steps. You need a hand blender. And lots of tomatoes. But most of the work involving waiting rather than mincing and chopping.
Honestly, this soup may be the best thing I’ve made thus far. It tasted like Italy. So natural, fresh, and basily. Perfect. I couldn’t stop bragging about it. I texted pictures to family and friends. Blabbed about it at work. But it was so fucking good.
Ok, enough of my shameless face shoving. Go make your own batch so you can do the same!
Matt has always been a huge soup person. Me, not so much. Since I’ve never been a soup connoisseur, I called in the reinforcements. My good friends Kelsey and Glenna came over for dinner to give me their honest opinion on this soup. They gave it two thumbs up. And I must say, after this recipe, I might be a convert.