Gluten- Free Ham & Potato Soup

Hi y’all! Happy New Year! I trust you all rang in the New Year with hopes renewed, a fresh set of goals and prayers for your families! I’m praying each of my readers is blessed this year!

With a new year under our belt, there will be a fresh start on my blog as well. We recently discovered Thing 2 and I have a gluten allergy. That means my posts will be gluten-free when I post about recipes. If you aren’t on a GF diet, no worries, just substitute regular items when I state GF items. I will be posting my make shift GF enchiladas without using corn tortillas before week’s end. Some of my recipes are going to be failures, and some a success. This is uncharted waters for me, but rest assured I will continue to research and bring you the best of what I can offer for GF recipes! My love gave me a brand new GF cookbook for Christmas. My Vitacost order, with the GF stuff I need to start baking again, should arrive today. I am thrilled to dive into the cookbook and truly begin discovering new ways to eat what we love GF!

Now that all of the housekeeping items are out of the way, let’s talk food. Most of the south celebrates New Years with ham, collards, black- eyed peas, and cornbread. I always have left over ham after New Years so I almost always have a ham and potato soup for supper the next day. Let’s get going and I’ll tell you the changes I made to make it GF this year!

Gluten Free ham & potato soup
1 small onion diced finely
2 celery stalks chopped
5 potatoes peeled and quartered
1 32 oz container of GF turkey stock (I found mine at Aldi)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp Kosher salt and pepper
Diced ham

I threw mine in the crockpot on low for 8 hours this morning. I will be adding some heavy cream and cheese at the end right before I serve. Enjoy!
Happy New Year!

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Hearty Vegetable Soup

I have a few quick minutes and I find myself throwing supper together on the stove. Tonight we are having vegetable soup. It wasn’t originally on my menu plan, but half our home has come down with flu-like symptoms and the other half is suffering with allergy issues. After watching everyone turn their noise up to food at lunch I decided I needed to make soup and forgo my other dinner plans.

Soup is such an easy thing to throw in the pot. Usually I go with what’s left in the fridge towards the end of a menu cycle. So today’s soup is literally what I had on hand since it wasn’t planned.

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This is a picture of my soup. I just got it to a slow simmer and it’s going to stay on a slow simmer until we eat.

What’s in the pot:

2 diced potatoes
2 stalks of celery diced
2 yellow squash
1 zucchini
3 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cabbage finely chopped so they kids will eat it
10 mini carrots diced
1 small yellow onion
1 rib
Lots of water and 4 bullion cubes
About a tbsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper

I may throw in half a cup of rice an hour before we are ready to eat.

That’s it. I made plenty to take us through the next day as we continue to spread whatever this virus is that half of us have.

Now I am off to clean up my dishes. I have 2 little ones napping, 1 lying down while playing on the iPad and 1 upstairs playing video games. It’s only a matter of minutes before someone needs my attention again 🙂

Don’t forget to enter for the 4-pack giveaway of Little Green Pouch! Contest ends Friday!

A Chili Recipe You Will Want To Try This Fall!

I was finally able to finish decorating for fall this past weekend. One of the things that I do when I start to nest is craft like crazy. I was very busy crafting some fall stuff two weekends ago with a friend. We spent the entire afternoon crafting! Don’t you love when you have friends who have the same hobbies? These are two of the four wreaths we made.

This was one of my must do’s before the baby comes. Why? Because Pinterest put it into my head that I could make one for cheaper than buying one and I really wanted one made with deco mesh so… I finally got that out of my system. Nesting is a crazy crazy thing I tell you. Wether it’s cleaning, cooking, crafting, organization,… whatever it is that get’s you going, that nesting bug will literally make you stay up all night doing it or thinking about it.

I think a house looks it’s best around fall and Christmas. There is something so heart warming about walking into a fully decorated house during the fall and winter. With the decorations comes a longing for cooler temperatures. While I am not suffering in 100 degree weather every day, I could still wish for at least 70 degree weather. Since we don’t live in Vermont (my dream one day), we will just have to pretend it’s cooler outside and bring in the fall foods regardless of the temps because that doesn’t change for us until December. One of of the first foods that I crave as soon as fall hits is chili.

Last year I posted a chili recipe that I loved to make. Well, I have a new favorite right now. This is my friend, Vickie’s chili recipe. She has given us a few recipes for this blog such as her minestrone soup and the best ever lasagna. If you have tried any of her recipes, you can attest to her great taste in food. What I love about this chili recipe is it’s creaminess. It’s thick and hearty without being too chunky. I also love that it is simple and does not call for 15 ingredients- just 6! This recipe makes a whole lotta chili. Sorry, I have been watching Swamp People. I think I have picked up some Orleans slang. Choot ’em! Yes, I am laughing at myself right now. That awkward moment when you realize you are making yourself laugh in a blog post & probably everyone reading it is wondering what’s funny about what you just typed. Back to what I was saying. I like to make this around the holidays when we have a house full of people right before Thanksgiving or Christmas. When I make it for us I just freeze the leftovers for later.

Let’s pull out the grocery list:

2 lbs of beef (or turkey)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans of bushes chili beans or kidney beans (I only use one)
2 packets of McCormick’s chili seasoning
40 oz of tomato juice

Brown your meat in large soup pot or dutch oven and add your chili packets according to the directions on your packet. Once you have done this step you can continue to make this on the stove top or throw it all in the slow cooker. Add all of the the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a slow simmer if on the stove top and let it go for at least an hour. If using your slow cooker, cook on low for 3-5 hours.

I serve this with a side of cornbread, sour cream, cheese and crackers on top! Enjoy!

Vicki’s Homemade Minestrone Soup

This is a super easy, filling soup that my friend Vicki Pauli, from Texas, gave me the recipe to. This is her creation and it’s a recipe you will want to try out. She is the same person who gave me the Best.Ever.Lasagna. Anytime she posts something and says it’s hers I usually try it out because she has never let me down. As we draw closer to fall, I know you will want to have this soup recipe in your recipe box! This recipe makes a very large batch. Large enough to feed our family of 5 twice. We froze our left overs and I am so happy we did so I could use them on a night when I didn’t want to be in a hot kitchen.
Minestrone Soup
What you need:
1 whole chicken or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 bullion cube
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1 bag of mixed veggies (I use Bird’s Eye mixed vegetables for soup found in the frozen vegetable section)
1 box of shell pasta
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
First season your chicken with salt and pepper and carefully place it in a large stock pot of boiling water. Boil your chicken until it is cooked all the way through. I usually let mine boil for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on how thawed it was and how many breasts I am cooking. Once it is cooked, remove it from the water to cool and add your bullion cube to the same pot you cooked your chicken in. While your chicken is cooling, add your crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and mixed veggies into the stock pot. Let that simmer for a bit while you shred your chicken. Then add your box of pasta and your shredded chicken to the stock pot. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Let it slow simmer until the pasta is tender and cooked. Give it one last taste test to make sure your salt and pepper ratio is ok and serve with a side of corn bread.
If you make this soup, please let me know. I know you will love it and would love to give her the feedback. Thank you Vicki for sharing once again!

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

It’s Friday! It’s been one of those weeks. I am barely keeping my head above water over here. I’m sure many of you feel my pain. Don’t you love Slow Cooked Fridays? I do! I look forward to the one day of the week that I know I have no plans to cook (really cook). I have no idea what I am going to be throwing in that slow cooker tomorrow, but, I am sure it will involve chicken and no real work for me 🙂 Speaking of, my crock- pot bit the dust at the ripe ‘ol age of 7 months. It was cracked in the bottom. I have no idea what happened to it because my last crock-pot lasted through years of cooking. I think everyone must be on a slow cooker kick with the new websites coming out about crock pots because when I went to Target to buy a new one.. they were sold. out. I ended up with this one.

Here’s my thoughts on it so far.  LOVE the automatic shut off! Great function. One I have never had before. However when it goes into the warming mode, it makes a really loud squeal that makes me jump. It sounds like our fire alarms, but not as loud. I think I will get used to it.  Other than that, I am happy.

The recipe,… still want it?

Before I just fork it over, let me say it was good. When I read the title, “Restaurant-Quality Crock-pot Tomato Soup Recipe” I knew I needed to try it. I love tomato soup and the very idea of having some fresh tomatoes simmering away quietly in my slow cooker just made me giddy.  Was it restaurant quality? YES!  The man really liked it, I of course liked it and guess who else! Thing 1 and Thing 3 ate bowls of this stuff. Thing 2 wasn’t up for even trying it. I was surprised and very pleased!

Here’s how I made it.

Restaurant- Quality Crock-pot Tomato Soup Recipe
Adapted from Stephani O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking

3 lbs of vine- ripened tomatoes
1 tbsp onion powder
2 cups of tomato juice
3 tbsp white sugar
1 chicken bullion cube
about 2 tbsp basil
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish

I got exactly 3 pounds. We did have enough soup left over to freeze a small batch.

Rub a dub dub dub, 3 lbs. of tomatoes in a tub. I use Environne to wash all of my produce (no affiliation, I just love the product!).

Once they are good and clean get them ready to quarter.

Don’t bother peeling them. Slow cooker meals aren’t supposed to be a ton of work 🙂 Quarter them and add them to your slow cooker.

Add the rest of your ingredients.

Cook it on low for 6-8 hours and let it go.

After my timer went off, I used my soup blender to help me to get it to the consistency that we enjoy. A few chunks and creamy all at the same time. I stirred in one cup of heavy cream and served it in a bowl with parmesan as garnish.

If you are a fan of tomato soup and have a slow cooker, please try it. It is as good as the stove top versions that I have tried and the best part is you start it in the morning and when you are ready to eat, it’s ready to be served.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

God bless!

Princess Themed Party Food Part One: Strawberry Soup

Birthdays are a big deal in our house. We have even thrown a party or two for half birthdays. It’s what we do. Life is a treasured thing to us so once a year I do the best I can to create a memorable day for each Thing. This year was no different. Thing 1 requested a princess themed birthday party. We did one of those two years ago so I wanted this one to be different. She’s older. She doesn’t get  a kick out of the same stuff she used to. At first, visions of tea cups, crumpets and petit sandwiches danced in my head. Then I remembered we have two boys and the man that will be in attendance. That idea, while great, shall be reserved for a special time that she and I can share and enjoy without the nuisance of clumsy boy and man hands clinging tea cups together.  Love them, but they aren’t tea party material. Plan 2. Google princess themed party foods. Oh goodness, the stuff that came up… the stuff that didn’t come up… there is a need for creativity out there for this kind of stuff. Hurry, quick, someone get creative. Since it’s almost impossible to find this stuff, I’m giving it to you all in one spot. So you have it when you need it, because if you have a girl you will- one day. Trust me. I will be doing a series of posts so I can break up the menu. First up is an item that was one of her favorites at the table, Strawberry Soup.

I happened upon this recipe, at Southern Plate, a while back. I am gathering strawberry recipes because I was/am hoping to give you a list of great strawberry recipes (to come soon) while they are in season and so cheap! This recipe is for a Strawberry Soup.

There is a restaurant in the Grand Floridan Resort at Disney that serves this soup. Y’all, it’s cold, it’s sweet, it’s creamy and it’s good!

Strawberry Soup
Adapted from  Grand Floridian’s Recipe

You only need 4 ingredients! By the way, this soup will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Heavy Whipping Cream
Sour Cream
A carton of strawberries
Sugar

First, you will want to clean and slice your strawberries. After you have done that, place them in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of sugar and walk away for about 10-20 minutes.

You want them to have a good juice around them before you start. My strawberries were really cold from my fridge so it took a bit of time for them to get that good juice.

Next add 1/3 cup sour cream, 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and your strawberries to a blender.

Blend until smooth and place back into your refrigerator to get it nice and cold again. I made this the night before the party. The man and I had one taste and had to force ourselves to stop “tasting” because it was that good. The princess LOVED this soup! She ate on it for a few days until it was gone.  This was served as a side, it could be served alone or even as a desert. This is one of those neat little treats that unless you have been to Disney and tasted this soup (or you are scrounging the internet for strawberry recipes, like me), you have probably never heard of it. What a great recipe to have up your sleeve!

For a larger quantity, use 4 lbs (2 cartons) of strawberries, 2-3 tbsp of sugar, 1 16 oz of heavy cream, 2 oz of sour cream. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It’s Fall, ya’ll! Well, it is in my house. I know the weather isn’t cool just yet here in Texas, but I can not wait until December for that to happen. I am in the middle of sewing a fall jumper for Isabella and I just made part of our supper tonight! Butternut squash soup. We are ringing in fall with our first fall soup!

I LOVE this recipe. Truly! This is my absolute favorite squash soup. I refuse to try any others. I have gotten to the point where I have tasted and tasted and for us, this one hits the spot. Since I was throwing it together this morning, I took pictures for you 🙂

This recipe comes from a Williams Sonoma cook book. We received the Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook as a wedding gift almost 8 years ago and I still use it. It’s one of my favorite cook books. If you just got married, know someone who is getting married or would like to start cooking some nice meals together with your hubby- this is the cookbook to get. It even has a Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine and Easter menus for you. This is one of those date night, cook together, cook books.

Without further delay, I will post this mouth watering recipe. I have not had breakfast yet and I am smelling this soup simmer on the stove right now and I am thinking about just diving in.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from the Williams Sonoma Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 2.5 lb butternut squash
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 med. yellow onion chopped
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
3 tbs calvados or brandy… I have used white wine before.. or you can skip this completely
3.5 cups chicken stock or broth
3/4 cup evaportated milk
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tbs sour cream
Directions:
Cut squash in half, lengthwise and liberally brush olive oil on the skin. I like to remove the seeds before I do this. Place the squash face down on a roasting pan with just a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan. It will help steam and cook the squash. Cook at 350 for about 45-1 hour. Check the squash to see if it done by sticking it with a fork. If the fork easily pierces the skin, it’s done. Let cool enough to handle or about 20 minutes.
While the squash is cooling, add olive oil, butter, and onions (sprinkle salt and pepper on them while they cook) to skillet over medium heat and cook until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes).  Add the Calvados, brandy or wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Set aside.

Once the squash is cooled, scoop out the squash flesh of one half of your squash and place in a blender. Add half of the onion, half of the chicken stock, and half of the evaporated milk with the squash in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into your soup pot. Repeat the same process with the rest of the ingredients, blending the second half of the squash, onion, chicken stock, and evaporated milk. Pour into the pot with the first batch. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer or a low boil over medium heat for as long as you like. Add a dollop of sour cream in the soup.


I spread the olive oil on the squash with my hands. I am liberal with it. I also fill the bottom of the broiler pan with water to keep my squash nice and moist. When done correctly, scooping the squash out of the flesh is easy as pie. The flesh will separate from the squash as it cooks and when it’s done you can almost just flip it over and take the skin off.

We like our soup to have some chunks of squash in there so I try not to puree it completely but pulse it a few times.
Just beautiful isn’t it! I will simmer my soup for about an hour. We like it thick and not runny. You can make this a head of time if you are having guests and just keep it going all day. We have this with every Thanksgiving meal. It is our staple for the fall and we never get bored with this soup.
One last thing, this also freezes well. So if you are making this for a cozy party of two you will have a whole second meal’s worth of soup.