3 Healthy Winter Soups

3 Healthy Winter Soups

I don’t know about you guys, but once the weather turns colder, I’m pretty much only making soups, chowders, and stews for the duration of winter. I love being able to whip up something that’s going to make my house smell wonderful and give me leftovers for days! (I’m usually eating alone, or with my roomie, so each of these recipes lasts us two to three days after! The following 3 soups are on rotation in my kitchen because they’re so flavorful, easy to make, and super healthy too – packed with veggies, protein, and fiber! Feel free to sub/cut out any sections of the ingredient lists should you have food allergies or vegan/vegetarian preferences. Enjoy!

{Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone}


474 Calories Per Serving, 19 g Fiber, 25 g Protein! (Use a lower sodium chicken stock and no salt!)

This soup has SO much flavor, it’s unreal. It’s packed full of veggies and is a hit with friends and family alike. Even the kiddos like this one, as you can pick some fun, small pasta to use: alphabet, stars, shells. Give yourself a couple hours to make it so you’re not rushed, but the time spent is well worth the outcome. This is one is my favorite to make if you’re looking to impress. ; )

{Fall Harvest Corn & Butternut Squash Chowder (Vegetarian!)}


214 Calories Per Serving (1/8 recipe), 3g Fiber, 6g Protein!

I LOVE this soup. You can sub cream for milk, saute your veggies in olive oil instead of butter, and add different veggies if you want! This soup is really quick to make and perfect for cold, winter afternoons and evenings! I make this almost every other week. Makes a HUGE batch – At least 8 servings!

{Curvy Carrot’s White Bean and Kale Soup}


183 Calories Per Serving (1/8 of recipe), 8 g Fiber, 10 g Protein!

Do you love kale? I love kale. This soup is fantastic and crazy easy to make. There aren’t very many ingredients to buy and it’s ready in no time at all. The cream is optional and using a little bit of basil or pesto can add even more awesome flavor!

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Things I Learned Making Ina’s Winter Minestrone Soup


I’ve read about this soup from several different blogs and finally decided to give it a whirl.  This soup is yummy, but a big undertaking. I love finding new great recipes, but I dread making it that first time. Everything seems like it happens so quickly, I feel all spastic. Everything turned out great, and now this is my go-to recipe for having people over, but here are some good tips if you’re making it for the first time:

[Read more…]

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Recipe: Bean and Kale Soup

I’m a huge fan of soups, stews, or anything else where most of the work is chopping ish and throwing it in a pot. This soup is no exception. It’s very easy to make, super yummy, and a great healthy option that’s cheap! I think all the ingredients cost me about $15. My roomie and I will be eating on this for at least a couple days. All those things make this soup my jam. : ) No need to type out the whole recipe, so go here.
A couple things I did differently the 2nd time I made this:
*I used a combo of red/purple potatoes, just because Trader Joes sells them in that little combo bundle. And I like the color purple.

*Since the cream was optional, I opted out. One less thing to manage.

*Used 4 carrots and 4 stalks of celery, just to even up the broth to veggie ratio. It was a little skewed to the broth side the first time I made it.
*I left the broth/water/potatoes boil for a while longer before I added the veggies to it. The first time it took forever for the potatoes to cook through because I jacked it up.
*I also put the onions in the pan to cook alone for a few minutes before I added the other veggies, just to make sure they were nice and soft. This is just something I needed… I can’t stand onions so I needed them DONE before anything else. : )
My roomie snapped this photo as she walked in, wondering why the hell I was sporting shades on a cold, cloudy day.  I always wear eyewear when chopping/cooking onions. That ish hurts. (Ski goggles work really well if you have them!) She also wanted to know about the ear warmers, but I just hadn’t taken them off when I walked in the door earlier. They were keeping me warm and cozy. ; )
Happy Weekend, Guys!
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Easiest Salmon Recipe Ever

The biggest excuse for not eating healthy is, “It takes too much time.” So people grab fast food or pre-packaged, processed junk. I don’t like spending a ton of time on food either, but I’ll FEEL like crap if I EAT crap… so I cook. I really don’t enjoy cooking. I wish I did, but I just don’t… so I tend to gravitate toward the recipes with the least amount of work, like this one! I found it a few months ago online (don’t remember where though!) and it’s become a regular in the rotation. It’s take less than five minutes to prep, 30 minutes to bake and then voilà! You’re eating and enjoying dinner!

{Thaw salmon}
(An important step. I always forget to do this so I end up eating dinner about 30 minutes later than I’d planned) 
{Preheat oven to 375 degrees}
{Lightly pour extra virgin olive oil to cover}
{Sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil, and parsley}
{Bake for 30 minutes}
I usually steam some veggies while the salmon’s baking…
 {Stuff your face}
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Recipe: Banana Bread is My Jam.

Warning: this is NOT a super healthy recipe. 
But it IS super yummy!
 (in small doses…)

I love this cookbook. I found it in an antique store here a few years ago and have been in love with it ever since. No, it’s not vegan, or organic, or gluten-free, or anything like that. It’s just a cookbook… that dates back to the 1890s. I love that it tells you how to cook every kind of meat there is, plus salads, sides, desserts, and everything’s from scratch. It’s awesome. And you can basically take all these old recipes and modify as needed.

I make this Banana Bread any time we’ve got bananas that are about to go bad. Since you need 3 really ripened (i.e. black) bananas, this is the best thing to do with them instead of chucking them in the trash (if you don’t compost). It takes about 5 minutes to prepare and then you toss it in the oven. An hour later… bam!

Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Banana Nut Bread

Mix in a Bowl: 
3 ripe bananas, well mashed
2 eggs, beaten until light
Sift Together: 
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Stir all that to the banana/egg mix 
then add 1/2 cup nuts, coarsely chopped. 
Stir well. 
Put in buttered loaf pan (9x5in) 
1 hour at 350 degrees. 

I’m not a huge fan of nuts in my ish (ha!), so I leave them out. Make sure your oven is at the correct temperature w/ an oven thermometer. If it’s not, it gets really janky, really quickly! I also have two smaller loaf pans, instead of one big one. So I make two instead of one and have given one away so I don’t eat too much of this sugar/flour concoction by myself. It’s really good and I could easily eat the whole thing in one sitting. 

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Mulled Cider


Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I thought you might like a little cider recipe. Well I’m sure you’ve probably already had some, BUT if you’re making last-minute mad dashes to the grocery for things that you’ve forgotten (like me) you can pick up these things and make some cider. And you’ve got built-in potpurri as well! A two-fer! Who doesn’t love a house that smells like Christmas?! Nobody, that’s who.
This recipe comes from my Fannie Farmer cookbook that I bought from an antique store. The first edition is from 1896! Not only does it have awesome recipes, but it gives you great tips as well. For instance, “serve cider in mugs with hot doughnuts for a winter party.” Adorable. Don’t really do that though…
Mix in a saucepan:
1 quart cider
2 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon (3 inches long)
Boil 5 minutes then Add:
3/8 cup brown sugar
Boil 5 minutes longer. Serves 6

Yummy! And feels great on sore throats! I’ll be sipping cider and wrapping presents for our poor tree that has nothing under it yet. Sigh. Being sick and out of town puts a damper on your Christmas decorating/shopping. Have a great evening!
photo by my Cousin Malissa! : )
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Healthy Recipe Review

So you know when I was telling you about those healthy, low-fat, gluten free Banana Oatmeal muffins? What, you don’t remember? Ok, go here and get caught up.

So I made ’em and they were awesome! Here are my notes:

  • Recipe calls for oat flour. I didn’t have any and couldn’t find it at the store. I didn’t want to start driving all over creation looking for some, so I googled on the iPhone and learned you could just put your oats in the blender and blend away until you have flour-esque consistency. You may be like, “yeah, duh,” but I was unaware of this. Worked out perfectly!
  • Recipe calls for 2 very ripe bananas (e.g. brown ones). I only had 1 at home and the store only had green ones. Boo. So we had to make due with one brown, one greenish-yellow. Still worked, but didn’t have a very banana-y taste. I love bananas so I’m thinking of holding 3 bananas until they’re mushy to use for my next batch so I get more of the banana flavoring.
  • Be prepared to give some away. Eating healthy/yummy muffins is good. Eating 10 in one sitting kind of defeats the purpose. (I’m not saying I did this, I’m just warning you that they taste really good and you might want to over-indulge. If you’re prone to over-indulging, make a few baggies and give away as little gifts!)
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Confession #1: I love sweets. Blame it on the Southern/Midwest upbringing. Family cooked desserts are the best and I know a TON of great recipes, none of which are even REMOTELY healthy. Dang.

Confession #2: I love to bake around the holidays. It usually doesn’t start ’til around Thanksgiving time but I’m on a kick a little earlier this year. Maybe because I’m back in my home town and surrounded by family so I’m feelin’ a little nostalgic. Or maybe I’m just hungry…

Predicament #1: Being in the fitness industry and blogging about health isn’t exactly conducive with baking and eating a bunch of crap. Practice what you preach, right?
Solution #1: So while looking for healthy Banana Muffin recipes online and elsewhere, I found this lovely little blog, Half Baked. And in it, a lovely, HEALTHY Oatmeal Banana Muffin recipe. It’s low-fat, gluten-free, and looks extremely yummy. I’ll let you know how they turn out. First time’s always a hot mess, so maybe I’ll show you a photo from the 2nd batch…
Have a lovely Tuesday!

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