Soups

Crock-Pot Hearty Italian Quinoa & Vegetable Soup

Am I too late?! Is soup season officially over? Have you had one too many soup variations this winter and are already dreaming of grilling anything that can possibly be cooked over a flame? Even if you thought you were over soup (don’t worry, I hear ya!), I have full confidence this soup will persuade you to give soup one last chance before you officially declare yourself done with soup for the season.

I think it was around late February when I thought I was over soup. It seemed like I was making soup on a weekly basis. My problem is that I have so many favorite soups I want (need?) to cram into a short season. Plus, the ease of making soup can’t be beat, especially when everything goes right in the Crock-Pot. Still, I was thisclose to scratching off all soups from our weekly menu planning. After weeks on end of one soup or another, it’s easy to call it quits.

Except, of course, when you spot a recipe that has Italian in the title (because, you know, anything Italian catches my eye these days), it’s a dreary spring day (ahem, like this entire past weekend), and the ease of a Crock-Pot soup after a busy day is too good to pass up, Crock-Pot Hearty Italian Quinoa & Vegetable Soup will have you making soup at least one last time no matter how many soups you’ve devoured this season…and it likely will win you over. It definitely did for me.

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Chipotle Turkey-Apple Chili

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Have you ever been so excited to go to a new and different place but, while absolutely loving the excitement of it all for the first bit, after a while you start to realize how much you miss home and all the things you loved about it? That’s kind of how I’m feeling about the change in seasons. While I’m so excited for fall with the cooler temperatures, sweatshirts and leggings all day-everyday, and all the fall foods, a part of me is longing for those long summer days, easy shorts and a t-shirt, and warm weather. I mean, summer was just here! And now…it’s not. :(

Perhaps the dreary weather has me feeling wistful, but one thing that has reminded me again just how wonderful fall can be is this Chipotle Turkey-Apple Chili. Your classic chili can sometimes seem more fitting for a cold, winter evening, whereas this turkey-apple chili could not be more appropriate for fall. I’m coming at you with yet another apple recipe this week! This was another of the many recipes I made using the apples Philip and I picked a couple weeks ago.

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Chicken Cilantro and Lime Soup

Chicken Cilantro & Lime Soup

I feel like a broken record, but I’m afraid it’s still just as cold this week as it was last week…which means time for more soup! I wasn’t kidding when I told you I’ve been making soup on almost a weekly basis. I’m just getting started with all the soups I’ve been making! ;)

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But first, since I have unofficially declared 2016 as my “year of fun,” I am determined to embrace these cold temperatures and take advantage of what Wisconsin has to offer in the winter months. And that meant finally getting to go cross country skiing this weekend! I have been wanting to go every winter since I moved here (this is the 3rd winter) and it never seemed to work out due to something or another, so I was not letting another winter slip by this year…especially during my year of fun! Philip and I had some free time on Saturday and were able to see how our legs worked with skis on. While it definitely wasn’t pretty at first, we had a great time and are excited to give it another try when there’s fresh snow on the trails!

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It was fun to be outside, but I was ready for something to warm me up afterwards. While it is soup season, sometimes the comfort food gets a little too…well, comforting. I need something fresh and light, something not so stick-to-your-bones that weighs you down for the rest of the evening. (Even though, chances are high I will indeed be lounging on the couch after dinner continuing to go through all the seasons of Downton Abbey, I don’t always want to feel like I’m in a winter food coma.) In those times, I go to Chicken Cilantro and Lime Soup. 

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[Slow Cooker] Hearty Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Slow Cooker Hearty Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Winter decided to show up for a little bit in Wisconsin…in it’s coldest way possible. I know we’ve been pretty fortunate so far this winter (it may be hard to remember with these near negative temps we’re having, but remember those 50 degree days a month ago?!), but it doesn’t make it any easier for me to tolerate these cold days.

Running outside makes my eyelashes freeze and my legs to go numb. Not enough blankets, sweatshirts, or slippers can make me feel warm enough. And it’s so dry that Philip and I got shocked when we gave each other a kiss yesterday. Philip says sparks are flying (insert eye roll emoji), but all I can think about is how I’ll be able to survive embrace another few months of winter in Wisconsin.

One way that is certainly helping with my constant state of being cold is filling up on hearty soups. I think I’ve started adding at least one soup a week to our weekly menu. The first chance I get when the temps start to drop ever so slightly (uhh, is September too soon?), I’m pulling out all my soup recipes to enjoy them to the fullest for yet another Wisconsin winter. #lookingonthebrightside

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One of the easiest and quickest soups in my arsenal of soup recipes is this Hearty Chicken & Wild Rice Soup. I’ve already had it three times within the past two months — it’s that good!

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We’re First Time Homeowners! + Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings

Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings

How was everybody’s weekend? Nothing too special here except, ohh you know…

We bought a house!!

I know. I’ve been impatiently waiting to share this exciting news with you once we finally closed on the house and we had the keys in our hands to make it official. Well, it finally happened this past Friday after putting an offer in back in October. Whew, it’s quite the process!

We couldn’t be any happier with our very first home as homeowners (well, besides the fact that our hands are raw with all the cleaning we’re doing). Why do we love it? Well, for one, the kitchen is pretty great (that was high on the “must have” list in our house search). It’s close (as in I can see it from our driveway close) to the running trail I run on almost everyday during the summer. It’s in a great neighborhood (which has awesome Christmas lights, by the way! I was so impressed. I didn’t think people decorated like this anymore. Turns out my drive home from work is not where all the great lights are). And most of all, we love this house because it’s ours. Nuff said.

Friday night we celebrated our new ownership by relaxing in front of the fire, eating pizza, and making a list of short-term and long-term projects and purchases. It’s always fun to dream.

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But Saturday is when the real fun started… We’re knee deep in boxes, cleaning has ensued in full force, and a trip to Menards with a long list in hand has already happened.

Since we’re still in between apartment and house for the week, I quick made Chicken Vegetable Chowder with Lemon-Basil Dumplings on Saturday before we packed up everything in the kitchen that evening. It’ll last us for most of the week and that means no need for the kitchen amongst all of the craziness! Great planning, huh? :)

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Smoked Gouda & Roasted Red Pepper Tomato-Basil Bisque {Crock-Pot Recipe}

Smoked Gouda & Roasted Red Pepper Tomato-Basil Bisque

Umm, can we just talk for a minute about how gorgeous the weather was this weekend?! Sun shining, warm weather with a cool fall breeze, and all the fall colors to match. All. Weekend. Long. I wanted to be out enjoying it as much as I could. Unfortunately, I spent the day on Saturday at work, helping around 300 kids in costume make trail mix. Hmph. Oh well, at least I saw a lot of variations of Elsa from Frozen. :)

And, since Sunday was just as beautiful, Philip and I could enjoy the day outside for a bit instead. I’ve totally embraced that summer is over and am loving all the fall colors. I just can’t get enough! Madison is by far the prettiest place in the fall that I’ve lived (granted, this is only the fourth city I’ve lived in, but still, it’s the prettiest!).

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Well, no matter what the weather, to me, fall means soup. Even if it is almost 70 degrees out. That’s because I know that no matter how warm it is, it will most likely be soup weather again in two to three short days (at least that’s how things roll in the Midwest). I figure I might as well be prepared for when it’s “soup weather” by everybody else’s standards. So today, I bring you Smoked Gouda and Roasted Red Pepper Tomato-Basil Bisque. Whew, that’s a long one!  Don’t worry, the title itself lists about all the main ingredients in the soup; you don’t have too many more ingredients to add.

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I actually made this soup way back in May by my friend Alex’s request (she said it was the best ever — she was right). But you know, May and “soup weather” aren’t usually said in the same sentence…even for me. It was cool(er) temps when I made it (although, it’s highly likely I only convinced myself of this when I made it) and the temperatures rose so quickly, I knew it was too late for me to post it on here. Basically, long story short, I’m tired of waiting and I’m just going to share this super tasty and comforting soup with you today, gosh darn-it!

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(Crock-Pot) Fall Harvest Chicken & Barley Stew

Crock-Pot Fall Harvest Chicken & Barley Stew

Woah, talk about a weather change! Compared to last weekend, I think we’ve dropped about 40+ degrees in less than five days. Yep, that’s the Midwest for ya. For once, my plans coincided with the weather patterns—all my fall-outdoorsy adventures happened last weekend when it was so nice out and this past weekend I had full intentions of staying indoors, making use of the apples we picked last weekend.

I had this past Friday off from work, so I spent a brief part of my day dumping the ingredients of this Fall Harvest Chicken & Barley Stew into my Crock Pot and used the rest of my day canning homemade applesauce and making our biweekly batches of granola (let’s just say, our home spelled aaa-maaz-ing). In the eyes of a dietitian who loves to be in the kitchen, this was pretty much a perfect day.

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And the best part about finishing up a day in the kitchen? Having time to relax, put up my feet, and enjoy my first mug of something hot for the cold months upon us. It’s the small things in life. (Don’t mind the puzzle in the background of the picture below; a few weeks ago I had the strong desire to put together a puzzle…we’re still working on it—slowly).

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Easy Chicken Minestrone Soup

Easy Chicken Minestrone Soup

You know what I wish? I wish Mother Nature would make up her mind on whether it’s spring or not. And when she does finally decide, I hope she decides on spring…considering it officially starts on Thursday and all. This past Friday we had gorgeous weather. It felt so freeing to be able to wear a spring jacket, to get into my car and feel warmth, and to actually not dread going out and doing errands. Buuuut, then Sunday rolled around and it was back to freezing temperatures. Sigh…

On the plus side, that gives me a chance to post one more (but maybe more will be coming…who knows) soup recipe since winter is not over yet here in Wisconsin! I’ve come to really enjoy soups this winter and I love the ease of them. It’s like the winter form of a salad (kind of)—throw lots of random cut up vegetables, beans, and whatever else into a pot, let it simmer, and magically you have a wonderful and comforting creation!

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little very tired of the cold and snowy weather we’ve been having this winter (although I’m super excited it’s finally gotten above freezing this week! Woohoo!). You would think that since I’ve grown up in the Midwest my whole life, I’d be immune to these snowy, cold winters. Nope. It gets me every time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow and I love the Midwest, but sometimes it just drags on a little more than I’d like (especially, I’ve been realizing, in Wisconsin). If winter could start wrapping things up once February hit, I’d be perfectly content.

But, since that obviously isn’t the case, I’ve been making warm, comforting soups to get me through the winter—Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles being one of them! Of all the comfort foods, I think soups and stews reign supreme. I think it’s the instant warmth you feel as it goes down your throat and then just seems to permeate warmth through your whole body.

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