White Bean Soup with Bacon

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I know what you’re thinking. “Bean Soup? Really…?” Well, yes. It sounded slightly more appealing to my ears than Lima Bean Soup. And also I added that bacon in there to make it seem more enticing.

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But really. This is a hearty, comforting, and delicious soup for the coldest of days. The ingredients cost pretty much nothing, and it makes a lot. My roommate, Erin, is disgusted by all things “mushy” (beans) and I forced her into trying this. If she liked it (she did) I swear, anyone will like it. Trust me.

By the way, if you have never made beans that are not from a can (I hadn’t until a year ago) it is super easy, cost effective, and the results taste more fresh.

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White Bean Soup with Bacon

Adapted from About Southern Food

Serves four-ish. 

1 cup dried Lima Beans (or other large white bean)

4 cups Water

3 slices Bacon, chopped

1 cup Onion, minced

2 stalks Celery, sliced thin

1 Carrot, peeled and sliced thin

3 cloves Garlic, minced

4 cups Chicken Stock *

1 Bay Leaf

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, fresh grated

1. Soak the beans in 4 cups of water in a large stockpot overnight or for 8 hours. Rinse thoroughly, set aside.

2. In a large stockpot, cook chopped bacon over medium-low heat until slightly crispy. Remove bacon, leaving fat in pot, and set aside.

3. Increase the heat to medium and add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot to the bacon fat. Saute for 5-10 minutes, until tender and lightly golden. Add the beans, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until beans are soft and tender.

4. Take 1/2 cup of the soup and puree in food processor or blender, then return to pot. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add in bacon and stir.

5. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese and with a crusty, multigrain bread.

* I use Better Than Bouillon, which is a sort of paste that is mixed with hot water to make a broth. I bought it at Costco and have had it for a year and make soups pretty much every week. In my opinion, so much better than having to buy/make a bunch of stock all the time.

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I never realized how much I actually cook. I mean, I know I have to eat, which usually means I have to cook, but I guess I just didn’t realize how much I would want to share here. It turns out that I have a lot to share, and not enough time to share it. So this week, I’m playing catch up. Expect lots of yummy ideas!

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I kind of have a thing for brunch. As in, going out for brunch. In fact, I don’t remember the last weekend that I have not gone out at least once. It’s just that Edmonton has such a good variety of breakfast places, most of which are very close to where I live. If you are in the area, you must check out New York Bagel Cafe, Sugarbowl, Highlevel Diner, Urban Diner, Cafe Bicyclette, Blue Plate Diner, and Route 99.

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(A peak into the chaos that is my tiny kitchen)

I know I am not alone in this obsession. Alas, as I explained in the last post, I am attempting to save money. So this is a recipe that you can whip up on a Sunday morning and invite friends to your place for a change.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Serves four

3/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree

1 tbsp Butter (melted)

3 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar

1 tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 pinch Salt

1. Combine almond milk and lemon juice in a measuring cup, let sit for five minutes.

2. In a medium sized bowl, combine pumpkin puree, melted butter, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Then, add in almond milk/lemon juice mixture, which should look slightly curdled at this point.

3. Next, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and combine well. Let batter rest for 5 – 10 minutes.

5. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium/medium-low heat. Spray cooking surface with non-stick spray. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto surface. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until bubbles appear in the middle, then flip. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes on the other side, then plate.

6. Serve with butter and maple syrup. And bacon. If you’re lucky.

Gingerbread Latte

In the morning, I am a strong, black coffee kinda gal. Later on in the day, however, I am partial to fancy Cappuccinos and Lattes. I don’t love Starbucks. There are so many amazing coffee shops and cafes in the area where I live that I rarely go. However, there is conveniently a Starbucks 10 feet away from a class that I sit in for 6 hours a week. At 8 AM. After I have battled freezing winter on my walk to school. Sometimes, I cave. And you know what? Their Gingerbread Latte is actually delightful.

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In case you are wondering – yes. It is still extremely cold in Edmonton, Alberta. I’m slowly accepting that it will be until April.  It happens every year – during the summer, I convince myself that this city is really not so bad. I love the river valley, there are a bunch of festivals, and the farmers markets are amazing, and it is warm (even, dare I say, HOT). November rolls around and I get the urge to start looking at real estate in San Diego. Which I did last week and now I am getting emailed new listings every day and a realtor actually called me and left me a voicemail – that fantasy got out of hand quickly.

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If you are like me, and have to consciously force yourself not to buy $5 drinks every time you leave the house due to the fact that it is FREEZING outside, you will appreciate this recipe. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m saving you like 200 calories or something (too lazy to do that math).

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I make some version of this at least once a day (I may have a caffeine problem…) and it is a routine that I am rather fond of. The gingerbread syrup is a delicious addition, but you could also use any other flavored syrups or just have it plain!

Gingerbread Latte

Makes one

1 tbsp fine grind Espresso powder OR 2 oz fresh Espresso

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup 1% milk (non-dairy milk does not work as well)

1/2 oz Gingerbread Flavoured Syrup

1 pinch Apple Pie Spice

1. Prepare your espresso. For mine, I use a stovetop espresso maker, similar to this one from Bialetti. There are certainly fancier ones, but this works great for me! I put water into the bottom piece, add the espresso powder in the centre piece, and heat it on the stove over high heat until the top part is full of espresso. Easy peasy.

2. Boil your water.

3. Prepare your steamed milk. Again, there are many ways of doing this. I got this Capresso milk frother last year for Christmas, and it is amazing and pretty reasonably priced! All you have to do is add milk to the frother and press a button.

4. Pour espresso into mug, followed by the gingerbread syrup, half a cup of boiled water, and the steamed milk.

5. Top with a pinch of apple pie spice. Serve hot!

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Grilled Cheese with Aged White Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Isn’t it amazing how food has such a way of making everything better? At least for me. Granted, my life isn’t terrible by any means, but it is SO cold and I just really don’t want to write the essay that I need to write, ya know? I came home for lunch and whipped this baby up and BOOM. Instant happy. Ready to greet the rest of the day.

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It’s no secret that grilled cheese sandwiches are among my favorite foods (which I apparently have a lot of… oops!). While classic grilled cheeses are delicious, and well… classic, I am a huge fan of gourmet-ish combinations. Something about that melted, ooey, gooey cheese combined with pretty much anything gets me going.

I bought some aged white cheddar cheese last week and have been dreaming up sandwiches since. Today was the day. I am so pleased. I present to you, Grilled Cheese with Aged White Cheddar and Caramelized Onions.

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Grilled Cheese with Aged White Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

2 slice Multigrain Bread (I love all of the Silver Hills Bakery breads – today I used The Kings Bread)

2 thick slices Aged White Cheddar

1 Yellow Onion, sliced thinly

1 tbsp Butter

1. Spray a small frying pan with non-stick spray and add onions. Cook over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft, light brown, and very fragrant. Set aside.

2. Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread.

3. Place one slice of bread, buttered side down, in frying pan (still over medium heat). Top with cheese and caramelized onions, and add other slice of bread – buttered side up.

4. Cook on each side until golden brown – about three minutes.

5. Slice in half, and eat immediately.

On a side note, do you guys watch New Girl? It’s one of my favorite shows, and last weeks was hilarious, as always. I’ve been watching one scene over and over. A restaurant owner calls Jess gorgeous, and this is her response… “HA! (weird faces & belching sounds) No! That’s crazy! That ain’t real! That’s dumb, that’s straight dumb, you’re dumb — you’re nice — you excited for the holidays? I am,” So relatable!

Leftover Turkey Salad

I just had a long weekend at home and am getting back into the school grind, which is especially busy lately. I got my grad photos taken today – it’s so hard to believe I am almost finished (I graduate in April)! I haven’t cooked a lot in the past week, but this recipe is something I can whip up quickly with frozen leftovers!

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What do you do with leftover turkey? I’ve made turkey soup before, and of course turkey on a bun is essentially heaven, but here is something a little different. All y’all Americans are going to want to hold onto this one for a few weeks!

Leftover Turkey Salad

Serves two

8 oz cooked Turkey breast

1 medium Apple

1 stalk Celery

2 tbsp Raisins

2 tbsp Mayonnaise

1 tsp Curry Powder

1. Shred turkey breast using fingers.

2. Add in apple, celery, raisins, and mayonnaise. Mix well.

3. Mix in curry powder. Serve!

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(note the 50 nursing textbooks in the background…)

** I eat mine with Ryvita Crackers and these Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins, both of which are delicious, but it would also be great on a sandwich.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

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Okay, I realize that my last post was also a squash recipe, but the weather here has suddenly gotten incredibly cold ( -11 celsius/12.2 F if you are in the U.S.) so warm, wintery food has been super necessary.

I went to see About Time last night and LOVED it even more than I thought I would. I mean, it has Rachel McAdams and the same producers as Love Actually and Notting Hill, so it couldn’t have been bad, but it was SO good. You must go see right away if you haven’t already.

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But back to the soup. Creamy, delicious, and just a little bit spicy. Can you think of anything better on the coldest week of the year (so far)? I can’t.

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Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Adapted from Naturally Ella

1 medium Pumpkin

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 large Yellow Onion, chopped

2 cloves Garlic, sliced

2 – 3 cups Chicken Broth

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Paprika

1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

4 leaves Fresh Sage

Salt & Pepper, to taste

2 tbsp Sour Cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove top of pumpkin. Quarter pumpkin and remove seeds, set aside. Scrape out remaining small seeds and the stings. Place each quarter face down in a baking dish and roast for 30-40 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Remove and let cool slightly.

3. Toss pumpkin seeds with a bit of olive oil and salt. Spread out on a baking tray and roast until crispy, 12 minutes

4. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, add garlic stir for 30 seconds.

5. Next, scoop pumpkin from the shell and measure out 3 packed cups of pumpkin. Add to sauce pan along with 2 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let cook for 10 minutes.

6. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender) adding more broth to reach your desired soup consistency.

7. Return heat to a simmer. Add in cumin, paprika, sage, salt & pepper. Stir well. Add in sour cream and mix.

8. Serve topped with an extra scoop of sour cream and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

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Halloween was a week long celebration for me, with two costumes and four halloween parties. I had so much fun dressing up, drinking wine, and seeing friends. I also started a new term of school, went to see the Dixie Chicks in concert (SO good), and visited the Edmonton Humane Society to snuggle all of the cats that I want so badly and can’t justify bringing home.

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(Mary Poppins & Severus Snape – bffs, naturally)

On Tuesday, I thought I would be really fancy and make Ratatouille. It involved cooking eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini for a few hours until it turns into a sort of stew. After two hours, I had some for supper, but decided to leave it on the stove for another hour or so. I had to leave the house and meant to tell my roommate to turn it off (can you tell where this is going?) Come 10 o’clock at night, I arrive home to a smoky kitchen and a pot full of charcoal. So needless to say, my post on Ratatouille was no longer. Sad story.

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Fast forward to Sunday. Carb cravings. Half of a cooked butternut squash in the freezer. Fresh sage in the fridge. This gnocchi was a natural choice, really. I realize that the act of making gnocchi might be intimidating. If you haven’t noticed yet, I am rarely intimidated by recipes – in fact, I tend to be overly confident in my cooking skills (see Ratatouille incident…) I don’t personally think making gnocchi is very difficult. I did have the butternut squash cooked already, which saved me a step, but still. Plus, homemade gnocchi is incredibly delicious, especially when it involves butternut squash. If I haven’t convinced you yet, your hard work today will make your life super easy in the future. Gnocchi freezes well and you can pull it out on a busy weeknight and cook just like you would fresh. These sweet, pillowy babies will be your new fave.

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Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage 

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats 

1 cup pureed Butternut Squash (the link above has instructions for roasting & pureeing the squash)

1 Egg, whisked and divided in half

1/4 tsp Salt

2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Butter

1 Garlic Clove, minced

5 leaves Fresh Sage

1. Put pureed squash, salt, and 1/2 an egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir together. Add 1 cup of flour, mixing well.

2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead in another cup of flour. This may not be exact – the dough will initially be very sticky, and you need to knead in flour about 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is… less sticky. This step is hard to describe, but knead it until the dough comes together and is easier to work with, but still slightly sticky. For me, this required adding 1 cup of flour.

3. Remove large pieces of dough, then roll into a rope and cut into 1 inch sections to form the gnocchi.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly.

5. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add garlic and sage. Stir occasionally while you are working on the next step.

6. Add gnocchi to the boiling water, 1 cup at a time. Cook at a gentle boil until gnocchi float to the top of the pot, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the skillet with the butter, garlic, and sage. Toss to coat the gnocchi and season with fresh ground pepper.

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As per usual, my pictures do this recipe no justice (thank you fluorescent lighting, iphone 4, and ugly kitchen), but it was so yummy and I am beyond excited to have a bag of this gnocchi sitting in my freezer for a snowy, (busy, hungry) day.

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