Monday, August 18, 2014

Light Cauliflower Cheese Soup

A while ago. while running, some cab driver who was pulled over on the side of the road clapped for me and told me he was proud of me as I ran by.  It was so strange, but also pretty nice to hear.  I guess if you are a cab driver at 5 a.m. you have to entertain yourself somehow!

I think its pretty cool how many people will say "hi" or "looking good" or "keep it up" while running with my group on Saturdays.  It's nice to hear and it motivates me to keep going.  This Saturday, I really needed that.  I completed the 15 mile run (the longest I've ever gone), but it was tough.  The support of my group and the other runners was much needed and it made me grateful to have met such amazing people who are also embarking on this quest of completing a marathon.  Next week, it is a 16 mile run, and while I am nervous, I know that I can do it.  I just gotta keep putting one foot in front of another...right?

Today I wanted to share a yummy soup recipe.  I became pretty into soup this past year because it is so simple to make and its a great way to have a healthy lunch or dinner.  This soup was inspired by Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I just added some stuff to make it my own and incorporate some flavors that love.

Light Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Ingredients:1 head of cauliflower, cut away the stem and break up into 1 inch pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup skim milk
6 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
dash of paprika (optional)
dash of hot sauce (optional)

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onion and garlic and cook until onion starts to become translucent.  Add in the cauliflower and toss to coat in the oil.  Cook until cauliflower starts to brown.  Pour in the vegetable broth, thyme, and rosemary.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and heat over medium.  Stir in the shredded cheese and milk until melted and combined.  Season again with salt and pepper.  Add in the paprika and hot sauce if you are using.

Enjoy :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Zucchini Lasagna

I'm pretty excited about this recipe because I just made it up!  Everyone has been so zucchini crazy lately and Bri wanted to make a lasagna, so I combined the two!  This recipe was so easy and we ended up with tons of delicious left overs.  I used the lasagna noodles that you need to boil first, but you can use the no-boil kind as well.  I just think that the boil ones taste a little better.  This is such an awesome way to use up all that great zucchini that is in season!

Zucchini Lasagna

2 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
12 oz light ricotta
1 egg
8 oz light mozzarella
your favorite tomato sauce
salt and pepper
lasagna noodles
parmesan, grated

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions and drain.
2. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, ricotta, egg, and mozzarella cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a 9 by 13 inch pan, spread some tomato sauce on the bottom. Lay down a layer of lasagna noodles.  Spread some of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and then spread a layer of tomato sauce.  Repeat this process until you reach the top of your pan.  End with a layer of noodles.  Top with some tomato sauce and sprinkle on some parmesan cheese.
4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nutella Muddy Buddies

Today is my first day off since Memorial Day! It feels so great to finally be on summer vacation and I have filled today with a whole lot of nothing!!!

I slept in, went for a run, attended a yoga class, and went grocery shopping.  Now, this may sound like a lot for a morning of "nothing," but these are all things that I love to do and so I consider them to be basically nothing.  Now, I am attempting to make homemade moose tracks ice cream! It is my favorite flavor and I will certainly be updating you all on how it goes!

In honor of my fun day off, I am going to share a super fun recipe! I love making puppy chow because it is 1. delicious and 2. gluten free.  I have a lot of gluten free friends and this treat is always a winner.  I saw a recipe for Nutella Muddy Buddies and I figured that could only make the traditional treat even better!!!

Nutella Muddy Buddies
(adapted from Tracy's Culinary Adventures)

4 cups Chex cereal
1 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp espresso powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar

1. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, butter, and Nutella.  Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir.  Repeat this process until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in the espresso powder, salt, and vanilla.
2. Put Chex into a large bowl.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the Chex and toss to coat.
3. Put about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar into a plastic bag.  Scoop some of the Chex into the bag and seal the bag.  Toss to coat the Chex in the powdered sugar.  Repeat this process until all the Chex has been coated.  You may need more or less powdered sugar depending on your preference.  I usually end up using 3/4-1 cup.

Enjoy :)

Note: I think these taste the best when you freeze the batch afterwards.  They become delicious and crunchy!

Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Courses to Celebrate 5 Years

August, 3rd: Bri and I had a really great year.  One year ago, we moved into our apartment and celebrated our 4-year anniversary.  Now, we have been living together for a year and are on year 5 of our relationship!  It has been really great and I am so appreciative for all the amazing times we have experienced together.  To celebrate year 5, I thought it would be cute to cook dinner together and have 5 courses in honor of 5 years.  We shared this amazing meal and watched a movie and it was a quiet and lovely anniversary.

Zucchini Soup

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Feta and Peas in a Brown Butter Balsamic Sauce

Toasty Parmesan Tomatoes

Creme Brûlée Cupcakes