Creamy Zucchini Soup

Hello everyone! Today’s post is one of my most beloved favorites from childhood. I was kind of a strange one in that even as a kid I really liked eating veggies, however, I hated zucchini. Couldn’t tell you why, but I deeply identified with Kapp’n the kappa from Animal Crossing and his bawdy ballad about zucchini spooks. Ah what a wonderfully eccentric turtle, any other Animal Crossing fans out there? At any rate, I was not a fan of zucchini and I’m pretty sure my mom used this recipe to con me into eating the stuff. Which obviously worked because this soup is so delicious I couldn’t resist! The trick is the soft Swiss cheese that gives a wonderful rich, creamy flavor. The texture is super smooth and garnishing with nuts brings a great earthy bite to the dish. So give this soup a try sometime when the weather is cold and you need something scrumptious to warm you up!


Ingredients:

6 Medium Zucchini
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Packages Goya Chicken Bouillon
1 Box Original Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese
Pepper to taste

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Directions:

1. Start by preparing your zucchini, slicing it into 1 inch rounds.

Sliced zucchini

2. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, add your zucchini, water, and chicken stock. Cover your soup base and bring it to a boil over high heat – this took me around 10 minutes.

Zucchini soup base

3. Once boiling uncover your base and turn the heat down to medium high. Add in the chicken bouillon and continue to simmer until the zucchini skin is easily pierced with a fork – this took around 15 minutes for me. Once the zucchini has softened, take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Zucchini soup base with bouillon

4. Add your cheese wedges to and pour your soup base into a large glass blender (if using a plastic blender allow the soup to cool fully before taking this step.) Pulse your blender until the soup is well blended and smooth. There may still be bits of zucchini skin, but don’t worry because of how soft they are it won’t effect the texture of the soup.

Zucchini soup base in blender

5. Serve immediately or put the soup back in your pot, keeping it on low heat until ready to serve.Zucchini soup in pot

If you’d like it’s super tasty and quite pretty to garnish the soup with toasted pine nuts when you serve it. Enjoy!

Toasted pine nuts Garnished and served zucchini soup

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Gluten Free Review: Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix

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Hello everyone! So, as you may know from my last post I have quite the amount of craziness going on right now. In fact I entirely lost track of time yesterday applying for jobs, updating my CV, and writing my personal history/statement that I forgot to work on a recipe I’d been meaning to post today. Luckily, I’d written this idea down in my planner at the beginning of the month, but hadn’t known if anyone would be particularly interested in it other than myself. I thought it might be fun to write reviews on some of the gluten free products I find whilst out and about wandering the isles of my neighbor grocery stores. There’s a huge range of products I’m always interested in buying (box mixes, baked goods, pastas, frozen meals), but rarely do because I don’t know if I’ll like them and can never seem to find any reviews for them online. So I figure why not help myself (and hopefully others) by trying these products out and blogging how I feel about them. So what better time than when I’m in a pinch to give this idea a go!

Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix from Krusteaz


Ingredients:

1 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1 Package Krusteaz Honey Cornbread Mix

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Ingredients


Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. The package directions state to mix both your wet and cornbread mix until moistened. However, I’ve found most recipes specify to premix your wet ingredients before adding them to your dry ingredients. So I gave my milk, oil, and eggs a good whisk before adding in the cornbread mix and folding it all together.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet Ingredients Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet Ingredients Whisked Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet & Dry Ingredients Mixed

3. Next you’ll need to spoon your mix into your baking pan – the box suggests an 8x8x2 inch metal pan, a 12 standard muffin pan, and a 24 mini muffin tin. I went with my standard muffin tin and filled the muffin cups until they were 2/3 of the way full. As you can see I had quite a bit of mix left over so I added about half a scoop to each muffin until I had used up the mix.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Extra Muffin Batter Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Batter in Muffin Tin

4. Next pop your muffins into the oven for the specified bake time, which was 16-18 minutes for my standard muffin pan.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbreas Muffins Baked

5. Once your muffins have finished baking take them out of the oven and place them on a metal rack to cool. Once cooled you can enjoy them as they are or add a bit of honey for some extra sweetness!

To be completely honest, I actually prefer these muffins without any toppings. They’ve got just the slightest hint of sweetness that combined with their fluffy texture makes them super light. I was actually surprised when I first tried one because usually boxed corn bread comes with an overpowering amount of corn flavor, but these were the complete opposite. Now that I think about it, that may actually be why they aren’t too sweet. However, if you really love sweet cornbread you could always add a bit of creamed corn in with the wet ingredients to amp up the flavor. After trying Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread mix out I think I can honestly recommend it to friends and family – so yes, 5 out of 5 stars on this gluten free product. Besides I’ll definitely be making these muffins again, probably at Thanksgiving when I know everyone will want some cornbread with their meal!

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Muffin with Honey

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Colombian Hot Chocolate

One of my favorite memories growing up is from first grade when my mom came into my class and taught everyone how to make Colombian Hot Chocolate. Looking back, I have no clue why this happened – I’m guessing it was some sort of cultural education day or something. Who knows really.

At any rate, until that day I had no idea that the hot chocolate drank in my family was completely different from what my friends had at home. Not only is it different, it’s way better (not that I’m biased or anything haha). Colombian’s melt entire chocolate bars into their hot chocolate, making their version of the drink super dense and luxurious. I usually make this when I’m in the mood for a sweet snack because of how filling it is, especially with some guava paste on toast!


Tools:

Chocolatera (may be replaced with an aluminum saucepan)
Molinillo (may be replaced with a whisk)


Ingredients:

4 Cups Milk
4 Bars Sweetened or Unsweetened Colombian Chocolate (Sol & Luker are prominent brands)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
3-4 Whole Cloves

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Directions:

1. Start by adding your milk, cinnamon, and cloves to the chocolatera. Heat the milk on medium high.

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2. Once the milk has come to a light simmer add in your bars of chocolate. An easy way to know how much chocolate to add is one bar per each cup of milk.

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3. Here is where things get exciting, you’re now going to use your molinillo to beat your ingredients together! To do this place the molinillo between your hands and rub your palms back and forth (like you’re cold). The movement will create a frothing motion and combine your ingredients for a smooth consistency.

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4. When you serve your hot chocolate make sure to strain it as you pour – otherwise you might end up with cloves and cinnamon sticks in your drink.

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Now, here’s the part where Colombian’s really deviate from regular hot chocolate drinkers. Instead of whipped cream or marshmallows we top our toasty beverage with a slice of cheese. My mom and dad always served ours with muenster, but really any type of mild cheese will do. When I don’t feel like putting the cheese directly into my chocolate I’ll melt it onto toast and dip those into my drink. Sound weird? Yes it is a bit, but trust me the combination of sweet and salty is delicious, decadent, and really hits the spot on a chilly day. Enjoy!

ⓛⓞⓥⓔTricia

Gluten Free Shepherd’s Pie

I first tried making shepherd’s pie four or five years ago… it was exhausting. There were so many steps and the end result was kind of subpar to be completely honest. Since then I’ve tweaked and tinkered with the recipe so many times that I’ve come up with something that no where near resembles the original. It’s probably not the most authentic shepherd’s pie, but it’s pretty damn delicious. Also, gluten free! So try it out on a cold day or whenever you need a bit of comfort food.

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Mashed Potatoes

10 Large White Potatoes (Peeled & Cut into ½ Inch Pieces)
1 Teaspoon Crushed Rosemary
2 Cloves Garlic (Sliced)
1 Cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Butter
¼ Cup Sour Cream
1 Egg Yolk
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place your potatoes in a large pot (I used my 5 quart Dutch oven) and fill it with water so the potatoes are just covered. Add your rosemary and garlic before covering. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and remove the lid, allow the potatoes to boil until they fall apart when poked with a fork.
  2. Remove your potatoes from the heat and drain over a sink. Place them back in your pot before adding milk, butter, sour cream, and egg yolk. Using either a potato masher or a mixer mash the potato mixture to your desired consistency (I prefer mine a bit lumpy). Add salt and pepper then set aside.

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Beef Filling

2 Pounds Ground Beef
1 Teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Shallot (Small Diced)
1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms (Sliced)
1 ½ Cups Fresh Carrots (Medium Diced)
1 Cup Frozen Peas
12 Ounces Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Teaspoon Paprika (Optional)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Begin by seasoning the beef with Montreal steak seasoning. Add the vegetable oil to an oven safe sauté pan and bring to medium high heat. Add your meat and sauté until it is thoroughly browned.
  3. After browning, strain the beef over a sink and set aside. Place your pan back on the heat (still medium high) and add butter. Throw in your shallot and cook until it turns translucent, making sure to scrape up any browned bits for added flavor. Add the rest of the vegetables, sautéing until the carrots turn tender and can be easily pierced by a fork. Turn the heat down to medium low.2015-04-10 18.52.22
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  4. Combine your vegetables, ground beef, and cream of mushroom (I used Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream Of Mushroom Condensed Soup) in the pan adding salt and pepper to taste. Take your filling off the heat and evenly distribute it evenly around the pan. Cover the filling with even layers of mashed potato and finish by lightly sprinkling the top with paprika.2015-04-10 19.02.02.jpg
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  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the mashed potatoes have turned a light brown.

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ⓛⓞⓥⓔTricia

Home-style Chili

Since I became pseudo vegetarian I try making the meals where I include meat special. If I only have it once every one or two weeks I want that meal to be great! So, here’s a recipe for anyone who likes chili. It was originally created by my boyfriend’s grandmother and has been altered by me. It’s absolutely delicious and a quick meal if you don’t have much time.

Home-style Chili

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chuck

¼- ½ c onion

~ 3 or 4 thin slices chopped

1 can Joan of Arc Spicy Chili Beans

1 can Red Gold diced tomatoes

1 can Contadina tomato paste

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper Flakes

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Sugar

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Pepper

Optional:

1 tbsp Thai Red Chili Paste

  • First, simmer onions in a pan with a bit of butter until they turn transparent.
  • Add the ground chuck and brown in pan; once sufficiently cooked drain the beef, making sure to get most the fat off.
  • Pour the beef into a pot adding the beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste to it.
  • Mix in the dry spices, at the end adding in the red chili paste.
  • If you’d like a less spicy version skip the pepper flakes and chili paste; add in ~1 tsp more sugar.
  • Serve over pasta, rice, or plain topping it with a bit of parmesan cheese.

ⓛⓞⓥⓔTricia