Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Things

I know that I was supposed to give you a soup recipe on Wednesday.  But guess what?  It's been a crazy week. 

Sorry I'm not sorry.  Don't worry.  You'll be hearing all about how I'm choosing to own my decisions and not feel guilty about them later this week.

Just to catch up a little bit, yesterday Hubz and I decided it was time to get some things crossed off The List!

To start the morning off right I had the most amazing breakfast!  Turns out that we had a practically empty peanut butter jar... oh, hello Oats in a Jar!

In the mix was my usual oat mixture (oats, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, water and frozen bananas), chia seeds, a few frozen blackberries, coconut, macadamia nuts, granola and a chocolate chip almond cookie from Trader Joe's.  Um yeah, it was even better than it sounds.  The best part was getting peanut butter in every single bite!  So worth it.

We then headed to downtown St. Paul to go to the farmers' market.  There were only about 5 vendors there and most of them were selling meat (good thing we're home-grown-American-meat-eaters!).  We have become much more conscious of the meat that we're eating.  We've been trying to make sure that we know where our meat is coming from, and that it's at least antiobiotic-free, free range, grass-fed, organic... the whole sha-bang.  Plus we want to be sustainable and eco-friendly so we try to buy from local farmers.  Thus, the farmers' market!  It was so interesting talking to the vendors!  It felt really good to be knowledgeable about what they were talking about (mostly in thanks to reading The Omnivore's Dilemma) and feel like we were making the best choices when buying meat!

We brought home chicken breast, eggs and a whole duck!  Ever since Hubz had the duck burger at The Happy Gnome (one of our favorite downtown spots) he has been wanting to make duck.  We did roast our own turkey for Thanksgiving this year, so I'm sure a duck will be manageable!

We will most definitely be returning here often this spring!  Can't wait for warm weather and seasonal produce to arrive!

We then drove down Selby Ave (one of our favorite areas in St. Paul!) to this adorable little coffee shop!

I've been wanting to try Nina's since I first saw it last fall.  The fact that we had a Chinook coupon for a free brewed coffee sealed the deal!  I loved the ambience of this place.  It was really warm and inviting, plus I loved that there was so much natural light streaming in through the windows!

Hubz got the free coffee, which was delicious!  I chose herbal tea instead, which was also really good!

I love when I can get loose leaf tea at places and get to pour it myself!  I really want to get an individual tea pot like this.

I then did a dumb thing and gave Hubz my camera... so of course he took a ridiculous amount of attractive pictures of me!

I suppose it's just cause he thinks I'm cute!

We then headed to REI (and ran into a family friend who works there!) to take a look at the bikes so we have an idea of how much money we need to save to purchase them.  So exciting!

All in all it was a lovely day!  I got to cross three things off of The List in one day--I'll take it!

And yes, it is that cold in Minnesota still.  In fact, it is snowing at this very moment.  Lovely.

Nothing like a snowy day to make you want some soup though!

This soup is a delicious spin-off of the everyday tomato soup and is chock-full of delicious and nutritions veggies!  Perfect for a chilly day, served up with some toasted-herb bread!

Mediterranean Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
(Serves 2)
1 tsp Grapeseed Extract Oil (or olive oil)
1 garlic clove
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup spinach
2 cups Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup Base
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp heavy cream
Sea salt and pepper to taste

On medium heat, add grapeseed extract oil (or olive oil) to sauce pan.  I really like the grapeseed extract oil that I have.  It's from a company called Wild Tree and this particular one is an infused roasted garlic grapeseed oil which has such an amazing flavor.  I also have a basil pesto one which is awesome. 

Let the oil heat for a minute or two.

Add garlic to pan.  Let cook until fragrant (around 2 minutes depending on the pan).

Add mushrooms (and I usually add a little sea salt at this time) and saute about 4-5 minutes, until they begin to get soft.

Gotta add some delicious greens!  Stir in spinach and chopped up tomato.  Cook until spinach begins to wilt.  You can definitely experiment with different veggies for this recipe, but spinach and mushrooms are two of my favorites!

Now pour in the soup base!  I used Pacific Natural's Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup but have also the Trader Joe's brand and liked it.  I'm sure there are others out there too.

Let cook until heated through.

Now add in your cayenne pepper (so crucial for that little bit of added heat!), black pepper, basil and any other seasonings that you would like!

Just before serving, stir in the heavy cream to make it extra creamy and delicious!

Now serve it in your favorite bowl!

This soup is super creamy and is full of chunky veggies which I love!  If you like tomato-basil soup, you will love this one!  Make it now!

Bed time for me!  Did you go on any adventures this weekend?

Blessings on the beginning of your week!


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