7 Minutes in Heaven

I never played that game because I was home schooled.

This post pertains to my favorite thing- eggs! It’s no big secret I love them. I even have eggs listed on my top 6 things I can’t live without on OkCupid! At some point last year I learned I have been hard/soft cooking them wrong my whole life! My grandma always stressed 20 minutes for boiling so I wouldn’t get salmonella. The end result was always a rubbery white and dry chalky yolk. My grandma would tell me the yolks were full moons so I would eat them. A much later teenage obsession with all things Austen and Brit Lit led me to discover 5 minute eggs. You know, the ones that get their own holder that looks like a candlestick and special little spoon. It kind of grossed me out, so i just continued to think British people ate weird things.

One fateful day last October, during my first Whole30, I was seriously stalking HomeSweetHomestead’s blog. This babe is living my dream, basically. She has chickens! (More on that later!) When you own chickens you eat a whole lot of eggs. After what seemed like a continuous scroll of photos of 7 minute eggs, I knew I had found my magic number. Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset

7 Minute Eggs

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  2. Lower eggs in with a spoon.
  3. Cover pot. Lower heat to medium. Cook for 7 minutes.
  4. Remove from pot and run under cool water.
  5. Peel. Salt. Dill. Enjoy!

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I am a fan of eggs cooked all ways, but this may be my favorite. For the sake of time and because my name is not Sheila. Sheila makes the best scrambled eggs on the planet. During the Whole30 these guys were my go to breakfast, paired with sliced apples and almond butter or lightly roasted asparagus. And coffee, always coffee. I put these eggs on a pedestal. Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset

If you like a runnier yolk, may I suggest less on the timer. If you prefer the opposite, aim for 8-10 minutes. I will stick with 7 for now.

Side note: I have really been thinking about getting chickens. Currently trying to figure out how that would work with cats.

SOUPER BOWL

This year and most years I could really care less about the superbowl. No Dallas Cowbows? Pshhh. No Beyonce? Uhhhh. Snowstorms +the season finale of football a Twin Peaks binge are two good enough reasons to sit on the couch for the entirety of an afternoon. (Couch sitting is even more justified if you went to the gym earlier that day.) (Add two cuddly cats and an attention-deprived dog and you have the most ideal of couch sitting situations.)

Since I am currently half-assing another Whole30 and had no real plans to watch the sports game, I didn’t deem it necessary to binge on chips and dip and other snacks of their kind. Also, I do not have any of that in my house. Also, I am pretty poor until payday. So what do you make when all you want is a damn fine cup of coffee and something else just as warm? And your refrigerator boasts ingredients like Russian kale & ground turkey & a few tomatoes that you need to hurry up and use? All signs point to soup…er…stew. Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset

Skillet Stew

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, diced

6 cloves garlic, diced

1 bunch Russian kale, roughly chopped

2 strips uncured bacon

4 cups water

seasonings to taste: oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, s&p

*cast iron skillet* or a medium sized pot

  1. In a large cast iron skillet or soup pot, skillet preferred (hence the name) on low-medium heat, begin to fry you bacon. Add garlic and onion. Stir around until the garlic turns golden.
  2. Add squash and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add kale, tomatoes, and seasonings. Stir.
  4. Add water, cover skillet and let simmer on low for about 2 hours. When your butternut squash is nice and tender you are done.

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Three days later and I am still living off this stew. Three days later and I still have no idea of what went on during that halftime show.

(Bring on baseball season!)

This is also Whole30 apropros. The mug cake I made later that night, however, was not. Souper!

Stupid Simple & Vegan

Way back in the day I used to flip-flop between being a carnivore and a vegetarian. I even dabbled in veganism for about a month. It was actually during my first month of grad school. I’d amble around Denton with my nose in the air because I was smart, didn’t eat animal products, and rode a bike. Then one morning I woke up to yet another eggless breakfast and realized it was a life I did not want to live.

Fast forward four years and I am doing yet another Whole30. This means no dairy, among other things. Eggs are okay. But this post will actually focus on potatoes. Of the mashed variety. The vegan mashed variety! Processed with VSCOcam with e8 preset

Vegan Mashed Potatoes

12 small, organic red potatoes cut into quarters

2 tsp coconut oil

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tbs garlic powder

s & p to taste

  1. Rinse and quarter your red potatoes. Boil in a pot of salted water until soft- about 20 minutes.
  2. After draining the potatoes, place in a bowl or the original pot. Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, and garlic powder. Mash away.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Blogging a recipe that is this simple is actually really weird for me. It’s like posting about how to put on socks and then calling myself a fashion blogger…

BUT

Some people don’t know how to make mashed potatoes? Or maybe they don’t know coconut oil easily replaces butter? Whatever. I quickly added these vegan mashed potatoes to a very non-vegan fried egg and even later, I topped my stuffed peppers with ’em to make shepherd’s pie. Potatoes are pretty damn versatile and my go-to comfort food while on a Whole30. And, when paired with eggs, they make up 1/2 of the breakfast power couple! (Even when they are mashed!)

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The End.

Dutch BAE

Another post a long time in the making:

 

If you know me, you know kids and babies and little people altogether are not my thing. I prefer dogs and old people. That being said, the Dutch Baby is the only baby type I will welcome into my life with arms wide open.  And unlike the real deal, this breakfast/brunch/anytime delight takes way less than 9 months to make.

I did not have the slightest notion of the Dutch Baby’s existence until I stumbled upon Amber Wilson’s lovely Instagram feed. Talk about a life changing event! Here is the 15 second rundown: pancaky-crepey-custardy-popoveresque deliciousness.

After re-introducing the cast iron skillet into my culinary repertoire, I went searching for the recipe. Camille Styles blogged her DB recipe on my birthday, how serendipitous! I used her recipe my foundation, making small changes here and there.Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Dutch Baby

Ingredients:

3 eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup milk, 2%-whole works best

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1-2  tablespoons unsalted butter

*Note: cast iron is a must for Dutch baby makin’

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place your cast iron skillet towards the back on the middle rack.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk your eggs for about 2 minutes until nice and frothy.
  3. Add in your sugars, milk, salt, and vanilla. Sift in the flour and whisk all ingredients until smooth.
  4. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Take your cast iron skillet out of the oven and coat the surface with butter. Quickly pour in the batter and pop the skillet back into the oven. bake for 15 minutes.

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Dutch babies are traditionally served doused with powdered sugar and accompanied by lemon wedges and butter galore. Fresh fruit is also another great addition. It is amazing how simple they are to make, too. That’s why this recipe is my BAE (before anything else) when it comes to breakfast.

Oh yeah, this recipe is very forgiving. I’ve made several different versions so far: chocolate, french coconut, buttermilk and berry, etc. etc. While it’s good to go Dutch on this pancake I really do not feel bad if I accidentally eat the entire thing.

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Alotta Frittata

There is one food if which I had to live without I would probably die. Breakfast and brunch would have no soul, veganism would be the easiest triumph, and the souffle would cease to exist. This food is the incredible, edible egg.

Ah, the egg is alive and well in my refrigerator, and since my birthday cast iron purchases, it has played a frequent supporting role in my life. With frequent trips to the farmers market, frittatas and green smoothies have become necessary. This post is dedicated to the better of the two. Processed with VSCOcam with m4 preset

I jokingly started the hashtag #52weeksoffrittata on Instagram, mainly for the alliteration’s sake. All jokes aside, my weekly frittatas have been rather consistent. You too can eat delicious frittatas on a weekly basis without owning a chicken farm! For the very low quantity of 4 eggs a week + whatever produce/cheese/extras you have on hand! Get creative!

Here are the varieties I’ve had so far:

Week 1: sweet & spicy peppers + feta

Week 2: Greek Style (spinach+tomatoes+feta)

Week 3: London Pub Style (wild mushrooms+onions in malt vinegar)

Week 4: Fall Yall! (spicy sage+potatoes+fig&honey goat cheese)

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I’m not going to post a recipe for each frittata individually because if you have a brain and can saute vegetables, you can surely do this without detailed instructions. I use 4 eggs for each one. That’s really all you need to know!

I can’t wait to carry on this new weekly love affair!

Do y’all have any frittata favorites?

 

XOXO

Farmer’s Market Frittata

As some of you may know, I recently joined a local CSA. Every weekend my friend Elizabeth make it an event to take our dogs to the farmer’s market to pick up our share. Besides a large bag/box of fresh, local, organic, AND seasonal produce, I usually also manage to purchase a few dozen farm fresh eggs and homemade dog treats for Gypsy. I feel like I am saving a bunch of money by not buying from grocery chains. Actually the only things I pick up from the store now are dog food, toilet paper, and maybe a few things I am craving or need specifically for a recipe.

As produce begins to collect on my counter top and in the refrigerator and the freshness clock ticks away, I have to come up with ways to use everything up. Good thing I love dishes that tend to call for large amounts of fruits and veggies: soup, stir fry, salads, pies, and my new favorite- the frittata! I made my first ever frittata over the weekend, using up a large portion of produce from previous CSA hauls.

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Don’t be fooled by that cute sounding Italian name! Frittatas are super easy! Think if an omelette and a quiche had a baby…..or maybe this could be their 3rd cousin once removed. You don’t even need a whole bunch of vegetables to make one of these, but I wanted color! Red, green, yellow, purple, and white made up the spectrum. This frittata also had depth! That was probably my favorite aspect.

Ingredients 

8 garlic cloves, minced

6 sage leaves

2 small serrano peppers, sliced

1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped

5 small purple potatoes, sliced

2 small sweet peppers, chopped

4 large kale leaves, chopped

4 heirloom cherry tomatoes

2 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chipotle powder

2 tsp freshly ground sea salt

fresh black pepper to taste

6 eggs

2-3 oz goat cheese

2 tbs buttermilk (optional)

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As I said earlier, you do not to have all of any of the above listed veggies. Anything would do, really! I bet you could even be adventurous and use berries! Though if that be your case, a sweeter cheese like mascarpone or ricotta may be needed. Now that I think of it, that does sound kind of good! This frittata is your oyster! (I do not recommend oysters as an addition.)

The Process

1. Rinse and chop, slice, and dice all of your vegetables. ImageImageImageSuch beautiful colors! Throw everything EXCEPT for the kale and tomatoes into a cast iron skillet with olive oil. Why you ask? I wanted the potatoes to cook and the onions to brown. I didn’t want to overcook the kale during the process. You shouldn’t really saute tomatoes in an iron skillet either. They already have a lot of iron, and the contact with the metal alters the taste in my opinion.

2. Saute on medium heat until the potatoes are tender, seasoning as you go. This should take about 15 minutes. ImageImage 3. Next, toss in the kale. Stir around for about 3-5 minutes.

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4. Time to get cracking with your eggs! Whisk together in a large bowl with your buttermilk. The buttermilk make the final product a bit more fluffy. I also think it tastes better with the goat cheese. The two are both sour and tangy!

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5. Slowly pour your eggs into the cast iron skillet. Give everything a good mix around and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edge begin to firm up.

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6. Top with goat cheese and heirloom tomatoes and pop into a pre-heated oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. The finished product should not be runny. ImageImage

When the frittata is finished baking, slice and serve! For the perfect little brunch, serve alongside a small salad and mimosas!

I am so glad I made this! I think I may have discovered my Sunday morning go-to recipe.

XOXOXO

Tahdig. Ya dig?!

Growing up, the closest I ever got to anything Persian was a cat. And that being said, Poncho would not let you get very close…unless you wanted to get bit. There were 6 reasons under the age of 12 why he ran away after only living at our house for a week. Don’t worry though, he made himself super comfortable at the house down the street. (Until he got hit by a car many years later. Sad but true story.)

Persians don’t play around! Literally. The cats do not like to play. You could most definitely say the same about their rice! Take everything you know about cooking rice, 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice, and throw it out the window. Yeah, they do things much differently. The end result is amazing! 

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I bought a year supply of rice over the weekend during my first time ever visit to a Persian grocer. I mainly just wanted the burlap bag so I could make a purse later on. After telling my favorite co-worker about my food shopping adventure she gave me some saffron, homemade yogurt, and a link to a recipe for Persian rice- tahdig! I’d had this once before at a birthday party in high school. Up until a few days ago, I had referred to tahdig as crunchy rice. 

For the most part I followed this recipe. Somehow I messed up on the easiest part, measuring. I blame all the coffee I’ve been drinking. If you plan to make tahdig, plan ahead! It is recommended that you soak the rice overnight.

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Ingredients

2 cups Basmati rice (I wasn’t paying attention and did 4…)

a pinch of saffron

a pinch of sugar

plain yogurt (if I didn’t have homemade I’d of used Greek)

vegetable oil

sea salt

butter

lots of fresh dill

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The Process

1. In a large bowl, rinse your rice until the water in the bowl is almost clear. Soak over night. Image2. In a large pot, preferably nonstick and non-stainless steel, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Salt your water and pour the rice into the pot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Image

3. Meanwhile, pour 1 tbs of the boiling water into a small bowl over the saffron and sugar. Just watch as the water turns a nice yellow shade.

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4. Mix the saffron water with about 3 tbs of yogurt. You will later mix this with a few scoops of the cooked rice to give the bottom a nice golden color once finished.

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5. When the 10 minutes is up, drain and rinse your rice with cold water. Scoop about 1/2 cups worth into the bowl with the yogurt and saffron and mix well.

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6. Fill your original pot with just enough water that the entire bottom is covered, roughly about 1/2 inch high. Add about 2 tbs of vegetable oil, and swirl around so that they kind of mix. (Oil and water don’t mix. It’s science.) 

7. Next, pour the yogurt rice into the pot so that it covers the bottom of your pan. This will be the good, crunchy part later!

8. Pour the drained rice on top. The original recipe says to make a pyramid. I did not have enough room so it really just became the top layer of rice.

9. Poke holes in the rice with the end of a spoon. Be sure to not poke all the way down! This is for steaming purposes. 

Image10. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on high heat for no longer than 10 minutes.

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11. After the 10 minutes is up, wrap the lid in a towel and cover the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for one hour. Image

12. When finished, dump the pot over a large plate, as you would a cake. The top layer of rice should easily come out. The bottom and best part might need a little extra help. Image

Break up the bottom layer so other people can enjoy it. Serve with butter, sea salt, fresh dill, and yogurt!

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Now if only I had some kebabs! I have lived off of this rice for the last 2 days, mainly topping with dill, yogurt, and a fried egg.

I read somewhere that cooking rice Persian style is almost an art form. I got egg poaching down on the first try…. Maybe I am a natural?

So excited to try my next Persian recipe, whatever that may be!

52 Weeks of Baking: Bread for Beginners

I remember the first time I made bread. I was however old you are in the 2nd grade. We made “unleavened” bread at some retreat before my first communion. Basically the ingredients were flour, salt, and water. Basically the bread tasted like shit. I think that may have been the point though.

My second attempt at bread was beer bread. Yeah, 13 year old Annie definitely made this with the intention of getting drunk. She didn’t know how the science of baking worked back then. The bread didn’t turn out that great anyway.

Other than those two anecdotes, I don’t really have that much experience with baking bread! I feel like I never have the time to dedicate to the process, though I often dream of being an artisan baker. How cool would that be? This weekend I learned how to bake an easy, no frills version using my favorite kitchen utensil: my cast iron skillet! I’d say this is the perfect bread for beginners. I mainly followed this recipe, but substituted whole wheat flour. Also, my new neighbors do not have a rosemary bush….

Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast

2 cups lukewarm water

4 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tbs kosher salt

olive oil

The Process

1. Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl.

2. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 tbs kosher salt.

3. Stir in the rest of the flour 1 cup at a time until completely incorporated.

4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for a little over and hour.

5. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough. With floured hands, form the dough into a disc shape. DO NOT KNEED!

6. Lightly oil the cast iron skillet. Place the dough in the skillet, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for one more hour.

7. Brush the top of your bread with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

8. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

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This was seriously the easiest thing ever! I can’t wait to be more adventurous with my bread baking as the year progresses! 50 weeks to go.

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Fortunately for me, I get to live out one of my lifelong dream once a month each month as my department’s event planner. I love planning parties, and not to brag or anything, I am actually really good at it! This may be because I love a good theme, but most likely attributed to my control freak ways. I love being in charge and telling people what to do and when and how to do it! Kind of strange for my part-time introvert personality, but oh well. Today I executed our August birthday party. I thought I was going to be the only person making something, but boy was I wrong! we ended up with not one, not two, but THREE types of banana bread! Shit was ba-na-nasssssssssss!

Themes. I was not feeling very creative when planning this party. My sole inspiration at first was a picture of a dog I found on the internet. He was wearing sunglasses and hanging by a pool. This dog was too cool for school & a day job! Then it hit me how I was not by a pool in sunglasses. Hmmmm. It’s hot outside, why not plan a cool themed party!

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Check out those awesome Paint skills…

You know what else is really cool? Cucumbers! People put them on their eyes to reduce puffiness. Cucumber infused water is a diuretic. And they are the hipster stage of pickles! I decided to combine my affinity for pico de gallo and the coolness of cucumbers to create a refreshing yet equally spicy cucumber salad!

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Ingredients

3 cucumbers

2 jalapenos, diced

1/2 purple onion, diced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 can sweet yellow corn, drained and rinsed

the juice of 1-2 large limes

8 oz queso fresco

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chipotle powder

1 tbs garlic powder

sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

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The Process

1. Wash all of your veggies to make sure they are clean! Some of the produce I used came from the community market here in Denton. Local and organic, yay!

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2. Peel and halve your cucumbers lengthwise, then slice the halves. Also known as quartering!ImageImage

3. Chop and dice your onion, cilantro, and jalapenos. I prefer to work with the jalapenos last, that way my hands do not burn as much at the end of the process. I also added all seeds to the salad for spice factor.

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4. Douse all of your chopped veggies with spices and lime Juice and stir together with the corn in a large bowl.

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5. Queso freso is the cherry on top of any tex-mex dish, in my opinion. It’s alright to be generous! ImageImage

This salad is filling without leaving you feeling weighed down. The most unhealthy parts, corn and cheese, make it! They really add some sweetness to counterbalance the chipotle and jalapenos.

I highly recommend this recipe for a summer party! If you chop fast, you can really throw it together in 10-15 minutes! Oooo, now if only I had a margarita to go with!

XOXOXO

Roasted Carrot & Ginger Soup

If you read my blog you know as a fact that I am a soup lover. For those of you who are just tuning in, I am, as a fact, a soup lover! I don’t discriminate against hot or cold during the alternating seasons. Yeah, I think soup is good anytime, year round.

In preparation for a juice cleanse I would like to do (need to buy a juicer) and as a “detox” from all the deliciously horrible things I ate in Nola, I have been trying to stick to a raw foods diet…or eating clean…or whatever.  Ha. I don’t think that Taverna brunch could be considered raw… I will, however, classify wine and mimosas as juice!  Back on topic. Eating clean. God I hate that term. Looking over my cousin’s meal plans from her juice cleanse, one caught my eye- a roasted carrot soup! Honestly, I only like carrots raw, in stir fry, carrot cake, and carrot souffle. The word roasted changes matters. I don’t think I had ever had roasted carrots before. This recipe is a little bit more on the dirty side of eating!

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Ingredients 

4 large carrots, chopped

5-10 garlic cloves, the more the better in my opinion!

1/2 large sweet potato, chopped

2 tbs fresh ginger

the juice of 1/2 lemon

1 1/3 cups skim milk

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

2 tbs flour

2 tsp chipotle powder

sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

1/2 tsp ground mustard

3 tbs coconut oil

(optional) garnish: 1 jalapeno and 1/2 white onion sauteed in 1 tbs butter

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The Process

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Peel garlic cloves and chop your carrots and sweet potato. I like to leave the skin on my sweet potatoes for that extra fiber! Carefully peel and chop your ginger. Watch out for those fingers! For some reason it’s always a close call when fresh ginger is involved!

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3. Toss your garlic and chopped veggies in coconut oil and lemon juice. Season with mustard, chipotle, and salt and pepper. I think the chipotle and mustard together do an adequate job of contrasting the carrot’s sweetness and complimenting the earthiness of the sweet potato.

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4. Roast your vegetables in the oven for about 50 minutes, tossing intermittently. Your kitchen should smell like Thanksgiving! Yum!

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5. Whisk together you flour, chicken or vegetable broth, and 1/3 cup skim milk.

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6. If you want to add something extra, thinly slice and saute a jalapeno and onion half. You’ll be glad you did!

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7. When the vegetables are finished, transfer to a blender with the flour, milk, and broth mixture. Blend, slowly add in the remaining milk, season with salt and pepper, and blend some more. Transfer to bowls and serve!

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I made some flat bread to go with because I was a carb fiend last week! Well, I crave carbs a majority of the time. I’d say this soup is guilt free for the most part! The ginger gives it a bit of an Asian flair! I ate my leftovers cold the next day. Carrot and ginger gazpacho!

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So tell me, are y’all soup time all the time fans? Or do you prefer winter|hot & summer|cold?

Hope your week is getting off to a great start!