Classic Leek & Potato Soup

Classic Potato Leek SoupI have been making soup once a week. It’s like a tonic against the cold that I can’t seem to shake and the chill in my bones that will not warm up no matter what! Last night I made my semi-homemade chicken soup, and I made chili the day before. Obsessed. I am a soup crazed person right now, pinning every soup under the sun.

I borrowed a few cookbooks from my library, one of which, I should buy, as I have taken it out so many times, I think it is just not fair anymore! It’s this guy:

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Fanny Farmer cookbook

She is the master. Marion Cunnigham is the absolute master, and Fannie Farmer was the original master. Or mistress. Hmmm. Let’s say master.

As I said, I was interested in the soup chapter this time. There are some really old-fashioned recipes in here, that I will (mark my words) never try: like “Oatmeal Soup”- pass. “Baked bean Soup”- pass. But Potato and Leek soup is right up my alley- It can be made 2 ways according to her book: One is Vichyssoise (p.89) and one as regular old, Leek & Potato Soup (p.92). Fine. Confuse the issue. Honestly, the difference is really, just that one recipe uses broth and the other uses water. One is served cold- the other hot. Either recipe is delicious, and if you use broth and heat it up, it is still Leek & Potato soup in my view. That said… Here’s the recipe that I used and adapted:

Here’s what I changed:

3 Tbsp butter=> 1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups milk=> 2 cups 2% milk
6 leeks=> one bag frozen leeks from Trader Joe’s
2 medium potatoes=>3 medium white potatoes
Salted the potatoes right as I added them to cook, not just after
Left out the 1 cup of heavy cream at the end…because- cream. And it’s one cup.
I pureed it when done, adding 1 Tbsp. fresh parsely

Here’s my adapted recipe:

Classic Leek & Potato Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Classic Leek & Potato Soup

This classic and economical soup is so easy that it can be whipped up with minimal time and ingredients. It's smooth texture goes great with grilled cheese croutons or sandwiches for dunking!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • one bag frozen leeks from Trader Joe's
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 medium white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsely

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the celery and leeks and cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup of the water, cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and the rest of the water. Add 1 tsp. salt. Cook 10 more minutes.
  5. Add the milk. Cover, with the lid propped open a bit, and simmer on low until the potatoes are done (about 10 minutes more).
  6. Add the parsley.
  7. Puree the soup with either an immersion blender or blender, and season with salt and pepper. Serve & garnish with more parsley.

Notes

I lightened this up quite a bit, by using lowfat milk and also omitting the extra 1 cup of heavy cream that the original recipe calls for. While I love that too, the soup doesn't need it to be super rich and creamy.

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If you need a good, standard recipe book, I have to say that this one is my favorite. I own the Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I go to this one time and time again…which is surprising for me, as there are NO pictures. I have looked at many editions of this book, but this one is the 13th edition. The original is from 1896! But the beauty of this cookbook is it’s breadth. There is literally a recipe for everything here and it is for the home cook- not super hard recipes or weird ingredients. You can adapt to your hearts content any one of her recipes and make it your own with success.  I also like that in the 13th edition, the newer recipes that have been added to this edition are highlighted in orange. That is great to know, since I like finding the super old recipes alongside the more updated ones.

Just for fun, here’s a little snippet of the 1896 dedication by Fanny Farmer:

fannyfarmer 1896

See? You are part of the elevation of the human race! Congratulations and “thank you” to Fanny Farmer!

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Emotional Life with Tweens & Teens: Inspiration for Moms

Tweens & Teens: Mom InspirationTweenagers.
Sigh.

If at any point today, you are staring at your little baby or toddler, thinking how “hard” it all is, remember that it will get easier…And then they will turn on you in about 8 years.

Sorry. If you haven’t had this experience, then I applaud you. And then I’d either call you a liar, or silently think that you will get your due in some fashion or another. Perhaps you had a baby that slept through the night after just 1 month too? So be it. You will get yours. The universe maintains its balance, my friends. This is my due, I guess. Now I am an expert in the emotions of young girls trying to assert themselves as independent and capable young ladies. It started at 8 year of age and has continued through until almost 12 years. I know that this will not end soon.

My best, best, best advice (not that you asked, but this is my forum, I guess, so I will go on….) is to remember the advice of the poet, W.H. Auden, who tells us

 ‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Words to heed. Yes. Yes, indeed.

Now don’t get me wrong- my beautiful, loving creatures still hold and love me dearly every now and again… but it can be fleeting. And the warm fuzzies are quickly forgotten after a short moment of good snuggles. The good and bad of it is that every day is a new one when you live with budding teenagers, and every other day they decide that loving anyone or anything around them is super hard. Liking anyone other than their friends is still harder. Dour moods and doom rule these dark days. If I am lucky, I manage to remember, how these moments must surely be harder for this precious child than for me…the object of their manifested feelings.

How hard it must be for the child, still figuring out their bodies, their minds, their emotions. Understanding comes with experience, and these kids wake up never having felt like this…their feelings high-jacked by hormones. I get it. I smell it too. The hormones are high during this time, my friends. But it is a sight to behold. You can see the dark moods coming if you are lucky or take care to pay attention, but beware the turn of the tide mid-day, when you think all is well…That’s when it comes in handy, these beautiful words:

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes. My best self will say, “I am sorry that you feel that way. Do you want some time alone? Would you like some mom-time?”

These are three little things that a mom can do or say, which tackle it all:

  1. acknowledge the feeling: “I am sorry that you feel that way.”
  2. ask them if they want to go to their room and leave everyone else out of this thunderstorm of doom: “Do you want some time alone?”
  3. see if they just need a hug: “Would you like some mom-time? Let’s talk.” (WARNING! You aren’t supposed to really talk at all, as this creates more problems. Really, this means “You talk all you want and tell me how unfair and horrible it all is and I will just nod and reaffirm that your feelings are valid.”  It’s best to time this one to keep it from going on and on. Leave it to under 5 minutes or it can make your day dis.ap…e.a.r…into the vortex of tween-dom emoting.

All good things, and pretty easy right?

But it starts with me shutting my big mouth, and remembering how much this sensitive and emotional time hurts my child way more than it hurts me. Love first.

Easier said than done. So next time one of my Tweenagers decides that I am the Enemy #1 and so “UNFAIR!” I will try to breathe in and out slowly. Exhale again for good measure and shut my mouth. If either of them wants me to answer, I will remember these 3 little things: Acknowlege, Alone, Hug. (Acronym to remember: A.A.H. as in “Aah. Isn’t that better?”)

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

I am torn in this remembering the soft, fragile and chubby babies, who are now becoming hilarious, smart, and wonderfully independent kids. I am moving forward and trying my best to mother them into becoming kind, empathetic, and strong human beings in this world. Trying not to yell. The struggle is real. I fail all the time. Acknowlege, Alone, Hug.

‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

Yes, Please.

You may now reward yourself with wine. Or chocolate. Either will do. You are doing awesome.

South Beach Chicken Mole

southbeach chicken moleI am combing through all my eating healthier cookbooks these days, looking for some dinnertime inspiration. Straight outta the diet books of the same name circa 2004, I’ve adapted this South Beach recipe to suit my tastes, and fit into a weeknight dinner to serve a family of 6.


*This post contains links to use as reference for my readers, but some may be affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive compensation- see my full disclosure page.

South Beach Chicken Mole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

South Beach Chicken Mole

For a very "clean" very healthy dish that feels super indulgent, try this saucy Chicken Mole I adapted from the South Beach Diet Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 4 split and boned chicken breasts, sliced in half, to get 8
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped sweet peppers (green or red)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • *2 scallions chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. To a large skillet, heated to medium, add the oil.
  2. Brown the chicken on both sides and remove to a place.
  3. To the same pan, add the vegetables and cook until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the chili powder, cinnamon and clove. Cook one minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and water, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add the peanut butter and cocoa powder. Stir.
  7. Add the chicken back to the pan, and cover to simmer. Continue to cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 25 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. Serve.
  8. *Optional: For serving, garnish with the scallions.

Notes

The original recipe called for one can of diced tomatoes, which I subbed fresh tomatoes and added water. I reduced the cloves from 1/2 tsp. to 1/4 as I find them very strong flavored. I also like larger chicken cuts instead of tenders, but this is just as easily changed to suit your tastes.

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The original recipe if from the orange version of the book that you can find on Amazon (affiliate link) or any used bookstore I’d bet! I love that it feels really indulgent, but it is super healthy and easy enough to adapt for my kiddos. I served it with steamed green zucchini and some brown rice, but I would be mashed cauliflower would be great to soak up all that sauce!

South Beach Chicken Mole

Enjoy and best of health in 2017!