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This Week in Soup: Just a Happy Occident!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In the freezer: two bags of PC Asian Medley frozen vegetables (baby corn, matchstick carrot, edamame, sugar snap peas, shredded carrot) and two skinless boneless chicken breasts

In the fridge: two cartons of chicken broth, half a cup of PC Memories of Szechuan peanut sauce, roasted garlic puree, soya sauce, a few mushrooms, a long skinny red shepherd pepper, 6 baby bok choy (the dark green curly kind).

In the cupboard: Chinese five spice, red pepper flakes, rice stick noodles.

Partially defrosted and cubed the chicken. Dropped into the boiling chicken broth together with the frozen Asian veggies. Added all the seasonings (no need for any salt with the soya sauce).

Sliced the stalk ends of the baby bok choy and added them. Cut the red pepper into long noodle-type shapes and added those too.

Soaked the rice noodle stick in boiling water for 7 minutes: then rinsed thoroughly in cold water.

Minced the curly parts of the bok choy, simmered briefly.

Took the pot off the burner. Stirred in the rice noodles.

So what is this? A noodle bowl, really, more than a soup . . . not recognizably any specific or "authentic" Asian cuisine. But: preliminary taste-test indicates it's pretty yummy! Easy, fast, colourful.

After all that activity for the brain, got three right first time at Trivia . . . . and now I'm off to the gym, with the sun shining.

Brighter all round!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/15/2011 4:43PM

    Still waitin' for that peanut soup...



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LINDAJ0621 11/15/2011 11:57AM

    Sounds great! I love to make soups. Will be trying something like that soon!

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SALSIFY 11/14/2011 4:19AM

    Sounds yummy! I love Asian soups & I make them all the time. I buy some good Thai red curry paste, Thai green curry paste & some Tom Yum soup base from my local Oriental supermarket for different kinds of seasonings if I don't want to make them from scratch. I also use these in stir fries. For lunch I often make an Asian style broth with veggies & poach an egg in it.

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/13/2011 10:47PM

    Yum, something in the tum does wonders for the brain. Well done, on both the culinary expertise and the trivia quizz.

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NANCY- 11/13/2011 3:24PM

    Yum... I should not have read this so close to dinner.
I do have a light happy light. However my status of not being in the dark referred to power being restored after that Nor'easter.

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BARBIETEC 11/13/2011 6:13AM


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JIBBIE49 11/13/2011 12:23AM


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DONNACFIT 11/12/2011 8:12PM

    Made soup today too..doctored tomato soup...added carrots, green and yellow beans to veggie stalk and water and a can of tomato soup ...simmered it then added some frozen meatballs and some leftover chinese fried rice..it was yummy :)

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ERIKO1908 11/12/2011 7:12PM

    I love how you just throw it all together and BAM!! (I'm not that free-wheeling...though I wish I were!!) Sounds YUM!!

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FREELADY 11/12/2011 5:56PM

    Sounds fabulous. I will try this. Thanks!

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FRACTALMYTH 11/12/2011 1:08PM

    Nummy :D

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CRYSTALJEM 11/12/2011 12:39PM

    Yum. A really good day by the sounds of it.

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_LINDA 11/12/2011 12:34PM

    How awesome is that? Good for you! Way to use up what is available! I did something similar for my leftovers, a PC stir fry veggie package including broccoli, snow peas, and shredded stalks and cabbage. I added diakon and parsnip as well as carrots, and steamed them all up, using left over sesame ginger dressing and dried noodles and almonds from an Eat Smart Asian salad kit. Also added chili pepper flakes for some punch, ate with a side of cottage cheese for protein as I am not a meat eater. I also seemed to find my brain this morning and got the trivia all right. Hopefully it will carry over and give me a decent bridge game! Exercise done inside on a cold, windy snowy day. Will walk to bridge though.
Have a fabulous day!

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KALIGIRL 11/12/2011 11:29AM

    Sounds soup- er!

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MSSNOWY 11/12/2011 11:17AM

    Sounds delicious. Enjoy!

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Not At My Brightest

Friday, November 11, 2011

First snowfall last night, and (because snow is covering the skylight) my study is dark this morning.

My 10,000 lux light box beats back the gloom successfully. Yay!

But: as far as my brain goes, perhaps I'm still not quite awake yet. That's my excuse anyhow.

Three wrong at Trivia before I managed to get three right. I'm clearly not at my brightest today.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBIETEC 11/13/2011 6:14AM

    SNOW!.. no!!!! hehehe :)

The sun will come back before you know it ::)

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PHEBESS 11/12/2011 3:42PM

    I have days when I'm a disaster on the trivia - I doubt I'll ever win that award.

But your soup (next blog) sounds brilliant!!!!!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/11/2011 9:33PM

    These days happen, a little disconcerting but we do recover, or perhaps we just get used to it. Thanks also for your comment on the blog, do be warned though, Ken and I came out as a young married couple and were only going to stay for two years but once we tasted life here we were here for life. We have been very fortunate. No need for a light box here. emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 11/11/2011 6:26PM

    Awww..Ellen don't worry..you may think you not at your 'brightest' today...but to us..your Spark friends you are one BRIGHT Shining Light!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
P.S. You will 'snap' back quickly and get a 100% on the Trivia questions...im sure! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 11/11/2011 4:35PM

    If you can do caffeine without it causing problems, there is a tried and true remedy for fuzzy-headedness that I like: coffee. There are times, though, when I'm too stressed for more jitters. The lightbox sounds like a good tool, but doubt I need it in sunny Florida. Lots of sun here today. 5 of us (Natalie, Gwen, hubby, me and Kahlua) all took a long minute walk today, although we 3 girls wore our hoodies. Anyway, wishing you good sleep, some sun, and good, clear thinking. -Marsha

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SALSIFY 11/11/2011 4:23PM

    I might have to ask Father Christmas for a lightbox. I don't mind cold weather but I realised it was already getting dark at 4.30pm today. I dislike the gloom.


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GROEDER 11/11/2011 8:23AM

    I wasn't very bright this morning either. I have had to ride my bike in the dark now that the time has changed. It seems that I tire faster and don't ride as fast. I will get back in the daylight this weekend and see it I do better.
We will have to look on the bright side!!!! LOL

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NANCY- 11/11/2011 8:22AM

    Why worry about trivia when you excel at more important things! You always brighten my day.

Gotta love those "happy" lights to get us through our darkest days.

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_LINDA 11/11/2011 8:14AM

    Maybe you should have slept in! I know sleep deprivation is causing a lot of my memory problems and inability to concentrate at the bridge table for example. I can't remember all the cards that have been played like I used to :( I get questions I have seen before in trivia wrong because I can't quite remember the exact number you need.
Hope your day gets brighter and you have a terrific weekend! I need to look into one of those sun lamps. Being in this dark North facing apartment and never getting any sunshine ever is a real downer (and why I am quick to stay with my Mom and her south facing house with floor to ceiling windows!)

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This Week: French Canajun Pea Soup, Eh??

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Checking out the fridge: carrots celery and a brand new unopened package of sliced ham just a few days past its best-by date. (I don't eat ham generally: buy it for DH's lunch sandwiches. It's just too Charlotte's Web for me . . . But OK, gonna use it up! )

In the cupboard: a full bag of yellow split peas. And some sage and thyme and dried minced onion. And some red pepper flakes for oomph.

A very easy simmer of everything but the ham in about 10 cups of water until veggies and split peas all soft -- and then pureed about a quarter of it in my food processor. And stirred the puree back in with the diced ham.

Smells great, high protein and comforting too . . . eh?

Je l'aimerai beaucoup chaque soir toute cette semaine suivante . . . yeah!! Moi, je suis canadienne!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 11/9/2011 10:22PM

    Yum! Thanks for the inspiration! I'll have to check this out!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/9/2011 10:14PM

    Dude, you know the Cajuns are originally Acadian Francophones who moved south, right? Your assertion might just be closer to the truth than you suspected - Unless you already knew that. ;-)


And OMG did my friend from Côte d'Ivoire enjoy listening to Cajun music while she was here. It was EVEN MORE amusingly obscure to her than Quebecois! LOL

And on that topic I must say I appreciated using Africanais when I visited her in return - having never formally learned any French, I loved that no one cared about my accent or grammar - it wasn't THEIR first language, either! Hahaha

(She was originally Cameroonian, educated in France - which meant SHE was the only person constantly correcting me. LOL)
(Alas, no flag emoticon for Côte d'Ivoire so I couldn't include one too)

Eventually you can branch out into West African peanut soup. Just don't get into any arguments about whether to call it cacahuète or arachide. Hahahahaha

Comment edited on: 11/9/2011 10:26:26 PM

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BLUESKY_321 11/7/2011 7:22AM

    Can I just tell you how you've motivated me? Leftover in the fridge: kale, a little wilty. In the cupboard: some sweet potatoes bought for some recipe last week that didn't happen, an onion, some chicken broth, and a can of diced tomatoes. Simmered and pureed with some cayenne pepper and some nutmeg... YUM!
I'm not a fan of peas or ham, but I wonder if my family (ham lovers all) would enjoy this type of soup. It *sounds* very yummy!

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BESTSUSIEYET 11/6/2011 8:01PM

    Making potato soup as I write. Love the warmth of homemade soups on cold days! Haven't ever done split pea, but Might try this one.stay warm!

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SLENDERELLA61 11/6/2011 7:45PM

    Yummy! I know that was filling and delicious. Thanks for sharing. -Marsha

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JOHAL52 11/6/2011 5:31PM

    Mmmm, love split pea soup. I usually put a ham hock in :)

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CMRAND54 11/6/2011 3:04PM

    Your soup sounds wonderful. I love split pea soup!

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PHEBESS 11/5/2011 11:45PM

    Sounds like you're ready for warming up every evening!

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DONNACFIT 11/5/2011 11:34PM

    Your soup sounds yummy!! I made potato soup today..hubby's favorite...I actually bought a dried peas soup kit on Tuesday for next week...yeah..we're cajuns.. emoticon

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SALSIFY 11/5/2011 7:31PM

    Can't go wrong with pea & ham soup. It's what winter is made for!

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_LINDA 11/5/2011 3:42PM

    An old classic! Enjoy! I can't really stand ham, its the one meat I always refuse and of course its my brother's favorite, but none of us really liked green pea soup, have to admit, but it was one of my Mom's favorites.
Nothing like soup on those frigid Canadian winter days so fast approaching..
Have a great weekend!

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ERIKO1908 11/5/2011 12:46PM

    Sounds very very YUM!!!!

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DDOORN 11/5/2011 10:35AM

    Yum! I always have a stash of various dried beans handy for soups, hummus, whathaveyou...


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GROEDER 11/5/2011 8:33AM

    Sounds great!!!! I bet it was fun to make too!!

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PENNYAN45 11/5/2011 8:25AM

    Split pea soup is perfect for this time of year. And this is just about the only time I eat ham too. It's a great combination. Yum!

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Hallowe'en Candy? No Problem!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Or so I thought.


That's "cheap 'n nasty" chocolate (that's what I tell myself): mini boxes of Smarties, Kitkat, Aero, Coffee Crisp.

We bought a box of 90. Sampled two Coffee Crisp on Sunday with a pot of coffee -- and then I checked the calories count. Eighty calories per bar. Did I mention we each ate two? Sooooo not worth it. Not Lindt 85% cocoa. Not an anti-oxidant in sight. Minimal chocolatiness. Bleech.

Then on Monday night -- Hallowe'en itself, of course --my DH very kindly volunteered to hand 'em out at the door. . . actually \the first time I can remember him doing that. Ever.

So I wasn't tempted. Until I got home from work tonight. Ravenous. Saw the basket still pretty much full on the dining room table.

And. Ate. Two. More. Coffee. Crisp.

Yikes! This will not get my out of middle four territory.

So I asked DH to hide the remains. And not to tell me where he's put them. "Rearrange your environment" says Judith S. Beck . . . which works for me. Almost all of the time.

But it's important not to get overly self-confident. Because that's just an invitation to hubris. I am not impervious to Hallowe'en candy. Clearly I am not.

And: I am very glad I didn't buy the small bags of potato chips. Never ever met a potato chip I didn't love. Coulda chomped my way through all of 'em, every bag, without coming up for air.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCY- 11/9/2011 11:32AM

    Candy is too great of a temptation so I purchase candy I do not like. That eliminates the temptation. No trick or treating took place here... too dangerous with all the wires and trees down.

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DBCLARINET 11/5/2011 11:46PM

    Ugh, chocolate chip cookies. It doesn't sound like I'm the only one who suffers a weakness to those. I realize that I can't have one, because then I'll have six or more. Once upon a time, I would say my weakness was pathetic, but it's not. It just is.

Hubby and I bought some seasonal beers the other day, and after treating myself last night, I had to tell him out loud that I was not having a drink for a couple of days. Just saying it out loud helped with the temptation.

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MSSNOWY 11/3/2011 11:28PM

    Totally understand. I'm great at leaving the KitKats. It's the Snickers that are my downfall. I must go "rearrange my environment." Actually, I was doing that by eating them, but I can see that's not what she meant! Sigh.

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CRYSTALJEM 11/3/2011 4:21PM

    Oh my how I hear you! I've got the same problem, but unlike you, I also have 2 children at home who got WAY more candy and treats than either of them need. And everyday I see it, and they have their little treats and it is DRIVING ME NUTS!

There, I feel so much better. Thank you. Now, where did I put my carbonated water - aw yes, right by the bowl of chocolate.....

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/2/2011 8:41PM

    My problem with stuff like that is that once I start the sugar rush opens up a gaping hole inside demanding MOAR.

So it's definitely a case of not being able to have "just one."

And yeah, don't get me started on the crunchy salty things either.

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TRAVELGRRL 11/2/2011 5:59PM

    Remember, JSB ALSO says "When in doubt throw it out!" You've already "wasted" the money on candy you didn't hand out, why add gaining weight to the equasion?

I'm with you on the chips, though...I'd probably eat them all before the kids even showed up!!

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MSPLACEDAGAIN 11/2/2011 3:15PM

    Thanks for sharing! I am having the same thing here, and wonder why the seven times I walk by the candy and DON'T eat it, doesn't balance the time I do!

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KALIGIRL 11/2/2011 8:46AM

    Glad DH is assisting - may just want to get rid of the 'evil' bars?

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BLUESKY_321 11/2/2011 6:36AM

    I tried asking myself which would make me happier: loosing weight or eating a reese's peanutbutter cup. Turns out loosing weight! Over chocolate? Really? Total non-scale victory!

HOWEVER, faced with a home-made pumpkin whoopie pie that one of my kiddos brought in to share, I chose the treat - and I'm still not sure it was the wrong choice ... MMMMMMMM! emoticon

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PHEBESS 11/2/2011 5:39AM

    Yeah, I totally understand. DH brought home chocolate chip cookies, the soft kind fresh-baked at the deli. I'm helpless in the face of a good choc chip cookie.

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SALSIFY 11/2/2011 5:31AM

    I definitely can't trust myself with large quantities of chocolate around. So this year I bought bags of mini lollipops to hand out. They are only 25 cals each & take ages to finish & just aren't as nice as chocolate. So I admit, I've had a few, but its not been as bad as it could be.

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DDOORN 11/1/2011 10:59PM

    Oh I KNOW I would cave in the face of any candy in the house.

That's why we didn't bother. Haven't bothered for years! I'm hearing rumors from those who deal with trick or treaters that the numbers of those out on their candy hunt are dwindling.

I give a hearty TWO THUMBS UP to THAT trend! May it ACCELERATE! :-)


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_LINDA 11/1/2011 10:55PM

    I am so lucky to be living in apartment, no goodies here, and fortunately, Mom had a huge crowd and she got rid of most of her stuff too, so no temptations there. Kit Kat, Aero and Smarties used to be my huge favorites until I discovered Lindt 90% cocoa chocolate. Now they tast rather bland and I wonder how I ever liked them so much! But I still ate them anyway when they were given to me :P
Know the feeling about potato chips too, have to be careful letting those things in..
Good to get them out of sight!

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MIRAGE727 11/1/2011 10:29PM

    I must clear my house of all the "debris!" That's the really scary stuff of Halloween!

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PUDLECRAZY 11/1/2011 8:34PM

    Dang! I hate it when that happens! Toss the stuff out - who needs it?

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SLENDERELLA61 11/1/2011 8:13PM

    Good lesson. It is easy to get tricked up by candy. Ours are Milky Way, Three Musketeers, and Butterfingers. Actually, those are the bags that are open. I think he's got two more elsewhere that he never got to.

I am going to go put them out of sight right now. Good reminder. Thanks.

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LUNADRAGON 11/1/2011 7:52PM

    Oops - outta sight, outta mind, I must be out of my mind. Hopefully the kiddo and his friends will suck it out of here soon!

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CMRAND54 11/1/2011 7:50PM

    With me it was the Snickers bars. No self control at all. My husband is taking the left-overs into his office tomorrow. I didn't dare take them into my office.

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This week in soup: Cajun chicken

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In the freezer: 3 chicken breasts, corn.

In the fridge: celery, shredded carrot, red bell pepper, fresh basil, sweet potatoes (2 largish), green beans, baby spinach.

In the cupboard: brown rice, chicken broth (2 cartons), canned diced tomatoes, black beans (2 cans), Cajun seasoning, dried minced onion, extra oregano and chile pepper flakes.

Defrosted and chopped the chicken breasts, simmered in the chicken broth with the diced tomatoes and all seasonings except the fresh basil.

Added the brown rice, shredded carrot, peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (Charlie loves the peels), drained and rinsed black beans. Simmered till the rice and veggies were just about cooked.

Stirred in the frozen corn, diced red bell pepper, fresh basil, fresh green beans topped and tailed and sliced (had very few of these left from "this week in salads"!). Simmered only a few minutes longer to preserve colour and a bit of crunch, then removed from the heat and stashed in the fridge. A preliminary sip of the broth tells me, this one is terrific!

I'll serve each supper bowl through the week with a small handful of the baby spinach, stirred in while still hot from the microwave just to wilt slightly.

Now: off to the gym for elliptical cardio and upper body free weights. And maybe I'll hop on the Y's balance beam weight scales which continue to be kinder than the digital scale here at my place!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 11/1/2011 10:19AM

    Wonderful soup and emoticon workout - sounds good to me!

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/31/2011 6:18PM

    A delicious Autumn dish.

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CMRAND54 10/30/2011 7:58PM

    Your soup sounds wonderful. I love black beans in anything.

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BLUESKY_321 10/30/2011 11:33AM

    sounds yummy!

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SLENDERELLA61 10/30/2011 9:38AM

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I just may do it, too! Sounds great. -Marsha

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FRACTALMYTH 10/30/2011 3:04AM

    ooooh that sounds good... I am ready for my next soup... I was thinking celery since there was so much in the garden, but it's started seeding so I think I will leave it and harvest the seed instead... maybe I will take your list shopping with me :D

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PUDLECRAZY 10/29/2011 7:48PM

    Sounds delish!!!

Have fun at the Y, and may the scales be kind.

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SALSIFY 10/29/2011 3:50PM

    Sounds lovely.

I also eat a lot of soup & try & have a pot in the fridge. But I usually make it for about 3 days as I get bored of one type for longer than that. Tomorrow I'll make a spinach and smoked haddock chowder using onion, frozen spinach & sweet corn, a large smoked haddock fillet & stock made from vegetarian bouillon powder. I liquidise half of the veg to make it creamy & sometimes add milk too. Totally yummy & barely any calories at all!

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PHEBESS 10/29/2011 12:50PM


My favorite winter soup - lightly saute (minimal oil) diced onions, carrots, celery. Add broth and barley, simmer. Add LOTS of sliced mushrooms, simmer a while more. Season to taste. Rich and hearty for those wet winter nights!

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ERIKO1908 10/29/2011 12:44PM

    yum, yum, YUM!!! Sounds like a productive day is on the docket!! enjoy!!

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DDOORN 10/29/2011 11:34AM

    Sounds yummy...love spicy food!

Off to my treadmill, dumb bells, resistance bands and laundry! :-)


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_LINDA 10/29/2011 11:27AM

    Wow! Sounds awesome!!! I like spicy stuff :) Enjoy your workout! With all my exercise classes that I am going to, my poor elliptical is sitting lonely in the corner of my living room, kind of miss it...
My sister's coming in, so some time spent with her and her husband, not much exercise today, rest day, but tomorrow a five mile hike planned. Its going to rain today, was supposed to be snow, but thankfully the temperatures stayed above freezing..
Have a great weekend!

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DONNACFIT 10/29/2011 10:25AM

    That soup sounds soo good..thanks for sharing and reminding me to souper up November!! It'll be on my list :)

Yesterday I made deer stew with the leftover roast deer and lots of veggies yum yum.

Have a great weekend emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/29/2011 10:27:08 AM

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