Tag Archives: soup

Lemon, barley, and mushroom soup

It’s been a quiet week here in Jessica-land, though I initially mis-typed and put quite, and that’s pretty apt too! For a little bit, at least, this gal is finding a balance between working both the old job and the new. I’m going to pad that little nest egg to bursting! I can find a lot of ways to spend money on this house of ours. Not that there’s anything that a little updating won’t fix. But guys, it’s pretty exciting to be in a place where we plan to stay for a good long while. In recent years, all my home repairs and improvements had been done with an eye towards what would make the house more appealing to buyers, but now I get to change things just because I want to.

In a totally unrelated matter, I’ve come to think Himself may be a wee bit crazy. He came home last Thursday to tell me that he plans on jumping into a frozen lake. No, all kidding aside, he’s going to do the Polar Bear Plunge to raise money for the Special Olympics. And what’s even better, since he’s jumping as a part of the Grand Rapids Masons team, the Minnesota Masonic Charity Services will match the funds he raises. That’s like free money for Special Olympics Minnesota, it can’t get more winning than that, right?! In fact, if you wanted to have your donation matched, you could do it right here. In all actuality, though I still find jumping into a lake certifiably crazy, I’m super proud of him (and I will be taking plenty of video to share with you guys at home!). I also have just the recipe to warm him back up, with a touch of vitamin C to ward off any cold, because I’m awesome like that (though not quite awesome enough to do it with him).

Seriously, this soup is my new go-to replacement for chicken noodle soup. It’s easy, tasty, and comes together super quick. Bonus points, it’s full of vegetable stock, spinach, and lemon and will kick the butt of any cold. Yum!


Lemon mushroom and barley soup

Lemon, mushroom, and barley soup

Inspired by Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland

4 cups vegetable stock
2 meyer lemons, rinds scrubbed and cut in half (you can substitute ½ regular lemon)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 cup spinach, roughly torn
2 cups cooked barley
Feta cheese to garnish

In a large sauce pan, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and squeeze in lemon juice and throw in lemon. Add olive oil, garlic powder, and salt, and mix. Add mushrooms and torn spinach. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Remove lemon and add barley. Cook just until heated through. Serve soup sprinkled with feta cheese.


Coconut chicken curry soup

As you read this, I’m on a whirlwind road trip straight to Minneapolis and back, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Though I would love a chance to get back for a nice leisurely visit, alas, today is not the day. That’s not to say that there isn’t a little bit of awesome in store for this trip. My dad is getting ready to move (maybe to the area!!). Like all good Hendrii, he’s amassed a lot in the way of tools and gadgets. Now Himself and I have a whole lotta space, so in an effort to help out, we’ve agreed to store some stuff here. I mean, we’re really taking one for the team, finding a useful home for all the tools we don’t already have (I’m sure you’d agree).

This gal gets to choose one extra stop on the road trip, and since there isn’t time to visit more friends or family, I naturally chose something to tempt any foodie’s heart. When we lived in Anoka, we joined a rad little co-op that has amazingly fresh spices and herbs. I spent yesterday, cleaning out all kinds of jars in preparation to get one of everything (I wish!). Of course, I could get stuff here, but the opportunity to make my own spice and tea blends is something no good foodie could pass up.

And another thing you can’t pass up is this soup! (Pretty nice segue if I do say so myself) I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the things I miss about the “big city” is Thai food. But this soup, with everyday(ish) ingredients totally stems that craving. Not to mention a big bowl of warm soup is comforting on any cold day. You can kick up the heat a little with the addition of some cayenne pepper too. But taste as you go along, a little of that red pepper goes a long, long way in a soup.

And if you’re looking for a little more comfort out of your meal, serve this with some delicious breadsticks.


Coconut Chicken Curry Soup

Coconut chicken curry soup

1 Tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1 cup carrots, sliced thin
½ onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
3 teaspoons green curry paste
2 14 oz cans light coconut milk
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups diced, cooked potatoes
¾ cup frozen peas

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions and carrots in oil until slightly softened. Add garlic, ginger and curry paste and stir one minute. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce. Let simmer over medium low heat about 5 minutes. Add chicken, potatoes, and peas. Heat through.

Potato soup with a southwest kick

It’s been cold, cold, cold, cold,cold here. You know how I said “so cold, my glasses didn’t just fog up, they iced up?” Well, that’s still happening. Luckily, we have a cozy little outpost amidst this blustery, cold weather. And despite the cold, the sun’s been a-shining. So like the rulers of this house, aka the cats, I’m pretty happy in my warm little patch of sunshine. And then once the sun goes down, we just move on over in front of the fireplace. I’m also pretty lucky in that if it’s cold, I don’t really have to go anywhere. Or get out from under a warm blanket…one of the joys of working from home in the winter.

I know some of you are probably looking for more night time sky pictures, and I have to say I am too. Nature, get on that thing! Actually, there’s supposed to be a meteor shower next week. Even though the moon will be quite bright, I’m hoping since we have exactly zero light pollution (provided we turn off the house lights), we’ll get to see a shooting star or two. Fingers crossed we not only get to see them, but capture some on film, right?! And, we should be in for a veritable heat wave next week. Temperatures in the teens!

It’s not just the north woods that have been mighty chilly these days. Seems like everyone I know is complaining about the cold. So let’s make soup!

This soup finds its roots in a Taste of Home recipe, but morphed based on what was present in the fridge at the time (yup, my reluctance to leave the house surfaces again). What I love about this soup is how smooth and thick it is. Pureeing some of the potatoes with the cream cheese makes it nice and thick and oh so tasty without having to make a roux. However, and this is important (she says from experience), be sure to allow the hot air to escape while blending the soup. You want this in your tummy, not on the walls!

There’s a lot of tang to the recipe, so if that’s not your thing, cut back on the lime. If it is your thing, you can bring that tang to the next level with some cilantro cream (YUM!). This soup can be dressed up with a few hot peppers too, to really warm you up from the inside.


Potato soup southwestern style

Potato soup southwestern style
Adapted from Taste of Home’s Roasted Pepper Potato Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1 package (32 oz) vegetable broth
2 Tbsp cilantro
Juice of half a lime
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies

In a medium sauce pan, saute onions in olive oil just until translucent. Add garlic, hot sauce, and seasoning and saute two minutes more. Add potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add cilantro and lime.

Place cream cheese in a blender and add two cups of soup. Blend until smooth. Blend in stages, allowing hot air to escape.

Return to soup and cream cheese mix to pan. Add corn and chilies. Heat through.

Serve garnished with cilantro cream and sliced avocado.

Wild rice soup with bacon and corn

I know, I know, it hardly seems like a post for soup is appropriate when we’ve had a string of 70 degree days, right? Really, though, I would eat this soup in the dead heat of summer. It’s that good. And you just need something to put in those pretzel bread bowls we made earlier this week, anyway.

In an effort to enjoy the last of these gorgeous fall days, Himself and I blew off our chores for the afternoon, packed a picnic lunch, and headed out exploring. And then I promptly came home and made you this photo collage. Always thinking of you, invisible internet friends, always thinking of you.


The lake pictured there is Lake Winnibigoshish. I’m a sucker for the wayside rests and historical markers, so I can proudly tell you that Lake Winnie is Minnesota’s fifth largest lake and the name comes from an Ojibwe phrase meaning “filthy water.” Probably the coolest thing about this lake is that Mississippi flows through the lake. Yeah, that wee little river that I could dance across, that there is the Mighty Mississippi. I’m always so fascinated by the transformation of this river as it traverses the state.

Ok, enough nature nerd for now. Let’s talk bacon instead. I know for many of you, a road trip to Meatopia is probably out of the question, so any good thick cut bacon will do. If you get a chance, buy yourself some uncut slab bacon. That’s my go-to purchase at Meatopia, that and their amazing porketta sausages. On a day, where I’m feeling the most productive, I’ll slice and dice that bacon myself, cook the whole thing down, and portion it up for the freezer. Then, I’ll have bacon for soup, pasta, and pizza, in other words, Jessica will be the happiest. My chest freezer is a magical place where summer sweet corn, Meatopia bacon, and garden fresh basil hang out just waiting to be called to center stage. You can use whatever bacon you have on hand, but the thicker the cut, the happier you’ll be too.


Wild rice soup with bacon and corn

Wild rice soup with bacon and corn

Adapted from Lund’s and Byerly’s Wild Rice Soup

6 Tablespoons butter
¼ cup minced onion
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup flour
3 ½ cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
¾ cup (about 10 slices) cooked bacon
1 cup sweet corn, frozen works fine if thawed
2 Tablespoons basil, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 ½ cups half and half

In a large pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and carrots and cook about 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Add flour, cook until lightly golden brown. Add broth ½ cup at a time, stirring well between additions. Once all the broth has been added, bring to a boil stirring constantly. Cook two minutes until thickened. Add wild rice, bacon, basil, and remaining seasonings. Simmer five minutes. Add half and half, and heat until warmed through. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Pretzel bread bowls from Bake Your Day

That string of cold rainy days I was talking about on Saturday, well they finally cleared up Sunday afternoon. Just in time for us to work our way out to the woods and clear some of the deadfall for firewood. I have to say guys, I’m mighty proud of myself. Himself worked super hard cutting all of the wood to six foot lengths, and this girl, well she loaded that whole trailer full! So full, that by the end the four-wheeler was protesting the load.

Sure, I know. You’re thinking, “Listen lady, the novelty of that is going to wear off mighty quick.” I agree, but it’s that sense of satisfaction from a job well done that I really enjoyed (the long soak in the hot tub after, that sure didn’t hurt either). And I know that there’s a great many more trailers that need to be hauled before the snow flies. That sense of urgency, just adds to the pride, knowing that I can do this. Feeling so good about working so hard, helps reinforce the sense that we absolutely made the right decision to move to the country. Getting out there, also shows us all the potential for all this land. Super exciting!

So anyway, even though the sun finally came out (and stayed out) that gray, cool weather left me with a craving for soup. Step one for the soup? Bread bowls to put it in, naturally. Ok, ok, I know you’re thinking bread bowls are hard to make. Guess what?! They really aren’t. Really, I mean it. I used to be just like you, and then two years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to master my fear of baking with yeast. And it worked. Seriously, the only flops I’ve had with yeast are when I’ve decided to make some wack-a-doodle additions or adjustments, so stick to the recipe and you’ll do just fine. This recipe is from the awesome blog Bake Your Day. I absolutely love this recipe, and I think you will too. The only change I made to the recipe was to add basil to the dough and then to substitute a basil garlic seasoning mixture in place of the salt. Crazy town, I know, but I don’t care for a lot of salt on my pretzels. And the mystery soup that I’ll be sharing this weekend has plenty of salt in it.


Pretzel bread bowls

Pretzel Bread Bowls from Bake Your Day

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs. water
Coarse salt
1 ½ Tablespoons chopped basil
Basil garlic seasoning mix

Combine the water, sugar and sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until a layer of foam appears on the top of the liquid.

Turn the mixer on to low speed and add the basil if using. Then, add in the flour, one cup at a time and mix thoroughly. You may need a little more or a little less depending on how we your dough is. Increase the speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl. While the dough is kneading, oil a large glass bowl. Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape it into a ball. Place the ball into the oiled glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring 8 cups of water to a simmer with the baking soda. Meanwhile, divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll into evenly-shaped balls. One by one, place the balls of dough into the boiling water for 1 minute, turning once. Remove and return to pan..

Mix the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush the tops of each bread bowl and then sprinkle with coarse salt or basil garlic mixture. Slit an “x” into the top of each bowl.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.

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