Hey 2016!

It’s been a minute, but I’m still here. Juggling work, life and culinary school turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought. I finished up last semester and thoroughly enjoyed my 6 week break. The day job got uber crazy around October and is still demanding way too much of my time and energy. The new semester started at the end of January and I’m digging it so far.

I’m enrolled in Cooking II and Advanced Baking. Last week in Cooking class we fabricated fish. All I can say is get to know and love your fish monger! I feel like I smelled like fish guts for two days! I like to think I’m pretty good with a knife based on being a life long crafter, but creating attractive fillets was a challenge. I’ll definitely start purchasing whole fish to get in more practice.

Advanced Baking wasn’t my first choice of a class to take. I actually already have that credit and skill set but needed a class to replace completing an internship. I haven’t been able to locate an entry level job in Frederick that aligns with my food philosophy and schedule. (NOTE: I’m still looking!) It’s been over 10 years since I’ve taking a baking class so I’m really blowing cobwebs off those skills. The class is only 9 students and is supposed to provide students the opportunity to venture into their own interests while addressing the fundamentals being taught. I was VERY excited about this concept until the first day when my instructor made it very clear of his tolerance, or lack there of, of plant-based ingredients in the kitchen when not medically necessitated. We will touch on fat-free and gluten-free baking so there is that. I haven’t decided on if or how much I will challenge him on this in class but do plan to create plant-based versions of whatever we bake in class over the course of the week while at home. Stay tuned.

My personal health and fitness is still a struggle. I’m doing my best to listen to the health coach advice in my head and get back on track. First up is to get rid of as many of the processed convenience foods as I possibly can. To help with that this week I finally purchased a new waffle maker. I’ve been without one for about 2 years. Space is really short in my current kitchen and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that will only get used once or twice a month. I decided on the Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Waffle Maker which I got on sale at Macy’s for around $22. It worked exactly as described and held up well for my multi-grain waffles recipe. I enjoyed one this morning with some turkey bacon. The brown sugar in these waffles produces a nice crip outside and eliminates the need for syrup for me. Continue reading

Quick and easy vegetable soup.

Souper Sundays! 2015 Fall Soup Plan

It takes all kinds of vegetables…If you know it, sing along!

I used to LOVE that show! Now that we’ve taken a walk down memory lane, let’s talk soup. Last week, right on cue, the weather started to change here in Frederick. Chilly nights, and now even some chilly days, put me in the mood for soup. If you do any type of meal planning or want to start, adding a soup to your weekly rotation during the Fall and Winter can be a life saver. Soups usually aren’t very time or labor intensive (I know some would say chopping is laborious, but I disagree – I find it therapeutic), can be a good reducer of food waste, a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, and can be stretched across many meals or even frozen for those weeks when you really don’t have time.

In the past my soup making as been sporadic. Back in 2011¬†one of my favorite magazines ran a great article on soup recipes and included 13 hearty soups. My first thought was “that’s a soup for each week of Fall, and if I freeze some of each recipe, that could easily get me through most of the Winter.” Unfortunately I don’t still have that article, but I can easily come up with a different soup each week for the next 3 months.

The realization that I have put back on about 35 pounds, along with full-time work and full-time school has me attacking my meal planning like its my job and I’m going to start posting the weekly plan again on Mondays. It will include 1 soup and I’ll share the recipe on Sundays. If you are a soup maker or want to get started with meal planning, will you join me for Souper Sundays? I’m always up for sharing tips and on the lookout for new recipes. Continue reading