Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Broccoli Potato Leek Soup

Broccoli Potato Leek Soup

Hi friends. It's been a little bit since the last post. Sorry bout that. We've been busy lately but all good things like hosting dinners for friends, visits from my sister, more sleep training for baby, and reading, reading, reading! I've never considered myself a book worm but lands alive, I go through books like crazy without even realizing it. The other day I counted four books read since Eleanor's been born (4 1/2 months) which may not sound like a lot, but for a sleep deprived mom, it surprised me.

Sister and Eleanor

Uncle Pat and Jeremiah

Need some good reads? Check out: Carry On, Warrior. Thoughts on Life Unarmed (memoir-ish), and The Language of Flowers (novel). Both make it into "the best books I've ever read" category.

And then buy some fun new tea to read with from here: esp emporium

A friend came for tea last week. I provided chocolate croissants and she brought the tea. So glad she did because while I would have offered her the standard sleeptime or apple cinnamon, she brought exotic teas like pina colada, roasted almond and sweet melissa. It was loose leaf and I learned how to brew it - easy- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons loose leaf in a strainer for each cup. Just pour the boiling water over. This was good quality tea too. I wouldn't recommend it otherwise. Nothing was fake tasting and you could see pineapple chunks and coconut shavings or apple slices throughout. If I were you, I'd do some Christmas shopping on their site...Unless you know me. Because if you know me, chances are you're getting tea for Christmas so you shouldn't shop there. And books. Don't get the books either.

-Spoiler alert- Too late?

Actually I only know like three tea drinkers. Bummer. The site makes you want to buy bags and bags of tea. And sometimes I wonder if it's cruel to force books on people. I mean, the only reason I'm so excited about them is because I've already read them and  know the recipient would really like it too. But they don't know this, so it's kind of like when your Aunt gets you socks and she's all excited because she owns these same socks and they fit like a glove and are warm and the BEST SOCKS EVER, but you are looking at the box like...she got me socks. Thanks? The appreciation comes later. Whatev- I wouldn't get non book people books anyway. I know a lot of non book people. Isn't that just the luck? I don't get it. My one friend, Kel, doesn't read books or drink tea or coffee or cocktails. She doesn't really dine out, or eat "gluten" most of the time. She loves working out and is super chatty and I'm always like do we even have anything in common!? What do I get you?!?!?! So I go to Anthropologie and it always works out.

The holidays are laden with these sorts of contemplations which is why I like to keep the food simple on non-celebratory nights. This soup has been made eleventy million times in my house this winter so far. Okay, so it was more like three times, but I don't make anything three times in a season so it's basically the same thing. The reason we love it is because it's both comforting and healthy at the same time. What potato soup do you know where its main ingredient is broccoli? What broccoli soup do you know that has blended creamy potato throughout? And which of either of these soups do you know that is tied together with not onion, but the sexy, sexy leek? It's dreamy. Sometimes we add a little raw cheddar cheese on top. Shhh. It doesn't need it but it's dang good.

This also happened. First solids!


And here is what she thought about it!


eh, you can't win them all. Onto the soup!

Broccoli Potato Leek Soup

Broccoli Potato Leek Soup
adapted from Bethenny Frankel
serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups sliced leeks, white and pale-green parts only
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium rusett potatoes, peeled and cubed
8-9 cups broccoli florets (about three heads) I measure 8 overflowing cups
6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
cheddar cheese for serving, optional

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add potato cubes and broccoli; cook, stirring, until potatos begin to soften, another 3-4 minutes.

Pour in stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until broccoli is tender, about 25 minutes. If you need to add more stock to the vegetables, go ahead. The liquid should come right up to the top of the vegetables. It's okay if not completely covered.  Once cooked through, puree in the pot with an immersion blender, or in batches using a regular blender. Add salt and pepper, then return to pot and warm through. Taste and add more salt if needed. If it's bland at all, add more salt. It won't be. Serve warm. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas with Easy Homemade Sauce and Halloween Recap

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

I'm officially sulking over here today because I didn't get to take my kids trick-or-treating on Halloween. It was snowing and cold and I couldn't take young Eleanor out in the elements even though she had the cutest costume in history. Say hello to baby Rosie the Riveter!


I know, right? Swoon. It's pretty funny. My cousin commented that there was something so right yet so wrong about lipstick on a baby. But my question is have you ever tried applying lipstick on a baby?! Theres no way it doesn't turn out looking like a hot mess. Also, the headband inspired the costume, not the other way around. I purchased it because I thought it was so cute - way chic and retro and cooler than those huge flower headbands -


But when I tried it on my husband and friend laughed. I admit it was a bit Aunt Jemima-ish. I googled Aunt Jemina, but to my dismay she didn't wear a headband. Who was it she was reminding me of? That's right peeps. Rosie the Riveter. Once I made that connection I couldn't go back. Buy your headband here.

Livy stayed home as well since she hates being cold and already did the neighborhood trick-or-treat last weekend. I struggled with this because she loves the people and commotion downtown, but it really was too cold for her to enjoy. She got to wear her costume again to school, so she got a few wears out of it. Here's my beautiful snow fairy queen!


She loved this dress. Liv loves all things girly even though she's a spice rod. If Ellie is sugar, then Olivia is cinnamon spice- that's what we've decided. She's a spirited, possessive little thing, but also so sweet and cuddly- unless you try to move in on whoever she's cuddling with- then she'll hit you. Like at night she demands daddy to herself. She'll even get your attention to brag and tell you that she's cuddling daddy and you are not.

And guys? She's obsessed - OBSESSED - with Eleanor. She scoots right up to her whenever she's in her mini swing or on her play mat. Somehow, someway, Ellie always ends up "accidentally" hurt. So, I put her in the swing on top of our table to get her away, but undeterred, Liv just stood right up next to her pushing the swing higher than I'd like, refusing to just leave her be. SEE?!



I'm like get away you relentless little stalker! I think she's a bit jealous. That mini swing used to be hers. We call it the "luxury swing". Don't ask.


But see, she broke Eleanor's other swing because she's like the hulk and destroys absolutely everything, so it's her own fault. Speaking of the hulk, as a side note, I'd like to add that I really wanted the family to dress as Marvel's The Avengers this halloween. Jeremiah would be Captain America, Isabella would be Ironman (If you knew her, you'd know she would. She was Spiderman when she was 3.) Olivia would be Hulk (with a purple tutu to pretty it up), Jeremy would be Thor, I'd be Black widow, and Ellie would be Loki or Samuel L. Jackson's eye patch character because that's just bad ass. Unfortunately, my family lacks my keen and brilliant vision and wanted to pick their own costumes. Wah-Wah! I also suggested that my sister and I be Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and my brother-in-law could be Khloe. Patrick would make an excellent Khloe.

I'm happy to report that Jeremiah and Isabella made it to the trick-or-treat, so we're only 50% horrible parents. They rocked their bumblebee and Spiderman costumes, respectively.


Cutest kids on the planet. But then again, I'm biased.

IMBlack Bean and Spinach EnchiladasG_5074

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

I'm also really excited to tell you guys about this sweet little enchilada recipe I found. I didn't know how flavorful spinach and black beans would be for an enchilada filling, but trust me, it's delicious. I suppose it may have something to do with the three cups of cheese called for, but we used raw cheddar so it wasn't so bad. Also, you could cut this down to two cups without losing much flavor. I went ahead and used all three because it was only a small block of cheese and it was divided between our family of five so it really wasn't that bad. I wolf down much more on a cheese platter. The flavor is also punched up by corn, green onions, cilantro, and cumin in the filling. But what really makes this stand out is the homemade enchilada sauce. Please, don't skip this step. It's so flavorful and easy made from scratch. As it bakes, the sauce softens the tortillas (I used whole wheat) and makes them chewy and almost doughy. I recommend getting good quality tortillas for this. I bought mine from Bamboo market where someone brings them in fresh everyday, made without preservatives. This meal was a winner and the kids chowed. Plus, If I ever make other enchiladas, I have a new go-to sauce. No more cans. Yay for that!

Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce
adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 4-6

{For the sauce}
3 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder

{For the enchiladas}
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. cumin

Kosher salt
3 cups shredded 3 cheese blend (or pepper jack, raw cheddar etc.)
8 whole wheat or flour tortillas

Make the sauce: in a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste, and set aside.

Saute the spinach in olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted. In a large bowl, combine beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach, corn, green onions, 2 tsp. cumin, and cilantro. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish, and pour a small amount of the sauce to coat the bottom.
Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top. Bake about 20 minutes, and garnish with cilantro and/or green onions (optional).