tomato-basil soup.

Yesterday was cold and dreary and rainy. So it was “let’s make a bunch of soups to freeze and enjoy all winter long” day. (Also, maybe being on my feet in the kitchen all day and smelling all the goods will convince babe that this world is just fine, and it should come enjoy it all with us!)

This delicious soup comes courtesy of Ina Garten via my dear friend Chelsea. Chelsea loves all things tomatoes and basil, so this just suits her. And I owe her a whole lot for bringing this into my life, because it has become a cold-weather staple in our house!

This soup can be tweaked in a bunch of ways, depending on your tastes. If you like a little more kick, add more red pepper. If you can’t handle any spice, cut that part out. If you want a little sweetness, add a bit of sugar. If you want to bring in more spices (rosemary, thyme, oregano), go for it. It’s simple enough that you can make it exactly what you want it to be! Or, if you’re like me, it will just happen to turn out a little different every time, and that is just fine!

Make sure you serve with some delicious toasted bread or grilled cheese, and you are all set!


Tomato-Basil Soup

3 lbs. ripe tomatoes (I use “farmhouse” or “on-the-vine”)
olive oil
salt and pepper

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 small or 1 large)
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your taste)
2 T butter plus extra olive oil
1 can (28-oz) canned tomatoes, with juice (I use whole or sliced, stewed)
4 c fresh basil leaves
1 t rosemary
4 c (1 quart) vegetable stock

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and spread out on a baking sheet.
  3. Toss tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Roast tomatoes for 45 minutes.
    While tomatoes are roasting … 
  5. In a large stockpot, saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes with butter and olive oil for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, rosemary and vegetable stock.
  7. Add the roasted tomatoes – make sure to get all the liquid and “extras” on the baking sheet!
  8. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.
  9. Pour everything into a blender or food processor and pulse until you reach a desired consistency (I usually need to do this in two parts).



nut butter banana muffins.

Well, the waiting game is on. The due date has come and gone, and babe is still snug as a bug in my tummy.

I’m working hard to fill my time. For the next week, our schedule is pretty much cleared, so every day is a question of “What will I do with myself today?” Today, I listened to my wise sissy and did some baking. These muffins are a bit too yummy to store all of them for post-baby breakfasts, so I might just need to bake some more tomorrow and freeze those!

I adapted this recipe for a bit healthier and heartier version of a muffin that everyone loves. You can’t find too many people who don’t enjoy bananas and peanut butter. Put those flavors in a muffin and you’ve got some happy eaters!

In this recipe I used spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour. My friend Tina of Voeden was the first person who I heard of spelt flour from, and I love it. Spelt is related to wheat, and it bakes pretty similarly, so it is very easy to substitute in recipes. However, spelt contains a lot more nutrients and is much easier on the digestive system.

I also traded out the brown sugar for honey – an easy 1-to-1 swap. Plus getting local honey into my treats gives me the sweet I love but also the added benefits of local honey: more nutrients and immune system boosters.

These muffins will be perfect for mornings when I need an easy but filling breakfast. But I will also be enjoying just a few before babe comes!  IMG_1109

Nut Butter Banana Muffins
adapted from:

2 cups spelt flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup nut butter (I used peanut butter this time, but almond butter would be perfect too)
3/4 milk (any kind will do)
2 T coconut oil, melted

Optional add-in’s:
chocolate chips
dried fruits

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and then bring it down to 375 degrees (this will help the muffins get that nice, rounded top).
  2. Grease a muffin tin.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Whisk bananas, eggs, honey, nut butter, milk, and coconut oil in a medium bowl until well-combined.
  5. Fold the dry mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  6. Fill your muffin tins almost to the top.
  7. Bake your muffins in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.