oh, whoa, whoa, she’s a lady

Oh, whoa, whoa, she's a lady #crossyourlegs #actlikealady #bordercollie #bordercolliemix #glbcr #greatlakesbordercollierescue

With a winter weather advisory in effect and 3-5 inches of snow accumulation possible here today, these sweet, pink blooms and this adorable pup make my home feel even cozier and all the more inviting. Also, I love that Maddy has a habit of crossing her legs when she’s laying down – she’s my little lady. I’m looking forward to heading home this evening and enjoying a hot bowl of Butternut Squash & Poblano Chili with Toasted Pepitas & Charred Lime for dinner, likely curled up by the fire with a movie on. The Breakfast Club just happened to be on last night so we watched it of course; maybe another John Hughes movie – Pretty in Pink, anyone?

fruit & floral

pretty in pink #gardenrose

by Valerie | 01.29.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

smoky, black-eyed pea veggie soup

smoky black eyed pea veggie soup with rice

We were a little late in eating our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas this year, but we remedied that for dinner last night; adding them to our soup made for a delicious and warming meal on a cold January night. Below are the ingredients and the recipe and you can watch us make it in this quick, time-lapse video here.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (we used chipotle infused)
  • 2-3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 carrot small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 medium/smallish sweet potatoes large diced
  • 4 oz (2/3 a 6 oz can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 jar of red salsa
  • 1 12 oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups of veggie stock (depending on how much broth you like)
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot heat up the oilve oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic; cook until onion is slightly transparent. Add the bell peppers. Once everything starts to sweat a bit (or the peppers have started to become tender) add the smoked paprika. Cook for about another minute or so. Add the sweet potatoes and salt and pepper to your taste. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato past salsa and fire roasted tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the veggie stock, bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the black eyed peas and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve by itself or over some rice for a delicious, hearty meal.

by Valerie | 01.09.17 | Recipes | No Comments »

uh oh spaghetti-os

We decided to make some soup to warm us up from the cold weather that finally arrived. So I made  a spin on a classic, spaghetti-os. It is a simple roasted tomato & red pepper soup with circle shaped pasta, anelli, added to it.

Homemade spaghettios


  • 1 package of anelli pasta (or any other circle shaped pasta)
  • tomatoes on the vine (about 24 small/medium sized ones)
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine + a little more to splash in later
  • a heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • a heaping tablespoon of course ground black pepper
  • enough olive oil for roasting the red peppers and tomatoes and cooking the onion and garlic
  • salt to taste

Roast the tomatoes and red peppers, lightly coated with olive oil, in an oven at 350° for about 35-45 minutes or until they start to blacken here and there. Set aside to cool. Once cooled enough to the touch core the tomatoes and cut the stems and deseed the red peppers. Cut the red peppers into strips (if your blender is powerful enough no need to do this). Put the tomatoes and red peppers in a blender and puree. Add some olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic, about five minutes. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the red wine reduces. Once reduced add the tomato and red pepper puree. Add the oregano, pepper, and a few extra splashes of red wine. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to get the flavors to mix. Salt to your taste preference. You can puree the soup again at this point, or just let the onions and other ingredients add a bit of texture to it. I’m lazy so I just left it as is.

In a separate container cook the pasta according to the directions. Once cooked you can add it directly to the soup. The pasta will soak up some moisture in the soup when stored, so if you can’t eat it all when you make it I recommend coating the pasta in some olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, storing it separately, and just add the pasta to the soup before serving. “The greatest invention since the napkin.”

Homemade spaghettios

by Ryan | 01.11.15 | Recipes | No Comments »


Last weekend I got hit with a cold and I’m still trying to get over it. I know I shouldn’t complain – there are much worse problems in the world than my measly little cold virus. You know how some people seem to handle getting sick with a cold or flu so well? They don’t make a big fuss and have some magic way of quickly getting over it – chicken noodle soup, hot tea, vitamin C, rest, witchcraft or whatever. Well I’m not one of those people – all I want to do is crawl into my pj’s and never leave my house while I sleep, drink hot tea, and eat soup for every meal (I may be exaggerating slightly, but you get the point). Ryan is always doing nice things for me and being generally amazing so when I said I’d been craving some spicy, sweet potato soup he was nice enough to indulge me and that soup is currently bubbling on our stove as I type this – win!

We posted another version of this soup here. The soup we made today doesn’t have many ingredients (sweet potatoes, yellow onions, garlic cloves, honey, canned chipotle peppers, vegetable stock, and a dash of salt) and honey is one of them – it’s spicy and savory and a little sweet all at the same time. Did you know that September is National Honey Month? I didn’t, until recently when I read this article. And if I ever wanted to buy something nice to store my honey in, I think it would have to be this.

Also, we planted yellow onions in our garden this summer which we harvested and are now using – we even added some to the soup. I think the color of these onion skins is gorgeous.

by Valerie | 09.29.13 | Garden, Recipes | 2 Comments »

wish I had got a bailout broccoli soup


Why “wish I had got a bailout broccoli soup,” simple because it has no “cheddah!”

So, yeah that was really lame. It is not that we couldn’t afford some cheese, the truth why this soup does not have cheddar started a few weekends ago when I tried my first attempt at making a broccoli cheddar soup. It ended in disaster because I added the cheese too early and it got stringy. This largely happened because of my refusal to actually use a recipe or read them all the way through. If I had done that I would have learned cheese likes to melt at low heat, and that there is actually a science to that. Lesson learned. This time around I was being patient, but right before I added the cheese I had Val taste test soup prior to adding the cheese. She liked it without the cheese so we decided to scrap the cheese (maybe use it as a topping) and leave it as is.


  • 2 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp course ground black pepper
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 1 russet potato peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 3 stems of broccoli (about 3-4 cups of florets)
  • 1 1/2 cups of soy milk
  • salt to taste

Heat a large soup makin’ pot up to medium heat. Melt the butter, add the onions, bell peppers, carrots, and garlic. You’ll cook these until they soften (about 10mins), as the onions begin to sweat add the thyme and black pepper. Err on cautious and add later than sooner as you don’t want to burn the thyme. Add the vegetable stock and potato, then bring to a boil. Once boiling add the broccoli, cook until the broccoli and potato are tender enough to stick a fork in (the broccoli should be bright green). Pour the soup in a blender or food processor, add the soy milk, salt to taste, and blend until smooth (or what ever your preferred consistency is).

You can add some cheese when serving it, or add some nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor if you want to keep it dairy free. It also makes for a pretty tasty baked potato topping.

by Ryan | 02.05.12 | Recipes | No Comments »

365 – Day 270

365 – Day 270

by Valerie | 11.19.11 | Photography | No Comments »

Smokey ‘Mater & Merlot Soup

We made some soup the other day. It was smokey, earthy, and delicious.


  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 heaping (or 2) tsp smoked pepper
  • 1 heaping (or 2) tsp paprika
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 small shallots diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3-4 small carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 cup merlot (or other earthy red)
  • 12-14 large tomatoes cored and cut into slices
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot to medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, paprika, and smoked pepper. Cook until carrots are soft and onions are translucent. Add the red wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until the wine has reduced completely. Add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are fully cooked and can easily be blended, about 20mins. Lower the heat. Using an immersion blender (or food processor/standing blender) blend the tomatoes and other veggies. Add the fresh herbs (cilantro and thyme), cook for a few more minutes, add salt and pepper to your taste preference. Serve.

by Valerie | 09.10.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

365 – Day 197

365 – Day 197

by Valerie | 09.07.11 | Photography | No Comments »

Creamy-ish tomato soup w/special guest grilled cheese

Tomato Soup

Val can’t handle cream soups, her lactose tolerance stops at cheese. I was craving tomato soup (particularly tomato bisque), and having only made tortilla soup thought I’d give it a try and make a creamy tomato soup. So, borrowing a bit from this vegan yum yum recipe for pasta, we substituted cashews for cream to make this delicious concoction.


  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp of butter (or buttery spread)
  • 1 heaping tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup white wine
  • about 15 tomatoes on the vine, cored and deseeded and sliced
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 3 or 4 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1/2 unsalted cashews (super finely grounded)
  • 2 heaping tbsp of fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and dried oregano and cook until the shallots are tender (about 3-5 mins). Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine reduces. Add the tomatoes, veggie stock, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cook until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the ground cashews. Using an immersion blender (or blender, or food processor), blend to a fairly smooth texture. Add the fresh thyme, salt, and pepper (to your liking). Serve.

This tomato soup enjoys being paired with a grilled cheese sandwich made of fresh rye, cheddar cheese, and smoked gouda. It will bring you much joy and happiness to partner it with a grilled cheese sandwich (any kind will do, but I recommend using rye or challah). For those who do not eat dairy, just know this soup is very forgiving and will bring love to even those who don’t eat it paired with grilled cheese.

by Ryan | 03.31.11 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

Peppery Green Lentil Soup w/ Seitan Sausage

Lentil Soup

Apparently I’ve been on a pepper kick lately and this latest batch of soup definitely has a kick to it. ‘Nuff said.


  • 1 1/2 cups of French green lentils
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 bulb of fennel chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 oz of tomato paste
  • 8 cups (or a little more) veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp of butcher’s pepper (or less if you want less zang!)
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh thyme minced
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried Herbs de Provence
  • 1 package of seitan, italian sausage flavor crumbled
  • salt

Start by putting the lentils in a large bowl and then cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes then drain and rinse; set aside. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until translucent. Add the carrots, fennel, celery, and pepper. Cook until carrots and celery begin to soften. Add the white wine, bring to a boil, and let reduce until it is nearly completely evaporated (about 10 minutes). Add the veggie stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce to heat a simmer and let cook for about 45 minutes. Add the fresh thyme, dried herbs, and salt to taste.

In a skillet heat the remaining olive oil up over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook until completely cooked through. We kept the seitan separate until we were ready to eat because we didn’t want the seitan to absorb too much of the broth. Serve the soup in a bowl, add some seitan, and chow down.

by Ryan | 03.12.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

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