WexTexMex Soup

So I know it’s been a little while since I’ve written. Sorry about that; I’ve been busy with work and classes and now that football season is officially here, my fantasy team is pretty all-consuming (but I’m working on being less obsessive about it).

I’ve been trying to get creative in the kitchen and try out new recipes (I have way too many recipe boards on Pinterest). I also have a picky eater with a sensitive stomach in my home, so I have to be careful about what ingredients I use. I keep scrolling through my different pins for pasta dishes and chicken dishes and steak recipes, trying to find something that inspires me each day.

Yesterday was the first sort-of fall rainy day of the season. It was still a warm rain, but the air was just chilly enough to remind me that winter is coming (said in the ominous voice of Ned Stark — RIP). It was gray and overcast and wet, and from the lobby of my building, it looked like a day for comfort food.

It looked like a day for soup.

I began combing through my Soups, Stews, and Chili board on Pinterest, hoping to find something savory that could be prepared in less than an hour that could also be filling enough on its own. I came up with two options to present to my husband: chickpea kale soup (minus the kale because we don’t have any and my goal was not to go to the store), or 8 can taco soup.

My husband was skeptical but opted for the taco soup (original recipe found here). I started digging through the pantry and discovered I did not have 8 cans of appropriate ingredients. What I did have was a healthy imagination and a surprisingly helpful husband, so we made it work.

The recipe for WexTexMex Soup is as follows (this made about 6 servings):

1 can – Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained

1 can – Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 can – Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

1 can – Cream of Chicken Soup

1 can – Red Enchilada Sauce

1 can – Water

Several dashes of Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce

1/2 packet of Taco Seasoning

~2 shots of Bourbon Whiskey (this was my husbands idea and I couldn’t be more impressed with it. The whiskey really pulled the flavors together nicely)

Dump all the ingredients in a pot and heat through. Easy as that! We also made rice separately and added it in, but you could easily add another cup of water and a cup of rice to the pot.


Adult Milkshake

Every so often, it hits me that I’m an adult. Yes, I go through my life acknowledging I’m a grown up with bills and a job and responsibility and all that boring adult-stuff. But once in a while, I remember being an adult means I’m my own boss.

Last night, I really wanted ice cream when I got home. And I racked my brain for quick dinner recipes I could throw together that would make it acceptable for me to then have dessert.

Then I remembered: I’m an adult. I can have ice cream for dinner if I want.

Also, my husband was at a work happy hour and would likely want actual dinner when he arrived home. So basically, I was just killing time with a little ice cream.

The only real problem was the ice cream we currently have is sub-par flavor-wise. It was a sad day when I combed through the ice cream aisle at the grocery store only to find all the flavors and brands acceptable to both my husband and me (my husband will only eat ice cream from cartons that have the plastic seal on the outside and remember, I had that mouth surgery so I can’t have anything with nuts or super chewy chunks yet) were covered in a layer of frost. And I wasn’t trying to eat crunchy, freezer-burnt ice cream.

Did you know Yuengling makes ice cream? Me neither, until I saw the cartons at Harris Teeter. Apparently they started selling ice cream to keep their family business afloat during Prohibition. And they are ah-mazing at making ice cream. They should be even better known for their mint chocolate chip than they are for their beer.

So, I was at Giant (it’s slightly more convenient to stop here on my drive home from work than the Teeter) about to tearfully give up on my ice cream quest, when I spotted a 2 for $3 pint deal for none other than Yuengling ice cream. I was so pumped. In that moment, it didn’t matter that the only flavors were root beer float and black & tan. I grabbed one of each and went on my merry way.

Of course I got home and thought w-t-f, why would anyone want ice cream flavored like the delicious beverage it can help create? That’s pure laziness. I was ashamed of myself. At least the black & tan is a chocolate-caramel swirl.

Obviously, I still tried it. I mean, it’s still ice cream. And root beer floats are possibly my favorite way to enjoy ice cream.

I’ll say this for Yuengling: their ice cream is dope no matter how weird the flavor. Still *highly* recommend them.

My husband is a traditionalist when it comes to ice cream. He’s not into “birthday cake” flavor or “strawberry cheesecake” and he felt the same about “root beer float.” So it’s up to me to finish that bad boy. And I mean, it’s good, but it’s not eat-an-entire-pint-in-one-sitting-good. (Also, I try to follow the serving size. I might have two servings in a night if I’m feeling particularly feisty–or adult-y–but I try).

A lot of things came together last night to make for a pretty delicious concoction on my part. I had the weird ice cream flavor. I had a hankering for cold, creamy goodness. My husband was at a happy hour. I wanted my hour to be happy, too. The obvious conclusion: add some alcohol.

I love butterscotch. My husband does not. If I’d known that this winter, I wouldn’t have bought such a large bottle of butterscotch schnapps for my hot buttered rum recipe. But I didn’t, so I did, and now we have a ton of the stuff. I figured it couldn’t hurt anything tossing a splash of it over my two heaping scoops of root beer ice cream and half-cup of milk. And while I was adding liquor anyway, might as well throw in some vodka to give it a real adult-kick.

This ended up being a little too much liquid, so I dug out the last of our freezer-burnt chocolate ice cream, avoiding the biggest ice crystals, and got a big enough scoop to mix in and bring the consistency back to a nice, thick milkshake.

The improvised recipe is below, but if you’ve ever made a milkshake by stirring your ice cream till it’s super soft, you can handle making a drink like this. Unless you’re not 21, in which case get out of here and come back when you’re old enough to complain about not getting carded.

Adult Milkshake – Root Beer Float

  • About 2-3 big scoops of Yuengling Root Beer Float flavored ice cream (we don’t have an ice cream scooper. It was lost sometime around when we moved just before the wedding, and I haven’t gotten around to replacing it, so we use regular spoons. It makes gauging scoop-sizes difficult, but otherwise works fine)
  • Enough milk to cover 3/4 of the scoops in a glass (~1/2 cup)
  • Splash of butterscotch schnapps
  • Shot of vodka (we use Tito’s)
  • 1 scoop chocolate ice cream

Stir the 3 scoops ice cream with the milk until it reaches desired consistency. Add the alcohol and stir immediately to mix well. Stir in chocolate ice cream until smooth and enjoy.


Dental Issues and Turkish Lentil Soup

I recently had dental surgery. I needed a tissue graft for the receding gum of one of my molars. For the squeamish reading this (hi, Mom), I’ll spare the details and just say this process was less involved than a root canal but on par (possibly worse due to lack of sedation) with wisdom teeth removal. I was swollen. I was in pain. I was hungry.

One thing about me: I’m almost always hungry. If I don’t feel like eating and I haven’t just finished a meal, there may be something wrong–mentally or physically–to curb my appetite.

The issue with dental surgery is the limitations it places on one’s ability to eat the way she loves. I have long been a huge fan of soups, so I will admit going into this procedure, I had a plan that was all soup all day and I was fine with it. I had a nice long grocery list laid out with little notes and explanations so my husband could navigate Harris Teeter without me (side note: my husband is excellent at grocery shopping for things he enjoys. It’s the “weird” things: the olive oil, the ginger root, the multiple different colored onions… that throw him.) and I knew I’d be cooking up some awesome soups that for whatever reason, I never got around to making this long, drawn out fall-winter-canwereallycallthisspring? season that seems *finally* (knock on wood) behind us.

So there I was, laying on the couch with an ice pack pressed to my cheek, catching up on Grey’s Anatomy (yes, seriously), and trying not to let my cranky, post-procedure feelings convince me I was getting hangry each time my husband called with another question. He was amazing, by the way. He’d call and say “I can’t find such and such” or “they’re out of this or that” and I’d say it doesn’t matter, I don’t need it, because I just wanted him to get home with the basics so I could eat SOMETHING besides the applesauce they gave me at the periodontist (which was already gone). He kept saying it was important so he was going to find it for me. My knight in corduroys.

Anyway, I started flipping through the recipes I’d jotted down for Carrot Ginger Soup and Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup and this impressively-named Flu Buster Vegetable Soup and realized I didn’t want any of them. I wanted salt-and-vinegar chips. I wanted chocolate-covered pretzels. I wanted a cheeseburger. Basically, I wanted what I couldn’t have. My husband found me wallowing in self-pity and a little bit of drool and frantically tried to help with a bowl of ice cream. (The best thing about this surgery: I was instructed to do my two favorite things–eat ice cream and don’t exercise.) It did help, until my stitches bled (sorry for that detail, Mom).

The perfect soup occurred to me around this time, and I frantically Googled to make sure we had the necessary ingredients (my husband loves me, but I couldn’t bring myself to send him back to the store, no matter how often he offered).

A Digression:

Several weeks ago, we went out to dinner. I was feeling particularly adventurous that night, so I told my husband I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been. I even offered a French restaurant he’d mentioned in the past (I’m not a huge fan of French food. Sorry). He ignored this completely and decided we should go to a Turkish restaurant that he loves near his parents’ house. Normally, I’d be happy with this option, but I was feeling like being dangerous and surprising myself by eating some frog legs or similar “French” cuisine. So I was less than kind as we sat down at the Turkish place and huffily read through the menu. Our waiter told us the soup of the day was Red Lentil Soup, a traditional Turkish soup, and I informed my husband I was going to try it (as if it was some big stand I was taking to display my displeasure that we were not eating somewhere new). All of that is to say, I had the lentil soup, it blew my socks off, and if not for my husband ignoring my wishes (read: demands) to go elsewhere, I would never have even thought to make a soup of pureed lentils and potatoes.

So that is what I needed when my mouth was swollen and my jaw was sore. The Turkish Lentil Soup ordered out of (weird, hangry) spite ended up not only saving the day, but it was probably one of the best dishes I’ve made in general. My husband did a fantastic job with the immersion blender, too. He refused to let me stand up for the time it took to puree the soup.

So there aren’t any pictures, but the recipe I used is below.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup:

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (~2 small) potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  1. Put all ingredients in large stockpot; bring to boil.
  2. Lower heat to Medium-Low and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and blend.

(Let cool to room temperature before eating if you’ve just had dental surgery and can’t have hot things)