Eggplant Parmesan Soup

I found a fabulous soup book at the library!

New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation’s Best Purveyor of Fine Soup is written by a local woman who operates two restaurants in the Boston area. I’ve never heard of her restaurants, but the book looked interesting with gorgeous photos and glossy pages, so of course I borrowed it!

Now that the cooler weather is upon us in New England, I’m starting to crave soups & stews. I was thrilled to find a whole bunch of intriguing recipes to try in the book, but the Eggplant Parmesan Soup (pg 51) really caught my eye. I knew I’d be getting some eggplant in the CSA share this week, so I made a commitment to myself to make the soup!

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Baking Bread Blindfolded!

Ha! Well, the title is a bit misleading. I don’t think I could bake bread blindfolded, but I do have my base recipe for bread memorized. I am so proud of myself!

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp of water (optionally includes 1-2 Tbsp of honey or molasses or OJ)
12 oz of flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 – 2 tsp instant yeast

That’s been my base recipe for making bread dough in the bread machine for months, and I can’t believe I can throw the ingredients in without looking at my notebook! Never in a million years would I think I’d be saying that!

I’ve always hated baking, too much precise measuring! But now I actually have a sort-of routine and it’s so much easier. I am starting to understand the whole process, and am having a little bit of fun too! Ha! Who would have thunk it!

145.8 – Yay Even Lower!

Weighed in this AM, and I’m even lower at 145.6! Crazy! It could be a temporary fluke, but either way, I’m staying within my goal weight. hmm, what is my goal weight exactly anyway? I think I feel my best at 147ish.

Especially since I have been eating more calories! My allotted daily calories are 1800 and most days I’ve been very close to the total, but since I eat when I am hungry, (and sometimes even when I am not hungry) I sometimes go over. It’s most always clean eating, so I think that is the difference! I’m not gorging on processed foods! But I am eating dark chocolate, nuts, homemade bread, etc.

This AM, I am eating toasted homemade whole wheat sunflower rosemary bread with a little bit of olive oil butter on it. For lunch, I’m planning toasted bread with 1/2 can of low sodium tuna, made with horseradish mustard & mayo. I plan on also eating a small peanut butter chocolate chip muffin and probably some cut up fruit and carrots. All delicious and nutritious!

Barley Flour

Bought some Arrowhead Mills Barley Flour this week. I’ve been wanting to branch out into baking with different whole grains and barley seemed like a good option to start with.

I’ve been reading a few good books on whole grains, so it’s been interesting to learn about new ingredients! I added 1/2 cup of barley flour to my bread dough this afternoon. We’ll see if there is a noticeable difference!

Update: the bread is delicious! I made whole wheat sunflower rosemary bread. So good! I’ll use a little more barley flour next time!

Local Bakery Bread – READ LABELS!

I was visiting my mom, and took a glance at the ingredients on the loaf of bread she just purchased from the local bakery. What triggered my curiosity was that their bags were pre-printed, just like the grocery stores’ bread.

Lo and behold! Partially hydrogenated soybean oil (worst oil possible!), dextrose (sugar), soy fillers, chemicals. It was horrible! Worse than anything found at the grocery store. She thought she was doing the right thing by purchasing from a local bakery, but she ended up getting bread loaded with unhealthy ingredients! How can they call themselves a bakery when they are using ingredients like that?

And then I was making my dad a sandwich and I took out the jar of Hellman’s “Low Fat” mayo from the fridge. OMG. High fructose corn syrup? and a list of chemicals and additives so long I didn’t have time to read them all!

INGREDIENTS: WATER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH*, SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP*, EGG WHITES, SALT, SUGAR, XANTHAN GUM*, LEMON AND LIME PEEL FIBERS*, COLORS ADDED*, LACTIC ACID*, (SODIUM BENZOATE*, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA) USED TO PROTECT QUALITY, PHOSPHORIC ACID*, NATURAL FLAVORS. GLUTEN-FREE.
*INGREDIENT NOT IN MAYONNAISE.

Does any of the above even resemble food? Not a chance! Oh and it’s only 15 calories. The consistency is so watery, it’s gross!

And my parents think they are doing a good thing by eating something that’s Light or Low Fat. They fell right into the “Big Food” marketing ploy that I have been complaining about for months! Low Fat/No Fat foods are full of chemicals. Eat REAL food!!!! Ugh!

I did mention something to her about the bread, but I didn’t want to keep nagging at her, so I didn’t mention anything about the mayo. That’ll be a lesson for next time perhaps. It’s sad because I know they are trying to eat healthier, but they just don’t know how bad the big food companies are.

Whole Wheat Oat Bran Raisin Muffins

Baked some yummy healthy muffins this afternoon! I’ve been dying to try some of the recipes from the book Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins, and Breads. I found it at the library months ago, and copied a few of the recipes I wanted to try.

My muffins were inspired by her Whole Wheat Quick Bread recipe.

Makes 11-12 large muffins

homemade whole wheat oat bran raisin muffins

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