Chicken Noodle Soup

I hope everyone is enjoying the last weekend of Summer. ¬†I can’t believe it’s over already ūüė¶ ¬†Anyway, I wanted to share my chicken noodle soup recipe with you. ¬†I make it all year round, not just in the cooler months. ¬†It’s one of my favorites. ¬†I add lots of vegetables to make it filled with nutrients.

The recipe

1 1/2 c. carrot, chopped

1 c. celery, chopped

1/2 onion or 1 large shallot, diced

1 T. olive or canola oil

32 oz. lower sodium chicken stock

8 oz. vegetable stock

3/4 c. water

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 bag fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 cooked chicken breast, diced or 1/2 lb. ground chicken, cooked

1 c. egg noodles (No Yolks brand stays nice and firm)

First, I sauteed the carrots and celery in the oil, for about 10 minutes, then added the shallot for a few minutes.

Then, I added the chicken & vegetable stocks and water.

I added the diced tomato and cooked ground chicken to the soup. I chopped the spinach and put it aside.

I cooked the soup for about 20 minutes, then added the noodles and spinach.

I continued to cook for another 15 minutes, and it was ready to be served.  It makes about 4 servings. Bon appetit!

Thanks to the labor workers who helped to get our work benefits, and make our work places safer. ~Nancy

Health and Fitness

For the most part, I haven’t had to worry about weight for most of my life.¬† Go ahead and hate me if you must ūüė¶¬† With the exception of a few years in retail, I have worked in health care for most of my life, so I have always had an eye on my diet and weight.

I also smoked, which some people feel relaxes them, but in fact, it is a stimulant. So when I finally quit smoking about 6 years ago in my 40’s, I gained 30 lbs and 3 pant sizes.¬† I no longer had the stimulant, nicotine on board, and I no longer had the metabolism of a 20 or 30 someone.

I have never believed in fad diets, so for me it always goes back to diet and exercise.  Bottom line, the only way you are going to lose weight and keep it off is to change your lifestyle, get active, learn how to read labels, and recognize what a portion size really looks like.  I will try to give more information along the way.

One thing I have found that helps in controlling portion size is to weigh my food. That helped me to recognize what a portion size was.  This particularly works well for me for pasta portions.  A serving of pasta is 2 oz.  In the past, I was probably eating the equivalent of 2 servings and twice the calories.  I bought this scale on Amazon for about $20.

After moving to a new area, getting a new house in order, and planning a wedding, I’ve put on a few pounds.¬† Now that I am adjusting to my new life, I need to get back to the gym, back to running, and work on getting my FIT body back.¬† If you would have told me, a former smoker of 23 years, that I would ever run a 5K (3.1 miles), I would have never believed it.

It took an entire year, but I finally ran the entire race without walking.

My first 5K!!!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

As I mentioned, I recently married and there is a cultural difference between me and my husband. ¬†We are both Americans, but I am of German decent, and he is of Filipino decent. ¬†He did not know what the term “comfort food” meant.

Being of German decent, I am all too familiar with that term.  Growing up, I would eat mashed potatoes with bread, kinda of like the Polish Pierogie.  The starchier the better.  Anyway, in this recipe, I am using less butter and substituting low-sodium chicken broth for the milk.

The Recipe

6 medium potatoes, diced

1 T. butter

1 garlic clove, pressed

2/3 c. low sodium chicken broth

1 t. dried parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

I have discovered a line of freeze dried herbs made by a company called Litehouse.  They are the closest in taste to fresh herbs, and they are so convenient.  Having high blood pressure, I try to use as little salt as I can without making the food taste too bland.  This is why I have  turned to herbs and spices to add flavor to my foods.

So, for this recipe, I started by peeling and dicing the potatoes.  I cooked them in water for about 20 minutes, drained them and set them aside.

In the same pot, I added the butter, sauteed the pressed garlic and added the parsley.

I added the potatoes, chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and mashed the potatoes with a hand masher. ¬†I don’t mind lumps, and John ate 2/3 of it!

Enjoy!  ~Nancy

Summer Salsa

Of course, this recipe is for all year long, but there is nothing better than fresh salsa, and it is the perfect time of the year for it. ¬†Even if you don’t have access to fresh tomatoes, you can get these gorgeous vine ripened tomatoes pretty much all year long at the grocery store. ¬†This recipe is adapted from my good friend, Donna, whom I lovingly call, Ma Donna. ¬†She is an awesome cook.

The Recipe

3 medium tomatoes, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1/4 c. finely diced onion

Juice of 1  lime

1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 t. ground cumin

Salt & Pepper to taste

Hot sauce to taste, I prefer Frank’s Red Hot

I start out dicing the tomatoes, peppers, and onion. ¬†I prefer to use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, because I don’t like the green ones, and it adds another element of color.

Tomato and Orange Bell Pepper
Onion and Jalapeno

I remove the seeds from the jalapeno, before dicing, since that is were most of the heat lives, and I don’t like my salsa too hot. ¬†Next I use the leaves of the cilantro and chop them finely. ¬†I am combining the ingredients in a bowl as I work.

Cilantro

Lastly, I add the lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and Red Hot.  I used about 10 shakes of the hot sauce.  You can adjust the spices to your taste.

The finished product

To save on fat and calories, I use Tostito’s baked scoops. ¬†You can get a lot of salsa in the scoops, and I love that!

Enjoy! ~Nancy