Sausage and Vegetable Soup

I made this at my friend’s house in Houston, based on an old recipe that had a list of ingredients and sparse directions. I improvised a bit, and the result is a staple I plan on making again and again until spring. I wanted to post it now because this soup is good the day of, but great the day after. Which means you could make it on Wednesday and eat it as part of your Thanksgiving meal (or while you’re making your Thanksgiving buffet).

If you’re hosting a Thanksgivvukah celebration this is obviously not a kosher option :).

sausage carrot onion celery leek kale potato soup

– 1 lb ground pork
– 2 tbsp nutritional yeast*
– 2 tbsp butter
– 1 white or sweet onion, diced
– 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
– 1 bunch celery, chopped
– 3 leeks, diced
– 4 cups stock
– 2 cups water
– 2 cups milk
– 5 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
– 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire
– Juice of 1/2 lemon

-salt, pepper, and italian seasoning, to taste


– 1 bunch kale, strip leaves from stems and julienne
– potatoes, chopped (add these when you put the carrots in)
– Use italian sausage instead of ground pork and nutritional yeast
– Substitute soy sauce for liquid aminos, taste after each tablespoon to gauge amount needed


1. Brown pork. Cook until just done (don’t get it really brown, it will be overdone in the soup if you do) and then sprinkle salt, pepper, italian seasonings, and nutritional yeast over pork.
2. Melt butter in large pot. Add in onions and cook until they start to turn golden. Add in carrots and let brown for a few minutes, then add celery and leeks and do the same.
3. After 10-15 minutes of cooking all the vegetables together with no liquid, add the stock, water, and milk. Add Braggs liquid aminos and Worcestershire.
4. Once carrots are soft, add in the cooked pork and the juice from the lemon. Add kale at this point if you are using it.
5. Simmer together for a few minutes until kale is softened. Enjoy!

*Don’t stress if you don’t have any nutritional yeast. This soup will be good without it, but the nutritional yeast gives it a hint of cheesiness that I love.

Recipe Mastery: Lettuce Wraps

Remember my Recipe Mastery project? Well I found my favorite Beef Stew (I’m working on a summary post now where I’ll talk about what I tried and what I liked/disliked) and for my next recipe I’m going to tackle lettuce wraps. I’ve tried different recipes from Pinterest in the past, but nothing has been what I’m looking for.


I’m looking for something I can make on Friday evening and use for meals throughout the weekend. It would also be great to have a recipe that I can make when we are having people over which would allow people to customize their own wrap as we eat. It seems like this is a recipe where I could make some components ahead of time and then reheat as needed. I know lettuce wraps seem a simple thing to want to address, but I’m specifically interested in the meat and the sauces. How is the meat cooked and season? What type of meat is best? What are the different sauce options and how are they made? How can I create something that fits my diet (mainly vegetables/meats/fats/fruits) but will contain some sort of carbohydrate to fill those who aren’t limiting carbohydrates?

If you have a favorite recipe, link to it below! I’ll post a summary of my attempts as well as my favorite recipe once I choose a winner.

Once A Month Mom Cooking and Freezer Stocking

I know I’ve done several sponsored reviews lately, so I want to clarify that this is me writing a post about something I paid for and chose to do voluntarily. The people at Once A Month Mom have no idea who I am (other than the two payments I’ve sent their way over the past 6 months!) and I am writing this only because I know it’s something a lot of people are curious about and I wanted to share my experience! Just a note, in this post I frequently refer to Whole Foods grocery store and the Whole Foods menu from Once a Month Mom (OAMM). I tried to clarify each time, but I didn’t want people feeling confused!

A glimpse of my freezer filled with Whole Foods and Paleo menu items before baby comes.  All made entirely from scratch!

It’s 5:11pm on a Monday as I sit down to write this post. Can you hold on a minute while I go get a made-from-scratch Chicken Pot Pie in the oven?




5:15pm and I’m back! And that includes yet another trip to the restroom (I’ve lost count of the number of trips I take on a daily basis at this point in my pregnancy). That short interval for preparing dinner is why I love freezer meal cooking. I know there are all sorts of pins floating around Pinterest that describe how to DIY this process, but I didn’t want to spend my time making grocery lists or calculating chopping amounts. That’s why I love the Once A Month Mom site. They feature menus filled with breakfast/lunch/dinner items made with seasonal ingredients to fit all sorts of diets including Whole Foods, Paleo, Vegetarian, and Gluten/Dairy Free. So far I’ve done two different menus, the Whole Foods menu in September, and the Paleo menu in January.

Want to know why you should give them your money? Because other than the chopping/cooking/wrapping, all of the work is done for you. They put out new menus with new recipes each month, they test out all of the recipes several times to figure out how to best adapt them for the freezer, and each of the menus includes Recipe Cards (with initial cooking instructions, freezing/wrapping instructions, and defrosting/reheating instructions), a Grocery List, Instructions (this feature is indispensable  as they’ve broken down the best order to make all of the recipes in), and Labels. All of these are created using spreadsheets and you plug in the number of people you want to cook for, and all of the recipe cards, instructions, chopping lists, grocery lists, etc, are updated with the correct amounts. You pay $8 for this and save yourself hours of time.

I have known about this for a long time but chose to wait until we had a larger kitchen and a bigger freezer to store it all in. You can find posts where women have made it work in small freezers, but I have a lot more counter space here in Palo Alto than we did in our apartment in Hyde Park, Chicago. We also were able to find a used stand-alone freezer to keep in the garage.


I think the question I get most frequently about this is “What does it cost?”. I’ll tell you what I paid for both rounds that I did, but keep a few things in mind. First, I live in Palo Alto which is a pretty expensive area of the country to be in. So maybe it will cost less for you. Second, I like to buy organic fruits/vegetables and “happy” meat. I was a bit more budget conscious with the second menu (the Paleo one) and decided to buy non-organic vegetables at Sprouts grocery store so the price was a bit lower, but with the first menu I bought almost everything from Whole Foods grocery store and the Farmer’s Market. Third, the cost will vary based on what you already have in your kitchen/pantry. I did the Whole Foods menu right after we moved and had to buy incredibly basic stuff like flour and olive oil because we didn’t have it on hand. Continue reading

Zucchini Cupcakes (They Don’t Taste Like Zucchini, I Promise)

I was in bed, flipping through blog posts from other people and I thought “I kind of want to write a blog post of my own”. It’s 8:30 and That Husband isn’t home from work yet… why not?

I’ll start with something simple. I made these zucchini cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them. You should make them for yourself (although if you want to buy zucchini in-season you might have to wait until next year… ooops).

Settling In (and a Few Recipes I Loved)

We’ve been in Palo Alto for a week now, and we’re almost entirely unpacked which means I can finally take a deep breath and attack other areas of my life that have been put on hold for weeks and months over our crazy summer. The amount of shopping I need to do is insane (including things like a couch and something to clean the toilets with, you know silly non-essential extras).

I’m feeling worlds better in my second trimester, but at the end of each day I find myself exhausted. 8pm comes, we work on getting T1 to bed, and by the time I usually would sit down at the computer all I want to do is climb into bed and play Bejeweled. I don’t know that blog posts are going to be as frequent as they were in the past. I do have almost a dozen things I want to write about, including half-marathon training/running, TH’s graduation, my school experience and graduation, my paper on Female Mormon Bloggers, potty training, and how I can meet my neighbors to find some playmates for T1 and mom friends for me.

In the meantime, two favorite pictures from the summer. The first is obviously right after my graduation ceremony. Thanks to Aubrey of Every Little Moment Photography for doing family photos for us after my convocation. She took them, I edited them (and I’ll share the rest soon!).

The second is T1 taking a breather after chasing me around my in-law’s backyard during our last trip to Poland.

One of the things I missed most this summer was my time in the kitchen. During my time at school I was so sick that heating up and eating a frozen burrito was overwhelming, and in Poland my in-laws take care of us all day every day. Now that I’m feeling better I’m combing my Pinterest boards for recipes to try. Here are a few I think you should make as well:

Eggs in Clouds

I thought these were best when the yolks were runny.

Avocado Banana Bread

I did have a little bit of trouble with this bread, but I think that’s because it needed to cook a little bit longer (I left the house and had TH take it out of the oven). It was really moist and the flavor was great!

Curried Coconut Chicken Salad

The chicken mixture keeps well in the fridge for a few days so you can stuff pita bread with the leftovers or continue eating it as a salad.

Summer Vegetable Tian

Mmmmm, this is one I’ll be making over and over until the summer vegetables are gone from the farmer’s market. We ate it with whole wheat noodles mixed with a creamy lemon-dill sauce.

Slow-Cooker Asian Pork With Snow Peas, Red Peppers, and Soba Noodles

I tend to choose recipes that are a bit involved and that don’t reheat well, and this one was neither (hooray!). The pork was incredibly easy to make, the peanuts took seconds to roast, and the noodles and vegetables required little more than a quick boil. For me the best part was enjoying the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Eggplant and Goat-Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Tarragon Sauce

Oh goodness me, this is the kind of dish I would pay good money for at a restaurant. It took me several hours from creation to dining to cleaning-up but I’m not sure if that’s an indication of anything since I’m notoriously slow in the kitchen (anyone know of a speed cooking class I can take in the Bay Area?). First you start the tomato sauce and let it simmer for just shy of 30 minutes (I would double the amount of tomato sauce and use it for leftovers if I were you). The eggplant slices are breaded and fried, goat cheese is sandwiched between then, and then they are put in the oven long enough for the goat cheese to melt.