Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup

This soup was my lifesaver early last week when I wasn’t able to chew anything.  Although I am (thankfully) now fully recovered from my wisdom teeth operation, this soup was a delicious way to enjoy my liquid diet meals.  Also, the only reason I decided to stop relying solely on mushy foods was because I really wanted chicken wings on my birthday…is this bad?

I’m typing this post right before I have to rush off to class, so I’ll be fairly quick about it.  Ever since I discovered that I love sweet potatoes, I have been looking for an excuse to include them in everything I make.  This soup was the perfect way to do this and, although I ate probably 1/4 of the potato before it even made it in the soup pot (roasted sweet potato = heaven), what was included added a lot of flavour and contributed to the overall consistency.

This might be the last hot soup I make for awhile, since the winter months are speeding towards the end.  Who knows though, if Ottawa weather keeps acting the way it is I might just have to extend my winter cooking until the end of March.  Fingers crossed that this is not the case, I want to start taking food pictures outside again!!!

PS: Ha! Just realized that the first picture looks like a soupy sunset.

Source: Canadian Living

Carrot Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Note: I wrote this entry Tuesday morning, and not on whatever day I decided to post this.  Just wanted to make that clear so you didn’t think I took some sort of LOST-esque journey through time and space.  Although that would be beyond cool.

….

Who knew the secret ingredient in a carrot cake would be pineapple?

I, for one, most certainly did not, so thank heavens the folks over at Canadian Living set me straight.  As of this post I am officially rediscovering pineapple, it’s delicious.

In preparation for my wisdom teeth removal tomorrow morning, I decided to make a dessert that I might actually be able to eat post-operation.  After all, what is more soft and capable of being gummed-to-death than carrot cake?  I also have been craving vegetable-infused cakes ever since I made my chocolate zucchini cake, so here we are.  Two birds, one cake.

I’m actually typing this post as my cake is in the oven.  It’s morning time in Sudbury, and my parents are at work and my brother is at school.  Our fabulous convection oven is whurring softly, as if reassuringly saying “don’t worry, I’m so much more reliable than your oven in Ottawa, I won’t burn things in a matter of five minutes.”  It’s so strange to be able to trust your kitchen appliances for a change.

Since I’ve been rambling quite a bit in my previous posts (yes, I’m very much aware that I go off on tangents, I’m an admitted word-aholic) let me, instead of talking more, just share a beautiful picture with you.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is the dream (and also, as it happens, my desktop background):

Now, did that not improve your day by a tenfold?  Ah well, it makes me feel swell.

But of course, I just need to quickly say what I thought of this cake.  It was very, very moist and full of taste.  I halved the amount of pecans CL told me to put in the cake, since I’m not a huge fan of nuts in baking, and it still turned out dandy.  If you’re wondering whether you need pineapple, you do.  It adds the most surprising subtle flavour and creates an unexpected (in a good way) texture.  Just do it.

One more thing, I’ve posted a link to the Canadian Living recipe below my pictures, but I didn’t use their cream cheese icing recipe.  The recipe I used for that was adapted from Annie’s Eats and was perfectly sweet.

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Mixed Pepper, Salami and Feta Pasta

“That smells exactly like bagel bites!”

This was the comment I received from three of my roommates as I cooked this pasta dish.  I blame the salami.  I for one, have never been fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to try a bagel bite, so I quickly had to google the term to find out exactly what it was.  WOW they look good.  Is there anything better than miniature pizzas?  I think not.  It looks like I’m going to need to make my own Hilary-style bagel bites sometime soon.

Like the chalet chicken soup I made a few posts back, this recipe came from the March issue of Canadian Living, which seems to contain several more gems that I plan on making before the actual month rolls around.  This was just a really solid dish that allowed me to use up some more of my huge pasta supply.  Also, I’ve never really tried salami before…is that sad?  Maybe my mom used to occasionally sneak it into my sandwiches when I was young, but I have never knowingly tried this famous sandwich meat.  There we are, another confession from my sad, pre-foodie life.  Buying this salami allowed me to talk to the cute boy in the deli section of the grocery store.  Score!  Also, I left out the olives from the original recipe, since no matter how hard I try, I cannot force myself to enjoy those oily little buggers.  If you are an olive lover, I admire you.  Also, this means that à la How I Met Your Mother, I need to date someone who LOVES olives.  It’s a valuable thing to know.

PS: I can’t believe I once thought that feta cheese smelled like feet.  It is my favourite now.
PPS: Isn’t that woven placemat background the best thing ever?  I bought it at IKEA for $1.
PPPS: The black bowl was also purchased during my last IKEA trip.  I seriously have SO many random dishes lying around the kitchen that I use solely to plate food.  It is a mismatched pottery paradise.
PPPPS: I brought a tupperware container of this to class the other day and had to eat it with a piece of baguette because I forgot cutlery.  Let me tell you, there are definitely worse things in life than bread utensils.

See recipe after the jump!

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Chalet Chicken Soup

Yes, the name of this post is swiped straight from the Swiss Chalet menu.  If no one has ever had the amazing soup from this beloved restaurant of my childhood (there was one so close to my house!), then I suggest you drop what you’re doing and shimmy on down to the nearest location.  Especially if you’re in Ottawa and it’s a frigid day like today.

OR you could just read this post in warm comforts of your home.  Writing this post, I’m tempted to brush aside all the work that I have to do today in favour of an afternoon cuddled up with my Snuggie and tea.  There’s a very good chance that this may happen…

I was so excited last week when I got the March edition of Canadian Living in my mailbox.  I was extremely pleased to find the recipe for this cosy chicken and rice soup.  Before I continue, since when does cosy have an “s?”  Does that just not look like some weird attempt at parseltongue?  Nope, I refuse to be anything but co-zeeeee.  Apologies.

Now, you all know how obsessed I am with soup, so when I find a delicious looking recipe for my favourite soup of all, I really have no choice but to make it.  Unlike the traditional chicken noodle soup, this one had rice in it, meaning that it was a tad cheaper (which is always welcome).  Also, even though I really need to try leeks, I didn’t buy them for this recipe, since I feel absolutely awful when I have leftover veggies that I forget about and don’t use.  Must minimize waste.

Mmmm, and chicken thighs, you have changed my life.

PS: these pictures were taken on my friend Gord’s window sill using a bowl that I bought this weekend in Chinatown.  I am super jealous of his rustic window settings.  Also, speaking of Gord (who, if you recall, is the author of another fantastic student-friendly food blog), we cooked up something special this weekend.  Stay tuned to find out more…

PPS: see recipe after the jump.

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Spicy Potato and Lentil Soup

Okay, so you know how a few posts ago I said that my borscht was the cheapest thing I’ve ever made?  Well I lied.  Poor Mr. Borscht didn’t hold his title for very long, and this new soup quickly edged it out in both taste and price.  While I could go on and on about how great this soup was, I think I’ll condense my admiration down to four main points *ahem*:

1. It was SO fast to make.  Since I’m apparently never home for dinner anymore, I decided to make this soup at 9:15 a.m.  Yes, I had soup for breakfast, don’t judge me.  I had to be at school that day for 10:45, so let this tight schedule attest for how quickly this soup cooked itself up.

2. I’m not really a fan of chopping things, so I was relieved when this soup only required two potatoes, a celery stalk, and an onion to be chopped.  BUT HOLY, on that note, I cut up the most potent onion ever!!!!!  Seriously, I was crying like a teenage girl listening to Taylor Swift.  I wiped my eyes on my shirt so many times that my sleeve was partially drenched by the time I was finished cooking.  I need a set of these!

3. This soup just confirmed that my taste buds are way more high maintenance than in my “I’m just going to eat plain rice for supper” days (aka last year).  I was not at all happy with how little cumin and cayenne pepper that the original recipe requested, so I simply added a teaspoon more of the cumin, and about ten pinches of cayenne pepper (versus the original single pinch requested).  Mmmmm, that spice, combined with the explosion of fresh parsley, made my life.  Also, for anyone that is stuffed up or sniffly from a winter cold, this soup is so spicy it is sure to clear your sinuses!  Who needs cold fx, right?

4. Last but not least this soup was, of course, cheap.  I calculated my total cost per serving to be about 80 cents a bowl.  Stellar!!

Recipe: Canadian Living (with a few spicy adaptations by yours truly).