Category Archives: Dinner

Clean Eating Tomato & White Bean Soup

Tomato White Bean Soup final

You guys, I spent yeeeeears feeling very ambivalent towards soup. If I ordered soup at a restaurant, I never felt like I was actually eating since there is no chewing involved. I would enjoy a small cup of the hot liquid for an appetizer, but the idea of eating a bowl for my main meal seemed very unappealing.

Enter Chicago winter. My fifth to be exact. They are long. They are dark. And they are cold.

To counteract the dreary season, I’ve started experimenting with various soup recipes. From white chicken chili to roasted cauliflower white cheddar bisque, I like to think I’ve expanded my palette in just a few short months. I am officially a soup convert! I’ve also been on a major kick of doubling recipes and freezing most of it in pre-portioned containers. Talk about convenience on a hectic weeknight.

I made this tomato & white bean soup for the first time a few weeks ago.

Tomato and White Bean Soup 2

Tomato white bean soup

I love how the tomato paste and cannellini beans give it such a hearty texture.

Tomato white bean soup pot

I try to eat pretty clean throughout the week and save my indulgences for thai takeout and candy on the weekends, so this soup is perfect for an easy weekday meal.

White Bean tomato soup with bread


Serves 4

*modified from


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

1. Warm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste and beans. Pour in broth, season with salt and pepper, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly (approximately 10 minutes). Working in batches, carefully puree soup in a blender on the “pulse” setting about 5x. It should be thick, but still a bit chunky. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. If soup is too thick, thin with additional broth. Wait for soup to cool if freezing it.

Tomato White Bean Soup final






Filed under Dinner, Healthy Meals, Recipe

Graduation Celebration

Good morning! How are ya? I’m moving a little slower today after 2+ glasses of wine last night. I swear, I don’t know what happened, but I cannot hang like I used to!


The graduation celebration last night way exceeded my expectations. Bobby and I had a blast hanging out with my friends, their husbands and family members. These three girls and I had our first ever grad school class together two years ago and have stayed on the same trajectory ever since. Don’t know what I would have done without them during those demanding periods of working full-time + night school.


Two shorties + two tall girls = Humera, Allison, Jordan, me

I completely forgot to RSVP to the event, so when they called the graduates names I wasn’t sure I’d be included. But they ended up tacking my name onto the end of the list and I snagged my little gift, a university-branded travel mug.

coffee mug2

I’ve been on the lookout for a new tumbler since mine is five years old and on it’s last leg. We’ll see if this one stands up to the no-leaking-keep-coffee-hot test. Have I mentioned yet that I love free stuff?

Our group was the last to leave and the maintenance staff was basically cleaning up around us. You could say it was a success.

me and bobby2

The food spread at the event was pretty impressive and I tried to take some photos, but they just turned out fugly. Imagine fried wontons, sliders, egg rolls, cheese plate, cookies, baked mac ‘n cheese, crudités and fruit. I wasn’t too hungry since it was earlier than I’m used to eating dinner, but I did chow down on a plate of fruit. I was pretty hungry when I arrived home around 7:30 (Bobby had left from the party for another holiday work event), so I heated up an Amy’s frozen burrito . The black bean & rice flavor was a little lackluster, so I ate about half before I threw a frozen pizza in the oven. We buy Gino’s East frozen pizzas and they are Bobby’s all-time favorite. I told him I ate “his” pizza last night and he adamantly suggested that I stop at the store and buy him another one today 🙂



I’ve only exercised once this week, so I’m planning to hit the gym later this afternoon after my classes. We’ll see how that goes. Fortunately, my Class Pass membership restarts on the 4th of every month, so I can take my beloved Fly Wheel classes again.

I hope you have a great rest of your day!




Filed under Dinner, Fun

Weekly Wisdom

Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest addition of Weekly Wisdom. You actually won’t find a lot of wisdom over here, but just some arbitrary thoughts that don’t deserve a whole blog post. Feel free to play along in the comments section! But first, let’s cover dinner.


I have loved my crockpot for many years, but fell in love again this fall. When you cook about four nights per week, it really comes in handy when you’re just not feeling the whole saute/roast/simmer thing. I prepped one of our favorites, Honey Sesame Chicken, around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and let it cook for four hours.


I paired it with some sautéed snow peas and broccoli that were dying a slow death in the fridge. This stuff is gooooooood.

dinner close

Plus, it makes a ton of leftovers which is always a win in my book. Now on to the fun part of this post, Weekly Wisdom.

  • Cats on bags – seriously, why do they do this? Those are two different bags on the same day. I’m convinced if I put a plastic bag in the bathtub, he would find it. Do dogs do this???

baxie bag 2baxie bag 1

  • Icing Smiles – I recently read about this nonprofit organization in my November issue of All You Magazine. They accept “cake requests from parents of children with life-threatening conditions and match them with nearby bakers, professionals and amateurs alike.” Growing up in Louisville, my mom and I used to bake for the local Ronald McDonald House, and I’ve been on the lookout for something similar in Chicago. I’m planning to sign on as an amateur baker (obvi), but I’m hoping they know my cakes usually turn out like this:


  • Leann Rimes’ Christmas album is amazing. Christmas songs + country music? Yes please. People can say what they what about girlfriend’s personal life, but I will always love her voice.
  • Wild comes out on Friday! It’s one of my favorite books and I think Reese is the perfect person to portray Cheryl Strayed. I will have to bribe Bobby with candy because he doesn’t really want to see it 🙂


  • Coyotes in Chicago. This is a real thing. And they’ve learned to look both ways when crossing the streets.
  • I’m considering quitting Class Pass. It was a head-over-heels love affair at first, but I’m just not using it as much as I thought I would, making the cost not worth it. I really LOVE Fly Wheel and Exhale yoga classes, and I hate that I can only attend each three times per month.


Post-Fly Wheel sweat!

  • I’m not the only social worker graduating in two weeks that doesn’t have a job. One of my classmates sent around a survey asking people about their job status. I feel a little better that I don’t have gig lined up since lots of others are in the same jobless boat.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.40.51 AM




Filed under Dinner, Healthy Meals, Weekly Wisdom

Dinner Party for Three

Hey hey! Happy Thanksgiving eve. We’re heading out in a bit, but I wanted to pop in and say hi first. For those of you traveling today (ie. “the busiest travel day of the year”), I’ll be thinking of you and saying a little prayer for swift and safe journeys.


I wanted to sleep in this morning, but knew I would feel better about spending 5+ hours in the car if I shook my legs out a bit. I completed a 25-minute interval workout on the treadmill followed by some stretching. You’ve seen this one before, but I made a few modifications.


While typing up this post, Bobby-the-omelet-master cooked up some eggs for us for road trip fuel.


Onion + turkey sausage + swiss cheese!


Bobby’s sister Jenny and her husband Paul were planning to come for dinner. However, Paul works in the burbs and ended up getting stuck for a while because the trains were running on a delay. City commuting can sometimes be a nightmare! Dinner turned out to just be me, Bobby and Jenny, with leftovers sent home for Paul. 😦


I prepped everything before our guest arrived so that I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen all night.



I made a spinach salad with feta + red onion + pumpkin seeds + green apple + celery + craisins + Marzetti balsamic vinaigrette. ‘Twas delish!


me with salad2

Our main course was a spinach chicken pasta bake, a variation on this recipe. 


(Bobby wasn’t feeling so hot, so he refused to be in my picture). Hi Jenny!


Jenny brought us the cutest desserts – chocolate “pilgrim hats” and a caramel and apples “turkey!”<– which she called a Pinterest fail. I say it’s a win!

pilgrim hats

turkey apples

Off we go to St. Louis!



1 Comment

Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Healthy Meals, Workout

Breakfast for Dinner

Good morning!

I am headed out to the suburbs as soon as I hit “publish” on this post. I have to fill out some paperwork at my old internship site. It’s been almost six weeks since I made the commute, so I brewed a large mug of coffee for the occasion.


I found Dunkin coffee in the clearance section of Walgreens yesterday. Who says pumpkin-everything has to end? 😉

  coffee bag


We’d originally planned to have turkey burgers, but come time to prep dinner I just wasn’t feeling it. My cravings have been fairly rampant since cutting out sugar, causing me to fantasize about pancakes while at the gym. Normal, right? I ran the idea by Bobby and…..B for D it was!

i iz waiting for mycakez

Bobby isn’t much of a pancakes person, so he made an omelet while I perused the ‘ol Google machine for recipes. I followed the instructions for Top with Cinnamon’s 2-ingredient healthy pancakes, with these recommended additions:

  •  1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 T almond flour


Plus copious amounts of sugar free syrup!


These were pretty good, but I might double the recipe next time because I was hungry just an hour later. I’d also sub egg whites for whole eggs (since I watch my yolk intake due to high-ish cholesterol) and add more cinnamon.


When I get back into the city, I’m heading to my favorite yoga class ever (fingers crossed for minimal traffic and making it back in time).

Questions of the day:

  • What’s your favorite item to order for breakfast?
  • Do you stop using pumpkin-everything once Halloween is over?




Filed under Dinner, Healthy Meals