Friday, July 12, 2013

Fresh Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Soup

I have always loved tomato soup, but never had the chance to enjoy a homemade version until now.  WOW!  This soup is so delicious and incredibly easy to make!  I can't believe it has taken me so long to make this myself.  I am now ruined for packaged tomato soup.  Forever.  I guess I always felt it had to be complicated, as though it required roasting tomatoes or peeling and seeding...  but I was wrong! :)  This recipe uses the entire tomato, skin and all.  The hands-on time is very minimal and the result is amazing.  I already can't wait to make this again and look forward to freezing tomatoes at the end of season to make this well into the fall.  


6 C coarsely chopped tomatoes
1/2 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced in half
3 C broth (I used Imagine Low Sodium Chicken-free Broth)
1/4 C chopped fresh basil
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp sugar (more if desired)


  1. In a stockpot over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, broth, and basil.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool enough to run through a blender.  Process until smooth.
  2. In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook until the roux begins to brown.  Gradually mix in the tomato mixture trying to avoid lumps.  Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Charlotte

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Fourth of July

I had a great time with family over at our house to celebrate the Fourth of July!  The whole day was filed with great people and delicious food...what could possibly be better?  The girls even started their day off with a red, white, and blue breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries.  Celebratory food doesn't have to be unhealthy, and best of all, they LOVED it!

I'm not a huge fan of thematic decorations because I don't have room to store them in between uses, so they would just be wasteful paper products to be thrown away at the end of the night.  If we have a lot of non-family guests, I might get some because it is kind of expected.  Luckily my family knows me well enough to not be surprised.  Instead, I let the food, drinks, and fun be the background.  We set up the backyard for everyone to have a great time. 

During the summer, I love any excuse to break out my Margaritaville Mixed Drink Maker.  This has become a party must-have for me.  You load it with cranberry juice, sour mix, and orange juice.  Then you can add tequila, rum or vodka.  The machine has a library of drinks that can be made at the push of a button.  It's the perfect un-manned bar!  

We started the party off with a taste test of chips and dips, some were organic and some were the conventional chips I grew up on.  

We paired them with two versions of french onion dip.  One was the dip of my husband's childhood made of sour cream and the Lipton Onion Soup mix.  The second version was made by me from scratch using organic onions from our local farm.  Let's just say there was no competition.  :)  The third dip was one from my childhood and is a simple cottage cheese dip we eat with nacho cheese chips.

We decided to do classic burgers, so my husband set out a selection of mix-ins so people could customize their burgers.  I did fail because I didn't get any pictures of the actual finished burgers, but they were great!  I also served my Perfect Party Potato Salad as a side along with a big bowl of strawberries and blueberries, as well as a vegetable tray of cherry tomatoes, celery, and carrot sticks with my Classic Ranch Dressing.  Apparently I enjoyed the drink machine early on because I forgot to take pictures of any of that!  :)

Of course we had farm fresh burger toppings to be enjoyed by all.  :)

The personal highlight for me was the dessert.  I was lucky enough to grow up with a peach tree in my backyard and be able to enjoy fresh-picked peaches throughout the summer.  We put them on everything and had a freezer full by the end of the season.  But once you have a peach right off the tree, nothing you can buy from a store even comes close.  For that reason, no one in my family had bought peaches since we moved from my childhood home in the late 1990's.  Recently, one of my farms brought in peaches from a local organic farm, and they were the closest thing to our old peaches I had tried.  I decided to have a simple dessert of peaches and ice cream, just like the good old days.  It sure was a delicious flash back!

So there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the way my family celebrated the Fourth of July.  I'd love to hear the highlights from your day as well!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekly Menu

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and family!  I know I sure did.  We had my whole family over to celebrate the Fourth of July and I will tell you all about it later this week.  :)  Today, however, it is back to the regular grind.  We did have a chance to get to the farm for the week and picked up a lovely selection of carrots (I got so many because they were on special!), kale, chard, beets, celery, green beans, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, Anaheim chile, bell pepper, and white and purple sweet Maui Onions.  With this food, I will be serving the following menu to my family:

  • I will be having a summer version of the Rainbow Smoothie (without spinach)
    • using the kale, chard, carrots, and beets

  • We will be enjoying the celery and cherry tomatoes for snacks.