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    I'm just a 25-year old girl trying to find a healthy way of living after a few years of losing my way. I'm training for a triathlon and learning all kinds of training and eating tips along the way! I am not an expert - just a girl who is trying to survive in a world of temptations and unhealthy habits. These are my adventures. I hope you enjoy reading them! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions! :)
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This Stewp’s for you!

Well, today was another day of getting my butt kicked by kickboxing – which is awesome.  🙂  My foot started hurting again, but I just worked through it.  The hubby promised me a good foot rub – let’s see if he’ll deliver!  Tomorrow, it’s spin, weight training and possibly some walking or ellipticizing.  My workout buddy bailed on me today – let’s hope he shows up tomorrow!  (To be fair, his knuckles were bleeding after kickboxing on Monday, so I understand – a little bit)

For dinner, I thought I would make another soup.  Or, to borrow a word from Rachael Ray, a “stewp”.  I had a few things that I needed to get rid of in the freezer/fridge before they went bad.  I worked off of a recipe on allrecipes.com again.  But, it turned into my own after awhile.  Here’s what I came up with.

Beef and Barley Stewp

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 t salt

1 t pepper

4 – 6 cups beef broth (I mixed chicken and beef – it’s what I had in the fridge.  Add more or less broth depending on how thin/thick you like your soup)

1 1/2 cup chopped baby carrots

1 medium onion

1 t garlic powder

1 t dried thyme

2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce

1 cup quick cooking barley

Heat your dutch oven or large saucepan with oil.  Add meat, flour, salt and pepper.  Mix so the flour coats the meat.  (You can also place the meat, flour, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag and shake to coat.  I just don’t like wasting the bag.)

Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes – just enough to get a good sear on the meat.

Add a little bit of the broth and get any yummy brown bits off the bottom.  (Scrape with a wooden spoon)  When the bottom is clean, add the rest of the broth, carrots, onions, garlic powder and thyme.

Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 25-30 minutes (or until the veggies are almost cooked through).

Add the worcestershire sauce and barley.  Cook until the barley is cooked through (my barley took 10 minutes).

Serve nice and hot!

It was simple and yummy – and freed up a lot of room in my fridge.  I used about 4 cups of broth, so my consistency was close to a stew, which I happen to really like.  I paired it with some beer bread (see recipe below).  It was the perfect accompaniment!   This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Let me know if you decide to make it.  I want to know what changes you made.  What veggies did you add?   What didn’t work for you?  I want to know all the details.

Here is the recipe that my mom has created over time.  We love Pampered Chef’s beer bread, but it can get a big costly, especially when you consider what’s in it.

Mom’s Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 12 oz bottle of beer/can (Our family stands by our choice – the best beer for the bread – is, hands down, Leinenkugel’s Red Lager)

Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients just until they come together.  The batter doesn’t need to be smooth.  Add to a greased 9″ loaf pan.  Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes.  Let cool.

Play with the sugar and salt.  This seems to be the combination that we like.  Some recipes don’t even call for sugar – just self-rising flour and beer.  If you don’t have self-rising flour, don’t worry.  Just add some baking powder and salt.  According to CD Kitchen, you can substitute – for one cup self-rising flour – one cup all purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/8 t salt.

Time for me to watch “Ugly Betty” and get a foot rub – hopefully.  🙂

Soup’s On!

Tuesday is almost over – it seemed to go on – and on – and on – and on.  🙂

My day was spent doing school work and attending class.  It’s still weird not to have high school swim practice in the afternoon.  I have some extra time – and, apparently, I spend that time doing homework!  🙂

Breakfast was Kashi blueberry waffles with light cream cheese and strawberry jam.

Lunch was another Lean Cuisine – still no excuses.  It was the last one that I had on hand, so I’ll have to be more creative tomorrow.  🙂

Classes – in a word – were boring.  It’s getting to that point in the semester where I spring break would come in handy.  In the spring, you get to have a week off right in the middle – but you have to wait until Thanksgiving in the fall.  I could really use that week off!

Tomorrow, I’m teaching.  I was a little nervous going into it, but now I’m really nervous.  Because the teacher I observe is also my professor for the methods class, she told me to tell the class what I was doing.  She proceeded to go into this long thing about how I’m walking a fine line and I have to be careful about not going over it.  She assured me that I was okay and she’s excited about it and she approved it awhile ago!  But she also told me that she has an alternate lesson ready if I change my mind.  (Of course, I took this as, “Do you want me to change it?  Should I change it?  OMG – WHAT AM I DOING?!)  Oh – and one person has already opted out because the material is a bit controversial.  (Female genital mutilation)  So – now I’m feeling *really* nervous.  I am going outside of my comfort zone – I’ve never taught this kind of material before and I’m trying to prepare themselves for questions that might come up.  Granted – I’ll only be covering the “controversial” material for about 10-15 minutes, I’m sure it’s the stuff that the students will remember.  Who knows what will happen.  I’ll be sure to give a full report tomorrow – if I don’t “cross the line” and end up in some teacher jail.  😀

After class, it was time for dinner.  I was really excited about it!  I love soup.  And, for some reason, I love pureed veggie soups.  The Alton Brown Leek-Potato Soup sounded fantastic – easy and cheap!   The nice thing about the Food Network website is that they provide some videos.  There was a video for this soup.  It is a good thing that there was because I probably would’ve done things a lot differently.  (Like browning the leeks).  In was – in one word – AWESOME.  It was filling, comforting and down-right delicious.

 

photo

Leek-Potato Soup

Here’s the recipe (Straight from foodtv.com):

Ingredients

  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives

Directions

Chop the leeks into small pieces.

In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

Notes:

We used half butter – half olive oil to sweat the leeks.  I think I might switch it to all olive oil next time.

We used chicken broth – we had it on hand.

I substituted half and half for the cream – I might even try substituting regular milk.  Maybe 2%?  I’m not sure about skim milk, but we’ll see.

I cut the half and half and buttermilk in half (1/2 cup of each) – a cup of each just seemed like a lot!  I think I might even be able to cut it down to a 1/4 cup of each next time – maybe eliminate it completely.

I didn’t have white pepper, so I just used black.  I’m sure it’s just as good.  (I should get some white pepper!)

We served it with some bacon on top – it added some nice texture and a little extra flavor.

I can’t wait to have some tomorrow for lunch!  There isn’t much left – but enough.  🙂

I think it might be time to try a butternut squash soup.  The husband isn’t too keen on it, but I think it’s definitely worth a shot.  The squash in the stores look so tempting – but I’m not sure how to attack them.  I especially want to try spaghetti squash.  Any one have any advice?

Now, it’s time to finish the Biggest Loser (I can’t believe some of these numbers!!) and have some dessert – some sugar free Jell-o pudding.  Yum!

G’night!  🙂