{FOOD} 5 Problems That Can Be Solved With Soup

I didn’t use to be a “soup person”. The thought of slurping on a brothy bowl of chicken stock and calling it a meal just didn’t fly with me. I’m a big eater. I need substance – preferable involving meat, bread and cheese.

Last week I fell ill (yes, AGAIN) with a bad bout of strep throat, and my friend Gayle of The Soup Solution came to my rescue, surprising me with a special delivery of her delicious and hearty soups. I’m all better now thanks to the steamy bowls of Butter Chicken Soup, Greek Lamb & Spinach Soup and Classic Chicken Noodle Soup that I ingested from my death bed (and perhaps the antibiotics helped too).

soup

Yes, I said Butter Chicken Soup

And as I munched on the meals-in-a-bowl, I thought to myself: The Soup Solution. Hmmm…there are actually problems that I can solve with this soup delivery service…

So here are 5 problems that can be solved with a simple soup solution:

1) Problem: skipping lunch.

The Soup Solution: Hearty, chunky bowls of soup filled with freshly-cut vegetables and tastefully-seasoned meats make it easy to quickly prepare and eat a healthy and filling lunch.

soup

Moroccan Yam Soup

2) Problem: gift ideas for new parents.

The Soup Solution: Pre-order an array of soups and sauces and fill that new mama’s fridge with easy meal solutions for those crazy first months at home with baby.

3) Problem: dinner ideas for picky eaters.

The Soup Solution: Browse through a wide variety of meal ideas, created, curated and family-tested by The Soup Solution owner Gayle (mother of two). Check out her menu of recipe ideas and make something new for dinner that the whole family will love.

 

4) Problem: feeding unexpected pop-in guests.

The Soup Solution: No need to rush out to the store! Pull out some  Greek lamb & spinach soup from the freezer and serve it up for a warm and welcome meal.

5) Problem: healthy food is inaccessible to many families in need.

The Soup Solution: For the month of December, The Soup Solution will be working in partnership with the Quest Food Exchange program to provide healthy soups for families in need. For every 5L of soup purchased, 1L will be donated to this important cause. Learn more about how The Soup Solution is giving back through the Giving Tuesday campaign.

I can honestly say that I’ve been turned from a soup snub to a soup snob. And the butter chicken soup definitely had something to do with it.

{FOOD} 3 Family-Friendly North Shore Spots Fit For A Foodie

I have always loved dining out. In fact, if I could relinquish my cooking responsibilities entirely in favour of a personal chef, or meals carefully prepared and elegantly served in a comfortable dining environment, I would shut down my kitchen in a heartbeat. I love to eat – but I don’t love to cook. And now that I have 3 children (2 of which are in school), making lunches has become the bane of my existence.

But while I love going out for dinner, I’m getting rather tired of the regular family-friendly dining destinations (I love you White Spot, but a girl can only have so many Triple-O burgers). So for those of you who are looking for locally-owned alternatives to the typical big chain restaurants and coffee shops that are frequented by child-toting families, check out these 3 picks for family-friendly food spots fit for a foodie:

foodieWell Fed Studio

Many of my Fridays have been made better thanks to Well Fed Studio. Not only do they provide cooking classes and high quality, all-natural meals to go, but their magic lunch box program is a fantastic addition to my children’s hot lunch days at school. Unlike the hot dog days, and McDonald’s days we had at my school when I was growing up, Well Fed Studio looks for ways to add nutrient-rich ingredients and essential lean proteins to their carefully-prepared lunches – providing kids with the staying power to learn effectively. Thanks to Well Fed studio, my kids are well fed on hot lunch days, and I don’t have to lift a finger. Win-win.

If you pop into their studio, check out this fabulous special offer.

foodie


 

foodieInGrain Pastificio foodie

If you’re looking for a family-friendly spot for lunch or dinner on the North Shore, InGrainPastificio is a must-visit dining destination. Owned and operated by brother-in-law duo, Alistair Knox and Erick Kauko (infamous for their Deep Cove hot spot Arms Reach Bistro), InGrain Pastificio produces their own pasta in-house using all-Canadian, locally-sourced high-quality grains. Their easily-accessible restaurant offers high-end Italian-inspired dishes in a comfortable, laid-back environment – perfect for noodle-crazy picky eaters like mine.

Want to learn more about how InGrain Pastificio came to be? Check out their fascinating story in The North Shore Foodie book – written by yours truly.


 

foodieTemper Pastryfoodie

Our family loves to go for strolls along Ambleside beach in West Vancouver, and on chilly days, stopping for a treat and some warm bevies afterwards is the perfect way to complete our day. And while we love the usual big-chain coffee shops, a chocolate or mini dessert at Temper Pastry hits the spot for my little sweet-tooth boasting kidlets.


 

www.bradhillimaging.com

For more on these and the many other fantastic, independently-owned North Shore food & drink destinations, check out The North Shore Foodie book – available online and in-stores on November 16, 2015.

The book features the stories behind 37 leading independent North Shore restaurants, bars, cafés, bakeries, breweries, butchers and chocolatiers, and over 100 delicious recipes that come directly from North Shore chefs. Ranging from simple everyday family meals to challenging cuisine that will push you to the boundaries of your culinary repertoire, the decadent, hearty, and nutritious range of featured recipes offers something for every palate and skill level.

Wouldn’t this make an awesome holiday gift?

foodie

Want to win the ultimate North Shore foodie prize? Join us for the Instagram Loop Giveaway, running now until November 19th. Follow along here: Instagram Loop Giveaway

Recipe: Tex Mex Chicken & Rice Bake

One of our favourite family meals is made using Campbell’s soup as a main ingredient, so when I was asked to become a Campbell’s Canada Ambassador, I couldn’t have been more thrilled! I find it challenging to come up with new, healthy, easy-to-make dinner ideas for my picky family, so I tend to make the same meals week after week. My role as a Campbell’s Ambassador is to try some new recipes that are simple to make and easy to love, and I can’t wait to add some new ideas to my meal-planning roster!

While taco nights are fun and easy, my family is getting tired of the monotony of the predictable dinner routine, so I thought I’d mix it up a bit and try this ridiculously easy to make Tex Mex Chicken & Rice Bake recipe (which can be found among a slew of tasty meal ideas on the Cook with Campbell’s website).

This recipe is SO easy to make, you only need ONE dish, and it takes only THREE steps!

 

Recipe

TEX MEX CHICKEN & RICE BAKE

Ingredients:

1 can (10 oz/284 mL) CAMPBELL’S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
1 soup can 1% milk
3/4 (175 mL) cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1 1/2 tsp (7mL) chili powder
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) mixture of red and green pepper strips, chopped onion
1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen corn
4 (about 1 lb/500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded Tex Mex cheese (or Cheddar and Monterey Jack mixture)

 

Recipe

Directions:

1) Mix soup, milk, rice, and chili powder in a shallow baking dish. Spread vegetables evenly on top.

2) Top with chicken. Spread Tex Mex cheese on top, and additional chill powder (if desired). Cover.

3) Bake in oven at 400F (200C) until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender – approximately 45 minutes*. Remove cover and broil until cheese is golden and bubbly – approximately 3 minutes. Remove chicken and stir rice before serving.

* NOTE: I found that an additional 15-20 minutes in the oven makes the rice nice and tender. Time will vary depending on your oven.

***

This recipe was quick to make, simple to follow, and delicious! I plan to heat up the leftovers and wrap them in quesadillas with some guacamole, sour cream and hot sauce for a twist on this Mexican delight. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Recipe

***

Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Nourish Mom (Giveaway)

If you were to win the lottery, what would be one thing that you would do with the money to make your life easier?

I’ve always said that I’d hire a personal chef. To have someone do the grocery shopping for me – who would select nutritious ingredients and create delicious meals to satisfy my cravings and feed my family of picky eaters on a regular basis would be a dream come true for me.

Well last Friday my dream did come true – and I didn’t have to win the lottery for it to happen!

Recognizing that many moms (new and experienced) have a tendency to overextend themselves for their families – forgetting to take care of themselves, Sydney Badger of Sydney Badger Cuisine created Nourish Mom – a full-service personal chef program focused on nourishing moms and their families with healthy, personalized, delicious meals.

I had the pleasure of having Sydney visit my home, where she cooked nutritious, personalized meals for my family, and I enjoyed her full-service personal chef experience! Here’s how it all went down.

The Nourish Mom Process

Customized Menu Selections – The process began with my filling out a short questionnaire about my family’s dietary needs, food preferences, and eating habits. This was used to create customized menu options catered to my family’s picky palates.

This was followed by the presentation of 10 different menu selections, of which I was to pick 5. This was no easy task as each option sounded equally as decadent – I wanted to try them all!

Sydney Badger

One of my favourite meals – pesto and prosciutto wrapped salmon & pea, parsley and spinach risotto

The Best Ingredients – Once I made my menu selections, I was to fill out a checklist of ingredients, as Sydney wanted to ensure that she didn’t buy anything that I already had in my cupboards (a great money-saver for me!).

Then Sydney sourced out the best, and most cost-effective ingredients – visiting a range of grocery stores and farmer’s markets. She picked up everything and delivered the groceries right to my house!

Fridge Filled With Delicious, Healthy Meals – Sydney arrived with everything she needed (ingredients, dishes, small appliances) and went straight to work.  While she blended, and stewed, and chopped away, she offered for me to continue on with my day as I normally would – work, run errands, do chores, and most importantly, relax. She made me a healthy cup of tea (chopped ginger, sliced limes, honey and boiling water – so delicious!), and cooked away – her passion for cuisine impalpable. I couldn’t help but chat with her as she worked, and received some great tips on how to reuse some of the leftover ingredients, and heard some great stories about her travelling adventures.

Sydney Badger

Sydney – cooking up a storm in my kitchen

Full-Service Experience – Once she had finished cooking (5 hours of hard work!), she cleaned up my kitchen, and left me with a comprehensive list of the meals she had made – including the order in which to eat them, how to re-heat and serve each item, and how I could re-work some of the leftovers into new meals.

Sydney Badger

Another favourite – The Best-Ever Glory Bowl

 

Sydney Badger

Coconut-lime yam soup

The experience was a dream come true – the process was easy, the food was delicious (and kid-friendly), and Sydney was a true pleasure to have in my home.

Nourish Mom would be perfect for:

– New and expectant moms (this would make the best shower gift!)

– A unique gift idea for your mom, friend, sister, aunt, or co-worker (Mother’s Day, birthdays, new home)

– Taking care of you (way more valuable than a mani/pedi, and nearly the same cost!)

Want to make your dream of having a personal chef a reality like I did? Sydney has kindly offered to give one of my readers the same fabulous Nourish Mom experience that I was so fortunate to have enjoyed. Enter below for a chance to win.

WIN a full-service Nourish Mom experience, including:

  • assessment of family preferences and dietary restrictions
  • selection of personalized meal options
  • menu planning
  • custom grocery shopping
  • home visit (preparing and filling your fridge with ready-to-eat meals)
  • detailed re-heating instructions and leftover ideas
  • full kitchen clean up!

Important Notes:

  • available for families of 2-6 people
  • winner must reside in the Greater Vancouver Area (West Vancouver to Maple Ridge/Langley)
  • a few weeks notice required to schedule experience
  • unavailable between mid-December and mid-January
  • winner will be responsible for the cost of groceries (approx $140-$200)*

* food will be sourced based on your budgets and dietary needs, and all leftover groceries are yours to keep!

Total prize value: $300!

To win this amazing prize, please fill out the entry form below.

Sydney BadgerAn avid camper and outdoor adventure enthusiast, Sydney of Sydney Badger Cuisine first learned how to cook over an open campfire. After a year of living in Switzerland and travelling across Europe, Sydney developed a true passion for the diversity of European food and wine, and discovered her passion for the culinary arts. She went on to obtain a Diploma from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, and now works as a personal chef, cooking instructor, and yoga teacher.

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Recipe: Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf Minis

Meat and cheese are my two favourite foods. So what could satisfy my meat tooth more than meat muffins oozing with ooey gooey cheese? Lathered in a delicious tomato-basil sauce, and topped with freshly-grated parmesan cheese, these delicious meatloaf minis make the perfect comfort food for a chilly Fall evening – and the kids love them too!

Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf Minis

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 cup Antonella’s tomato-basil sauce
  • 4 sticks mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 lbs. extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Serves: 4 (plus leftovers)

Cook + prep time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

 Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cut string cheese into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
  3. Pour panko crumbs into a deep mixing bowl, and add Antonella’s tomato-basil sauce. Mix.
  4. Add egg, green onion, and beef to bread crumb/sauce mix.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Lightly grease muffin tin.
  7. Roll meat mixture into balls and add to muffin tin cups (fill to top).
  8. Push one cheese piece into the centre of each meat muffin and pinch meat to seal the top.
  9. Cook for 30 minutes (note: cooking time may vary based on oven, make sure your meatloaves are cooked through thoroughly).
  10. Serve topped with warmed Antonella’s tomato-basil sauce, and freshly-grated parmesan.

Baking

Finished

Meatloaf Minis

These would  be delicious with mashed potatoes, but due to my house full of picky little eaters, I served my mini meatloaves with fries and grilled carrots, garlic and onions. Easy to make and kid-approved!

Freeze the extras for portion-sized leftovers, and enjoy these yummy minis again and again!