Monthly Archives: January 2011

Turkey Vegetable Soup

My friend Melanie and I have a tradition of going to Olive Garden whenever we are in the same town.  I’m not a huge fan of Olive Garden, but I LOVE their pasta e fagioli soup, which is the only soup I order.  Since I pretty much only go when I’m with her I decided to make a version of the soup for the times I was craving it using a modified recipe from Top Secret Recipes.  I made this once two years ago with ground beef, but being more health conscious I have replaced it with turkey and pretty much omitted the pasta since it doesn’t really make much of an impact in the soup.  It’s pretty simple to make, but is a little time consuming.  Recipe yields about 8-10 servings, depending on the serving size.


454g     Lean Ground Turkey
56g     Garlic, minced
160g     Onion, diced
128g     Carrot, diced
130g     Celery, diced
250g     Red Kidney Beans
250g     Great Northern Beans
11.5oz   V8 Juice
28oz    Diced Tomatoes, canned
15oz    Tomato Sauce, canned
1/2t      Oregano
1/2t      Thyme
1/2t      Basil
1t       Salt
1t       Pepper
1t       White Vinegar (I used rice vinegar since it’s what I had on hand)
1lb    Ditali Pasta
These are the canned goods I used.  I was trying to keep it as low sodium and organic as possible, but the Muir Glen (the only tomato products I use) I already had were not low sodium and due to time constraints I just went to Walmart and bought those beans and v8.  Next time I will boil my own beans…more time consuming, but I like controlling the amount of sodium that goes in my food.
Cans (Note: I forgot to take a picture of the vinegar.  I used Star Foods Rice Vinegar)
1. Cut your onion, carrots, and celery to medium dice, and mince your garlic.  (I cheat and buy minced garlic since I use so much garlic in my cooking mmmm garlic…)
Onion & GarlicCarrots & Celery
2. Lightly spray a large pot with cooking spray or use a nonstick pot.  I actually spray extra virgin olive oil with a Misto.  Brown ground turkey.  Drain fat.
3. Saute garlic and onions until lightly brown.
4. Add carrots and celery and continue to saute for about 10min.  [I don’t saute mine this long since it will continue to cook when you simmer everything and I like a little crunch to my veggies.]
5. Drain and wash your beans if using canned.  Add the remaining ingredients and the beef.  Simmer covered to desired thickness.  [I like this soup to have the consistency of stew so I simmer mine for about an hour.]
Note:  I modified the spices from the original recipe since I am not a big fan of oregano or basil and I reduced the amount of salt due to the salt in the canned products.
You can adjust the spices and vinegar to suit your needs.  And, if you would like to add the pasta, 10minutes before your soup is done simmering make the pasta, drain, and add to the soup.  If needed, use the pasta water to thin out your soup.  If you plan to eat this soup in batches, boil only the amount of pasta you plan to consume because it will soak up the liquid as it sits.
I had nutritional information for this, but I seem to have lost it.  I will update this post later with one that uses dried beans and low sodium products instead.
Turkey Vegetable Soup
Here is what my soup looked like.  For some reason I never took a picture of it in a bowl…


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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Food, Poultry, Savory Dishes


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Clock Birthday Card

Okay, so I know it’s been a long time since I last blogged, but I have finally found some time to post some of the pictures I’ve been accumulating (and it’s a lot!).  I’m just hoping this is not going to be like my journal/diaries, wherein I write ten entries and forget all about it. First up is my friend Joanne’s birthday card.  Although, I made a lot of food during the holidays, I decided to post this first because I was extremely proud of it and because my friend Ryan requested it.  I created a good two dozen cards for the holidays, but for some reason took not a single picture.  sigh.  But it’s okay since this is my favorite thus far, and is probably the most polished.
Before I begin, I must admit that I have an addiction to paper crafts and food.  Pretty much I am much more content spending hours in either a craft store or a grocery store than a clothing store.  So, on my 5th trip to a Michaels while I was on vacation in New Jersey, I found this awesome The At Home cardstock set from DCWV in the clearance section [which in itself was amazing since it was the only Michaels I’ve ever been into that had one (and I’ve been to many)].  Anyway,  I saw a cardstock full of clocks and thought: oh, this is going to be great to use to make fun of her turning older.  A month later this is what I came up with:

Front Cover

It was a little difficult getting the true colors to come out, but it’s pretty much an off white cardstock with brown and ivory clocks, brown cardstock, white pearls, light blue and ivory paper, and a light blue metallic pen.  Here is a closer look at the details.


Those pearls took three times longer than I thought it would take to put them on.  I bought sticker pearls that came strung together, so I thought okay this will be so much faster than putting them on one by one.  However, the glue string that holds those suckers together pretty much likes to only go in one direction: straight…so making those curves were a pain.  Let’s just say I was not a happy camper by the time I finished the pearls, but  it was worth it, no? =)  Here is the inside inscription:

Inside Inscription

(awwww…lol)  So, when I finished the front and was about to make a smart-mouth comment inside I realized that to make fun of her would be making fun of myself since I’m only 2 months younger. =/  Instead, I became very sentimental and emotional and wrote this instead.  I realized after that this card can be both platonic and romantic.  So, if you want to use it for something or someone special like an anniversary I think it would also work.

How to:

1. Trim clock cardstock to desired size (in my case it was 4.5″ x 8″)
2. Cut brown paper (I used cardstock) to desired shape.  Keep in mind your pearls will follow the curvature of the paper.
3. Glue paper to cardstock
4. Apply pearls.  You can trace out your design or freestyle it like I did.
5. Cut a small rectangle out of light blue paper and ivory paper (smaller than the blue).
6. Write inscription.
7. Trim light blue paper to 4″ x 7.5″  for inside of card.
8. Write inscription.
9. Create an envelope.  I had to make an envelope because I made a mistake in my measurements and my card was too big for my envelopes.  I didn’t write down my measurements so I will have to post a blog later on how to make a basic envelope.


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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Cards, Paper Crafts


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