Tag Archives: aji amarillo

Leftover Easter Ham Recipe #3: Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup

16 Apr

When it comes to soup, I’m good at getting the flavor right but I always make way too much. But since I love soup–and can freeze a bunch of containers of it–it’s not too bad of a problem to have. I’ve only ever made chicken stock and soup before but when I saw all the ham bone and scraps after Easter dinner, I thought it presented the perfect opportunity to try making ham stock for the first time. Most recipes available online call for using ham stock as a base for split pea soup. I decided to add several more types of veggies to that idea. Read on to learn how to make this Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup I came up with…and how to avoid making too much of it (I learned the hard way so you don’t have to, ha ha). I’ve listed measurements that will provide you with a good amount a soup and little to none of the crazy mess I made in my kitchen. This is a hearty, healthy, filling soup that is great for celebrating vegetables in springtime. [For more Leftover Easter Ham Recipe ideas, try my Ham and Pepper Jack Quesadillas and Spring Mix Pasta.]

ham stock veggie soup

Ham Stock and Veggie Medley Soup by Michelle.

Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup

Total prep time: about 40 minutes

Total cook time: 3 to 4 hours

Ingredients for the ham stock:

– leftover ham bone and ham bits

– 2 cloves garlic, split

– about 1/2 cup of cilantro

Ingredients for the soup:

– 1/4 to 1/2 c. each (depending on preference of favorite veggies) of green split peas, yellow split peas, lentils, great northern beans, and barley (all dried, not canned; get the kind that has rapid-boil instructions so that you don’t have to soak them overnight in advance)

– 2 roma tomatoes, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped (1/2- to 1-inch pieces)

– 1 skinny red yam, peeled and chopped (1/2- to 1-inch pieces)

– 1 c. baby carrots, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 1/2 to 1 c. of loose frozen corn kernels

Seasonings for the soup (per 6 cups of broth):

– 1 tsp Peruvian aji amarillo (If you don’t have this, substitute with your favorite pepper or pepper paste.)

– 1 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– 1 tsp ground ginger

– 1 tsp thyme

– 1 tsp marjoram

– 1 tsp basil

– 1/2 tsp seasoning salt

– 1 tsp cumin

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Vacation Eating: East Coast Edition

10 Apr

We only get to go to New Jersey to visit my husband’s family about once a year because it’s hard to budget for the airfare these days. But when we get there, it’s a whirlwind of house-hopping to see each of his FIVE brothers, his mother, his aunt and cousin, and our friends in the area, all set to the sounds of merengue, salsa, bachata, and hip hop, and the smells and tastes of Peru, Brazil, and Newark. It’s always an amazing time. I fell in love with Newark when I moved out there to go to college…and then I fell in love with my husband, whom I met there. His family moved to Newark when he was a little kid. Being from the west coast, it was a crazy culture shock at first

Newark bridge

A Newark bridge on a cold, overcast morning.

to move to Newark, but after the first week, I knew I’d found a new home. I spent nearly five years there before we decided to move to Los Angeles for a while. It’s an area that has a little bit of everything from nearly every part of the world…with a distinct New Jersey attitude about it. Plus, it’s only a 15-minute train ride from Manhattan, which is awesome, of course.

Newark sunny

Newark on a bright sunny day during our trip. Beautiful springtime.

I can imagine us moving back there someday, but LA is my home too, so we envision a life of living in several places in the future. As long as we’re together, home is where your heart is, right? Anyway, my point is that we have a blast when we go there. And a lot of the fun and visiting is centered around food, which is a terrific, bittersweet problem to have because everything tastes great but I’m trying not to eat too much. When you’re around family and on vacation, it can be extremely difficult to not over-indulge or even feel pressured by others to eat more, as I described in this previous post. For example, practically the first words out of my Peruvian mother-in-law’s mouth were, “Estas rellena. Toma, come,” which, loosely translated means she told me I looked like I had filled out (was a little heavier) than when she last saw me and then she told me to eat the huge plate of food she was handing me. She cracks me up. I love her to death and she’s an awesome M-I-L, but how am I supposed to eat after being told I look ready-to-have-babies heavy? Ha! Because she raised six boys, bless her heart, she typically overloads a plate for me–even if I tell her it’s too much, she insists I eat it–so sometimes, when my husband finishes his plate before me, I’ll switch my half-eaten plate with his empty plate when no one is looking. :) He happily eats more, I sit there happily stuffed.

I noticed a few general diet-saboteurs that occur when traveling:

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Family Eating Habits That Shape Us

22 Mar

There’s no denying that our environment and social behavior affects how and what we eat. Social eating as a separate issue will be a future post on this blog. But let’s start with a look at how we were raised to eat. Below, we both share descriptions of how our families approached meal options when we were growing up and how our perceptions of those choices affect our own approach to food now. We look forward to sharing how our meal-creating skills evolve as we continue to pursue our weight loss goals. [By the way, does chasing weight loss goals burn calories? ;) ]

Michelle’s Family:

I was fortunate, in a way, that I grew up with a few picky eaters in my family because they never forced me to eat anything I didn’t like or made me clean my plate if I was already full. My mom, for example, is lactose intolerant and has trouble eating many types of vegetables, so she has to get creative to keep up a balanced, nutritious diet. However, she is a wonderful mother, so when I was very little she wanted me to try lots of different foods to learn what I liked. Continue reading

For Butter or Worse

15 Mar

I firmly believe that people who want to lose weight should not have to suffer through eating bland or poor-tasting food. I have tried some different brands of diet frozen meals and they always taste awful to me. They also taste heavily processed, which is why I am more in favor of cooking a healthy meal at home to suit your own tastes. Doing so gives you complete control over what is going into the meal…and then you just have to fight with yourself about how much goes into your body.

Butter is one item I consider a necessity in cooking. Regardless of any dieting goals, I will not change my use of butter in the kitchen because I will not sacrifice flavor.

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