Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup

Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup

Today is Christmas Eve! I hope everyone has all their Christmas shopping done and presents wrapped.  I’m still behind on my gift wrapping.  My last few presents came via delivery yesterday so I’ll be wrapping today  —yay!

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Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Soup

Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Soup

The temperature lately has been extremely chilly! Chris and I are constantly wearing our sweaters and jackets inside the house with the heater on.  Yep, it’s that cold! Some nights, the temperature even dropped below freezing.  We lost a few of our hibiscus plants because of it (I think! We don’t exactly have green thumbs).  I’m hoping our citrus trees will survive through the winter.

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

My mother-in-law’s visit was super brief! I thought we were going to spend the entire day together.  It turned out, we only spent lunch and dinner together eating out.  During the in-between time, she jetted off to sightsee with her fiancé.  On the way to the city, they saw traffic on the Bay Bridge.  The traffic in the city was so bad that they couldn’t make it to the Golden Gate Bridge so they turned back around.  Bummer!

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Potato Leek Soup with Dill and Bacon

Potato Leek Soup with Dill and Bacon

After a long weekend of eating out, I was relieved to be back in my kitchen cooking my own meals.  I don’t know what it is but it’s really hard for me to constantly be eating out.  I love the idea, but the food just tasted utterly heavy and it weighed me down.  Not to mention how overly and heavily seasoned some of the meals are, I felt disgusted after eating!

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Parmesan Ham and Thyme Bread

Parmesan Ham and Thyme Bread

We recently have three new families that just moved in to our neighborhood this past couple of months.  So baking a batch of something was in order.  I had some ham and fresh thyme in the fridge that I wanted to use up.  Out came this bread.  Savory bread always needs some sort of cheese so my choice of cheese for this was Parmesan.  Chris and I sampled this for dinner last night and it was definitely worthy of giving away as a “welcome to the neighborhood” treat to one of the families.  Bake some for your neighbor today and save a couple of pieces for yourself!

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Sausage and Cannellini Bean Minestrone

Sausage and Cannellini Bean Minestrone

I’m starting to come around when it comes to Minestrone soups.  I’ve made this version several times with wonderful results.  The original recipe calls for ground beef but you can substitute with sweet Italian sausage, which is what I have done here.  Or spicy Italian sausage if you prefer your soup with a kick.  My butcher carries a variety of sausages; turkey, chicken and even Chorizo.  If you don’t care for sausages, pancetta would work well too.  I like to pair my soups with grilled cheese sandwiches or Panini.  Although garlic bread or any homemade savory bread would be delicious.

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Winter Minestrone

Winter Minestrone

I wasn’t big on minestrone soups before only because most of them are thin and there isn’t a whole lot of anything in the soup.  This recipe however, changed my feelings towards minestrone soups.  One of my favorite recipes —this soup is hearty and has loads of veggies.  The pancetta in here is a nice touch to this soup.  Perfect on a cold night.  I served it with grilled ham and cheese sandwich —it really hits the spot!

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