Delicious and simple Italian TEN soup (tomato, egg, noodle soup)

I decided to call this Italian ten soup, 1) because of the acronym and 2)  if I had to rate it, I would give it a 10 out of 10. It’s simple, healthy, delicious and relatively cheap to make…probably because it’s meatless. My boyfriend (who is very much NOT vegetarian) loves when I make this soup. In fact, he was planning to ask me to make this soup, only to find me preparing it when he got home from work last night (lucky him!).

I’ve found that tomatoes and eggs pair well together. Another one of my favorite dishes, Shakshuka, features this combo.

This particular recipe is inspired by the editor at my paper, who brought this soup to the last company potluck. He shares my love of Chicago and tomatoe-y Italian food.

And he’s a pro at making soup. Being a pro who makes this dish all the time, he just eyes the ingredients. So, I came up with my own measurements, and my own way of making this recipe without fresh tomatoes and basil. More often than not, I don’t have the fresh versions on hand.

When tomatoes aren’t in season, I prefer to used canned anyway. They make preparing this recipe simpler as well because you don’t have to dice the tomatoes.

Palate perfection in a bowl.
Palate perfection in a bowl.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced basil (dried or fresh)
  • 28 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cans of water
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 8 eggs

STEPS

Start by heating up the olive oil in a large soup pot (at minimum, a five-quart pot) over medium-high heat. Add the basil and garlic. I use the minced garlic that comes in a jar, so it measures out to about 2 teaspoons. Fry this for a couple of minutes. Before it browns, add the tomatoes and the salt. Stir.
Then, use the can that the tomatoes came in, fill it up with water and pour that into the pot. Do this two more times, so that the water to tomato ratio is 3:1. Crank the temperature up to high. While you’re waiting for that to boil, whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Depending on your taste (and how much protein you’re trying to cram into this dish), you can use more eggs or fewer.
Once the water boils, add the noodles. You can use whatever type of bite-sized pasta you like. Penne, bow tie, spiral…it doesn’t really matter. Then, pour the eggs over the boiling water. The water should separate the eggs. Otherwise, give the soup a good stir.
When the noodles are al dente, the soup is done. After you dish it out, you could sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Want to make this recipe even easier? Instead of making your own marinara, use a store-bought marinara or spaghetti sauce (I like the variety at Trader Joe’s). Simply put the sauce into a pot, along with the water and maybe a little salt. When it boils, add the noodles and eggs and bing bang boom, you’ve got dinner.

 

How y’all, youse and you guys talk – the NYT dialect quiz

Have you taken the New York Times’ dialect quiz yet? It tells you where you’re from based on how you speak.

It works, too! It correctly pinpointed that I’m from Washington state, although I also got Saint Paul, Minn. as a similar city (must be those early years as a kid spent listening to “Prairie Home Companion” in the car.)

My dialect quiz results via the NYT
My dialect quiz results via the NYT

 

Back when I was an English major in college, linguistics was my favorite class. I was totally fascinated by the dialectic differences across the states. I remember starting to notice those difference when I was a kid and played with my cousins from California. Even though we all lived on the west coast, there were still some subtle differences in the way my Californian cousins talked.

The Atlantic did an interesting article talking about the New York Times’ most popular story of 2013, which was this quiz. Crazy, right? I love little interactive newsy things like that. In the news biz, we say things like this are “sticky” or have “more shelf life” because readers can return to them again and again.

Last year, I tried to make an interactive quiz for the newspaper I work at, but it didn’t pan out. Maybe, this year is my year to whip out something like this for our local readers! A quiz that tells you what neighborhood you live in?

Banana apple Victoria’s Secret model muffins

The original recipe for these muffins came from a Self magazine article on Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr. If I had to pick a favorite VS model (which I dont, but if I had to) I would pick Miranda. She just seems sweet and I like her side projects and her street style.

Banana apple deliciousness
Banana apple deliciousness

Anyway, her version of these muffins included some ingredients that most people don’t just have lying around (vanilla bean powder? goat’s milk yogurt?). It also had some steps that stretch out the time it would take to make these muffins. BUT, it’s a great idea for a muffin! They’re sweet but not too sweet. If you’re rushing in the morning, it’s a good breakfast option or afternoon snack. I like to eat them with peanut butter spread on top.
So, I changed some things around and made a version that I think is fairly easy to make, nutritious and delicious.
Depending on how big your bananas are, this recipe yields about 20 muffins. I actually doubled this recipe because I had six ripe bananas and I didn’t want them to go bad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds or flax seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of applesauce
  • 3 ripe bananas

STEPS

In a food processor or blender, grind the oats into a flour-like consistency. Add walnuts and grind. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground oats and walnuts, baking soda, cinnamon and chia seeds. In a separate small bowl, lightly beat eggs. Mix in yogurt, apple sauce and vanilla. Microwave the coconut oil and honey until it becomes a little syrupy (about 30 seconds for the oil and 10 second for the honey), and then add it to the wet mixture. In a separate bowl mash the bananas with a fork. If you’re lazy like me, and you like your muffins to have a more consistent texture, then put the bananas in a food processor or blender before adding them to the wet mixture. Then, combine the wet ingredients to the dry mixture. Heat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with liners or lightly grease your muffin tins and fill 3/4 full. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted in the center off the muffin and comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 15 minutes. 

 

To go or not to go – the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival

I was exploring the Travel Oregon website the other day to see what kinds of events were going on in the coastal towns. After I found a couple of kite festivals and a sand castle building contest that I’m hoping to go to this summer, I stumbled upon something that really sparked my interest: the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival.

Yoga and beaches go together like peanut butter and honey.

Cannon Beach is gorgeous little coastal community with a giant rock formation called Haystack Rock. The small city is sprinkled with shops and galleries, but it’s not too touristy or crowded. For whatever reason, Cannon Beach always gets passed up for Seaside to the north or Lincoln City to the south (the more touristy beaches). The last time I can remember going to Cannon Beach, I was a senior in high school. I’m definitely game for another visit.

So, we know the beach is fantastic, but what is a yoga festival? It’s a weekend of meditation and yoga workshops. The workshops are on topics like perfecting balance poses, opening your hips, doing backbends without pain, etc. I’m almost inclined to go just because I’ve never done anything like that before. It’s February 28 through March 2.

I’ve gone to a lot of yoga classes at gyms, colleges and private studios with mixed success. Although I’ve enjoyed most of my experiences and would consider myself an intermediate student (and even think about being a yoga teacher myself), I don’t think I’ve ever had any formal training about particular yoga techniques. I tend to practice on my own at home and do sequences that feel good to me.

Haystack Rock…and its little baby sea stacks. Precious.

The festival sounds like it could be an eye-opening, yet relaxing experience (yoga by the beach = perfection), but it costs the not-so relaxing price of $325-$350 for the weekend festival. Gahhh? That’s the price of a Southern California City Pass, which includes admission to Universal Studios, SeaWorld and a three-day park hopper pass to Disneyland and California Adventure.

Okay, so those experiences are probably not on par with each other and there is, I would imagine, little waiting in line at the yoga festival. I’m also encouraging myself to spend money on experiences rather than things. Still, seems like a lot of shell out for a couple workshops each day. It’s otherwise $40/hour for each class or $220 for a Saturday day pass or $180 for the Sunday day pass.

There’s also the question of who would I go with? Would I go alone? Will there be people my age or mostly older folks who have been practicing yoga for a long time?

There are some cute sweatshirts and tank tops for the festival.

Last year, I learned about Wanderlust — the big honcho when it comes to yoga festivals. (In fact, the Oahu Wanderlust is happening at the same time as the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival.) They’re held year-round across the U.S., but there aren’t any near Portland, Ore. It seems like they’re missing a market opportunity there!

What I may end up doing is the all-day intensive that Friday, which costs $115. It’s basically a day of guided meditation, restorative yoga and a catered lunch. (The other options don’t include meals.)

I don’t suppose panicing over whether or not to go is a very yogi thing to do. But, if I do go, you can be sure I’ll blog about it. I’m checking out the lodging options that offer free wifi.

Welcome! Let’s begin.

I might be a familiar face.

Oh, you don't recognize me? Let me twirl my hair for you.
Oh, you don’t recognize me? Let me twirl my hair for you.

A couple of years ago before I became a newspaper reporter, I had a blog called “Yoga, yum, yes.” It was a healthy living blog that talked about things like what I packed for lunch, my favorite yoga poses and how to cook with kale. In time, I lost interest and felt a little constrained and intimidated by the healthy living umbrella, which I started to believe only included a few select topics. “Yoga, yum, yes” fell to the wayside and I was left wondering how best to start over.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized health and life are all sort of mushed together. You take your health wherever you go in whatever you do. I also thought about how the blogs that I return to again and again are lifestyle blogs, where I feel like I really get to know the author. I read about them and their interests and see how those interests are carried out in many parts of their lives. (Which is really neat! And rarely ever creepy.)

That’s the idea here. You can expects posts on just about anything I like to do or read about:

  • I’m very detail-oriented…bordering on obsessive…when it comes to plotting day trips, weekend getaways and vacations. My travel ideas and suggestions will end up here. (Even if I don’t actually go, it’s still fun to dream and plan!)
  • Most every day, I cook or bake, so you can expect recipes or what I like to call “recipe splicing” (more on that later!).
  • I frequently shop online, so I may give you a heads up about online sales or pieces that I like.
  • Anticipate occasional book reviews or recommendations or quotes, as I’m getting into the habit of reading before bed (it helps me sleep).
  • Like any decent journalist, I start my mornings with a little news; commentary on whatever sparks my interest could be blog fodder.

It’s a short list, but I think you get the idea. Thanks for visiting! I hope you’ll stick around.