**winner announced at the bottom of the post**
I have a love hate relationship with the gym. I really don't mind going. In fact I quite enjoy being there and completing a workout. In my day to day world not much gets completed - the laundry is never quite caught up, the dishes multiply on their own, the beds get made in the morning and by afternoon have been turned into tents or hideaways. So to go to the gym with a 20-60 minute plan and complete it is satisfying.
The ellipticals and treadmills at our gym are equipped each with their own tv. I enjoy putting on headphones and losing myself in a show while running. More often than not the only thing worth watching is the Food Network - which is where my hate relationship with the gym comes in. I often leave the gym with a craving for Banana Foster, Cheesy dips or a Cheesecake (without any cracks). It is somewhat counter productive to the efforts I am putting in at the gym to leave with a hankering for junk food.
There are, on the rare occasion, healthy dishes created that inspire me to go home and try my hand at it myself.
The other day Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello was on and he made a soup that looked incredible.
He cooked a white bean - I never did catch which white bean it was so I picked up a bag of Great Northern Beans and it totally worked for us.
Cook the beans, then strain them, then stick them back in a pot.
Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and a couple pieces of cooked bacon.
I also added a bit of (cooked) boneless skinless chicken I had in the fridge.
Add seasonings to taste.
Cover with chicken broth.
Let simmer for awhile - I left it for a several hours.
This next part I had to do in small batches as we only had a small food processor available for blending, but basically you blend up the soup, adding Extra Virgin Olive Oil to it as you blend. He said you could add up to 1 cup but he only added 2 TBSP. Since I have no idea what portion sizes he was working with I didn't have much to go on so I took a stab at it and added about 4 TBSP.
While I was blending I was also heating up more olive oil in a pan. Once heated I added basil leaves - these sputter and spit a lot so stand back! Once they stopped sputtering I added red pepper flakes to it and spooned the entire mixture on top of the soup.
I don't think I had enough liquid in mine as it was a tad bit too thick but the flavor was incredible!
Paul, Esther and I really enjoyed it. Wesley (1.5 years) devoured it. Judah (3) thought it was ok and ate just his share.
I think the basil leaves ended up looking so pretty.
And, despite all the oil in it, this is so much healthier than all the tempting buttery dishes Paula Deen fries up!
The winner of the Kids Paint Markers is Jennifer from One Frugal Lady. Congratulations Jennifer - I will get these in the mail to you soon.
Linking up with Tasty Tuesday