Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Little Hedgehog Cooks: Almond Soup with Sweet Potato, Collards and Ginger

One of the greens in my CSA box last week was Collard Greens. Now, I've seen plenty of recipes that call for sauteing collards with bacon or creating a cream casserole with them, but this past week, I stumbles upon a recipe that was a completely new idea to me! I was looking through recipes on the Whole Living magazine website and came across their recipe, Almond Chicken Soup with Sweet Potato, Collards, and Ginger. Almond Chicken Soup? Ginger? I was intrigued, and since I had most of the ingredients for it, I decided to try something new with my collard greens! The only two ingredients that I needed to go pick up were the ginger and sweet potato. Believe it or not, I've never actually cooked with ginger! The "root-y" look to it always kind of weird-ed me out and I never knew what to do with it. I could just see myself buying some ginger and then letting it shrivel up and dry out if my fridge from neglect. So, I decided to be brave, buy the ginger and learn how to put it to use!

*Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures! I was so skeptical about this recipe that I didn't take pictures during the cooking process (shame on me!) It wasn't until after I tried it that I realized how yummy it was! (lesson learned).*

Almond Soup with Sweet Potato, Collards, and Ginger
{recipe adapted from Whole Living's recipe}

  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable broth that my mom had made that had some of the cooked veggies pureed into it, so it was a bit thicker than your traditional broth)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
  • optional: 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (I didn't have any chicken on hand, so I left it out)
  • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1 cup collard green leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


Pour your vegetable broth (or chicken stock) in a large stockpot. Add the onion, garlic, and sweet potato and then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer (add chicken, if you have it), then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the almond butter with 1/2 cup of the broth from the stockpot until you have a thick paste and then set it aside. I get almond butter at Sprouts, our local health food grocery store, where I can actually grind fresh almond butter with a machine that they have in the store! It's pretty cool and really yummy! You can also pick up jarred almond butter at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc.

Then, add the collard green leaves and ginger to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the almond butter paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and squeeze with lime wedge. *The lime is actually really important. I was pretty skeptical about adding lime to my soup, so I tried the soupo before I added the lime and though, "....eh". Then I added the lime and it completely added new depth and a bit of "zing" to the soup! I couldn't believe what a little lime could do!*

Also, as a variation for little man (since I thought the collard greens and pieces of onion might be a bit much for him to chew), I took some of the soup, put it in a blender, added some tofu (for protein and because he loves it!) and blended it until it was smooth. Little man absolutely loved his "almond-lime soup" (as we called it) and chowed his whole bowl down!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

While Daddy is Away, Mommy and Little Man will Play!

Hubby has been traveling for work lately...a lot! :( Little man and I have been keeping busy though, so we don't miss him too much and so that it feels like the days go by more quickly! 

Here is a peek at some of the fun adventures we've been up to this past week!

We made applesauce in the crock pot...and it's almost gone already! Little man looooves him some applesauce! I peel and chop the apples and then put them in a small bowl for him. Little man dumps them in the crock pot for me (and snitches some apple slices along the way). He is my big helper in the kitchen!

Little man discovered the colorful world of dry-erase marker! We practiced writing "W" for Wonder Pets (his favorite show!) and had fun scribbling, erasing and starting a fresh new picture!

 We finally went to the children's museum that is nearby. I have been wanting to go for so long! (Yes, I was just as excited as little man to go) Little man's first trip to the museum was awesome! It is the perfect place for him - he could touch, pull, twist, bang and climb on everything! We will definitely be going back!

Where does the time go? {Haha! Cheesy, I know.}


We had so much fun and little man is still talking about the children's museum!

 For some reason, little man is just fascinated by water raining down in the shower! He loves to stand in the tub and watch  the water from the shower run down the back wall of the shower.

Every weekend, we go to the farmer's market - I think it's the highlight of our week, since little man is always talking about the vegetables we see and buy! It makes for a great learning experience! It's so funny, because it seems like every time we go, someone always gives little man a "tasty treat"! Everything from tangerines, to bananas to cookies. I don't know what coy looks he's giving these people...those long lashes must be working overtime! 

My little monkey man eating on a banana at the farmer's market. {how fitting, huh?}

I hope you all have had an adventure-filled week! Do you have any children's museums near you or other fun activities that you like taking your little ones to? (I could use some ideas for hubby's next work trip!)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finished Friday: Shirt Scarf DIY

I have so many "crafty" pins on Pinterest! I was recently inspired to join in with "Finished Friday" over at A Heart For Home to start completing some projects.

I got my "Pinspiration" from this post on Pinterest and the full instructions are on the blog, Hello Giggles and their post, DIY T-Shirt Scarf.

 What you'll need: A t-shirt and a pair of scissors

I started with a t-shirt that had a hole in it. Cut your shirt horizontally, under the armpits.

There's a hole in my shirt dear Liza, dear Liza...

What did I do with the top part? Put it on little man of course! Haha! He wasn't quite as amused. 

Cut the hem off the bottom of the shirt. (I saved that part to use later)

Cut strips on the looped ends that are about 1" thick. Once their all cut, pull on the loops and stretch them out. they will kind of curl up and look "stringier" once their stretched.

Gather up the necklace at the uncut part and that is where you can tie a string of some sort to cover it. I used the leftover piece of hem fabric.


This was a fun (and quick) craft! My necklace is shorter than the ones from the original tutorials, but they used larger shirts and I used a small tee. This is one of my favorite types of crafts too... no sewing involved ;) and it's such an individual craft with no "right" way that it should look - everyone's is unique and one of a kind!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: Pine Cone Chucking!

Pine Cone Chucking!

Little man and I were at a park where he found a pine cone and started tossing it and giggling. In a very excited voice I started saying "Pine Cone Chucking!" every time he tossed it. This just made him laugh even more! He was laughing so hard he even started snorting! We must have been quite a sight as we were running all over the park - little man throwing a pine cone and me, shouting "Pine Cone Chucking!" Haha! 

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Little Hedgehog Cooks: Roasted Carrots


This week in my CSA box, I got:
Beet Greens
Broccoli Raab
Collard Greens
Salad Mix (2 bags) 
Swiss Chard

Little man helping me unpack the veggies and fruits

The carrots were just beautiful and I wanted to find a recipe that would bring out their flavor. I found a recipe for roasted carrots - easy, quick and simple!

Roasted Carrots
{recipe adapted from: Epicurious}

  • Bunch of carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in lower third. Wash carrots, trim tops to 1 inch and peel carrots. 

Toss carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. (I just eye-balled it) Spread the carrots out on a large 4-sided pan. 

Roast for 20 minutes at 500°F. Reduce oven to 325°F and continue to roast, stirring occasionally, until carrots are browned and tender, about 25 minutes more.

*recipe note: my carrots were smaller than your average carrot and they were crispy after 20 minutes at 500°F. If you have smaller carrots, I might recommend roasting for 10-15 min at 500°F and then reducing the oven temperature to finish roasting.*

The carrots turned out great! They were sweet and tender and the "burnt crispy-ness" actually added a good roasted flavor. Little man loved it so much that he gobbled up his and stole some of mine! 


Monday, January 16, 2012

The Little Hedgehog Cooks: Beet Greens

One of the items in my CSA box from last week was beet greens. 

Now, I have never cooked with them before and honestly, until recently, I didn't know that they were actually edible! Since I didn't know what to do with them, I went hunting for some recipe inspiration on the internet. I can across a recipe that included bacon as one of the ingredients, and since I happened to have some on hand, I thought I would try it out! Besides, you can't go wrong with bacon! 

Beet Greens
{recipe credit: Simply Recipes}

  • 1 pound beet greens (I just used my bunch of greens, which was less than a pound)   
  • 1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (I used some from Trader Joe's)    
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion    
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced    
  • 3/4 cup of water    
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar    
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I didn't add any red pepper)
  • 1/6 cup of cider vinegar
*recipe note: You can also cook the stems, if they aren't too woody. Just cut them into 1-inch segments and add them to the onions after the onions have been cooking for a minute.*

Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.

Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar. 

All done!

I thought that the sugar really brought our the sweetness in the dish and the bacon was great for flavoring! The beet greens had a really good flavor (it was similar to swiss chard). Beet greens are packed with good-for-you nutrients too! Tasty and good for you - definitely a plus! This makes a great side dish and they are in season  too - I'm sure you can find some at your local farmer's market or grocery store (try Sprouts, Whole Foods, Henry's, etc.)