Saturday, September 9, 2017

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

This soup is a wonderfully creamy and delicious dish can serve as the prelude to a meal, or the meal alone.  There are many variations of this dish, but here's a simple version that you can make using ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry.

One small onion, diced
Four cloves fresh garlic, minced
One carrot, diced
Butter, 2 Tbsp
Fresh plum or roma tomatoes (You can also use canned tomatoes or tomato soup)
1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 cup low fat milk
1 cup chicken broth
Fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and Pepper

Saute onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil.  Cook carrots until softened and puree carrots.  Add to onions and garlic. Add butter, cook until butter melts.
Add tomatoes and cook down.  Turn heat to simmer and add cream, milk, and chicken broth. Add parmesan cheese, chopped basil leaves, salt and pepper.
Garnish with additional cheese and basil. 
I like to add fresh croutons too.

Delicious and Easy Homemade Granola

I love granola for breakfast, or as a tasty snack. I used to buy it until I discovered how inexpensive and simple it was to make it on your own.  I've tried several different recipes--using maple syrup, using honey, using brown sugar as the sweetener--along with various ingredients.  Here's my take on homemade granola...

Mix dry ingredients together:
3 cups oats (not instant)
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
1/2 shredded coconut

Mix together ingredients to make sauce:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Drizzle sauce over dry mixture.  Combine well.  Lay flat on a parchment sheet covered baking tray.  Bake at 250 degrees, turning every 15 minutes for approximately 1hr. 15min. Allow to cool on the tray.  Mixture will harden after removing from oven.  Add 1 cup cranberries, raisins or craisins.  Allow to completely cool before storing in air-tight container. Granola should last 3-4 weeks.  (Though my family will usually eat it up within the week!)