Soups and Chilis

Sweet Potato Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream

When the weather starts to cool, soup is on my mind.  I often find myself buying the large cardboard containers of simple soups; like butternut squash or tomato, and then adding more vegetables to it, or even grilled chicken.  This makes for a filling dinner! Rarely do I take the time to actually make soup, because I’m the only one in my family who will eat it.  Don’t get me wrong, I offer it to my kids every time I make it, but they still take their dad’s side; no soup for me!”.

Soup is easy to make when guests are expected.  Even if it’s not a really heavy soup, you add a nice hearty bread and maybe a salad and voila, you’ve got a meal!  My uncle and his partner joined us for this soup a few weeks ago and it was a hit.  So much so that even Nick enjoyed a bowl (or two).

Sweet Potato Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped **
  • 3 cups sweet potato, diced (about 2 medium) **
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk **
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter **
  • ¼ cup parsley or cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • ¼ cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter
  • 2 teaspoons full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons water


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and shallots. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add sweet potato, celery, and carrot, and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in curry powder and salt. Add water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove soup from heat and cool slightly. Add coconut milk and cashew butter, stirring well to combine. Puree soup in the pot with an immersion blender, or add soup to a blender to puree.
  5. Meanwhile, make cashew cream; In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cashew butter and coconut milk. Add water as needed until consistency is thick and similar to heavy cream.
  6. Ladle soup into four bowls, and swirl 1 tablespoon cashew-coconut cream into each bowl. Garnish with chopped cashews. Serves 4.


** If you are following a low FODMAP diet, omit the shallots and use a Tuscan or even Garlic olive oil instead of regular oil. The amount of sweet potato in this recipe might cause problems if you are sensitive to polyols; you could replace with regular potatoes, or better yet; acorn squash. The amount of cashew and coconut should not be enough to cause side effects.

I’ve got a few other tasty soup and chili recipes under my Recipes tab if you’re interested.  Go ahead ahead check em’ out!  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did.

Soups and Chilis

Creamy Sourdough and Butternut Squash Soup

I just realized that all of my posts that I have planned for this week are vegetarian.  Yesterday’s post was a veggie panini, today it’s a veggie soup, and the next two days I plan to share what I made for Thanksgiving; two vegetable dishes.  I swear I’m a carnivore, but I guess I had a little too much turkey last week.  In today’s recipe bread takes the place of meat in a very hearty, vegetable based soup.  This is a recipe that even the soup-haters (aka: crazies!) in your family will love.  It’s so packed with flavor and wonderful textures, it doesn’t even feel like soup.  It’s almost like eating a Panera soup in a bread bowl, but better, of course.

Creamy Sourdough and Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 medium-large butternut squash**
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic **
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 5 cups 1-inch pieces of stale sourdough bread **
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. Peel and seed squash. Cut into enough 1-inch pieces to make 3-4 cups.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the squash and stir to coat with the oil. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the squash is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Mash about half the squash against the side of the pot to create a thick broth. Stir in bread; return to a simmer,stirring occasionally, until the bread is beginning to break apart, 5 to 15 minutes (cooking times will vary).
  4. Remove soup from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.


** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet you will need to omit the garlic and use a garlic or Tuscan olive oil to replace the flavor. Also, look for a gluten free bread instead of sourdough (although you could also just reduce the amount of bread in the recipe to about 4 cups, if you aren’t really sensitive to the oligos in wheat). Lastly, butternut squash may cause symptoms at amounts greater than ¼th cup, so a better alternative might be a kabocha squash (it’s Japanese) or possibly even zucchini (haven’t tried this yet, but it may work!). Or of course you could also only add 2 cups squash to the recipe instead of 3-4, thus reducing the amount consumed.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1.5 cups Calories: 171 Fat: 6 g Carbohydrates: 27 g Sodium: 447 mg Fiber: 5 g Protein: 4 g

Nutrtition Highlights; Under 200 calories, and an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A and C.So why use sourdough bread?  Because it’s amazing, that’s why. But if you don’t like sourdough I’m sure you could use something else.  We actually have a supermarket (Giant Eagle Market District) that sells a wholegrain sourdough bread, which I used in this recipe.  It’s so delicious on it’s own, but imagine how good it tasted once it soaked up all the flavors in this soup.  Yes, just imagine….I was thinking you might still have some turkey leftovers from last Thursday.  If you want this to be a vessel for your leftover turkey, I think it would work just great.  I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday everyone.  Can you believe the new year is so close???  Sorry, random, but seriously, time flies!  Soon I’ll have to convince my brain to write 2014 instead of 2013 (anyone else find that difficult at first? As in…for typically 1-2 months!!??).

Soups and Chilis

Roasted Butternut Squash Mousse

Do you like mousse?  I do.  My favorite thing about mousse is the fluffy and airy texture. In fact, one of my favorite types of yogurt is the Yoplait Whips, because they have that airy fluffy texture that I’m talking about (although I eat those whips only rarely because they are actually a dessert, not a healthy snack like most yogurts).  I digress.  Today’s recipe is called mousse but to be honest, the texture is more like a pudding.  I thought about calling it pudding, but I don’t like pudding, I like mousse.  I liked this recipe, a lot, so I’m calling it mousse.  What are you gonna do about it?!

Roasted Butternut Squash Mousse


  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded **
  • ½ T butter, melted
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 8-ounce container light whipped cream, thawed
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts and/or almonds **


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Use a pastry brush to evenly brush the flesh side of the squash halves with melted butter and place flesh side down on a greased cookie sheet (alternatively you could put the squash in the microwave for 10-12 minutes). Bake at 400˚F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Let squash cool for 10 minutes. Remove flesh from the squash halves with a spoon and mash with a fork until smooth, and strain excess liquid (you should get a yield of roughly 2 cups squash).
  2. Place mashed butternut squash, powdered sugar, and orange juice in a pan over medium heat and heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool completely and puree in a blender until smooth.
  3. Mix squash puree, 2 cups of whipped topping, and vanilla extract until smooth. Place into serving bowls and sprinkle evenly with nuts and remaining whipped topping.


** If you are following a low FODMAPS diet be aware that the butternut squash might cause symptoms when consumed in amounts above ¼ cup. You will get more than this amount of squash in one serving of this recipe, so you may want to stick to a smaller portion. Also, almonds contain FODMAPs when consumed in excess of ~10. You may be better off garnishing with lots of walnuts!

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ⅙th of recipe Calories: 186 Carbohydrates: 18.1 Sugar: 12.7 g Sodium: 47 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Protein: 1.9 g Cholesterol: 25 mg

 Nutrition Highlights:  Under 200 calories (not bad for a decadent dessert!), excellent source of vitamin A (100% Daily Value) and vitamin C (34% Daily Value)

You can use orange juice, or you can use something like what I used; Orange Carrot juice.  Yum (who knew carrots would taste good in a juice?? They do. Especially when combined with oranges).

I used this Orange and Carrot juice, which, as you can see, is a low FODMAPs choice (but with most juices I still recommend sticking to 1/2 cup or less per day, for low FODMAPs and for weight management purposes).

This was one of those desserts that I didn’t feel bad about eating…all….day….long.  I mean with an excellent source of vitamins A and C, plus only 12 grams of sugar, I convinced myself that by eating this I was not only treating my taste buds, but getting at least half a serving of vegetable/fruit.  What? It’s true.  The extra whipped cream on top wasn’t even really necessary, to be honest.  I ate this without the whipped cream as I finished the leftovers throughout the week.  Even Nick enjoyed it (have you noticed that as the years have gone by Nick has actually enjoyed my healthier creations more and more?  It’s wonderful).

This would be a great dessert to serve at a dinner party, or to throw into your child’s lunch box (why not?), or your own.  I’m starting to realize that yes, we did make a great choice in growing butternut squash for the second year in a row.  I still have not gotten sick of it!  Have you?  I hope not. I have a couple more butternut recipes coming up, then I believe I’ll be moving onto spaghetti squash. Mmmm, who doesn’t love a non-starchy squash that puts wheat-noodles to shame?!

Enjoy your day everyone.  Thanks for reading!  I’ll be back on Friday with the easiest slow-cooked shredded chicken recipe you will ever find.  Easiest, and most delicious, I promise.  Happy Hump Day.

Soups and Chilis

Simple Carrot Ginger Soup and a Giveaway Winner!

Nick and I had one of my best friend’s Jamie, and her perfect-match fiance, Jeremy, over for dinner the other night.  On the menu (after the Cabot Cheese and randomly selected by Nick sweet chocolate chip cheese ball appetizer) was a bowl of Carrot Soup served with garlic naan bread, and Slow Cooked Zesty Shredded Chicken (recipe coming soon!), Jamie’s delicious salad, and then for dessert Pumpkin Ice Cream with Coconut “whipped cream” (recipe coming soon).  After we finished our meal Jamie said (no joke);

“Gina, when you told me the menu for tonight I really didn’t think it sounded good. I wasn’t excited“…. ok. “But, it was amazing!”.

Yeah, that’s right. To be honest, I knew everything was going to taste fantastic, but I was skeptical about the turnout of the carrot soup.  I just wasn’t sure how something so simple could taste at all delicious.  It did.

Simple Carrot Soup


  • 2 T unsalted butter **
  • 1 lb. carrots, grated on large holes of a box cutter (or added to a food processor and finely chopped)
  • 2 T fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ tsp. sea salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • .5 cup full fat coconut milk
  • Extra sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrots, ginger, and salt, and cook until carrots are just crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook carrot mixture for 7 minutes.
  3. Working in batches (unless you have a large blender) blend the ingredients until smooth. Return to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Rewarm the soup before serving


** This is a gluten-free recipe and can be made low FODMAPs by substituting the butter with trans-fat-free margarine (I like Smart Balance). If you aren’t really sensitive to lactose the butter should be fine (I used it and it didn’t both me). And of course, if you want to serve the soup with bread, choose a gluten-free (and non-garlic!) bread to suit the needs of both of these diet plans.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ¼th of recipe Calories: 164 Fat: 11.2 g Saturated fat: 7.2 g Carbohydrates: 14.8 g Sugar: 6.5 g Sodium: 844 mg Fiber: 3.5 g Protein: 2 g Cholesterol: 15 mg

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 200 calories, an excellent source of fiber, and vitamin A (~300% DV vitamin A, thanks to the carrots).  If you want to reduce the calories and fat you can omit the coconut milk and use all water (the original recipe called for this), and if you want to reduce the sodium, just use 1 tsp. salt in the recipe (Along with the unsalted butter).

If you’re wondering what on Earth that white stuff is on top, it’s actually coconut “whipped cream”.  Random, right? Well, there was coconut in the dish, so why not top it off with some coconut cream?  You could also add some Greek yogurt on top too, for extra creaminess, but I can assure you neither the coconut nor Greek yogurt is needed to make this soup taste delicious.  If, however, you want to make the coconut cream, here is how; take a can of full fat coconut milk, put it in the fridge to chill overnight, take it out, flip it upside down, open the can, pour out the liquid, and scrape out the solids at the bottom (there will probably be 1-2 Tbsp, at most).  Add the solids to a chilled bowl and whip until a cream forms.

When we sat down to enjoy this soup, we were all slightly timid.  We just didn’t know how it would taste.  I’m almost certain that each of us ingested every last morsel of this soup (and I don’t know about the others, but I was really tempted to pick up my bowl and lick anything that remained).

And after sharing with you this culinary bowl of delight, I now want to announce the winner of last week’s FNCE Goodie Bag Giveaway!!  The lucky winner is Cellebella, who wrote this to answer the question “Which booth at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo would you visit first?!”

And I would agree, the KIND bar booth was one that I probably stopped at about five times   They have some new flavors and varieties coming out soon, so if you haven’t seen them yet, get excited!  Cerebella, please e-mail me your home address and I’ll get this goodie bag sent your way ([email protected])!

Enjoy your Monday everyone.

Soups and Chilis

Summer Tomato, Basil and Farro Soup

Mmm, farro!  Have you tried it yet?  It’s a hearty whole grain with sort of a nutty flavor and al dente texture.  I experimented with farro for the first time on the Fourth of July when I made this amazing (no joke) summer salad from the New York Times.  The New York Times must really love farro because a couple weeks ago when I was searching for a soup recipe that would put some of our tomatoes to good use (we have enough to start our own tomato shop) I found this soup on the New York Times website, which called for…wait for it…..FARRO!

Our garden, about 3 weeks ago, looked like this.  Now imagine this same image, times about four.  That’s what it looks like now. It’s not really pretty at this point, but it’s my recipe inspiration. The left is mainly butternut squash, and the right side is tomato and green pepper.

Without further ado, I present, the most amazing summer soup…..

 Summer Tomato, Basil and Farro Soup


  • 1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 cup farro, dried
  • 4 large sprigs basil, stems and leaves separated
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 4 garlic cloves **
  • 1 large leek, white and light parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced **
  • 3 lbs. ripe roma (or other) tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
  • Black pepper, to taste


  1. Pour 8 cups cold water and 1 tablespoon salt into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium, add the farro and basil stems and cook until grains are tender but still a little chewy, about 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the leek and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook leeks until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Bring it to a simmer.  Cook until the tomatoes have completely fallen apart, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blender or food processor, purée the tomato mixture until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). Add half the farro and pulse until the grains are broken down and the soup is a chunky purée. Stir in the remaining farro. If the soup seems thick, add more cooking liquid. Taste and add more salt if needed (although, it shouldn’t be needed!). Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Drizzle with oil; top generously with black pepper and torn basil leaves.


** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet omit the garlic and add the garlic flavor back by using a garlic or Tuscan-infused olive oil.  Also, instead of using leeks use chives (I used ~ ½ cup chopped chives. Yum).

This was my first time using an emersion blender.  It was fun.  I need to put this on my Christmas list (this was my mom’s).

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/6th of recipes

WARNING!  This soup is not low sodium. Nope, not even close.  I would strongly recommend reducing sodium if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake.  This is actually less sodium than the original recipe (yikes, can you imagine!?). You could also use a salt substitute or add some vinegar to replace some of the salt (the bitterness from the vinegar might bring out some of the saltiness, making it taste saltier than it really is).

Nutrition Highlights:  Excellent source of iron, fiber, and vitamin C

On the night I made this Nick and I had dinner with my parents.  It’s always a good sign when both Nick and my dad enjoy something that I’ve made.  They both gobbled this soup down, and Nick was even happy to take home leftovers for his lunches.  It was truly delicious.  On this particular night, we served the soup with chicken off the grill (and some good Columbus Pale Ale, of course).

QUESTION:  Have you tried farro? What about farro in soup? Are you looking forward to the soup season like I am? It’s right around the corner!

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Soups and Chilis

Summer Squash and Corn Soup (Meatless Monday)

You know how they have an ugly dog contest every year? Well, if they started an ugly soup contest this one would take top honors.  Of course one of the rules would be that the ugly soup would have to taste good too, which would make it unique (ugly, yet delicious). Similar to the ugly dog, the winner is always well behaved and trained, although unfortunate looking.

This year’s winner was a beagle-boxer-basset mix.
Ugly. Yet so cute.

This soup turned out “souper” ugly, because it was green.  It almost looked like fresh authentic salsa, right?  The original recipe called for summer squash, but I thought it would be fun to use summer squash and zucchini.  I wasn’t thinking about how the soup would then be green. Oops.  Thankfully, even my picky mother didn’t seem to mind the ugliness of the soup, especially after she took her first bite.

The textures were perfect, and truly enhanced the flavor of this soup.  The soft cheese, the al dente corn, and the watery broth with chunks of zucchini….. Oh my, it was just outstanding!  I’ve seriously been meaning to make this recipe for a couple years now, and am so glad I finally got around to it.  Imagine how it will taste with our homegrown zucchini (yes, I will use zucchini again when I make this soup, and make it ugly green soup, I don’t discriminate…..).

Summer Squash (and Zucchini) and Corn Soup
Servings: 2 as a small meal, 4 as a starter or appetizer


1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped **
2 medium summer squash, diced (or use 1 zucchini and 1 summer squash)
3 tsp. chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano, divided
1 14-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth **
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 large ear of corn) or frozen **
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1.  Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring 1 minute.  Add squash and 1 tsp. herbs and cook, stirring occasionally until the squash starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2.  Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft and mostly translucent, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth (use caution, as this will be hot and you don’t want the liquid to splash!).  Return the soup to the pan and stir in the corn.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more.  Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice.  Serve garnished with the remaining 2 tsp herbs and feta.

**NOTE: If you are following a low FODMAPs diatomite the shallot and replace part of the flavor with a tuscan olive oil (which is infused with Tuscan spices).  Also look for a broth that is not flavored with garlic or onion (yes, these do exist!).  Lastly, most summer corn is sweet corn, and sweet corn contains FODMAPs.  The good news is that most people can tolerate ~1/3 cup (or half of a medium ear of corn) in one sitting.  The small amount in this recipe, therefore, should be tolerated fine.

Estimated nutrition facts for 1/4th of recipe (If splitting this into 4 servings)

Estimated nutrition facts for 1/2 of a recipe (If splitting this into 2 servings)

Nutrition Highlights:  This soup isn’t too heavy on calories (especially when divided into four, obviously), which is nice because it was pretty hearty! If you make it into 2 servings it’s a good source of fiber, calcium, and iron, and it’s an excellent source of vitamin C.

Serve this soup with some grilled chicken (like we did on this particular night) or a big ol’ chunk of whole wheat bread.  And be sure to give it a ribbon for the “ugliest, yet most delicious soup of the summer!”.

QUESTION:  Do you like soup in the summer?  Cold, hot, or either way?

I hope you had a lovely Fourth of July weekend.  It was really rainy and dreary here, all weekend.  I think the first time I saw the sun was yesterday at 5 pm.  Literally.  That being said, it was still a great weekend and an amazing Fourth. The fireworks weren’t canceled, so that’s a plus (not that I’m a huge fireworks fan, but it would have been odd having a Fourth of July without fireworks!).  Enjoy your Monday everyone.

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Soups and Chilis

Fusilli with Creamy Bacon and Pea Sauce (Flashback Friday!)

It’s Fusilli Jerry!  Anyone? Seinfeld? Come on, doesn’t fusilli pasta always remind you of that episode where Cramer makes a fusilli statue of Jerry?  Ok, well I needed a laugh to start out this post because the photos are horendous, and I’m sure my mom is already shaking her head with displeasure (“Gina, that photo you posted the other day, it was awful!”).  Yes, she has said this before, but I’m sorry, it’s better than no photo at all (right??).  The truth is that I wouldn’t have posted this recipe if I didn’t know it was one of my most popular recipes thus far.  It was approved by 4 young kids (my 17 year-old brother included, and a 3 year old, 8 year old, and 12 year old… so that means something).  I still truly believe that peas are the key to making kids like anything.  No joke.  They don’t like it? Add peas.I made this last summer actually, which is why it’s a “flashback Friday” post.  I have made it a couple times since then, but failed to take photos.  So, needless to say, these photos are old.  But the recipe is still amazing, and as I like to say, “definitely blog-worthy)

Fusilli With Creamy Bacon and Pea Sauce

Price: ~$5.50/family of fourCooking spray
1/4th cup chopped crispy bacon
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion **
1 garlic clove, minced **
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used brown rice flour)
2 cups 1% low-fat milk **
1/4th cup reduced fat cream cheese **
2.5 cups frozen green peas, thawed **
1 1/4 cups grated parmesan, divided
1/3rd cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4th tsp. black pepper
5 cups hot cooked fusilli pasta (or 4 cups uncooked) **

 Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 7 minutes. Add onion mixture to the crispy bacon in a medium bowl, set aside. Place flour in the still hot pan. Gradually add milk; stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 5 minutes); stir constantly. Add cream cheese; stir until cheese melts. Stir in peas, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper. Add cheese sauce and pasta to medium bowl that contains the bacon and onion mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.

If you are following a low FODMAPS diet, be warned, this is not low FODMAPs.  You could reduce the FODMAPs by eliminating the onion and garlic, and using a garlic or tuscan olive oil to get the flavor.  You could also use the Lactaid brand of milk to reduce the effects from the lactose.  Also, look for a wheat – (or gluten) free pasta.Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1-serving


This recipe may not be the healthiest of recipes (which is perhaps why it was approved by children?!) but if you are a parent and want to make this for your kids, at least you know they will probably like it, and you will too.  And if you want to add some nutritional-pizzazz, add some broccoli or other vegetables like spinach, voila! You could also reduce the fat by using reduced fat cream cheese and/or turkey bacon (note: turkey bacon isn’t always less fat, read your labels!).  You could increase the fiber too by using whole wheat flour (or brown rice flour), and whole wheat fussili pasta.Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Remember that.

This recipe is delicious.

Make it.


Any fun plans for the weekend??  I work tomorrow then plan on relaxing on Sunday, all day long, because it’s been a long week!  I think I worked until 8pm each day this week.  Ugh.  Those types of weeks are just not my favorite, but thankfully I was doing what I love (cooking food in the demo kitchen at work, and teaching people about nutrition and how to incorporate it into their cooking…..yes, that’s fun!).

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Soups and Chilis

Clean Eating’s Chunky Chipotle Chicken Soup with Potatoes and Cilantro

By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m slightly (ok, very…) obsessed with one appliance in my kitchen, and I’m not talking about my coffee machine (although I’m certainly obsessed with that too, don’t get me wrong), it’s my slow cooker!  And yes, it’s my slow-cooker because I’m the only one who has used it since we received it for a wedding present back in August 2012.  Until Nick gets his hands on it and actually makes something, it’s mine. All mine.  He does get to enjoy the end results though, obviously.  And so far I’ve only had one failure recipe in the slow cooker, and it wasn’t this one.Do you own a slow cooker? If you don’t, get one. It can be a smaller one, or it can be a larger one (which I prefer because I can double recipes and freeze them). Or perhaps you do have one, but it’s locked up in the attic somewhere.  Go get it. Start using it again.  Even if only for this Clean Eating Magazine recipe.  And don’t even think about putting it back during the warmer months, because there are plenty ofsummer slow cooker recipes too.

Chunky Chipotle Chicken Soup with Potatoes and Cilantro


1 red or yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges *

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled *

1 Tbsp. chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce *

4 white potatoes, scrubbed and each cut into 6 wedges

2 cups grape tomatoes

20 oz. skinless, bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth *

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 lime, quartered

*Note: If you are following a low FODMAPs diet you can omit the garlic and onion and replace with a tuscan or garlic-infused olive oil, to get some of the flavors back.  Another option would be to use them both in the recipe, but just avoid eating the large chunks/cloves when you consume the final product (although for those who are really sensitive to the fructans/galactans this may still cause problems).  This method seemed to work well for me.  You will also need to omit the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and just use canned chipotle chiles, plain.  Lastly, look for a chicken broth with zero garlic or onion added.


  1. In a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker, add onion, bell pepper, garlic and chipotle chiles.  Stir to combine. Top with potatoes and tomatoes.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium high.  Add chicken and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned.  Transfer chicken to a slow cooker.  To skillet, add broth, scraping up any browned bits with a spoon; pour broth over chicken. Sprinkle with cumin.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours (or until chicken is no longer pink in center, and it falls off the bone).
  3. Gently remove chicken from slow cooker.  Turn off heat and let the vegetables stand, uncovered, for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors and thicken slightly.  Be careful not to stir because vegetables will be very fragile and tender, and might fall apart.  Debone chicken in large pieces.  Divide chicken among serving bowls and top with vegetable mixture.  Drizzle oil on top, dividing evenly.  Sprinkle with salt and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


After. The veggies were nice and tender, and the chicken was “fall off the bone” tender as well.

This was certainly one of my favorite Clean Eating Magazine recipes.  By far.  And yes, the little bit of lime zest on top was a delectable addition!

Nutrition Facts for 1/4th of recipe

Nutrition Highlights: Under 400 calories, excellent source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, good source of iron.  Oh yeah, and it was amazing.  Who says healthy can’t taste good? Huh? Who?!This recipe will be staying in our family for years to come.  Our future children will be eating this and saying “I remember when mommy used to make this wonderful chipotle chicken soup with potatoes!”…..oh yes, you just wait.

Soups and Chilis

New Year’s Appetizer Idea; Shrimp with Cumin, Ginger, and Cilantro Spiced Cocktail Sauce

My aunt JoAnn always has an amazing spread of food out on her table whenever we come over, but it’s especially impressive on Christmas day.  This year she didn’t disappoint.  Actually I take that back, my dad was angry because my aunt (his sister) decided to get creative with the cocktail sauce and use a recipe found on, instead of the usual horseradish cocktail sauce.  But, sorry dad, this sauce was freaking DELICIOUS, and you’re crazy for not enjoying every amazing bite.

If the sauce wasn’t loaded with FODMAPs, I’d probably make it every day, or at least for every occasion when an appetizer is needed.  Nick loved it, and the recipe doesn’t seem too difficult.  Plus, it’s unique and really pretty.

Shrimp with Spiced Cocktail Sauce


Hands-on Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serves 8


2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. mustard seeds

1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger (from 1/2-inch piece)

1 glove garlic, finely chopped

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/3 cup tomato paste

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (YUM!)

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp


  1.  Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, and 1/4th tsp. each salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallot is soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2.  Add the tomato paste and cumin to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.  Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least one hour. Fold in cilantro and serve with shrimp.

Note:  This can be made up to two days before serving.  Refrigerate, covered, and stir in additional cilantro before serving if making ahead.

**NOTE:  This recipe is loaded with FODMAPs,

Am I the only one who gets really excited when there is shrimp cocktail at a party?  Seriously, I get giddy.  It’s almost embarrassing.

Soups and Chilis

Thrifty Thursday: Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

We all know beans are cheap. Very cheap.  And, very healthy (who says healthy foods are always expensive?!).  This meal was so cheap, it was scary (ok, that was a Halloween pun that’s slightly late). If you want this meal to be even cheaper, omit the ham, but….I think the ham was integral.   You may be thinking, “how could soup be a meal??”.  Well, this soup was very hearty and filling (check out the fiber, how can that much fiber not fill you up?!).

I added a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top.

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Serves 9

Modified slightly from a recipe found on

Total Price per serving:  ~ $1.45


3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, rinsed/drained **

1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/4th cup unsalted butter

1 cup diced onion **

3 cloves chopped garlic **

1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

4-cups low sodium beef broth **

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree **

1/2 lb. cubed cooked ham

3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet this is just not a good recipe to make!


  1.  Pour two cans of black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the entire can of tomatoes.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.
  2.  Melt butter in a soup pot (or a large saucepan) over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir until the onion is soft.  Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and sherry vinegar.  Mix until well blended, then simmer for about 25 minutes (or until thick enough to coat the spoon and stick to it).  Stir in the ham and heat through before serving.
  3.  Garnish with whatever you’d like (I added plain Greek yogurt and a bit of hot sauce to mine!)
    This is the consistency of “Smooth” in my opinion.

Estimated Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 200 calories, low cholesterol, an EXCELLENT source of Fiber and Vitamin A, a good source of Iron and Vitamin C.

I recently found another great pumpkin soup recipe in our Columbus Dispatch.  It called for one of my favorite ingredients; nutritional yeast.  I hope I get around to making it.  I might just Pin it on Pinterest or post it on Facebook or Instagram.  We shall see.  Happy Thursday everyone!