Recipe Makeover: Rachel Ray's Tomato Soup

On weekends when I'm home (and this summer there haven't been many) I love to spend the morning on the couch watching Pioneer Woman, Giada at Home, Barefoot Contessa, etc. with my coffee and my dog.  This week Rachel Ray made five make-ahead meals including tomato soup and an incredible grilled cheese.  Suddenly, I was in the mood to make soup since it was rainy and just slightly cool (excited for Fall, anyone?  Bueller?).  I followed her soup recipe pretty closely however, I decided to skip some unnecessary sodium and chose to make it (almost) dairy free.
The result is a soup you can feel great about and if you decide to dunk in some grilled cheese sandwiches, go for it!  It saves you around 100 Calories per serving, cuts down on half of the fat and at less than 140mg Sodium per serving, it is a low sodium soup!  Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see more Recipe Makeovers in the future!  Happy cooking!

Low Sodium Tomato Soup
Recipe by Ali Caron, RD
Serves 8

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped (about 1/2 a large onion)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, no salt added
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped chives for garnish (optional)
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (optional)

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté onion, garlic, basil, paprika and salt and pepper for 10 minutes or until onions are soft.  Stir in tomato paste and deglaze the pan with one cup of vegetable stock.  Transfer to a food processor and add the tomatoes.  Process until smooth or desired consistency.  Pour the soup back into the pot and add the remaining vegetable stock.  Bring soup to a simmer on low heat.  Serve with chopped chives and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Nutrition Facts: 90 Calories, 3.5g Fat, 10.5g Carbohydrates, 4.5g Protein, 3g Fiber, 88mg Sodium, 403mg Potassium

Note: This recipe is a Low Sodium food.  This recipe saves you around 100 Calories per serving and has half the fat than the original.  (Also, dairy free without the Greek yogurt topping.)


Peachy Red Wine Sangria

This past week my family rented a camp for a little stay-cation in Maine.  With such long winters, when you live here you really want to enjoy the few months (weeks?) of the year that the weather is so warm and sunny.  We had a great time kayaking almost every day and we did build a fire each night, even after a rainy day.  
I have to say we ate very well; lots of salmon, lobster and grilled veggies.  To drink one night mom and I made sangria.  A first for us, it was extremely easy to prep and tasted so good!  Not too sweet with deep flavors and a nice citrus kick.  I think when I make this again I will make a double batch as it only filled the pitcher halfway, although keep in mind one batch was plenty for three people.  
Hope you all have had some time for vacation this summer, too or have some coming up in the near future!  See you back here soon!

2 oranges
1 lemon
1 peach
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup triple sec
1 bottle red or white wine

Slice one orange, the lemon and peach.  Add to pitcher along with the juice of the remaining orange and sugar.  Muddle together with a wooden spoon.  Add the triple sec and wine and stir.  Store for 2-8 hours in the refrigerator and serve.


A Year's Worth of...Fails?

In the past year, I have to say I’ve had a lot of fun whipping up some really yummy meals for myself.  But I’ve also had my share of less than blog-worthy failures.  Like pretty epic failures.  And what do you know, I decided to share them with you.  Call me crazy but maybe you’re interested.  Maybe not.  Anyways, here we go!

Grilled Pizza – So here I attempted to make pizza without yeast since I didn’t have any and then tried to grill the darn thing.  To avoid the pizza from falling through the grill, I didn’t want to make the crust too thick but this resulted in an unevenly cooked, tough, overall not good pizza.  Blasphemy.

Poppy Seed Muffins – MY FAVORITE.  However, they are my grandmother’s recipe and I thought that 1 ½ CUPS baking powder just had to be a typo.  I mean, that is a LOT of baking powder no matter how large the batch.  Anyways, I decided to try only 1 ½ Tablespoons and ended up with a sad, sad batch of fallen baked goods.  For the record, this is not my first time ruining this recipe, either.  I think from now on, I’ll leave the baking to someone else.

Sweet Potato PancakesOn one of the blogs I like to read, I came across 2 ingredient sweet potato pancakes made with egg and cooked sweet potato blended together then pan-fried.  I added the optional almond milk and discovered quickly that you need to cook these babies on a HIGH heat.  Otherwise, you end up with sweet potato scramble which is yummy, sure, but definitely not photo-worthy.  At least by the last pancake I figured it out.  

Dairy-Free Paleo Eggnog – Just…don’t.  I think there are enough warning signs in that title to deter you but clearly there wasn’t enough for me.  The taste was not like any eggnog I’ve ever tried and when attempting to incorporate the eggs, we ended up scrambling them into an unappetizing mess. Sure, we tried to strain out the egg and even added amaretto to mask the awful, awful flavor but somehow we were still surprised that this one just didn’t taste good.  I’ll be sticking with the full-fat version this year and loving every sip.

Enchilada Lasagna/Casserole – There was nothing wrong with this recipe.  In fact, it is delicious!  Unfortunately, it came from Pinterest and finding the exact same recipe has proven to be unsuccessful and therefore, I can’t share it with you (or myself).  It’s my own fault for not actually PINNING the PIN on PINTEREST.