recipe

Quick and Easy Avocado Spread

The other day I found myself in a snack dilemma. It was mid-afternoon, close enough to dinner that you don’t want to eat too much and ruin your appetite, but far enough that you need to eat something before you pass out or get hangry.  Being the day before grocery shopping, though, we were a little bare bones. No fresh fruit. No yogurt. I contemplated a smoothie, but then I saw one lone half of an avocado in the fridge from breakfast. Because desperation is the mother of all invention (that’s how that goes, right??), and my belly was crying out for guacamole, this quick and easy avocado spread was born!


This is so easy that you can probably make this right now.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 or 1 whole ripe avocado
  • Granulated garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Lime vitality essential oil or lime juice

Now don’t blink or you’ll miss these quick steps:

  1. Mash the avocado with a fork
  2. Add a few shakes of garlic and salt
  3. Add 1-2 drops of lime essential oil or a squeeze of lime juice
  4. Taste and tweak the flavor to your liking!

So easy, right??

Then grab some crackers or veggies and munch away! And never waste a random half an avocado again. :)

PS, if you want to find the essential oils I use, click here or shoot me an email at ifonlytheywouldnap at gmail dot com 

Peanut Butter (and Jelly!) Granola Bars

 

If you’ve ever had a picky eater in your household, you know the angst of trying to get them to branch out. Our picky eater would eat the same meal for lunch and dinner every.single.day. if we let him: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Seriously, this kid LOVES his PB&Js. I’m constantly working to get him to try new foods or even a new way to eat a food he likes. You mamas of picky eaters know how hard this is! So for a healthy and fun twist on his daily PB&J, I’ve been making these super yummy peanut butter and jelly granola bars for lunch or snack time instead!

peanut-butter-and-jelly-granola-bars-recipe

I’m pretty choosy about what foods we put into our bodies, so I really enjoy cooking and baking from scratch whenever I can. I’ve made these granola bars for years, and they’re always a big hit. I feel good about my family eating them, because I know exactly what’s inside. Homemade granola bars are always better than packaged and processed! They are also really easy and quick to make, which is a necessity in this season of my life.

dsc_9249-copy

Because we put Jif Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter inside the bars, they pair absolutely perfectly with our favorite Smucker’s Fruit Spread!

dsc_9187-copy

We have used Smucker’s Fruit Spreads in our house for as long as I can remember. I absolutely love their “Simply Fruit” line – no added sugars! I’m a big fan of short ingredient lists. :) And the Fruit and Honey Triple Berry spread… oh my, I could eat it on its own, it’s so yummy.

dsc_9220-copy

We spread the jelly and peanut butter on top, and then – to make it more like a true PB&J – we put another granola bar on top.

dsc_9272-copy

This “sandwich” is easy to pack in a lunchbox, or put some jelly in a reusable container for dipping your granola bar. Pickiest eater approved!

15894655_1347248188681633_8129446858033933457_n

If you follow me on Instagram, you won’t be surprised that one of my favorite places to shop is Target. We go through a loaf of bread in like five minutes, so the fact that I can pick up our PB&J supplies and this adorable basket and PINK rolling pin, all while drinking coffee (bonus points if I’m alone!)… well, I’m sold. ;)

file_000

And I love love LOVE the Cartwheel app! Last month, I forgot my login password, and seriously spent an extra 20 minutes in the store trying every password I could possibly have used, then reseting my password, just so I could use my coupons. Ha!! Right now, both Smucker’s Fruit Spreads and Jif Peanut Butter Spreads have Cartwheel savings – which I totally used. Because seriously, five kids is kind of a lot and any little bit I can save makes me a happy mama!

dsc_9238-copy

Ready to make your own??

Peanut Butter (and Jelly!) Granola Bars

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground flax
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 – 1 cup raisins/chocolate chips/chopped nuts *optional

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
generous 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

optional toppings:

jelly
creamy peanut butter
bananas
chia seeds

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Combine all wet ingredients.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until evenly moistened.
4. Spoon onto 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper – press evenly into the pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown (27 minutes is the sweet spot for me!)
6. Let cool completely before cutting into pieces. If you don’t, they will be crumbly and not stay formed into bars. They will still be yummy, but they may be more like granola instead of bars. :)
7. Top with Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Fruit Spread, and maybe some bananas or chia seeds too!

dsc_9339-copy

My kids could NOT wait for this batch to cool, so we ended up with a lot of bite-sized pieces. Luckily, small pieces make the perfect snack.

dsc_9168-copy

How do you combat the boring lunch blues??

Delicious and Easy Veggie-Packed Spaghetti your Kids Will Love!

With baby on his way in the next few weeks, I’m all about keeping meals as easy as possible. But I don’t want to rely on chicken nuggets and tater tots, because eating real foods and lots of veggies is important to me! This delicious and veggie-packed spaghetti recipe is perfect for nights when I want to feed them something healthy, but I don’t have the time or energy to spend in the kitchen.delicious-easy-and-veggie-packed-spaghetti

 

Spaghetti doesn’t have to be from a jar to be easy! In the amount of time it takes you to boil noodles, you can give your family a nutritious meal that everyone will love. My kids GOBBLE this up. And these frozen herbs from Dorot help to make this meal seriously easy!

dsc_8247-copy

The ingredients you use can vary based on what you have on-hand. Here’s what I used:

spaghetti-ingredients

  • whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • two carrots
  • one onion
  • one green pepper
  • about three cups of kale, chopped
  • 5-6 mushrooms
  • ground beef (optional, of course, if your family goes meatless)
  • 2tsp oregano
  • 2tsp thyme
  • frozen garlic and basil from Dorot
  • two cans of tomato sauce
  • one can of tomato paste (DON’T skip the tomato paste! It’s key to thickening up the sauce!)

Other veggies you could use:

  • zucchini
  • spinach
  • parsnip
  • swiss chard
  • diced tomatoes

Before I get into the recipe, I have to tell you about these frozen herbs from Dorot. We found them at Trader Joe’s (you can find all locations to purchase here), and I have to tell you that they are SO convenient.

img_1552-copy

I’ll admit, I was a little bit skeptical about them. Why buy frozen herbs when you can just get them fresh? The kids were so intrigued by them as well!

img_1562-copy

But as I used them, I realized – this.is.GENIUS. I almost never keep fresh basil in the house. So when I want to use it, I have to buy it especially for a recipe. And that requires a little planning and forethought… and in this season of my life, both of those things are lacking. ;) It’s so perfect to have these teaspoon sized squares to pop into a dish and get the flavor of fresh without having to go out and buy it!

dsc_8200-copy

1. While your noodles are boiling, brown your ground beef. When it’s nearly cooked, toss in your green peppers, onions, and kale.

dsc_8198-copy

2. Shred your carrots and toss them in, along with three cubes of Dorot garlic (equal to three tsp of garlic) – you can add less if you’re not quite the garlic fans we are. ;)

dsc_8194-copy

3. Let those cook for a few minutes before adding the cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, and two cubes of basil from Dorot (equal to two tsp of basil). Cook until the sauce is hot.

dsc_8205-copy

Serve the sauce over noodles and eat.it.up!

dsc_8219-copy

This recipe makes a generous amount – it’s perfect for my family of six, with a little bit leftover. If you have a smaller family, divide the recipe in half or make the whole thing and freeze some for later!

dsc_8213-copy

These are super reasonably priced, but you can get a $1.00 off coupon to sweeten the deal.

dorot-garlic-tray-2322323-copy

I can’t wait to try out some of the other herbs! Having them on-hand to make yummy, nutritious dinners easier before and after baby is something I can get on board with. A few less things to chop = dinner comes a few minutes faster. And in my busy house, every minute counts!

delicious-and-easy-veggie-packed-spaghetti

Happy healthy eating!

Coconut Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles

We had our first taste of summer this week, so it’s got me thinking about cold treats. Ice cream, popsicles… mmmm, I’m hungry just thinking about it! Here’s my problem: as a mom of four little boys, I don’t like to give them a lot of sugary treats. So I came up with a super yummy popsicle that will satisfy your sweet tooth, but also leave you with a clean conscience.

Coconut Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • handful of chocolate chips
  • 6-7 strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk vanilla yogurt
  • approx. 1TBSP chia seeds (optional)*This recipe makes 8 popsicles*

1. Chop up the chocolate chips and strawberries into small pieces.

coconut popsicles_1

2. Mix the 1 1/4 c. of coconut milk and 1 1/4 c. of yogurt. Add in the chocolate chips and the strawberries.

coconut popsicles_2

3. If desired, add in chia seeds. In case you haven’t used chia seeds before, they are super good for you! They won’t change the flavor at all, but they’ll make the pops even healthier. You can even add more than the recommended amount!

coconut popsicles_3

4. Mix everything together and pour into your popsicle molds. If you don’t have popsicle molds, use paper cups and popsicle sticks.coconut popsicles_4

5. Wait at least four (torturous!) hours for your pops to freeze. Then slide them out of the molds and eat! If you’re having trouble getting them out of the molds, dip them in warm water to loosen.coconut popsicles_7

These popsicles are not super sweet, but they are incredibly delicious. If you like yours a little sweeter, here are some options: add more chocolate chips or fruit, drizzle chocolate over your popsicle, or use sweetened coconut milk. Change up the flavor of your pops by substituting a different berry, such as raspberries or strawberries. Use whichever is in season!coconut popsicles_8

The kiddos won’t realize they’re eating a healthy treat, and you can achieve super mom/aunt/grandma status by saying yes to these yummy pops!

coconut popsicles_5
Or don’t give them to the kids at all. Keep them all for yourself without an ounce of guilt. I promise, I won’t tell. ;)Coconut Strawberry Chocolate Popsicles - easy to make, super yummy, and good for you!

Peppermint Mocha {or hot cocoa!} Recipe

Here in Wisconsin, it is colder than COLD outside right now. So cold that all I can think about is wearing cozy sweaters and warm slippers with a hot drink in my hand. Preferably coffee. This peppermint mocha (or hot cocoa, for you non-coffee drinkers) recipe is perfect for snow days and holiday parties and having your girlfriends over. But to make it even better, I make this peppermint mocha recipe with homemade whipped cream! And I’m sharing both recipes with you today, so you can warm up this winter too.

Make your own Peppermint Mocha at home
Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3-4oz. espresso
  • Peppermint Essential Oil* or Peppermint Extract
    *I feel confident ingesting oils from Young Living, because they are 100% therapeutic grade oils, containing no chemicals or solvents. Do not ingest low quality, perfume grade oils that you can buy at the health food store, etc.

1. Mix 2 Tbsp hot cocoa powder with 2 Tbsp watermocha recipe 1

2. Mix with 2 cups milk. Heat to desired temperature.

mocha recipe 2

3. After the milk is heated, add two drops of peppermint essential oil. If you prefer to use peppermint extract, start with 1/8tsp and add more until you reach your desired flavor.

mocha recipe 4

4. Add 3-4oz. of espresso or very strong coffee. If you don’t have an espresso machine, I recommend a Moka Pot to make espresso on your stove top.

mocha recipe 3

5. Top with homemade whipped cream! Here’s your bonus (no refined sugar!) whipped cream recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 very generous Tbsp honey (I prefer to use raw honey!)

Mix together in a cold metal bowl until stiff peaks start to form, and top off your peppermint mocha!whipped cream

Serve these up without coffee for the kiddos after an afternoon sledding or make them fully caffed for your afternoon pick-me-up!

peppermint mocha 1

The homemade whipped cream and peppermint add a bit of decadence and make this mocha the most delicious mocha you’ve ever had!

peppermint mocha 3Plus, you don’t have to leave your house to get it if the weather is icky… and it will cost you a lot less than the coffee shop too. ;)peppermint mocha 5
You can drink it without the whipped cream for fewer calories, of course, but you’re seriously missing out if you don’t drink it with the whip at least once. Totally worth any extra calories. Then if you haven’t had enough peppermint, bake these Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for an extra yummy treat!

peppermint mocha 4

*If you’re interested in learning more about Young Living oils or why they’re the company I recommend, please feel free to check out their essential oils here or email me at ifonlytheywouldnap@gmail.com

Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (and a free treat topper printable!)

This time of year, I enjoy handing out small gifts to people who have made an impact on our lives – teachers, childcare volunteers, friends, neighbors, even postal carriers. But obviously we don’t have the money to buy each and every one of them an extravagant gift. I think that giving a small treat is a simple yet meaningful way to say “Merry Christmas, I appreciate you!”
Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie BarsDisclosure: This post is sponsored by Hefty. I received compensation for this post and these products. All opinions are my own.

These cookie bars are sooo delicious. And it can be our little secret, but they are actually pretty good for you! This recipe doesn’t contain any refined sugar, and it uses whole wheat flour, so it’s much better for you than your average cookie recipe! And the peppermint gives it a refreshing “Christmasy” surprise. :) There’s a good amount of butter, but I’m of the opinion that butter isn’t really bad for you. Even if you disagree, pretend you don’t for the sake of this recipe… it’s that good.

dsc_1928

These cookie bars, combined with the Hefty Treat Toppers  free printable make giving small gifts to everyone in your life simple and delicious. :) Three different versions, because a girl’s gotta have options.

dsc_1790

Start by gathering all your ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract (If you’re not a big fan of peppermint, substitute vanilla instead!)
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chips

Mix all your dry ingredients together. Then add the softened butter, honey, applesauce, eggs, and peppermint extract. Mix together.

dsc_1792

Now add your dark chocolate chips and spread the mixture into a deep baking dish. I would recommend stoneware or even a cast iron skillet if you have one. If not, make sure you grease the baking pan well.

dsc_1798

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine cooked perfectly at about 38 minutes.

dsc_1867Let your cookie bars cool before cutting into them – this is the tough part!

dsc_1877Then sample the fabulous peppermint dark chocolate combo. These cookie bars are perfectly moist and the peppermint flavor isn’t overwhelming.

dsc_1800Now grab yourself some Hefty Slider bags so that you can package these up for your friends and neighbors. Hefty created these super adorable Treat Toppers that you print out right at home. A day when I don’t have to take my four boys out shopping with me is a good day.

dsc_1922Simply print them out, fold, punch a couple of holes, and staple them to your Hefty slider bags. This is a great activity for the kids to help with. I love that these slider bags are super easy for them to use – they can always get them closed and don’t need to ask for help, at least this one time during the day. Mom for the win!

dsc_1943Add some festive ribbon and you’ve got the perfect last minute gift for that childcare volunteer you forgot to get something for… not that I’d know anything about that. ;)

dsc_1913Just don’t forget to save some for yourself, because you.need.these.in.your.life. Trust me.

Hefty has all kinds of great ideas to help make your holidays simpler, including ornaments and crafts you and your kids can make together during the cold winter days where you’re all stuck inside all the live long day.. and tips and products to make holidays easier. Because who doesn’t like easier?

dsc_1882Happy baking, friends!

20 Minute Creamy Garlic Spinach Pasta

Everything I do these days is done in short spurts of time. Sewing, cooking, cleaning… and if I have a longer stretch of time, obviously I’m going to spend it sewing. So I’m digging meals that are quick and easy, but also super yummy and still real food.20 Minute Creamy Garlic Spinach PastaThis meal was born out of a “uh oh, it’s 5:00 and I have no idea what I’m making for dinner” moment. It’s super easy to modify with whatever you have in the house. [and like most of my recipes, the amounts are approximate… I just can’t work with exacts when it comes to cooking!]

Ingredients

  • whole wheat pasta – spaghetti, angel hair, fettuccine – any of these would work well [you could certainly make this with regular or even wheat-free pasta as well]
  • spinach
  • garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • flour [i use whole wheat flour, but regular flour is fine too]
  • butter
  • milk
  • sea salt
  • mozzarella or fresh parmesan cheese [optional, but super yummy]
  • other possible add-ins: broccoli, peas, swiss chard, shrimp, chicken

1. Boil water for pasta. Get the pasta going before you start cooking the rest of the meal.DSC_00782. Chop garlic. I use about four cloves, because I love garlic. You could use two if you don’t want it to be quite as flavorful.DSC_00803. Sauté garlic in olive oil – add sea salt. Garlic burns quickly, so do this on a low-medium heat and watch it carefully. As soon as you add the spinach, it will be much less likely to burn.DSC_00824. Chop and add spinach [this is fresh from our CSA… so yummy]. I usually use at least double this amount. If you are using any other fresh veggies [swiss chard, broccoli], chop and add those at this time as well. Add a little more sea salt and sauté.

5. Make a roux – if you’ve never done this before, it’s super easy. You use equal parts butter and flour, and mix together in the pan to form kind of a paste. I usually use a large sauté pan and just push my veggies to the side and make the roux right in the pan. You could also use a separate pan. I then add a little milk to the roux to make a cream sauce.DSC_01086. Then add the cooked pasta to the pan. Mix it up with the cream sauce and then stir the veggies together with the pasta. [you can see I added some swiss chard to my spinach here] Totally optional, but I like to add some shredded mozzarella or fresh parmesan and mix it in.DSC_0111If you have some pre-cooked shrimp or frozen peas, toss them in for a few minutes to heat them up. This recipe is also perfect for adding a little leftover chicken. [you could also sauté the chicken while you’re making it, but that will add a few minutes to your cooking time] My almost two-year-old absolutely devours this meal – last time I made it, he had four helpings. This boy can eat.

And now I’m hungry..

What’s your favorite quick real food meal to make? I’d love some of your ideas too!

Curry Squash Apple Soup

I truly adore soup season. There’s something about a bowl of soup that just makes me want to cozy up beside a fire. [of course, I’d need to have a fireplace first…]

The other thing I love about soup? My kids eat it. And love it. It’s one of the few ways my two-year-old willingly eats vegetables. Not that he knows the veggies are there… but it’s a meal without a fight, which is a big win for mama.

When it comes to favorites, it’s a toss up between my Potato Leek Soup and this one – Curry Squash Apple Soup. Both are super easy and very customizable to what you and your family like. And since I’ve already shared one recipe, here’s the other, so you can pick your fave!

Curry Squash Apple Soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 apples
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • curry powder
  • sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red pepper flakes *optional

Chop up the garlic cloves and throw them into your stockpot with some olive oil, sea salt, and curry powder. You don’t want the garlic to be in there too long by itself, or it will burn – just enough to start to release those yummy garlic flavors!

Chop up the squash and apples – I don’t peel the apples, just wash them.  There are so many good nutrients in the skin that you don’t want to miss out on.  Throw them in the pot, plus salt and curry powder, to taste. If you want to add red pepper flakes, do this now. It will add some spice to your soup, but you won’t need much.

Saute until the squash and apples begin to cook a bit, then add your broth.

Note: You could easily cook this in a slow cooker, you could cook it all day on low, or 4 hours on high.  If you are doing this on the stove, it usually takes about 45 minutes.

After everything is all cooked, add the sour cream and blend with an immersion blender. I usually add a big spoonful or two. The sour cream gives it a good creaminess, though I’m sure you could make the soup without it if you are a dairy-free family. You could also sub plain greek yogurt – I do that quite often.

We usually serve this with quinoa [just like with the potato leek soup!]. My two-year-old and my fifteen-month-old both eat their soup served right over the quinoa. It makes it a little easier to eat for them. The quinoa makes the meal a little heartier, which is important for some of my bottomless pit boys!

Let me know if you try out the recipe! Do you have a favorite soup recipe? Please share a link in the comments! And check out Delia’s Soup of the Day series going on this month… YUM!

Super Yummy Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Bread

Confession: I’m not a big baker. I l.o.v.e. to cook [like this lick-the-bowl potato leek soup], but I’m not too big on baking in general.

The big exception to the rule, though, is banana bread. Everyone around here goes crazy for it – myself included. We eat it so quickly, we’re lucky if we can get a loaf to last more than 24 hours before it’s been devoured.

I have had a recipe that I’ve used pretty consistently over the past few years [thank you to my dear sister-in-law Lisa!] But as much as I loved it, I wanted to make it my own – and to try to make it a little healthier.

So after some experimenting, I think I’ve settled on a recipe that I’m really happy with – and happy to feed my kids. It’s low in refined sugar, packs a healthier punch than your typical banana bread recipe, and leaves everyone asking for another slice.

Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oats [edited: i originally said quick oats… don’t ask me why… use regular ones, that is what i actually use!]
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt

3 very ripe bananas – mashed
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1tsp vanilla
1/2 cup yogurt (I suggest plain whole milk yogurt – if I don’t have plain, I use vanilla yogurt and omit the tsp of vanilla)
1/3 cup buttermilk OR 1/3 cup milk with a squirt or two of lemon juice (allow it to sit a few minutes before mixing it in)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it preheats, mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Slowly combine the two, mixing them  together thoroughly. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out dry. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least five minutes [which will be ridiculously difficult, because it will smell so.darn.good.] before removing it.

But this recipe doesn’t come without warning. Be careful, you might not be able to hold yourself back from eating the entire loaf in one day.

Linking up to these par-tays!

Meals Kids Love: Potato Leek Soup!

Did you see any of the Meals Kids Love series, put on by Jenny over at The Southern Institute for Domestic Arts and Crafts?  There are some great looking meals over there.  We tried the Thai noodles and the lemon pepper talapia, which were [mostly] a hit.  If you don’t include the fact that my fifteen-month-old wouldn’t even touch them.  At all. [Picture me pulling out my hair, as this happens nearly every meal…. grr]

To share in the fun, Jenny is hosting a link-up, so I thought I’d hop over there with a meal that we love at our house.

Potato Leek Soup

2 sprigs rosemary
1 bunch parsley
1-2 carrots and/or 4 parsnips
6-8 large potatoes [not the huge baking potatoes]
3-4 leeks
2 cloves garlic
2 cups water
2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
salt/pepper to taste

This recipe is super easy and quick, and it can be altered to fit your family.  I tend to not actually follow recipes, so I just threw this together one night, and every time I make it, it’s a bit different.  So if you don’t have these exact ingredients, don’t panic – you can probably wing it and come up with something yummy.

Chop up the veggies – I don’t peel carrots, parsnips, or potatoes, just wash them.  There are so many good nutrients in the skin that you don’t want to miss out on.  If you’ve never worked with leeks before, cut off the ends, and then slice them lengthwise.  Wash them once they are sliced, so you can get all the little dirtilies that might be hiding inside.  Normally, when you cook with leeks, you just use the white end, but when making soup, you can use the entire thing.  Throw all the veggies in the pot or crockpot.

Chop up the garlic cloves, rosemary, and parsley.  Throw them in the pot as well.

Add all the liquid to the pot, as well as some salt/pepper.

This is my favorite broth to use.  So, so yummy.  I’ve made this soup with either vegetable or chicken broth, and both turn out great.  If you are a dairy-free family, you can easily leave out the milk here, just add more broth and/or water.

If you are going to cook this in a slow cooker, you could cook it all day on low, or 4 hours on high.  If you are doing this on the stove, it usually takes about 45 minutes. [If you are really short on time, saute the veggies for a little bit before adding the liquid, and the soup should be cooked even faster.]

After everything is all cooked, add the sour cream and blend with an immersion blender.  If your kids have an aversion to anything green (because this does have a green tint to it!), adding more sour cream will cover that up.  You could even skip the sour cream all together, but I like the little bit of creaminess it gives the soup.  Sometimes I don’t add much at all, other times I add more.

Loved by even the pickiest of eaters!

Delicious!  If your kids don’t like the texture of soup, my youngest loves to eat this mixed with quinoa (which also adds some protein).

This does make a LOT of soup – enough for our family, plus leftovers, plus some to freeze.  Which I always do, because it will make a super fast meal on those “um, it’s 5:00 and I haven’t even thought about dinner yet” nights.

Happy souping!