soap + soup

My morning started off with a nut butter + jelly English muffin samich.  Then it was off to the pool.  Have I mentioned what the weather has been like lately?  I’m pretty sure the past 2 weeks it’s been in the 50’s nearly every day and today it was 60!  Definitely should have ridden my bike!


  • 100m kickboard warm up
  • 500m freestyle
  • 250m aqua jog
  • 500m breast stroke
  • 250m aqua job
  • 250m freestyle
  • 50m kickboard cool down

Felt awesome but I was famished afterwards!

Refuel:  Greek yogurt [voskos 2% looove!]  + vanilla cinnamon banana bread + chocolate grahams

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Busy busy day. yet again.  I swear, one day, I will sit on my butt all day long and it will be fabulous.  One daaay….

Today I was getting ready for baby Jake to come!  Melissa + Matt planned to stay the night and then leave for the airport in the morning.  Chris and I are on Jake duty until Sunday.  :)

Fabulous vegan mac n’ cheese leftovers were for lunch.  Best way to reheat this dish? 

  • Heat in a pan over med/low heat with a 2-3T plain almond milk, until creamy and heated through. 

Love how the noodles got a little crispy!

I added mushrooms in the mix and sautéed them before adding the noodles.  Deeeelicious.  There were a lot of comments asking how this could possibly taste like mac n’ cheese and a few saying they were going to cook it for skeptical healthy food eaters in their family.  A few things…

  1. It definitely doesn’t get stringy + gooey like real cheese, but it does have a cheese-like flavor.
  2. Don’t tell people you are making mac n’ cheese or they will be very confused.
  3. If you’re serving this to skeptical food eaters, tell them you’re making a noodle casserole that uses a sauce similar to alfredo.

Although this tastes WAY better than any alfredo I’ve ever had.  You just don’t want them expecting ooey, gooey cheese.  I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t like this! 

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As if the day wasn’t busy enough, I was trying to get laundry done and ran out of detergent.  Good thing I make my own and didn’t have to head to the store again!  I whipped up another batch in no time.  In doing so, I grated my thumb, on the knuckle, almost down to the bone.  It felt lovely.  And then I smashed a finger in the closet door.  And then dirty words came out of my mouth.

But at least we’ll have clean clothes!  This is a really cute homemade gift for the holidays too.  Very eco-friendly too!  Just mix it up and stick it in a mason jar with a measuring spoon!  Not sure you can use it with the front loading washers though, so just be careful.  This is my third batch.  I made the first towards the end of July.  So, 2 batches in about 5 months.  I do laundry ALL of the time, even for just 2 people.  Definitely saving money with this and it’s much easier on the environment…and your clothes. :)

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Okay…now to the good stuff! Wake up!!

Even though it was 60*, I was in the mood for soup. 

Broccoli Cheddar soup to be exact.  Melissa is a bean-hater [I can’t imagine!!], so I wanted to make something she would enjoy.

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I looked up a handful of recipes, just for ratios, but really tried to put this together myself!  I think it turned out quite well.  Everyone seemed pleased. 

I was planning on using real cheese in this, but still wanted it to be on the healthy side.  A lot of recipes call for heavy cream and numerous cups of cheese.  Instead of cream, I decided to use potatoes to help thicken things up and make the soup creamy.  It worked!  I used veggie broth and a very small amount of whole milk. 

I chose to use leeks, instead of onion, for a more delicate flavor.  You can definitely sub onion, but I just happen to love leeks.

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They’re just so pretty and mellow in flavor.

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Sauté  the leeks in 3T of butter for a few minutes until lightly browned.  I really think the butter adds great flavor, although olive oil can be used.

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Potatoes were cooked for a few minutes, garlic was added, and then 1/4c of all purpose flour to help thicken the soup. 

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The veggie broth was added and the potatoes simmered in that for about 10min.  2lbs of broccoli went in next for about 5 minutes.

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Then I got my puree on.  Although, the texture was still a bit mealy using the immersion blender.  I decided it needed a quick spin in the Vita-Mix.  That did the trick!!  This soup was extremely smooth and thick. 

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I’ll take better photos of it in daylight tomorrow, but the light box is still a great option at night!

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I recommend using an extra sharp cheddar for the most flavor and adding in about 1/2-1t smoked paprika.  Thank you Ashley for turning me on to this amazing gem of an ingredient.  I think it really brought this soup together.  There was just a slight hint of smokiness in the background. 

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For the veggie broth I used a 50% low sodium + 50% regular and then added salt to taste.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup [serves 6-8…definitely 6 in this house!]

  • 3T butter
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed [yukon gold or fingerling preferred – leave skins on]
  • 2 leeks, washed thoroughly + chopped [use the bottom 4-5” of the leek]
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large heads of broccoli ~2lbs [can use frozen]
  • 7c veggie broth
  • 3-4oz grated extra sharp cheddar cheese [~1.5c]
  • 1/4c all-purpose flour
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/2c organic whole milk
  • 1/2-1t smoked paprika [could maybe sub a chipotle spice instead]
  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add in chopped leeks and cook for about 5min, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add cracked black pepper [~1/4t to start] + stir. 
  4. Add cubed potatoes and cook for another 5min, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add flour and stir.  Cook for 1min.
  6. Add minced garlic and stir.  Cook for 1min.
  7. Add in broth and bring to a low boil for about 8-10min, until potatoes have softened [but not mushy].
  8. Add in broccoli and let simmer for 5min.
  9. Stir in cheese + milk.
  10. Blend using immersion blender or stand up blender, until nice and smooth. *I recommend a stand up blender.  Start low but work it up to high for maximum smoothness!  If using a blender, you will need to do this in 2 batches.  Empty the first half in the bowl and repeat blending the 2nd half.  Then pour it all back into the pot over medium-low heat.
  11. Add smoked paprika, salt + pepper to taste.
  12. Simmer for 10min, occasionally whisking.
  13. Top portions with extra shredded cheese and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

We ate this alongside gooey grilled cheese samiches.  Just as comforting as last night’s mac n’ cheese!

I’m pretty sure this would also be delicious accompanied by Mama Pea’s Garlic Biscuits!!

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Off to bed so I can be well rested for the little one tomorrow!!

<3 Ashley