“Instant” Italian soup


I saw this idea for “instant” on-the-go soups in both Martha Stewart and Cooking Light and admit I was skeptical. Would it have decent flavor? Would vegetables get “cooked” enough?

I have played around with ingredients and can say, yes! It’s not as good as long-simmered soups, but a healthier, fresher option than canned soup. Hub loves it as a work lunch–just add hot water (like found from the coffee maker in an office).

A variety of ingredients work and it sits well too so you can make several days’ worth at a time. Enjoy!

Instant Italian Soup (2 servings)

  • 1 box Parmesan couscous (uncooked)
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2c navy beans
  • 1/3c spinach or kale, chopped 
  • 1 chicken sundried tomato mozzarella sausage, sliced
  • 1/4c matchstick carrots
  • Handful small tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • Salt & pepper

Layer ingredients in 2 wide-mouth jars. Sprinkle the couscous with the parmesan seasoning packet. Top the vegs with the pesto and salt and pepper. When ready to eat, fill jar with hot water, cover and let steep for 3-5 min. 

Oysters on the Embarcadero


We just returned from a mother-son trip to San Francisco. Mostly we were looking at a few colleges, but it was also a chance to eat! 

It’s a joy to travel with Alec because he’s adventurous–I never have to search out “kid-friendly” menus, we just find the best places, including trying new foods like oysters. (“Mostly they taste like whatever you put on them,” was his summary.)
We ate our way through the Ferry Building. Highlights: the gruyere on the breakfast sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery, strawberry icecream from Humphrey Slocombe, mexican street corn from Gotts, cold press from Blue Bottle coffee, salami sandwich from Boccalone/Acme Bread. And of course eating oysters outside in one of the greatest cities in the world 😉

Some say the boys are spoiled. I think I’m the one who’s lucky.

Steak salad with beets & goat cheese


The seasons are changing. The berries and tomatoes are done, and the root vegetables and fall squash are getting going. I do my best to enjoy every last nice day before it gets über cold 😦

The boys love this salad, mainly because of the dressing. Mix in whatever vegetables look good and protein of your choice, but don’t skip the goat cheese, cranberries and dill. And dressing!

Flank steak

  • 1.5lb flank steak
  • 1/4c soy sauce
  • 2tsp ginger
  • Red pepper flakes

Marinate steak at least 2hours and up to 8. Grill or broil to desired temp.

Salad dressing

  • 3roasted beets, cooled and sliced
  • Orange pepper, julienned 
  • 3oz goat cheese, crumbled 
  • 4 tbsp dried cranberries 
  • 1tsp dried dill
  • 1tbsp pine nuts
  • 8cups mixed greens

Pan roasted garlic butter dressing 

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Saute garlic in butter. Cool. Add olive oil, lemon juice, dijon, shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper.