Category Archives: Soup

Taco (or whatever) Seasoning-Make your own!

Seriously, friends, those little taco/fajita/whatever seasoning packets are such a waste of money.

Also they kind of taste like…I don’t know…preservatives?

I get it.  They’re easy and convenient. Fine.

But pretend you want a taco.


((It happens. Don’t act like it doesn’t.))

Now pretend you have everything you need EXCEPT the darn packet that makes it a taco.

(Because the vast majority of foods could become a taco when placed in a tortilla, ((which you can make at home anyway)) this happens often)

Should you run to the store, pay more in gas than the packet costs, wait in line, wait in traffic wait wait wait wait wait


Make your own and have tacos now.

I choose the second one. Always.  Because those little packets are gross. Also, I’m impatient when I’m hungry.

The same rule applies, maybe even more, for sudden fajita cravings.

Plus I have all the seasonings that go in taco seasoning in my pantry right now.  They don’t have to be mystery ingredients. They aren’t difficult to find.  They’re spices for delicious real life. Get with me here.

All you need is: [love] and…

Now, I’m calling this taco seasoning because that was its original purpose but let’s get real here…

it goes on anything.

Sprinkle it on things you’re gonna roast, toast, saute, scramble, slow cook, soup or sandwich and anything else you can think of.  It tastes just as delicious on vegetables or beans as it would on meat.

Maybe keep it away from ice cream, though.

If you throw together a bunch of it and keep it in a little jar/tupperware container/plastic baggie (I don’t care) you’ll save a step and some brain power when dinner time sneaks up on you.

Seasoning dinner doesn’t take long but this way you don’t have to think about it and that’s just one delicious container you need to reach for.

I know they already did this “blend of spices in one container” thing.  But do it yourself and it’s cheaper, tastier and gives things a vague Mexican flavor.  What’s not to love?

This isn’t really a recipe.  More like an idea. You’re allowed to change the spices and proportions to suit your needs and tastes.

In fact, please do.

I would be lying if I told you I followed the measurements I listed in the recipe every time…they’re close enough, though.  Basically it’s just nice to have a favorite blend of spices on hand.

  So uh…try it and stuff.  Bet you’ll like it better than a foil envelope.


❤ Ellen

p.s. homemade ketchup coming up next. DIY FTW!

Seasoning Blend for Tacos…and so much more!

I’m giving you the guide I used…it’s a great base to adjust to taste!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika1 1/2 HEAPING teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix it all together (and you feel better).

….lime and coconut? anyone

((3 tablespoons to a packet))


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Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Hodge Podge, Main Dish, Sides, Slow Cooker, Snacks, Soup, Uncategorized

Cashew “Cream” of Mushroom Soup

Am I allowed to squeeze in one more soup recipe?

It’s looking more and more like spring time every day!!!

I’m trying not to get too giddy.  It’s that teaser time of year when the flowers start peeking and you get a couple of glorious 70 degree days….

…but the weather could turn on you any second and you just never know when it’s gonna snow.

Think of this soup as insurance.  When that freak March snowstorm hits, you will be prepared with some coziness.

Love this soup.  It fits my quick and easy criteria.  I did  throw in some ingredients that don’t really fit my “cheap and probably already in your pantry” criteria but LUCKILY! they’re unnecessary.  Delicious, though. Highly recommend.

((what can I say…the Whole Foods bulk bins got me))

I know what you’re thinking. The title “cream of mushroom soup” conjures images of jiggly greyish goop….

I have not made jiggly goop for you.

No glop that holds the shape of a can here!

It’s “creamy” but it’s sneaky….there’s no actual cream involved!  ((I know that sounds weird too…trust me on this.))

It’s warm comforting soup that feels a little lighter….because spring is coming!


Warmth and sunshine!!!

I’m so excited!!!

Can you tell?

I’ll stay calm, it’s still cold.

Here’s some warmth for your belly while we wait.

The secret:

Those guys become nutty delicious cream.

I know.

It’s pretty cool.

They need to soak for a bit, though. You can just dump them in some water before you start preparing the rest of the soup.  They’ll be ready by the time you need them. ((You are SO cooperative cashews, thank you.))

((Afraid of cashew cream? Can’t afford it? Flat out don’t wanna?
Ok. Then don’t.  Regular cream works just fine! ))

Here’s the other thing that’s a little bit different:

Dried porcini mushrooms.  These guys will make sure the soup smacks you upside the head with mushroom flavor.  It’s a deep, earthy, means business kind of thing that you just don’t get with regular mushroom.

((Again…unnecessary…but seriously delicious))

They’re dried so they need to rehydrate.  Let them soak up the sun (er…water)

Ok now that the divas are taken care of…it’s time to get chopping.


and dice

Onions in a pot

now garlic

Baby bellas and celery…plus Worcestershire and soy sauces

Broth and pepper…rosemary and thyme…porcinis in their soaking juice…simmer down now…

While it simmers…you can deal with the cashew cream.  Just dump the cashews and water in a blender and blend until it’s smooth.

Oh hey look…

Cream of Mushroom.


❤ Ellen

Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup

Recipe adapted from Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

olive oil (to saute)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
about 1/2-3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms (measured when dried)
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups broth of choice (vegetable suggested)
salt to taste (though I don’t think it needs any more…the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce took care of that…)
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 1/2 cups hot water, divided

1. Place the cashews in 1/2 cup water and set aside to soften

2. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of water and set aside to soften

3. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the diced onions and cook until softened and beginning to brown.  Add the celery and minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the baby bella mushrooms, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook until the mushrooms begin to break down and brown, stirring occasionally.

5. Add the broth, black pepper, rosemary, thyme and porcini mushrooms (including the water they soaked in).  Allow the soup to simmer until the mushrooms are completely softened.

6.  While the soup simmers, put the cashews and 1/2 cup of water in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Pour the resulting cream into the soup and stir to combine.

**If you want you could make truly creamy soup using and immersion blender or by blending the whole soup in a regular blender in batches.  In that case, stir the cashew cream into the soup AFTER it has been pureed.  We like chunky soup in this house.  To each his own =)


Filed under Main Dish, Soup, Uncategorized

Easiest Tomato Soup EVER

There was a time when absolutely nothing could convince me to eat tomato soup.

Not even goldfish crackers.

The soup just ruined the crackers as far as I was concerned.

Red mystery substance that tasted like…not tomatoes?


For those of you who swear by canned tomato soup…let me convert you.

I’m amazed by how easy this is.

Do you have a can of crushed tomatoes in your pantry?

If you do, then you ALSO have tomato soup!

Soup from a can that says crushed tomatoes is WAY better than the stuff from the can that says tomato soup.

For. Real.

Plus people will think you’re fancy because you MADE tomato soup.

I won’t tell if you won’t….there’s nothing fancy/difficult/gourmet about this.

It just tastes that way =)

So! Time me.  Ready. Set. GO!

First: cook up some onions

Throw in a little thyme while you’re at it!

I had some mushrooms leftover and decided that would be good too.

It was.

That’s happening every time now.

Next comes tomatoes + milk

I’m not a huge creamy soup fan but the half cup of milk gives it juuuuust the right touch

Then all you do is stir in some pesto and let it heat through.

Seriously. That’s all.

Awesome right?

Even awesome-er with hunks of bread spread with a bit of pesto, topped with Parmesan cheese, and broiled.

((I used cheddar garlic bread from Great Harvest!  Cheating? Maybe. Also delicious.))

Dunk a hunk of crusty cheesy bread in a mug full of steaming soup

Look at those chunks of mushroom, onion and tomato!

Look at that cheese!

That DEFINITELY tastes like tomato.

And it only took you like half an hour if you’re slow!!

What rainy day?

Suddenly it’s warm in here.


❤ Ellen

Easiest Tomato Soup Ever

About half an onion

About 1 cup chopped mushrooms

28oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup milk or cream

3 tablespoons pesto

salt and thyme to taste

1. Saute onions with thyme in a large pot until the onions are soft and transparent

2.  Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until softened

2. Add the tomatoes, water and cream, simmer 20 minutes

3. Stir in pesto at the end


  • You could puree the final product if you want but I prefer chunky soup
  • The crushed tomatoes, water and milk are the only necessaries here.  That could be the whole deal if you like it that way.  You could add anything you want.  Garlic?  Crushed red? A million other vegetables? Whatever.  Go crazy!  Let me know if you hit on a winner

Special thanks to our guest photographer!  The one and only Daniel. Thanks for the action shots!


Filed under Main Dish, Soup, Uncategorized