Category Archives: soups

pumpkin and white bean bisque with sage pesto

This year is flying by!!  Even my 18-year-old can’t believe it’s the middle of November already.  I think she is realizing that college move-in day is inching closer and closer.  Even though it will be a big change, we are all very excited for her.  She was accepted into the Honors College at WSU and will be a pre-vet student majoring in animal sciences.  School starts in August, so the countdown is on, especially for her 15-year-old brother, who will be moving into her room 🙂

Cooking Light had this soup in its latest Thanksgiving issue.  It would be a great first course to your Thanksgiving meal, or have it as a great autumnal dinner with some homemade bread.  This soup is very easy, since it uses pantry items, has a great texture thanks to the pureed beans and has a small amount of heat thanks to the cumin and cayenne.  The pesto puts it over the top, but of course you could omit it.  I made it vegetarian with vegetable stock, but the original recipe called for chicken stock.


Pumpkin and White Bean Bisque with Sage Pesto

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Sage Pesto

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. water

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, 1 Tbsp. chopped sage, and garlic to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add ground red pepper and cumin, sauté one minute.  Stir in 1/2 cup vegetable broth and cook one minute, scraping pan to loosen any bits from bottom.  Combine onion mixture, 2 cups vegetable broth, beans, and pumpkin in blender and process until smooth.  Return to pan.  Stir in milk and salt.  Bring to a simmer, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in vinegar.

To make pesto:  Combine 1 Tbsp. chopped sage, spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil and water in a mini food processor.  Process until smooth.

To serve, ladle 2/3 cup soup in a bowl and top with 2 teaspoons pesto.  Serves 8.

Recipe from Cooking Light, November 2013.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder for the soup:

8 servings = 2 Points Plus

for the pesto:

8 servings = 1 Points Plus

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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in soups, vegetarian


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zucchini vichyssoise

Yesterday was Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.  Hmm… porch was empty.  I’ll give my friends and neighbors a pass though, since it’s not a well advertised event.  They probably didn’t even realize it was occurring since Target didn’t display themed merchandise two months in advance so you can properly prepare.

I’m surprised Halloween candy isn’t already on the shelves.

But luckily this year I am growing a decent crop in my garden.  Last year’s bounty was horrible and I thought I might be in the Bermuda Triangle of Zucchini.  I mean, who plants zucchini, and then gets two?

Super easy, super nutritious and Weight Watcher friendly.


Zucchini Vichyssoise

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups chopped, unpeeled white potatoes
  • 4 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium-low heat  Add onion or leeks and saute for 10 minutes.  Add potatoes, zucchini, stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes, then blend with an immersion blender.  Adjust salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot or cold.  Makes 12 cups.

Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each 1 1/2 cup serving has 4 Points Plus.

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in points plus, soups, vegetarian


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butternut squash and sage soup

It’s tradition in our house to have breakfast in bed and the dinner of your choice on your birthday.  My daughter turned 17 on Tuesday and requested butternut squash soup and biscuits.  I’ve never been happy with the recipe I’ve used in the past.  It just lacked flavor.

I found this recipe on and after making it, realized that the simple act of roasting the squash before putting it into the broth made all the difference.  It was delicious, super low in Points, and made the birthday girl very happy!

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

  • 6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for 15 minutes. Turn the cubes over and continue roasting for 15 minutes or until they are caramelized; set aside.

In a Dutch oven or a large stockpot, heat the butter and the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and sage and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the squash, broth, and the remaining salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is flavorful. Remove from heat.  Using an immersion blender, process until smooth.

Makes 10 cups.

Recipe adapted from

Using the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, each 1 2/3 cup serving has 3 PointsPlus.


Posted by on October 26, 2012 in points plus, soups, vegetarian


cauliflower and cheese soup

Yesterday my 5th grader’s teacher sent home a sample of our son’s writing for us to read. As Alex read it aloud my jaw hit the floor.  I’ve always dreamed of becoming an author, but I think someone else in the family has more of a gift than I do:

(He was given a picture of a shipwreck and 10 minutes to write an expository paragraph);

As I walk barefoot on the beach, I discover the rusty bow of a modern ship.  When I go closer for further          inspection, I find it corroded by the pounding of the tides, with a few shattered remains of the stern, splayed across the beach from when the water receded.  I decide to go get some swimwear on so I can go inside the ship.  Fishing nets are strewn across the ground, with rusty crab traps littering the bow.  The pungent smell of dead sea animals floods my nose, and I decide to head into the Captain’s room.  There I find the name of the ship, The S.S. Skipper, along with some personal belongings.  There was something strange about this ship, and with that feeling still haunting me, I left it without seeing the blood splattered in the captain’s room.

I still can’t believe a 10-year-old wrote this.  I loved “swimwear” and the use of “pungent”.  Are there writing summer camps?  We must harness this power for good, not evil!

p.s. After he read it out loud, he looked at me and asked “Mom, is this blog-worthy?”.  Yes, indeed Sweetie, it is.

And so is this cauliflower and cheese soup!

Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper for garnish

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add cauliflower and cook until just beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes.  Add broth and water, bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, process until smooth (or use blender, making sure to vent steam to prevent splashes and burns).

Add cheese to soup and stir until melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne.  Makes 10 cups (6 servings of 1 1/3 cups each).

Recipe from Everyday Foods.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, each serving has 6 PointsPlus.


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mushroom barley soup

What a weekend!  We celebrated my sister’s 40th birthday party on Saturday night.  Her husband planned a surprise party, complete with a “roast” by a actor/performer.  I think she downed 2 martini’s during the performance, but who’s counting!  We had some great laughs (sorry Lou!) at her expense.  But I felt great since I had 3 people, but who’s counting, ask me who was older, me or her.  🙂

For the record, I am.

And now I’d like to introduce you to my new favorite soup!  I still can’t believe how easy it was to put together and how low the Weight Watcher’s Points are.  Very hearty and satisfying, full of whole grain and vegetables.

Next time I will probably add another package (8oz) of sliced mushrooms, which would add another PointsPlus per serving.

Mushroom Barley Soup

  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2  carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 package of white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cans low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  •  2 bay leaves
  • 2 T. fresh thyme, minced or 1/2 tsp. dried
  •  Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pan, bring 4 cups of water and the 1 cup of barley to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the barley is soft. (You can make this the night before).

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft. Add the carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they are soft.  Add the vegetable broth, water, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, this entire recipe has 27 PointsPlus.  If you divided the pot into 8 servings, each serving would have 3 PointsPlus.  Divided into 6, each serving would have 4 PointsPlus.

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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in points plus, soups, vegetarian


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sweet potato soup with quinoa and coconut milk

Why did I pick this week to decrease my caffeine intake?  I have been enjoying 5 (don’t tell Marc) cups of coffee and a diet soda every day for as long as I can remember.  Which actually isn’t saying much, since my memory seems to be on a decline.  I have repeatedly asked my physician husband if I/we should be concerned.  He replies “no, but the next time I tell you that you already told me something, believe me!”

Anyway, I decreased to two cups and no soda two days ago and my headache today was asking me “why?!?  My tailbone was also asking my why I forgot to take naproxen, but that’s another story 🙂

As I was lamenting to my cousin about the withdrawals, he suggested that I could always switch to chocolate.  Evil, evil cousin.

This soup seems like a great antidote to my chemical dependency on caffeine.  Packed with vitamins from the sweet potato, creamy from the coconut milk and protein-rich from the quinoa.  I feel healthier already!

Sweet Potato Soup with Quinoa and Coconut Milk

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place sweet potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked but don’t break apart.

In a large part, saute the onion in the water until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the quinoa and broth, cover and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer sweet potatoes to pot with quinoa.  With an immersion blender, partially blend to thicken soup.  Leave some sweet potato pieces whole.  Stir in the coconut milk and spices.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Makes 7 cups (5 servings).

Recipe from A Veggie Venture.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder, each 11 oz. serving has 5 PointsPlus.

Using the Simply Filling Technique, each serving has 1 PointsPlus.


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Good news on the dog fostering front.  Anna took Pablo to an adoption fair over the weekend and it looks like he has found himself a permanent home!  We have enjoyed him for 2 weeks and he will make a great addition to a lucky family.  If all goes well, he will go his new home on Tuesday.

I have seen this soup on most Greek restaurant menus and have always wanted to try it.   But then the dolmas and spanikopitas speak louder to me (yes, my food talks to me) and I never order it.  Probably a good thing, because I usually make things better at home anyways (yes, I am tooting my own horn).  Oh, it’s so, so good.  A lemony, chicken with rice soup, made creamy with the addition of a whisked-in egg and brightened with a sprinkling of basil and parsley. Yummy!


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 1/2 cups fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (8 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. torn fresh basil

 Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes.  Add chicken broth, bring to boil.  Stir in rice; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.  Combine juice, cornstarch, salt, pepper and egg in a small bowl.  Slowly pour egg into broth, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Add chicken to broth mixture; cook until soup thickens and rice is done (about 5 minutes).  Top with parsley and basil.  Makes 4 servings (1 1/2 cups each).

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012.

Using the Weight Watcher’s Recipe Builder and the recipes stats, each 1 1/2 cup serving has 5 PointsPlus.


Posted by on March 19, 2012 in chicken, points plus, soups


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