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test kitchen: eggplant and white bean soup

My two favorite food blogs are Stone Soup and Cheap Healthy Good. For months, I’ve had my eyes on so many of their recipes and now that I finally have a kitchen again, I can see if the recipes taste as good as the look on the zee internetz! When Jules of Stone Soup posted a recipe on how to make Eggplant and White Bean Soup, I knew that I had to try it out. Then Cheap Healthy Good adapted the recipe, replacing the liquid that the beans are coated in with chicken broth for soup stock.  I decided I liked the adaptation and felt a little adventurous. Prior to last night, I never made fresh soup before. 

I was so excited to make up my shopping list, yet I was cringing at the same time. Have you ever noticed when you move into a new place, that the first grocery bill is always the most expensive? I needed to stock up on the necessities, such as olive oil, marinades, salad dressings, Parmesan cheese, and of course, Frank’s Red Hot. The Price Chopper that is within walking distance of my apartment isn’t exactly known for its variety when it comes to food selection. I wanted to buy humanely raised chicken but when I saw that it was $8, I couldn’t put it in my cart. When I lived in Saratoga, that kind of chicken was $5 or $6, or sometimes even cheaper than that. I’m going to check out Cardona’s on Delaware and see how their poultry is priced. They only sell humanely raised meat and poultry. I went for the regular chicken instead even though I know how cruel and inhumane the slaughtering processes are. It was only $3 and was easier on my wallet. I tried to ease my conscience by buying cage-free eggs and humanely raised chicken sausage from Cohoes, a town only 15-20 minutes away from Albany. The sausage was only $3.99, so I am very excited to try it out!

I was also able to find 6 ears of corn for $1.98! I know this is going to sound like I’m from the boondocks, but I don’t care. I am from the boonies and I love to shuck corn. People always look at me as if I have three heads when I say that but it’s the truth. My family used to go out on my grandparents’ porch in the summertime and shuck corn together. It was a great time!

With great power comes great responsibility and with 6 ears of corn, you have to figure out what to do with it so it doesn’t go bad. I chopped up an ear of corn and put it in the soup. Eggplant is already a sweet vegetable and I thought the corn would compliment it nicely. It did. It took me two hours to make, prep time included, but I was so happy after because I never made soup before, and this recipe was from two of my favorite food blogs! It’s delicious and I’m very excited to eat it for lunch tomorrow. 


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no alarms and no surprises, please.

If there is one quirk about me, it’s that every week I like to buy a bar of chocolate for myself. When I was in NYC last weekend, my friends and I went into a Duane Reed to escape the cold, and my little and I headed straight to the candy section. I saw this:

I was intrigued. I’m no stranger to the combination of chili and chocolate. In Oneonta, I tried Mexican Chili Chocolate gelato at The Latte Lounge. It was delicious. However, I could not justify spending $4.00 on a chocolate bar when I knew that I would be able to get it cheaper upstate. I found it in Price Chopper for $1.99 with my Advantage card. Victory was mine.

I broke the golden supermarket rule of eating something before you buy it but I couldn’t help it- curiosity is a cruel mistress. As I took the first bite, I didn’t notice anything. It felt as if I bit into a regular dark chocolate bar. It wasn’t until I savored the chocolate that I was able to taste the spices. I wondered if this was a mistake because the spices were a little overwhelming. I felt a little heartburn from the chocolate bar. Then, I got used to it and started to enjoy the fact that it was spicy- keep in mind though, I ate it in three separate sittings. There’s no way you can eat this all in one shot. This is a chocolate bar meant for savoring and in fact, the next time around, I would look to pair this with a nice red wine.

Trente pour Trente!

This is Thursday’s outfit. I apologize for not looking more enthused. Photographing yourself with a self timer can only be so entertaining.

  • White Cardigan- Pac Sun
  • Striped Top- H&M
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Headband- Claire’s

…and it’s awkward pose Friday! It turned that work ended up giving me a snow day.

  • Grey cardigan- New York and Company
  • Grey striped top- Kohl’s
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Belt- Gap
  • Scarf- Maxwell’s

I’m actually very surprised that I haven’t remixed this outfit yet. It seems like I would have definitely worn it earlier in the challenge but it isn’t. Only five more days! Boy has this month flown by!

Finally, before I go and call some more landlords to secure a humble abode, I always like passing a good thing on. If you’re looking for a good moisturizer, I highly recommend Burt’s Bees Radiance Day and Night creams. I purchased this back in Potsdam. Slowly but surely, I’m on a mission to purchase only all natural cosmetics, soaps, and shampoos. This was my first all natural moisturizer and I had heard nothing but great things about it.

After using it for four months, I can absolutely say that wow! These moisturizers make your skin feel baby soft even after applying makeup. Even when it’s 7PM, my skin is still supple and soft to the touch. The craziest thing about these moisturizers is that they’re not heavy to the touch at all. At first, I was really skeptical about them because the formula does feel watery and I was wondering if I wasted $40 on crummy moisturizers. Trust me- a little bit goes a very, very long way. I am so impressed with Radiance. I used to buy this

but I never received such awesome results that I’ve experienced with Burt’ Bees’ Radiance line. It’s definitely more expensive than Clinique ($24 for Clinque, $18 each for the Radiance day and night creams) but it’s worth it.


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“who took over your body because I’m definitely not talking to the same person! where’s your enthusiasm?”

That’s what my friend said to me when we were talking on the phone. Actually, he was talking, I was just attempting to talk. I feel like shit. In fact, I feel so tired that I couldn’t bring myself to read my favorite political blogs and that’s when you know the bad news bears are roaming around town.

This 30 for 30 picture pretty much defines today. It took so much effort to get out of bed and resist the urge to call in sick. Then I thought it over and realized that I was scheduled to work for three and a half hours anyway. I figured that it wasn’t worth it and I would be able to have the rest of the day to myself after work.

If any of the 30 for 30ers are curious, the suit is from New York and Company, I bought the white sleeve tee at Kohl’s, thought this scarf from The Pear Tree in Canton, NY was so darling, I had to have it, and I wore my trusty White Mountain black suede boots. Unlike the flats I wore yesterday that probably played a supporting role in developing this cold o’ mine, the boots are insulated. Oh! And the tissues are Kleenex, but I don’t think Kendi counts them towards the challenge.

A final note. I was in Price Chopper and purchasing some comfort food, tissues, meds, soup, and other good foodstuffs. The bill came to $38.00. I said…

here’s my advantage card!

BOOM! The bill came down to $34.00 and I had my big girl moment of the day.

I’m going to curl into bed right now.