Thai Chicken Soup

Northwest Pearls: Thai Chicken SoupI love Thai food, but I can't go out to eat all the time. When I found this Thai Chicken Soup recipe-that's made in a slow cooker!- I decided to try it. I went out and bought the ingredients I was lacking and made it in our slow cooker.

Northwest Pearls: Thai Chicken Soup

Northwest Pearls: Thai Chicken Soup

It was an okay soup, but I wouldn't make it again. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or not, but it was really lacking in flavor. I love slow cookers usually, but I just didn't love this recipe.

What are some slow cooker recipes you like to make?

Baked Kale Chips

Northwest Pearls: Baked Kale Chips
Northwest Pearls: Baked Kale Chips

I had some leftover kale from a recipe and I didn't want it to go to waste so I decided to bake some kale chips.

There are tons of recipes online, but I just washed and cut the leaves, tossed them with some olive oil, spread them out onto a greased cookie sheet, and sprinkled them with some coarse sea salt.

Then I put them into the oven at about 350 degrees until the edges were brown but not burnt. About 10-15 minutes but I'd closely watch them to make sure they don't burn.

Also, as you'd expect, the kale gets way smaller once it's been baked so if you're wanting a lot of chips, you'll need a lot of kale. I filled up one large cookie sheet with the kale and ended up with about 2-3 servings of chips.

I probably wouldn't make this again; kale is fine, I just don't love it.

What's a healthy snack you'd recommend?

Northwest Pearls: Baked Kale Chips
Northwest Pearls: Baked Kale Chips

Zucchini Bread

Northwest Pearls: Zucchini Bread In my mother's recipe box, there's a 3x5 notecard with a recipe for Zucchini Bread typed out on it.

My sister thinks it's coffee cake, she wouldn't have tried it if we'd told her it was Zucchini Bread.

It's more of a cake than a bread, a ridiculous amount of sugar goes into the recipe, but it's delicious. I've been eating it for breakfast.

The recipe calls for:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 3 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of peeled and grated zucchini
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 3 cups of sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup of combined raisins, currants, and dates (optional, my mom substitutes these for chocolate chips.)

First you beat the eggs until foamy. Then add oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla. Mix well. Then add the flour, salt, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nuts, and raisins, currants, and dates. Pour batter into two greased/buttered loaf pans.

Bate at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Recipe makes two loaves.

Northwest Pearls: Zucchini Bread

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Lentil-Barley Soup

Northwest Pearls: Lentil-Barley Soup My mother has been making this lentil-barley soup for our family for years. I love it so much. It tastes amazing.

It requires:

  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of butter (I know this isn't dairy-free, I cheated a little bit on the diet.)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 28 ounces of canned, cut up tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of dry lentils (Remember to rinse and drain them so you don't add anything weird, like a rock, to your soup.)
  • 3/4 cup of pearl barley (Wash these too, see above.)
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary needles/leaves (If you can crush or cut these or get them smaller, then good for you. I always end up picking the long pieces out of my soup.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried, crushed oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 cups of carrots, sliced thinly
  • Parmesan or Swiss cheese to top if you so like

Northwest Pearls: Lentil-Barley Soup Ingredients

In a large pot, melt butter and cook onion, celery and garlic until tender. Add water, the undrained cans of tomatoes, the washed lentils and pearl barley, bouillon cubes, rosemary, oregano, pepper, and salt. Bring it to boiling then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add carrots and cook until tender. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle cheese on top.

This soup is so yummy, I made a big batch and heated it up a few times over the course of a week or so. The soup does absorb a lot of water though so you may need to add more water to it over the days as you serve yourself the leftovers.

Let me know what you think of the soup!

Modified Roasted Jalapeno Soup

Northwest Pearls: Modified Roasted Jalapeno Soup (Note: All of the white in the soup is a reflection from the window.)

I followed this recipe to make a delicious roasted jalapeno soup but since I'm not eating dairy and I'm cutting down on gluten right now, I substituted some of the ingredients and tweaked around the amounts added.

First off, I tripled all of the ingredients so I would have lots of leftovers to heat up. So when you read what I did below, the proportions were tripled,

Because I wasn't adding dairy, I cut down the amount of jalapenos added by 1/3. And instead of milk or heavy whipping cream, I added unsweetened almond milk.

Instead of butter I used olive oil.

I substituted homemade gluten free flour for all-purpose flour.

I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms so I cut down the amount I added by about half.

And to add some more protein to the soup, I added two cans of chicken (and the canned chicken broth) to it. But I didn't just dump the cans in, I spread the canned chicken out onto a cutting board and then used a fork to shred it all up before I added it. For good measure I added about half of a can of garbanzo beans into the soup. (Remember, I tripled the original recipe so if you do something similar, make sure that your proportions are right.) (Also, there may be gluten in the chicken broth or some of the other ingredients. I'm not entirely sure that this was gluten free but it was gluten free enough for me.)

I love cooking and seeing what you can make or modify. This is a delicious recipe either the original way or my modified way.

What's one of your favorite recipes?

Homemade Lemonade

Northwest Pearls: Homemade Lemonade
Northwest Pearls: Homemade Lemonade

One of my favorite drinks is homemade lemonade. Here's the recipe my mom and I use to make it.

You'll need:

  • A pot
  • A pitcher
  • A knife
  • A cutting board
  • A grater, citrus zester, or something to get lemon zest
  • A juicer, manual or otherwise. We have a glass juicer like this
  • A large measuring glass (should hold at least 1.5 cups of liquid)
  • A sieve
  • A spoon


  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • 1.5 cups of lemon juice (about 6-8 lemons)
  • 5 cups of cold water


Get the lemon zest before you’ve cut or squeezed the lemons.

Then cut the lemons in half and juice them. A trick I've learned is to place the lemons on the counter and lean on each of them while rolling them. This softens them and makes it easier to get the juice out of them. After you finish juicing a lemon or two pour the juice through the sieve into the large measuring glass. You'll need to use a spoon to stir/scrape around in the sieve to get more juice through before you throw away the pulp and the seeds. Once you have 1.5 cups of lemon juice, leave it in the measuring cup and go on to the next step.

Place half of a cup of water in a pot on the stove and let it boil. Then pour 1.5 cups of sugar in and stir it until the sugar dissolves. Don't leave the sugar/water mixture alone too long; stir it consistently.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and pour the lemon juice and the zest into the pot then stir.

Pour 5 cups of cold water into a pitcher. Add the water/sugar/juice/zest mixture from the pot into the pitcher. Stir it around and then chill it in the refrigerator. When cold, pour yourself a glass and enjoy!

Pollo a la Crema

Northwest Pearls: Pollo a la Crema Last night for dinner I made a modified version of this recipe. I love pollo a la crema but the instructions are a little vague and since I've made it before, I didn't follow them very closely.

Instead of one sweet onion- that seemed like a lot, the onion I had bought was big- I used 3/4 of one. But I have to be vague as well as I didn't actually measure out how much onion I put in, but it was probably around 1.5 cups or maybe a little more.

I didn't know what type of mushrooms to get so I went with white mushrooms.

Because I wanted to use up the rest of my sour cream, I added probably another 1/3 cup to the recipe as well as another 1/4 cup or so of heavy whipping cream. Side note: I looked for heavy cream at the grocery store and ended up with heavy whipping cream. According to Google search results, there's a difference, but it seemed fine to me.

Also, while cooking and reading the directions, it says to "add the cream." I read this over and decided that the recipe creator meant to add both kinds of cream, sour and heavy, so I added both then. Later on I realized that I was supposed to add the sour in later, but it worked out fine the way I did it.

Because of the extra sour cream and heavy whipping cream I added, I also added in an extra 1/2 tablespoon of paprika as well as an extra 1/2 tablespoon of chicken base (a substitute for chicken bouillon.) Last time this was made, the end result was a lot less orange, so the extra paprika must have made a difference, but it tasted great to me!

To use up the rest of my green peppers, I just cut two green peppers into slices and added them all.

I used six chicken "strips" from a bag of frozen chicken strips. I read the directions wrong and didn't realize so until I was writing this blog post. I thought that the directions said "two chicken breasts" so six strips about equaled that.

And I thought that the dish needed more salt so I sprinkled a bit onto it.

So it was modified more than a little and I probably couldn't duplicate it exactly, but as I was cooking I tasted it and decided what to add more of.

To eat with the pollo a la crema I steamed some flour tortillas by stacking them on a plate in the microwave with damp paper towels between each tortilla. Then on top I added another plate to keep the steam in. I put them in the microwave for about 45 seconds which may have been a little long, but they were good.

It was a really good dinner and a nice change to one of my more usual and basic dinners.

What's a recipe you like to make?