Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Perfect Snow Day AND Gumbo Soup

Monday, I got snowed/iced out of school and I am normally off work on Mondays for school, so I got to be a bum. For me, the best bum day goes as follows: sit in nightgown until 1:00 pm watching House of Cards and doing homework (I KNOW, bum days = no school or work, but I've got a serious problem!), do some laundry, get dressed and head out for a run with the intention of running 10 miles so you can say "I ran 10 miles in 10 degrees!", then cut the run short at 9 miles when you realize that the burning sensation in your hands is NOT going to go away and ending up with 9.25 miles on the books (hey it's a "bum" day!), shower, go grocery shopping, come home, set up laptop in kitchen with wireless headphones to continue watching House of Cards, cook dinner and..................... bake brownies. Okay, I know, I know... as a proponent of health, talking about baking brownies is a little counter-intuitive, but here's the thing. I really wanted some brownies. And not in one of those "eat some fruit to curb the sweet tooth" kind of ways, no this was a week-long, carnal, burning desire for some chocolaty, chunkity fudge brownies with pecans rolled up in them. After a week folks - you just have to give in. Sometimes you have to indulge and honestly all this running and being healthy isn't worth it if you don't get to indulge a little. So brownies were made and indulged upon, and they may or may not have included a handful of chocolate chips, a handful of white chocolate chips and a couple handfuls of pecans. (Thank goodness I have a 16 year old boy in the house to devour such things).

My hands were burning! 

That's the look of satisfaction.... and coldness!

Disclaimer: I have since been scolded for running in such cold weather due to it being unsafe (for various reasons), please keep that in mind on your own running endeavors.

I might also point out that last night (Tuesday), I made a point to get 7 miles in on the elliptical and do a taxing session of Body Pump so that I could indulge again last night guilt-free. With healthy eating throughout the day, I still managed to keep my calories at 1388 for the entire day!

Monday night Gumbo sounded really good, I was craving the spiciness of it and the protein rich foods that come in it... nothing about Gumbo did not sound yummy. I wasn't quite looking for something as heavy as gumbo, though, so I decided to try my hand at what I like to call Gumbo Soup. It turned out DELICIOUS and was super easy to make! So whilst I continued my House of Cards binge, I whipped up a tasty one pot meal:

Gumbo Soup

3 - chicken breasts, diced
1 lb - small shrimp (I used the cooked and just threw them in at the very end)
1 pckg - Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced
1 bag - frozen broccoli cuts
1 bag - frozen okra cuts
1 bag - Barilla 3 cheese tortellini (everything is okay in moderation!)
1 bag of spinach (frozen or fresh - I used fresh)
1 pckg of mushrooms (I used sliced)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (I used a half a green and half a red), chopped
LOTS of garlic, chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 small cans of tomato sauce
beef bouillon to taste
Cajun seasoning to taste
Salt to taste
black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
3-4 bay leaves
cornstarch or flour

Fill a VERY large pot (like the kind you steam crab legs in) halfway with water and bring to boil. Add onion, garlic, bouillon, diced chicken breasts and seasonings and cook on a medium boil for about 15-20 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, sausage, spinach, mushrooms, okra and broccoli and bring to boil again. Once boiling, add either a roux of flour and margarine or a cornstarch and water mix to the pot to thicken to taste. (I did not measure this part at all so if you're not familiar with the technique, you may do a little searching on thickening of soups and stews... or some may just like a very light soup with no thickness at all.) I used the cornstarch method because I ran 9.25 miles on ice earlier in the day and had just gotten home from grocery shopping and was STARVING, so I didn't have the patience to make a roux (although it may have been even tastier). After stirring in your thickener (or not), add the tortellini and shrimp and cook at least 15 more minutes on a low boil (this may require a lowering of stove settings). I let mine cook about 20-25 more minutes after I added the cornstarch to achieve the optimal consistency. Add seasonings to taste. Serve and enjoy!


  1. That soup looks amazing!! We are HUGE soup fans in our house so this would be a crowd pleaser where I wouldn't have to make 2 different meals!! And who scolded you??