Garden, Life

Tomato Tally

My buddy Amy suggested I keep a running tally of how many tomatoes I get from my garden this year. Being the garden-lover I am, how could I pass up such a fun idea?

Yesterday’s haul at 8:30 p.m. proved very fruitful, no garden pun intended. And I know we missed a bunch of pickins because it was getting dark. As of last night, the tomato tally is up to 33. Not bad! I am hoping to get enough to make a batch of salsa this upcoming weekend… that means that I need to stop giving them away and eating them, which is the hard part. I still have a few onions left from my garden and my jalapeño peppers are growing like weeds. If I have enough tomatoes, I should be able to make salsa almost purely from my garden 🙂

Veggies

In this picture you’ll see a green zucchini, a yellow squash, an oddly shaped cucumber, a handful of cherry tomatoes, three purple heirloom tomatoes, a few Roma tomatoes, a few early girl tomatoes and one yellow heirloom tomato. That are so pretty. There are also two banana peppers, which I do not remember planting. I wonder if labels got mixed up at Home Depot or something…. I planted tabasco peppers (those aren’t growing, darn), red bell peppers, green bell peppers, cayenne peppers and jalapeño peppers. Somehow the bananas snuck in there. They won’t go to waste.

Speaking of nature (good transition, yes?), Brian and I hiked the Billy Goat trail between the C&O Canal and Potomac River.

Hubbsonhike

It was the best hike we’ve ever been on and I can’t recommend it enough. If you are anywhere near Great Falls National Park, you have to hike this trail.

Great Falls

Other than hiking, I spent the weekend winning a round of mini golf….

Putput

(Go me! I never win at mini golf!)

Golf… hanging out with our neighbors…. (yes, our dogs are strange)

Dogs in tub

… and visiting with my cousins. Oh, and I helped paint my friend’s basement. Quite the tiring and eventful weekend.

Hope you all had great weekends!

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Recipes

Spicy Taco Soup

What I’m about to share with you is possibly one of the yummiest recipes of all time. That’s right, folks… it’s Spicy Taco Soup time.

I discovered this recipe years ago online and have since altered it to perfection. It is a staple in our house during the colder months and a staple at my mom’s house at Christmas time. It’s also way easy to make and not terribly bad for you. #Winning!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Ground beef/chicken/turkey: Use whichever meat you’d like and however much meat you like. I usually use 1.5 lbs because I like my soup to have a lot of meat in it.
  • 32 oz. Beef stock/chicken stock: Depending on whether you choose to make your soup with ground beef or ground bird, grab the corresponding broth to go with it. Also, I liked to get low sodium broth. It doesn’t affect the taste and it is way better for you.
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes: Feel free to use petite diced tomatoes with green chillies or onions in it. Tomatoes must be petite!
  • 1 can of pinto/black beans: I use black beans in my soup and only one can. The original recipe I found online called for two cans of pinto and two cans of black beans. That was way too much for us. Grab low sodium beans if you can.
  • 1 can of sweet yellow corn
  • 1 cup chopped onion: Frozen or fresh works. You can add more if you’d like.
  • 1 cup chopped green/red/yellow peppers: Frozen or fresh works, and any color works! You can add more if you’d like.
  • 2 tbsp Red Pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • HOT SAUCE!!!: Add as much as you can handle 🙂

Directions:

In a frying pan, cook up the meat of your choice with the onions. Drain the grease.

In a large soup pot on medium to high heat, combine tomatoes (do not drain), corn (drain & rinse), beans (drain & rinse), peppers, red pepper flakes, and meat. Add in your broth (Note: I add a whole “box” of broth, but you can add however much you’d like. It will change the consistency of the soup. So, if you like chunky soup, don’t add too much. If you like a soupier soup, add all of it.)

Add hot sauce to taste.

Heat until hot! Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream on top — maybe even a few crushed up tortilla chips! Enjoy!

The best part about this soup is it is easily customizable without totally altering the taste. If you want more meat, add more. If you want less broth, add less. If you love green peppers but hate corn, the recipe will still turn out. I made it last night with three cans of petite tomatoes (total rebel, right?) and no green pepper (I forgot to buy them… oops!), and it was still delicious.

What are your favorite soup recipes? I also make a mean rustic tomato soup. Yummo. No soup beats my parents’ homemade chicken noodle, but Spicy Taco Soup is definitely my next favorite.