The miracle of Christmas for me isn't what you might imagine it would be. The real miracle is that I make it through the C-R-A-Z-Y. This is my second round of cookie baking. The first round of cookie-palooza went out in boxes and packages. I love doing this and it sort of makes me happy--for a bit. Then there is the second needed push I have for that little extra that I set aside for just us--and when I find it, I know it. I found it in this cookie. For what it's worth, I am thrilled I took a little extra time to "find" just the perfect, newest cookie recipe to try. Thrilled because this cookie--filled with warm cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and then chocolate!, and citrus--met all my criteria for a superb trifecta of delicious and solved the problem of blah-Christmas-cookie-baking doldrums. (And kept me from going nuts chasing a five month old Pyrenees puppy out from under the Christmas tree for the one hundredth time. . .Gahhhh!)
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup with Extra Noodles: Hold the Chicken (Windy City for Windy Sisters and. . . Calling Major Tom)
I was fortunate to have not gotten ill on my short trip back home to visit my sister. At least I have that to be thankful for. Who knew you could get the flu AND have the flu shot, too? Why go through the trouble
fear and doubt of getting the damn shot if a month and a half later, you're so sick you can barely muster enough strength to roll yourself over in bed. Why?! I'll take my chances!
So Sunday afternoon, after calling my doc in the morning and
demanding asking for some antibiotics, something--anything!, I took every bit of my zapped energy and got the ingredients on the counter, and into the soup pot, simmering. (Because who else is going to cook for us: Frankie?! as DH and I were both feeling the effects of this 'flu-creep" beginning to take its toll.)
My veganized Chicken Noodle Soup sort of came together based upon what I could reach without falling over. So there's a little bit of everything in here. But without it all: the seasonings, garlic, onions, cabbage, mushrooms and barley, I don't think you'd have much of a soup. And when you think about it, the "old school" chicken noodle soup I remember didn't really have too much in it other than LOTS of noodles and a wee-bit of chicken. So. Here's where the beans came in. Then the barley. Then the turmeric added a beautiful, earthy and almost curry-ish-ness to the soup without it turning into curry. The turmeric color added to the soup made it even more delicious in appearance. It's a keeper in terms of soups. We both loved it and better yet, this recipe makes enough for the next night, too. Because seriously, I wasn't cooking much in this condition.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Vegan Jelly Donut Muffins with Multi-Grain Goodness (baking through "Ovenly" while puppy-dancing. . . finally ran a 5k race and I didn't fall: Yay!)
The other day, DH and I were discussing our earliest food memories. Mine centered around my grandmother's homemade grape jelly. DH said one of his were these huge cinnamon twist doughnuts from a local bakery where he grew up. Then I added, Oh yeah, well, we had doughnuts, too--my favorite always had jelly inside and pink icing. Then there was the debate of whether or not having a food memory not tied to a homemade item constituted a food memory. Then we both sat there fighting off the urge to once again abandon all rational thought and have doughnuts for dinner.
*I seem to have a running theme here lately with the doughnut obsession. I know not where it comes from, I just know that it is.
After our conversation about doughnuts had run its course, I finally decided to bake something along the lines of said food stuffs, and turned to adapting a recipe for Jelly Doughnut Muffins from Ovenly. (Oh how I wish all cookbooks were this crave-worthy--more in a second on this.) I had some adjustments to make to go vegan with these, plus I wanted to up the health factor a bit--so I subbed in some spelt flour (my all-time favorite multi-grain baking flour hands down--except it usually does better for me when combined with AP flour), and omitted the eggs. . . obviously. Muffins are one of the most forgiving baking items you could manage. As I soon discovered once again during one of my "some-timers" moments.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Spicy Fried Buffalo Cauliflower N' Kale Wraps (The Blurry Puppy. . .PLUS: Cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's "Plenty More" and etc.)
I can tell you honestly that if you crave drinking buffalo hot sauce straight from the bottle like I do, you will LOVE this wrap (though I don't recommend doing so, nor have I ever personally--but the thought has crossed my mind). In the midst of a mini-cold snap here, we had a hankering for some cold weather food favorites. Dr. Thyme and I went on our first date centered around food and the food of choice (way back before the vegan in us had emerged) was hot and spicy chicken wings. I had claimed I could tolerate any heat--the hotter the better. Spicy/Fried food lover, meet Mr. Fried Cauliflower. No one would be the wiser. And let me tell you, it even crunches like the other. (Only nothing was hurt during the creation of this meal.) I can't take credit for this fried cauliflower anomaly. The first I'd read about "frying" cauliflower was in Alice Water's cookbook, Chez Panisse Vegetables. (Or maybe one of her other cookbooks, but I do know it was Ms. Waters who has enlightened me on the matter of so many other vegetable cooking matters as well.) This recipe and making of this will require a bit of prep, and it is a little messy, but comes together in a jiff, so don't be all, I can't do this recipe with all those bowls and pans and stuff! Uh, yes you can.
Super simple and incredibly filling and tasty. Serve with a side of homemade fries.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Vegan Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins: Ta-Da! (Skip the trip to DD and just make some of these. . . and "The Puppy Kindergarten Nail-Biter")
I couldn't help myself. I craved the damn doughnuts from "that place". It got so bad we literally almost abandoned all rational thinking and drove there in our PJs last night. That's just crazy. We're old. We could get killed doing something like that at all hours of the night! I woke up this morning and thought about those doughnuts again then threw the gauntlet down on myself at five a.m. (up at the gawdawful hour for what else?--the obvious reason: Puppy Frankenstein demanded it). To hell with it, I'm baking, I thought. So. Happy. I. Did. The Pumpkin Doughnut madness is now tamed and all is right with the world.
(Yes, I realize this is the second "pumpkin recipe" in a row. I. Love. Pumpkin.)
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Vegan Spicy Pumpkin Bread with Ground Pepper Topping (Super Moist, Super Easy . . . and Puppy "Frankenstein" Update)
I baked pumpkin bread with one hand tied behind my back and a teething, nipping, "crazy-town" puppy rolling around at my feet. I wouldn't recommend this, but it was how my bread came together. Simple is what I'm about in the kitchen these days. Pumpkin is like my favorite veggie of all time. The ginormous display of pumpkins I nearly ran smack into at the grocery store the other day (as I navigated the aisles in a sleepy haze of hunger and loyal duty to keep the home stocked with food stuffs not related to canines) gave me the inspiration to run home and FOR ONCE bake. This bread turned out to be one of my best yet. (Of course I say that every year I bake pumpkin bread.) Lo the pumpkin bread gods were shining down on me. I love a spicy pumpkin bread--nothing too wimpy or too cake-y. I want to taste fall: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger and new this year: fresh ground pepper on top. We shared a slice this morning over coffee as I was
screaming at "Frankenstein" to stop it making breakfast.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Week two. Today Frankie and I and her sister went to the park. And Frankie saw her very first bridge, and her very first creek. Will the wonders never cease? She was absorbed by this bubbling brook and this wooden structure prohibiting her from cascading head first into that funny looking clear stuff. It was precious. However, last night, anything but "precious" came to mind.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
World, meet Francine, aka "Frankie". Frankie, meet world. It's day four and eight hours of sleep later--TOTAL hours, just to be clear. Who needs sleep when you have this little precious soul totally dependent upon you. Oh the love we have poured into this
hellion, sweet, sweet baby girl is beyond words. Well, there probably are words, I just haven't the brain cells right now to convey them. We picked Frankie up on Saturday. As you can see, she slept most of the way home. We made formal introductions to the pack, and from the get-go two things were abundantly clear.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Two weeks left before the "baby" comes home. We can hardly wait. The anticipation is made even more maddening (though we have no complaints) by the puppy updates we receive from our new girl's human mommy (because canine mommy doesn't have opposable thumbs, she can't send photos). The photo from the top is from this past Friday. The one below is from the week before. We can see every week the weight she's gaining--how big her paws are getting and how much her head has grown.
Pyrenees puppy-ness is getting me through these miserable days of this summer. While I type, the temperature outside is at a chilly ninety-nine degrees with a heat index of 110! Not real keen on cooking at all here lately, I do have a pot of my homemade marinara filling the air conditioned tomb we're relegated to with yummy Italian aroma. So at least I was able to throw that together, or else we may starve.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
We're Expecting A New Member of The Family Soon So I'll Share Something Happy for A Change (and a reflection: My St. Louis, Missouri Today . . . My Gary, Indiana circa 1970s)
Well, we're preparing for the arrival of our newest member of the family in three weeks. My heart is melting over this. As you all know, Dr. Thyme and I have suffered several losses of our most cherished pets. And with each loss, we felt an emptiness that was difficult to overcome. Very. Difficult. Lots of tears. The last loss, Merlin, was perhaps the tipping point. The point at which we both looked at each other and said, Gee, it'd be great to have a dog for its entire life: from puppyhood to adulthood. Because truth be told, the time we have to share a life with a dog is never long enough.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Vegan Heirloom Tomato Devil's Food Cake with Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting (Yup, it's chocolate and tomatoes . . . and my rollerblading/knitting escapades)
If you think you're a purist with chocolate, like I am, you may very well look askance at the very idea of tomatoes and chocolate and tsk-tsk this recipe away. Well don't. It's rich, decadent, moist, chocolate-y and has a to-die-for crumb. Top it off with a luscious vegan buttercream frosting and you'll be sooo happy your kitchen has become tomato central--you'll keep this cake in your weekly rotation. . . because the world would be a much better place if we all sat down and had a piece of cake at least once a week. Right now, we're on the "daily" piece of cake ration plan.
The tomatoes starting rolling in about three weeks ago. And they haven't stopped. Something had to be done. And with tomatoes coming in by the bucketfuls, I've made every iteration of pasta you can imagine. No. Seriously. I have. Basil's the same way--coming in by the bunches! Normally, I would never in a million years complain about eating pasta. Ever. It's in my DNA to love it: Croatian/Italian--we LOVE our pasta. But a woman has her limits.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Vegan Brown Butter Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (. . . and summer canning tips for the "cherry" obsessed)
This is one of those recipes that came about because another oatmeal raisin cookie recipe didn't. I was insane to bake today in this ninety degree gawdawful heat. Cravings have priority. While I was at it--baking, that is, I whipped up some cinnamon raisin bread, too. It was a little steamy in here. (Something about the cinnamon being out made me crave the bread. But I don't know.) I can barely concentrate enough to stay on task going from one room to the next. But somehow today I was able to accomplish both bread and cookies thanks to a little cinnamon-obsessed moment.
I think of the oatmeal cookie in the way I was raised to think of them: chewy. There are other schools of thought on the matter of oatmeal cookies. And I won't eat them. You know who you are: dry and crumbly. Save that for the shortbread cookies. So after one huge, messy kitchen cookie disaster, I did what any other woman would do, I baked another batch of cookies again, only this time, I wasn't messing around. And brown butter showed up to take these to the next level of yum. It wasn't on purpose, sort of a happy accident with the butter. I wasn't paying attention. But it worked, okay?
Friday, July 4, 2014
Vegan Black Raspberry Cobbler with Biscuit Thick Crust (Heirloom Amish Recipe. . . and your mother was right: Always. Wear. Sunscreen!)
This week: bake, eat, bake some more, run, garden, pet the dogs and bake again--oh and attend a medical procedure for DH. This cobbler is a result of what happens with a black raspberry patch that's gone amok and a whole lot of stress on the side. The cobbler is an old recipe from one of my mother's Amish cookbooks. Growing up in Indiana, many of our summer trips involved a visit to Amish country. Mom was into the Amish. Though I don't think she'd trade her modern conveniences like electricity (powering her sunlamps!) for the whole "Amish" way. Ever.
A huge black raspberry crop showed up in our yard this summer. (I have the remnants from the thorns all over my upper arm to prove it--a small price to pay for enjoying these delicious fruits.) We had no trouble devouring them. On my last trip down the hill, I had harvested about four cups of berries. I knew immediately they'd be made into a cobbler (one of DH's favorites). Problem was, I didn't know which recipe I'd use. About ten years ago, I had used this same Amish recipe, but with the traditional butter/fat/and a TON of sugar--the recipe called for. Not this time. I whole-grained the crust up and then cut back on the sugar and of course, used vegan butter. The result was pure heaven. You should check to be sure you have some vegan ice cream on hand. Pretty much mandatory for finishing this dish.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
So far I've made three batches of homemade dill pickles. Every morning I go into the garden, there's a another "surprise" cucumber. This is my best cucumber crop yet. A few years back, my first pickling disaster was so salty, it nearly required eating a pound of bananas to offset the spike in my sodium levels. A detox from dill pickles then ensued. This recipe is forgiving and allows for some latitude in the amount of salt you'd like. I prefer my pickles a little more briny and less salty.
The cucumber season has been plentiful. I planted about six seeds back in April indoors. They were about two or three years old. Truth be told, cucumber seeds will produce better the older they are. (When they fall off the cliff in terms of their germination rate, I have no idea--but I had read this fact about the cuke seeds and fortunately for me, I am always saving seeds.) Thus, I am experiencing my first "old cucumber seed" bonanza this summer.
At first, I wasn't sure I'd have room for them--they spread and like tons of garden space. If you're savvy about it and have the "energy"--they will climb a trellis. I skipped the trellis. But I did give them plenty of room to grow. I have pickling cucumbers and slicers. The difference being, one is for pickling (obviously). The pickling cukes are smaller and quite prolific producers. I companion planted them with two bronze fennel/dill plants and zucchini. I love the bronze fennel against the bright green of the other foliage. Companion planting tip: always plant dill with your cucumbers!
Grab some pickling cucumbers the next time you're at the farmers' market. Then rush home and make these dill pickles. Or next year, plan ahead and plant your own cukes. They are incredibly easy to grow and will do well in containers, too. The best cucumbers are made from the most freshly picked cucumbers. Ask the grower when the pickles were picked.
Ask if Peter Piper picked them. . . just get them as fresh as you can.
Grab some pickling spices. The difference in your pickle flavor will be amazing. The McCormick's brand is the one I used.
Because you aren't using a water bath canning method to make these pickles, they are only good for about four-five days in the fridge (if they last that long). Store them in a glass container with a lid and enjoy!
Homemade Dill Pickles
*Adapted from Rachael Ray
3-4 pickling cucumbers sliced on the diagonal about 1/2" thick
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T. fresh dill chopped
2 tsp. pickling spice
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add vinegar, sugar and salt and bring just to a boil. In a medium bowl--one that is a bit flat (so the cucumbers can be submerged in the vinegar to soak up all the goodness) add your cucumbers, garlic, fresh dill, and pickling spices--toss together in a bowl. Pour the warm vinegar mixture over all of this. Carefully toss the pickles around a bit to make sure the pickles all have a chance to soak up this yummy mixture. Store them in the fridge. These are better after they've had a chance to cool. *Note: if you taste the mixture and feel there needs to be more salt, just sprinkle more over the pickle/vinegar mixture.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
I am not going to tell you the last few days has been easy. A nightmare is more like it. (Felt like I was trapped in a cage with spider monkeys.) This "blog photo disappearing act" tragedy has happened to other blogspot bloggers. I feel your pain and possibly this made me even more determined to find a solution to this mess that nearly wiped out SIX YEARS of my digital life. Here's a caveat to remember: if you are going to blog on a free platform, recognize there are risks you take in doing so. I don't claim to know the inner workings of Google any more than the next person. However, I sort of have an "in" with regard to how search works (those digital footprints and detritus)--and his name is Dr. Thyme. So to you DH for these little monster moments you had to endure as I sat feverishly plucking my blog posts from cyberspace (dear god, over 450 of them)--thank you for your patience and understanding--and tissue-box-replacer man.
I hope in sharing my story, I am able to help at least one more person who may experience a similar meltdown, er, "problem". Or prevent the same disaster from happening to someone else.
Now for the details--and this is not complicated, but is very time consumptive:
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Well. I think this may be my official "undoing." It appears the entire six years of photo history within my blog has been wiped away. All except those I decided NOT to delete in Google+. Why, may you ask, would you EVER do that? Delete photos. To save space, silly. I had moved my photos from my phone onto Google+ (to shore up more space on my phone--like you are supposed to do, like you are told to do). While doing so, decided, well, since I was "in there," may as well free up more space in Google+, because wouldn't that be nice to free up space for Google? So I deleted some photos of "old food" and whatnot. Years. Of. Food. And. Whatnot. . .GONE.
Never, never realizing for one single moment that I had just deleted 99.9 of my blog photo history. Because I am prone to hysterics, and yes, you could say I am near hysterical right now, I called my DH. Oh no, he said. When he says "oh no," this is very bad.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes with Black Raspberry Buttercream Frosting (. . . I was "berry" surprised by Rubus 'Bristol'!)
I was out in the back yard yesterday and had an I Spy moment while walking the kids. Mother Nature had gifted us with canes and canes of black raspberries. Apparently we once lived on top of a berry plantation. Out of sheer laziness I had decided to not "bother" trimming back some overgrowth of the thistle-bearing sticks that for years have demanded some attention from the pruning sheers. They are the ugliest things, really. And in winter they stick out of the ground with their red stems like nobody's business. All over. I am forever walking by the ragged jumbles telling myself get to those sticks. Never made it this spring.
Whoa. So glad I let things "go" a bit.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Kelp Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing (Um, I may have a yarn "problem" plus we go hither and yon)
It was only a matter of time before "kelp" entered this blog. Last month, DH and I were searching for a vegan eatery in St. Louis. Finding a vegan restaurant in STL is very simple--there are only a handful. I overwhelm easily, so it's a win-win for me in deciding. We were near Forest Park, PuraVegan was ohsoclose. So that settled it for us. This isn't a restaurant review post, but if it were, major kudos would be handed out. I decided to have a kelp noodle salad. Dr. Thyme had the vegan burger. (No surprise there.) What happened next changed my eating for about two weeks. Kelp was all I could think about. Kelp was all I wanted.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Vegan Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (in my garden and our 30-mile bike trip on the Katy Trail. . . whew.)
When something grabs my attention, like say a cookie recipe, life as we know it pretty much stops. Such was the case this afternoon. I had taken a nap. Napping is under appreciated. I don't indulge in them very often, but when I do, I will confess to feeling like a new woman after a little day time shuteye. Usually I'm hungry when I wake up. I suddenly had an urge for baking after spotting a "Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe on the Cook's Country blog, The Feed, while catching up on my reading (post nap). I probably shouldn't have been looking at food right after waking up. My whole afternoon schedule got re-arranged because of this cookie. Alas--I had to recreate a vegan version of the cookie. No problem-o. You will have to try this recipe to see for yourself if you agree about the "chewy" part. If you go to their post, they break down into helpful, straightforward speak why this recipe works. I just had to make sure it "worked" as a vegan cookie. And thank god it did because not only was I just waking up from my nap, my blood sugar demanded I have a cookie SOON.
*And yes, I am well aware this is like the twentieth vegan chocolate chip cookie I've posted on this blog. But I ask, is there any such thing as "too many chocolate chip cookie recipes"? I think not.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Vegan Asparagus and Roasted Cauliflower "Quick" Pizza (A girl walks into the botanical garden with her camera and. . . )
Pizza always works in this house. I'll whip up a batch of pizza dough in the bread machine to make the task of having to knead and rise the dough less cumbersome (not that there's anything wrong with hand kneading--but just not right now), thereby allowing more free time for me to either traipse through the yard, walk the dogs or dig up weeds, knit, hike, run--you get the picture. I found the perfect pizza dough recipe on the King Arthur site. At three in the afternoon--(I realize this is late in the day for deciding on pizza, but my dinner planning skills are on hiatus), I placed the ingredients in the bread machine, programmed it for the "dough" process, removed it from the machine, split it in half, prepared one pie for use immediately, and the other was put in the fridge for later. So easy. So quick. My kind of spring cooking. Plus dinner for another night, too!
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Vegan Green Tiredness-Be-Gone Smoothie (A little bit of everything today. . .and some knitting from my Yarnbox, too!)
I find my best smoothie recipes are those that have no recipe. Usually I have a craving for something packed with flavor and protein. I had just finished a four-miler on the treadmill and was famished. After dawdling around a bit afterward, I still felt tired. Usually my runs give me an energy boost. But given I am head-long into my mid-life "woman time" and have had a few horrible nights of sleep (which can make me cray-cray), I thought I might try a little less in the tummy today--go light on lunch and again at dinner--hoping to catch up on some much needed "good" sleep tonight. Well, smoothie was a success. Not only did it kick up my energy level, I was able to manage a yoga session after a house cleaning blitz whereupon I found myself "doing windows". And. . . I don't DO windows.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Vegan Blueberry Hemp Cinnamon Crunch Muffins (. . . an after ten mile run pick-me-up, me and sis visiting the flowers, mammograms and "more" of life at fifty)
Although the blog's been quiet, the life has been anything but that. Let's catch up a bit, then I'll talk about these amazing hemp muffins I created. (Hemp. Seed. My new best friend.) As I mentioned earlier, I signed up to run the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon . . . in two weeks. (Blog flashback moment: I broke my ankle on November 11th.) Yesterday I accomplished my biggest challenge in my training for the half to date: I ran a ten mile training run in just over two hours. Can you say "Happy"? (Which is my favorite running song, thank you Pharrell Williams.) No ankle pain!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Vegan Banana Flaxseed Quick Bread (finished reading "Wild", now I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, too. . . except for this one little thing)
The bananas were a buck sixty-nine. For a whole bag! I love a deal. I love what my house smells like when I bake banana bread, too. There's no substitute for baked banana bread smell wafting through the home: no candle company, no spray, no plug-in fake smell thingy that does banana bread justice. I would have been content to eat this entire loaf for dinner last night. The bread literally takes only five minutes to prep, then bakes for about forty-five minutes and viola, you've got breakfast, snack time and late night all zipped up. There will be much banana bread, banana smoothie and banana cupcake happenings around here in the coming week. What I don't bake up, I'll peel and store in a plastic bag in the freezer for later.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Heart-Shaped Cookies (because he asked and because I needed chocolate. . . my half century/half marathon countdown begins)
I was having one of those recipe moments where I saw a picture, fell in love, scanned the ingredients, then stopped in my tracks after this: egg yolks. This cookie required four. Four egg yolks. Must I always be fighting the vegan fight? (Well, yes I must, but that's beside the point.) I had bookmarked AND stored this particular recipe twice. It was destined to be made, I just kept forgetting when it popped up as eye candy that there was this little hurdle to get over: Vegan Egg Conversion Nightmares. I've faced down many an egg. I'm not letting a little fancy-pants chocolate chip cookie ruin my kitchen
Monday, January 27, 2014
Vegan Winter Salad of Quinoa, Radicchio, Cabbage, Tart Cherries and Pistachios with Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette (a return to running, there's a new guitar in town and why I used to love winter)
I keep our refrigerator continuously stocked with all of the greens necessary to whip up an impromptu salad like this one at the drop of a hat. Winter demands it, as I've found I feel one hundred percent better after consuming a meal of raw veggies (tossing in a bit of cooked quinoa amps up the protein level to boost my stamina). Mentally I need it. Physically I need it, too. The salad information will be covered shortly below if you care to skip this next part.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
The biggest decision I had to make in creating this amazingly restorative soup was which pasta noodle would best suit the desired outcome. I didn't want anything puny. I wanted robusto. I had some wide Italian non-egg noodles lying around and thought they'd fit the bill perfectly. To add a bit of incredibly over-the-top mouth feel to the dish, I'd decided it wouldn't hurt if some dumplings joined the fray. This was probably my best cure-all soups I've made in years. Here's why I needed said soup.
*Jump to the soup at the bottom of the post to avoid my ramblings.