Archives for category: Soup

I could call this dish Vegetable Paella since that was the original intent, but it’s really so different now, I hesitate to do so. Hence the name given — Vegetable rice with soup. It came into existence unintentionally. I started out making Vegetable Paella from the cookbook Slow Cooker Bible from Crock Pot, but I left out the saffron (because I didn’t have any and didn’t foresee using it much in the future) and accidentally left out all seasonings (I remembered as soon as we spooned the mixture onto our plates). And having some left over split pea soup, I figured I’d serve it on the side. The soup was so thick that Wing plopped his serving onto the plate. Well, I guess it wasn’t as thick as he’d expected because it soon mixed with his rice dish. However, he was pleasantly surprised with the taste after the accidental mixing and told me I had to try it. So I did. I have to say, together they were really good. Separately, meh. Crazy but true. I urge you to try it this way (minus my mistake of forgetting to add seasonings to the paella of course) to see how you like it. Maybe we’re just strange, but if you’re like us, you may just find it to your liking! (Pictures are pre-soup discovery.)

Split Pea Soup with Rice and Vegetables

Vegetable Rice with Soup

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 2 cans vegetable broth (14.5 oz ea)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Smoked paprika, ground turmeric
  • Salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package (11 oz) frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Pre-made vegetarian split pea soup

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion softens. Transfer to slow cooker. Add rice, broth, wine, and seasonings. Stir. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.

Add garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, and peas to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high about 30 minutes until rice is tender and frozen vegetables are heated through. Mix in split pea soup. Serve hot.


Although San Diego’s weather hasn’t yet realized that it’s December (trust me, I’m not complaining…), it’s finally cool enough to enjoy a piping hot bowl of soup. But in my case, since my post-operation instructions don’t allow me to consume anything piping hot, I get to enjoy my bowl of soup lukewarm. I suppose that’s an appropriate and fair trade — enjoying lukewarm soup on a not-so-hot-yet-not-exactly-cold day. Anyway, they say soup is good for the soul, but I say soup is good for the healing mouth/body. It’s perio-diet approved (when served lukewarm), nutritious, and tasty.

The chicken and dumpling soup was flavorful and the dumplings were flaky throughout. However, I made them rather large (I put them in using a whopping tablespoon and they tried to take over the pot). I recommend actually following the directions and making them the size of a real tablespoon (so they’re dainty and won’t try to take over the kitchen). Also, there was a ton of leftover dough, but I’ve left the recipe intact, just in case making them smaller allows for more room for more dumplings. Next time, too, I’ll season the dough just a bit. I think I’ll try some onion powder and parsley to see how that goes. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I got this recipe, so I’m unable to give credit where credit is due. But thanks to whoever you are!

Chicken and dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

  • 2 cans (10.75 oz ea) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped celery (I used about two teaspoons celery seed)
  • 2 onions quartered (I used 6-8 pearl onions, whole)
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen peas
  • 4 potatoes, roughly diced
  • 3 cups baking mix
  • 1 1/3 cups milk

In a large pot combine soup, water, chicken, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Cover and cook over med-low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Add potatoes and carrots; cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot, shred it, and return to pot. Add peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Add dumplings.

To make dumplings: Mix baking mix and milk until a soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoons into boiling stew. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, then uncover and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Welcome to the first Themed Thursday on Searching for Wow. Themed Thursday will be every third Thursday of the month. This month, it happens to fall the day after I had mouth surgery. (No, I didn’t do that on purpose.) With this surgery, I can’t exactly eat whatever I want. I’ve been put on a soft foods diet per the doctor. I call it the Perio Diet (because the surgery is done by a periodontist). I’m also not allowed to bite into foods no matter how soft they are and the food has to stay in the non-surgical side of my mouth. Below you can see a snapshot of the “diet” portion of the post-surgical dietThis is actually my fourth and last surgery of the kind so you could say I’m somewhat of an expert on what I can eat post-surgery. But after my first surgery, figuring out what to eat was rather difficult. You have to be creative, and I personally wasn’t feeling up to being creative. Since then, I have put together a list of foods that are diet appropriate so I don’t have to do spur of the moment thinking when I’d rather just sleep and watch mindless TV. I’m sharing my Perio diet with you because having some ideas about what to eat would have helped me immensely the first surgery. So if you, or anyone you know, will be having mouth surgery where soft foods are required, take a look. It might provide new ideas. In the days following, I’ll post the recipes to any tasty and Perio diet approved meals.


  • Eggs
  • Banana
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Apple sauce
  • Soft breads
  • Pastries such as cheese Danish (no raisins or nuts)
  • Pancakes
  • Soft French toast
  • Omelet
  • Breakfast burrito


Lunch & Dinner


  • Soup (I stay away from tomato based) such as potato, split pea, navy bean, chicken noodle, egg drop with no celery or green onion (tip: prepare or purchase your soup about 20 minutes before you plan to eat it to let it cool enough so it won’t damage the work done)
  • Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes (with no marshmallows or nuts)
  • Baked potato (with no bacon or chives)
  • Pastas or gnocchi with Alfredo sauce (I stay away from tomato based sauces)
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Rice
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Soft French fries or soft sweet potato fries
  • Chicken or ham a la king
  • Chicken pot pie (with semi-soft crust)
  • Chicken & dumplings
  • Corndogs
  • Hot dogs
  • Bean & cheese burritos
  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Meatloaf
  • Turkey & gravy
  • Stuffing with no celery or almonds
  • Cooked (soft) veggies
  • Cheeseburger pie (with semi-soft crust)
  • Casseroles
  • Grapes (seedless)
  • Pudding
  • Jello



As much as I despise pastel pink, lace, cutsie teddy bears, and other frilly things, I love going to tea shops. I love the finger sandwiches, scones, and those miniature desserts all served on the three-tiered serving tray. I love plopping sugar cubes into my flavorful tea and I love drowning that flavored tea with milk from tiny little pitchers.

The cucumbers weren't very pretty, but it's all we had. We apologize for the lack of vegetable luster.

The cucumbers weren’t very pretty, but it’s all we had. We apologize for the lack of vegetable luster.

The ladies from my mom’s department at her work used to go to tea shops every once in a while and she, like me, had to put up with the scary teddy bears dressed in pink lace for the delicious and delicate food and drink. But the place they used to go is now closed, and I’ve never heard my mom lament about a restaurant closing until this one. She said to me one day, “Now where am I going to get the cucumber sandwiches? That was the highlight for me.” So one year for her birthday, I made her the cucumber sandwiches using Cucumber Sandwiches III from Wing was silent while we were making them, but wore a look on his face like “why the heck did I agree to eating this silly stuff?” And dad and Mars grumbled audibly when they heard “cucumber sandwiches” but remained somewhat civil since it was mom’s birthday not theirs.

Well when all was said and done, everyone loved the sandwiches! Wing couldn’t stop saying how pleasantly surprised he was, dad got seconds (huge compliment from my dad), mom said the closest thing to wow for her by saying “they were good,” and Mars… well… Mars is Mars and ate them without complaint (did I mention in our profiles that he hates vegetables touching other foods?). In my family, that’s a hit!

gazpacho soup

gazpacho soup

So since the heat in San Diego has been ridiculous, Wing and I decided it was time for something cold and refreshing. Cucumber sandwiches and gazpacho! We’ve never made the gazpacho before so we found a recipe, again on, using Chef John’s Gazpacho as a base. We changed it up mainly because we’re lazy  and didn’t feel like using real tomatoes, plus we seemed to have run out of cumin so we used Cajun seasoning, things like that. But everything still turned out very well except our cucumbers weren’t very pretty when we cut into them. Oh well. They tasted fine. When Wing was finished with his meal, he told me that he needed help making a life decision. Immediately my mind went to things like are you not happy with your job? Our marriage? Oh no! What is it!? Then he smiled and said, “I need to know whether I want seconds cuz this dinner is great!” Phew! Well, in that case, go for it! So he did.

Below are our versions of these recipes.

Cucumber Sandwiches

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • dry Italian salad dressing mix *
  • six slices of bread lightly toasted **
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced into medallions
  • pinch dill weed

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, and Italian dressing mix. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight (we ate it right away and it was fine but it’s much better if you let it cool).

Spread cream cheese blend onto slices of bread. Top with cucumber slices and sprinkle with dill.

* We made our own using garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley, sugar, black pepper, ground basil, thyme, and celery seed.

** To make the sandwiches nicer aesthetically, cut them into fun shapes.


  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons jarred, pickled jalapeno (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes *
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Combine can of tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapenos, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, and balsamic vinegar in a blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into the tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine.

Place 1/3 of mixture into the blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Return pureed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Season chilled soup with more salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.

* We used an unknown sort of medium tomato from the parents’ garden. Not helpful.