Possibly “The Best Soup I Have Ever Made” or Sweet Potato Soup with Cardamom

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When my family came to visit back in August for Kyle’s wedding, I took everyone on a field trip to Union Market. My mom – being someone who knows about fancy spices like saffron and cardamom – bought me some at one of Union Market’s cute spice stands.

I was scared to use them for months (precious spices? What is that? Can I break it? Will I wreck them?) ad kept them in my gadget drawer for 2 months, content to sniff them occasionally, or about three times a day. But let’s be real. The packages of goodness were meant to be used in a recipe.


And finally, I found the perfect recipe for the cardamom. During my weekly trek to the grocery mecca that is Costco, I bought a huge bag of sweet potatoes. I love potato soup but I was convinced that sweet potato soup would be even better than my usual jaunts down Soup Lane. If sweet potatoes are healthier and tastier than regular potatoes, then it stands to reason that the soup will be equally better. Right?


I was pretty ecstatic with the result. The soup has a cinnamony, spicy flavor that is so unique and perfect for cozy late fall/early winter dinners. It also only took about an hour of simmering, which makes this a perfect meal for cozy lazy weekend nights.

Mark even declared that this soup was the best I had ever made. Bonus: now you have an excuse to go and buy cardamom. I still don’t know what to do with the saffron but I’ll keep you posted! Any suggestions?


Sweet Potato Soup with Cardamom

4 large sweet potatoes

2 cups milk

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup white wine

2 tbl. olive oil

4 stalks chopped celery

1 chopped onion

3 garlic cloves or 2 tbl. granulated garlic

1/2 tsp. cardamom

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

Saute the chopped onions, garlic cloves, and celery in the olive oil until the onions are transparent. Add  chicken broth, wine wine, and milk. bring the mixture to a low simmer. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into 1-inch chunks (leave the skin on). Just when the mixture begins to simmer, add the potatoes, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for an hour before serving.

Fall Days, Colds, and Navy Beans


Today started out as one of those scratchy-throated dark wet mornings when you just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head.

It was wet and rainy and cold in the city and the only thing visible through the morning rain was the glow of the red brake-lights of all of the other grumpy drivers.


It was one of those mornings when all of my students did well – everyone worked hard and played their sonatinas and minuets and Happy Clowns and scales beautifully and focused during their lessons. I was so proud of them all. . . but I still just wanted to curl up somewhere and go to sleep until this head cold decides to go visit another house.


It was one of those days where I knew exactly what I needed to do when I got home, because this same thing happened last weekend when Mark came home from work grumpy and sick and scratchy-throated. Sometimes, folks, you just need to make a pot of beans.

The rainclouds blew away and now the sun has come out to make a beautiful light-filled afternoon. The world is happy because we get to hold on to warmth for a few more minutes.



And now the day is truly complete because – in addition to students remembering their B flats and F sharps – now I have my yoga pants and am drinking warm coffee; now a pot of beans is simmering happily on the stove and Mark and I can smell it from the dining room/bike room where we are studying and writing.

Maybe your day is just a little awry, a little chilly, a little headachy or grumpy? Make this pot of beans. I promise it will be better.


Fall-ish Navy Beans

1 lb of navy beans

4 cups of water

2 cups of chicken broth

1 cup of wine

1/2 bacon, bacon bits,or ham

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cups of kale, chopped

2 tbls. butter

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. basil

Chopped walnuts

Grated Parmesan cheese

Saute the onions until transparent; add the kale and continue to saute until the kale wilts. Meanwhile, rinse the beans. Add beans, water, broth, wine, and bacon or ham to sauteed onions and kale. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add chopped celery, pepper, oregano, and basil. Simmer for another 45 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts on top.

One Sultry Fall Day, There Was A Baking Party.




Yesterday didn’t exactly feel like fall in Washington, D.C. It was sultry and sunny, with temperatures reaching 90 in some parts of the city. But that didn’t stop us. We had planned a fall baking party and by golly, we were going to have a fall baking party.



It was absolutely lovely. We laughed a lot. And talked a lot. And had a lot of oh-no-did-any-one-turn-the-oven-timer-on moments. And produced a lot of fragrant, scrumptious, fall-ish goodies.



We also were far too distracted by our cooking to remember to take very many pictures. But here are a few. Additionally, here is a list of the recipes we used:

One of the lovely ladies also made some snazzy pumpkin spice lattes for all of us. Unfortunately, I forgot to snag the recipe before she dashed out the door.



Go gather some friends and have a fall baking party. Or just grab one of these recipes, collect the ingredients, and usher fall into your kitchen by trying one this morning!

Speaking of entertaining, have you read this book about Audrey Hepburn by her son? I just discovered it and can’t wait to get my hands on it!


September Fashion: Fall Color

I am totally getting into fall now. I think it helps that I don’t have to sacrifice bright bold colors when the weather cools down. I am ready to do some shopping for bright fall colors and just put in an order for the Boden dress in vermillion.

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But then I have to accept the reality that I work from home three days a week and really, while bright dresses are great, I am much more productive in a comfy cotton shirt (enter stage right: Image #4). I could be really productive wearing that shade of gold.

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Pretty sure these shoes in denim would complete the look. What are you excited about wearing this fall?

1. Boden Textured Ponte Dress // 2. Ann Taylor Loft Pave Flower Drop Earrings // 3. Ann Taylor Loft Origami Flower Painted Scarf // 4. Banana Republic Rugby Stripe Top // 5. Banana Republic Carina Pointed-Toe Flat