Guest Post: Super Hamburger Soup!

This is a guest post from Kody Carling - thanks to Kody for his great soup recipe and his thoughts!

I love food, and I love eating healthy! I wish I could say that I have always been this way, but that would be a big lie. I travel around the United States for work, and I had always chosen to eat at fast food restaurants because of the speed at which they could service me. Every trip was the same song and dance, where I would say to myself “I am going to eat healthy this trip”. I usually skipped breakfast because of time, and then my hunger would get the best of me throughout the rest of the day.  At the end on the work day I found myself exhausted and sick to my stomach because of the things I ate. My family vacations had the same result. After the day, my wife and I would sit in our hotel room with our stomach’s bubbling.  

Does this sound similar to anyone else? Well I have to tell you what my secret was. While I was in Atlanta, I attended a traveling trade show to kill some time. I was trying to get ideas for my next family vacation. This show had many trade show exhibits that had all sorts of good family vacation destinations.  There was one booth that stood out to me, because it was not centered on traveling, but rather on good eating tips while traveling! This booth was sponsored by Candlewood Suites, and they focused on one of the perks of staying with them. They had their own kitchen. Here are two things I learned on eating healthy while traveling. These two rules have been life changing for me.

1.     Look for healthy restaurants before you travel. Having your meals planed out before you arrive will be helpful.
2.     Stay at a hotel that has a kitchen, because you can get ingredients at grocery stores to cook your own food if possible. You can also save healthy snacks in the fridge 

Having a plan and staying at places that has a kitchen have allowed me to eat healthier while I travel. I also want to share a recipe that has been a staple in my diet. I make this the night I arrive at my destination and have it in the fridge for lunch or dinner. My co-workers actually come to room for lunch because of this soup, and its free for them!  I got it out of the Lion House light cook book; the Lion House is one of my favorite restaurants in Utah.

Super Hamburger Soup
1 ½ Pounds of Extra Lean ground beef
2 onions, chopped
4 Stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) stewed tomatoes, not drained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
4 cups of water
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 large potatoes, diced
1 can (16 ounces) corn, not drained
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, not drained
1 can (15 ounces) baby lima beans
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 zucchini, sliced

Cook ground beef, onions, celery, and green pepper in a large pot until meat is brown and crumbly and onion is translucent. Drain. Add tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, water, carrots, potatoes, corn, kidney beans, lima beans or garbanzos, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 20 minutes. Add zucchini and cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Makes 12 servings

My two tips are all about having a plan before traveling. They are not monumental in theory, but have changed my life for the better. I hope this helps anyone else out there traveling and struggling with eating healthy. If not, then you have a really good vegetable soup recipe for reading my post.

- Guest Post provided by Kody Carling. I was compensated for sharing this post...but the soup does look good!

Have you tried Crockpot Freezer Meals???

So now that fall has arrived - I'm all about the crock pot. I use it at least once a week - and I'm always looking for ways I can have dinner ready when I get home. Cooking after work is just too much for my schedule at times. 

Thanks to Pinterest - you can find tons of crock pot recipes - then I started to see the Crockpot FREEZER recipes! This is my new obsession. I bookmarked a bunch of recipes and tried to find ones I thought we'd like best and that I could handle. I decided to start small and found a blog called This Lady's House that had the recipes, shopping list and instructions - it made it really easy for a first-timer. 

It's a little daunting - there's shopping, chopping, packaging, labeling and some cooking. I got my lists in order and then I set aside everything that would be added on the day of cooking and put those items into bags first. 

Then I just started going one recipe at a time and getting through the recipes. Some of them suggest doing all the meat - then all the veggies, etc... but being on my own - I decided to just do a recipe at a time so I could pace myself. 

Some of the recipes I could clearly tell would be more than enough for just the two of us - so I split a few into 2 bags. But all in all - it was pretty fun - especially when I filled the freezer with 10 meals!

Here's a pic of some of the final meals all bagged up and ready for the freezer - this isn't the easiest thing to take pics of. But really I just wanted to share this awesome idea with all of you!

This was the tomato beef stew - it was okay. I'm not a huge fan of beef stew - but if you like it a lot - good stuff. The stew meat was interesting - Meijer was out and then it was a back and forth with the meat counter guy trying to figure out why to buy. I never realized it was really just end pieces - so sometimes stew meat could be expensive cuts - other times eye of round. Who knew?!

Rather than using labels - I just used a sharpie on the bags themselves - worked just fine.

This is the bag for the Golden Chicken - if the chicken doesn't have enough sauce with it - it gets dry - something to watch when you're cooking.

Some of them had a bag for the freezer and a bag for the canned goods. I found I needed to package up the canned goods at the same time to make sure I had them when the whim hit me for the recipe. 

This was my favorite so far - the Sausage and Bean Supper. Larry's not a big fan of sausage - but even he liked it. It was so warm and hearty - I threw in some canned mushrooms as well since I'm a big fan. I think the honey really added a lot - you could just taste this extra little bit of sweetness - man I wish I had this in the crockpot right now! 

Pork and veggies - looks tasty!

I think this is the slow cooker pizza that I haven't tried yet - but it looks good too! 

And here's what it looks like to have a freezer full of recipes! 10 bags of dinners! Woohoo! 

I just found another set from Six Sisters that I'm really excited to try - these don't have any canned things you have to save back - even simpler! 

Have you tried these crockpot freezer meals? What are some of your favorite crock pot recipes? 

ABC's of Dining: The Letter T - Thai Taste

So for nearly two years I've been doing this "ABC's of Dining" in Cincinnati and working through the alphabet having you vote on where I should go. It's taken a lot longer than I thought - but it's not always easy to go to a specific place on a schedule...that said - I finally got to the letter T! (Poll for Letter U is at the bottom!)

Thai Taste in Cheviot was the winner for the letter T - it sounds like it's one of the only Thai places on that side of town - but with a 94% "like" rating on Urbanspoon - it must be pretty good too. 

It's definitely hidden on a little side street (Crookshank) that I couldn't get back to if I tried!

There were 5 of us and everybody else got Thai food and they all thought it was pretty good. I had rice the night before so I decided to go for sushi. No recollection of the rolls I got - they all kind of run together - I think there was shrimp tempura (left) and a dragon roll maybe (bottom right).

Why Should You Go? If you live on the West side and are hankerin' for some Thai - this is a great option. It's small and hidden but the service is great, the food is good and the prices aren't too bad either. They used to be BYOB but they now have their liquor license - so don't bring your own!

Thai Taste on Urbanspoon

The poll tool isn't working right on the left - so leave me a comment about where I should go for the letter U - there aren't a lot of choices:

  • Uncle Yips - Sharonville
  • Uncle T's - Owensville
  • Union Centre Pancake - West Chester
  • US Chili - Price Hill

Thanks for helping me out! 

Recipe: Balsamic Steak with Garlic Zucchini (& Mushrooms)

Last week I tried menu planning and picking out some recipes then buying the stuff at the store to make them. It sort of worked and sort of didn't. I got all the stuff but only made 1-2 of the items. Bonus was - I didn't have to grocery shop this week so I saved money! 

I get two cooking magazines - Everyday Food and Cooking Light. They both are so packed full of goodness - I really look forward to getting them every month. 

I found one in Everyday Food I had to try - and I already had the flank steak in the freezer for it! 

This was DELICIOUS! I never think about using balsamic but when I do - I'm always amazed at how delicious it is. This time, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. It was super simple to make and delicious! I added in mushrooms because I love them. The best part was that Larry ate not only the steak but the vegetables - and he HATES mushrooms - but I think the sauce was so good - he didn't care! I will definitely be making this one again and again! 

Balsamic Steak with Garlic Zucchini


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic and zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and saute until zucchini is tender and browned in spots, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and loosely tent with foil.
  3. Discard fat from skillet, then add vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Slice steak; add any accumulated juices from steak to skillet and stir to combine. Drizzle steak with sauce and serve alongside zucchini.

Cooking Light: Roasted Chicken with Mustard-Thyme Sauce

The great folks at Cooking Light continue to surprise me with the things I'm learning! On this day I got to learn how to make chicken and gravy. Sounds easy enough - but it was some good stuff! 

I found the Roasted Chicken Thighs with Mustard Thyme Sauce a couple issues ago and have been saving this one for a while. Last night was the night! 

It's an easy enough recipe - I did use the boneless, skinless thighs rather than bone-in. Other than that - you just need fresh thyme and dijon mustard - most everything else are staples (chicken broth, onion, etc...).

The gravy it made was really tasty - very light and packed with flavor. The onion is mellow and roasting the chicken brought out a lot of flavor.

I paired it with steamed broccoli and a baked sweet potato - good stuff!

Thanks to Cooking Light for the magazine subscription - I'm always finding great stuff! Can't wait to see what I'll be making later this week! Will it be the Beef & Broccoli Bowl or the Chicken Florentine Pasta?

** Update ** My husband called me from work and said something he has NEVER said before!!!


It's a proud day in the land of FoodHussy!

Product Review: Good Greens Bars (+ Free Sample Bars 4U)

So I'm not much of a "protein bar" fan...they usually just taste like dirt or paste - so when the folks at Good Greens sent me a big box of all their flavors - I have to admit - I wasn't so excited. 

I took them to work because I figured I wouldn't like them. Working for an ad agency - people are always missing breakfast/lunch because of meetings - so it's great to have a quick grab-n-go snack. 

It was pretty funny - there were soooo many opinions at work. My boss ate one and was instantly addicted! He literally ended up polishing off half the box. He couldn't believe the nutritional benefits and all the good stuff inside:
  • Omega 3s
  • Gluten-free
  • Antioxidants
  • Vegan
  • Organic
  • Probiotics
  • All Natural
  • Z-52 - Good Greens Superfood Powder with all sorts of good stuff - 
And most amazing:

Another coworker tried it and said it was the worst thing he'd ever tasted - so I wasn't yet convinced! 

I bumped into another coworker on her way to a conference - she mentioned that she was starving and hadn't had time to eat breakfast. I decided to offer her a bar - she emailed me this later in the day:

Hey there – fun running into you in the morning!  Since I know you do reviews, for what it’s worth, I thought I’d tell you about the “mint chocolate” bar you gave me.  Loved it!  It was the perfect amount of mint (not too minty and overwhelming) and loved the blend with chocolate –decadent.  It actually reminded me of a better, healthier version of the Kudos bars we used to have as kids.  I ate it walking into my training and wasn’t hungry until lunch time! - ML

So with good and bad reviews coming my way - I finally had to give in. I had saved myself back one bar - a chocolate coconut because I love coconut! 

And the verdict?

I'M SO GLAD I SAVED ONE!!! I actually liked it!!!!!

I'm seriously shocked - I really hate these kind of things - but these were great! It took a few bites to get into it - but once I did - I loved it! It wasn't grainy - and it had good chocolate flavor. It wasn't trying to be a candy bar either. I just really liked it.

Dammit - why did I give the rest away?!

Well - not to fret - I can get another free bar...and guess what? SO CAN YOU!!!

The folks at Good Greens are trying to get the word out - so you can get a Free sample bar online! 

Or if you trust me and just want to grab a box - head to Jungle Jim's in Fairfield or Susan's Natural World in Eastgate and grab some for yourself! Or you can buy them online from their store...

And if you're one of those folks that's tried all sorts of other bars and want to see how this stacks up? Here you go! 

Pizza Pizza! Tomasos!

On the trip back home, we also decided we wanted PIZZA!!! We had gone to Zoey's the time before - so decided to have Tomaso's - which is a locally owned small chain in Cedar Rapids/Marion. 

They have 3 kinds of crust: Detroit Deep Dish, Chicago Deep Dish and New York Thin. They also have an open kitchen which is fun and the pizza oven guy has been there a long time and really makes sure your pie is the best!

We went for the Detroit Deep Dish - I like the cheese all the way to the edges to get crispy. This was some good pizza! I just love that bubbly edge and the toppings were great. We really enjoyed our pizza - but it was probably the company just as much as the pizza. 

Why Should You Go? I really like it - still think Zoey's is better but if you don't want to wait an hour for a table - it's a very close second.

Tomaso's Pizza World HQ on Urbanspoon

Fortune Slow As Hell

After a day of volunteering for the completely awesome Spooky Pooch event - Larry and I were STARVING! We decided to try the Chinese place up town - Fortune Express

It's a little standalone Chinese place right off Hamilton on Compton. Inside is NOTHING to brag about - booths, tables, etc... with the standard Chinese decor.

So we were the 2nd table there and right after - the place got swamped! 5 tables and 4 take out orders. That said - they took our order before nearly everybody else got there. So then we waited. And waited. And waited. AND WAITED! It took probably 30 minutes for our crab rangoons and then another 10 minutes for our entrees. They had one guy cooking each order - one at a time. Whew! Do NOT go at a busy time!!!

I ordered Shrimp LoMein with extra mushrooms. What I got was Shrimp Linguine with a LOAD of white pepper sprinkled on top. Seriously - have you ever seen white pepper poured on top of Chinese food? WTF? The linguine - also - not so good. So - not a fan of this one.

Larry went for his standard sweet & sour chicken. It was fine. The chicken that was crispy was the best...and there wasn't any pineapple - which was a bummer.

Why Should You Go? Honestly - I'm torn. It has 91% like it but we just didn't. It was slow, my Lo Mein wasn't and how hard is it to get sweet & sour right? The rangoons were fine but nothing to write home about.

Fortune Express on Urbanspoon

Giveaway Time! Hit the Banks at Crave!

If you haven't noticed, The Banks have exploded in the last year - there are restaurants, condos and bars everwhere down there - even a couple of park-like areas! One of the new places that opened about five months ago is Crave

It's on the corner across from the baseball stadium - you can't miss those bright red seats! (Photos above from

Inside - it's pretty impressive. It's very big but there are cute little pockets. They even have larger private tables that you can pull a curtain around for a much more private homey atmosphere.

The patio is large and has a great view of the stadium - I'm sure it's PACKED before and after games. Ugh - games...pain...playoffs...sad...

My coworker got the miso soup - which I think was billed separately from his lunch selection. It looks great doesn't it - so many chunks of good stuff. Matt said it was okay - but salty.

He also got the Premium Bento Box ($13.95) - it came with a choice of a roll, panko fried shrimp, seaweed salad and fresh fruit sashimi.

This LOOKS beautiful. Matt said it was okay - but nothing too spectacular. and Fruit sashimi is cut up fruit - clever name though. And I have to say - it's a lot of food and does look sooo good!

I, on the server's recommendation, went with the Turkey Avocado Burger ($11.95) and fries. This was a good burger - you could tell the turkey was probably a reasonably lean ground turkey. I've had quite a few different kinds of turkey burgers - the better they taste, the worst they are for you. The healthiness though - obviously mutilated with cheese, bacon and sriacha aioli.

Why Should You Go? Well the view is great - and the food was fine - but our ticket of $35 for lunch for two was a bit steep. I think CRAVE is more about the atmosphere and the location. They do have a large menu - and I'd give it another shot and try something else. Lunch entrees are in the $10-15 range, dinner are in the $15-30 range.

Crave on Urbanspoon

And now you can win $25 to try it for yourself!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Galena, IL - Great Trip, Great Food

On one of my trips back to Iowa, our friends took us to Galena, IL. I had never been there but what a treat this was! It's the cutest little town (similar to what Madison IN used to be when more shops were open) FILLED with shops of all kinds! It's right across the river from Dubuque, IA. There were antique shops, specialty shops, restaurants, art studios, jewelry shops and so much more. 

Since all that shopping made us very hungry - we stopped at Vinny Vanucci's Little Italy on Main Street for some lunch. 

Vinny's has two locations, this one is on top of a hill and has a beautiful patio area outside. We didn't even consider going inside!

We got garlic bread and salad with our meals. The garlic bread smelled so heavenly - I forgot to take a picture first! This was seriously the best garlic bread I've had ever. It was crispy, thin, flaky and smothered slathered covered in butter and garlic. Melt in your mouth goodness. The salad was good too...but just not as much to brag about!

I got a pasta bowl with marinara and meatballs ($8.95) and it was delicious! The meatballs were huge and heavy but not too overwhelming. The marinara was great too - it was a nice combination of a fresh sauce but one that's been cooked a while - if that makes any sense. Sometimes marinara are bright red and you can tell they weren't cooked a long time. This had a deeper flavor than that.

Larry is always careful about pasta having eggs - and they said some of theirs did - so to be safe he got a burger and fries ($8.95). It was good as well...but the italian food is really what you go for!

Our friend wasn't all that hungry - so he got soup ($2.95) and meatballs - ha - he was shocked when the dish of meatballs ($5.95) came out! For being not hungry - I think he licked the plate! It was the same meatballs on my pasta but then they added a bunch of sauce and roasted peppers.

Why Should You Go? Well - it is a treck for my Cincinnati followers - but I have to say - a weekend in Galena is really a wonderful time. There's a Mississippi River museum across the river in Dubuque that our friends love to visit. There are so many great shops - we really loved Mangelsen's - definitely some of the most beautiful nature photographs we have EVER seen. They have ghost tours, skiing and so much more. It's a great little town. But oh yeah - the food - Vinny's was great! We all loved our dishes and it was some great Italian food - better than anything I've had in Cincinnati.

Vinny Vanucchi's 'Little Italy' on Urbanspoon

Crappy Frozen Fish - Don't Buy It!

I had some free coupons for Van de Kamps - can't remember how I got them - but woohoo - free groceries. In hopes of being healthier, I decided to try the new Parchment Bakes

The only flavor they had was the Classic Grilled. It had some sort of sauce on it - I was hoping to try the Garlic Butter or Roasted Garlic - but no luck.

Pop them out of the box and on to a cookie sheet. 

Bake and they expand with steam. 

Then you plop them on your plate. 

Why Should You Try Them? Oh please don't. They're bad. The fish is rubbery, the sauce has a funky taste and there's way too much pepper. Other than that - they're great. 

Heaven in a Bun

Well Cincinnati - I may be late to the train station on this one since 7 other bloggers have reviewed it - but hey - better late than never!

Two words for you - ELI'S BBQ. 

Really - that's all you need to know - but if you need more convincing - read on...

From what I know - Eli's was in Findlay (still is?) but now have a bricks & mortar location on Riverside Dr in Cincinnati. Keep your eyes peeled for the pig outline! 

There's a small sign and parking in the back. There's a huge open area where you can BYOB and BYOD (bring your own dog)! My coworker said, "I can bring my dogs...and drink my own beer...AND eat BBQ!!!!" - I should note he was salivating by the end of that. 

Once inside you order at the counter - there's a big ol' menu on the wall - and you can do individual entrees ($5) or you can do a plate ($8) with entree & 2 sides. I couldn't decide between ribs and hot dogs (odd choice - more on that) - so the blonde there convinced me to do both! Well sure!

I went for ribs ($5 for 3 bones) that came with a side of cole slaw. The slaw was really good - not so mayonnaise heavy - very light textured creaminess and good flavor. Me gusta!

The ribs (as you can see) are dry and the rub on them has a lot of little chunks/pieces and it's also sweet - you could taste brown sugar chunks. I really enjoyed the dry style ribs rather than those that are slathered in sauce. The meat was very tender and there was a bit of the rub in every bite.

Honestly - I didn't love as much as Just Q'in - but this was a close 2nd for me.  Those were a bit more "fall-off-the-bone".

Here's where they got me. As I said I couldn't decide between ribs and dogs. I was told by another coworker that their dogs are not to be missed. Now why would you order hot dogs at a BBQ place. BECAUSE THE LORD SAID SO! 

Seriously - this was an amazing dog. They start with my favorite brand (Nathan's) and then do amazing things to them that include smoking and frying. Then throw some cole slaw, crispins (crispy chunks of bbq meat) and bbq sauce on top and then YOU DEVOUR IT! 

Because the girl reco'd both - I went for 3 bones and 1 dog - still too much food - and I still couldn't stop eating. A normal "just dog" order is 2 dogs - but you can get 1 dog alone if you like. Eating two might push my stomach into another realm - but one and two sides - definitely worth it. 

Speaking of sides - I got the mac & cheese (because I'm obsessed with that and think it should be a food group of it's own). It did not disappoint. Most times I actually don't like "homemade" mac & cheese - it's usually mushy and gloppy. This was neither and yet it was far more than "throw velveeta in the noodles". Good stuff here.  

Here's a shot of the pulled pork sandwich, cornbread and cheesy grits. I didn't try any of these - or really even ask those that did. I was too busy salivating and devouring my food. 

I did just ask a coworker for his thoughts. He loved the sandwich - said it was delicious and they did not skimp on the pork. He also said the grits were super cheesy with a little kick.

Why Should You Go? Because it's that awesome. Seriously - I've been thinking of it since last week - and I'm going today. So Eli's - save me a seat - I'll see you around noon! FYI - it's cash only. 

Eli's BBQ on Urbanspoon