11.06.2018

7 Delicious Soup Recipes for any Night of the Week

As soon as the temperature drops, I love to read soup recipes and put a pot of soup on the stove. In North Carolina, official soup weather begins late October through the winter months. This is when you will start seeing more soups offered in Triangle restaurants. I think many of our Raleigh area restaurants offer delicious soups in season. Each year, local Raleigh chefs get souped up and serve some of their favorite soup recipes for charity.


Delicious Soups

When I dine in Raleigh restaurants, I like to order a lot of creamy based soups such as butternut squash, carrot, potato, tomato, coconut curry, and even beet soup. Will jokes that anytime there is a butternut squash, carrot, tomato, or a beet soup listed at a local restaurant, he knows I will order it. The soup can be in a pub, deli or high-end restaurant and I order it almost every time.

The main reason I order that type of creamy-based soup out a lot is that I'm too lazy at home to make something pureed and creamy smooth.  I do not own a hand blender and I think that is an essential chef's item for rich, creamy soups. One fall, I was dining at our local five-star hotel property when I was on assignment for a Forbes piece at the Umstead Hotel's Bar and Lounge for lunch, and butternut squash soup was on the menu. I loved it so much I ordered a second bowl. Who does that when the soup is $9 a bowl? It was worth it to me at the time. I had to have more.

I still talk about a carrot soup I ordered at a pub in Ireland in 1998. No doubt, I like it when a professional chef makes a soup.

In my own home, I tend to make more stews and chilis. The soup that I make most often is a vegetable beef soup that is a combination recipe that I put together from both of side of my grandparents. It's my absolute favorite soup and I could live off of it during the winter months.

Once again, I am honored to be a local judge for Urban Ministries of Wake County Stone Soup Supper Event. This charity event is a highlight of the fall season for me.  Proceeds raised from this event support programs that feed, shelter and provide health care for Wake County residents. It is a fun night in Raleigh, and I love to taste the chef's creations. I also enjoy learning more about Raleigh each chef and the styles they tend to favor in their cuisine.

Urban Ministries of Wake County Stone Soup Supper


In honor of my being a judge for the second year in a row for the #GetSoupedEvent, I wanted to share some soup recipes from my virtual colleagues.  These are some of the recipes from their own kitchens.

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili by my business partner, Kim on Living Young and Healthy. This recipe can be made on the stove as well, which is how I had to make it since I do not own an Instant Pot. It is delicious.




Arizona Inspired Mexican Soup from Karen Dawkins, Family Travels on a Budget.

Arizona Inspired Mexican Soup #soups #chilis


Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup from Diana Rambles.

Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetable Soup #Soups #recipes #chickensoups


Tomato-Basil Bisque Soup from Michelle, of Honest and Truly.

30-minute tomato basil bisque #soups #recipes #tomatosoup





Curried Carrot Soup from Deon van Schalkwyk of FoodJam

Curried Carrot Soup #soups #recipes


Tortilla Soup from Crystal Maleski of Make Dinner Easy

Tortilla Soup #soups #recipes


My vegetable beef soup recipe

Grandma's Vegetable Beef Soup

I would love to hear about your favorite soup. Put the recipe on my blog's Facebook page. 

Updated: November 2018
This post contains affiliate links. 

10.19.2018

Raleigh's Oakwood Neighborhood in NC: A Halloween and Christmas Must-See

Historic Oakwood in Raleigh, N.C. was the city's first neighborhood. It was Raleigh's first middle-class suburb and now it is in the heart of downtown Raleigh. It's within walking distance to most anything downtown. Oakwood has so much character, and is a neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places and known for the Historic Oakwood Cemetery, which was founded in 1869.  The neighborhood is beautiful during the holidays and it gets spooky in October.



If any area is haunted in the city of Raleigh then my bet would be on the Oakwood area.



I've always loved the houses in Oakwood neighborhood, and when we were house hunting in 2003, I strongly considered Oakwood because of its location to downtown, but when I toured a house on the market at the time, something felt creepy about it.  I can't explain it.  But, I looked at Will and said, "Some of these houses could be haunted."



This home is on Oakwood Avenue and is now a fall tourist attraction.


The average home price now for the Oakwood area is about $500,000. As the area becomes more desirable, prices rise.




Some houses still look a little creepy in Oakwood without doing a thing for Halloween.  It does take a lot of work and money to renovate these houses.





Pretty pumpkins are more my style in October. This is one of my favorite homes in the Oakwood neighborhood.



Rumor has it that the spooky house will give out more than 1,000 pieces of a candy in an hour on Halloween. But, knock on that door at our own risk. Plastic black snakes are known to fall from the sky.



Yikes!

I would DIE.  Honestly, I was too creeped out to walk by the house on the sidewalk so I probably could have gotten a lot more pictures, but I was scared.

Elm Street is just around the corner. Walk at your own risk.  Will Freddy Kruger pop out?



I prefer to tour the area at Christmas. The 47th annual Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour will be this year.  Tickets are on sale now for this event which usually sells out.




Raleigh's Oakwood Neighborhood near Downtown Raleigh is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. It's a must-see at #Halloween and #Christmas. Gorgeous #HistoricHomes



Updated: October 2018



10.16.2018

The Annual TerraVita Food and Drink Festival is Worth the N.C Road Trip for Foodies

One of the best food and drink festivals in the Triangle area is TerraVita, an annual culinary experience in N.C. that gathers foodies together for education and tasting. It's more than just a food festival in the south. It's like visiting family every fall season and then learning something on each visit. 2018 marks the 9th consecutive year for this popular food festival in N.C. 

The final event of the jam-packed festival, called the Fall Fete, showcases North Carolina's commitment to the agricultural industry. TerraVita's Fall Fete is a 3-hour tasting from North Carolina's local farms to the culinary table with more than 40 chefs participating. From a local Raleigh resident's perspective, TerraVita is one of the few food festivals in the Triangle that brings in chefs from different parts of the state together under the umbrella of food, education, and fellowship. One of the highlight events that sell out quickly is the East Meets West Dinner. This dinner puts the spotlight on the finest producers in North Carolina where a multi-course meal is served family style by chefs in great restaurants throughout North Carolina. 




TerraVITA began in 2010 out of a foodie's desire to produce a top-quality event for the Southeast, showcasing the very best in food and wine. The founder, Colleen Minton, wanted sustainability to be a key part of the event, but not be surpassed by the importance of superior quality and continued culinary education in addition to giving back to the local community. Since 2010, TerraVita has raised more than $50,000 for local charities. 

The sustainable classroom portion of the TerraVita event in Chapel Hill is a highlight of the entire festival. The experiences are when foodies learn from the best in the culinary industry. Usually, the topics are very timely and are on topic with food trends.  In 2018, one of the classroom topics will be on the Instant Pot. You may not own an Instant Pot yet, but the fast-cooking pressure cooking is all over Pinterest with Instant-Pot recipes. 

Sheri Castle, a North Carolina-based culinary educator and cookbook author of the Instant Pot cookbook called Instantly Southern says there is power in the pot and it can do way more than soups, rice, and grains. The Instant Pot is a great machine that can cook an entire meal from appetizers to desserts in very little time. 





TerraVita pushes foodies to celebrate food, its history and the culture surrounding food.  This year, the festival is spotlighting the memory of Edna Lewis, author of A Taste of Country Cooking, originally published in 1976 and is currently in its 30th Anniversary printing. 

Chefs will gather at the Fearrington Village in Pittsboro to host.the special dinner The Legacy of Ms. Lewis: A Tribute to Edna, who was an early pioneer in the farm-to-table movement.  

At this familial dinner, chefs who consider Miss Lewis a mentor and a hero will honor her by preparing tribute dishes. A moving panel discussion, led by James Beard award-winning author Toni Tipton-Martin, will accompany the food, unearthing more stories about this trailblazing chef’s remarkable impact. Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro will be the host chef. In addition to Hall, guest chefs will include Walter Royal of Angus Barn in Raleigh; and Sean Fowler of Mandolin in Raleigh. 

Food Personality and Cookbook author Carla Hall will also be cooking at this dinner.  She will be at the festival a week before the launch of her new cookbook "Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration" that brings soul food to mainstream kitchens. 


Hall has a recipe for Caribbean Smothered Chicken Thighs with Coconut, Lime and Chiles spotlighted in the Washington Post and I want to try it. 

Whether you do the whole TERRAVita Shebang or just one event, this is an annual event that will make a North Carolina road trip for foodies worth it. 


The TerraVita Festival in Chapel Hill, NC is the perfect road trip destination for foodies. #Southerntravel #southernfood #Southernfoodfestivals

Above Text Updated in October 2018. Photos below are from TerraVita 2015. I do have some foodie eating advice for you on the Fall Fete. Walk around first and treat the tasting like a sport. Start with a favorite restaurant then go for something out of the box. Make a list and tackle your list. Get a drink in between, but don't go down the line in a circle like I did the first year.  By the time, you reach the end, you may be too full to try something that you really wanted to try. It's best to have an eating strategy. 
Chefs 105 cuisine

FullSteam Brewery



French Broad Chocolates of Asheville, NC


Escazu Chocolate, Raleigh, NC

Slingshot Coffee Company


We had so much fun!







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