Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Cooking 1/19

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

I had a difficult week, with a lot going on and a bad flare-up of my chronic illness, so we relied a lot on take-out and left-overs (and went out for my son's 16th birthday). But two recipes stand out:

My son requested his favorite cake for his birthday, Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. I used the Cooking Light recipe at the link, but left out the coconut and pecans on top (two things both of my sons hate!) and instead decorated it with sliced bananas and strawberries, like my mom used to when I was a kid. Everyone loves this cake - both of my sons request it for every birthday!

And on Friday, though I was still feeling bad, I managed to make my Black Bean Soup (recipe below), a very easy, quick soup that is delicious. I got to finally try out the new immersion blender my husband gave me for my birthday last summer - so cool! I love it, and it is so much easier to use and easier to clean up than using a regular blender. I can't wait to experiment with it some more.

Hope you are enjoying good food and fun cooking this week also!
Black Bean Soup
(Serves 6)
This recipe is very quick and easy, resulting in a tasty, low-fat, vegetarian soup that is creamy and filling (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

1 large onion, chopped
3 teaspoons minced or crushed garlic
1 jalapeno, minced
3 medium carrots, chopped small or grated
2 teaspoons olive oil
32 oz. (2 cans) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Sauté onion, jalapeno, and carrots in oil over medium-high heat until soft.  Add garlic toward end of sauté.  Add broth, water, beans and spices.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At end of cook time, remove soup from heat, and use an immersion blender to process it to your liking (we like ours with some chunky beans left in) or scoop out 2-4 cups and process until smooth in a blender (leave center of lid off to allow steam to escape) or food processor, then return to pot and stir.  (If you prefer the soup completely smooth, you can blend or process it completely).

Serve with a dollop of sour cream (regular or non-dairy) and freshly ground pepper on top.

© Suzan L. Jackson 2012
(Do not reprint or publish without written permission from the author)


  1. Your cake looks so pretty! No wonder the boys request it. I love my immersion blender! I use it quite often for soups and sauces.

  2. The cake looks delicious. I use my immersion blender all the time. Can't live without it. Your black bean soup also looks great and soup is my favorite meal.

  3. I love the fruit on the cake - what a fun idea!