Olive Tapenade (Paleo/AIP/Vegan)

Angel's

Angel’s in Hot Springs, AR

My husband and I were married in March of 2013 and while we couldn’t afford a honeymoon, we could afford to go down to Hot Springs for the day. We had a beautiful day with beautiful weather and happened upon Angel’s for lunch. We returned last year on our second anniversary and even though it was rainy, it was a beautiful lunch looking out the large windows. The food is amazing. It’s not really aip paleo friendly, but I happened to pick out a salad that was really great with grilled salmon.

My fondest memory of food at Angel’s is their olive dip. I’ve done a few different recreations of it and have found a great version that works for my AIP journey. If you’re not paleo you could totally throw this on some crusty bread. We enjoy it on some cucumbers and the kids have enjoyed it with carrot chips.

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Olive Tapenade

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Jar of Kalamata or Black Olives (Try both! Already pitted olives makes this recipe a little easier. Check the ingredients for junk. Keep it as clean as you can.)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Green Onions (Or to your taste. I’ve been obsessed with green onion lately.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Olive Oil (Best quality you can afford.)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt and Cracked Pepper, To Taste (Omit pepper for AIP.)

Instructions:

  1. Drain the olives in a fine strainer and rinse with cool water. This can help reduce the chances of finding fragments of pits in your tapenade.
  2. Dry them off with some paper towel.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut up the olives. You may need to do this a hand full at a time. Take your time and do it how you like. You could puree this, but I’m not a fan of the texture when it’s pureed.
  4. Mince your clove of garlic and your green onions. Add it to a bowel with the olives.
  5. Add enough olive oil to coat the ingredients and stir.
  6. You can eat it now, or throw it in the fridge for a bit.
  7. When you’re ready to eat, pile it on your favorite snack delivery device be it cucumbers, costini, or otherwise. You can also top it with sliced almonds for some added texture and crunch.

It may seem cheesy, but this recipe warms my heart because it takes me back to some really great memories with my husband. He’s the love of my life and this recipe will always take me back to the best moments we’ve shared. Rain or shine, we have each other.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Feel free to add things to this! A traditional tapenade has capers and anchovies and I’m considering trying to come up with something like that soon. I’ll be sure to share if I figure it out. Do you have a recipe that brings back good memories? Share with us in the comment section below!

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Basic Gelatin Gummies (AIP/Paleo)

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May the Force Be With You! ^__^

It’s official. I am turning into the hippie paleo mom that buys her kids silicon molds and gelatin for Christmas! I purchased some cute little hearts for Madison and for the boys…What else other than Star Wars?! They weren’t very expensive at all and I can leave a link to what I bought below. (I am not affiliated with Amazon so these are NOT affiliate links. I receive no compensation for your purchase.)

I went about the interwebs searching for recipes, but what I really needed was the base recipe. Thankfully, a lovely lady in my paleo group was able to help me out with this. You need about 2 cups of liquid to 4 tablespoons of gelatin. I picked up the Great Lakes Gelatin to try because it was on sale, but I’m sure you can use whatever gelatin on hand. I even found an article on vegan gelatin substitutes for our vegan friends. If you try that out, let us know in the comments how it goes (Here’s the link: http://www.thekitchn.com/vegetarian-and-vegan-substitutes-for-gelatin-tips-from-the-kitchn-189478).

I’ve also included my YouTube video below for our visual learners! I hope you enjoy. (Subscribe at The Common Sense Cook on YouTube and get your notifications from there when I upload.)

Basic Gelatin Gummies (AIP/Paleo)

  • Servings: Varies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Juice (I used Blueberry Naked Juice.)
  • 3/4 Cup of Kombucha (I used GT’s Gingerberry.)
  • 1 Cup of Syrup (I used raw local honey, but you could use any syrup of choice such as elderberry, maple syrup, etc.)
  • 4 Tablespoons of Great Lakes Gelatin (Or other gelatin or gelatin alternative.)

Instructions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and turn on low for 5 to 10 minutes. My stove definitely took the full 10 minutes. You want to make sure all of the clumps have dissolved.
  2. Use a deep tablespoon or a liquid dropper to add the mixture to your molds. I sat my molds on a cookie sheet to make them easier to move.
  3. Let the gummies sit in the fridge for up to an hour. I checked mine at 45 minutes and they were fine, but I have a very cold refrigerator.
  4. Pop them out of the mold and enjoy!
  5. These lasted just fine in a bowl in the fridge. They were a great snack just to pop out of the fridge and hand to the kiddos.

I hope you enjoy this really easy recipe. The kids were very excited and have enjoyed getting to have such a yummy treat. Best of all there are great benefits from the probiotics in kombucha and antibacterial qualities from the local honey, which is also good for seasonal allergies as well. I may have to whip us up another batch this morning!

Make sure you come back next time to see what this Hippie Paleo, Common Sense Cook can figure out next. I’m sending happy, healthy guts from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

What I bought:

Gelatin: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KNHDRU?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s03

Heart Molds: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q67I89Q?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s06

Star Wars Molds: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007JN8918?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s10

Cheesecake Filling (Gluten/Egg Free)

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My first Egg Free Cheesecake with Pumpkin Butter.

This year I have been faced with a new challenge. My youngest was diagnosed with an egg sensitivity. It really came out of no where. He deals with really bad eczema on his legs and we will be doing more testing next month to try to pin point the cause. He’s had this since he was a year old. I was thinking of going ahead and letting him eat the cheesecake with eggs and use my conventional gluten free cheesecake recipe that I guest posted on for Moody Sisters Skincare (Here’s the link: http://www.moodysistersskincare.com/blog/2015/8/11/scrumptious-strawberry-cheesecake-recipe). But, no. I had to figure out how to do this cheesecake without affecting this cutie patootie!

I will admit that my crust did not turn out. The crust in the recipe above is really awesome if you tolerate nuts, and chocolate. But…I tried something out to avoid the chocolate (because caffeine in the chocolate hates me)… And yeah. We don’t always win. Thankfully, the filling was awesome! So here we go.

Cheesecake Filling (Gluten/Egg Free)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 – 8 ounce packages of Cream Cheese, At Room Temperature (Choose your quality. If you can afford organic/grass fed, go for it! But don’t feel obligated.)
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages of Mascarpone, At Room Temperature
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Coconut Sugar
  • Flax Egg (2 Tablespoons Flax to 3 Tablespoons of Water)
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • A Tiny Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

It is very important that you have your ingredients at room temperature. Don’t skip this step. Also, because this recipe is only for the filling, take care of your crust now so it can be pre-baking (if needed). Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

  1. Mix your flax egg at the proportions above. Stir until it is well mixed and place in the fridge for 15 minutes. This is what will replace the eggs. If you have issues with flax, try a gelatin egg instead! (And let me know below if it worked!)
  2. Mix the cream cheese, mascarpone, and coconut sugar together until well combined.
  3. Add your flax egg. You might be cautious and add it in a quarter at a time and mix as you go.
  4. Add the final ingredients of the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pink salt and mix until it is all well combined.
  5. Taste, taste, taste! It doesn’t have raw eggs so go ahead and give it a try to see if you’d like to add something else. (I wonder how pumpkin pie spices would be…)
  6. Add your filling to your crust. This makes a LOT of filling so I made sure to put some parchment paper in the dish so that I could avoid spillage and after it set, I could pull it right out of my pan. (I didn’t have a spring form pan this time.) I also didn’t worry about the water bath since I didn’t have the right pan. I used a deep, square, glass pan that worked great!
  7. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because it could come out earlier.
  8. Let the cheesecake completely cool. This is very important. Do not put a hot cheesecake in the fridge, my friends.
  9. Cover lightly and refrigerate over night and wake up to an amazing cheesecake!

I hope you will give this filling a try. Find your favorite crust and try your best to share with your friends or family, even though it’s tough. I actually topped this off at Thanksgiving with some pumpkin butter. I used this recipe from The Paleo Parents (http://paleoparents.com/2011/pumpkin-butter-and-apple-butter/) but feel free to use any fruit or sauce that you love.

I’m sending you a yummy alternative of an old favorite from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back soon and see what else I can whip up for the holiday season.

-Ami M. Lee, Cheesecake Lover, Not Afraid to Fail, Common Sense Cook

Holiday Turkey

Holiday Turkey

Some for me and Some for the Bird…

This year, I wanted make my Thanksgiving experience a little bit easier. I wanted to have fun, not stress out. Last year I was in the middle of brussel sprouts and my back gave out and I had to stop. This year, for a few reasons, I decided to keep it simple. This also included my turkey. I’ve also done this with whole chickens as well.

Here’s what you’ll need for a stress free Turkey:

Holiday Turkey

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • Fresh Whole Turkey (I had a 10 pound bird.)
  • Kerrygold Grassfed Butter
  • Garlic
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • Fresh Organic Sage
  • Lemon
  • Half of a Fresh Onion
  • Olive oil
  • 1 – 2 White Wine of Choice (Pick something you’ll drink. I used Moscato.)
  • 2 Cups of Bone Broth

Preheat oven to 325  F Degrees

  1. Remove all non-turkey pieces including packaging, giblets, and plastic.
  2. Remove the wish bone for easier carving along with the end of the wings. The wings can be completely removed and saved for bone broth.
  3. Gently slide your hand under the skin to loosen it. Then add a mixture of butter and the seasonings underneath. Feel free to experiment with the seasonings.
  4. Add the lemon, onions, and some whole garlic and more seasonings into the cavity of the bird.
  5. Add it to a large and deep casserole dish. Pour in the wine and bone broth. It should not cover the bird. No more than half way up.
  6. Bake in the oven for 2 hours with an aluminum foil tent. Remove it (carefully) for the last 45 minutes. Time can vary for the the size of the bird. My packaging came with a chart, so check that out or see our trusty friend Google.
  7. Let it rest! You really need to let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Carve and serve.
  9. Enjoy

I hope you enjoy this recipe! This was a wonderful time. I spent more of my time enjoying my family instead of slaving away in the kitchen. We had mashed potatoes, gluten free dressing, bacon braised kale, honey butter, and rolls.

The greatest compliment was from my Uncle Rick. He’s a great cook! He’s been cooking a very long time and makes that great, home cooked, southern food, including some Cajun food. He told me he was really impressed. That just warmed my heart. Best compliment in the world.

Consider trying this recipe so that you can stress less about that turkey and concentrate on the real reason for the holidays. Spending time with your loved ones.

I’m sending you happy bellies from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back next time for more holiday recipes!

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Roasted Bacon Wrapped Asparagus (Paleo/AIP)

Roasted Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

The last couple weeks have been crazy! I’ve been experiencing a lot of changes, and it’s still difficult having my husband away at training. Thankfully…Only three more weeks left till his graduation. I wasn’t feeling too hot last night, a little depressed. Food didn’t even sound good. I could have just skipped supper and gone to bed if it wasn’t for the kiddos. I wanted something fast so I knew I could trust my ole buddy, ole pal the broiler.

What I ended up with was superb! I broiled some honey glazed chicken. Whipped up some cauliflower mash, and the star!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pound of Asparagus (Cleaned and Ends removed.)
  • Thick Cut Bacon
  • 25 Star Balsamic Vinegar (Or a good vinaigrette.) -Optional-

Cover a cookie sheet with non-stick foil, or parchment paper. Cut your bacon strips in half. Wrap it neatly around the asparagus and carefully place them so that the seam is on the bottom.

Turn the broiler on high and cook for 8-10 minutes or until sufficiently cooked. This can depend on your oven. Remember to never leave anything while it’s cooking under the broiler. Carefully, pull them out of the oven and flip them over. Add them back in under the broiler for another 2 minutes until the other side is done.

Add them to a lovely platter and drizzle a great balsamic vinegar over top and voila! You have a plate full of awesome!

You may be wondering about that kiddo approval rating? I totally got a 3/3 and was thoroughly impressed. They actually like asparagus! It’s not a fluke either because I’ve gotten them to eat it before. (Check out my salmon recipe!)

I hope you’ll try this out! It’s very quick and easy. This would be great for a holiday party! Just make sure to drain the fat for easier party consumption.

I’m sending you quick, yummy treats from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I’ll be back soon with some more delicious holiday recipes.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Guacamole (Nightshade Free/Paleo/AIP)

Last night was Taco Night here in the Lee Household. Our kids were excited but I was feeling it was becoming a little over done. I am not the kind of person who can eat the same thing every week. Ironically…I used to be, but now my taste buds crave some adventure. I happened to have an avocado in the fridge so I said…Let’s video some guacamole…The rest, is history…

Here’s what you’ll need for this epic guacamole:

  • 1 Avocado (You can use more if you have more than 1 adult and 3 littles.)
  • 3 Small Green Onions (Or 1-2 Large)
  • Salt and Pepper (Omit Pepper for AIP)
  • The Juice of One Small Lemon (Or half of a large)
  • A Couple Dashes of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Cilantro (Add to your liking.)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Mint

This is so easy I feel like giggling. All you have to do is throw all of this into a food processor and blend till creamy. The hard part is trying to share equally with everyone!

I hope you enjoy this super fast recipe. If you’d like to see the video, I’ll link it below. If you don’t believe that my kids could ever like something like avocado…check it out so you can see, kids can love real food too! (No, they weren’t paid for their opinions with jelly beans…I promise!)

I’m sending tangy, yummy goodness from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what this recipe make’er up’er can do next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Lemon Pepper Roasted Salmon with Asparagus

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I tell you guys… I’m actually having a bit of fun. I had been craving salmon for a while, but wasn’t sure where to start. I know a lot of times I see where chefs won’t flip the salmon. Well…I like crispy fish. Why? Not sure. Maybe it’s just how I’ve experienced it and liked it. Watery, baked fish just isn’t that flavorful to me. So here’s what I made up. All by myself. With my brain.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Salmon (You could use other fish. I bought a whole filet for my family of 5.)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 ounces Grassfed Butter (I use Kerrygold. For AIP try using Ghee instead.)
  • Fresh Asparagus (If you can’t find fresh, just choose something else. -Julia Child)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (or other tasty vinegar of choice)

Start by prepping the asparagus. It is always a good idea to remove the ends. Simply bend the end and let it naturally snap where it will. Then, use a vegetable peeler to remove the top layer of the asparagus, but not removing the point tops.

Lay out your salmon on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. If you don’t want to use foil make sure to grease the pan very well. Do the same for the asparagus and spread them out.

Season your salmon and asparagus. For the salmon, place skin side down and add a drizzle of olive oil then salt, pepper, lemon juice and a few small pieces of butter. You can do the exact same for the asparagus, but I love to add balsamic vinegar. Just a little drizzle so that it doesn’t over power the lovely flavor of the asparagus.

Turn your broiler on to high. Place the asparagus in for 7-10 minutes. This will really depend on the amount and thickness. Never walk away from food under the broiler. Keep a close eye on it. Half way through, consider flipping the asparagus and turning the pan.

When the asparagus is done, take it out and put in the salmon. Broil for 3 minutes. Take it out of the oven and ever so carefully, flip the salmon. This may take a couple of spatulas and tongs to accomplish this, but have no fear. You can do it! The salmon should be skin side up. Put it back in to broil another 3 minutes. Then once again, flip it back over (skin side down) and broil for another 3 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your salmon you may need to add a minute or two. Make sure to check it and don’t be afraid to try a piece. It should flake nicely when done.

This recipe might seem like a fancy, adult meal, but truthfully it can be easily accomplished as a mid-week treat that will please the whole family. My kids actually liked the salmon! So go ahead. Treat yourself my friends!

I hope you enjoy the recipe. I will be including a link below for the YouTube video if you would like to see how I do this. (We all learn different. Some people are great with recipes, others learn visually. I hope this helps!) I’m sending you a lovely, fancy treat without the fancy, long cooking times. Be sure to come back next time to see what this broiler loving, Common Sense Cook will throw under the fire next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Here’s the video:

Presto Pesto (Paleo and Vegan Friendly)

Prosciutto Pesto Chicken Roulade

It’s the changing of the seasons and many people are getting that under the weather crud that goes around. The stuffy nose that isn’t quite a cold but still makes you feel that bad. I needed something that would pack a lot of flavor, but not take up several hours in the kitchen. I had picked up some organic basil on clearance and knew exactly what to do.

Here’s what you’ll need for this amazingly quick sauce:

  • 8 Ounces of Fresh Basil (A very large hand full.)
  • 1 Piece of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Raw Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste (Or throw in some Parmesiano Reggiano.)
  • Olive Oil (This can depend on the thickness you like. Can be up to 1 cup, but go slow!)

Add the basil, garlic, and pepitas into a food processor and blitz until finely minced. Add a good swirl of olive oil to the food processor and process for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides as you go. Now, I always just wing the olive oil. Add it in batches until it’s the consistency you like. I think you could easily use 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil. Salt to taste or add some parmesan if you tolerate it and it’s part of your diet.

What can you do with this amazing sauce? I love it with chicken like in the proscuitto and basil chicken roulad above. You can use pasta of your choice (I use sweet potato starch). You can even just lick it off the spoon. It’s just that delicious. If it needs a little extra zing, try squeezing in a little lemon juice. I just happened to be out of fresh lemons for today.

I am including in my YouTube video that goes along with this recipe just in case you would like to see it done. While you’re over there, please hit that subscribe button for more.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. When you have a case of the Monday’s or aren’t feeling well, there’s no need to resort to processed or fast food. Whip this up and kick back knowing that you’re feeding health, not illness.

-Ami M. Lee, Basil Fanatic, Common Sense Cook

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew (AIP/Paleo Friendly)

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew

If you guys haven’t heard yet, I started a YouTube channel to share some of my recipes! I started off with an introduction and a little bit about myself, and a little bit about Back to School lunches for my 3 paleo kids. For my very first recipe video, I wanted to just do what I do best. Make…Stuff….Up. So I started with a template from a recipe with Mickey Trescott.

This soup not only turned out amazing! It turned into the best soup I’ve ever had in my life…Rivaling even that of my Epic Noodle Soup! I even got all three of my “not soup fans” to eat it up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pound of Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled and Diced
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 4 Medium Carrots
  • 2 Medium Pears
  • 6 Cups of Homemade Chicken Bone Brother (Or veggie broth…Or whatever you like.)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Cloves of Garlic
  • 4 or 5 Basil Leaves
  • A Pinch of Dried Thyme
  • A Few Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • 1 Splash Apple Cider Vinegar

Turn your pressure cooker onto the brown or saute setting. Heat up some olive oil. Add the beef and let it brown. When it is browned, but not cooked through add the garlic till fragrant. Once that’s done, throw in all those amazing vegetables and pears. Stir it around to evenly distribute everything.

Add all the rest of the ingredients into the pressure cooker. Again, stir everything around to evenly distribute all of those amazing ingredients. Lock your pressure cooker lid and follow the instructions to your machine.

Set the timer for 30 minutes under high pressure.

***PLEASE! Read your owners manual and know how to safely open your pressure cooker!***

Carefully release the pressure valve, or let it release naturally. You choose here, friend. All that’s left after this is to patiently wait for it to cool off…Yes.. That’s the hard part!

I’m going to leave a link below to the YouTube video that goes along with this recipe. I hope you enjoy! If you give it a try leave me a comment wherever comment sections are found. 😉 Make sure you come back to see what this soup loving, paleo mom will make up next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday – Shrimp Noodle Bowl (AIP-Friendly)

Shrimp Noodle Bowl AIP Friendly

It happened one day. Yes… Even this far into my paleo journey, I still get cravings. I think learning how to deal with these cravings responsibly is key! This recipe was inspired by an old favorite Rachel Ray recipe. A spicy shrimp noodle bowl. With AIP and Paleo we can’t do normal glutenous noodles, and AIP can’t do nightshade spices to make it spicy… But, I think I still made a lovely, flavorful alternative that satisfied this craving without jumping head first off the bandwagon.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sweet Potato Starch Noodles (You can find these in an Asian Grocery Store.)
  • Bok Choy (I used baby bok choy chopped into bite size pieces.)
  • Green Onion
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Fish Sauce (A couple splashes.)
  • Coconut Aminos (About a tablespoon.You can use soy sauce, tamari, or other alternatives if you like.)
  • 1 pound of frozen, raw, deveined shrimp (If you have access to fresh, go for it! Then send me some! )
  • 8 to 10 cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock (I bet seafood stock would be great too.)
  • Lemongrass
  • Optional: Chili Flakes are great if you aren’t AIP or sensitive to nightshade based spices.

This might seem like a long ingredient list, but I had most of these in the house already. Throw your stock and seasonings into a large soup pot. Bring it to a boil. Add your sweet potato starch noodles. You may have to cut them in half. Throw in your bok choy and boil according to the package on the noodles. Mine call for 6-7 minutes.

Clean your shrimp, remove the tails if they’re still on. Make sure they are clean and the vein has been removed. You can run them under cool water to help them defrost. I usually do this in a strainer.

You want to add your shrimp carefully. Always keep in mind that you are dealing with boiling water. Be safe! After you’ve dropped the shrimp in, lightly stir the soup. Shrimp cooks extremely fast, so you only want to cook it a couple of minutes until they turn pink. You don’t want to over cook them because they’ll be sitting in the hot liquid and will continue to cook further.

Ladle this noodle’ee goodness into a bowl. Slurp up some broth and noodles, and enjoy. I kind of surprised myself with this one because it turned out so delicious. Keep in mind with these ingredients that you can add as much or as little as you like. I think that is one reason why I love soup so much!

If you give it a try, be sure to come show me over on the Facebook or tag me on Instagram @thecommonsensecook. I’d love to see your pictures! As always, don’t forget to come back next time to see what this seafood loving, recipe revamping, Common Sense Cook will reinvent next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook