Recipe Box: Lemon Chicken Soup

When life gives you lemons, make soup.

Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Actually, it sounds exactly right. Carry on.


Where I live, lemonade weather is fading fast, and soup weather is upon us. So, when I was thinking of a lemon-y recipe post for September, an annual tradition during the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Million Mile Run-Walk-Ride month, this soup immediately sprang to mind.

I first found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave. And I really do crave this soup. It’s absolutely perfect anytime, but with the addition of the lemon (and thus Vitamin C), this truly does help me get over a cold. Just in case you want to tuck this one away for the coming season of a certain f-word that we don’t need to talk about.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo from

4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into small chunks
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about ½ cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo, preferably whole-wheat
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling.

Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4
Serving size: 1 ½ cups



The broth is incredibly creamy and flavorful, and I love the whole wheat orzo instead of traditional rice or pasta. Go for the fresh thyme, too, it really makes a difference.

Yay soup! And yay for this month of kicking pediatric cancer in the butt! The month is almost over, but there are still a few days to log miles and make donations. We truly appreciate all of you joining us on this #journey2amillion.

P.S. I can’t take pictures while I cook, it completely messes with my flow. Plus, my 100 year old farmhouse kitchen has terrible lighting, hence the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots.

Recipe Box: Watermelon sangria

Earlier this month my mama-in-law introduced me to a light, tasty adult summer drink – watermelon sangria!


We made this adult beverage at a family party and it was quite the hit. We’re a family of foodies, so know high standards were met, folks!

So since it’s my sister’s birthday today – and she loves all sorts of sangria – I thought I’d share this gift with everyone! And Happy Birthday Sissy!

Without further adieu, here’s what you’ll need to create my new favorite drink of champions:

– 12-14 cups of cubed watermelon, divided

–  1 (750ML) bottle of dry white wine

– 1 cup vodka

– 1/2 cup triple sec

– 1/2 cup simple syrup (sugar and water mixture)

– 1 medium lime, chopped and quartered

– 2 oranges, cut into thin sliced

– 1 cup (or so) of fresh blueberries

Got everything together? Great. Now start with the watermelon. I’d seriously chopped up 3 within the 24 hour span before making this so I was verging on expert, I like to think.

1. Place 9 cups of watermelon cubes in a blender; blend on high until very smooth. It’s incredibly wise not to do it all at once, but in parts, say 3 cups at a time. Otherwise your blender might get overwhelmed and quit.

2. Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher. We used a huge thermos instead of a pitcher. We also used a spoon to help push the blended watermelon through the strainer.

3. Pour the wine, vodka, triple sec and simple syrup into the pitcher. Stir to combine. We used generous amounts of the alcohol.

4. Mix the remaining 3 cups of watermelon cubes (I made them really small), the lime and orange sections and blueberries into the sangria. Stir.

5. Chill for 4 hours before serving. I skipped this last step and just added ice. You could go crazy and do both.

Drink and enjoy! You will soon become the hit of the party.

What’s your go-to summer drink? Do you ever add fruit to your adult beverage?

Recipe Box: Lemon Buttermilk Loaf Cake

When we first started talking about coordinating posts for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Million Mile Run (check out the Scoot a Doot page, if you’d like) and there was mention of recipes with lemon, I knew exactly what my contribution would be. Maybe it should have been harder to choose, since I love lemon, and cook with it often, but this was a no-brainer for me.

Cake. (See. Total no-brainer). Cake is almost always the answer. And sometimes the question. (Cake? Cake. CAKE!) So, without further waxing poetic about my love of cake, let’s get cooking!

This is adapted from an old Weight Watchers recipe, from the Takeout Tonight cookbook. Long before Points Plus, so I don’t know those values. And I played with it a little. Because I’ve never met a recipe I didn’t think I could make better. I love baking, love the way it makes the house smell, and clearly, love the finished, baked product. But baking is like science. All the measuring and precision. I’m a ‘throw some in there’ kind of girl. But for the purposes of this recipe, I kept that in check. Mostly.

Lemon Buttermilk Loaf Cake



1-2/3 cup all purpose flour (mod: the recipe calls for 1-1/3 cups all purpose and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour. If you do this, you’ll want to use whole wheat pastry flour. I skipped the wheat because I just had regular and I don’t like eating bricks).
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
5 TBSP butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 TBSP lemon zest (basically, the zest of one good sized lemon).
1 tsp vanilla (mod: I just threw some in. It’s vanilla. I was feeling whacky.)
3/4 cup buttermilk (mod: I hate buying buttermilk for recipes because it only comes in quarts. I use a buttermilk powder that gets reconstituted, or you can make your own buttermilk).
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (I just juice the whole lemon I just zested and use that)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8×4″ loaf pan with cooking spray. I like the cooking spray with flour built in to avoid sticking. The actual recipe calls for cutting out wax paper and putting it in the loaf pan, but I’ve never bothered and I’ve always had perfect cake. Plus, I’m super lazy.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium, beat the butter, granulated sugar ,egg/egg whites, lemon zest and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.

With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until done. Place pan on wire rack.



And after!

And after!

Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice ( you may have to add additional juice). Spread over hot bread. Let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully remove bread from pan to a serving plate.

Let cool completely.


Now, I forgot that the glazing gets done when the bread is hot, so I went to bed. And now it’s morning and I’m debating whether I should glaze or not. Probably no. The glaze is delicious and makes the cake more lemon-y, but I promise, it’s good without it.

If you’re thinking you can skip your trip to Starbucks for a slice of lemon cake…well, you can, but this cake isn’t the same. It’s not overly sweet and it’s not light or fluffy. This is a dense cake, but delicious, and not terribly bad for you, so all in all, it’s a winner in my book!

Hope you guys enjoy!