Friday, January 20, 2017

A Bean Soup that Hits the Spot and My Review of Oprah’s New Cookbook!

Happy New Year!

Sorry to disappear, but I had to take a little break. I was doing too many things at once, then I caught a cold and it all went downhill from there – you know how it goes.

Once the New Year started, I yearned to become productive once again and to get creative with my cooking; plus I missed writing and interacting with you guys J. First, we were busy with all the holiday celebrations, and then I got stuck in a rut of cooking the same old meals or getting takeout. 

It’s now time for a fresh start! I set my 2017 goals in my Bullet Journal and I need to get to them! 

New Year, New Recipes! 

And that means a New Cookbook! Yeah!

I bought myself Oprah Winfrey’s new cookbook for Weight Watchers "Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life." I really didn’t need another cookbook, but I was drawn to this one. I must have flipped through it at 3 different Weight Watchers meetings. I really like the feel of it (a nice, heavy hardcover book), the look of it (matte pages of pictures, notes and stories all over) and I quickly identified some recipes I wanted to try. So I bought it this week from Amazon. 
[Disclaimer: The Cooking Accountant is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to]

I was very excited to buy this book even after reading a few negative reviews online. Most were from people who didn’t think a Weight Watchers cookbook should have recipes that contain inaccessible ingredients (whether due to price or availability). Other reviewers didn’t want a “Weight Watchers cookbook.” You don’t need to be on the plan to enjoy this book as it’s not "in-your-face-WW." I think we can come up with some workarounds for fancy ingredients like frozen truffle Gouda cheese (maybe regular Gouda cheese when it’s on sale and a bottle of truffle oil?). 

But seriously – Look, Oprah is a billionaire. She has chefs who cook at her house and she has the means to try the cuisine of the best chefs in the world – be it in an expensive 3-star Michelin restaurant or taking a first-class flight halfway around the world to enjoy someone’s humble home cooking. I’m not going to hate on her because she’s a successful business woman and has the means to enjoy the best food the world has to offer. Instead, I will let her open the doors for me to try some of these recipes in my own home. I would not have thought to buy frozen truffle Gouda cheese otherwise, but now I want to try her Truffle Tortelloni.

There are some tasty-looking American comfort recipes like Smothered Chicken, Turkey Chili and Chicken Pot Pie. Also some light fish recipes, interesting salads, healthy breakfast recipes and more delicious soups. Oprah includes recipes she grew up with and recipes she loves such as Italian and Indian recipes from her travels and lots of other interesting ones. Cocktails, sorbets and soup garnish recipes are some nice touches that are in this book. As the book describes, these are "Oprah's Favorite Meals," and I can't wait to try a lot of them.

This is a cookbook AND about how Oprah lives a happy life - in addition to the 100+ food recipes, Oprah offers us a view into her life and her relationship with food. I really connected with Oprah's personal stories about her weight loss struggle over the years and I share her love of good food. She has lots of helpful recipe notes in this book as well. 

There is a recipe in the book for Tuscan White Bean Soup that starts with roasting fresh tomatoes. I want to try this in the summer when I have a million tomatoes from the garden. Oprah mentions that the best Pasta Fagioli she has ever had contained rosemary. So, of course, it made me crave a rosemary-flavored soup. Here, I tried to create a rosemary-flavored soup using Oprah's recipe and my pantry staples like tomato paste and dried rosemary.

Here is my take on Oprah's Tuscan Bean Soup: 

Cannellini Bean Soup
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 cup total diced mirepoix or aromatic vegetables (onion, celery, carrots)
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 6 cups chicken broth (I used 6 cups water and 3 tsp Better than Bouillon) 
  • 3 tsp tomato paste 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1/2 tsp dry rosemary (use 1/4 tsp if you don't want the rosemary to be overpowering) 
  • a net strainer to fish out the rosemary or cheesecloth and cooking twine to make a sachet
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup small pasta

In a large saucepan or soup pot, saute the aromatic vegetables in olive oil about 5 minutes under medium heat until limp and onion becomes translucent. 

Add the beans, chicken broth and tomato paste. Stir and increase the heat to medium-high. 

Add the spices (bay leaf and rosemary sachet, salt and pepper) and stir.

Bring the soup to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add your pasta and cook according to package directions.

Enjoy! Kali Orexi! 

Prep time: 10Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

What are you doing to start the New Year off to a great start food-wise? Let me know in the comments. 


  1. I was at Barnes and Noble today and actually saw this book! It looked like a wonderful read! I may have to purchase it just to find out :) We actually a really great Pasta Fagioli recipe, however, I never thought to add rosemary to it. This book has me intrigued :)

  2. Thanks for commenting, Olivia! Yes, this book is giving me lots of ideas! I have to check out your recipe, too!