And what, you may ask, did I solve? 

Some of our clues:

Nothing much, just the Mystery of the Quinoa Vegetable Soup!

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Makes 6-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are!


  • 3/4 c. quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 8 – 10 c. vegetable broth (err on the side of more if you want a “soup,” less if you want more of a “stew.” Being the centrist I am, I used nine)
  • 5 – 7 stems of kale (again, depends on how you want it)
  • 5 medium sized potatoes (I used plain ol’ Idaho, but you could use Yukon, red, or your favorite kind!)
  • 4 tsp. cumin
  • salt to taste


  1. Toast quinoa in a pan over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, until quinoa begins to brown and smell fragrant. Although not entirely necessary, I find this improves the taste and texture of the quinoa. However that could be my imagination.
  2. Add the water to the pan and increase heat to medium. Allow quinoa to cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed (very similar to cooking rice). If your water has absorbed and the quinoa is crunchy, STOP. Crunchy quinoa is not what we’re going for. Add a bit more water to the pan and resume cooking until the quinoa is light and fluffy, chewy, but not crunchy. Once it’s done, set aside.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, de-stem your kale. Kale is naturally on the bitter end of the spectrum, so taking away the stem tempers this a bit. Once it’s de-stemmed, chop it into thin strips.

    Kale, de-stemmed

  4. Put your broth in a big pot and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for it to boil, dice your potatoes.

    The green stuff is definitely kale. It's all going in the same pot, isn't it?

  5. Add potatoes and kale to broth, keeping the pot at a low boil. Boil for 10 minutes.

    I love you, kale.

  6. Finally, add your quinoa and cumin and bring the pot down to a low simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, until potatoes and kale are soft.
  7. Serve, garnishing with additional cumin and salt as desired.

This soup is SO fantastic. The whole time I was making it, BF kept sniffing around, saying how good it smelled. I have to say, the cumin is the magic ingredient here. This was what had me ignoring everyone at the lunch table yesterday while I tried to figure out what it was. It took my friend to look up and say, “Hmm, it smells like chili,” before it dawned on me. Cumin, I’m so sorry I only ever relegated you to chili. No more. You are now free, free to be in other delicious soups and stews.

The only thing left to solve tonight is what BF and I want to do. He just suggested cracking into Madmen, season four.

What can I say? Another case, solved!

A Day of Ups and Downs

…or should I say, Oys and Joys?

I am so predictable.

OY/JOY: Waking up to find it had not actually snowed last night. It was a bummer because we’re really anxiously awaiting the first snow. BF and I are native Southerners, so we still get really, really excited by the white stuff. However, I was positively overJOYed not to have to drive in it, so this one evens out.

Look at that sunshine. All smug and self-satisfied.

JOY: Productive morning at work. Busy, but the kind where you leave going “I am an adult, and I did something that matters today!”

OY: Everything I accomplished was quickly replaced with a set of brand-new assignments. My to-do list seems to have regenerative properties.

JOY: Going out to lunch at a delightfully quirky, local restaurant that’s vegetarian/vegan friendly, and eating the most delicious quinoa soup of my life. I scraped the bowl clean. My new goal in life is to replicate it – career and family can wait.

Ingredient list I hastily wrote during lunch. There were a good 5 minutes where I didn't pay a drop of attention to anyone I was with - I was too busy tasting and analyzing.

OY: BF having night class tonight, leaving me solo until 10 or so. Though I like alone time now and then, it’s a bummer when I’ve already been gone all day.

JOY: Tonight’s alone time involves pita chips and some duuuhh-licious jalepeño hummus. It makes me giggle that the brand name is “Humm!” I will now only ever refer to hummus as “Humm!”

Humm! is Yumm! Okay, I'll stop...

OY?: The new Israel ad campaign aimed at ex-patriots living in America. The basic message of the ads is to say “You can only be Israeli in Israel,” which could have some truth to it, I suppose, but there are subliminal messages as well, and some think they’re negative toward American Jews. You can see a great summary of the story below (the clip is long, but this actual story is at the beginning, and only runs 3 – 4 minutes):

My difficulty with these is that some DO feel as if they’re taking an aim at living in America as well as associating/trying to associate with American Jews, but it’s so slight, I honestly cannot tell if this is intentional or as a result of my interpretation. I can say that I completely agree with the conclusion in this article: an ad campaign actively encouraging we distance ourselves from each other is not at all what’s needed. There’s enough going on between American and Israeli Jews to feed that: the tug-of-war between Jewish identities, modernization, assimilation, and conversion are extremely touchy topics that sometimes feel like fires being flamed by various special interest groups in an effort to engulf the opposing side. At the end of the day, aren’t we all brothers and sisters? And not even just Jews – aren’t ALL the people of the world supposed to be on the same side, or at least strive to do so, if only for the commonality of our species?

Let’s turn this one into a JOY. I could be angry about this – and trust me, I was plenty irked when I watched these – but I don’t like the thought of all that negative energy going out into the universe. These commercials have done enough in that regard. So here’s some positive in it’s place: Whoever you are, whatever religion you practice or don’t practice, wherever you live, I recognize your inherent value as a human being, your place on this planet, and your contributions toward making this world a peaceful one. You are my brother, my sister, my family, and I thank you for that honor. I wish you nothing but the choicest blessing of all: the blessing of peace.

It lives on my bookshelf for a reason.

I’ll raise a jalepeño humm! topped chip in your honor. L’chaim – to life, regardless what form it takes or where it resides!

Now that I’ve solved world peace, let’s see if I can solve the mystery of the delicious quinoa soup….