Monday, November 7, 2011

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup and At Home Science Experiment

I love my crock pot.  Do you remember being in elementary school and you’d say you loved something and somebody would reply all snotty, “well, then why don’t you marry it?”  Maybe I will marry my crock pot.  I planned my dinners for the week.  3 crock pot meals, that with leftovers on alternate nights, will feed us Monday-Saturday night.  I got my ingredients this morning at a cost of $44.  Not bad.  The three crock pot recipes are:  Vegetarian Tiger Blood Chili, Chicken Burritos and Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup (recipe for soup below).  The smell of soup or chili simmering in the crock pot is indicative of it being fall.  In my house, another indicator is a fallen leaf in a dog’s beard.

Chipotle sweet potato soup (


2 pounds of sweet potatoes (about two large or three skinny ones), peeled and cubed

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
2-4 chipotles in adobo (depending on your heat tolerance) chopped
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Sour cream
Cinnamon-chipotle pecans (recipe to follow)


Heat the olive oil on medium low in a large soup pot, and cook the onions, celery and carrot for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.  Add the sweet potatoes, broth, chipotles, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Let the soup cool, and then in batches, puree it in the blender. If you prefer, you can use an immersion blender in the pot instead.  Once the soup has been pureed, stir in the lime juice and add salt and black

Cinnamon chipotle pecans

2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder

Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet on low heat. Add the pecans and stir them until they are covered in the butter. Add the cinnamon and chipotle powder and stir to coat. Cook the pecans, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Salt to taste and pepper to taste.  At this point, I put the soup in the crock pot to stay warm for dinner since I make it before I go off to work for 4 hours. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and some of the chopped cinnamon-chipotle pecans.

While things are crocking in the crock pot, try this easy at home science experiment.

Under Pressure

What You’ll Need
A plastic or glass cup
An unwanted postcard or sheet of thin stiff plastic

What You’ll Do
Fill the cup right up to the brim with water and slide the card over the top.  Next, hold the card against the cup with one hand.  Hold on to the cup with your other hand.  Now, holding the card in place, turn the cup upside down (over the sink until you’ve perfected your technique).  Let go of the card.  It should stay put, held up by nothing but air pressure.

What’s Happening?
Air pressure pushes in all directions, including up.  It is easily strong enough to hold up the weight of the water in a cup.  The card acts as a seal, keeping air out of the cup as you turn it upside down.

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