Tag Archives: Gramma

A Letter to Taylor: No Fail Soup Recipes

My dearest, darling Taylor,

You are so very good at so many things. I know this because we went to college together and were in the same sorority (yes, y’all, Kappa Deltas are ballin’). You write a touching, yet hilarious, blog about motherhood and witty articles in actual publications. And, oh yeah, you’re mom to an adorable little nugget.
Taylor and Wee Connor

Come on. Is there anything cuter?

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

But apparently, dear Taylor, you are not the best at making soup.
I haven’t tasted your soup. I fear you may be hard on yourself. Cause surely if you can make a human, you can make a soup, right? To be fair, I don’t exactly know how you make humans. It’s in a stock pot, right?
Winter is coming and without soup, you may die in Chicago. So, I’ve got three recipes for easy soup handpicked for you. I could say they’re foolproof, but you ain’t no fool. Friendproof? Eh, I’m still working on that one.
PS. If anyone else is eavesdropping with their eyeballs, aka eyvesdropping, these recipes will probably not work for you. These will literally only work for Taylor.
This is my Gramma’s recipe for her vegetable beef soup. No Grammas were harmed in the making of this soup. The most time consuming thing is the vegetable choppery. This is soup from an Indiana woman, so you know it’s going to keep you guys warm in the wintertimes. Plus, bonus: it’s delicious.
Say what you will about Rachael Ray (I hate when she calls it EVOO. There I said it.) But some of her recipes are really great. This is one of my favorites. It’s a simple, quick, stick-to-your ribs kind of soup. Plus, it’s easy to double and freezes well for up to 2 weeks.
Don’t be daunted by stock makery. I made the stock, but I had time to make some stock. I think there are places where you can easily take shortcuts. Buy a rotisserie chicken and use that. Buy boxed/canned stock instead of making your own. Would it be better to make your own at home? Eh, maybe. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

For the Chicken Stock:
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts

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You Put the Lime in the Coconut: Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos

I will not apologize for certain things. For instance:

  • Being tall. I cannot help it-slash-I like it. (I didn’t always.)
  • Being sassy. I fully expect that I am the Dorothy Zbornak of most groups. Because I am sassy. And aforementionadly tall.
  • Loving the Muppets.


I love the Muppets. The Muppet Show is my jam.

And although I like to think I’m Rowlf (cool, calm, ready with a quip), I’ve been told more than once that I’m Animal (the crazed “primitive man and crazed drummer from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band” according to Wikipedia.) Why fight the truth. Hey, at least nobody has figured out that I’m actually Gonzo.

How I See Myself



How Others See Me

How Others See Me

Sidenote? Why don’t I identify with any lady Muppets? Well, let’s be honest. The only real lady Muppet is Miss Piggy. And I’ll never be fancy enough to be Miss Piggy. I do not own nearly enough luggage.

The thing about it is. The Muppets are wonderful. I saw the newest Muppet movie with my parents and Gramma. I asked my Gramma, who is 91 and a bit hard of hearing, if she liked the movie. And she said “I really liked those Moffats. They’re really colorful.” They are, Gramma. They are.

But she’s right. They Moffats Muppets ARE colorful. And bright. And funny. And silly. And funny. And weird. How do you not love them?

PLEASE NOTE: I have two best friends who do not love them. Emily and Marla do not love the Muppets. And while I understand their fake reasoning (“I didn’t grow up with them!”) versus their real reasoning (“they FREAK ME OUT”), I can appreciate that some of my friends are different than me. ….I guess.

But here’s the thing.

Sometimes the Muppets can inspire you in the kitchen. And I’m not just talking about The Swedish Chef. (Bork bork bork.) No no, I’m talking about something else. Something that’s a bit more infectious. A bit more Caribbean.

In college, we would walk around singing this. “You put the lime in the coconut.” God, theatre majors are weird. How we get jobs is beyond me.


As promised, I made the Coconut Tres Leches Cake that I blogged about a few weeks back. And although I hadn’t tried it then, it was, in fact, delicious. The only thing I’d warn you about is that this cake doesn’t travel well. The leches are spilly. And they can and will spill all over your car, seeping into every crevice of your passenger seat. So, I’d say: make this one at home and leave it there.

But I did not stop there. Because when you put the lime in the coconut, you must drink it all up. (Now, let me get this straight…)

I also made Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado. This is a simple, easy recipe for a weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch. Lots of flavor and little fuss. Nothing crazy. No surprises.

But if you prefer something with some surprises, maybe you should try this.

And that’s why this is a fake food blog. Bork bork bork.

Coconut-Lime Pork Tacos with Avocado from Food 52

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cups coconut milk, stirred (full-fat recommended)
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1-2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime | I used 2. 
  • 2 cups or one 15 ounce can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed | I used canned cause it just easier. 
  • Corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • Other recommended toppings: corn salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and a large pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pan, and add the cumin, paprika, oregano, chile, and cayenne. Let sizzle in the pan until they’re toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir well until the onions and garlic are evenly coated with the spices.

Add the ground pork to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up any large chunks of pork and stirring occasionally, until the pork is just cooked through. Season with salt to taste. Remove any excess fat from the pan.

Add the coconut milk; simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened, then stir in the black beans, pineapple juice and 1 tablespoon lime juice and cook for an additional minute or two. Taste and add more lime juice if needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste. You can serve right away, or cover the pan and let the pork gently simmer over low heat.

Using a slotted spoon, divide the ground pork equally among lightly warmed flour tortillas. Serve with lots of avocado and other toppings of your choice.


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Thanksgiving Recap: Sweet Potato Casserole with Coconut

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get arrested for breaking some sort of Thanksgiving law here, but I don’t love sweet potato casserole.

Don’t get me wrong. The recipe that I made this year was both real and simple, living up to the name of magazine from whence it came. It tasted good. But I’m never going to want more than one spoonful of the stuff. One spoonful of sweet potato casserole is enough to get me to next Thanksgiving.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have made the sweet potato casserole.

Funny thing was… it WAS up to me. But my mom wanted sweet potato casserole. And you’ve gotta dance with the mother that brought ya into this world.

Like I said, the casserole is good. The author of the recipe noted her family’s tradition of arguing over whether or not this is dessert or a side. So, beware, Wilfred Brimley: this thing is sweet.

But, it’s also convenient. It can be made a day ahead. So that’s exactly what I did. And I used my Gramma/sous chef to cut all the potatoes and wash all the dishes. Y’all, I’m pretty sure we should ALL be cooking with old people as our assistants. They might have to stop to take a pill every hour, but they’re VERY helpful in the kitchen. And they love you.

Lens Flare.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Coconut, from Real Simple

  • 3  pounds  sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces | It does not need to be exact, as my Gramma (jokingly) asked me. Just similar in size and shape so the potatoes cook evenly at the same time.
  • kosher salt
  • 1  cup  sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2  cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  chopped pecans | I’m a southern girl, so I say pe-CANS. My Gramma from Northwestern Indiana says pe-CONS. Let’s call the whole thing off.
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/3  cup  whole milk
  • 1/2  cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 325° F. In a small bowl, combine the coconut, brown sugar, pecans, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Add the granulated sugar, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square or another shallow 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the coconut mixture. Bake until heated through (tent loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly), 30 to 35 minutes.

The casserole can be made up to 1 day in advance; refrigerate, covered. On Reheating Day, bring to room temperature, then reheat, covered, at 350° F until warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes. If you pull it from the fridge and stick it in the oven immediately, it will be cold in the middle. Oh yes. It will be.

It’s quick. It’s easy. And while delicious, I want nothing to do with it until next Thanksgiving. That’s the NEW Thanksgiving law.

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Thanksgiving Recap: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

To quote middle aged ladies from accounting with pictures of Channing Tatum taped up to their desks who go out to lunch only on special occasions, let’s start with dessert!

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Mom made a blueberry pie. Not exactly in season, but it’s dad’s favorite. And it’s the best dessert for eating in the morning and pretending like it’s breakfast. Pie breakfast is the best breakfast. 

I decided I would knock out the gingerbread cupcakes that I had watched Ina Garten so breezily make a week before. My god, this IS easy, Ina! But you and your rhetorical questions lulled me into a false sense of security.

As this was a brand new recipe for me, I actually read it 3 times before I made it. This did not prevent me from completely leaving out a step. Imagine what would’ve happened had I only read it once. …Oh, the humanity.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing, from FoodNetwork.com


  • ¼ cup dark rum or water | Let’s not kid ourselves. I used rum. Why would anyone use plain water?
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream | YOU, sour cream. You will be my demise.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup) 

For the frosting :

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½  pound confectioners’ sugar, sieved | Genuinely think I forgot to sieve/fluff my sugar.

For the decoration:

  • 6 pieces dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup), sliced in half | My mom says she buys hers at Homegoods. Also, crystallized ginger a good remedy for upset stomachs. The more you know.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Like a boss.

Place the rum and raisins in a small pan, cover, and heat until the rum boils. Turn off the heat and set aside. When you do this at 10 am, you will feel like you are bending the rules of society. Go with it.


Place the butter and molasses in another small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cool for 5 minutes, then mix in the sour cream and orange zest.

OR. If you are like me. You will FORGET to mix in the sour cream and orange zest. You will feel confident! You will feel plucky! And then you will deflate, after you complete the next paragraph and you realize that you still have sour cream sitting on the counter.

Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together into a small bowl. Mix with your hand until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix only until smooth. 


OH SHIT. The DAMN sour cream. At this point, my first instinct was to do what I always do when there is an emergency: tell my dad. But since this was an emergency of baking and not one of banking or braking, he could not help me in the slightest and told me to ask my Gramma. She said, “well, don’t tell your mother you messed them up and add the sour cream and orange zest in now.” So, I did. And, it worked. Phew. How did it look? Let’s not focus on that.


Drain the raisins and add them and the crystallized ginger to the mixture with a spatula.

Divide the batter among the muffin pan (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. 


For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined.


Add the sugar and mix until smooth. I had some lumps, probably because I forgot to sieve/fluff my confectioner’s sugar. I tried to whisk them out, which might have thinned the frosting out a bit too much. But it tasted great. 

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and garnish with a slice of crystallized ginger.


Despite my best attempts to screw this recipe up, I actually could not. I even had more batter left over after I made the 12 cupcakes the recipe calls for. So, I made a tiny loaf of gingerbread. This cupcakes were the good kind of dense and a little spicy. The frosting was light and sweet. It had great balance and it tasted like fall. 

My folks liked it. Gramma liked it. I liked it. I even think the ladies from accounting would like it. Not more than Channing Tatum, though. I mean, did you SEE Magic Mike? He was MAGIC.*






*I did not actually see Magic Mike. It was like Harry Potter, right? 

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Thanksgiving Recap: I did it. Burned, Bruised & Broken. But I did it.

Hi people!

(Did you read that in a Michelle Tanner voice? I hope you did, because that’s how I wrote it.)

Well, I did it. I made the foods. And they were good. And when you read through the list of casualties, they’re not nearly as bad as I expected. 

I had:

  • 2 migraines
  • 1 fight with my whole family
  • 1 fight with just my mother 
  • 1 foot burned with hot oil while frying shallots (who does that?)
  • 1 middle finger slammed in the folding door of the spice cabinet, which ripped the skin off 
  • 30-ish f-words said in front of my Gramma, due to aforementioned foot burning and middle finger slamming 

Mom made a blueberry pie, our go-to stuffing and the gravy. Gramma made the mashed potatoes, helped prep everything and washed 10,000 dishes. But other than that, I did the rest. Like a boss. 

My plan is to recount all the hilarious tales and recipes, one a day for this week. There’s some good stuff in here, especially since we’re just starting the holiday season. Maybe something to try yourself! Maybe something you can burn yourself with or slam your finger while making! Please, be as dumb as me! 

First up will be Barefoot Contessa’s Gingerbread Cupcakes.

I started so confident. And immediately fucked them up. 

Stay tuned! 

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The One Where I’m In Charge of Thanksgiving Dinner

I got two emails from my mother yesterday.

One had the most brilliant typo referring to Snoopy and “all the Penis gang.” I giggled about that one for just hours.

The other one is as follows. The typos have been included for color and if my mom knew I had a blog and knew how to search for it, she’d be REAL mad that I put her email here. 

Subject: You and Grandma cook Thanksgiving

My sweet Babu, [Honestly? No idea why she calls me this. My dad doesn’t get it either.]

I have a hectic week trying to prepare for the Indiana trip: hair, nails. Have church commitment and take two classes on the 19 th. I need your help a d Mom’s. I will pick up groceries for you but you and gma will have lots of time to bond. Thx sweet ma am

Um…did my mother call me ma’am at the end of her email? Or did she misspell mama? She normally signs her emails off mami (we’re Puerto Ricans), so I honestly don’t even know.

Anyways. I think we’re overlooking the major point of this: You and Grandma cook Thanksgiving.

Charles what now?

I’ve been in charge of the turkey for the last two years, which has gone really well. And I’ve done a couple sides too. But… I haven’t done the whole thing. And certainly not with a 90 year old sous chef. (Calm down, I love her more than anything and I’m so excited to hang/cook with her but…she has to sit down a lot.)

I guess I’m going to need to menu plan. Like, now. Cause…it’s three and a half weeks away. I picked up a Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living, Cooking Light and Real Simple today. Just need a Bon Appetit and a Food Network Magazine and I’ll have COMPLETELY overdone it.

This is going to be interesting. There are only 4 of us. And dad doesn’t can’t eat shellfish. And doesn’t like onions.


Y’all have any family favorites? Or surprise hits that you’re willing to share? 

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I think I figured out my problem with peanut butter cookies: I do not like peanut butter cookies. 

When I CRAVE the peanut butter, I want a heaping spoonful of peanut butter. Or a PB&J sammich. The extent of my peanut butter cravings is peanut butter M&Ms. …Oh man, now I want some peanut butter M&Ms so hard. But I’m in my pajamas (YES. STILL.) and that would require putting on shoes and a bra. 

Anyways. The peanut butter cookies were good. If you like that sort of thing.  

This is another Gramma recipe. Pretty simple recipe. The only thing I struggled with at all was baking time. But I’ll get to that later. Intrigued?? BAKING TIMES?! This is some scintillating shit, people. 


  • 1 stick of butter, softened 
  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg 
  • 1½ cup of flour
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • ¾ tsp of baking soda
  • ¼ tsp of salt 

You’ll also need: a standing mixer or hand mixer/bowl, another mixing bowl and fork, baking sheets, spatula or wooden spoon, and some Pam. 

To soften butter, pull it out of the fridge about an hour before you bake and let it sit on the counter. If there’s a sunny patch, let it lay out like a hungover sorority girl on spring break. 

In your standing mixer or with a hand mixer, mix together thoroughly the butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and egg. 


So here’s the one place I go off the reservation from Gramma’s recipe. She says to sift together the dry ingredients. But I don’t care for sifting because I find that it’s messy. I say combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and stir gently yet vigorously with a fork. It will give you that same light, airy texture you get from sifting but without getting flour all over your counter. You’re welcome. 

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. 


Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for an hour to an hour and a half. 

Roll into balls, about the size of walnuts. Place 3″ apart (specificity, people) on a lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten with a fork dipped in flour. Criss cross. 


Bake at 375 for 9-10 minutes until set, but not hard. (…this is important…)


So, there are a few things I was playing with when I made these cookies. 

I made one batch with the homemade peanut butter I’d made earlier in the week. And then I was worried it wasn’t going to turn out, so I made a double batch with Jif. What’s crazy is that the homemade peanut butter ones actually turned out better than the ones with the Jif. 

Now, a word of warning. I like gooey, soft cookies. And these cookies baked real hard, real fast. In fact, Gramma’s recipe called for baking them 10-12 minutes. I baked the first batch at 10 minutes, which burnt the edges of the cookies. After that, I baked every other batch at 9 minutes. And some of them came out softer and gooier (usually, the homemade peanut butter) and some of them came out crispy (usually the Jif). Since I have absolutely no culinary training, I have no idea why they would be different. But since I like to pretend that I know what I’m talking about, I would assume that store bought peanut butter has a lot more sugar in it than the homemade stuff I made, so maybe that was the reason. 

All in all, each batch made something like 2 dozen cookies. I forgot to count. Which is why I’m a fake food blogger and not a real one. You get what you pay for, people. 

If you’re a fan of peanut butter cookies, this is a nice, simple recipe for them. But if you don’t like them? Like I don’t like them? This ain’t gonna change your mind. Go find yourself a nice, simple chocolate chip cookie recipe to settle down with. 

Adventures in Peanut Butter, or How I Made 6 Million Cookies

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Gramma Soup

Yeah… That’s kind of a misleading title for this post. 
Makes the soup sound like it’s made out of Grammas. 
Yes. I know that it’s not ACTUALLY spelled Gramma. To be honest, I don’t remember when I started calling my grandma ‘Gramma.’ But I just liked it better. Everyone else calls their grandmothers Mee Maw or Gammy. A woman named Myrtle shouldn’t be called Gammy. It’s ridiculous. Let’s just call her Gramma and be done with it. 
My Gramma makes the most delicious, simple vegetable beef soup. When I was in college she would actually make it, freeze it, and send it to me from northern Indiana to North Carolina. It was the perfect comfort food before play rehearsal or cramming for a test or if that cute guy didn’t call when he said he would.*
*I’m joking, of course. He ALWAYS called when he said he would. That’s why I’m almost 30 and have a fake food blog and not a real boyfriend. (Please tip your waitresses!)
So, for my first real food post on My Fake Food Blog, I thought I’d go for a classic: Gramma’s Vegetable Beef Soup. 
The best thing about this soup is that you can totally tailor it to your tastes. Want to make a half batch? Easy. Hate carrots? Cool. Want to add some seasonal parsnips? Alright, calm down.
Here’s what you need: 
Image Image
1 to 2 lbs stew beef (1 lb if you want to go heavy on the vegetables/light on the beef, 2 lbs if you want more beef in there)
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups green pepper, chopped
2 cups potato, chopped
2 cups turnip, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped 
2 32 oz. containers of beef stock 
2 32 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 cups of frozen peas
2 cups of frozen sweet corn 
2 cups of frozen green beans 
Salt & Pepper 
You also need: a cutting board, a knife, a giant pot and some sort of wooden spoon. 
1. Cut your stew beef into small, bite size chunks. 
When it’s chunked (gross), put it in your pot and add water to cover. Season with salt and pepper and turn to medium heat. In 15-20, minutes, meat should be just cooked through and you’ll have a nice meaty flavor base for your soup. 
2. While your meats a-heating, peel and chop your vegetables. 
3. Add your liquids (crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste) and vegetables to the pot. Season with more salt and pepper. Taste. And then, what the hell, do some more salt and pepper because if you’re like me, you did not put enough in. 
4. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, until your vegetables are tender but still toothsome. 
Again, if you are like me, you will forget to reduce your soup to a simmer, so you will have accidentally left your pot on a full rolling boil for a solid 25 minutes. Which was kind of awesome because all the vegetables were perfectly done. 
5. Add frozen vegetables. Stir and heat through, 5-7 minutes. 
6. Taste one last time for salt and pepper. Is it seasoned enough? IS IT? 
Serve with crusty French bread or a lovely salad.
Makes: A TON. Seriously. If I did the math right, you can get 16 very healthy servings out of this soup. Like most soups, this is going to be so much better the next day, after the flavors meld together. And it freezes splendidly.
A couple notes. 
-My Gramma always puts cabbage in her vegetable beef soup. I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t feel like buying it. But if you’re a fan, go for it. Green cabbage or savoy, not red. 
-If you have cans of vegetables at home and want to throw those in, you can. Just make sure you follow this basic principle: hard vegetables that will take a long time to cook go in first and longest. Frozen and/or canned vegetables that just need to be heated through go in at the end. 
-Gramma also always puts turnips in the soup, but I’d never done it before. So, I bought my very first turnip and put it in the soup, y’all. I bought an EM-EFFING TURNIP. It was a lot less intimidating than I thought. I wanted to impress you guys. Are you impressed? Probably not. Haha.  
So that’s Gramma Soup. 100% human free. Made BY Grandmothers, Not OF Grandmothers. 
PS. This is Myrtle on her 90th birthday. You know how you’re still a badass at 90? By eating soup. 
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