Soup Week! Italian Wedding Soup with Egg Noodles

This is not your regular Italian Wedding Soup! Italian Wedding soup is a classic and nothing compares to its flavor. I've added my own additions to it to give it a more updated twist by adding in egg noodles instead of pasta, spinach instead of endives, and eggs to thicken the broth. If you must only make one soup from my Soup Week feature, make it this one. (:

It's a bit more work than all of the other soups because you have to MAKE the meatballs. Homemade meatballs taste SO good!

Meatball Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 slice fresh white bread, crust trimmed and torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. ground beef
  • 8 oz. ground pork
  • ground black pepper
Assembling the meatballs:
  1. Stir the first 6 ingredients into a large bowl to blend. Stir in cheese, beef, and pork.
  2. Using 1/2 tsp for each, shape the meat mixture into mini meatballs with your hands.
  3. Set aside.

Soup Ingredients:
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 1 package of baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • Egg noodles
  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the meatballs and simmer until meatballs are cooked through. (about 8 minutes depending on how big you make them)
  3. Add the egg noodles and continue to simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until noodles are fully cooked.
  4. Slowly crack eggs into the soup, one by one, and stir in to mix. Add in the spinach, stirring well for about 3 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Soup Week! Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Sometimes you get tired of egg noodles in your soup and you just need variety. Rice soups are a good option and always an Asian food staple. This Chicken & Wild Rice soup is a variation on a soup I grew up on. My mom used to make chicken and rice soup when we were sick and I've updated her recipe to make it easier and a little more modern by adding wild rice.

  • 42 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 boxes of long grain wild rice with herbs
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (optional, add if you'd like extra rice!)
  1. Bring broth and water to a boil.
  2. Add chicken thighs, garlic, onions, and carrots. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add wild rice mix, its seasoning packet, and white rice (if using). Simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  4. While the rice cooks, remove chicken, shred chicken, and return to pot.
  5. Add vegetables and cook until tender.

I use a vegetable peeler to make really really thin slices of mushrooms.

Soup Week! Spaghetti & Meatball Soup

Yeah, I know. What the hell kind of combination is that, right?

If you love Italian flavors, this soup is the bomb! It's easy to make and I promise you'll love it. I wasn't so sure about it myself when I was making it but it is damn good!

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large carrots or ten small ones, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and shredded
  • 1 small onion, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 42 oz. low sodium chicken broth
  • 24 oz. your favorite jar of pasta sauce
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 bag frozen meatballs
  • 1 cup of cut spaghetti noodles
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, add vegetables and saute until soft.
  2. Add in chicken broth, pasta sauce, seasonings, and chili flakes. Bring to a boil.
  3. When boiling, add meatballs and cut spaghetti pasta. Simmer until cooked.
* Garnish with Parmesan Cheese! And garlic bread!

I've made this soup twice, using different variations of veggies. I tried frozen veggies, fresh shredded veggies, and fresh chunks of veggies. The Fresh Shredded Vegetables are the best in this soup! You get a pieces of it in every bite!

Shredded veggies. No slicing necessary.

Sooooooo goood.

Top 5 Sushi Places in Milwaukee

5) Kyoto's - Greenfield
Sushi Selection: Fairly large sushi menu with a lot of creative options. Equal number of raw and cooked rolls. A lot of their rolls have cream cheese in them and I'm not really a fan of cream cheese in my sushi >_< ! They also have a "Create Your Own Roll" option for about $20.

Service: Service is always excellent every time we go.

Value: They have really good lunch specials like "3 rolls for $10.00" or all-inclusive entree lunches with soup and salad. On Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays they have All-You-Can-Eat (A.Y.C.E.) Sushi for about $25/person. This is great if you go with a large hungry group. You get to order from the A.Y.C.E. menu which has all you can eat appetizers, soups, salads, and desserts included! Order a couple rolls for the first round then after you're halfway through, order a second round of rolls, then a third, etcetera etcetera. But house rules say all of the food must be finished, otherwise you'll have to pay for each individual item.

4) Fujiyama - West Allis
Sushi Selection: Their rolls are great but their selection is fairly small compared to the other restaurants. Their soups and entrees are much more in the spotlight here. My fav here is the American Dream Roll ($11) with shrimp tempura, eel, avocado, cucumber and masago.

Service: A+ Service

Value: Their prices are the best out of all 5 restaurants. On some nights they have half off sushi! And their lunch and dinner specials are really cheap.

3) Japanica - Greenfield
Sushi Selection: Very elaborate rolls with great attention to detail in preparing them and it shows in the presentation. Their spider roll is the best in the city and their specialty rolls are made perfectly. The Chef's Special roll ($13) is a shrimp tempura roll with avocado and eel slices on top drizzled with Chef Sauce. This. Sauce. Is. Amazing. Also try the Crunchy 2-in-1 Roll ($13) with Salmon tempura and avocado on the inside and spicy crabmeat and panko crumbs on top.

Service: Some of the waitstaff have heavy asian accents so there might be some language barrier but service is always really good. Ask for Angela to be your server, she's a good friend of mine!

Value: Fairly priced. $60 can easily be spent here on dinner for two. No specials or deals that I know of.

2) Nana Asian Fusion - Shorewood

Sushi Selection: Medium sized selection with the basics such as Shrimp Tempura, Eel/Cucumber, Spicy Salmon. Complemented with a very unique section of specialty rolls. Try the Angry Dragon roll with shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado and spicy crabmeat on top. I'm not a fan of raw sushi but Chhally is. He thinks their raw sushi rolls are the freshest he's had yet and notes that the Spicy Salmon roll elsewhere always have a slimy texture to it, but at Nana their Spicy Salmon roll wasn't slimy at all. You could actually taste the salmon, the spicy mayo and the panko crunch they mix in instead of focusing on the chewiness.

Service: Excellent, attentive, and friendly (even on a busy night). Ask for Rickey to be your server!

Value: Average price for sushi. Basic rolls range from $4-$5 and specialty rolls range from $11-$16. Portions are big, definitely worth it.

1) Kiku - Located Downtown

Sushi Selection: I think Kiku has the largest selection of sushi rolls in the city. Their menu is huge (literally, it's almost poster size) and about 5 pages filled with pictures of all of their rolls and detailed descriptions. I love the way their menu is set up, it's helpful when deciding. I don't have to worry about any surprises showing up in my sushi. Plate presentation is always gorgeous with various decorative fruits and veggies on the plate.

Service: Service is spotty and can be slow, but not to the point where it will disrupt your meal.

Value: Kiku = Pricey! But they always have groupon deals and lunch specials. I always take advantage of their groupon deals or deals! Sushi rolls are huge and portions are generous. You get what you pay for in quality and quantity.

Photography Do's and Don'ts

I don’t claim to be a professional photographer, I’m still learning each and every day and the most important thing is, I have fun with it. I've gotten plenty of requests for tips and advice from everyone who have been inspired to do photography themselves! It’s been pretty awesome to see that so many people are interested in such an amazing hobby. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons & because you love it, not because of superficial things like trying to get famous or make money off of it. If your heart is not in it, you'll get tired of it.

1. You do not need a professional high quality camera. When I first started messing around with photography, I used a regular point and shoot camera. It’s the creative mind of the photographer that takes amazing pictures, NOT the type of camera you have. When you get more serious about it, then you can invest in an expensive fancy camera.

2. Don’t use FORCED poses. Basically, don’t make it look like you’re posing for a picture. Poses should look natural. The people in the picture shouldn’t have their leg all up on something or their arm resting on an object.

3. Make sure that there are no obstructions in your photo when you’re taking a picture of someone/something. I have seen soo many people make this mistake! OBSTRUCTIONS are things like street signs, other people, pedestrians, street poles, garbage cans, your shadow, etc.

4. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson. Before you start charging people for pictures, take pictures for free for an entire year. It is honestly the best way to learn, buildyour skills, and build your portfolio.

5. The biggest mistake is OVER-EDITING their pictures. Photo-shopping your pictures to fix small things are okay. Magazines and professionals edit their pictures all of the time. If you find yourself having to always edit your pictures, then try not to do so much editing and focus on using appropriate camera settings and timing.

6. Don’t steal from or copy other photographers. To be inspired by them is one thing, but to steal their ideas and call it your own is a different thing. Originality is the key, be creative and find a style that fits you. Don’t put your name on anything that isn’t yours and give credit where credit is due!

1. Learn about copyrights and permits. There are some areas in the city where you are not allowed to photograph and some objects/places that you could get sued for if you use them in your pictures.

2. GET a flickr account or a deviantart account. These are online sites where you can upload your photography and meet other photographers who can help you get better. I’ve met some of the DOPEST photographers on these sites and they’ll tell you their honest opinions.

3. If you start charging people/becoming more serious, DO invest in a nice camera and lenses. Most professional photographers have different sets of lighting, different lenses (telephoto and wide angle are must-haves) AND they must know how to use them!

4. Get in contact with photographers who have been doing it for years to mentor you and look at your work. You must be able to take compliments as well as harsh criticism without losing your cool.

5. Read books about photography. Google the best photographers in your city. Look at their photographs and study them.

6. Respect all other photographers!! We all started somewhere. Some of us struggled and some of us have a natural eye for detail. Please keep that in mind and respect your fellow photographers!

That’s that. If anyone’s interested in learning more, send me a comment and I would be happy to help in any way i could. I’m no pro yet but I own my fair share of experience. ^_^

Advice for expanding your photography knowledge:
Whenever I go somewhere and see a photographer (whether they are beginner or professional), I introduce myself to them and start up a convo. Ask how long they've been shooting, what kind of camera do they use, and I always ask to swap business cards! It's a good way to meet experts in the field and if you ever need photography help, they will remember you! By the end of the convo, I ask if they have one piece of advice for beginners. Then write down what their answer is on their business card.

ps. if anyone has anything to add to this list, let me know!

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