Springtime Minestrone!

Between me and my boyfriend, we have different levels of interest in soup.  But when it comes to minestrone soup, we’re pretty similar.  We’ve only ever made one type before and its usually for wintertime.  If you haven’t seen that recipe, you can find it HERE!  However, when a fellow blog FRUGAL FEEDING posted up his switch up on the normal minestrone and turned it into a seasonal thing with his Springtime Minestrone, I knew I had to try it out eventually! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and seeing as there’s a wedding tomorrow to attend, I decided to try this out since it looked light and delicious 🙂

Springtime Minestrone (by Frugal Feeding)

Springtime Minestrone 

Doesn’t that look quite good? I didn’t put any spring onions on the top to mark it look even more awesome.  Forgot about it *blush*

To find that recipe, please head over to Frugal Feeding’s Springtime Minestrone HERE!

This soup is really delicious and it turned out really great! If you’re into soups, its really one to go to.  I actually probably like it a lot more than the traditional minestrone.  The spaghetti bits gives it some substance and its like vegetable explosion.  I have never eaten fennel before and it was really awesome! I’ll try and find some more ways to incorporate it into my meals 🙂 The little bit of bacon in there gives it a nice tasty meat base.

I always seem to be modifying recipes but for this one, everything stayed the same except that I replaced fresh thyme with dried.  Instead of bay leaves, I used dried basil leaves.  Still was tasty to me.  If you do have the actual ingredients available, you should definitely follow the recipe all the way through!

Wonderful recipe and if you are interested in some more awesome recipes, Frugal Feeding really has a lot to offer.  I will be trying out some more of the recipes soon!

Restaurant Review: Olive Garden at Burlington, Vermont

I have heard of this place a lot but I’ve never been before.  Seeing as we were right next to it, it was out destination for dinner.  We had an early dinner and thank goodness we did because our wait was 20-25 minutes whereas people coming in 10 minutes after us were at 40-45 minutes or something like that.  It was crazy intense.  The first thing we know when we walk into this Italian restaurant Olive Garden is a whiff of cheese in the air.

They had a very good deal for 2 for $25 and seeing as we were 4 girls.  We took two of those.  The waitress we had was extremely nice.  Now onto the food.  We each had unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks.  Although only one of us ordered another soup. However, I don`t remember the soup names but I do remember the commentary.

minestrone soup

minestrone soup

In the soups, I had the minestrone.  It was delicious.  Also inspired me to want to add a bit of pasta and beans next time I make my own.  The texture was very nice because of it and it wasn`t too salty.

soup

soup

This is a cream based soup so I couldn`t get it but I don`t remember the exact name.  Two of the girls got this one. One liked it and the other said it was a tad too salty.  Just a taste preference I guess.

breadsticks

breadsticks

Next up, we had the breadsticks.  These are also unlimited. We could get as many as we like. We didn`t though, because we didn`t want to overdo it and not be able to eat our own meals.  I liked the taste of it a lot. I wouldn`t eat to much of it though as it started feeling like it was getting a little salt after a while.  It went great with the soup though 🙂

Now for the appetizer! I only have our own because the sisters chose to share dessert instead.

bruschetta and fried calamari

bruschetta and fried calamari

The fried calamari was the part I ate since I seem to have trouble digesting raw veggies.  Weird, I know.  However, it did well for us to share.  The fried calamari was absolutely tasty and possibly one of the best I have had.  My friend also enjoyed the bruchetta. She didn`t say much about it but there was no criticism either.  I take that as a good thing 😉

venetian apricot chicken

venetian apricot chicken

Sorry for the blurry pictures. I forgot to mention that I was using my new smartphone. Woohoo! I`m not too good at it so I`m still working on getting it right.  This was my main dish: Venetian Apricot Chicken.  Did I tell you how much I like apricot? This chicken was tender and the glaze was different and totally awesome.  I love it!

fettuccine alfredo

fettuccine alfredo

My friend got the Fettuccine Alfredo for her main dish.  It was a really big plate and she finished probably 3/4s of the meal before she had to give up.

five cheese ziti al forno

five cheese ziti al forno

One of the sisters got the same as me while the other one, who is vegetarian chose this Five Cheese Ziti al Forno.  She ate probably a quarter of it and said that she was full.  She felt it was heavy probably because of the cheese.  She ended working hard and finishing a bit more than half, I think.

Next up, we have the desserts! Everyone`s favorite part, right?

2 mini dolcini: chocolate mousse and tiramisu

2 mini dolcini: chocolate mousse and tiramisu

Did I tell you one of the other girls is a baker too? Anyways, she is and she was eating most of it since her sister almost couldn`t stuff any more in after her pasta.  She said that it was average.  However, the tiramisu tasted better than the chocolate mousse.

I was really pleased with the service and the food at Olive Garden. It was super fun to eat at and everyone enjoyed their meals a lot! 🙂 On top of that, their menus showed the calorie counts on the side.  Although calories aren`t really what I had on my mind but seeing the choice to take something healthier really makes it better appeal to the public (in this case, me).

Have you eaten at Olive Garden? What did you like? What do you like to eat at italian restaurants?