Spicy Corn Chowder and The Almond Fiasco


Last night, at around the wee hour of 2 am, I heard a funny noise. It sounded like something was being dragged across the carpet.

As it was 2 am, my mind jumped to burglars, mice, and, of course, dragging dead bodies. Then, I heard a puppy-sized yawn that could only mean one thing:

Maddie had crept downstairs to do her business and was now making her way up on the bed.

There’s nothing like the prospect of cleaning up a pet’s middle-of-the-night “present” to make you realize how comfortable your bed is. So, instead of leaping out of bed to clean up the mess, I just went back to sleep.

In the morning, we discovered that sometimes last evening (probably while we were watching Cars), Maddie had climbed on the kitchen table, found a bag of almonds, and dragged it to her dog bed where she proceeded to consume the entire 1/2 pound of nuts. Hence the nighttime present. She left two nuts in the bag, probably because she’d eaten enough plastic already while chewing through the bag and decided to quit.

Yeah, looking cute isn’t going to make me forget what you did, Maddies.

This incident reminded me of the red lentil disaster of 2009. What was that quote about history repeating itself? Did it mention anything about greedy dogs? I didn’t end up cleaning anything, as I had to run out the door to meet a client (thanks, Peter!).

Anyhow, this past weekend I promised you my spicy corn chowder recipe. Here we are!

I also have a picture of the chowder with chorizo sausage (so good), but as this website is in a temporary state of “oh-gosh-it’s-actually-working” (See P.P.S. at end of post), I’m going to post as-is and add the picture later. (Edited to add: Picture added!) This recipe is adapted from Shape Magazine and originally called for evaporated milk. Feel free to try it with evaporated milk (or a milk substitute, like soy milk, almond milk, or more stock). I found the skim milk version was creamy and delicious!

Spicy Corn Chowder

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 20 minutes

  Keywords: boil soup/stew corn

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 sausages, sliced (we’ve used chorizo and andoullie, both pork and chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 12-16 oz. bag frozen corn (about 3 cups), defrosted
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon, ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large potato (white or sweet), diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (we use Urfa for a smokey flavor)
  • 1-1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or veggie stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned. Use a slotted spoon to move sausage to plate and set aside.

Add onion to saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, making sure to scrape the the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

While onion cooks, put corn in food processor or blender and pulse a few times, until corn is roughly chopped. Add corn, allspice or cinnamon, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes to onion. Cook for 3 minutes. Add tomato and potato and cook for another 3 minutes. Add thyme, milk, and stock and mix.

Bring chowder to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. If soup is too thick, add more stock or water.

Stir in sausage. Remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Divide among four bowls and serve immediately.

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Q: If you have pets, have they ever left you nighttime “presents”?


What’s your favorite kind of chowder?

P.S. I have NEWS! I’ve recently partnered with Strawberry Fields, a natural foods store in Urbana, IL that focuses on organic and local foods and body care products. As their on-site dietitian/nutritionist, I’ll be available for customer questions and will offer seminars on nutrition topics, as well as grocery store tours. Strawberry Fields has a fun and vibrant community that’s perfect for nurturing health and wellness. I’m thrilled to be a part of the team! So, if you’re in the area, stop on by!

P.P.S. You may have noticed this blog has been very slow over the past few weeks. That’s one reason why I’ve been posting every other day instead of every day – crossing my fingers and hoping this site will upload is not how I want to spend my time. After an hour-long conversation with GoDaddy, I can tell you that THIH will be moved to a new server that will, I hope, speed up the site. The Bad News: while the move takes place, THIH will be down for 24-48 hours, beginning sometime in the next 24 hours. Ouch. I hope we’ll be back up and running by Friday.

Catch you on the flip side!


  1. Congratulations on your new position, Jessie! It sounds like a fun job 🙂

    I love pretty much all kinds of chowder I think, so comforting creamy! Today I ate roasted butternut squash soup and feel like I could eat it everyday!

    Maddie may be a little naughty sometimes…but she is sooooo adorable! And she certainly has a healthy appetite 😉

  2. It’s really amazing just how much such tiny dogs can eat! My dog is about Maddie-sized and she has eaten her way through an entire loaf of bread, no problem. Crazies.

  3. Congratulations on your new job – lucky you that sounds really interesting… I’m loving Maddie’s naughtiness too;-)

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