Happiness in a Bowl of Cauliflower Soup

Yesterday, I woke up with a ton of energy.  I was riding a high from Saturday – finding a recipe for nut-free, semi-healthy cookies that my entire family will eat (other kids tried them – and they liked them too . . . so I know it really is a good recipe), seeing my son take part in a ceremonial puck drop for his hockey association, and then spending an awesome afternoon that turned into dinner with friends and their kids.  It was a fantastical day through and through.

So what did I decide to do with all that energy . . . . tackle the garden of course!  There was no better today to put the garden to bed for the winter – it was sunny, not too cold, and I had all the time in the world to get the job done.  Of course, as I went to the garage to get my gardening tools, I was faced with the obstacle course that my garage had become (yet again!).  So, with the help of the Husband, we did a massive garage clean-out/up.

At some point, probably during the basement reno a few years ago, I filled a big plastic tub with kitchen stuff that wasn’t in every-day use.  Clearly, we’ve never needed any of it, as I had completely forgotten that it was out there.  But since I had unearthed it, I decided it was time to deal with it.  For the most part, I had no issues getting rid of the stuff in that box.

Except for four ceramic bowls.  I bought these bowls when I was still in university.  When I had hopes and dreams of one day having a husband and kids.  And a house of my own.  And I would feed my small, perfect children their morning cereal out of these adorable little bowls.

Right.  So . . . I have the husband, the kids (still kinda small, and delightfully imperfect), and the house.  But the kids don’t particularly care for cereal (at least not for breakfast anyway, as a snack after school, eaten dry, maybe), and the cuteness of the bowls are be completely lost on them (I believe my son asked if there was a Star Wars version that he could have instead).

Hmmmmm.  I tried all my new tricks; what did these bowls me to me right now?  did I really need them?  What would my life be like if I gave them on to someone else to love???

And then I did what any logical person would do.  I washed them, made a batch of homemade soup, and sat down to enjoy my soup out of my treasured bowls.  Maybe the novelty will wear off in a day or two and then I’ll be ready to part with them.  But for now . . . I’m going to use them, be thankful for my dreams that have come true, and enjoy my soup.

Happy Monday.

Roasted Cauliflower and Apple Soup

  • Servings: 8 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

2 heads of cauliflower

olive oil

2 apples peeled and cut into eighths (I used MacIntosh this time)

4 garlic cloves, peeled

3 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters (or use 1 onion peeled and roughly chopped)

4 cups stock or bone broth

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.  Prepare 2 cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. Roughly chop the cauliflower and toss it with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Arrange the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheets.
  3. Scatter the apples, onions, and garlic amongst the cauliflower.
  4. Put the cookie sheets in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown and look “roasted”.
  5. While the cauliflower etc. is roasting, heat up the stock in a large pot.
  6. When the cauliflower is roasted, add it all to the pot and bring it all to a simmer.
  7. Take the pot off the heat, and using an immersion blender, puree the soup.  (I then used my blender to further puree it . . . but it’s not necessary).

Some Traditions are Definitely Worth Keeping

It was pretty much a cuteness overload when all 6 cousins changed into their matching jammies on Sunday night.  And it was even cuter when the 5 of them that are old enough to walk ran outside to see how their jammies glow in the dark.  And it’s crazy to think that this was the scene just a mere 6 years ago . . . Like I said, it’s going to be a sad day when the kids get too old for this . . .

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But, the holiday is over now, the leftovers are starting to get stale, and it’s time to do something about the two enormous chicken carcasses that are taking up space in my fridge.  Well, really, there’s only one carcass left – I got to work with the first one last night.  Specifically, I’m making bone broth.  I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, and it’s pretty much a staple in our house.  In the past, I have roasted a chicken every Monday night for dinner and then got the broth going right after dinner’s cleaned up.  This year, the little one’s dance schedule doesn’t give me enough time to get home to roast a chicken, so I’ve been making it more on an ad-hoc basis.  Regardless, I always have lots at the ready.  Why do I use it for???  I make lots of soups.  I’ve posted the recipe for the sweet potato one, I’ll post a cauliflower/apple one soon . . . I make quinoa with it every week (I add qinoa to the salad I eat for lunch every day).  And the Husband and I will also just drink it straight.

My first attempt at chicken stock was using the Smitten Kitchen recipe.  I am pretty much obsessed with her recipes and if I need something non-paleo to make, I usually turn to her site. Her cookbook is pretty awesome too.  But I digress.  This stock is amazing.  However, as I started making stock/broth/soup on a far more regular basis, the idea of constantly going to the butcher for chicken wings became less appealing, and frankly it seemed much more economical to just roast a chicken and use the bones from that.  So that’s what I do now.  After we’re done dinner, I take most of the chicken off the bones, use my hands to break up the backbone or other larger bones, throw it all in the crockpot, cover the bones with cold water, add in a tablespoon or 2 of cider vinegar, and then let it sit on low for a good 24hours.

Once the stock is done, let it cool, then strain it into a bowl – through a large sampling of trial and error, I have found the BEST way to do this is to place your bowl with the strainer in it in the sink.  That way, any soup that spills goes straight down the drain and you don’t end up cleaning it off the counter, cupboards, kitchen floor (like I said, lots of trial and error).  You can also use tongs to get all the larger bones out of the broth before you run it through the strainer.

I usually then store it in 2cup quantities (you can use mason jars – just make sure there’s lots of room left at the top for expansion if you’re going to put the jars in the freezer – or tupperware containers – I LOVE the new ziplock containers – they are all square and stack really well – BUT, I am NOT a fan of putting anything remotely hot into a plastic container, nor do I heat anything in a plastic container.  So, I make sure the broth has come to room temperature before I put it into containers).  I find this is the perfect quantity for storage purposes – you need 2 cups if you’re going to make a box of quinoa . . . but also, it’s an easy amount to scale up if you need broth for a soup.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can absolutely do this on the stove – you can just simmer it on the stove for 4-5 hours.

I know this seems like a bit of a process just to get broth (’cause hey, you can get broth at the grocery store.  In convenient tetra paks.  And you can even get organic broth now).  BUT, if you really want to be convinced of the benefits of this magical broth, just google “health benefits bone broth”.  And I’m sure you’ll be making it at some point this week too!

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