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Fantastic Cauliflower and Potato Soup (can be gluten/dairy/meat free option)

This one…oh my.
When Haley tells me I need to post something I make I know I have to do it before I forget.
See I promise them I will post any recipe on here they want to be able to find one day when they are grown and gone and well….
She says she can not live with out this one.
When an 11 year old tells you they “love” you cauliflower/potato soup then it must be good…right?

I will say I can not claim this one really.
I started using The Pioneer Woman’s Potato soup recipe…of course I switched out all of high sodium stuff and dairy but for the most part it was still the same recipe…
And then I went to make it today and was like “Oh crap!  We had mashed potatoes last night and I only have a few left!  But I do have a whole head of cauliflower!”.  So then I am all like “I bet I could merge the recipes!”
And poof!  Yummy.
And soooo fast and easy!
So easy I really don’t have to go into deep detail because this is literally a 30 minute meal!

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Ingredients:

1 head of Cauliflower
2 Potatoes (any will do)
2 carrots
1 Onion
1 Celery Stick
2 Quarts of stock (I use beef or chicken bone broth I have frozen…I make a batch every few weeks and freeze it to use later)
5 tablespoons flour (can use all gluten free mix)
2 Cups Milk (or Almond milk)
1 stick butter (or dairy free alternative)
Handful of parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Bacon

Directions:

  1. Chop up ….well everything.  I prefer the soup a bit chunkier so I hand chop all the veggies but if you like it a bit finer you can always use a food processor!
  2. Bring the veggies, stock, and half a stick of butter to boil for about 20 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan melt the other half of the stick of butter.  Whisk in the milk and flour until it thickens up a bit.  Add this to you soup.
  4. My favorite part.  Take out half the soup and put it into a food processor, Vitamix, or mixer.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Add it back into the soup bowl and merge with the remaining unblended soup.
  5. While that is simmering nicely I go ahead and fry up some bacon…because everything is better with bacon.  Duh.
    Here is the thing.  A.)  You don’t have to add bacon we just do because we really love bacon.  B.) If you love bacon as much as we do then you won’t be shy about adding bacon grease to your soup.  Yep that’s right.  ”Secret Ingredient”…just not a secret at all that bacon makes everything better.
    Once you have the bowl of soup out throw some bacon bits on top and well….
    AMAZING.

That’s it…that simple.
Enjoy!:-)

Sometimes I really hating coming up with “titles” for posts.

Seriously I really do hate titling things sometimes…
I have been a bit absent over the last week from the computer all around.
Sometimes it’s hard to share the stuff on here I know I need to..I keep this blog for my kiddos.  One day when I am long gone they will have their childhoods pretty well documented even if I am not around to share it with them.

Last Thursday we found out that Daryl’s grandmother was in the hospital and not going to make it.  Her lungs had filled with fluid and years of fighting cancers her body had had enough (literally I think she fought just about every cancer there is over the years).
Sigh.
Loss is just never easy…no matter how old or young the loved one is it’s always “to soon”.
You guys may remember my post from a few years ago about our Thanksgiving out at her house.
Which of course put me in tears all over again reading it…again why I do love that I blog…my kids will get to read it too one day.
With a background like mine full of lost loved ones…I just knew how important those pictures would be.
How missed family will be one day.  We always think things will just always be this way and well…
I know things are temporary.
I still can’t get over how many people I have lost over the years…more than I can count on two hands and mostly by the age of 30.

Funerals are tough.
I can say for sure that over the years I have become well versed in funeral services and death.  Not something one really wants to be “well versed” in.  But I have always tried to find the positive side to it all.
A few things I have come to a conclusion on about death and dying:

  • People have totally and completely different reactions to it.  Some people are strong and never shed a tear…until weeks later when it finally “hits them”.  Some are a complete mess and can barely put one foot in front of the other.  Some get angry and start fights.
    Everyone just handles it soooo differently.  You just can’t hold it against someone.  Death brings out the best and the worst in people.  You just have to love them through it and try to get past someone having a different response than you do.
  • I have always had the firm rule…I do not look at my loved one in an open casket after death.
    I can remember everyone filing in to go and see my mother at her wake and I sat outside in the parking lot.  Freezing cold, rainy day…5 months pregnant.  Nope I didn’t go in until they closed her casket.
    I am sure this looked bad.  Like maybe I loved her less somehow?
    I never bothered to explain it to people because just like some have to see their loved one after death I am just the opposite.
    Mom and I had said our “goodbyes” the last time I saw her and I wanted my last image in my mind of her to be of her alive.
    I have stuck to this.
    I just simply prefer to remember my loved ones doing what they loved most…mom at the sewing machine…Nanny on a lawnmower.  You get the idea.
    It’s just a personal thing.
  • A few weeks after the death comes the bickering over the “stuff”.
    Never fails.  ”I want this…no I want it…no I should have it!”  I have watched this split families and it is absolutely heart breaking.  With close to a decade under my belt since the loss of most of my family I can say for sure fighting over “the stuff” is a complete and total waste of your time and energy.
    All I wanted was the photos.  I wanted to be able to “see” my loved ones.  The “stuff” just didn’t hold it for me.
    Sure I love my moms gun chest in the front hall and sewing machine table upstairs but if a fire hit I am grabbing the pictures.
    Just saying.  Let the “stuff” go.  It isn’t worth losing additional family members over.
    It just makes you grumpy and bitter and 10 years later you may not even remember what the “fight/stuff” was even about.
  • This is a big one…and a tough one.
    Your relationship with the deceased was unique to you.  They may have been wonderful to you someone else may not have had that experience with them.  Tough…right?  In death we all have these inner demons to slay.  Accepting the ghosts from our past and often present.  Death kindof shines this spotlight on the closet and brings with it crazy emotions.  When my parents passed I can remember people coming up to me and telling me all sorts of things/stories about my parents I never knew.  It was like I truly didn’t know these people.  They were different to me than to others.  Not bad just different.  A side I just didn’t know about.  Here is the thing…just because you struggled in a relationship with a loved one during their lifetime doesn’t mean you won’t miss them terribly when they are gone.
    Just because you struggled doesn’t mean you didn’t love them and that they didn’t love you.
    It just means a relationship didn’t come “easy”.
    Accept it and move forward and try to focus on the good memories not the struggles and bad times so much.  Or maybe try and just grow from the struggles and try and do better in your own life with those you may still struggle with.

I have to say this Spring I am sure I will be spending sometime mowing Nannies yard.
She loved her yard.  I have mowed it a ton over the years and she was always so particular…I loved that.
She was a fellow garden/land enthusiast like me.  Always on her “tractor”.
She would come and visit me in big the garden and tell me stories about the land and the people that have owned it for a VERY long time.  She had quite and interesting life actually.
She was always fascinated by “why in the world don’t you use chemicals on your garden?”:-)
It’s going to be so strange out there this Spring without seeing her bouncing down the field to come and say “hi”.
I couldn’t imagine not helping to take good care of her land though…she would haunt me and tell me to go take care of her land/yard!
I have no doubt!:-)
My mother used to joke that the reason my great grandmothers sister lived well into her 90′s was because she always mowed her own grass….perhaps there is something to this grass mowing and long lives?
As I posted on my wall this week:

“Today we started with the process of laying Nanny to rest. After the wake today I took the kiddos for a hike to enjoy the weather. Nanny loved her yard and being outside. We had that in common. She would have loved today. I saw this picture of me riding the lawnmower a few years ago out at the house and just smiled thinking about her “vehicle” of choice. I will never look at a mower and not remember her bouncing down the field to come say hello. The secret to a long happy life?
A good lawnmower, sunshine and lots of people who loved you.
Rest in peace nanny…we will miss you.

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Pretty much sums it up.
The last thing I know about death?
The hard part comes well after the hub bub of the funeral and events surrounding it.
The hard part comes at the most random of moments, in the most random of places and totally wrong and awkward moments.
I always tell the story of coming out of my ultrasound with Haley two weeks after my mom had passed.
We had just found out we were going to have a baby girl!  I was so excited I picked up the phone to call mom first thing and even dialed…and then it hit me she was gone.
Bam…in the car in a parking lot ugly crying.  Yep…first of random spots and moments.
That sums up loss and the grieving “process”.  It truly is a very long process and in reality you never stop missing those loved ones.
Time may help but it surely doesn’t make you forget.
And it absolutely changes you.  It should though.
It is the ultimate reminder to go out there and live your life!  Live it well…love your people and treat folks well.
Life is short…even if you live to a ripe old age.  It’s still too short.

I think I may have joined a cult…I mean club.

Ok well maybe not the kindof cult you are thinking…
I bought a Vitamix.
Yep that it right…that big sticker item mixer you always see folks doing demo’s with at Whole Foods, Costco and the fair.
Right now you are totally thinking “SUCKER!” unless of course you too are in the cult.
Then you are in “the know”.
This whole Vitamix experience reminds me so much of the time I spent debating whether to splurge and spend that money on the KitchenAide mixer.  I was all like “That’s a ridiculous price!!” and so I bought the generic versions…2-3 times.
Then I finally broke down and bought it.  Life changing.  I LOVE that contraption.
The Vitamix…well you would think I would have learned.
2 generic wanna be’s later I now have my very own.

If you follow the fan page you know this last week I went to the allergist…finally.
Since Daryl’s new job came with shiny new (fantastic) health benefits I figured it was time to figure out if the real joint pain culprit was Wheat, Corn or soy.
I knew it was one of them.  I knew it!
I just couldn’t figure out which because those three ingredients are almost always together in everything these days.
I had just been opting for the “cook at home all the time” method of treatment but curiosity (and good insurance) had the best of me.
While my joint pain is now sitting at a level 3…it had been at least a level 9 or 10 before I took those things out of my diet.
I had still been “cheating” here or there but for the most part sticking to it.

Well the answer to my allergy questions was at least some what answered.
Soy, oats and Chicken (who the heck is allergic to chicken!  grrrr it’s one of my favorites)…and of course the normal allergens like mold, dust mites and DOGS!  (nope not giving up my dogs….ever.  I will just vacuum them everyday or something.)
It was also suggested that I try removing dairy from my diet for a week and see if that helped as well.
I was all like “DAIRY!!!! But I am a dairy addict!”.  Turns out dairy is one of the biggest joint pain foods you can eat.
Ugh.
All this time I have refused to ever remove dairy…just dairy.  My only holdout.
Look…I know I could just take an arthritis pill…some steroids and call it a day.  I am totally aware.
But I have zero desire to spend the rest of my life putting a bandaid across a gaping wound.  I prefer to heal such things.
Healing is were it’s at.
If my body is trying to tell me something I should probably listen…those magic pills come with about a million side effects of their own.
Have you watched a big pharma pill commercial lately?  Those “side effects” sound worse than the actual problem for taking the magic pill in the first place :-/
No thank you.

So off I went.
I am on my third day of “dairy/soy/oat/chicken” free.  I am still staying away from wheat for the most part….because I read Wheat Belly and that just kindof ruins wheat for a girl.
The Vitamix was requirement to get me through this food transition.
I knew the dairy free would be sticking when after the first day my joint pain was at a “0″ for the first time in 2.5 years.
I am dealing with some headaches from the detox part of the game but I know that will pass.
I am so lucky to have a great friend, Kelly, who is a healthy living guru and has always been kind enough to answer my 1,000′s of questions.  She is amazing…and kind (you guys know I am a sucker for kind people).
Anyhow…she uses her Vitamix daily and is always posting amazing recipes and I would always have to sit on the “I don’t have a vitamix” couch.  It was terribly pitiful.
Now however I get to play along!  WOOHOO!!!

I started off yesterday making her Vegan No Butter Pecan ice cream.  Incredible.
I may or may not have gone to bed last night with a tummy ache from eating to much of the rich stuff…
The truth is you can probably make this in a regular mixer as well so it is worth a try even if you don’t own a Vitamixer!
She was kind enough to let me share it with you guys!

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Kelly’s Vegan No Butter Pecan ice cream

Ingredients:

1 cup mixed unsalted roasted nuts with some extra pecans
½ cup maple syrup
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp maca powder (I didn’t have any of this and it still tasted great! )
pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder

Place all ingredients in a high power blender and blend until completely smooth. Place in the freezer for a few hours until frozen. Serve and enjoy!!!!

and then I moved onto Sorbets…

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Which were incredibly easy!  I want to perfect them a bit and will be sharing my favorite recipe next week.
We also made veggie smoothies, caesar salad dressing, peanut/honey butter, mushroom soup (which I promptly lost the link to but I shall make it again and post soon), vanilla powder, and vanilla dairy free ice cream (followed above recipe but used honey instead of maple syrup and only a few nuts).
Everyone in the house is now…officially…part of the cult…I mean club;-)
Now off to have peanut/honey butter on apples with a veggie smoothy for lunch.
Oh ya baby…healthy living ain’t so horrible you know!

~FYI for all you local central Virginia folks…Kelly holds classes and workshops and she has a great class coming up (you know I will be in there front and center!).  It’s worth every penny!  You will never regret taking control of your own health.  Ever.


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KatiMarch 14, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Any recipes for toddler smoothies? I have a very picky eater and am trying to get her to have more vegetables :)

TishaMarch 16, 2014 - 1:06 pm

Kati I have been making him one each day with tons of fruit and then I normally add in Keifer, an avocado or handful of dark greens. Sometimes I add in some honey, nuts, chia seeds or flax meal. He loves these and I can get him to eat at least one a day :-) He is sooooo darn picky! Drives me nuts! But I have him help me and normally he gets all excited because I put them in little jam mason jars with a straw and he thinks this is “big fun”.

Humdrum…is it Spring yet?

What a week!  I can’t believe it is already Thursday.
It’s a good thing though…one week closer to Spring.
I just can’t get myself motivated to do much around here this week…my mojo is off and I swear it is because we had a batch of beautiful days that I was able to get outside with.  And then “poof” back to cold.  It ruined me.
The Winter that will not end.
Or maybe I am just really content with being a home body lately?
Lots of time off line (that is pretty cool actually…I truly do not enjoy the internet so much these days)…
Lots of crocheting…
Lots of scrapbooking (yes…I have found my way back to paper sniffing…full circle)…
Lots of just cuddling with the family and surviving these last few cold months.

Each week I am now babysitting an adorable little gal who has quickly stolen the whole families heart with her over the top cuteness.
Twice a week she comes to play and Lucas promptly cries when she leaves.
Each morning they start off with their very own “board meeting”…I throw the board books on the table and they read and babble…
And be cute.

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I will be getting back to blogging more DIY stuff and projects I have been up to…when I find the time and desire to get online.
For now…back to hibernation;-)

 

 

Mr. Independent…

Is it Spring yet…come on already!
This Winter has been long…but I think I say that every year?
The good news?
It’s 70 today and that can only mean one thing!
We are going to the PARK to play!
But of course little man has found his independent streak which means…
He insists on buckling himself in (add ten minutes to any trip).
And naps are becoming later and later in the day.
This is good and bad.  We were always able to do our big kid afternoon activities when he took an 11am nap now with a 1pm nap it cuts bigtime into the late afternoon fun :-/
He is in there now babbling to himself….having quite a fun time indeed!
Oh motherhood…you can be such a tricky exhausting creature.
Just when I think I have it all worked out…nope.  Not even close.
Oh well…if you see me in a park with a screaming toddler today just know I really did try to get him a nap.  I really did:-)

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“The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.”

~Lawerence Kutner
 
 
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