It's raining cats and dogs and we have thunder and lightening. Wow...February 2? Since it's been a really quiet, lazy day here in Blondieville, it feels sort of cozy hearing the rain on the roof, the distant thunder and trying to see out of the rain spattered windows. Great day to stay in, turn the lamps on low and have soup for lunch. I took a shower and jumped right back into a pair of p.j.'s. The afternoon went by quickly reading my book and a few magazines on my bed.
We had a really great weekend. I have a birthday coming up so The Husband and I went out to a Louisiana Cajun style restaurant that has been here forever. We really had a ball, just the two of us. The place is lively, noisy and so fun. It was also decorated for Mardi Gras so that was very festive. The Husband had trout and I had soft shell crab. Tomorrow is my actual birthday and he came home just a little while ago and wants to take me to my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight as he is working late tomorrow. With the rain and the fact that I'm in my p.j.'s, I could easily just stay on my laptop watching the news. We have really cut back on having dinner out and ordering food in. I, personally, don't go to fast food restaurants. There's nothing I can eat on the menu that's good for me other than salads and I can make those at home. Unfortunately we are tempted by all of the restaurants around us that deliver anything from their menu from a burger to a steak...and with all the sides. Still, we've found by plugging along and going out just once in a great while, we can indulge in some of the better restaurants. But I digress. The restaurant we are going to tonight is known for it's gourmet Mexican food. Here is a link. Check out the menu. ***
While we are on the subject of food, I wanted to share a great soup I made last week that had The Husband swooning. I have been Pinning cauliflower recipes like mad, it is so versatile and low in carbs which I try very hard to avoid. I adapted this big time from a recipe for cauliflower chowder. I wanted something creamier. It's very rich and filling and I toasted some thick slices of bread (for the man), with a little olive oil and garlic.
Cream of Cauliflower Soup
4 slices bacon
3 T butter
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 c milk
1 small head of cauliflower cut away from the stem
1 bay leaf
s & p
Cook 4 slices of bacon in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, set aside. In the same pot melt the butter. Add the carrots and celery and sauté until just tender/crisp, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one additional minute.
Add the flour to the pot and whisk continuously about 1 minute until it starts to brown. Add the chicken broth a bit at a time, whisking all the while and scraping the pieces from the bottom of the pot. Add the milk, cauliflower and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then adjust heat to low simmer and cook covered 1/2 hour. Remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool a bit. Then puree with an immersion blender (which I used), or a standard blender until smooth. A food processor will work, too. Serve in bowls topped with the crumbled bacon bits you've reserved. You may want to reheat it a bit in the pot just before serving. This is a great 'make ahead' soup. Serves 4.
I hope you enjoy this soup. It is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food soup. If you don't puree it, serve it like a chowder. With some good bread it is a perfect winter meal.
If this isn't the truth---it's not so easy to find things to post about in the dead of winter. Would you care to see a photo of a snowplow going down my street? Hear of all the movies I've caught on the LMN channel? How despite running a humidifier night and day I still have dustballs the size of Texas? Yep, sad posting material. I take so many pictures outside in the summer, I decided to take a stroll around the Ponderosa indoors the other day. I don't share many pics of our family room. It really should get used more. See the TV above in the sort of entertainment unit? Well, that is actually a closet and the wood surround is just a thin wood front that pops off. Ingenious, right? Never mind that black speaker, The Husband thought surround sound would help me hear better but it actually makes me jump out of my seat. Loud booms are amplified so loudly it sounds like a plane has crashed into our house!! lol!
This is the opposite side of the room, the sofa facing the entertainment unit. Very comfy and laid back. A perfect place for napping. The windows look out into the shady backyard and in the summer it feels like you are in a cozy birds nest. So, do you have any rooms to share that maybe you don't use a lot but have some neat features?
I posted this on Instagram (I sometimes can't remember what I put on my blog and what I've posted on IG). I thought this was so funny--I see it all the time. I spend my evenings in the den working on my laptop, maybe watching TV or reading. After dinner is cleaned up and I'm all cleaned up (as in face washed and clean p.j.'s on), I head in here with the dogs trailing behind. They each have a chair and a little throw. While I'm fiddling with my bedtime stuff and looking for my slippers, I see Milo patiently waiting. It's the winding down of the day for him, too. Last week I came out of the bedroom with my phone in hand and was able to capture a picture. This sums up the idea of a faithful dog. Their lives are based on habit. They know what we should be doing when we don't even know!
I was reading a magazine and I can't remember which one, but it was extolling the virtues of turnips. My experience with turnips is adding them to soups and stews. That's it. They are somewhat tasteless and I remember some of our friends at the lake including slices of them as part of veggie trays to dip into...well, a dip. This however, is a cool recipe...very quick. It has a great, subtle flavor that may have you and your family/guests thinking they are eating rather different but better french fries. You will thank me once you've made it. Truly.
Turnip French Fries
2 large turnips
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T paprika
1 t nutmeg
Peel and slice the turnips in quarters, then slice into medium to thin pieces, much like 'steak fries'. See picture above. Place them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and give it all a good toss. Spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 1/2 hour, flipping halfway. Season with salt before serving if you wish.
I know many of you are fans of the late Gladys Taber. I had heard a bit about her here and there, her love of simple life. A life in a sweet country cottage surrounded by land, her gardens, her pups and a love of recording her days and years.
I finally asked my friend Dewena, where do I start? The woman wrote over 50 books before she passed away at eighty. Stillmeadow Seasons is what she recommended and I received it the other day from Amazon and I simply can't put it down. I've never been so caught up in descriptive writing like this---in fact I usually prefer a lot less description and have a "get right to the point" penchant. Not this time. I left the book on the table near my reading chair and The Husband picked it up. It's a used 1st edition and he adores anything with a bit of history. So thank you Dewena! :) I can't wait to get back to it. Please leave something in your comments as to how you might know of Gladys Taber and her books. Which have you read and could recommend?
As a little inspiration and something I can surely identify with at this time in my life and with a birthday tomorrow, this is the beginning of a paragraph I ironically came across today in this book by Gladys Taber.
"I do not actually feel a year older on my birthday, now coming up on the clock face of time. I only feel a sense of the value of the moments, hours, and days that are yet mine, and now and then a deep and passionate wish to do as well by them as is in me"
A Happy Week to all!!
*** Well, the Husbands persistence in going out on this miserable rainy night to celebrate my birthday had an underlying motive...