Lemony Roasted Beet + Garlic Soup

So, with fall right around the corner, I’m getting ready for soup season.  I love soup season!  I had bought some beets this past week to make baby food for my littlest, but I saw this recipe and just couldn’t resist (inspired by my sister).  My husband is a very adventurous and gracious eater of my creations, but he does loathe beets.  Loathe.  He ate this soup, though.  He is such a trooper like that.  And also, he was hungry. 🙂  I probably won’t make it often since he doesn’t like it, but it was super easy, fast, and so much flavor and goodness!  I basically trimmed the beets + garlic, seasoned + oiled them, put them in foil and in the oven once kids got up from naps and then we went out for a walk.  When we came back an hour or so later, the house smelled divine and the remainder of the recipe to pull the soup together took only a few minutes.  I served it with a green salad + a ribeye steak on the side, so that Brandon didn’t entirely hate me.

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Happy eating!

(This is a Martha Stewart recipe, which you can find here!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle beets with olive oil and roast in parchment-lined foil until tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, drizzle garlic cloves with oil and roast in separate foil packet, about 30 minutes. Unwrap beets, let cool, peel, and quarter. Squeeze garlic from skin. Set aside.

    2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beets and garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and 3 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.

    3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and adjust seasoning to taste.

Tastes of Fall: Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash + Quinoa

Hey there Monday!

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Here is a favorite pumpkin-y kind of fall stew that I LOVE to make thanks to Dara from Cookin’ Canuck.  I make a few changes to the recipe, substituting black beans for olives (since my husband hates olives), and cilantro for parsley.  Also, I usually omit quinoa entirely or substitute it with wild rice.  {We love quinoa and the stew tastes great with it, but the last few times I had quinoa, it caused me hours of the most insane stomach pain + cramps.  So, there’s that.  TMI.}  This stew freezes/reheats wonderfully, too!

Happy Fall cooking and enjoy!

Happy Friday!

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Friday nights are homemade pizza nights!  My husband loooovvvees pizza and we usually have a little family date at home on friday evenings to celebrate the end of the work week + the beginning of weekend fun!  What are some of your family/weekend traditions?  Happy Friday!

Our pizza dough
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp yeast (or one package will do)
1 1/4 cup warm water

I make my dough in the bread maker machine on the dough setting (takes 1 1/2 hr to stir and rise) but you could easily do by hand as well.  Combine ingredients (add a couple more tablespoons of flour if dough seems too wet, water if it seems too dry), let rise for 30 min to an hour.

Roll out on floured surface, place dough on a greased pizza pan or stone (we like to sprinkle pan with cornmeal first, too).  Then top with fresh chopped tomatoes or part of a can of crushed tomatoes (or pizza sauce).  Add aromatics such as chopped garlic, oregano, basil, salt + pepper (if just using regular tomatoes), or pesto.  We usually add organic pepperoni, a few handfuls of spinach leaves, and a combo of cheeses (fresh mozzarella, sharp cheddar, parmesan, and/or feta).

Bake at 450 for 15-17 min or until cheese is slightly browned.
ENJOY!

Tastes of Fall: Black Bean Soup

I’m a cold-weather girl through and through.  I love a good dreary rainy day, or dumping snow (the best).  I loved living in Breckenridge, Colorado for a few seasons of my life where summers are mild and winter lasts about eight months of the year.  I definitely appreciate the other seasons, but I love the fall/winter the best.  And my cooking shows it.  I am way more equipped in the kitchen for the cold season.  There are a whole slew of soups and stews that have become staples around here over the years, but one I’ve latched onto lately is a Black Bean Soup.

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It’s sort of my own recipe, adapted from simple black bean soup recipes that I googled.  But for an inexpensive and meatless dinner, it is so quick, delicious + satisfying!

Black Bean Soup

{ingredients}
2-3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 green pepper (or whatever color pepper you have on hand)
3-ish cups fluid (can use water, but chicken broth lends more flavor)
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, or a couple fresh diced tomatoes
cumin
chili powder
salt + pepper
paprika
oregano

{toppings}
chopped cilantro
avocado
dollop of plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
fresh squeezed lime

{optional serve with}
corn tortillas heated OR cheese quesadillas
green salad

Basically, you heat your soup pot on the stove with the olive oil, onion + green pepper until soft (5-8 min) over medium high heat.  Add garlic, cook for another minute.  Then add beans and water/chicken broth, tomatoes, and spices to taste (I don’t usually measure, I just put in a dash of this and that, so not sure how much to recommend using).  Let simmer for a little bit to let flavors meld, probably minimum of 10 minutes but longer if needed.

Then use an immersion blender in the pot to chop it up a bit, or take out 2 cups or so of soup, blend in blender, then return to pot.  I leave mine somewhat chunky, as you can see above.

Top with toppings of choice and it is to-die-for with cheese quesadillas on the side.

Happy Cooking!

Living in the Midst of Boxes

Just an ordinary, quiet dinner this tuesday night.  Daddy was late getting home, kids were tired (and so was momma!).  Walls are barren, floors stacked with boxes.  It’s hard to want to do the normal things, like light the candle for dinner, cut the fresh blooms from the zinnias the kids gave me for my 30th.  But in the midst of the transition and the mix of emotions, it helps to keep some things normal.  The silly things that seem a waste of time and energy: they are the things that sort of keep me sane right now.  

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A little beauty and a little normalcy go a long way when nothing feels normal!  So here’s to holding onto home, when home is being redefined.

surrendering to the seasons

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This week finds us laid low at home with a nasty head cold.  The kids and I have been fighting low fevers, runny noses and sore throats all week, not to mention the fatigue and bad attitudes that easily accompany such symptoms.  We’ve pretty much stayed home all week, surrendering to the rhythm of what God has given this week, and all the copious opportunities for sanctification that have resulted.  This rainy, dreary Friday finds my soul rainy and downcast as well.  The hard work of parenting has truly bowled me over a bit this week.  Bombs and airplanes have exploded in the skies in the world this week, and in our little home, words and tempers have flared hot as well.

Rain drips in steady streams from the awning outside the window.  I can’t help but feel God’s heart weeping too.  Weeping over angry words, thoughtless hands, grumbling hearts.  Weeping over the sin in us.  The sin in the four walls of this house, the sin in the angry bombings in Israel, the sin in the pulsing, beating chambers held within my frail flesh.

It’s summer here in these blue mountains, and the vast field in front of our home is full of ripening blackberries.  Brandon was out in the foggy, dusky morning, picking for an hour or so.  And though I can hardly muster the energy to do it, I gather the kids together this morning to take what God has given and to make something of it.  To make something together.  To tie on apron strings and pray for family ties to bind together.  To pour flour and sugar and butter in a bowl and put our six hands together in the mess of it, and pray for something beautiful and tasteful to be produced by these hands, instead of hurt we are so easily capable of.  To place the elements together in one dish into the heat, and to pray for something better to come out of it, as a result.

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“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” {Eccl. 3:1}

It’s hard to surrender to the seasons.  I want only good days.  Only summer-sun-fruit-producing days.  Only laughter and comfort and love.  But God has demonstrated His wisdom in the use of seasons.  There is a time for every season, a time for planting and waiting and hoping for fruit.  A time for harvesting and enjoying an overwhelming abundance.  A time for the earth to freeze as hard as iron and for all to appear dead forever.  A time to long for the signs of life, and a time to long for that first wisp of snow that closes us up in our homes with books, crackling fires and all things pumpkin.  It would be iron pride in me that would demand to produce all the time and never allow the field to lie fallow.  As much as I want to always keep the same pace in our home, the same happy, busy pace, I have heard the Lord calling me every day this week to surrender to the season of this week, which has consisted of wiping noses, holding feverish children, reading books and taking naps.  It has meant surrendering to seeing more of the interior walls of our home than playing out in the sun.  It has meant seeing more of the interior of our hearts, than the busyness that often proves to mask the issues bubbling underneath.  It has meant fighting the gloominess that easily descends over my heart in a week like this, and looking for the grace and the gift hidden in the bitter.

In all things, in all things, give thanks. {1 Thess. 5:18}

I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. {Psa. 34:1}

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.
{Nahum 1:7}

The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. {Psa. 145:9}

In God’s economy, life and death are both a part.  Life always comes from death.  It’s His sure promise.  That’s how we can have rejoicing in the sorrow, because we know every form of death has been overcome, and a season of life, in due time, is coming.  Tender mercy is hovering over death.  That is how I can find joy even in a week where the days have ended in hot tears and hot baths.  I must be willing to embrace every small death He gives if I want to see new life.  I must surrender to the seasons.

And He has made everything beautiful in its time. {Eccl. 3:11}

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