Sunday, January 2, 2011

Empty Fridge... Full Heart

I'm depressed to put an incredible Christmas break behind me. Kevin was home with us for an entire week, more time off then he's given himself in our entire marriage! We did lots of .... well... nothing. But we did lots of nothing together, all under the same roof. My house is in shambles, my fridge looks like one of a male college student, and the laundry is piled in corners all over the house, but my heart is incredibly full.

Every year after Christmas we pack up and head out for a few very disconnected days at a cabin my parents own in the mountains. No internet, television, or even cell phone service. We play a lot of board games and read a lot of books and learn how to talk to eachother again without the television to give us something to talk about. Mostly everyone skis during the day, but I was perfectly content to stay by the fire, spend some time with my mom, and cuddle with That Girl Baby. I mean... can you blame me for choosing to squeeze this belly over the slopes??
I was even able to sneak in some solo runs.

There is nothing more cleansing then running alone in the quiet of the falling snow. And even better for me, to do so in the mountains. In a town with the population of 100. Every footprint I left behind on that mountain felt like I was shedding 2010. Every icy cold breath I inhaled rejuvenated and reenergized me for what's to come in 2011.

Now my fridge may be empty... but my mind is clear and my heart is full and I'm ready to embrace whatever 2011 throws my way.

Here's one of my favorite soup recipes, from one of my favorite cookbooks (Daily Soup Cookbook). I've made it a few times already this winter (although clearly, back when the fridge was a little more full) and it's definitely one of my go to's! So healthy, easy, full of flavor, and warms you up right to the core. Happy New Year!

Parmesan Sage Butternut Squash Soup
2 tbl butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups Veggie Stock (here I subbed Chicken cause its all I had)
1 3-inch Parm Rind (no worries Ill explain)
Freshly Grated Parm
2 bay leaves
2 Butternut Squash (or for me, 1 big bag of TJ's precut Butternut Squash!)
3 fresh sage leaves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne
S and P to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan

Chop your veggies... no need to make them beautiful, since they'll be all blended up anyway

Ok so parm rind. You know how if you get a block of fresh parm, and there's that tough side that doesn't grate well? That's the rind. Or I think it is.

So I cut off a 3 inch piece of that tough part for the soup. Basically you're infusing the flavor of parm with out all the calories. More flavor + less fat = I like.

Back to the saucepan... saute the veggies for a touch.

Then add the chicken broth, butternut squash, and bay leaves. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Look! After 20 minutes my (supposed) rind is still goin strong.

Take out the rind and the bay leaves and put the veggies/broth in a blender. I just got an immersion blender for Christmas and its going to make this recipe soooooo much easier!!

Blend to a puree.

Return to the pot and add 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp nutmeg...

... salt and pep to taste, and some freshly grated parm

Stir it up then finish with my favorite part! The sage. Tear it up with your fingers (releases more oils and flavor) and throw it in the soup before serving.

This went really well with some parm/sage/breadcrumb porck chops I made for the carnivores in the house.


Christine Bilek said...

Great post...happy new year! :)

Rebecca Samson said...

Sorry this has nothing to do with the soup...Sage is too stinkin cute!!

The Samsons said...

Yummy baby, oh and yummy recipe too :)