Friday, November 22, 2013

Low Carb, Gluten Free Broccoli Cheese Soup

8 ounces broccoli florets, chopped small
4 ounces cauliflower florets
1 medium carrot, grated
1 large onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chicken stock, homemade bone stock is best
2 cups half and half, or cream, whole milk or a mix
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or too taste, lots is better
1 dash hot sauce, optional

1.     Melt butter in a large pot.

2. Saute onions till translucent.

3. Add stock, black pepper,  broccoli and carrots to pot and simmer covered, till just tender.

4. In the mean time, steam cauliflower.

5. Once Cauliflower is tender, process in food processor or blender with 2 tablespoons of the cream till consistency of mashed potatoes.

6. Heat remaining cream in a separate sauce pan.

7. Once it's hot, slowly add grated cheddar as you whisk the cream.

8. Add all the cheddar till it is all melted and you have a nice cheese sauce.

9. When broccoli is tender, combine cheese sauce with stock and vegetables.

10. Add the mashed cauliflower and nutmeg (if using) and whisk to combine.

11. Lastly, salt to taste.

Serves 6

Friday, November 15, 2013

Split Pea Soup

This is one of the flavors of my childhood.  I have added a spicy kick to my mom's recipe and no longer eat it with the delicious croutons she would make, but it still reminds me of her excellent cooking.  Delicious!


1 pound split peas
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced very thin, I use the slicing side of my grater
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water (or 8 cups stock)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes according to taste (I use 1/2)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
1 or 2 good meaty smoked ham hocks (or left over ham cut into chunks)


1.Rinse and sort split peas.  Discard bad peas.  Plop into the slow cooker.

2. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes just to get them started.

3. Add onions, garlic and all remaining ingredients to slow cooker.

4. Cook on high for about 6 hours or low 8 or more hours.

5. Remove hocks from soup onto a plate and let cool enough to handle.

6. Pick meat off hocks, break into bite sized pieces and return to soup.

7. Salt to taste and serve.


I also make this on the stove top or in the oven.  It is easy by any method.

You can use any kind of smoked pork in this soup.  Hocks are just perfect, but ham works well also.  You want about 1 lb of meat after bones are discarded.

Because the saltiness of ham or smoked meat is such a variable, I never add salt to this soup until it is finished and I taste it.

I've started adding pureed kale to my soups, stews and casseroles in order to boost nutrition.  It works perfectly in this soup.  I just puree the fresh, raw kale in my food processor and add about 1 cup along with all the other ingredients.  It cooks down into tiny chunks of green that look like herbs flecks.

Turtle Dissection

ClaireAnna is studying Physical Science this year, not biology. But she has been begging to dissect a turtle for almost a year now, so here we go!  I purchased a turtle prepared for dissection and a guide manual at Home Science Tools.  

The candle was a necessity.