Tag Archives: winter

Our Winter Wonderland

This past weekend, we got our annual winter storm, complete with 6-8″ of snow (which is a lot for South Carolina). But it makes for a beautiful winter wonderland and perfect weather for snuggling up with a hot beverage and good book (or three). Kyle and I bundled up on Saturday morning and headed outdoors. Whoever came up with the term “Winter Wonderland” must have been referring to a child’s eyes at the sight of snow flurries. It’s a beautiful site to behold, let me tell you! 🙂

We walked around the house, checked on Kitty and the blueberry patch, and walked down to the mailbox, digging for rocks on the snow-covered gravel drive and making snow angels along the way. I spent the rest of the weekend with a toddler bringing me his snow boots with wide eyes and “Please” on his lips. So sweet! Thankfully, he was quickly distracted with hot chocolate, toy trains, and books–though we did let him play in the snow for a few more minutes Sunday afternoon as well.

Bryan worked four shifts in a row–including spending the night at work last night, since the roads would’ve been a little risky before 6AM. At least the power didn’t go out this year (yet)! And, hopefully, Kyle will get to don his snowsuit one more time with daddy in the morning (if it’s not too cold) before it gets washed and goes back in the bin for next year. He looks so cute in it! This snow suit has lasted through 5 children–starting with my oldest nephew, who’s now 12!

This Northern girl has loved staring out the windows during nap times, snuggled under a fuzzy, knit, white blanket, between pages of Word-Filled Women’s Ministry and the historical fiction novel Celia Garth, coffee in hand. Reviews to come another day… For now, I’ll say goodnight, as I stare out the window for one last glimpse of the winter wonderland before sleep overcomes me.

 

 

Recipe: Winter Harvest Soup

This soup was invented based on two criteria: 1. I had the ingredients on hand that needed to be used before going bad, and 2. I needed something that would give Kyle (age 1) vegetables in a soft form. Thus, Winter Harvest Soup. The grownups enjoyed the recipe as is–a heartier, chunky soup; and I pureed the rest for Kyle–or those who prefer a smoother, creamy soup. He LOVED it!

Feel free to adjust the types of vegetables used in this soup (though root vegetables do seem to work best). If you’re not a sweet potato fan, try Yukon golds. If you have acorn squash instead of butternut, go for it! And if you’ve never seen a parsnip–well, first, try to find a parsnip because they’re delicious!–but if you can’t, try a turnip or rutabaga or just more carrots. This made a large pot of soup, so if you have fewer vegetables, just use half of the other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (halved)
  • 1 butternut squash (halved and seeded)
  • 1 bag baby carrots (chopped)
  • 4 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. marjoram (if you don’t have marjoram, basil would work)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. chicken (or vegetable) bouillon
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. prepared basil paste
  • 2-3 c. coconut milk (or cow’s milk, if preferred)

Instructions:

  1. Prep the winter vegetables. Using two large baking sheets, spread out vegetables in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool slightly. Peel and chop squash and sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces.
  3. Toss all vegetables in large stockpot; fill with water to not quite cover vegetables. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until vegetables are completely soft). 
  5. Serve hot. 

Suggestion: serve with crackers, croutons, or garlic bread and a simple salad. 

Holiday Pizza Pizzazz

Tonight’s pizza was an interesting combination of ingredients that turned out to be fabulous! It reminded me of Ina Garten’s Sausage Cranberry Stuffing for her Roasted Turkey Roulade.

I started with our homemade white wheat sourdough crust and prebaked that for 5 minutes at 425F. Then I drizzled the crust with some black raspberry vinaigrette (2 parts organic black raspberry jam, 1 part blueberry red wine vinegar, 1 part organic olive oil – whisk together over low heat until evenly combined).

For the toppings, I used cooked, crumbled sausage along with goat cheese,  caramelized onions, thinly sliced granny smith apples, chopped fresh mushrooms, chopped pecans, dried cranberries and fresh cilantro. Then I baked it for another 8-10 minutes at the same temperature, until the crust was golden and the cheese was just beginning to brown. Wow! I will definitely make this again! It was delicious! The crust was thin and crisp, the vinaigrette, cranberries and apples added a nice, sweet tang that paired beautifully with the creamy goat cheese and fresh nuttiness of the pecans. I think I’m craving another piece just writing this post!

What crazy toppings have you put on your pizza that gave it some pizzazz?!