golden cauliflower soup with bacon

cauliflower in bowls with napkin
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golden cauliflower soup with bacon
edible flowers in bowl

January is the saddest month. I feel bad for it sometimes - it didn’t choose to be a winter month and one that nearly everyone detests. A month with just as many days as its previous much revered forerunner. Standing in the shadow of December is a plight none of the other months have to endure. Even February knew to do the right thing by shortening its days - almost in a - ‘see, I at least did the right thing‘ way.

For some, though, January is a month of change - terms such as whole 30, detox and veganuary come to mind. Motivation galore to strip away all of the previous year’s doings and start fresh. However, none of the terms apply to me. I don’t do detoxes, I’m not vegan and whole 30 is not for me even though most of the food on this blog is. I like wine and chocolate too much after all.

But despite being a much disliked month, January brings silence and contemplation. Just think back on all of December’s obligations - parties, presents, travel. January expects none of that. It allows me to just be for a while. Its bitter cold temperatures and the occasional snow are a perfectly good excuse to not over-commit.

So as we’re getting close to the end of it, I would like to thank it for its service and dedicate this golden cauliflower soup to it. It feels only right that a soup this warm and creamy be had during January. I mean, of course it’s perfectly acceptable any other time but to me it just feels appropriate now.

After all, using seasonal ingredients is one way to at least partly come to accept winter. And as leeks reach their peak in January, they’re going to be the base for this velvety, smooth cauliflower soup full of spices and topped with crispy bacon. But if you do follow a vegan lifestyle, it’s perfectly fine to skip the bacon entirely.

cauliflower soup with bacon
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golden cauliflower soup with bacon

  • prep time: 5

  • cooking time: 40

  • makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 slab thick bacon, chopped (skip if vegan)

  • 1 leek, sliced (white parts only)

  • 1 head cauliflower, stems removed and cut into florets

  • 1 small potato, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1” knob fresh ginger, minced

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • Italian parsley for garnish (optional)

Equipment:

  • large soup pot

  • blender

Directions:

Preheat soup pot on medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes until crispy. (If vegan, skip this step and use 1 tbsp oil of you choice and move on to next step). Remove bacon when cooked and lay on paper towel lined plate.

In same pan, add sliced leek and a good pinch of salt. Cook until leek has softened - about 5 minutes. If you need additional oil, you can always add a bit more.

Add cauliflower florets and potato and mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add spices, ginger, salt and pepper and toss to cook for 30 seconds to let spices release their flavor. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 25 minutes until vegetables are fork tender.

Next, carefully add the vegetables to the blender reserving the liquid and adding a bit at a time as you blend, until you reach desired creaminess. Adjust seasonings if you need more salt.

Serve with reserved bacon bits and chopped parsley.


This cauliflower soup is loaded with spices and flavor. It’s a creamy, velvety soup perfect anytime of year. It can easily be customized to fit a vegan lifestyle by skipping the bacon entirely. #cauliflowersoup, #whole30soup, #whole30 #paleo #vegan #turmeric #ginger #calmeats #spices #soup #lunchideas #dinnerrecipes #freshrecipes #paleorecipes #whole30recipes #glutenfree #dairyfreesoup #dairyfree







sausage kale and carrot soup

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Yesterday I got this pang in my chest...a need to go to the ocean, which I think about more times than I care to admit. I don't know what it is that draws me to it. I suppose it's the thing that draws so many to the shoreline. For me, it's an obsession, which can't be silenced. Most like going to the beach in the summer. It's obvious. I do too but I like the beach in the winter, fall and spring. 

My husband and I have taken several trips in the winter. Something we used to do more frequently pre-children. He reluctantly agrees to go even though he doesn't have the same fondness for the beach in the winter as I do. To me, perhaps one of loveliest things is waking up early, layering up with anything available in my suitcase and walking on the beach until my lips remind me that they're going to split if I don't immediately give them warmth. 

The feeling of walking on an empty beach with nothing but the wind, sand and crashing waves feels a bit like: "shhhhh....relax". There isn't much room for thoughts because the experience itself is overwhelming. I don't know how to take it in more. I want to create extra space in my body, in my mind to preserve this feeling that can't be preserved. It's hard to put into words something visceral but the ocean does something to me. It transforms me. However, that feeling quickly fades once I'm frozen to the core. 

Such cold, blistery beach strolls call for warm food - mainly soup. One of the most delicious soups I've had after such a walk was at a local restaurant in the beach town we frequently visit. It was a sausage, bean and greens soup, which inspired me to make my own version of it. While I do eat legumes now and then, they're not a regular part of my diet anymore so I decided to skip them for this recipe. However, the soup does need some creaminess so I opted for potato instead. The combination of sausage, kale and potato is glorious. If you want a bit of a kick, feel free to use spicy sausage, which is my favorite, but in order for my kids to eat it, I try to stick to mild. Also, if you're strictly paleo, feel free to skip the potato all together. 

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sausage kale and carrot soup

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 40-45 minutes

  • makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 6 medium carrots chopped into 1" pieces

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 lb Italian mild or spicy sausage, casings removed

  • 1 russet potato, cut into bite size pieces (skip if strictly paleo)

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme

  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, torn into bite size pieces

Equipment

  • large soup pot

  • wooden slotted spoon

Directions

Preheat soup pan on medium heat. Add olive oil, onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until onion is translucent - about 8 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add sausage to pan, breaking it up with wooden spoon into bite size pieces. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until browned.

Next, add carrots and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add rest of ingredients aside from kale and cook for 25 minutes. Add kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. 

* Soup always tastes better the second day


Soup is amazing anytime of the year but I find it to be particularly so when the weather gets cooler and the body just needs that extra warmth. This sausage, kale, potato and carrot soup is the perfect solution for when you want a little something hearty and warming. It's whole30 with paleo option and 100% delicious. #soup, #whole30, #paleo, #paleosoup, #whole30soup, #calmeats, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, #realfood, #fall, #kale, #sausage

coconut cilantro sweet potato soup

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Sunday is my cooking day. I generally try to take a good chunk of the day and focus on making at least one recipe, get a shoot in and maybe if I'm lucky even get some editing and writing in. My plan was to work on a coconut cilantro sweet potato soup. That was until my kids decided to re-write how my day would go. As a parent, I've learned to roll with things as much as I possibly can. I used to get pretty frustrated when things didn't work out as I'd hoped but I'm slowly learning that it will not get me anywhere. 

Something I have been thinking about lately is my sense of self. When I was young, I had this idea of who I was, what I liked and what defined me. Admittedly I also thought it was something unwavering. I suppose it was a naive way of thinking as I now believe that experiences can shape us. I'm not the woman I was 10 years ago and will not be who I am today, 10 years from now. 

One thing that proved my identity to be fluid and far from fixed, was having children. You see, before I was a parent, I didn't really understand kids. Not that I didn't like them, but had no exposure to them. Then came the day I found out I was pregnant. All experiences up until that point just moved past me and while significant in their own way, they just skimmed the surface. The moment I learned I was carrying a human being inside me, my sense of self became rocky. I went through weeks and weeks of not just relentless nausea but constant questioning and wondering how I was supposed to fit into this role that changed me in the blink of an eye. I'm sure if you're a parent, you can probably relate to having experienced something similar. 

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Then came the actual parenting part, which is as much humbling as it is trying. Being a parent has forced me to put on hold my selfish tendencies, at least in some respect. As much as I hate admitting it, on most days, I'm at the mercy of my kids. Using rational thought and persuasion does not work on a 18 month old and a 4.5 year old. I'm forced to bend and twist in all sorts of ways in order to get actual adult stuff done. 

But once in a while I'm caught off guard when my son runs for his step stool, parks it next to me and says: "I'm going to help you cook, mama". If only for a brief moment it feels like my adult self and my mother self can coexist and be one. So little hands, busy peeling sweet potatoes, helped to make soup.

The idea for it came from the broth of a curry I'd made. The combination of flavors was spot on. So I decided to take those flavors and turn them into a soup. It's by far one of my favorites and not just because it's sweet potato but because it has coconut milk in it. And if there's one food that brings me to my knees, it is coconut. It's simply spectacular in my book. 

This recipe is uncomplicated and if you're a spice lover, you're probably already sitting on a most of these. All you need for this soup are sweet potatoes, coconut milk, onion, broth, spices and cilantro. I have most of these ingredients on hand at all times, so it's a great one to whip up when you want a warming lunch. 


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coconut cilantro sweet potato soup

  • Prep time: 5 minutes

  • Baking time: 40 minutes

  • Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes cut into 1" pieces

  • 1 large onion chopped

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 4 cups broth of your choice

  • 3/4 tsp salt divided

  • 1/4 ground pepper

  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

  • optional: top with sliced almonds

Equipment

  • food processor

  • large heavy soup pot

Directions

Preheat soup pan on medium heat. Add coconut oil, onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Sauté until onion is translucent - about 8 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, garam masala, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cumin, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Next reduce heat to low and cook for about 25-30 minutes. 

Once sweet potatoes are soft, add coconut milk and chopped cilantro. Let cool for a few minutes before adding to food processor. 

Once pureed, you can serve with additional cilantro and almond slices. 


I can't say enough about this soup. It's one of my all time favorites. It's a comforting soup you can make year round but definitely ideal for the colder weather months. Coconut cilantro and roasted sweet potatoes blend beautifully to create a silky, flavorful soup. It's vegan, paleo as well as whole 30. #coconut, #sweetpotatoes, #sweetpotatosoup, #soup, #vegansoup, #paleo, #whole30, #calmeats, #vegan, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, #cilantro, #souprecipe

roasted carrot and ginger soup

roasted carrot and ginger soup

Is it just me or does anyone else get excited about vegetables? I look forward to my farmers market trip every weekend. It feels different than going to the regular grocery store. For me, it seems a little more relaxed and often reminds me of life with my great grandparents in Romania. 

Every summer, my cousins and I would spend at least a month in the country. There was no electricity, no running water, no bathroom (gasp). It was back to basics. And you know what? None of us kids seemed remotely bothered that we had to use an outhouse that was surrounded by chickens and pigs and god knows what other farm animals. Or that baths had to be taken in a large tub located in the yard. It was how things were done. 

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