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
golden cauliflower soup_-13.jpg
golden cauliflower soup_-14.jpg
golden cauliflower soup_-21.jpg

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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







chicken tetrazzini with rutabaga noodles

rutabaga noodles
shiitake mushrooms and parsley
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles

Does everything happen for a reason or does a haphazard thing merely set something in motion making it appear as though it does? I don’t have the answer to that but I will say rutabaga is amazing. Okay perhaps a rather bizarre way to start a blog post but it always fascinates me when one seemingly insignificant event leads me to make a dish that turns out to be a favorite - maybe of all time.

If you follow this blog or my Instagram stories, you probably know all about my infatuation with produce; my need to obsessively photograph what I see. A rutabaga, which I would often pass over as not being particularly striking, on that day, caught my attention. The details and subtle colors of this large root demanded to be captured. There was something about it…a depth I hadn’t before noticed.

That evening while looking for ways to use leftover chicken, I came across a recipe for chicken tetrazzini - the classic style, which includes milk, flour, butter, breadcrumbs…in essence all the things I cannot have. It was something I didn’t give a second thought to and moved on until I woke up the next morning convinced that I had to make chicken tetrazzini the paleo and whole30 way and not only that but that I would be using rutabaga noodles instead of pasta.

I admit, I’d never made rutabaga noodles prior to this dish but thought, why the hell not? And so an idea was born and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. At 8am I was at the market buying rutabaga, shiitake mushrooms and chicken with vehement determination to make my version of paleo chicken tetrazzini come to fruition.

It is so very rare that something I envisioned so clearly actually turns out to match the idea. The earthy flavor of the rutabaga works incredibly well with tender chicken thighs and creamy mushroom sauce finishing the whole dish with almond crumble, which gives it depth.

Since milk is out of the equation, I opted for coconut milk. I wasn’t sure how this would work out as I didn’t want an overly coconutty flavor but the salt and lemon cut through the forward coconut taste, leaving only the creaminess behind.

I knew I was going to love this dish the second I smelled the shallots, garlic, wine and mushrooms and I hope you will love this creamy chicken tetrazzini just as much.

italian parsley
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles
tetrazzini chicken over rutabaga noodles

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chicken tetrazzini over rutabaga noodles

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 40 minutes

  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

For rutabaga noodles:

  • 1 large rutabaga

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • pinch salt

For chicken tetrazzini:

  • 2 tbsps olive oil divided

  • 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs

  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided

  • 1/2 tsp ground, pepper divided

  • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 large shallots finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 rounded tsp fresh thyme, chopped

  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided

  • 1/2 glass dry white wine (use broth is whole 30)

  • 1.5 cups full fat coconut milk

For almond crumble:

  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, ground

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • pinch salt

Equipment:

Directions:

Spiralize rutabaga and set it asides.

In food processor or blender add toasted almonds and grind finely. Add to small bowl with olive oil and salt and set aside.

Remove chicken from package and pat dry with paper towels and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and chicken and cook for 7-8 minutes per side until cooked through. Cover with foil and set aside to rest.

In the same pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until shallots are translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high, add wine or broth (if Whole 30) and deglaze pan by scraping off the brown bits. .

Reduce heat back to medium, add mushrooms, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper thyme and parsley and cook for 10 minutes until mushrooms are soft but still have a bite.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice, turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add it back to sauce and heat through for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat medium frying pan, add oil and rutabaga noodles and cook stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes until noodles have softened.

To plate, add rutabaga noodles, chicken and mushrooms sauce, sprinkle with almond crumble and top with additional fresh chopped Italian parsley.


I haven’t been this smitten over a dish in a long time. This creamy chicken tetrazzini over rutabaga noodles, topped with almond crumble will wow you and you won’t believe it’s paleo and whole 30 too! #paleo, #whole30pasta #whole30 #paleopasta #mushrooms #chicken #chickentetrazzini #calmeats #eatrealfood #grainfree #glutenfree #dairyfree


roasted carrots with orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

carrot bunch
carrots on parchment paper
roasted carrots, orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

The coffee was lukewarm, making my stomach feel slightly oceanic. It was comfortable inside, the smell of books filling the air. I looked out the window - fog hanging low, branches bare; the field in the distance stripped of its vibrant green. December always makes my heart ache a little. 

The cafe was busy, so I opted for a big, comfortable chair. I turned back to the reason I was there in the first place and opened to the winter section. It was the book I was desperately trying to at least partly devour during my short visit to the book store. 

When I first laid eyes on it, my heart skipped a beat. Photograph upon photograph of beautiful food, landscapes, quiet and slow living. Then I read her writing. She spoke like I felt. Her appreciation for food, wine and life gave me pause. A much needed pause in my generally harried days. 

Coffee long abandoned, I read, I imagined, I filled myself up with as much as I could. It was a sweet hour. For only a short while, I was teleported to the sleepy town of Medoc, where people spoke of mussels, wine and weather. 

Mimi Thorrison is my favorite blogger, turned author. Her love and appreciation for cooking seasonal food from scratch has provided much influence over the years. And granted that she cooks French food with lots of cream, butter and flour, her approach has nonetheless inspired me to look to the seasons when I cook and use what’s available. Her cooking philosophy and approach much match mine by keeping things simple and letting ingredients shine through in all their glory.

So this is exactly how I approached this roasted carrot recipe. I just took what I had recently purchased at the market and made it work. Carrots, pomegranate and citrus are all in season right now and a quick tahini sauce, marries all the flavors beautifully. Since winter is cold and grey, these bright orange carrots and shiny red pomegranate seeds provide some much needed warmth and color.

roasted carrots with orange tahini dressing and pomegranate
roasted carrots (9 of 15).jpg
roasted carrots with orange tahini dressing and pomegranate

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roasted carrots with orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • roasting time: 20 minutes

  • yields: 4 servings


Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches thin carrots, greens trimmed and cut in half

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 2 tbsp runny tahini

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


Equipment:

  • 2 baking sheets

  • medium mixing bowl

  • optional: use blender

  • whisk

  • parchment paper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide carrots between 2 sheets and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Line them up face down.

Roast for 10 minutes, flip carrots to face up, and switch oven racks so both sheets of carrots cook roast evenly. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until desired softness. (I like mine to still have a bit of a bite)

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl or blender, combine remaining ingredients aside from pomegranate seeds and cilantro to create tahini sauce.

Once carrots are finished roasting, lay carrots on serving platter, pour over tahini sauce, chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds.


Take roasted carrots to a new level with this flavorful, creamy tahini sauce, topped with finely chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds. They’re a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! Bonus, they’re vegan, paleo and whole 30 approved! #calmeats #paleo #whole30 #vegansides #paleosides #vegansides #whole30sides #roastedcarrots #carrots #realfood #glutenfreesides #dairyfreesides #tahini #pomegranate



maple dijon thyme roasted vegetables

carrots and brussels sprouts
vegetables on roasting tray
roasted vegetables in bowl
carrots and brussels sprouts on cutting board

A tiny hand escaped from mine as her feet searched gleefully for a bare spot. She couldn’t find it. Leaves of every color blanketed the uneven pavement making it nearly unrecognizable. She hopped about kicking some in hopes that it would reveal itself. It was enchanting in a way standing on the familiar but not discerning any of it. I watched her do this for some time until she grew bored with the activity and moved on.

Nature is beguiling. I feel bewitched by the display before me. So many leaves, not one like the other, swaying about in the occasional gust of wind. I take her hand as we continue on our walk.

Fall is a feast for the senses. It puts a spell on me every year and I long for it to last. Everything is beautiful, rich, draped in every shade of yellow, orange and red. A trace of green still cutting through reminds me of what was and what will be in another 5 months.

Saddened by the realization that soon all will be bare and bleak, I walk a little slower feeling melancholy. But the bouncy, blonde haired, blue eyed girl beside me, dragging a stick in the pile of leaves, screaming with delight, jolts me out of it.

I wanted to pay homage to this season of gold and make a dish reminiscent of the very colors draping our lawns and sidewalks. Because not only are the leaves exquisite during this time of year but so is the produce. Beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts wed with tangy apple, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and thyme to create an earthy autumn inspired dish.

Even though beets tend to be selfish, enveloping everything around them in their deep red color, the taste these vegetables take on when roasted together is everything I want out of a fall dish. You can put them on salad, as a side for your Thanksgiving dinner, or top them with a delicious runny egg and make a meal out of them.

It’s undeniable that fall is the most dramatic and beautiful season and during this time I find my food is often inspired by it.

brussels sprouts and string
roasted vegetables in bowl
vegetables napkin brussels sprouts carrots

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maple dijon thyme roasted vegetables

  • prep time: 10

  • cooking time: 30

  • makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch sticks

  • 1 large beet or 2 medium peeled and cut into 4 and sliced

  • 12 oz of Brussels sprouts cut in half

  • 1 large apple peeled and sliced

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup plus 1 tsp (skip for whole 30)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

Equipment:

  • 2 roasting trays

  • parchment paper

  • large bowl

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line roasting trays with parchment paper.

In large bowl, add all vegetables and apple, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup, salt, pepper and thyme and toss to combine.

Spread evenly on roasting trays and roast for 30 minutes, rotating the trays half way through and tossing the vegetables for even roasting.

Meanwhile, in same bowl whisk together leftover tbsp olive oil, Dijon mustard and and leftover tsp of maple syrup.

When vegetables have finished roasting, add them to bowl and toss to combine with the Dijon maple dressing and serve right away.

  • Note: You can skip the Dijon if you prefer without and if whole 30, skip the maple syrup.


Experience all of fall’s produce in one delicious side dish. Roasted beets, apple, carrots and Brussels sprouts work perfectly with maple syrup and dijon mustard to create a delicious, festive Thanksgiving, holiday or every day side dish. It’s vegan, paleo with a whole 30 option as well. #vegan #calmeats #thanksgivingsides #fallsides #fallproduce #sidedishes #beets #carrots #brusselssprouts #paleosides #paleothanksgiving #whole30sides #whole30thankgiving

curried butternut squash soup

curried butternut squash soup
butternut squash, onion, garlic, sweet potato and thyme
garlic and thyme
curried butternut squash soup

This past week has been a strange one of sorts. The beating heart of my entire cooking operation is undergoing some cosmetic changes. Frankly I’ve been putting this project off for years because I knew what it would entail. Chaos. And for someone with anxiety, chaos in the house means chaos in the head.

I prefer order or at least some form of it. Call me crazy but if my surroundings are in a state of disarray, so is the general state of my mind. I’ve never been good at the compartmentalization business and just find myself wanting to escape from crazy messes or ignore them all together (and watch 2 hours of Chvrches videos instead). And by no means am I a neat freak or even overly organized. Hardly! But I need some sort of order, I need things to be as Anthony Bourdain so famously liked to say, mis-en-place. And I agree, I just like my shit to be in its right place so I can easily access it.

So right now, everything is everywhere and life with two small children and a husband who’s been knee deep in paint most of the day, has been trying. But I’m adapting; managing to cook as best as I can in the shell that used to be the kitchen.

I’m sticking with dishes that can be made simply without a ton of pots, without a lot of space, without a lot of fuss. For me, that’s always been soup. Soup is not a fussy food and it’s almost impossible to screw it up.

And since it’s fall and already too cold for my liking, I decided a warming, curried butternut squash soup would do. The effort required for this one is pretty minimal. You cut some vegetables, throw them in the oven, roast them for a while, toss them in a pot of broth and when finished cooking, puree the whole thing. Voila!

So whether you have an upside down kitchen or a perfectly organized one, you’ll be able to successfully make this curried butternut squash soup in under an hour.

curried butternut squash soup
curried butternut squash soup

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curried butternut squash soup

  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes

  • Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 1 medium apple, peeled and cut into large chunks 

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled - left whole

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into large chunks 

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 dry) 

  • 1/2 tsp salt (you can always add more later)

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1/4 tsp ginger

  • 1/8 tsp curry powder

  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I like this one

  • optional: pumpkin seeds and almond slices

  • optional: coconut milk

Equipment:

  • roasting sheet

  • large soup pan

  • food processor or blender

  • foil or parchment paper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add vegetables to parchment paper lined roasting sheet. Add thyme, avocado oil, salt and pepper and toss everything together. Roast for 25-30 minutes stirring once half way through. Cook until all vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, add broth to soup pan and start heating it. Once vegetables are finished roasting, remove garlic clove and discard, add all veggies to broth along with ginger and curry powder and simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Let cool for a few minutes before adding to blender or food processor. Add a little at a time as adding to much of the soup to the food processor/blender creates quite the mess.

Serve on its own or with a splash of coconut milk, almond slices and pumpkin seeds.


Here is a simple, warming butternut squash soup recipe that’s you’re going to love. Roasting the vegetables first, gives them a delicious, hearty flavor. This butternut squash soup is paleo, vegan and whole 30 approved too and just plain delicious! #soup, #fall, #calmeats, #butternutsquashsoup, #vegan, #whole30, #grainfree, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, #fallsoup, #whole30soup, #vegansoup, #paleosoup, #curriedsoup, #curriedbutternutsquash