Monthly Archives: October 2015

Freezing Fall’s Flavors: Cauliflower Fennel Soup

One of the perks of having a husband who works on a farm is the access to fresh, local, organic produce. We can, in general, harvest extras from the farm and each season, I make it my mission to put up as much of this bounty for the winter so that we can eat awesome veggies long after the fields are covered in snow. Freezing is one of my favorite preservation methods.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup

Fennel and cauliflower peak now (and late spring) and we love those flavors! My brother gave me this awesome cookbook a few years ago with recipes from farmers who work on farms like Hearty Roots and it’s fantastic because not only are the recipes great, it features seasonal recipes with ingredients that are fresh at the same time. I’ve modified its Creamy Cauliflower and Fennel soup the tiniest bit to make it paleo. I make huge batches of it with seconds from the farm and freeze the soup in family-size portions for great soup all winter. It’s also pretty nifty when I’ve been on top of my bone broth game which I make from chickens TimTheFarmer raises because this entire recipe comes from the farm (except for the fennel seeds and S&P #obviously)!

The recipe below is for a single batch – I just finished a batch 14x this size and froze 10 quarts of soup and 2 quarts of broth. Also, make sure to check out the end of the recipe for a big ol’ what not to do.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup + Broth

3 tbsp grassfed butter
1/2 large yellow onion
1 small fennel bulb
1/2 large cauliflower
4 thyme sprigs
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock (if canned, use parts broth/stock and water)
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper (I use pink Himalayan sea salt)

Chop all your ingredients (slice onions and fennel and cut cauliflower into florets).Cauliflower Fennel SoupMelt butter in a large pot and add onions. Cook onions until starting to brown and then add your cauliflower, fennel, and thyme sprigs (or dried thyme if you don’t have fresh…which I didn’t, because TimTheFarmer didn’t have time to grab…#hethinkshesfunny). Stir around to coat in the onions and butter.

Pour in your stock/broth/water combo. Bring to a simmer and cook until cauliflower is soft (20 min to an hour depending on your stove and size of batch).

When the cauliflower is cooked, use a strainer and large bowl OR a glass measuring cup to pull out most of the cooking liquid. Set the liquid aside (DON’T THROW OUT THAT LIQUID GOLD!). Add the crushed fennel seed to the solids and use a hand blender to blend the solids into a puree. You can also use a blender or food processor, but I prefer the hand blender as it keeps the dishes to a minimum.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup Steps

Once you’ve pureed the solids, add enough of the liquid gold back in to get the soup consistency you like. Return soup to the heat and add S&P to taste. Depending on how many times you increase this recipe, this could become quite a bit of salt #dontbescared #dontundersalt.

Now you’re ready to serve dinner up or freeze your soup for later! I buy these freezer quart containers.

Here’s where we get to what not to do. Do not, under any circumstances, set the soup on an unbalanced sheet tray on the counter, because it will fall and you will end up scalding your leg through your pants and you will do a striptease in the kitchen (luckily no one was home) to get out of your burning pants, and you will still be cleaning up soup from EVERYWHERE in your kitchen days later. Seriously. It splashed onto my computer and wallet and walls more than ten feet away. Update: I just discovered it on the ceiling.


Aaanywaaay, to freeze the soup, fill up your quart containers (freezer baggies work too) and leave an inch of head space (the empty space in your baggie or container that allows the expansion of liquids when freezing). Cover and let cool.

Cauliflower Fennel Soup

Once cool, label your lids – I use permeant marker on the lids, which should come off when you wash them. If it doesn’t, something oil-based (cooking oils or sunscreen, obviously) will get it off (everything I need to know, I learned in ski school). Put in the freezer. Defrost and reheat to enjoy!

Broth: remember that unused liquid gold? Make sure to freeze that too! It’s a great, flavorful chicken/vegetable broth that works well as a basic broth, or in your next batch of this soup.

This is normal, right?

I have replaced my windshield at least 8 times since I started driving…that’s normal, right? No? Hmm. For some reason I have angered the windshield gods. More than one windshield was broken in the normal way (being too eager to get to the ski mountain on a powder day and following too close behind the plow truck), but far too many others have been totally random (hitting a speed bump (at the appropriate speed, I promise!) or sitting in a parking lot with no one near by). This time, however, takes the cake.

After one of my many road trips this month (and a six hour train ride, with Jim Gaffigan), I arrived back to my car to discover my rearview mirror hanging(?!?) from the roof of my car.

Subaru Windshield

Are you kidding me??? Not only was the mirror hanging there, there was a big chunk of glass attached to the mirror and not to my windshield.

Subaru Windshield

I quickly surveyed the outside of the car assuming something must have hit the windshield (which would mean I could sue the driveway parking lot owner i.e. my coworker), but there was no exterior damage or baseball bat or brick in sight. My best guess is that there must have been a sudden temperature change which shattered the glass. Buuuut, thermodynamics (is that the right field?) aren’t really my thing, so I have NO idea what happened. Nor does Subaru or Safelite.

Silver lining? When I switched insurance the last time, I finally wised up and got windshield protection, so I didn’t have to pay out of pocket like I usually do. Does anyone else out this have really bad luck with windshields? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Also, here is the proof I was sitting behind Gaffigan. Is it weird to take a picture of a celebrity’s bald spot? Probably. This picture totally proves it though. And to add to the effect, TimTheFarmer was texting me Gaffigan quotes the whole ride home:

“Chopstick?!?! Can I have a fork? I’m trying to eat, not play Operation.”


First Vignette

This move was a first for me. It was the first time I moved a family, a home, a life, and a chicken coop, but that’s another story. All my other moves had been by myself, usually didn’t involve much furniture, and did not require continuing family routines like cooking meals, catching the bus, or finding printer paper to print the homework that may or may not have been forgotten. Needless to say, my life is currently one giant exploded moving box.

I can’t wait to start painting and tearing down walls (and heart cutout coat racks) and decorating, but for right now, we just have to focus on finding a place for everything. This means my living room and loft are piled high will all the pictures I want to hang and boxes full of decor.

You should know something about me: I love a vignette. I also love a gallery wall, but I don’t have one yet, since, as I mentioned, all my pictures are on the floor and decor is in boxes. I also love a vignette combined with a gallery wall. Here are the gallery wall-vignette combos from our last house. My best friend Jesse, who is an accountant, ended up having a secret talent for creating gallery walls, so she must be given credit for the arrangement (and straight lines) of the first wall. I mention she’s an accountant because in my head, accountants could not possibly be able to deal with all the mismatchiness that goes along with a gallery wall #falseassumptions #offtopic.

Gallery Wall Vignette


Anywaaaay, the point of all this, is that amid trying to get our kitchen unpacked (because for some reason we thought we should be hosting people for dinner on moving day?!? (which, of course, turned out fine because they were family and would love us no matter what state our house was in)), I decided I needed a vignette, just so I could start to feel like I was getting to decorate a teeny, tiny bit AND that our life wasn’t complete chaos. So, here it is!



I learned from Hi Sugarplum and Our Fifth House that vignettes work well when you mix heights and textures. I like to pick a few colors and try to keep the vignette in that palette. I LOVE the old scale which I picked up at a flea market after serious bargaining asking once for a price reduction. I’m very proud of talking the lady down $9 on this and getting it for $15. I tell everyone who sees it. #justsoyaknow I picked up the straws, pumpkin, and bottles in The One Spot section at Target which is always kryptonite to my plans of sticking to my shopping list. PSA: the straws are not SustyParty quality and get soggy within 5 minutes of being in a beverage…but they’re cute. The pork cut sheet poster plays off the blue in the bottles and straws well and the green from the aloe pulls in the curtain color. Finally, I love to use books as decor. I use my cookbooks all.the.time, so it’s great to have them serving dual decor-food purposes.


Be jealous of our microwave. It’s giant, old, and multiple shades of faded white. I’ve got grand plans for where a new microwave will go, but again, we’re still looking for the printer paper.