Waiting for Savasana


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Out In the Garden

I am not the world’s greatest gardener.  My thumb is brown.  Two summers ago, I gave up and planted nothing.  Last summer, my younger son planted the garden with his grandma and it flourished all summer.  They planted tomatoes.  Just tomatoes.  And it was glorious.

My son got kind of tired of it though.  There were just so many tomatoes to pick.

“I swear Mom, I am going to rip those plants out by the roots!” he said by the time September came and there were still tomatoes to pick.

 

This year, we planted again.  Tomatoes, jalapeno, cucumbers, lettuce, sweet peas.

It was looking pretty good early on:

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I was optimistic.  We got a few cucumbers…

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and tomatoes…

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And then the cucumbers fizzled.  I go four of them which is four more than I’ve ever gotten so I am still marking it as a success.

The lettuce was ok.  Younger son would just go out and eat it straight from the garden so it didn’t last long.

The sweetpeas I planted never grew.

We got a lot of tomatoes again.  But not as many as last year.  Oh well.

The jalapeno grew but never produced any peppers.  What’s the deal with that?  I fertilized and watered and composted and nothing.  It’s frustrating.

But we have lots of tomatoes.

Younger son (I need to come up with a name for him on this blog) has discovered the culinary ambrosia that is clam chowder.  I decided to make him some in my crockpot as a special treat.

But here’s the thing, 3 out of 4 of us in this house are avoiding dairy.  My husband has developed a definite allergy, my older son and I have a definite intolerance.

Dairy free clam chowder?  Will that even work?

Well, yes, mostly.  I started with some frozen chicken broth I made about a month ago.  then I added celery, green onion and potatoes that arrived in our CSA box.

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Then I decided to go really crazy and added some tomatoes from the garden.

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I used two cans of whole clams from Trader Joes and let that all steep for a couple hours.

Then i added a can of coconut milk ad while digging through my pantry, I found a jar of Trader Joe’s green curry simmer sauce so I threw that in too and let it cook in the crock pot a few more hours.

I ended up not eating it the day I made it and reheated it the next night for dinner.

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It turned out pretty nicely.

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My older son said it was sweet and spicy.  My younger son was disappointed because it was not a traditional chowder. But they liked it.  My husband wouldn’t eat it because apparently, he doesn’t like clams.  Married for 14 years, never knew that.

It’s difficult when you have spent a lifetime consuming dairy, to suddenly be without.  Goat cheese (we only avoid cow milk) pizza is not the same as good old mozzarella.  We’ve tried cheeseless pizza but it can be a bit depressing.  Plus pizza with no cheese is messy.  The toppings won’t stay put without the cheese to glue them down!

Don’t even get me started on how much I miss real cheese!

I liked the soup.  It was not a true clam chowder but it was still good and very flavorful.  I think sometimes you just have to play pretend when you are cutting out foods from your diet.

It was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, regardless.

I would like to know what it is about certain people and their ability of inability to garden.  I try but nothing grows well for me, but my child can grow anything!  I think from now on, I am putting him in charge of the garden.

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Paleo Sweet Potato Soup or Fun With Gadgets

A week or two ago, I tried this awesome recipe for sweet potato soup from Melissa Joulwan.

I tried it because it has bacon in it.  Bacon!!  We love the bacon.  I love bacon so much that I never order it at a restaurant.  Know why?  Because they never give you enough!  I can never have enough bacon.  My eldest feels the same.  We love the bacony goodness of bacon.

I was a bit intimidated by the recipe, mainly because I didn’t have quite everything I needed and I was in my pajamas and did not feel like getting dressed and going to the store (I told you I was lazy).  I didn’t have chives but I had some scallions for the garnish.  Good enough for me!  I thought I didn’t have chicken broth but I dug around in my fridge and found some broth I made just a couple days prior in my crock pot.  That was some hard core broth.

And Oooh! the whole recipe starts with frying up some bacon!

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Mmm…yummy.  I had to stop myself from eating it.  After I cooked the bacon, I removed it from the pan to use as a garnish.  Which is something I appreciate because I have found that bacon loses it’s UMPH when it gets left into most dishes to simmer and bake.

When I saw I needed to finely slice the sweet potatoes, I panicked.  But only for a moment because I remembered that we have a handy dandy food processor.  I always forget about that thing and to tell the truth, it scares me a bit.  My parents had a food processor they never used because my mom said “It made too much of a mess”.  But then again, mom’s always been a bit of a food Luddite.  She won’t even use her dishwasher because “It just doesn’t get the dishes clean enough!”

My husband says I need to forget my childhood if I am going to be happy.

So I pulled out the food processor and found the right blade. And got to chopping.  It was so easy!  And look at those gorgeous taters!

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Melissa’s recipe calls for Ras el Hanout which I had never heard of before but apparently is a melange of spices including cinnamon, alspice and other yumminess.  Lucky for me, I had already made a batch when I cooked a ground lamb dish.  I saved the blend in an airtight container and stored it in my fridge.  Why in my fridge?  I don’t know, it just seemed like a good idea.

 

I sauteed the other veg and spice and added all of my stuff and simmered.  It looked like this:

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And then it was time to puree.  I was so excited.  I got to pull out our brand new big gun blender.  My husband is a Christmas baby and I was planning on giving him the new blender for his birthday…and then our old blender died in November so his birthday came a little early.  Anyway, I had not used it before.  He insisted on giving me a lesson.  There seem to be a few steps.  You flick this switch and then turn this dial SLOWLY and then the magic happens!

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Once I was done pureeing, I poured it into cute bowls and garnished with BACON!! and chopped scallions.

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And it was awesome!

I have to say that fancy pants blender really pureed the heck out of that soup.  Not a lump in sight and it was smooth and creamy.  Almost like you would imagine hot ice cream to be.

Everyone loved it. Everyone raved!  My boys asked for seconds.  The dog tried to eat some.

It was glorious.

I couldn’t have done it without the gadgets.  They truly make life easier.  And as far as the clean up, The Husband handled that.

I was in soup savasana.