Sunday, January 27, 2008

Simply Lovely Fairs 2008 submission.

Simply Lovely Fairs

As a first time participant for the "Loveliness Fairs" initiated from the folks at the 4Real Learning Forums, finally, I have mustered up enough courage to submit my first entry to the “Simply Lovely Fair”. This is the second of six predetermined topics so far this year from the “Living Lives of Loveliness 2008” .

As Elizabeth at Real Learning posted the quote below from St. Therese when announcing these "Simply Lovely Fairs", so too it is with a humble heart that I enter this submission in the hopes of possibly assisting others with the task of nurturing their families with hearty winter food fare.

"So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great saints, who may be compared with lilies or the rose; but He has also created little ones, who must be content to be daisies or violets nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them. The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are."

~St. Therese

Without further ado, here is my submission for January 30th's entry on;What's cooking in your big pot to warm your family on those blustery winter days?

A soup making kitchen party in progress...

Suzanne over at "Blueberry Cottage" is the hostess for this fair, and I invite you to peruse through her blog that day to view other entries submitted by clicking HERE to see them all.

As the winter season in our midst chills our bones and tends to keep us nearer to a warm and cozy fireplace, or all cuddled up in a big bulky shawl, there is nothing so satisfying as a nice hot cup of soup for a main meal to satisfy our palette. Soup will be the main focus on my submission for this “Simply Lovely Fair” this week.

What better family meal in winter than
a hot cup of nutritious and home cooked soup?

Truly, the winter season offers a variety of meals not as tempting or functional in warmer weather months. We have our favorites as I’m certain your family does too. The temptation to sit and perhaps slurp broth from a spoon or from a mug containing a hearty and nutritious soup delights our senses with flavor, texture, taste and smell, and as a bonus, it warms our tummies from within. Just as a pumpkin pie belongs with a turkey dinner, so too does a nice hot bubbling soup on the stove belong to the season of winter.

As the years tumbled by from my early years of marriage, and more and more children were welcomed to increase the family fold over time, I realized so too did our family's food portions grow, obviously requiring kitchen fixings of larger meals just to feed the all the mouths at home. Over time I became more comfortable resizing to eventual use of larger pots, as soup making became one of the family's favorite and most requested winter meal. The crock pot was good, the huge soup pot was even better. Sometimes I still use a crock pot, but only after the flavors have savored for at least an extra day (see post below for more on this). Initially the soup pot offered enough for two meals at least; one for that current meal, and another was always a bonus for a mother with a busy household.

Never in my wildest dream did I ever expect to actually fill up our largest dutch oven pot for any meal along the way, the one I only used as my canning assistant in the past. It has now become the preferred cookware I grab for assembling and cooking homemade soups in our home. The bigger the pot, the more soup everyone can enjoy and if there are leftovers, a freezer ziplock becomes my best friend. I simply fill some of them up with leftovers and lay them on top of one another in the freezer for future meals, or to give to someone else needing a meal in a pinch.

The only criteria I use when a soup making feast-fixing party is in the works for me, is to remember to check the refrigerator to assure there will be a spot for the huge pot to sit overnight. There have been times when I haven’t, much to the chagrin of others around here (lol).

Our married children and even our parents were always offered a share of the pot (wink) if they happened to visit while the soup was in its final stages of brewing. Everyone knew when mom was in a soup mood, and everyone knew they could share the feast with us in some way, anytime they were around to share it with us. However when we moved east, several of the married children requested a tutorial from me so they could reap the rewards of a hearty soup making within their own homes.

Helpful hint! I want to mention a time saver possibility, one I used to do frequently for my small babies or young child. Choose a soup with all the safe (allergy free?) ingredients your young child can eat, ones he/she has already been introduced to, and when the soup cools, fill up ice cube trays with soup portions for future consumption. Once the icy soup chunks are firm and frozen in the ice cube trays, quickly transfer them all into a freezer bag, taking and warming only enough in a small pan, on low heat when desired for an instant home cooked and nutritious meal in a jiffy. It's far more economical and much more nutritious to do this prior freezer cooking for your young children yourself at home as opposed to having to rely on prepared food from the store.

Therefore without further ado, may I present to you all a few links to my tutorials of;

"Soup making 101"

My first tutorial for our older children was posted with step by step directions for making a cream of "Brussel sprout soup". ( Just for the record - I have a great disdain for this vegetable, however this is a yummy soup everyone loves and substitutes are plentiful for this particular recipe with great success) You can find the post HERE

Soup tutorial for making a "Vegetable and Lentil soup" posted. You can find directions HERE.

Soup tutorial for making "Cream of Cauliflower" (or any other hard vegetable soup) found HERE, or take a looksy at the soup making variation with a twist on the same type of soup found HERE.

A recent kettle of soup our family just seems to inhale for a "Turkey Noodle" can be found HERE.

As as always, there are other glimpses in my soup kettle found on the right side bar of my blog from the "In The Kitchen" link.

Enjoy and as always, let me know how you do with the tutorials.

If you are entertaining the idea of following the other “Simply Loving Fair” lineup for other topics to come, you can check them out HERE.