real food. real life.
Yummy. Yummy. Yummy.
On a hot summer's day.
It's called air conditioning folks! Or, better yet, it's those amazing heat pumps you've all heard of! AMAZING! AAAAAA-Mazing!! Seriously. It was gross hot out. Humid, heavy, and cloudy. Begging for rain. Our back deck was full of mosquitoes. Yuck. Kind of made me miss winter. For a second. So, yes, we stayed indoors most of the day. Don't judge! We played, had friends over, and made yummy food. It was a great day.
So, cloudy day to me, no matter how hot it actually was, meant soup. I started to make our favourite creamy vegetable soup, but then I remembered how awesome sausage is and that we had some in the freezer. And then I remembered Hannah won't let us feed her anything by spoon anymore but yet she hasn't figured out spoon-feeding herself yet. So, I give you 'Chunky Vegetable & Italian Sausage Soup'. Half smooth and creamy, half chunky and spicy. Yummers!
Also, I just want to toot my own horn for a moment - for a while I was protesting the whole 'posting multiple photos of the same food' on food blogs because sometimes it drives me nuts to scroll through them all, but then part of me was kind jealous of the awesome photos they would have. And part of me was protesting because I thought it was impressive enough to have 1 decent photo to post, and remember the recipe, and even remember to post it, while taking care of a 1 year old who is usually whining about something as suppertime rolls around. I thought it would be too hard to actually get more than 1 photo up. Well, I've taken that as a new challenge and am getting there folks! This one's got 3 photos! And there were more! But baby steps. Baby steps.
Alright, here's the recipe!
P.S. And yes, in the photo below, that's Hannah's little bowl of soup with a side of cheerios. (too cute, just had to post) She eats everything we eat. Or at least we try and make it that way. She just ate the sausage. But it was good try.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Oil for cooking - I've gotten used to using coconut oil for everything now!
2-3 Italian-style/flavour sausages, sliced - I use a local farm, very few ingredients - no gluten or sugar! Tip: keep frozen until ready to use. Much easier to chop frozen than thawed.
1 onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped bite-size
2 medium potatoes, chopped bite-size
2 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped bite-size
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped bite-size (carrots missing here... still tasted great without though - just goes to show, use whatever you have)
2 cloves garlic, minced OR as I did tonight, large bunch of garlic scapes finely chopped
Vegetable or Chicken stock (or combo of both as I did tonight!) enough to fill up just to cover veggies (varies on the amount of veggies - usually 2-4 cups)
2 tsp-ish each: cumin, ginger, summer savoury
1 tsp-ish each: sea salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika
optional: 1 cup more/less of coconut milk (gives it a creamier texture and taste (could use regular milk as well)
optional: green onion on top!
What to do:
1) Heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and stir around, until cooked through and browned, leaving yummy flavours on the bottom of the pot. Add half garlic scapes if using them, as well. Once done, remove from pot and set aside.
2) Add more oil to the hot pot. Keep medium heat on and add veggies. Stir around. Add a splash or two of stock. Stir and scrape flavours from the bottom of the pot. Once well incorporated, add rest of stock, spices and coconut milk, if using. You just want to barely cover the veggies. Too much and you'll have a watery soup, not creamy. Trust me, I've failed at this many times. Watery soup is not good.
3)Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes or so, until veggies are soft enough to each (pierce with a fork or just try one!)
4) Once veggies are soft enough to each, remove pot from heat. Use an immersion blender to half blend the soup. Meaning do not blend the whole thing - just do a few spots here and there. Or, transfer half of the soup to a blender, blend up, and return back to the pot. Stir together so it is chunky and creamy. Add in your sausage. Stir. Devour with crusty warm bread or crackers. Yum.
I miss my oven. I miss the smell of baking bread. The sweet crispiness of roasted vegetables. It's been waiting for a "part" for over a month now. Not impressed.
However, the silver lining here is that I am forced to think outside of my little cooking bubble.
We always cooked pork chops by searing then baking in the oven, paired with roasted veggies. We've had these 2 wonderful-looking, local pork chops in our freezer for a while now and I was craving the sweet juiciness that comes with all the searing and the baking. So, here goes. A different tool aiming for the a slightly similar result. Insert the slow cooker. It's been working hard this past month to give us some great meals. I've never been much into slow cooking, but I'm definitely starting to see the appeal!
The outcome? Amazing! We seared the chops first (I mean, I still have my stovetop!) and then placed them in the slow cooker with a bit of chicken broth and veggies. I actually think they are better this way. Juicy, flavourful, and still crispy on the outside front the sear. So good. And to boot, you get a lovely gravy out of the whole thing!
Total Time: 4-6 hours or 6-8 hours
2 pork chops, sprinkled with sea salt/pepper
1 onion, chopped
a couple potatoes, halved
a couple carrots, chopped into chunks
1 parsnip, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup chicken stock
tsp each of rosemary & thyme
tbsp of flour & red wine vinegar (used at end for gravy)
What to do:
1) Place veggies in bottom of slow cooker.
2) Heat a bit of oil on high heat in a medium pan. When nice and hot, place chops seasoned side down to get a nice sizzle. After a minute, flip over to sizzle the other side. Add a bit more sea salt/pepper on the side up. After another minute, remove from the pan and place on top of veggies in the slow cooker.
3) Pour chicken broth over top. Place lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or 4-5 hours on high, or basically until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender.
4) If making gravy, remove veggies and meat when they are done cooking, leaving the broth in the slow cooker. Leave heat on high, add flour, and whisk. Continue stirring until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and serve overtop meat and veggies. Oh my goodness yum.
The weather right now is yucky November damp cold. It is just gross out. Seriously. Not a fun time to live in Nova Scotia. It is in serious need of a steaming cup of deliciousness. Thus calls for stew. And lots of it!
So, enter this awesomely easy pork stew. Full of chunky pork loin, butternut squash, and carrot in a broth of spiced diced tomatoes. And better yet, it can be cooked easily in a slow cooker and ready to eat in 4-5 hours.
Here's what we did!
Total Time: 4-5 hours on low
1 pound or so of pork loin, chopped in a chunks
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 butternut squash, chopped
4-5 leaves swiss chard, stems removed, chopped
1 stalk leek, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (read ingredients for added salts, etc) (this organic brand also had a bit of organic tomato paste added to it to make it extra tomato-ey)
sea salt/pepper as needed
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chill powder
What to do:
1) Cook pork, cut up, briefly in a hot oiled pan to brown edges. Transfer to slow cooker.
2) Add all remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours!
3) Stir if you're around. Season as needed. Devour!
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
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