The Perfection of Simplicity

Today was a day for simple, tasty, home-cooked meals.  For breakfast I just scrounged around in the fridge and ended up sauteeing cauliflower, green onions, and garlic in olive oil.  I added some turmeric and salt and pepper.  Once that was done, I fried two over-easy eggs and added that to the top of the veggies.  DEEElicious.

For lunch we had another simple, yet delicious, meal.  My mom gave us a whole flat of homemade canned tomatoes.  When we were kids I remember dumping a jar of tomatoes into a sauce pan, and once they were hot, dousing them with pats of butter and tons of salt and pepper.  I followed that tried and true recipe today, with a few minor exceptions.  I added some basil and garlic powder to the tomatoes.  Tim fried up some grass-fed hamburgers, and when those were done, we chopped them up, poured the soup over them, topped the soup with some grass-fed butter, and wow.  Super tasty, super easy, super perfect Saturday afternoon lunch.  And cheap too!  Especially since the tomatoes were free (thanks, Mom :)).

For supper we hit up Granite City, intending to go to a movie afterwards.  Tim got a salad, and I got chicken wings. He got one drink, and I got two.  Forty bucks later, and we are both slower, poorer, and likely unhealthier.  But we did have fun together, which is definitely worth something.

In January we are going to try to follow a stricter budget.  We want to see if we can afford a slightly bigger house (with a bigger kitchen – yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!), and we also want to save for a trip to some tropical location with oceans and beaches and lots and lots of gorgeous, uplifting, make-me-happy sun.  As a result, we’ll need to watch our food budget much more closely. In my brains I know that eating at home is much healthier, and much cheaper, but in my vane little heart I like to go out, be around people, see and be seen and spend $40 eating sometimes tasty food.  I need to make up my mind where my priorities lie!!  Money, unfortunately, is pretty much a zero-sum game.

Soup Season!

It’s cold here in Iowa, and I just baked a turkey, which means I made bone broth, which means I had 6 cups of stock!  So we made soup!

I had a frustrating day on Tuesday.  You know, one of those days where you are unhappy for no discernable reason.  Life is all grey and bleak, and you can’t imagine ever finding joy in life ever again.  Well this was the day I slated to take off from work early and run all my errands left undone from 5 days of having company at our house.  My first errand was to ship a package back to my brothers.  Whenever they come home, they stock up on all the cheap Iowa stuffs and ship a box back to NYC.  More to the point, I ship the box back.  Well I took the box to UPS, and when they asked me what was in it, I honestly replied, “I’m not sure – clothes, shoes, maybe some whiskey?”  That was the wrong answer.  Evidently no one will ship alcohol for a consumer.  Which meant I had to take the package back home, untape it, remove the whiskey (drink it), tape it back up and ship it.  Not a huge deal but annoying nonetheless.

Next I went to a clothing store to return a gift that we bought for my dad that didn’t fit – another disappointing errand.  Then I got a text from my brother with a picture of the Nesco roaster oven we bought for him.  Amazon shipped the “stadium” version to him (which is a green & yellow monstrosity), instead of the enameled red version I ordered.  Again, annoying.  Then I headed up to Plato’s Closet to try to sell a beautiful Fossil handbag that I never use any more and to try to find some jeans that fit correctly.  I tried on 6 pairs of jeans in the stifling, tiny dressing room (with no 3-way mirrors!!  How can you buy jeans without seeing what your butt looks like??).  None of them worked, of course, and Plato’s declined to buy my bag.

The afternoon started to turn around when I went to Target and discovered that they are restocked with Himalyan Salted Dark Chocolate covered almonds.  They are sinfully delicious.

Finally, I came home.  I opened the back door to reveal a spic and span kitchen and Tim working on making Cauliflower and Roaster Garlic Soup.  Immediately my dark spirits started to lift.  Tim kindly listened to me rant about the little annoyances of the day and assured me that I was justified in my feelings.  And suddenly, I was Happy Heather again.  The soup turned out SUPER tasty.  We cut up leftover brats from the night before and added that to the soup.  We ate it ALL.  That is my only complaint.  This soup is rather a lot of work (and dirties a lot of dishes) for only 1 meal.  Next time we make this, we are going to double the recipe.

That recipe used up 2 cups of stock, so I decided to make more soup last night to use the rest.  I made this recipe for Autumn Soup.  As is my custom, I often don’t fully read a recipe before I start cooking it.  As I started making this one, I realized that not only did I get a green pepper instead of a serrano pepper, but the recipe called for an assortment of sweet spices.  I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for a soup with nutmeg and cinnamon in it.  So I decided to go off the rails and experiment!  Instead of using a serrano pepper, I used 2 green peppers.  I ignored all the spices except for salt and pepper and added 1/2-1 teaspoon each of basil, oregano, and thyme instead.  I also just scooped the cooked squash right into the soup instead of chopping it up.  It mixed into the stock and made it thicker.  Finally, instead of using bacon, I browned some sausage and added that to the soup at the very end.  And guess what – it was delicious!!  Oh!  And I didn’t puree the soup.  We don’t have an immersion blender, and transferring batches of hot soup to the blender is tedious and dangerous.  Plus when we eat pureed soup it seems to take A LOT of it to fill us up.  We are chunky soup people.

So there you go.  Now I better sign off to go prep my beef roast for the slow cooker today. I’m trying Primal Beef Enchiladas again today.  Hopefully I won’t burn it this time.  Wish me luck.  🙂