Souper, souper, supper!

We went to Panera last night after a failed attempt to get hubby a new cell phone (he’s so indecisive!).  You know, since I’ve been a teetotalling incubator and husband has been joining me in my non-drinking ways, dinners out have gotten a lot cheaper.  So I admit I was a bit surprised that our Panera bill was as high as it was.  (Admission: I DID get myself 2 rather expensive drinks.  AND I realized that my pregnancy-induced cold beverage obsession will soon be over – which will save us lots of money…)


I knew I had a recipe for Panera-ish broccoli cheddar soup saved somewhere.  So today, I dug it up and made it.  It isn’t hard – a lot of the steps can take place at the same time.  And it IS delicious. If I had the energy (Sarky = 9 months pregnant, in case I haven’t mentioned that 4000 times by now) I would have thrown together a beer bread, or some sort of quick bread to go with. It makes a good amount of soup – perhaps 8 servings? I used the recipe from The Curvy Carrot with a few modifications.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. olive oil (the recipe called for all butter, but my butter was frozen so I used some olive oil instead – you really don’t need the oil… or that much butter)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1 C. whole milk
  • 1 C. heavy cream (really, you could modify this too – use half and half or just use all milk)
  • 3 C. broth (I used chicken broth to make it a little richer, but I know veggie broth would work well here too)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 4 C. broccoli florets (I used fresh and chopped them up, but frozen would work in a pinch too)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, cubed (I used grated supermarket cheddar, because I had it on hand.  Still yummy.  Though I’m sure some really good cubed sharp cheddar would be even better!)
  1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and oil and saute the diced onion until it is translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Stir frequently so they don’t brown too much. Take them off the heat and set aside.
  2. Cook the broccoli and carrots.  (Don’t kill ’em. I steamed mine until just cooked.  After all, you’re going to be putting them in hot soup, you don’t want to make mush. I tossed mine in my Pampered Chef microwave steamers.  Worked great!)
  3. In a large Dutch oven or sauce pot over medium heat, whisk together the flour, milk, and cream until smooth. (If it seems lumpy, just keep whisking.)
  4. While whisking, add the broth until integrated.
  5. Add the nutmeg and bay leaves, and let the mixture simmer over very low heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked onions, broccoli, and carrot.  Let simmer for another 20 minutes.
  7. Take off the heat and add the cheese and stir until completely melted, adding more broth if necessary.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste!  You’ll probably find that the cheese and broth make the soup plenty salty, but a little pepper is yummy.

As Sarky T’s Mama would say, “Nom, nom, nom.”


Falling for Fall…

I think I remember my 7th grade English teacher insisting that the names of the seasons needed to be capitalized.  But now I am second-guessing my memory and Mrs. Dussault.  Anywho.  That’s neither here nor there.

I love Fall.  I happen to live in a place where Fall is incredibly beautiful. It is my favorite season.  It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears – summer is too hot, winter is too long and too darn slushy, and Spring has too many black flies and too much mud.  Fall?  Perfection.  In no particular order here are 5 reasons I love Fall…

  1. Wood smoke.  People around here hunker down, and light up the fireplace or wood stove to take the chill off during chilly autumn nights.  An evening walk on crunchy leaves, while sniffing the wood smoke and wearing a sweater?  Perfection.
  2. Back to School!  I’m too old for back to school, and Mr. Pickle Pumpkin is too young.  But I always feel like Fall is the time of new beginnings.  Sure there are buds on trees, lambs, chicks, and flowers pushing through the earth in the Spring, but Fall always feels like the beginning to me.  New notebooks, a new outfit, and a new adventure.  (I suspect I feel this way because I loved school.  Dork? Me? Yes.)  
  3. Leaves.  I live in the land of maple trees!  The lovely reds, yellows, oranges never ever get old.  When the sun is shining golden it is hard to imagine a prettier place on earth. I love the way they smell, I love the way they rustle and crunch when you walk through them.  I do not love raking.  That’s what leafblowers and husbands were invented for.  
  4. Sweaters.  They are very forgiving for the less than svelte.  Especially compared to the shorts and tank tops (no, I’ll never wear one) of summer.  And they’re cozy.  And you can wash them less than sweaty summer tank tops.  Everyone wins. Especially the people who don’t want to see me in a tank top. Added bonus: it is no longer swimsuit season.
  5. Fall food.  (My rant against pumpkin-flavored-everything will come later.) Apples, apple pie, apple crisp, apple cider.  Soups.  That one deserves some more attention: SOUPS.  Warm food, food that simmers, food that isn’t salad.  Food that bakes, braises, bubbles all day long making the house warm and delicious-smelling.

Happy Fall!