I love chowder, cream of broccoli soup and anything-cheesy soup, but I always feel so guilty when I eat them. At some point, I discovered pureeing boiled cauliflower and using it as a broth played a delectable healthy twin to our evil butter and cheese bases. The first recipe I came up with still called for cheddar, milk and butter… just, not nearly as much as the original creamy recipes, and it still tasted great! As I tried more and more recipes, I had a thought to take all dairy completely out. Yikes! Don’t worry - it turned out delicious!
I discovered a recipe by Oh She Glows for a dairy free whipped cream a few months back, and absolutely fell in love. Before finding this recipe, I had never used coconut milk for… well, anything. Of course, this meant that I switched up my game, and I now always keep a can upside-down in my fridge and an extra can in my pantry. Another new love of mine is coconut oil, something I have been using for a few years now. And so… Cream of Cauliflower Coconut Soup was created in my kitchen.
Widow’s Weekend: something that sounds so dismal and sad, but in reality a weekend that so many people look forward to in the fall. Those left behind celebrate with two-for-one margaritas, live bands and catching up with old friends. Plans are made for this weekend months in advance and the entire town celebrates with you.
Don’t stop reading! Let me explain this a little better for you. Widow’s weekend is what we call the first weekend of rifle season. The tradition of the hunter leaving for a weekend of camp, and the one’s left behind partying like it’s 1999. This is actually one thing that I have seen in the Midwest as well, and it’s even called the same name! So what does that mean for me? No slacking for me: it’s time to step it up and show the boys of the Midwest how New England lady sends her lovey to camp for the long weekend. Ready for a bit of information that has been giving generations and is the best kept secret? Send really good hearty homemade food.
When I was young, we lived in Revere, Massachusetts that is about 15 minutes outside of Boston. I have no idea how many miles that is because New Englanders measure driving distance in time and we use landmarks for directions. Seeing how people deal with travel out here in the Midwest; I now understand when giving tourists directions, why they had a very blank stare.
“Turn right at the tree at the end of the road and you’ll come to a stop sign that actually isn’t there anymore, but it used to be and then follow on until you see the inn with four chimneys. Once you pass the inn, you will drive for about 5-ish minutes until you see a billboard. Once you are at the billboard you have reached New York and your navigation should begin working again. Turn that back on.”
You are probably laughing; but I actually gave these directions to people that were visiting from Chicago. Living so close to Chicago now, I realize that they most likely got back in their car and picked out a few wards they would recommend I check into immediately. Since moving to the Midwest, I rely pretty heavily on my navigation that wouldn’t even pick up a satellite signal back home. People give directions using miles, and crossways and letters and numbers as opposed to “the new highway” name every road, which is actually over 15 years old.
If I were to describe my eating habits, I would never say I’m picky. I love my veggies, I’m willing to try anything at least once and I understand tastes change, so I’m willing to try things again. However, I have heard more than once, twice 50 times, that I am a picky eater. Ok, so I love spinach, but I prefer it cooked, but I hate cooked mushrooms but will snitch raw ones. It’s not that weird! I will eat salmon, but only if there is dill and lemon on it, and please don’t fry my seafood… I need to see what I’m eating. Chicken needs to be prepared in my grandmother’s house, my mother’s house or my own house. Period. I’m wicked weird about chicken; that I will own up to willingly. Mashed potatoes must be from actual potatoes (I can’t believe I actually have to write that) and they can’t be completely pureed. I love oatmeal, but I like it so thick you can hold the bowl upside down and it stays in place. Yes, this one grosses a lot of people out, but sloppy oatmeal grosses me out… so, we’re even. I’m sure you get the point.
We hosted a poker game every Saturday night back home and it was such a blast. It went on for 3 years straight until we moved out to the Midwest. At the beginning a different couple would host the game at their house and everyone would bring something to share, but as the game players changed and time went on, it ended up being at our house every week. No complaints here, but as the players changed so did the food. Single guys tend to bring chips and dip… and that is pretty much all she wrote. As we started getting more and more single guys playing, our stock in pre-made dips and Ruffles began to pile up in our pantry. So, I began making snacks for the game and switching it up every week.
Turkey roll-ups were a hit as were the cranberry cocktail meatballs, dirty pigs in a blanket and apple pie baked dumplings. But when I made homemade nachos, they flocked to the kitchen like flies on a cheeseburger.