for snow days in Georgia.

When they say the south doesn’t really handle snow very well, they weren’t kiddin’.

The blizzards I grew up among in the midwest were brutal, and sometimes we literally couldn’t leave the house to go to the store that was probably still open.

Down here–it’s a different story. People tend to panic a bit, and all schools and businesses shut down at the mere prediction of snow. If you visit the grocery store, you’ll see all the milk and bread sold-out…since two days ago {the snow just arrived this afternoon}.

The word “snowpocalypse” has been thrown around. And while that’s an accurate assessment, it’s endearing and sweet. I don’t mean that in a chastising “well, bless your sweet heart!” kind of way.  In all honesty, I don’t blame my fellow southerners at all–if anything, I admire them. They’ve all teamed up to help one another, those stranded on highways and byways; they’ve offered food, a place to sleep, and transportation to those without.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the south, it’s that people here do things right and well, with intentionality and attention to detail like I’ve never seen before. From their well-decorated porches, to their amazing pies, I find myself taking note. Maybe this is the southern hospitality I’ve always heard of.

But perhaps the thing I most desire to mimic in my life are their hearty, get-to-know-you questions and conversations, the ones that cut straight to the heart. By listening to the people around me, I’ve not only learned how to better serve, but I’ve become more sincere in the process.

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So, even on snowy sick days when I’m not well and only want to snuggle my cat; when my sweet little make-shift kitchen {okay fine, it’s a mini-bar} could be more efficient, it has more-than-sufficed for me and my needs, and I’m grateful. I’ve learned the art of using the Crock-Pot, toaster oven, electric skillet & water kettle, and blender. Sometimes that’s really all we need to make hearty, healthy dishes that can warm up any day winter solstice decides to show-up; the kind of meals that on-their-own invite our friends and loved ones to the table around us, for robust relationships and the richest, most kindred discussions.

Below you’ll find a few of my recent creations: Spicy Broccoli Pepper-Jack Soup to warm you up on the coldest day, and a sunny, summer snack, Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus with Fresh Green Beans, to later cool you off. Enjoy!

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Broccoli Pepper-Jack Soup {via Crock-pot, but easily altered for a stove-top}

4 large heads of organic broccoli, diced into small, bite-sized pieces
1/2 large organic yellow onion
5 red “baby new” organic potatoes
2 quarts of organic, low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half & half
10 oz. pepper-jack cheese
2 Tbsp gluten-free rice flour
2 tsp unsalted butter
organic extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

First, heat crock pot on high for 10 minutes. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and add diced onion and diced potatoes to “sweat” and simmer for 15 minutes. Once they’re opaque, season with salt and pepper. Add enough chicken broth just to cover the top of the vegetables, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Gently pour everything into the blender, and let cool before blending.

Add the rest of the chicken broth and all of the broccoli to the crock pot, and bring to a slow boil for 30 minutes, seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste.

Add 1/2 cup of half and half, and stir through.  Add the blended mixture of onion and potato back into the soup, and allow the soup to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp unsalted butter. While it melts, slice the pepper-jack cheese into small pieces, and set aside. Stir in 2 Tbsp gluten-free rice flour to melted butter. Cook for 3 minutes until flour is no longer raw, and add the other 1/2 cup of half and half until the mixture thickens. Once it has, turn off the heat, and add all of the cheese, stirring constantly until it melts. It should be extremely thick, with no clumps or bubbles.

Add cheese “sauce” to crock-pot, gently stirring in with broccoli, and allow to simmer on low for an additional 2 hours, or until you are ready to serve, stirring occasionally so cheese/milk does not burn. Yields 10 servings. Enjoy!

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus served with fresh green beans 
1 can organic garbanzo beans
2 oz. organic tahini
1/3 cup of water
1 clove of fresh garlic
2 Tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes
the juice of one whole lemon
organic extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

First, in a blender, combine the lemon juice, water, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic clove. Next add the tahini, and blend. Last, add the garbanzo beans, plenty of salt with pepper, and blend a third time on high while drizzling in the olive oil until a hummus forms and thickens to the consistency you prefer, with no clumps.

Serve with any veggies you’d like, but I recommend fresh, raw, organic green beans, and a light balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!

From my tiny kitchen to yours, I pray warmth and favor over your life during these long and trying winter months. 

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2 thoughts on “for snow days in Georgia.

  1. Oooh! I’m really excited to try that soup recipe! I think it is one that Ryan would even like (which is often my greatest cooking struggle). Thanks friend! I’ll let you know how it turns out… and of course, the reviews from my picky spouse. 🙂

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