Sometimes I just have to smile when my boys insist that they no longer need naps. These hard-working, hard-playing boys are tuckered out more than they'll admit!
We have puppies! They're cute and playful and fuzzy and chunky. And it's almost time to say good-bye to them and send them on to new homes where they will be loved by another family. Once these little guys opened their eyes and started moving around, it has been the boys job to play with them daily. Which really, wasn't too hard to get them to do. The warm weather and the puppies have enticed my boys to head outside for hours every day, and they've got the pink noses to show for it! The sunshine has been good for all of us and I am excited for spring!
One puppy adventure story happened the other day when the momma, Nana, was crying at the door. She sounded awful and we wondered if she'd been hit by a car, but it turns out, she was asking for help for one of her babies. Towards the front of the house there is a small pond- it's only a foot or so deep and maybe five feet across. One of the puppies must have been feeling adventurous as she curiously got closer to the water where we found she'd fallen in and was dog-paddling like crazy. Remember, it's still close to freezing every night and this was first thing in the morning, so it was cold. My mother-in-law pulled her out and we took her inside to dry her off. She shivered for another 25 minutes, the sweet thing, but before long she was ready to go out and play with her brothers and sisters again. 
I am often surprised by nature and the innate knowledge inside each of us and inside animals. When Nana had her pups, it was cold and snowy outside. She dug herself a small den, in the best place possible for her new little family, and we hardly knew that they'd been born at all! When the puppy fell in the pond, she instictively knew how to swim, at least a little, and Nana knew she needed help to get her out. I know we often hear new parents, myself included, wishing our kids came with a User's Manual. But you know what? It's in us. It's a part of us. It's not something you can always generalize and write down or fully learn from someone else or even consciously recognize sometimes, but being a mom or a dad is part of our very nature. It's part of who we've been created to be and it's pretty awesome. 
Through the winter, especially, we eat a lot of soup. It warms the body and the soul, is easy to throw together, can be easily doubled to feed a crowd and is an easy way to add some veggies to our diet when fresh produce isn't readily available. Winter is coming to an end, and I have high hopes that spring is here, but the snow on the ground this morning reminded me that it's not here yet, not really. This is a favorite soup recipe of mine which was inspired by Pioneer Woman. She's such an inspiration in the kitchen and I like to think that I know her from way back. Like, I was reading her blog and following her recipes back in 2010. I know, I know, we're old chums. And I love that she is married to a rancher and homeschools and lives out in the country. Anyway, here's a delicious recipe, based on her Cauliflower Soup.

Cauliflower Soup
  • 1 stick Butter, Divided
  • 1/4 cup Onion, Finely Diced
  • 4 whole Carrots, Finely Diced
  • 1-2 whole Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Salt, To Taste
  • Optional sour cream to serve on top

In a large soup pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. 

Add the carrots. Cook an additional couple of minutes. Add the cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. 

Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with one cup milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Stir in the rest (2 cups) of milk.

Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary. 

Serve immediately