It is cold up here in the Pacific Northwest! At the beginning of the month, we had some days where the world was softened with white, sounds muted by the quiet snow. Now it finally feels as if the heart of winter has passed, and that Spring is just around the corner. But it isn’t here yet, and I look out my window at another grey, wet day.
I haven’t written here for a couple of months. January was full of activity, with both my daughter and my birthday’s, along with all the regular busyness of raising kids.
Then, during the snow days, both my husband and son got the flu. It hit my little six-year old and held him down for days. It was hard to take care of him at the same time that I felt his suffering, almost as my own. Thankfully that is behind us, and health has been restored!
How do we warm ourselves up and keep our internal fire burning strong through this cold season? As usual, my remedy is born in the kitchen. I had this soup in the crock pot during our snowy days and it truly fortified me for all that I had to take care of. My family LOVES it when I make this, and I know it fortifies them, too.
Rosemary smells amazing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps keep our memory healthy. Living with Hashimoto’s, a memory boost is much appreciated 🙂 Garlic is a wonder plant. It has anti-bacterial properties that give our GI tract a tune-up. Garlic backs up the ‘good guys’ within our micrbiome – the little world going on within our bodies. Pepper is a powerhouse this time of year. Black pepper helps dry out any excess phlegm in the system. It also gives our internal fire extra pep – something we all need this time of year in the Northern hemisphere.
ON CUTTING VEGETABLES
I invite you to make this soup. Cutting vegetables is a truly soothing activity, so even if you feel too tired, or too busy to try making this, consider taking a Sunday afternoon, or any time you have free, and doing it anyway. Put on your favorite music, use it as a time to BREATHE deeply and evenly. It always amazes me how centered I feel while I’m cutting vegetables. Maybe having our hands on earth’s bounty somehow makes us feel more connected to the natural environment. Whatever the reason, making this soup feels like a healing activity for me. And it is YUMMY.
RECIPE for WINTER WARM-UP SOUP
First we create the broth. I have talked about the numerous benefits of bone broth in other posts. It will strengthen you from the inside out!
1. Buy quality grass-fed beef bones. Neck bones are fabulous, and it’s good if they have some meat still on.
2. Roast a few bones in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, to bring out a yummy flavor.
3. Place bones in large stock pot and cover with 4 quarts of filtered water. You can easily double the amount by adding more bones and more water.
4. Add a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
5. Let it sit without heat for twenty minutes. The vinegar will begin to pull minerals from the bones.
6. Add sea salt and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.
7. Turn the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 24 to 30 hours.
Slice three organic sweet onions and add them to a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add five cloves of garlic, and lots of fresh rosemary leaves. Sprinkle pepper over the mix. Stir often and let the onions lightly glaze.
Cut up your veggies. I use lots of zucchini, some red potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, purple potatoes and carrots. Put these veggies into your crock pot. Scoop the top layer of fat off your broth with a ladle and pour it onto your veggies, careful to keep the bones out of the crock pot. Add the onion mixture, a generous amount of additional pepper, a few more garlic cloves, and sea salt to the pot. Browned beef chunks are also an option; I personally like it without beef chunks better, but both ways are good. Simmer on high for five hours, and enjoy. You can turn the heat to low and keep it in the pot for 24 hours, eating as desired. Keeping this in your system for a couple of days will fortify you, warm you up, and make you strong! The picture below shows my soup right as it’s starting to simmer in the crock pot. After it’s cooked, it will look more like stew. Oh so good!