Homemade bouillon cubes

This is one of those cooking tricks that I’ve always done without thinking much about it, but it’s probably time to share. They say the secret is in the sauce, but these little gelatinous lumps are the secret to the sauce!

I had quite a bit of leftover pork stock from my head cheese project, and after freezing several jars, I decided to reduce the rest down further for a soup enhancer known as bouillon.

I tossed store-bought liquid and cube bouillon from my pantry a very long time ago. The amount of  salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and hydrogenated oil (trans fat) that they contain just isn’t something I want to feed my family. Why make a soup from scratch only to then add a highly processed ingredient? (Remember Shaina’s story?)

Instead, in addition to homemade stock, I flavour soup and sauces with natural aromatics – fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese, dried mushrooms, chilies, garlic, spices, vinegars – and homemade bouillon like this.

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Spring Ramp, Radish & Spinach Soup

As much as I love the hearty sugar shack fare we enjoy during sugaring off season in Quebec, I’m ready to lighten up for spring.

Last weekend, we had one final maple-coated feast, which we were privileged to enjoy with Alana and family, who were passing through town. Cider-glazed ham, maple baked beans, tourtiere, and heaps of roasted asparagus with ramps kept us around the table for over an hour. Then dessert – maple taffy poured on a slab of snow from my chest freezer – kept us at the table a while longer.

Later, the children scattered to play a board game while we lingered over coffee and discussed blogging, cookbook writing, food and family. It was wonderful to have a slow afternoon, with no nagging thoughts about what I should be doing instead. Since handing in my manuscript for Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, I’ve been reveling in the spare hours and the respite from the enormous project.

It’s a new season, both out and about on the homestead, as well as in my work life of blogging and book writing. Today’s soup recipe feels like a cleanse, and in many ways it could be squarely placed in the detox camp. I wholeheartedly believe in spring cleaning my body with real foods, so consider this the beginning.

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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

So you cook a Sunday ham, and are left with the bone. That night the temperature plummets (yet again), your kids get sick, and your husband is about to leave on business for a few days. Then, you realize there is no other alternative than to make split pea soup and plenty of it to last into the week.

That was my thought process last Monday. This soup saved dinner, and a few lunches, while we were housebound, nursing fevers and the sniffles. It came together quickly – a literal dump and stir of ingredients in the slow-cooker – and simmered all day while we snuggled under quilts and read books.

While my boys may have been initially put off by the colour, their spoons were scraping the bottom of their bowls before long. Split pea soup just feels right this time of the year, especially when paired with skillet cornbread.

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Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup

I love the stretch of days between Christmas and the New Year. The holidays slow down again and there is a lot more time for relaxing and enjoying the family at home.

There is also a lot of time for eating and snacking . . . perhaps a little too much time! If you’ve already eaten as many candy canes and sweet rolls as I have this holiday season, this Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup will help get you back on track.

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7 Fall Soup Recipes

This morning I gathered a jar of lentils, a few carrots, and a leek for the beginning of an autumn soup.

I rummaged in the freezer for a jar of dark chicken stock, and snipped a few sprigs of thyme from the garden. The boys have the day off of school and we’ll enjoy a simple French lentil soup for lunch.

It certainly is the perfect season for summering a soup. If you’ve never made soup from scratch, there’s no better time than the fall, when all the root vegetables come into play, the garlic is firm and young and ingredients like corn, tomatoes and zucchini are still in abundance.

The body craves this nourishing bowl of vegetables, simmered in a savoury broth, and accompanied by favourite side such as skillet cornbread or whole wheat buttermilk rolls. In fact, I think I better go mix up a batch of those rolls right now.

Here are some of my favourite recipes to get you started.

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