RSS Feed

Tag Archives: vegetables

Creamy Cauliflower Fennel Soup Recipe

Quick and Easy Velvety Vegetable Soup

Cauliflower soup with fennel adds depth to this dinner. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Cauliflower soup with fennel adds depth to this dinner. Photo by Christine Willmsen

This is a healthy, yet rich tasting soup that takes minutes to cook and has only a couple of ingredients. We often crave something hot and filling during these cold nights, so this soup hits the spot. Cauliflower is a powerful vegetable known for its vitamin C and K. I added fennel to the soup for a twist that gives a hint of licorice flavor. To ensure any soup maintains a flawless white color, use white pepper. This will make two bowls of soup, because we always want seconds when it’s this good.

You’ll be shocked there’s no butter or cream in this decadent dinner when you taste it. Enjoy it with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Hot in the Kitchen – Cauliflower Fennel Soup


3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small head of cauliflower cut into large chunks

1/2 cup chicken broth or water

3 green onions chopped

1 teaspoon white pepperfennel

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1/2 cup sliced fennel or half of a fennel bulb with center core removed

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or dried chives

cookIn a medium pot, heat olive oil to medium high heat. Add cauliflower, chicken broth and green onions. Sprinkle in white pepper, salt and garlic paste and stir ingredients. Boil ingredients for five minutes. Add fennel and continue to cook at medium heat for five minutes. Put all ingredients into a blender such as a
VitaMix and add 1/4 cup milk. Blend on variable speed for blended soup15 seconds and then on high for 15 seconds. If using a blender, mix ingredients until thick and whipped.  Serve in a bowl and sprinkle chives on top.

For vegetarian soup substitute water for the chick broth.





The multiple benefits of a Juice Cleanse

Juice as a cleanse can be your healthy restart

Sometimes you just need a kick in the butt.

Suja three-day cleanse with organic fresh-cold pressed juices offered me a new healthy start. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Suja three-day cleanse with organic fresh-cold pressed juices offered me a new healthy start. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Yep, that’s what I said. And frankly that’s what I needed. I had major shoulder surgery in the spring and the recovery has been slow. After months of physical therapy, I was finally given a green light to start running, swimming and lifting weights. But as I recovered I also had gained weight, lost muscle tone and felt sluggish. And I was still eating rich, sometimes fatty, foods at restaurants and in my own kitchen. I needed a kick-start so I tried a three-day juice cleanse.

I’m not into pills and dry mixes to “cleanse” or restart my healthy lifestyle, so I turned to Suja Juice, an all-natural juice cleanse that I discovered at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle. With my busy schedule I knew I didn’t have time to create all these juices myself, so that’s why Suja appealed to me. It’s so convenient. I just needed to drink six juices each day and plenty of water. No meals, no caffeine and no alcohol.

I was a bit reluctant to have nothing but juices for three days, but I can do just about anything for a couple of days, especially if I know there’s an end game. The cold-pressed juices are literally a combo of fresh ingredients like beets, apples, kale, cucumber, spinach, celery and lemon.

Fuel juice is my favorite in the cleanse line. Photo supplied by Suja website.

Fuel juice is my favorite in the cleanse line. Photo supplied by Suja website.

Day One of the cleanse was challenging, just because I was hyper focused on not having solid food to chew. However, I I wasn’t hungry and in fact the juices in 16 oz. bottles tasted great. My favorite was Fuel – a midmorning juice containing carrots, apple, orange, lemon, pineapple and turmeric. It was fresh, sweet and gulpable. My least favorite was the dessert juice – Vanilla Cloud with coconut, honey and almonds. It left a bitter after taste that I didn’t like. The juices are certified organic, dairy-free, gluten-free and non-GMO certified.

By Day Two I was actually enjoying the cleanse. I felt satiated and I had energy. That night I swam in the lap pool for 40 minutes and felt strong.

Day Three wasn’t missing solid food, but mentally I became fixated on what I would eat after the cleanse. Suddenly I was seeing all the food commercials on television with glistening burgers and salted fries and I was licking my lips. During the three days my friends and family constantly talked about food. They had no problem tempting and teasing me with details of their fabulous dinners or new recipes they had tried.

Suja offers six juices a day for the cleanse. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Suja offers six juices a day for the cleanse. Photo by Christine Willmsen

The next day after the cleanse, I was supposed to have mild foods like vegetables and soup. Well, I did have vegetables, but I added melted cheese and truffle oil. Not surprising, I had a stomach ache and the next couple meals I backed off and prepared simple dishes.

While Suja juice isn’t intended for weight loss, I did lose three pounds. Suja juice has amazing nutritional benefits and it was just what I needed to refocus on a healthy lifestyle.

Disclosure: I received a free three-day supply of the juices with no obligation to write or review the product. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.



Great things can grow from Foodportunity

What a bountiful garden this year. These are just a few of the vegetables that grew in my garden as I started my blog The Solo Cook. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Opportunities can grow just like a garden

Potatoes are easy to grow and there is always a surprise underneath. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Three types of potatoes – butter, rose and purple – grew in my garden. Photo by Christine Willmsen

This summer I had just started a food blog called The Solo Cook, which focused on cooking, gardening and savoring food from a single person’s perspective. But I didn’t know how to get the word out. The Solo Cook was just underway and I had no idea how to meet and network with chefs, writers and food industry peeps.

A couple friends suggested I go to a Foodportunity event in June. I quickly printed some business cards and walked into the event with a smile. While I was nervous about explaining my passion for food to a room full of people, I realized it was a true opportunity for me. After seeing a couple familiar faces and sipping a glass of wine, I warmed up and just started chatting with people. In fact, the night wasn’t even over and I had run out of business cards.

This single girl froze some of the peas to later cook during the wet winter months. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I met some amazing, talented people and absorbed suggestions and ideas from chefs. One of those chefs was Thierry Rautureau, owner of Rover’s and Luc. He had a sincere interest in my blog and offered some valuable advice. It was this connection at Foodportunity that gave me the confidence to apply for a live cooking competition. Not only did I have the guts to apply for the cooking competition at Rover’s, but I must have made an impression because now I’m one of nine contestants in Kitchen Circus. This home cook will tackle a professional kitchen on Nov. 20 and prepare an amuse bouche and one course for at least 45 people.

My beets started to appear in the garden mid-summer. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I look back at my experience with Foodportunity just four months ago, and believe it gave me the courage to step outside my comfort zone of being a hard news journalist and dip my pen into the creative, fun world of writing about food. My photos here are of my garden and some of the wonderful food it produced. I’m still new to this arena, and most people don’t know about me or my blog yet, but everyone has to start somewhere.

It’s October and I’m pulling my beets out of the ground. I chop the green tops and throw them into soups. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I’m attending the Foodportunity event on Oct. 22 at Palace Ballroom, and I don’t plan to run out of business cards this time. Follow Foodportunity on twitter #foodprt and @foodportunityse.