Maine or bust!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

With the smallest of efforts...

The smallest effort is not lost. Each wavelet on the ocean tost aids in the ebb-tide or the flow; each rain-drop makes some floweret blow; each struggle lessens human woe.                                                                                           ~ Charles Mackay

I have no idea who Charles Mackay is, but I like him :) Day three has dawned bright and early. And the change in seasons means that I just want to bury myself ever-deeper in the covers and sleep until noon. Especially on a day where I spent the previous evening peeling and chopping kiwis for the freezer so they wouldn't spoil before I could use them in jam! I'll confess I probably went to bed a tiny bit later than I should have. 

I stayed on track food-wise yesterday. Ate about 200 calories more than the previous day, but still kept well under my goal. I was kind of peckish around bedtime, but I figured it'd keep until morning. I also did my walk at lunch time, but didn't end up going to the gym later in the evening.  My right ankle was a bit weird, and I didn't want to push it. Got on the scale this morning (yes, I know, I'm obsessing), and with two short days of concerted effort, I am down FOUR POUNDS. Holy Toledo! See, now THAT kind of result is motivating! I have a long way to go, but THAT kind of success makes me want to blow my goals out of the water. 

I've been kind of bummed at the lack of knitting time lately. Other than at knit night, I never have time to touch it. Part of that is because renos in my apartment mean there's a new mess waiting for me every night when I get home (red brick dust everywhere), and because I'm trying to keep the house neater, I'm actually doing, y'know, HOUSEWORK in the evenings. There's also the fact that I'm back at school, so are the kids, and they've started swimming lessons again as well. Busy family is busy! If I'm going to finish Tempting before Rhinebeck - remember Rhinebeck? I'm going to Rhinebeck! - I need to bust a move on it!

So many fantastic things should be happening in my kitchen, but I've a) not got the space right now, and b) not got the time... ARGH. I do hope to get at least one batch of jam out of the way on Saturday. That cantaloupe in the fridge isn't going to last forever. So that's why cooking posts have been scarce of late. I did make an awesome batch of cabbage soup at my mother's last weekend. I can't remember if I've shared that recipe before, but Mom swears it's as good as the Habitant canned cabbage soup we used to get when I was a kid (that's high praise indeed from my mom!)

There are endless variations on cabbage soup. You can add carrots, you can add tomatoes, you can add pork sausage if you want. But this is my basic recipe (which was arrived at when trying to reverse my mom's favorite canned cabbage soup LOL)

Simple Cabbage Soup

1 head cabbage, quarted and shredded
2 large or 4 small onions, quartered and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 quarts of low-sodium beef stock
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp celery seed

Heat olive oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and onion, stirring to coat. Sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT. If you do not sauté the vegetables before cooking the soup, you will get that god-awful boiled cabbage smell all through your house, and you'll be forbidden to ever make it again! That, and the sautéing process imparts a wonderful nutty flavor to the cabbage! DO EET.

Once the cabbage and onion has softened, transfer to a large stock pot. Add beef stock, celery seed and black pepper to pot, and return to medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering for 20-30 minutes. Serves 10-12.

©2012, Lynne Toll at

This soup freezes beautifully, which is why my mother has me make it for her several times a year (she asks once she's run out of the frozen stuff). It's also DIRT CHEAP to make, especially if you use a box of bovril instead of liquid stock, or if you use HOMEMADE stock (gah... I can never do this - I have no space to keep it!). Cabbage is often 69¢ a pound or so. This last time, I added a head of Napa to it (yummy!) which added a bit of sweetness to the soup, so I added a 1/4 tsp of celery salt to offset that. Enjoy!

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