There’s a picture that’s been floating around our little Maritime nook of the internet, on Facebook, on twitter. It’s an infamous picture of a stack of wilted, withering cauliflower at the grocery store with a sign reading ‘$7.99 each’ underneath it. Another picture is of cucumbers – $3 each. Lettuce, spinach, $6.00.
Canada, it seems, is feeling the pinch this winter. While our gas is the cheapest it has been in years, the price of food has sky-rocketed. That cauliflower, those cucumbers and lettuce, they’re shipped from the southern US, or Mexico – hence the high cost. Winter, shipping fees and our crappy dollar combine to make the perfect storm.
Now, East Coasters are a hardy people. You tell a story about how you used to walk to school uphill both ways with newspapers stuffed in your boots, they’ll one-up you every time, (though you can never tell if it’s the truth or a tall tale!). So we’re used to rocky, snow-covered winters and take it with a smile and jars and jars of homemade preserves and pickles – the traditional Bluenoser Greeting and Parting Gift.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to juggle healthy eating and a budget at the best of times, but to manage food restrictions and added expenses top of that can be a real challenge.
The solution? We’re shopping local!
This means that instead of a salad, we’re having SOUP for dinner! And ohhhh man, what a soup! It’s so thick and filling, and incredibly healthy. Butternut squash, the heavy-lifter in this puppy, is low in fat and packed with vitamin A, B6 and C, not to mention fibre. Just look at the colour!
This recipe is adapted from Damn Delicious by way of my brother-in-law (most changes are his suggestions!)
Add in some chopped carrots, onions and sweet potato, mix with garlic and oil….
Either spray your baking sheet with non-stick spray or put down some tin foil for an easy clean up. Spread everything out.
Bacon is optional. It adds a ton of flavour with just a couple slices, but it’s also $7 a package, so if you decide to leave it out, that’s fine. Take four of your bacon slices and spread them out on top of the food. As it cooks, it will send all the bacon drippings down into the vegetables.
Bake for about 40 minutes and there you are! Crispy bacon, soft veggies, it’s beautiful!
Toss everything in a pot and blend! I find that my immersion blender is happier if I add the broth in before I blend it up. You may have to use a stand blender too, just remember to pop the plastic circle out of the top and cover it with a cloth and your hand. It’s hot!
Add the rest of the broth and let it cook for about ten minutes, or until it’s bubbling a bit. That way you know all the flavours have combined.
There you have it! Serve with a little bacon and some feta cheese if you want, and serve piping hot!
A hearty winter soup that will keep you full for a long time. You can even freeze it if necessary.
… if it even makes it to the freezer! Ours was devoured almost instantly. It’s sooooo good.
It’s perfect for these cold January days.
We are very fortunate to be able to eat healthy when the prices go up, but many people are not. If you would like to help, please drop a couple cans off to your local food bank, or donate to sites like Feed Nova Scotia.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 large carrots
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 minced cloves of garlic (or to taste - I added a lot of garlic!)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ tsp of thyme
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I recommend my homemade ones: http://halifaxbloggers.ca/isaynomato/homemade-chicken-stock/ and http://halifaxbloggers.ca/isaynomato/easy-homemade-vegetable-broth/)
- OPTIONAL: 8 strips of bacon
- OPTIONAL: ½ cup feta or goat cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Cube all vegetables to about an inch square. Mix with olive oil and garlic and stir until coated.
- Place on a greased baking sheet.
- OPTIONAL: if using bacon, lay 4 strips of bacon over the top of the vegetables so it drips as it cooks
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the vegetables are easily speared with a fork.
- Dump the roasted vegetables and bacon into a large pot, and purée using an immersion blender (Or stand blender!). If it is easier, add a little of the broth to help with the blending.
- Add the rest of the broth and the thyme.
- Bring to a boil and let it simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Serve hot!
- OPTIONAL: Garnish with the other 4 bacon slices (cooked!) and the cheese.