Weekend Glory, Changes and Warming Potato Soup

October 9, 2017

Colorado was shamelessly showing off for us this weekend, as it’s apt to do in October. The leaves were a stunning palette of yellow, orange and crimson and with the snow-topped mountains in the backdrop, it was hard to stay inside for more than a few minutes.  I kept heading outside just to gawk at it all. Our weekend was packed with activity; long walks, an outdoor wedding, a post-birthday pizza party for Miss M., the arrival of new living room furniture, and lunch with Daddy-O. Whew. By Sunday evening, I felt about 162 years old.

The beauty of this weekend came with a bit of regret, because the forecast called for a wallop of biting, arctic air to slam in Sunday night. Mother Nature, how dare you?! It is far too soon to lose all of Autumn’s bounty! Boulder county is expected to get 6-12 inches of snow Monday-Tuesday, so those jewel-colored leaves are toast.

I’m pouting. Change hurts.

Turns out, I’m not the only one in the family who has trouble with change.

The arrival of the new furniture meant the departure of our old, behemoth sectional couch–which happens to be the favorite napping spot of our crotchety kitty, Aria. She was quite displeased with the loss of it, and our new couch is leather; she tried to jump up on it many times, only to slip, slide and tumble off the end of it. Mozzy and I thought it was wildly entertaining, but our aging grand dame was pissed. I can only imagine how she’s going to “voice” her displeasure in the coming days. I’d better check my shoes in the morning before putting my feet in them.

After much pacing and howling and fumbling, Aria finally had to resort to chair-snoozing on a pillow next to this guy:

                                                                      ^Neither one looks particularly pleased, eh?


I guess we all have some adjusting to do.

After the busy weekend and with news of cold weather coming, I rolled up my sleeves Sunday afternoon and dug out the soup pot. I guess my only solace regarding the snow is that there’s a comforting vessel of creamy potato soup bubbling on the stove.

This potato soup is sure to take the chill out of your bones, and it’s deceptively healthy, too. I know that sounds counterintuitive…didn’t I just say “creamy potato soup?” How can that be good for you?

Sneaky little tricks, that’s how. There are a few little hacks employed in this recipe to ensure success, and I’m happy to share them with you, so you can have bowlfuls of creamy, dreamy, good-for-you potato soup, too:

~ using a combination of baking potatoes and Yukon golds (which are naturally buttery-tasting) gives this soup a more complex flavor and texture

~ leaving the skins on the Yukon gold potatoes is a natural, fat-free way to add heft and thicken the soup without using a butter/flour roux

~ simmering the potatoes in mostly stock, with only a modest amount of milk lowers the calorie count without sacrificing flavor

~ sneaking in a bit of cauliflower in lieu of some of the potatoes keeps things on the skinny side, and you’ll never notice it’s in there (truth)

~ pureeing most of the soup in a blender (or using a hand-held stick blender) = creamy mouth-feel…which in this case is not a dirty thing. Ahem.

~ finishing the soup with a smidge of fromage blanc or low-fat sour cream adds lusciousness and tang

and finally

~ sprinkling on a couple of good things, like scallion, fresh herbs, a leeetle bit of cheese and perhaps bacon (if you aren’t going hard core vegetarian) adds a little fun to your bowl, and don’t we all need a little fun?

Served in warm bowls with a salad and some crusty bread, this is the perfect antidote to the inevitable arrival of Le White Crud. I swear, I’m trying not to be bitter. Soup helps. It does.



Sneaky Potato Soup

serves 8

slightly adapted from Cooking Light


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound cubed, peeled baking potato

1 pound cubed Yukon gold potato, skins left on

5-6 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or you can use vegetable broth to make this totally vegetarian)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

dash of cayenne pepper

1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup green onions, sliced

1/2 cup fromage blanc or light sour cream

For garnish:

chopped parsley

shredded cheddar cheese or smoked gouda cheese

cooked crumbled bacon (optional but oh-so good)


Preheat oven to 450.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil to pan. Add onion, thyme and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, 5 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, cauliflower, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until browned, turning once.

Place the cauliflower mixture and milk in a blender. Remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over the top of the blender (to avoid splatter). Blend until smooth. Pour cauliflower mixture into a large bowl.

Add half of potato mixture to blender and pulse 5-6 times or until coarsely blended. Repeat with other half of potato mixture.*

Place cauliflower and potato mixture back into the Dutch oven. Cook until heated through over medium heat. Stir in remaining salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Stir in 1/2 cup of the green onions. If mixture seems overly thick, thin with additional chicken broth. Add the sour cream or fromage blanc and stir until heated through.

Ladle soup into warm bowls and top with little fun garnishes–whichever ones you choose.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kel October 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

I may have a mad kitchen crush on you, but good gawd, your weather sucks. I’m going to be in shorts all week again and am quite content with that. We get 4 seasons in NC, but the nasty winter one is mercifully short.

As I’ve been stupidly sick this week after being in a car accident that totaled my car, this soup looks like the comfort food I’ve been craving. I’ll just add some chicken for the diabetic Bear who lives with me.


Dana Talusani October 9, 2017 at 11:28 am


You were in a car wreck?! Oh no! I am glad you are safe but that’s awful. You deserve someone to make YOU soup. And yeah, the weather today is quite sucktacular!


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