Bloesem :: my favorite blog... (next to mine of course!)

On a recent visit to Bloesem I found a 'rare' photo of the home of Irene, who is the woman behind the wildly creative blog Bloesem and B:kids. I have asked her to do a little 'visit' with us so we will see if I can twist her arm to take more photos! (her son is watching Wee See) In the meantime I thought that these inspiring homes would give you a peek into her beautiful blog and you can visit yourself for more information! (and to see more photos!!)

One of the newest homes that she has highlighted is one of my all-time favorites, it is the home of Jurianne Matter. The whole house looks fun, whitty, inspiring and oh so very clean!! (I just like to look at it and dream that my home could look like that...) and of course she is Dutch (so is Irene, although she is now living in Kuala Lumpur) I love that the collections of retro ceramic items make the space really warm and add so much character. (if you visit this post she will give you tips on making this wonderful 'vase' project above), and don't miss reading Jurianne's interview!

I have been a fan of Bloesem for such a long time, I don't say that as in "I knew her when..." I mean that in a sense that she ALWAYS inspires me! And being a blogger myself I know how hard it is to always look great and come up with fresh ideas, but Irene never seems to let me down. I took a peek over the weekend and realized it's been about a month since I have had a visit, and boy is she on a roll at the moment! I can hardly decide what to highlight...

I am on a BLUE kick right now, so this home of Nicolette Brunklaus was just the ticket for me! You can find more of her creations at her website here. You can see in her home that her things combine humor with design perfectly.

And I just couldn't resist a mention of this bag while in my BLUE PHASE... because I love it and I also found her through Bloesem! It is made by Rennes le Chateau- visit her etsy shop to see more!

Then when you have redesigned your home with all of the wonderful inspiration from Bloesem you can move on over to B:kids!

Right now on B:kids she offers a beautiful t-shirt project that turns out very cute and easy to do! There are a lot of kids projects offered online but I like what Irene brings to B:kids because they are always pretty easy and look great! (why go all over to find your projects when she will give you a weekly project to choose from!) oh, and from time to time she will send off a little Nonchalant Mom story... love her for that! (then I always get a deluge of orders from Europe!)

But you can visit her blog yourself to see what you can see!

visit both Bloesem
and for kids B:kids


paper maché easter eggs

paper maché has always been a favorite in my book, so I was really excited to do this project that was in the April issue of Martha Stewart. We made ours with a slight twist but they turned out just wonderful and the kids loved to do it, and I must confess so did I. We also did it with the neighbors kids so it was fun to see who had the patience and all the different personalities shine through. Needless to say I got my fill of paper maché and it was a great time had by all.

I figured that since half of the East Coast is underwater at the moment many of you may need a craft project that is just in time for Easter!

The 'easy' directions I will give you but you can also go to Martha Stewarts for the "professional" version.

You will need: large tray, 3-4 bowls (large to small), newspaper or newsprint cut into strips, colored tissue paper cut into strips, gold or silver tissue paper, white glue.

(tip: if you have one use a papercutter to cut the strips it goes fast)

1) blow up a balloon, just he regular size works fine the kids can see how big they want their egg.

2) mix 1 part glue and 2 parts warm water in a medium bowl.

3) put your balloon in the small bowl and paint with glue/water layer what color tissue strips you would like for inside your egg. As you go along you can paint on more glue.

4) next do strips of newsprint or newspaper, you can just put your newsprint strips in with the glue mixture and let them soak. pull them out one by one and with your fingers pull off the extra mixture.

5) next layer tissue etc... we made 6 layers only because we wanted to keep going and it was so fun, if you are NOT having fun you can do as little as three layers, make your top layer nice and the color you want the outside of the egg (or you can paint it when you are done if you want another color).

5) paint outside with glue/water mixture and let dry for two days (or if you only do three layers you can just let them dry 24 hours).

Here you can see one finished (upper right) and one with a newsprint layer... in process...

Martha's look beautiful!!

click here to visit the Martha Stewart website to see the details on making yours... look more like hers....


beauty-truth | rose-marie swift

I recently had the good fortune of being introduced to the products of Rose-Marie Swift called "rms beauty" and it IS beautiful.

One of my most popular requests is to talk about the 'beauty' products that I use and instead of saying that "I have and it's Dr. Hauschka..." I wanted to find something that I was really proud of using and felt really strongly about it's wholesomeness (and that it wasn't a cosmetic company feeding pretty stories). I am so very excited to introduce you to Rose-Marie Swift and her eponymous beauty line..
rms Beauty -

'An original, pure, organic color cosmetic line created by make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift. Based on living and organic principles each product is created to hydrate and illuminate vital, radiant skin... Consider it skincare with mineral color - giving make-up a whole new meaning.."

visit her website for LOTS of information and startling facts about what you may be using on your skin now. Your skin is your most vital organ and it's very important to know that you are putting on it. As she explains, you may or may not eat organic foods and at least your body and intestines have acids to break it down, when you put things onto your skin to goes directly into your lymph system. On her informational website: beautytruth Rose-Marie shares with you many of facts as well as her personal story that will open your eyes to the truth of the beauty industry and it's chemical-laden products. I can assure you, even as an ardent label-reader I tossed many products in my bathroom after reading what she had to say. She specifically gives you a list of ingredients that you need to look out for, their derivatives and what they really are - it's worth taking a look and her website against what you have in your bathroom.

I thought it would be a good idea to talk with Rose-Marie (isn't she beautiful!) about what she does to get herself ready to go out the door and some more questions, So here is our conversation:

NCM - I loved your tip on your website to take off makeup with olive oil (was it olive..?) and keeping things simple in that way, what is your morning and night routine? do you do anything weekly ie. mask or anything?
RMS - I have never used soap on my face or my body>>>>>yes that is true. I hated the feel and the residue it left as a child so I refused to use it and my mom couldn't use anything on my skin as a baby or I got a rash. . I have always just used raw
organic virgin coconut oil which will be added onto my product line in a few weeks. This oil is not the same as the organic oil you buy in the store. It is a raw oil that has never had heat or chemical alteration done to it whatsoever. So it is alive with all its healing enzymes and anti-oxidants . Coconut oil in its living state is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so is amazing on eating bacteria and germs on the skin etc as well as an natural anti-aging oil.

NCM - What do you not go out of the house without?
RMS - My lip and skin balm......works for everything including cuticles

NCM - And what do you think woman over 30 need most?

RMS - To start using products that feed the skin with healthy products to get a jump start on a natural anti aging regime rather then the toxic chemicals ridden cosmetics that give the illusion that the skin looks younger. Those age the skin faster then anything.

NCM - what about over 40?

RMS - Use way more natural pure oils on their skin and cosmetics that contain them so the skin glows and doesn't look dry and flat.

NCM - are there any supplements that you take for your skin?

RMS - I take fresh organic
ground flax seeds everyday and fish oil ...all for Essential fatty acids which are great for the skin........plus a shot of wheatgrass...the best purifier

NCM - Speaking of supplements there is a lot of talk out there at the moment about vitamin D, I noticed that you encourage at least
20 minutes of sun a day, if you use a sunscreen what do you use? or do you completely stay away..
RMS - I do not wear sun screen because the oils I use on my skin and in my line have natural spf factors and I also do not bask in the sun. We need the sun contrary to what people think for the vitamin D. Vitamin D protects against cancer and synthetic sunscreens stop the absorption of vitamin D. Vitamin D does not work effectively in synthetic form

NCM - My daughter got into my cosmetic bag once and used a blush that I had in there, she got a huge rash from it and it freaked me out and I threw it away, (and I wanted to throw everything in that bag away just by implication...) I am excited by your products because my daughter can use them, not that I want to encourage it, but as you said yourself you loved to make your sisters up at a young age! - maybe you could make a 'girls' kit?

RMS - I would love to make a girls kit . I hope I can one day for sure. The sooner young people learn about healthy cosmetics and start using ones that do not contain chemicals that wreck havoc with their hormone system the better.

NCM - are you
vegan or something like that? or are you pretty casual about your food?
RMS - I am a
vegetarian except when I am in the islands on a photo shoot where I will eat fish caught fresh everyday. To eat meat is a serious problem for people due to the additives ( growth hormones, steroids, anti-biotics, ....the list goes on ) I really wish people understood that and what it is doing to their bodies.

NCM - do you have any remedies for you that you would like to pass on?

NCM - No
High Fructose Corn Syrup.....no Aspartame or artificial sweeteners...... no soda pop and no processed and fast foods foods.....basically nothing from a bag. EVER. Only fresh organic fruit and vegetables ( home cooked meals) and fresh water, air, and life

NCM - I know that you are busy and what are you working on at the moment?

RMS - I am doing 2 lip glosses....a new
eye shadow which will be gorgeous and just finishing the packaging on the pure raw coconut cream cleanser/make-up remover.
NCM - Can you talk a little bit about your ingredients, why do I intrinsically feel that yours are better!
RMS - My ingredients are beyond traditional organic raw materials that the cosmetic manufacturers use in production. I take it one step further by using raw food grade raw materials for their superior healing ability and antioxidant quality (heat used in production of raw ingredients destroys the enzymes and antioxidants)

Now I must leave you to clean out my cosmetic bag and fill it with rms beauty! how exciting! I think that rms beauty together with the Britt Beautiful Skin System (see previous post) could be a perfect Spring gift to yourself!

visit rms beauty by clicking here
visit beautytruth by clicking here

Rose-Marie will also be a part of the Goddess Gather at Organic Avenue if you want to meet her and find out more! - click here to get more information on the Goddess Gather.


jennifer menke (guest blogger) - lamentations of a lax gardener

People are always telling me how organized I am. How productive I am. How creative I am. But I know the truth.

And the truth is not that. The truth is: I make pretty lists. Pretty lists do not equal organized. I wish it were that simple, but it is not. I procrastinate and forget. [Even with pretty lists and computerized alarms to remind me.] I even forgot to write this blog post for nonchalantmom, if that tells you anything.

The truth is: I talk a good game. I find that using big words and telling everyone how busy I am and why I’m always late or forgot about a meeting makes them tend to believe I am more industrious and productive than I actually am. I suppose this also makes me something of a liar...

The truth is: I do cook pretty well... My guess is that when you feed people good food, they tend to tell you anything in order to get you to keep making them good food. Maybe those are the people who say I’m creative? Lies!! Lies!! I know they just want more green curry.

Anyway it’s a delightful little circle. I have no desire to end it. And how, exactly, I got off on this tangent I have no idea... Oh, I know. It was the organized thing and the fact that I’m a procrastinator...

My point about procrastination is that it is sometimes a disastrous trait for a gardener to possess. Garden procrastinations have gotten me in a lot of trouble: Cabbage worm infestations, harvests that didn’t make it in time before the frost, rotting fruit, happy raccoons, etc. But procrastinations also sometimes bring me great reward: like discovering that carrots planted in mid to late summer (because I forgot) mature in early fall’s cool nights and are so much sweeter than any carrot I have ever eaten in my life. Now, I plan them that way! (When I remember...)

Most recently, I wrote about the missed window for planting my shallots on my own site. I was late by a mere five months. [They should have gone in with the garlic in November.] I planted them as soon as I could get them in the defrosting Minnesota ground, last weekend. Things are pretty early this year, even with all the snow, but the idea of putting anything in the dirt in mid March here is beyond crazy. But, I figure, if shallots are supposed to weather a winter, then they should be just fine with a few spring snowstorms and below zero nights, right?

We shall see. We shall see.

So, I readily admit I am a lax gardener. And while I’d like to be more like Martha Stewart with her calendar lists and straight marching rows, I have to be happy that I can even manage a garden at all. My hope is everyone gives gardening a try at one time or another. I was horrible with flower gardening, but seem to be just fine as a veggie gardener. The simple and amazing cycle of planting a seed one day and picking a vegetable months later is truly one of life’s miracles. At least it still is to me.

And I’m pretty jaded, so that’s saying something.

Even procrastinators can have gardens. In fact, I encourage it. It helps flesh out the illusion of productiveness, when really, all I’m really doing out there in the dirt is listening to a great audio book and hiding from the house work. Sure I’m pulling weeds, too, but compared to folding laundry?

You do the math.


goddess gathering

Today I found a goldmine of information that I can't wait so share with everyone! But first things first, through my friend Tina, who has me trying out a fasting program that she uses (I will tell you all about it AFTER I do it so I have something to say, next week...) she told me to also take a look at Organic Avenue. I checked it out and spent just over two hours on the site and then drifting off to another site... you know how it goes.

Organic Avenue has an amazing organic cleansing program (among other things) and if I lived in NYC I would high-tail it over there! But alas, I am up here in Rhode Island... BUT I found the perfect excuse, on April 25th they are holding a 'Goddess Gathering' and I think it sounds truly amazing and perfect for the Springtime. It is run by Anastasia Williams, visit her blog to learn more about her, I love her just reading her bio! The Goddess Gathering is a three hour class but sounds like it is full of wonderful insights and yoga and more...

Goddesses Gather
Women play a fundamental role in uplifting the consciousness of humanity, however we must start with ourselves. We are both the key and the door, every woman must take hold of her undeniable ability to sculpt her own life thus nurturing the collective consciousness. Goddesses Gather is a place to honor the visions of ourselves, our ancestors, elders, sisters, daughters and future alike. Through the practical application of Naam Yoga, Meditation, Universal Kabbalah and Creative Play transformation will take place. Join us and elevate your nature as a Goddess in the NOW.

Click here to find out more and don't forget to checkout the cleansing programs that Organic Avenue offer, I think that they must be perfectly perfect, they are organic and I think that it is important to a cleanse, and each L.O.V.E. (this stands for: Live Organic Vegan Experience) cleanse includes juices and recipes to make it very simple and easy.

Also, while checking through their essential oils I saw an oil that I would like to try for the kids next time they are sick. It is just an essential oil combination that you rub on their chest and back, how simple but really perfect for small children who are so pure that even something simple like this can be very powerful. (click here to find the oil)
There are also essential oils that they offer for pregnancy and labor, I love that idea!! Don't miss all of the wonderful things this website has to offer, read it all and study!

Stay tuned as I interview Rose-Marie Swift next on her amazing organic makeup products (boy have I been looking for this kind of thing for a LONG time).

Visit Organic Avenue by clicking here


The change of seasons!

The change of season's, beautiful isn't it!? But sometimes I feel as though the change of season's makes me feel sick, I mean literally... my stomach just feels like I want to barf, maybe a headache from time to time (although usually I NEVER get them...), and the overall feeling that a cold is coming on, but then it never really does. Over the past few years I have been 'listening' to my body go through this when the major seasonal change comes upon us, from Winter to Spring and from Fall to Winter.

To me it makes perfect sense that in the Springtime my body would say, "what the heck are you doing with all this weight on you?" and I am sure that my body craves lighter foods and less food. I think that this would be a good time to fast, clean out the fatty winter toxins from our hibernation and get out and walk, exercise and eat less. I also think it's a great time to start skin brushing (see my previous blog) with my sisters Britt Beautiful Skin system. Cleaning out your lymph system just sounds like the answer to me as this is the system in your body that cleans out all the garbage!

Even though our kids happen to be healthy at the moment (knock on wood) I have heard most of our friends and neighbors complain that their kids have a cold or soar throat right now, kids are a good sign as they have no way of suppressing their 'sickness', they just plain don't feel good. My kids just don't really feel like eating so I have moved to just putting out carrots and celery sticks or apples and pears randomly throughout the day... and while they are at school their lunchboxes look more "fresh" now then they did in the Winter. I think that a soar throat at this time is common as the pollen starts to flow in the air and we just aren't used to it yet.

This is a good time to watch the candy and sugar that your kids are eating as this can exacerbate any chances of them fighting a cold or soar throat. In our family we use Astralagus to boost our immune system (it's not as strong as Echineacha and I feel better about using it on the kids, you can even buy kid-friendly versions without alcohol), making sure they get lots of sleep and one of my sisters favorite remedies; good-old homemade chicken soup however your family likes it as long as you make it yourself (her belief is that lots of pepper helps). I have also had the suggestion from someone to drink a chinese 'change of season's tea' which is taking 3-4 vegetables and a few cups of water and simmering for about 15-20 minutes and drinking as a tea, it's really delicious and I would like to do it every day! (I use a carrot, a leaf of kale, a piece of yellow onion and if I had a piece of squash I would use it too).

I also think that this is a good time to do a ginger compress. I talk about them a lot and if you are the kind of person to do them, now is a great time! it will give a lots of energy and get your lymph system moving! (here is the blog describing how to do a ginger compress) I know this is lots of information but try any one of these ideas on your or your family and see how it works out for you. (you can click on any of these to find the blogs that I have written related to the subject)


honey (a teaspoon of local honey can help allergies)
bee pollen
ginger compress
season changing tea
skin brushing
cut out sugar from your families diet
chicken soup

what else am I forgetting!?

Let me know any comments you may have on this subject, I would love to hear that I am not alone in this one... and if you try any of these remedies I would also love to hear about what you are doing. So email me or comment (it's best to comment so others can benefit but I know many of you are very private so email is fine).


britt beautiful skin!

I am so excited to announce the arrival of Britt Beautiful Skin, which is a skin brushing system developed by my sister Linda (who guest blogs here from time to time about food, feng shui and massage and I have realized that she has quite a following!). She has spent the last few years working on this project and it has become a passion for her, I am so proud of the outcome which will make your skin and your whole body more vital and radiant! This is the perfect time of year to start your own skin brushing regime, it only takes 5-10 minutes and you can do it 3-5 times a week (easy right!?).. it's simple and easy and you will feel great when you are done!

I wanted Linda to introduce the Britt Beautiful Skin system in her own words, so here you go (and then I will go on and rave just a bit more...):

Linda Redmond - creator of Britt Beautiful Skin

Along this macrobiotic path that my sister introduced to me about 15 years ago, I discovered skin brushing. It is so easy and the benefits are so great that I think everyone should skin brush. It should be the new U.S. Healthcare Plan: Eat local and organic and skin brush (only half kidding). Skin brushing invigorates your entire body, bringing fresh circulation of your blood to every cell in your body and helping your body to detox by stimulating your lymph system.

Introducing the Britt Beautiful Skin system:

The Britt Beautiful Skin system is inspired by nature, it is very simple and based on practices that have been practiced for thousands of years.

Asians used vigorous skin brushing with loofa sponges as a prelude to their traditional hot bath. Ancient Greek athletes used specialized spoon like scrapers to remove the grime after physical exertion and to encourage circulation. American Indians skin brushed with dried corn cobs to enhance skin beauty and durability.

The use of organic natural oils has also been used by ancient people as well. If you read the The Odyssey you will find that Odysseus used oil on his body. The Ancient Egyptians used oil on their bodies and was such a prized possession they were found in their pyramids, buried with them to help them in their after life.

Brushing your skin and applying these organic oils (nothing artificial, no parabens) will revitalize your skin and your entire body. Your skin is a vital organ, if it is dry or rough or stiff it can't effectively do its job, skin brushing tightens the skin and increases cell renewal . This whole process, skin brushing and applying the oils takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It does take some effort, but anything worth having has always been that way. There is no magic pill or lotion that will give you beautiful skin. Wouldn’t you know the answer comes from something people realized thousands of years ago: skin brushing and using a completely natural, and abundant natural product – seed oils. There is no simpler or more natural way out there to get healthy, balanced skin.

It is important to brush according to the directions to get maximum benefit to your lymph system, for example the major lymph nodes in your armpits should be circulating before the areas that drain into them. Included with the brushes you will receive a booklet with complete directions (and images so that there is a visual of exactly how and where to brush), it's very easy and you can decide how soft of hard to brush. I think that if you are pregnant (or planning on being pregnant) it would be wonderful to use the system to prepare your skin and body for pregnancy.

You can visit the website and it will answer any questions you may have about brushing your skin but the benefits are amazing and I am so excited for everyone to try the Britt Beautiful Skin System! The brushes are natural brushes and then the oils that she has developed are totally organic and natural, she says "The oils I use are organic (to benefit the earth) and are not fragranced. I’ve discovered that fragrance contains preservatives even though they are not listed in the ingredients. Remember, your skin is a vital organ. Carefully read the ingredients of anything you put on it. Preservatives and many other chemicals found in cosmetics and lotions are harmful to your body. These chemicals enter your body and deposit who knows where. There are studies that show parabens (artificial preservatives) are found in breast cancer tissue. These oils are entirely natural. Nothing added."

Linda found this quote from Leonard de Vinci and it really sums up the way we both feel about the world.

"Beauty and vitality are gifts from nature for those who live according to her laws"

-Leonardo de Vinci

I hope that you will try the Britt Beautful Skin system I think that it's the perfect season to try it and I hope that your whole family can enjoy it! --Thank you Linda for creating such a wonderful and beautiful thing!

Visit Britt Beautiful Skin website by click here.



Although I am not a catholic I have heard the phrase... and it's been 7 days since my last 'post' and I think I may need to do a few hail mary's! My husband claims it has something to do with Mars being in retrograde, I just think it's the change of seasons but the last two weeks have been so WEIRD! And have reflected such in a total lack of any time to post on my blog! (I hate that...)

I could whisk you through all the various things, the last of which a storm blew a tree down on our property and left us without power for almost three days (oh, and if this hasn't happened to you lately you may not know that your entire house now runs on electricity in one way or another so you are totally out of commission!). We were eating with friends and neighbors, practically living outside, using the fire to heat the house (which in a wind storm isn't such a good idea as your house just fills up with smoke). In the midst of smoke in the house, our fire alarms going off, my husband on the cell phone talking to National Grid, I said to my daughter... come with me to school to pick up Sander, as she was walking out to the car with me she said "What kind of LIFE is this?" ...I couldn't stop laughing!

We kept things pretty positive and had fun with it, using candles, playing games, just keeping things simple. The kids were champions through the whole bit and we had a little celebration with the lights went on again!

We are excited though, it's all turning up and warming up... today we have buds that are peeking out, we are outside cleaning up branches that fell down in the storm and maybe even getting ready for Spring. Each year at this time, reminds me of the movie "Being There" in which Chance explains everything by the cycles of the seasons and everything will be fine in the Spring when the flowers bloom!

Oh how true that statement is...


good morning! - quinoa porridge

This is a recipe from a nonchalant mom fan and I thought it looked so delicious I wanted to share it with you right away... we are big fans of breakfast porridge of all kinds in this house so I was really excited to see a whole new variation. If you try it please let us know the results!

I love that she puts Kale in it, we put either Kale or Parsley into just about everything we eat and the kids never notice it and I always feel better about what they are eating when Kale is in involved! So thank you Aimee!

Here is what you will need:
1 cup cooked quinoa ( I cook it the night before)

1 can organic
coconut milk (full fat!)
1 medium to large kale leaf with stem removed

1 banana

agave or real
maple syrup ( preferably grade b)

for variations I like to add toasted sliced almonds,
carob chips, mango, diced apple, pineapple, what ever your heart desires!

Here is how to do it:

First wash kale leaf then chop it up pretty small. I like to call it confetti kale.

Then add it to the coconut milk and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add cooked quinoa.
Stir in sliced bananas. Add cinnamon to taste.
If it is not sweet enough then add your agave or maple syrup to taste.

Turn off burner and let sit a few minutes. Then serve it up.
My kids love this in the morning!


Spring 2010!

Most of the Spring 2010 collections are here and I am sorry for some of them coming in so late... Most of the collections for kids have arrived, with the exception of Roseberg which will come in April, Wovenplay will be here soon, and I did order some Camper shoes which will be coming soon and I am really excited about!

But since it was so crazy and I have noticed that people having been shopping pretty quickly when I put up a new collection I would like to offer free shipping when you have placed your first spring order. We are going to call it our 'frequent flyer' shipping rate. So if you have placed an order from March 1 - March 30 you only have to pay for shipping once! And we will take care of the rest....

Nonchalant Mom has been growing fast and we are working hard to keep up with the store. But I still feel that I am a small boutique and so I do have limited quantities, I know this is irritating sometimes when I don't have the size that you need. But in some cases I can get you what you need, or at least I can try, so please email me if you are having trouble.

Just write 'frequent flyer' in the comments section as you check out and we will take the shipping charges off your order, before we process your credit card
, if this is your second, third or even fourth order.

Thank you very much for shopping with Nonchalant Mom!!

OOPS! - Makié - boko dot dress...

I don't know how it happened but the link on this dress on my website (click here for the fixed link!) didn't work and I just fixed it! -- so if you were wishing for this dress it's now available in sizes 2-8 year!

For the longest time I just couldn't figure out why no one was buying this sukashi black and white boko dot sundress, it was my favorite piece in the spring collection (and franny's too!) Then a customer finally told me that she was having trouble and there it was a 'broken link' so now it's fixed and it's available!! just don't miss it!

visit the whole makié collection on Nonchalant Mom by clicking here.


guest blog: meatless mondays | jennifer menke

Meatless Monday Movement Grows!

Hello again nonchalantmom readers!

Feel free to click over to my blog post if you want to read the 'whole story' of this follow-up to Meatless Monday Eight and the Lowly Potato Soup recipe , but you don't have to. I will summarize in one sentence:

I made fun of my Aunt Rita, scorned the simplicity of her famous Potato Soup (which is quite bizarre in the making and seriously delicious), and drew many comments from my extended family who --until last week -- had never read any of my blog posts. What changed?

My Mom got on her phone with a Red Alert to her sisters saying "I just want to warn you that Jennie wrote about Rita's Potato Soup. Don't be offended. She writes terrible things about me all the time."

First: I do NOT write terrible things about my mother. I write TRUE things about my mother. She is the only one who thinks they are terrible. Frankly, I think it's the pictures she takes issue with. She is a beautiful woman who manically hates every single picture ever taken. Can I help it if I have to post one of them every once in a while?

Second: I did poke fun at my Aunt Rita. She really did burn everything when I was a kid. However, in the post, I neglected to mention that she is a fine cook now. If my mom had simply let it go, and not called the Red Alert, Aunt Rita, her brethren and her offspring, would have been none-the-wiser. No apologies necessary.

Third: A Red Alert to the sisters is serious business. The fact that I received comments on my site from my slacker cousins and a computer shy Uncle is astonishing and proof to the effectiveness of the Red Alert.

But here is the most amazing thing: I now know of four other families participating in Meatless Mondays because of me! I mean, I hate to pat myself on the back or anything (Actually, I do like to pat myself on the back, so just forget that last sentence), but I am so thrilled!

I knew my parents were doing Meatless Mondays -- and that's in addition to Catholic Meatless Fridays for lent. But I didn't know my Aunt and Uncle were doing it, too! I have a follower on Twitter who is mostly following my recipes a week later (except for the failures, and there have been a couple already), and a good friend of mine in Watertown is also taking part!

So the little saying that "one person can make a difference" really does seem to be true in this case. (It also helps if you have diabolical control over at least three other family members, as I do, but still.)

Anyway, following are the steps to making this soup. It is ridiculously simple and seems almost silly to even explain. And yet, many experienced cooks commented on how they -- like me -- would never have thought of this way to make potato soup. Most are cream based and laden with fat. This one is not. And it could not be simpler, cheaper, or more delicious.

I should mention another astonishing revelation that came from this post was a comment from my Aunt Rita herself, telling me "You forgot the beef bouillon." It so happened that my Mother was standing in my office when I read the comment for the first time. I read it aloud to her. She said, and I quote, "I KNEW SHE WAS HOLDING SOMETHING BACK. MINE NEVER TASTED THE SAME AS HERS." (She said it loudly, hence the caps.) You see, I got my recipe from my Mom, who got it from my Aunt Rita, who neglected to mention the beef bouillon cube.

The moral of the story: Sisters are always competitive.Also: I like it just fine without the beef bouillon cube.
So here it is:

Aunt Rita’s Potato Soup (for lack of a better name)

Russet potatoes, any size
cold water to cover
3T flour
3T buttersalt & pepper to taste
cheese for garnish
bacon bits if you are not partaking in Meatless Monday!
Put unpeeled, whole cleaned potatoes in a large dutch oven or saucepan with a lid. (for 4 people with left overs, I used 4 baker-sized potatoes) Cover potatoes with cold water by about 1/2″ – 1″. Bring to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until potatoes are tender. DO NOT THROW OUT THE BOILING WATER. Drain the potatoes, reserving the water.

Let potatoes slightly cool and peel. Put the potatoes back into the pot and mash. You can put them thru a ricer or food mill first, for perfectly smooth potatoes, or you can use a hand masher. The idea for this soup is to get it mostly smooth.

For the roux, put 3 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet, stirring together as the butter melts. Cook, bubbling, over low to medium low heat about 5 minutes — just until the mixture barely turns a shade darker. (If you are making soup for less than 4 or 5, cut the flour and butter to 2T each.)

Over low to medium heat, add the cooking water back to the mashed potatoes, stirring until smooth, then add the roux stirring well. Simmer 10 minutes or so, adding more water if soup is too thick. Salt and pepper to taste. (it will need salt!)

My cousins insisted that you had to put the shredded cheese into the bottom of the bowl, so of course we do, using cojack or cheddar or whatever else green-sided hunk of cheese we find in the fridge. Then, add the soup and top with garnish of your choice. The garnish being a Menke addition.Here is the picture Morgan took of her bowl, with homemade fried onion crisps, which were my attempt to combat the yearning for bacon. They scarfed them up so fast there were hardly enough for the garnish. Lord knows there weren’t any left for me today, so I can’t say one way or the other if the idea worked.

And here was my bowl that I had for lunch today. I added some chopped frozen chives for a little kick:

OK, I lied. I couldn’t take it:

I added bacon bits. So shoot me. It wasn’t Monday.

click her to visit jennifers blog for the full scoop!