Oh Deer

Last night four deer came into the empty lot behind our house. It looked like a momma and three babies. All four of them stared at me with those big ears pointed forward as I attempted to stealthily open the sliding door and step out on the deck to take some pictures. Eventually they decided I was not a threat and went back to munching on grass. Daisy stood beside me, a low grumble in her throat until I shooshed her with a tap of my foot. As cool as it is to watch the deer graze now, I know I'm going to be cursing them when it's my garden beds they're in.

My little seedlings have finally popped up from the holders I fashioned out of egg cartons on the sunniest windowsill in the house. Heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and cucumbers. Once we are able to plant outside, I will add the lettuce, spinach, strawberries, brussels sprouts, and squash. I've been keeping my eye out for old barrels and crates to use as herb holders on the deck.

Spring is rainy in Northwest Ontario, and a little bit chilly lately, but as long as there is no snow on the ground, I'm happy. It's the kind of weather where you can wear a sweater around the fire outside and be perfectly content.

This type of weather gets me jonesin' for hearty, healthful soups. Since Charlie "doesn't consider soup a meal," I usually pair it with cornbread or grilled cheese. These are recipes that I make over and over again. 

Top Five Soups

1. Quick Homemade Ramen is packed with flavor thanks to the dried shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and garlic--plus it's loaded with kale and carrots. I add roasted chicken to make it a little heartier.

2. This White Turkey Chili is unique in that it uses poblano peppers and hominy for a Mexican twist. Cumin, coriander, and oregano add good flavor to the lean meat, and a squirt of lime and a dollop of Greek yogurt before serving complement the dish well. 

3. Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup combines two of my favorite things. A hint of fresh thyme takes this soup to the next level.

4. Jamie Oliver makes a mean French Onion SoupWhether you use cheddar or gruyere, the crusty bread on top is a must.

5. Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup a la Ina Garten is a staple at our house. Roasting the tomatoes and lots of fresh basil make this way tastier than your average tomato soup.