Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

This soup has so many hidden good-for-you ingredients it’s like a gold mine! I simply use plain white cauliflower, but feel free to get fancy and use an orange variety if you want a more vibrant color to the soup. To suit my preschooler’s taste, a mixture of half water and half veggie broth keeps the soup from being too salty. Use 4 cups broth instead if you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 (15-ounce) rinsed and drained can navy beans
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the cauliflower, stirring well, then the broth, water, smoked paprika, and beans.
  2. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and tahini. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth. Return to the saucepan to heat through before serving.

Add croutons for serving, if desired!

Arctic Animal Experiment

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Following up on fun and icy magnetic play, we wanted another way to play with ice indoors. Recent reading about arctic animals such as penguins and seals was the perfect launching off point. I posed the question to Travis: How do arctic animals stay warm in icy water? The answer of course lies in their blubber, the thick layer of fat under their skin. To illustrate this for your child, get messy with this silly experiment!

First, give your child a bowl of water with ice cubes, and encourage them to plunge their hand in – if they dare! Travis cautiously dipped a finger. Brr!

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I promised him we could keep his hand warm in the icy water with a few simple steps. First add a latex glove. This layer alone won’t do the trick, of course, but we tested just to be sure.

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Next, dip your child’s glove-covered hand in a big vat of vegetable shortening (if you’re looking for a vegan and organic option, try Spectrum Organics). It will make a huge mess as you get your child’s hand covered front and back in the shortening (let alone take pics in the process!) but we mostly managed. Next time I would wrap the shortening-covered hand in plastic wrap to seal in all the mess.

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Now it was time to dip in. To be honest, Travis was significantly less impressed than I was, but he did notice that the fat-sealed hand didn’t flinch away from the cold ice cubes. I took a turn after, just to feel the difference.

Yup, here’s mama, just hanging out with her hand in icy water.

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Truly, you could keep your hand immersed this way for quite some time and not be bothered by the cold. If I’m ever crazy enough to do a polar bear swim, I’ll be layering up in shortening first.

Magnetic Ice Science

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This easy game is such a neat winter-time twist on magnet play!

To prepare, simply place small magnetic items in the compartments of an ice tray, and cover with water. Think small pieces of pipe cleaner, paper clips, metal rings, and similar small items. Freeze overnight.

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The next morning, I popped the ice cubes out into a baking dish, and invited Travis to see if he could pick up the frozen ice cubes with strong magnets from our magnet set.

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The results turned out to be so interesting, and lasted us the better part of a half hour! A few items, where the metal poked through the ice already, worked right away. The paper clips were remarkably strong even through a layer of ice.

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Travis loved discovering what would stick to his magnet already and what needed a wait, for the ice to melt somewhat.

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For some additional fun – under close supervision! – prop the baking dish between two stools and run your magnet wands underneath; Travis loved watching the magnets slide as if by magic from his wand under the tray.

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As we played, it became clear that the pipe cleaners were the real puzzle. The slightest bit of water was enough to get in the way of the thin metal strip inside the fuzzy layer.

Travis was the one who suggested we chisel away at our ice cubes to get to them – the perfect idea!

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We really had to work for that pipe cleaner; the pieces wouldn’t stick to our wand until only the tiniest shards of ice remained.

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Success at last! Overall, great icy and scientific fun, and Travis enjoyed playing with the magnetic items and wands even once the ice had melted.

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