Snow Day and Slow Cooker Veggie Soup

We woke up Monday morning to a beautiful blanket of snow! Since I am originally from the Bay Area (zero snow), it feels like Christmas Day and my birthday all wrapped up in one when we get measurable snow here. To say I get excited about it would be an understatement...too bad it never hangs around for more than a day or two. I really love that we get all four seasons in the Foothills.

Get ready for Snow day pictures overload! #sorrynotsorry

Anytime the slightest amount of snow falls Henry will immediate say "I gotta build a Snowman!" So snowman build we did.
We got all bundled up, which took like 2 days, and headed out the door...

This was the first snow where Jack was stable enough walking around to explore the snow and not just hang out in the Ergo carrier. It was really fun for the boys. The older Jack gets, the closer he and Henry grow in their relationship, and it is the sweetest thing to watch. Plus, who doesn't love a baby in a snow suit?! They look all squishy and adorable.

The making of our snowman, appropriately named Olaf:

Jack lasted about 30 minutes out in the cold and then he was OVER. IT. (still looking cute, though... I'm partial)

 We quickly took him inside to put him down for a nap, then out to the snow Hen and I went. After Olaf was complete, with a carrot nose and eyes and garden stakes for arms, we headed down to the chicken coop to see the girls and collect the eggs.

The Sowell Chicken Palace, as we like to call it, looked so pretty (and less stinky perhaps?) nestled in the snow between the giant pine trees.

***We nicknamed the chicken coop The Sowell Chicken Palace because of the detail Matt put into building it. When he takes on a project, he takes on a project. This hen house was built with a concrete foundation complete with a tin roof and fully-functioning rain gutters. Because every chicken coop needs rain gutters, right?! 😝
I totally give him a hard time for this, but its all in fun. He built the whole thing without any building plans, so I'm pretty impressed. Good job, Hunk!***

When it is cold outside, all I want to eat is soup. Matt, on the other hand, always complains when I make "just soup" for dinner, but then proceeds to polish of a whole bowl. Haha. I think its more the idea of soup for dinner that he doesn't like, it doesn't feel like a real meal or something. It's not "boy food." Any-who, I made the easiest "creamy" vegetable soup and it was all done in the slow cooker to boot! I'd like to take this opportunity to say, how amazing is the slow cooker? Seriously. You just throw everything in and forget about it, then a few hours later dinner is done! It's really one of my favorite kitchen appliances- I even make lasagna in it! more on that later...

This is what I did for the soup... and I guess this is more of a dinner idea than a recipe because I'm lame and didn't measure a thing. 
Rough chop onions, carrots, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, and peel a couple cloves of garlic. You could really just use what you have here too. This would be a great soup to make if you wanted to clean out your vegetable drawer!

Throw all your veggies in the slow cooker along with a can of diced tomatoes and 2-4 cups of broth. Put the lid on that puppy and let it do its thang!

Cook on high until the veggies are cooked through and tender, about 4 hours.

While the vegetables are cooking, take about 1/2 cup of raw unsalted cashews and soak them in boiling water for at least an hour. This will be your "creamy" soup base.

Once the vegetable mixture isn't the temperature of molten lava anymore, begin ladling small batches into your blender to puree until smooth. I use a Vitamix, and I am in love with it. I my opinion, it's truly worth every penny. Invest in one. #treatyoself
In one of these batches throw in your soaked cashews, and then mix it in with the rest.

You can leave this soup as is, and it would be completely vegan, if you used vegetable broth. However, I like to add few tablespoons of butter to soups because it gives them a nice rich flavor- just a little trick my mom taught me... thanks Ma!

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bring the soup back to a boil and simmer for about an hour so all the flavors and dry herbs can mix together. 
I served this with homemade french bread and a salad. Enjoy! 


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