No season represents transition better than early spring. Remnants of winter still hover on the ground as newly melted snow reveals hibernated brown grass from last autumn. A hint of warm weather, even if it's for a brief mid-day moment, teasing us to shed those warm winter layers in hopes of rising temperatures to come.
Around this time every year, I look at our front garden which desperately yearns for floral pastels to brighten the landscape, and realize that it's still just a little too early to do any planting. I start to store the winter clothes, most but not all, and carefully choose what spring time clothes can be worn only to resort to wearing a hybrid season wardrobe of winter coats over spring shirts.
I anxiously await the summer, counting down the weeks (only eight!) until it's sunscreen season and we are able to spend more and more time outdoors, without rigid schedules. But until then, much like the landscape of our front gardens, we'll have to just to wait patiently for brighter days ahead.
Maybe this is nature's way of reminding us to be patient. Just as Easter is symbolic of resurrection and renewal, early Spring is the season to see what's been hibernating under the snow for all these months, to evaluate where we left off last autumn, and where we need to plant the seeds to grow. It's symbolic of how we should re-examine what we need to change or improve and discover the opportunity for growth in our personal lives. If we're patient and plant our seeds carefully, we'll be rewarded with beautiful blooms of spring.
Ham and Cheese Potato Soup
Makes 4 servings
This is a great recipe to use up any left over ham and potatoes from Easter dinner. It has all the tastes of a Spring holiday meal, but also has the comfort and warmth of a hearty soup enjoyed in the chilly air of winter. This soup has a thick consistency and can make a light meal if served with salad. After holiday celebrations, I love using leftovers to make either a soup (if I have ham leftovers) or a pie (if I have turkey left overs...I use this recipe: link).
- 2 cups of cooked ham, finely diced (I used left over spiral ham...you can use bacon)
- 1 green onion, very finely chopped (or 1 small onion)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil or butter.
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (organic)
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes (I used these herb mashed potatoes, here: link)
- 1½ cups of half and half (whatever you have on hand...I had milk)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for serving (I used whatever aged cheese I had on hand...smoked applewood worked really well here!)
- Croutons for topping (optional...green onions and chives work too)
- Heat olive oil or butter over medium-high heat and add the chopped onion and cooked ham.
- Saute until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour and whisk in cook for 1 minute while stirring.
- Add broth and mashed potatoes and bring to a boil, while continuously whisking.
- Add shredded cheddar, and mix vigorously until cheese has melted and blended into the soup.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and simmer (for approximately 5 minutes more).
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with croutons.