I haven’t been excited about much in the last three months.
But here it is: I am, in fact, excited today about the start of a brand-new series.
It’s called Feeding a Broken Heart, and it’s a collection of recipes that are the food equivalent of a million hugs.
As you guys know, life has made me an expert on the topic of feeding a broken heart after the early birth and passing of our sweet baby boy, Afton, just two and half months ago. In the first few weeks after losing Afton, I found myself unable to eat. We’re talking about long periods of time with zero food. I know. Me. Food girl. Not able to eat food. It was all wrong, but my heart was so heavy. I just literally could not. There would be times that I would sit with a bowl of oatmeal in front of me and stir it and mix it and stare at it but literally not be able to take even one bite. “You need to eat,” everyone told me, and I knew it was true. Food would help me heal, both physically and emotionally. But not even the most silky smooth Pad Thai noodles or the warmest gooey chocolate brownies could work their magic on my broken heart. Food was straight-up offensive.
You have to understand: normally, I am a person whose life is built around food. Skipping breakfast, forgetting to eat lunch – who are the people who say these things? I have never understood.
But now I understand, in my own way. I became the opposite of hungry. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner would pass me by, either completely unnoticed, or with some misplaced frustration about how food was supposed to be appealing to me, and it wasn’t, and how could I be expected to like ANYTHING right now? My stomach was full of rock-heavy grief and my heart was – still is – will forever be, in some ways – broken to its core. In the beginning, there was no room for food in this sad house.
But do you know what happened?
The helpers showed up. And they started bringing us meals.
Our friends reminded us of how to eat when we couldn’t even remember what we liked to eat or how to pour our own bowls of cereal. Sometimes they brought us Pinch of Yum favorites, and sometimes they delivered restaurant gift cards, and sometimes they introduced us to new recipes. Sometimes they dropped meals off and stayed for a visit, and sometimes they slipped away quietly, just leaving a card and maybe some flowers and a big Pyrex container of soup.
For example, basic + awesome creamy potato soup. 👇🏼
So before we talk about the food, I want you to know that this series is a close-up look at what it means to feed a broken heart, whether that broken heart belongs to you or someone you love. These are the recipes that brought (er, currently are bringing) me back to life.
And this series comes with a challenge: we want you to practice feeding a broken heart, whether that broken heart belongs to you or someone you love.
Join our mini-movement:
- Think of someone who has a broken heart. I know, there are lots. Loss, breakup, diagnosis, anything. Got it?
- Make them one of the extra-comforting recipes in this series. Or… just any recipe. Or give them a restaurant gift card. Or bring them a chocolate bar. Use food to show them that you care.
- Show us your awesome love-sharing by using the hashtag #feedingabrokenheart. (Preferably on Instagram which is where I live my alternate internet life 24/7/365, but I guess anywhere will work. We check ’em all.)
As they come in, we will be rounding up some of your inspiring, love-filled stories and featuring them on our Feeding a Broken Heart page. ♡
And if you make THIS SPECIFIC basic + awesome creamy potato soup recipe, we would love to feature it on this post. 🤗
Alright now. A quick word about this creamy potato soup.
It is the epitome of back-to-basics comfort food. Pair it with a slice of crusty white bread (may I STRONGLY SUGGEST the no-knead bread?) with a thick slather of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and the long-gone appetite is going to find it’s way back. Better yet, even if the appetite doesn’t show up, this is the kind of food that you can eat with no appetite because it’s mellow and basic in the best possible way. No flashy flavors or ingredients – just good ol’ potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and bites of bacon in a creamy homemade soup base.
Thank you to my sweet friend Liz for bringing this basic and wonderful soup into my life.
And psst. Guys. Don’t forget the bread.
- 6 slices bacon
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onions, all minced)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and/or seasoning (to taste, see notes)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1-2 cups chicken broth
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Bacon Prep: Bake the bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Crumble or cut into pieces.
- Soup Base: Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the mirepoix, garlic, salt, and seasoning and sauté until nice and soft. Add flour and stir with the vegetables for a few minutes to cook off any floury taste. Add milk, just a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition until smooth and creamy. The soup should start out very thick and eventually thin out as you add milk. Add the potatoes, and add chicken broth as needed to achieve the right consistency. For a thicker soup, you may not need as much of the broth.
- Simmer Time: Let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes. The potato soup will thicken as it simmers, and even more as it cools down. I like to wait until the potatoes are almost melty, with their edges softened just a bit, before removing from heat. When ready to serve, crumble the bacon and stir it into the soup.
Seasoning can kind of be whatever you want it to be. I like to use a little bit of sage, and I’ve also used a basic chicken seasoning mix which has thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc.
Because right now I don’t have anyone close to me in need of the mini-movement #feedingabrokenheart (at least that I’m aware), I’m sending out this buttery, creamy and comforting potato soup to everyone in my virtual world to show you I care. Feeding a Broken Heart was started by the incredible Lindsay and Bjork of Pinch of Yum, a blog I’ve always loved for the wonderful recipes and photos and that has recently touched me deeply by their sharing of a profound personal loss.
I rarely speak about loss and grief publicly, but I try to honor those who are also walking the path in any way that I can. So this post, this bowl, is for @lindsaymostrom, an incredibly kind and brave woman who is using her voice with such grace, representing so many with her powerful love for her son. #feedingabrokenheart
To all the mums facing postnatal depression out there: whether your babies are 2 weeks or 2 years or have gone home to heaven, you are not alone. PND is tough. And it's tempting to isolate yourself so as not to face others. But I have found that the greatest healing comes from being vulnerable. I am a big believer in food, friends, faith and family bringing healing, each in their own way. When I give in to sugar, the depression is worse. When I give in to isolation, it's worse. But healthy eating, creativity, prayer, and fellowship have brought me nothing but strength. Lindsay's comfort food in a bowl, this gorgeous potato soup, is nourishment for body and soul. It is foolproof – I measured nothing, but used my instinct, senses, a lot of homemade beef stock and some extra veg (sweet corn and green beans). But it turned out perfect. I feel honoured to join in the #feedingabrokenheart campaign. Whether that broken heart is yours or someone else's, show your love and encouragement and support by cooking up a storm. Food is a love language. I am sure of it. Thank you Lindsay for this beautiful idea. May the food and fellowship slowly start to ebb a little of the pain away. We served this soup with the 90-minute bread recipe on raisingsugarfreekids.com @pinchofyum #healingfoods #soup #healtheating #comfortfood