One of the reasons I prefer cooking to baking, aside from the fact that I can usually eat my creations without any guilt, is that there's room for creativity and innovation. Improvise when you're baking, and the results could be catastrophic. But cooking is easy to ad lib as long as you have some common sense and a decent set of taste buds. 

I'm proud of this soup because I thought it up myself, and the flavors really work well together. Cauliflower and curry are a classic combination, but the addition of cheddar really put this over the top. I'm also proud of this soup because it reflects my healthy eating goals. It's light, made of 100% natural ingredients, and showcases fresh vegetables and spices. Natural eating at its finest. 

This week on "Eat. Live. Be," we're talking about recommended reading - books and resources we rely on for inspiration. Ironically because I am the one who suggested this topic, as I thought about the resources I rely on, I realized that for me, healthy eating is not so much about a particular style of cooking or set of cookbooks. I go through phases where I'll eat nothing but a particular cookbook author's style food. A few weeks ago it was Mollie Katzen, now I'm on to Dorie Greenspan, and soon when the weather gets nice it'll be Bobbie Flay.  

For me, the key to healthy eating is getting in the kitchen and cooking! I rely on almost nothing ready-made. I buy fresh produce and whole grains, and I prepare my own salads, soups and breads. They taste good, have nothing added, and are good for me and my family. 

Now that I've rambled for too long, I will share my current list of favorites. Please share yours too! What cookbooks or resources do you look for healthy eating inspiration? Here are my favorites: 

And finally, the recipe. 

Curried Cauliflower Soup
I make almost all of my soups with vegetable stock, but this one works really well with water. The spices are so intense that you don't need the richness of stock. 

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 16-oz. bag frozen cauliflower, defrosted
1 potato (I used Idaho), peeled and cubed
Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish (use orange cheddar for color, if possible)

In a medium pot, heat the oil and then saute the onion for a few minutes, till softening. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, salt and spices. Saute for about 5 minutes, mixing frequently, until the vegetables are soft and letting off wonderful aromas. 

Add the cauliflower and potato to the pot. Add enough water to cover the vegetables.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes and then puree with an immersion blender. 

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cheddar.  

Here's a list of other bloggers participating in the Eat. Live. Be. ChallengeSarah, Cate, Maris, Chris, Faith, Kristen, Emily, Jenna, Joanne, Casey, Patsy, Tri-Fit Mom, Claire, Allison, Jen and Leslie.