Monday, January 25, 2010

January is National Soup Month

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”
Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

Here it is the last week of January and I'm only now informing you that it's National Soup Month. Please forgive me. I hope you've all been taking part in this wonderful, filling, warming, low-cal (most of the time) pastime.
When I was a SAHM and had a husband who went off to work, I spent hours each day creating nourishing meals for my little family. I was part of a local LaLeche League and met wonderful women who shared their knowledge of child-rearing and cooking! We all loved to cook .... and eat! I practiced being a back-to-the-land granola-type person for a little while -- lots of flowy skirts and bare feet, whole wheat everything and homeopathic medicine, etc. But quite frankly, I couldn't live with hairy legs and triticale flakes for very long! But I kept on experimenting with cooking (and homeopathic medicine). Gradually, I found a mommy-groove that felt right for me: I think you could call it a combination of earth-mother and disco queen!!
One thing that I did right with my kids was to raise them to love a wide variety of food. Even as toddlers, they turned nothing down -- veggies, tofu, humus, brown rice -- it was all a food adventure to my girls! Other than when Molly found something "too mushy and blushy!!" (to be said emphatically, with a scowl, while stamping your foot), I never had to throw out food.
We often supplemented our food budget with eating beans of every sort cooked in many different ways. But now-a-days, my favorite way to eat beans is in a soup! I have jars of dried black, navy, pinto, kidney, azuki and garbanzo (or chickpeas), as well as convenient cans in my cupboard. And let's not forget quick-cooking lentils! I love them all!
Beans are super nutritious, fairly cheap and they'll last for years if you store them properly (a sealed container in a cupboard)! Sometimes I soak and cook beans and then freeze them in baggies (with some liquid) so I have them on hand. I like to make what I call my "kitchen sink" soup which is just a combination of leftover meat and veg from the fridge. I seldom use a recipe, but I vary the spices and/or herbs I use so they taste different and, sadly, cannot be replicated! (Like me!)
Last week I made a beautiful kitchen sink soup! I sauteed some cubed pork, onions, garlic and the last of the celery. I poured in water and a beef boulion cube; then I added some leftover coleslaw mix, a small chunk of squash cubed, a few diced carrots, a little leftover rice and about a cup of frozen black beans. I spiced it up with dried marjoram & parsley and a little "Spicy Primivera Mix" which I bought from a local craft market (not sure what's in it but it sure is good!). When it was cooked, I pureed a cup or two of it and poured it back in the pot with the remainder of my sour cream (about 3/4 cup). I served it with an earthy multi-grain bread with a good crust. It was great!
This weekend, I made a beef and barley soup. I used beef,
onions, garlic, carrots, the few green beans in the fridge and a couple of good handfulls of barley; then I threw in a dollop of tomato paste for color and flavor. (I freeze large soup spoon dollops of tomato paste on a wax paper lined cookie sheet; then peel the frozen dollops off and put into a baggie which goes back in the freezer to be used as needed.) That was also delicious!
I have a butternut squash that's calling to me this week. I think I'll make Gypsy Soup! That's a combination of squash with chickpeas and chopped spinach. I got the recipe years ago from someone in my LaLeche League group, and it's remained one of our favorites! I'd like to share it with you.
Sandy's Gypsy Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chopped onions
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
2 1/2 cups cubed winter squash
1 cup diced tomatoes (I use canned & freeze the rest)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 cups chopped spinach
Dash of Cinnamon and a dash of Cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Basil
Salt & pepper to taste
3 cups of stock or water (I use chicken stock or add a bullion cube)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic till soft. Add squash and stir. Then add all the seasonings and the water (excluding soy sauce). Simmer, covered for about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Just before serving, add the soy sauce.
You can puree a little of this soup, if you wish, to add a creamy texture. You can also add a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt to each bowl.
  • What soups have you been enjoying this month?
  • Do you have a favorite recipe to share?
  • And are you a lover of legumes?
Come on ............... spill the beans!!


A human kind of human said...

Oh dear, I also have three children who enjoy all kinds of food. Sometimes I listened with almost envy to other mother complaining about their children not wanting to eat, while I couldn't stop mine eating (lol).

Eva Gallant said...

I'm a soup-lover too. Hubby, not so much. I could eat soup every day!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I do love beans in about any shape and form and they are in my diet more than meat most of the time. Today I'm having leftover chilli with choo choo wheel pasta in it. Some people call the pasta wagon wheels too. My chili always has kidney beans in it.

Nezzy said...

I made some creamy fresh spinach soup for lunch the other topped with garlic cheese croutons. Mmmmmm, that'll warm a gals innards up on a cold winters day.

You soup looks delish!

God bless and have a good one!!!

Anita said...

Okay, you have me hungry!! Those soups sound very delicious and yes, I love beans. I grew up having red beans and corn bread for dinner sometimes and I'll eat beans anytime I can. As for a favorite soup, I love a good baked potato with bacon and a little bit of cheese.

Mattenylou said...

That squash soup sounds good, and so do the blueberry muffins, yum!

That's a good idea about freezing those dollops of tomato paste, I usually save the can until it's fuzzy and green... I'll try this, thanks!

Madame Sucre said...

Hey Doris how are you? I love soup!! its such an easy meal and doesnt make you fat LOL..

I'm so happy you got my christmas card! wow it took so long!!

I didnt get yours yet LOL I dont know how stupid posting systems are .. ppl have advanced and we are still waiting months to get letters delivered , that is if delivered , right!

have a wonderful day :)

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

I love the description of Earth Mother and Disco Queen! It's a good visual - thanks for the soup ideas!

Susan said...

Did we coordinate our posts yesterday? haha I love, love, love soup! I could eat it every day of the week and twice on Sunday! It is truly my favorite meal. And I can't say enough good things about beans in every shape and form. I have them dried and canned, too. That's something, along with canned tomatoes and broths of all kinds, that you can always find in my pantry. Put that together with a freezer full of veggies and you're never more than 30 minutes away from a healthy, enjoyable dinner.

You're a girl after my own heart, Sandy!

tattytiara said...

Those look great! I have never made a soup, not from scratch. Definitely something I should try.

Rosemerie said...

Thanks for the giggle - 51 and mother of three girls between 16 years old and 26. Miss 26 has experienced more than her share of allergies (which are mostly genetic from my side of the family). I can relate to the red eye syndrome very much myself, and all the wholemeal (now wheat free) homeopathics etc. Food allergies have taught my family to be very daring to try other things - and lots of soups too. My 1st child loved her brocolli "trees" at less than 2 years old.