Friday, April 11, 2008

SOUPer Yummy Soup!

I just have to take a brief break from talking about my Beachbody trip to talk about soup a bit. I just finished eating some on the spot soup I made for lunch and it never ceases to amaze me just how yummy soup can be! (I actually just ran off to eat another bowl full -- I got so excited just writing about it, crazy as that sounds).

I grew up eating soup for lunch -- maybe not for every lunch, but quite frequently. Our cupboards were used to carrying a nice variety of Campbells Soup cans, my favorites being Chicken Noodle and Alphabet Soup. I'm not sure if I really loved the Alphabet Soup, but it was fun to play with -- trying to find my name in the bowl and all.

I've since learned that many, if not most commercial soups in a can are pretty unhealthy with extremely high sodium and MSG added (I read labels all the time at Costco and I just don't understand why most add MSG in light of
allergies, migraines, etc. ???) -- I think some have made improvements -- cutting down on salt, adding in more vegetables or something. But I've grown to mostly make my own soup and when I do use cans or prepared, it's organic (when I find it on sale :)) without any of those unnecessary additives.

My favorites from the store are Amy's (sold in cans mainly at Health Food stores, but more traditional grocers are carrying them either in a health food section or up on the top shelf of their other soups), Pacific, and Imagine Food (both sold in 1 quart boxes). I buy up the Pacific and Imagine soups when they go on sale to have as a base for my soup since they're mainly pure smooth soups like Butternut Squash, Tomato, Tomato Basil (just had that one), and Creamy Corn.
Amy's has a variety of soups with beans or lentils and vegetables in them, but I rarely use them alone either. I use them as a base to add in more veggies.

My formula is similar to what I do with smoothies. For smoothies, I use a liquid base of a few cups (usually juice), then add in a variety of fruit (often something frozen like berries to make it more icy and something smooth like bananas, mangos, or peaches to make it creamy) plus some greens at the end.

For soup, it's a clean out my fridge project. Whatever I can find in my fridge goes in my soup. I start with a liquid base -- a can or two of Amy's soup if it's a small batch or a box of Imagine or Pacific soup if it's bigger.
Then I cut up some veggies, throw them in, let them cook awhile on top fo the stove, then blend up some of the chunkier vegetables with the Braun hand blender (I've had that thing for YEARS -- just love it!) so it's a nice thick soup (I learned that trick from a lot of Mollie Katzen recipes).

I'll share what I just ate today.

1 box of Imagine Tomato Basil Soup
1 can of Amy's Lentil Soup (wanted some legumes)
1 zucchini cut up
3 handfuls of baby carrots
9 big brown (or baby bella) mushrooms, sliced

I think that's all I had room for in the pot. After letting get to a boil, cooking for about 10 minutes and blending it up, I ate it with great joy. I've made a similar soup before. I think there's something wonderful in that combination of tomato and mushrooms. The mushrooms are so chewy and hearty -- like the meat of the soup. Try it, then try some creations of your own!

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