Amazing Soup Method

I am excited to share this amazing soup method with you.   While the cold weather always brings out the soup-maker in me – after all, it’s a great way to celebrate the change of seasons – this year, I feel I have a miracle method that has stood up to every veggie I’ve thrown at it so far!

I should perhaps mention that part of the reason for all of this soup is trying to fit an extra veggie serving in at the beginning of every supper.  You know that diet advice about having a bowl of soup before eating … and I figured our veggie intake could use a boost … so this seemed like the perfect fit.

This method comes from the cookbook “Cranks Fast Food” which was recommended to me by a fellow blogger who I met during NaComLeavMo, around June I think.  I haven’t been able to track down the comment (even though I thought I knew who it was).  I hope to find it again and I’ll edit to add an official acknowledgement, because I am eternally grateful for this recommendation!  (and if you happen to be reading, please send me a message)

1.  Warm a good splash of olive oil in a high-sided pan (or pot).  I use quite a low heat, about a 3.  Chop an onion and smash some garlic cloves (I love garlic so I use lots!)  and toss them  in the pan to golden up slowly.  (I’m also looking to up our turmeric consumption, as that’s supposed to be good for you, so depending on the veggie I’ll throw in some turmeric and pepper when the onions etc. are close to being done.  Pepper helps make the good stuff in turmeric more available to the body).

2.  When the onions & garlic are soft & sweet, put in your veggie. 

3. Put in some veggie stock – depends how liquid you like your soup to be.  I normally just barely cover.  I would guess that having good stock that you really like is critical to this soup.

4. Let it heat through until tender.  (I sometimes turn up the heat here).

5. Put it in a blender and puree it.  The soup gets thick & creamy and so delicious! The colour is amazing too – bright green for peas, yellow for frozen corn, etc.

6. You can add milk to it when serving if you want an extra “cream of” but really the soup is velvety and wonderful and seems like a cream soup anyway.  Another idea is a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

Veggies I’ve tried:

  • frozen veggies – peas, corn, or green beans
  • roughly chopped broccoli or cauliflower
  • tomatoes
  • spinach (I add a can of white beans to spinach) or kale
  • mushrooms (I usually sautee in a separate pan, blend up the onion/garlic/stock, and combine the two later.  I like having actual mushrooms to eat in my soup).
  • can of pumpkin puree

Another amazing feature to me is that I don’t usually need to add salt.  (of course the powdered veggie stock does have salt already).  I often will add some spices in if I’ve found a recipe that matches a spice with a veggie, but much more often I don’t add anything.  I did find that I much prefer it with veggie stock instead of chicken stock.

One pot lasts 1-3 days depending on how much veggie & stock I used.  For a really spectacular presentation, if you have 2 soups of different colours, you can ladle in one soup (say tomato) and then tilt the bowl slightly to add a ladle of different colour soup (say green pea).  The bright colours look so cool in the bowl!  

There is a blender to clean when all is said & done, but if it’s done right away it’s a quick job.  

There are other recipes in this cookbook (Cranks Fast Food) which have also been interesting and delicious.  It’s not the perfect one for us as there are many egg recipes, and also several where ground nuts are added for a texture purpose & I’m not sure how to substitute for that.  However this soup method is worth the cost of the entire book as far as I’m concerned. If you can browse it at a bookstore to see what you think, I’d highly recommend taking a look.

Please let me know if you try it out, what veggie you used, and if you love it as much as I do!

The Sizzle and The Steak

Here’s a question that keeps re-appearing at various points in my life.  How important is sizzle?  For those of you unfamiliar with the metaphor, my grandpa would say a person was “all sizzle and no steak” if they talked a good game but had nothing to back it up – if they  made promises and never delivered, for example. 

I would often think of this analogy in terms of friendships.  I’d rather be friends with someone who has integrity, a sense of humour, a generous heart, etc.  Considerations such as how fashionable they are, what they weigh, of if they run with the “cool” crowd just don’t matter so much to me.  

And yet, sizzle does come in there somewhere.  DH and I were friends back in highschool, and we made the transition to sweethearts sometime after that.  I just didn’t think of him in “that way” until a few things caused me to look at him in a new light.  One of those was the way he revved the engine in his car.  (Silly, I know!)  In some sense, I guess the turbo-charged Grand Am and the way he drove it did reflect a part of his personality I never knew before, and one that was certainly intriguing 😉

A church sermon recently made allusion to this.  When the priest first came to our little church, apparently there was a big row of dead trees in the front.  When the parish committee met with him to talk about the needs of the church, the first thing on his list was taking down those trees and improving the appearance of the place – planting some trees, flowers, whatever.  Now to me, what goes on in the church is more important – is it a place of love & welcome?  I would have thought of improving the image as last on my list.  

Yet the image we present to the world is the first view others have of it.  I suppose it has some importance after all.  If a place doesn’t look welcoming, you aren’t as likely to go in and find out about it – to see if there is a “steak” there you are interested in.  (apologies to any vegetarians reading this!)  If you don’t bother to wear reasonable clothes, people may not feel comfortable starting a conversation.

Perhaps I carry a stubbornness about this because of some experiences in elementary school, where being in fashion was a big thing for the “in crowd” (which did not include me).  That’s probably where I decided that the substance of a person was much more important than their appearance.  But I extended that view to people who do care about their appearance, and enjoy being fashionable and elegantly put together, to suspect that they are more likely to be shells of people, more sizzle than steak.  That is, of course, a totally unfair and unwarranted assumption!

Also, I think I need to learn more about the sizzle, and figure out how to make it work for me.  Sooner or later I’ll have to wear some make-up regularly, learn how to manage my own wardrobe, and enjoy it all.  It’s not that I’m a mess now – DH, my mom, MIL, and SIL’s usually get me lovely clothes for birthday & Christmas, so I have decent things to wear, and I like to be comfortable and feel good.  My look tends to be more jeans & sweaters or jeans & blouses – very low maintenance.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be afraid to think about branching out from there.  Working on the sizzle does not need to mean there’s less steak … right?

Of course, with our current financial situation I won’t be renovating my wardrobe anytime soon!  I did hear a great program about consignment shopping though, and I think I’ll pursue that to see where I can go with it.  It’s just that I’ve almost made it a point of pride to not follow fashion, so to think of plunging in and trying to be aware of trends – that will be different.

I’d be interested to know – where you do rate the sizzle and the steak??  How important is appearance anyway?