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Principles of Soup!

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Monday, December 02, 2013

There are no hard and fast principles, of course.

I make a big pot of soup, generally on the weekend, and it's never the same from one week to the next. Then I nuke a bowlful of soup as soon as I get home from work: it's my standby supper every night of the week. Has been for over 10 years. And helps to stave off that stuffing my face at what is for me my lowest point of self-discipline of the day.

From the point of view of economy, the idea is to use up the vegetables which are left over from my salads, which have been my standby lunches every day of the week. Also for over 10 years.

When I buy my week's groceries on Saturday, I'm also acquiring new vegetables of course --and maybe one or more key soup ingredients for something I particularly have in mind. Maybe something a bit luxurious which elevates the leftovers -- the candy cane beets, for example, or a perfectly ripe avocado, or some oyster mushrooms.

On hand pretty much always: onion (often dehydrated), dried chili peppers, garlic, celery, carrots. And a large variety of spices and dried herbs and vinegars and soya sauce: so I can change it up from TexMex to Indian to Oriental to Italian . . .

But having said that, there are a couple of approaches that have evolved over the years that work for me:

1. As many different bright colours of veggies as possible. "The eye does half the eating", and a brown sludge won't be appealing by Wednesday. Plus: a variety of veggies provides all of those micronutrients that food scientists probably haven't even fully identified yet. Green, orange, red, yellow, purple.

2. Pretty much always some cruciferous veggie: a cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, broccoli variant. I recently acquired some purple Brussels sprouts. An orange cauliflower. The cruciferous veggies are apparently important for preventing cancer.

3. Nothing at all wrong with frozen veggies -- and they can save my (arthritic) hands some chopping too. Those big bags of Oriental mixed veggies are terrific.

4. Best quality broths: whether veggie or chicken or (rarely) beef. Because they really make a difference. Homemade turkey broth post Thanksgiving/Christmas really is worth the effort.

5. But: more generally, excess effort is highly overrated. Sure, peeling and chopping my "own" carrots is "better" than using up the last of the week's baby carrots and pre-grated carrots. Peeling and slicing my "own" onions is better than dehydrated onion in the bargain spice bags. Sometimes I do just that, when the onions or the carrots are the key ingredient for a particular soup. But: in general, this soup making is something I'm sustaining for my life time. And making it easier means I'm more likely to do it.

6. A lean source of protein. Most often chicken (skinless, boneless, frozen chicken breasts, partially defrosted in the microwave and chopped into generous chunks, maybe 3 per potful). Sometimes fish: frozen fillets of all types and maybe some shrimp or scallops for a chowder. Rarely, beef. But: gotta step up my heme iron intake so this may change.

7. Plus more protein from some kind of legume. Canned kidney beans or chick peas or lentils. Frozen edamame. Chopped peanuts at the end. Less frequently now, whole grain based protein: brown rice, wholewheat noodles, barley.

8. Speaking of "the end": sequencing matters for texture. Starting with the veggies that require the most cooking: the celery, the carrots. Finishing up with those that require least: the chopped bell peppers, the baby spinach, the fresh herbs just stirred in about the time the soup is coming off the heat. Retaining brightness. Some crunch.

Balancing the flavours. Something acidic. Something umami (savoury) -- meat does that but so too do mushrooms. Enough salt. Enough "heat" from spice.

And maybe most important of all? These soups are for me. I don't consult anyone else's taste. If someone else in residence wants a bowlful: I can share. But I'm not restraining myself within vegan parameters because DD eats only vegan. Or beefing it up for my unredeemed carnivore DH.

For many many years, I was in full press nurturing mode -- focused on the needs of others. Now I'm at an age and stage at which that's not necessary, even if it had became habitual. They can take care of themselves. When I ate with my kids and my DH. providing their
preferences and ignoring my own -- I weighed way too much.

I still stock the fridge with what others need. Steaks. Soy milk. But I prepare my soups for me.

Now I'm nurturing me. And this is what it takes.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LORIVIOLA 4/16/2014 9:54AM

    good for you! emoticon

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GRAMPIAN 2/13/2014 6:29AM

  Good sense! emoticon

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NASFKAB 1/2/2014 10:44AM

  great advice thanks for sharing

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MAYBER 1/1/2014 7:43PM

    Soup is one of our staples
Best wishes as you continue to create more soup combinations
One day at a time
Love prayers peace
Bernice
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EFFRAYECHILDE 12/13/2013 12:32PM

    emoticon

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CAROLINAKIWI 12/10/2013 4:07PM

    A cup of soup when I get home from work keeps me from overdoing the dinner meal.

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SUPERDAD55 12/9/2013 10:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
I was not a fan of soups until my wife cooked some for me,
and now they are the standard for our winter meals.
Now that I do most of the cooking, I appreciate the great
ideas that you have given. Can't wait to try them.
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KAB7801 12/9/2013 3:07AM

    emoticon

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NESHAMA123 12/8/2013 9:15AM

    I love soup especially now that it is in the single digits where I live here in Colorado. Your suggestions were helpful and are motivating me to start making it and having it available. I "drink" a ton of veggies each morning in green drinks but I need more ways to keep getting veggies later in the day.
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JERICHO1991 12/8/2013 12:40AM

    Thanks for the great soup ideas.

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JOANNHUNT 12/6/2013 9:27PM

    SOUPS ARE AWESOME AND HEALTHY. MY MOM ALWAYS MADE A SPECIAL SOUP IN THE COLD WEATHER FOR US SIX KIDS. IT WAS CARROTS, TURNIP, POTATOES CELERY CABBAGE, SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE, 2 BAY LEAVES AND ENOUGH WATER TO COVER THE VEGETABLES. WHEN THEY WERE COOKED SHE WOULD ADD 2 - 10 OUNCE CANS TOMATO SOUP, A CANNED OF HERRFORDS CORNDED BEEF. COVER AND SIMMER FOR A BIT AND THEN EAT. YUM YUM. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

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RENATA144 12/6/2013 9:18PM

  I made the ream of cauliflower soup from the recipe posted yesterday. I didn't add bacon . It was good ! emoticon

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WHITEANGEL4 12/6/2013 4:57PM

    I love soups,stews and chilli's. Like you they are never the same. I have my clean out the fridge soups, etc. As soon as our temps drop 1 day to 65 a pot is on the stove. Hubby loves them also so this is a plus at my house

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BLPRETTYGIRL1 12/6/2013 12:21PM

    I make soup as soon it gets cold up North. Salad in the Summer.

I stock up on supplies and have a garden. I start out with a medium size pot. Then I start filling it . I put so much in it that I have to use a bigger pot. A much bigger pot ! I like my soup thick like a stew. Then I have to add more broth.. I freeze it and have it ready. My husband likes soup. It is the best way to get veggies into us and warms us up at lunch.


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BLONDEMUSE1970 12/6/2013 11:43AM

    This just inspired me to make a pot of soup this weekend :) Your loose recipe is really a foundation to make hundreds of different soups!

Have a great weekend,

Sherry emoticon

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JUDYAMK 12/6/2013 9:45AM

    Guess what I am going to start doing? Never thought of having soup on hand every day just one cup would halt the hunger. Great informing blog!!
Judy

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EVER-HOPEFUL 12/6/2013 1:39AM

    that is great.i canīt wait till my kids are at the age to fix for themselfs but when they are i am afraid they wont do it all at the same time so we can eat together,lol.at the moment i cook and prepare anything from 2-5 differant meals at the same time so we can eat together.i am a great soup lover too. emoticon emoticon

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EVWINGS 12/6/2013 1:07AM

    Love your blog! I also love soup. I think I have more soup and salad recipes than any other. But I usually end up making my own versions! I use broth base and either cabbage, brown rice, or brown noodles, then in go whatever veggies on hand. There are two of us and a big pot lasts us a week. Thank you for all your suggestions and listing what you use. A lot of those veggies we don't get in my area. Thanks again.
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_CYNDY55_ 12/6/2013 12:58AM

    emoticon Enjoyed reading your emoticon about "*Soup*"!!
Thank You for the Great share!!



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LIVELYGIRL2 12/6/2013 12:22AM

  Sounds great. Do you have a favorite recipe? emoticon

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CLAYARTIST 12/5/2013 8:39PM

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NORASPAT 12/5/2013 5:17PM

    SOUPS are SUPER to nourish the body.
Great you are in the" SOUPERIOR" habit. ~~~~ME TOO! emoticon emoticon

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KIPPER15 12/5/2013 4:30PM

    Your soup sounds wonderful. emoticon

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DELLMEL 12/5/2013 3:02PM

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TINY67 12/5/2013 2:21PM

    Good idea. emoticon

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TINAJANE76 12/5/2013 1:51PM

    I just love hearing about your wonderful soups--so many great ideas for healthy and delicious meals. I've been having a lot of pumpkin soup lately, which I just adore, but you've inspired me to branch out and get more creative.

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TINYTONI4 12/5/2013 1:51PM

    I love your blog! I do the exact same thing, especially in the winter. I make a large pot of soup on the weekend, and nuke a bowl when I get home from work. It is so simple! And it is ready in 1 hour from the start of cooking it.
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RUNNINGYOGINIRE 12/5/2013 12:52PM

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JIBBIE49 12/5/2013 10:19AM

    emoticon Great to see you featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor. emoticon

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KDYLOSE 12/5/2013 9:40AM

    Love this, I'm a big soup maker too. For beef-based soups, I simmer my soupbone or meat in water for several hours the day before, till the meat's falling apart, then refrigerate overnight, and in the morning all the fat has solidified on top and you can just scrape it off with a spoon. And voila, guilt-free beef.

And I agree, nothing wrong with dumping in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables towards the end. I generally use cabbage as my base veg.

The other thing I do is towards the end of the week, if we haven't finished the soup, I freeze it in 1-portion plastic containers. After it's frozen, I remove from the containers, put in a plastic sandwich baggie, and fill a gallon freezer bag with them. So I have all these grab-bags of soup to nuke in emergencies. And since I'm too lazy to label them, it's Mystery Soup of the Day.

Comment edited on: 12/5/2013 9:48:03 AM

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SAILOR64 12/5/2013 8:54AM

  I have recommended soup to people for years. Thanks for sharing.

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VALPHIL 12/5/2013 8:27AM

    Great idea! emoticon

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WISLNDR 12/5/2013 7:57AM

    I started a crockpot of chicken soup before I read your blog. After I was done reading, I had to go out and add some more goodies right away! Coming home tonight from work is going to be a real treat!!

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VAINVT 12/5/2013 7:29AM

  I've known other people who make a weekly pot of stew or soup. It's a great, healthy idea.

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GLORYB2014 12/5/2013 6:12AM

    After reading your awesome blog, I'm in the mood for some good homemade soup! Thank you, you made soup more interesting and tempting and I agree . . . do it as easily as possible, makes it more enjoyable to make!
Thank you!
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SAMMI-SAM 12/5/2013 1:01AM

    doup is awesome but now I try & buy low sodium because soup has a lot of additives-

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ROXYCARIN 12/5/2013 12:35AM

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KAB7801 12/4/2013 11:02PM

    You're absolutely right, time for you, us
I'm going to make soup!

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MARYJEANSL 12/4/2013 10:40PM

  I'm a big soup fan myself, and I make and eat a fair bit of it. I have to admit, though, that the biggest deterrent for me is all the chopping and dicing I have to do...because I'm too poor to buy pre-chopped, and I don't like the dried kind. I make a mean carrot and onion soup, chicken-wild rice that even my son likes, homemade tomato...Yum! But I really do need several hours, even with the broth already in the fridge, to get them put together, so it doesn't always happen.

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SAMMI-SAM 12/4/2013 8:27PM

    yum-

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SAMMI-SAM 12/4/2013 8:26PM

    yum! emoticon

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CHUBBY_MOM 12/4/2013 7:34PM

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GODDREAMDIVA1 12/4/2013 6:34PM

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ROSEHIP:-) 12/4/2013 4:41PM

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NEWTINK 12/4/2013 4:21PM

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AKHEIDI 12/4/2013 3:45PM

    Good advise. My teams monthly challenge is give yourself a gift and it sounds as though you are.

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RENATA144 12/4/2013 2:41PM

  I too Love to make soups as they are warm delicious & nutritious .
Keep up the great work !!! emoticon

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MRSRIGS1 12/4/2013 1:06PM

    I LOVE what you said: "Now I'm nurturing me". Your blog was very well said. emoticon

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JULIACOLLINS62 12/4/2013 10:42AM

    Great blog! I'm extremely encouraged that you have been keeping this up for 10 years. A lot of life happens over the course of a decade, and you have shared that pre planning/preparation is a key to success. emoticon emoticon

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CELLY38 12/4/2013 8:50AM

  keep up the good work

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