Feb 10, 2011

Simple Veggie Soup...and Carrot Challenge!

When your husband comes home with 10 lbs of carrots:

FYI - this is only half of the 10lbs!!

And your ceiling looks like this:

There is no better thing to do then cook up some of this:

Super Simple Veggie Soup

Let me start by saying I am not the type of cook that measures and follows recipes - it just isn't me nor does it exist anywhere in my DNA.  I can honestly say I never saw my mom or grandma use a recipe card while cooking.  Baking is a whole other beast, but for cooking the best recipes are made on the fly.  Don't get me wrong, there is some finesse to creating a good dish and then REMEMBERING it to recreate it later - but overall the best tasting food for me is the food that comes out of creating and not replicating.  So here is my best attempt at a recipe that is easy to follow yet adds plenty of wiggle room for your own splash of flavor.

You will need:
  • Sliced carrots - not 10lbs worth but maybe 5 or 6 individual carrots
  • A few Celery stalks - I used more than I normally do because it was the end of my bunch - use whatever you want, folks!  You can't go wrong with veggies!
  • A whole onion sliced
  • Garlic crushed - I LOVE garlic so I use a whole head.  Use a few cloves or a head...or 2!
  • A diced potato or 2 - I used one russet and one sweet potato
  • A bunch of fresh spinach chopped - I finished off the container which was about 3 big handfuls.  ALWAYS rinse before using even if it says it is rinsed.  Spinach tends to hold onto grit and no one likes a gritty soup!
  • Some form of protein - sometimes I use lentils, sometimes rice, sometimes black beans.  Today I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley which packs a punch at 6g Protein and 5g Fiber in every 1/4 cup (dry).  Whatever it is cook it first and then add it to the soup. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste - in this big pot I used 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Normally I do not add so much salt but ↓ (see below) 
  • Water - you can use a stock or a bullion to go with it.  I ALWAYS use these vegetarian bouillion cubes by Celifibr.  They are THE BEST and low in sodium plus they come in a vegan chicken and vegan beef too!  Since I was down to one cube I had no choice but to save it and use sea salt instead. 

 That's it!  Lets start slicing and dicing:

I use my Cuisinart on an almost-daily basis!  It is either on the counter mid project or in the drying rack getting ready for the next go around.  It is fast and easy to clean.  This soup was all chopped up and simmering within 10 minutes of getting my ingredients out AND the Cuisinart was clean and in the drying rack 5 minutes later.  There is nothing this baby can't do.  OK - back with the scheduled program...

So I first slice the onions and throw them into the pot with a few dregs of olive oil.  I keep the flame at a medium high so I can keep it going, without frying the onions, while my other ingredients are getting sliced and diced up. 

Add your sliced carrots and celery and let it cook for a minute or so before adding the water or stock...

Here is where you get to decide how to proceed.  Either use stock or water but add at least enough to cover the vegetables.  Bring the heat up to high and keep adding your veggies.  

 The above shot has everything except the garlic and rice.  I was cooking rice on the side and it was just about done so I added the salt, pepper, and garlic while I waited:

I like to crush my garlic instead of chop it.  I am not very fast with a knife so this works better for me.  I add it all - even the crushed bits that escape out the sides and the parts that get smashed and stuck in the crusher.  I add it ALL!  Garlic is very good for you and it adds a ton of flavor!  The other thing I add is a tsp of Turmeric - that is what is giving this soup a yellow tint. It isn't necessary but I add it to a lot of things cook with...see below for all the reasons why!

Turmeric is said to be extremely beneficial to your digestive track and has also been linked to helped memory, arthritis, and cancer.  If you do decide to use Turmeric be very careful as it stains EVERYTHING it comes into contact with. 

Once your soup comes to a boil you can turn it down to a simmer and let it go, covered, for about 10 minutes.  Right about now my rice was done so I added about 3 cups to my soup.  This is what is looked like all together:

And here it is all scooped up and ready to eat!


So what do ya' think?  Have I motivated you to get cooking?  I sure as heck motivated myself to get eating!

I mentioned a challenge up above so here it is -with 10lbs of carrots sitting in the fridge I am challenged to use them in as many recipes as possible for the next week.  I am working on carrot cupcakes tonight but after that I am at a loss.  Help me out, peeps!  Do you have a recipe using carrots I can cook up?  I am open to just about anything...oh, except for anything that included raisins because they are vile little creatures that tent to find their way into things when you least expect it...

Send me a comment or email with your recipe so I can check it out!  These carrots aren't going to last forever!


PS - Stay tuned for tomorrows ever important post on my new BFF, The Dremel 6300-05 120-Volt Multi-Max!!!
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