Welcome back to Soup Week - it's Potato Soup day!
I've never made potato soup before. I'd always had it in the category of onion soup, which is something that I'd order in a restaurant, not make at home. I dislike slicing many onions at a time - although chopping onions can be a great test to see if anyone in your house (ie. your kids) would ever notice you weeping in the kitchen.
In my case, not so much. And it had nothing to do with onions.
I remember a couple of years ago - I'm pretty sure it was when my four kids were all between the ages of 3 months and 4 and 1/2 years - and I was so tired and I was just done and it was only 3:30 in the afternoon. There was fighting and throwing toys and several children crying and I wanted to cry too. So I did. Standing in the middle of a hurricane of a living room, surrounded by kids and toys and noise and no one noticed. They asked for cookies and drinks and the tv, and no one asked why mommy was weeping her heart out. That was kind of a low point for me, but we've come along way since then and now we make potato soup and people actually eat it.
Once again, I have to be quicker with the camera because the soup is gone.
Three kids ate the soup, two loved it and one asked if I could buy her a thermos so she could take it to school and eat it warm. I love that.
I billed this as Mashed Potato Soup because, um, I don't know why I did, but I felt that there'd be a more positive reception if it had the name of something they already knew and loved and ate.
This is what I did:
Saute two diced onions in some olive oil.
Add garlic powder and salt to the sauteing onions.
Peel and dice 7 medium sized potatoes.
I know, I also hate peeling potatoes. Just do it; it's a good soup.
Throw them into the pot.
Add enough water to cover the potatoes and bring it to a boil.
Lower the soup to a simmer and cover it for twenty minutes.
Let the soup cool while you pick the kids up from school or for 15 minutes, whichever is longer.
Using your handy-dandy immersion blender, blend the soup, but not that much. Leave some potatoes pieces whole, that way no one can accuse you of serving baby food.
The many potato soup recipes I've read all call for adding about a cup of milk at this point to make the soup creamier, but there were a few issues here. First, I wasn't looking for a dairy soup and second, the thought of pouring milk into the soup made me gag. I have milk issues. I might have mentioned them here.
To compromise, I poured in a small amount of unsweetened rice milk. I just couldn't add anymore, it looked to much like milk to me, but if you like a creamier soup - and I don't - feel free to add whatever dairy or pareve milk you have on hand.
Rewarm the soup and serve - I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomatoes. Even though I don't eat bread, I love the whole idea of a soup and a sandwich together. Reminds me of my Bobby Toby and a snow day every time. We almost had a snow day here in Jacksonville today, except that we didn't. But the next county over did, and that must count for something.
I hope that title was decriptive enough.
Three things to discuss today:
3. A Whole30 Vegetable Soup
I'll start with number 3 first because I'm always hungry. This soup was so good that Josh was concerned he might have to make room in his life for a third soup. Currently, he only eats chicken soup and oddly enough, cauliflower soup. And now there might be a third. He's worried.
You should try it - and it's Whole30 compatible too.
Here's what you do:
Saute 3 sliced onions in some olive oil.
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and a little salt to the pot and keep sauteing.
Wash, peel and thinly slice two large carrots.
Add to the pot and saute the carrots too.
Wash and slice 6 zucchinis into 1 inch pieces, add them to the pot, cover and let them cook for about a minute.
Add 5 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil.
Partially cover the pot and lower the flame so the soup simmers until the carrots are done. The zucchini will be done a lot faster than the carrots, even though the carrots are a lot smaller than the zucchini. Go figure.
Once the carrots are done, allow the soup to cool and then use your very handy immersion blender to partially puree the soup.
It's really very good.
Moving right along to numbers 1 and 2 on the list above. They're intertwined so we'll just mix 'em up and call this number one and a half.
Manners and Chanukah**. Mannukah. Something we seem to have none of these days.
Right around night #4, my kids seemed to get very blase about the whole "gift each night" thing. As in, this is it? I didn't want that!, along with some tears. And that my friends, is not
even a little bit okay. But lest we defame only my children, this seemed to have been going on in many other houses in the neighborhood. And before we malign the neighborhood, I really do think it's a generational thing. Having said that, next Chanukah I am supposed to remind several of my friends about this ungratefulness. Next year, we are not giving the kids a gift each night of Chanukah. Yup. You heard me.
So here's the thing. I grew up getting a little something each night of Chanukah and I kind of like that tradition. But it's not working for us. In fact, on night five of this Chanukah, we did not give gifts. We had a gift for each kid, wrapped and ready to go, but we didn't hand them out. Instead, we used a popcorn maker to make popcorn and we all watched a movie instead, with the lights off and the couch turned to face the tv. And once the kids got over the initial shock of not having anything to unwrap, they loved it.
I think that's what it she be about - experiences. Popcorn and movie might not sound like much of an experience, but for my kids, it really was. Piling onto the couch and getting cozy under one big blanket with popcorn and drinks - it's just not something we do as a group, ever. Maybe it should be, maybe we should do it more often, but that's a whole other guilty-mommy-blog-post.
*In case you've been wondering where the heck we've been since seemingly dropping off the internet since the middle of Chanukah, we've been right here. Being lazy. I think (hope) we're back now.
** I know it's over, but I think it's still okay to talk about Chanukah, mostly because I still haven't finished putting away the menorahs.
I find that soup just never photographs well. No matter what kind of soup,
no matter how pretty it looks on a spoon, pictures, at least ones taken in my
kitchen, never look that good. And yet the soup tastes yummy, which always kind
of makes me feel bad for the soup. No one likes to be judged on their looks
alone, but when you put yourself out there with a photograph and you're just not
that photogenic, it's a problem.
My point here? It's that this soup is really very good.
I briefly considered taking pictures of the soup being made, but we all
know how to chop vegetables and really, is there anything more boring than a
picture of soup simmering? It's almost as bad as a video of pasta cooking.
Anyway, here's the thing, you should taste this soup. Especially if you
like pesto, because it's kind of like that, only in soup form. The two main
ingredients in this soup are spinach and small white beans, like Great Northern
beans. Using canned beans is totally fine, I did. Just be sure to drain and
rinse the beans in cold water for a few minutes to wash away most of the sodium.
Here's what you're going to need:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
2 cans of white beans
soup mix or salt
To start the soup, chop and saute one large onion in 2 teaspoons of olive
oil. Add in the minced garlic and saute together until the onion starts to
become slightly brown. Add 1 cup frozen chopped spinach or 2 cups fresh spinach
leaves and saute until the frozen spinach is unfrozen or until the fresh spinach
has wilted. Add the 2 cans of white beans that have already been rinsed and 4
cups of water. I also added a tsp of soup mix, but you can accomplish the same
flavor idea with salt and pepper if you like.
Bring the soup to a boil. Partially cover the pot and lower the heat so
that the soup is simmering and let it go for 20 minutes or until it has slightly
thickened. Let the soup cool a little, in which time it will thicken even more.
Once it has cooled enough to use your immersion blender, go ahead and puree it
for just a minute. The soup tastes better with some whole beans and spinach so
no need to liquefy it.
The soup can be eaten as is or you can add in some already cooked pasta. I
had some elbow macaroni that I had made earlier in the day so I used some of
that but I can see this being really good with the kind of curly pasta that goes
well with pesto because that is the consistency of the soup. The spinach works
in the soup the same way it works in pesto, creating a really pretty green color
and the white beans act as the pine nuts do in pesto, as a thickener as well as
creating the slightly ground nuts tatse that makes pesto into pesto. And the best part
of the soup, unlike pesto, the soup does not contain a ton of oil and fat and
there's no need to break out the food processor and its million and one
attachments. And even better, you don't have to wash those attachments later.
Just the one from the immersion blender. Hmmm, a million attachments or one?
I'll go with just one.
p.s. I'd just like to say that I blog here mostly for my - and my mom's - amusement.
And yet the other day, we hit over 300 daily readers, so that's really cool. And I
wanted to say thank you. It's so nice to be able to share ideas and
it's even nicer when readers comment or send emails. I have met the nicest
and most interesting new friends this way. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.
Don't be shy! If you like what you've just read, leave a comment please!
I'm not sure where the whole last week went, but I do know we went to see
The Muppets this past Thursday and I have to say, it was fantastic. Josh and I
were laughing out loud and I even got all teary-eyed at the end. The kids, not
so much. See, here's the thing. If you're in your thirties, then chances are,
you grew up with Kermit and Piggy and Fozzy and Beaker and feel close to them,
almost like old childhood friends. If you're not in your thirties, then you don't
really know the muppets as well as you should. But this movie assumes you have a
working knowledge of the muppets, so if you are just introducing yourself,
definitely start with The Muppet Movie, move on to The Great Muppet Caper and finish
the trilogy with The Muppets Take Manhattan. Then go see this movie.
My oldest kid loved it, he laughed and laughed and pretty much memorized
the movie from seeing it once. My five year old liked the musical parts but was
bored silly the rest of the time and spend that time working his way through a
soda, a bag of twizzlers, some m&ms, a huge thing of popcorn and then a
stomachache. My three year old saw the previews for the upcoming Alvin
and the Chipmunks movie, laughed her head off and thought the movie was over and
it was time to leave. She was not happy to hear that the real movie hadn't even
started yet. She spent her time crunching the popcorn on the floor with her
shoes and hogging the m&ms, much to the consternation of her five year old
brother who kept asking where the m&ms were.
So what were we grateful for this Thanksgiving? Mostly that the
theater was pretty empty so that it didn't matter if we made a lot of noise. One
goal to add to our New Year's Resolutions - teach the kids to whisper.
Anyway, if you have been following along, you will know that the whole
Cookie Tuesday thing seems to have fallen by the wayside. I've
been thinking about what happened and I think there were two reasons. One, it
was the summer and just so hot in my air-conditionerless kitchen, so the less
the oven was on, the better for everyone. And secondly, I have been trying to
cut back on the treats sitting around on my counter. My kids are chocolate chip
cookie lovers, so I make those for lunchbox snacks. But the other cookies were
mostly just sitting and talking to me. Instead of just walking away, I was
talking back to them, engaging them in conversation and then eating them so they
wouldn't feel bad, and that was not working out well for my dieting ambitions.
So instead of Cookie Tuesday, I am introducing Soup of the Week. I'd like to say
it would be Soupy Sunday or something like that but committing to a certain day
is way too much pressure right now. So Soup of the Week it is.
And this debut soup is an oldy but a goody. Weight Watchers Zero Point
Soup. I used to eat this all the time and I am pretty sure I was skinny when I
used to eat this, so I'm going with this one. The original recipe can be found
on the Weight Watchers website. Here is my version. I played around with it and
added a few more zero point vegetables to make the soup thicker, but it's still
Jen's Zero Point Soup
1 onion, sliced thinly
10 baby carrots, cut in thirds
1 container of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bag of cole slaw
1/2 of a 20 oz bag of frozen green beans
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of pareve soup mix 6 cups water
2 zucchinis, washed and diced, but not peeled.
Spray a large pot with cooking spray and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms
and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to get soft and the
mushroom shrink in size. Add the cole slaw mix, the green beans, the soup mix,
the tomato paste and the water. Mix well and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to
simmer for 20 minutes, then add the zucchini and simmer for another 10 minutes
or until the carrots are cooked through.
The soup is yummy, fills me up, and best of all, no one else in my house
likes it, so it's all for me!
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)