The Daily Beet

18 Dec Saving Time with Char: Crisper Soups for the Winter Holidays

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“Crisper” Soups for the Winter Holidays

As we turn the corner into the holidays that take us to the end of another year,  friends are calling to invite us to holiday parties.  The number one question I get from my friends is, “What can  you eat?”  And then, that question is usually followed by, “Oh, come on, it is the holidays, you’ve got to indulge.”

I was one of the statistics from the holidays, you know, the one who would gain between 7-12 pounds from Thanksgiving and the New Year.  I could easily scarf anything that wasn’t nailed down, because, as my friend said, it was time to indulge.  There was no pattern to what I ate, I just ate robotically to accommodate whatever the theme was of a party.  As I continue on my plant-strong journey (there is no turning back), I maneuver the December holidays  with the skill of a vegetable ninja.  And it isn’t because I want  to be the hero-elf at a party, it is simply because I feel so great, that I do not want to ruin my pattern of overall health and wellness.  That’s what keeps me straight on this path.

Because the cooler temps merit eating warm foods, I am known to make several pots of soup a week.  Whether I use the pressure cooker, the Crockpot® or a conventional cooking method, soups are it for me.  And soups have many purposes…great to eat before a party, and something fun to take to a party.  I am always surprised, because the soups are as popular as the other items that appear on the buffet table.

Soups are it.  And while there are a gazillion soup recipes in the world, I look to my vegetable crisper to make a soup.  Great way to clean out the crisper, and make use of the runaway parsnip. And make a healthy and nutritious soup.  Best case scenario for a quick soup is the following:

Quick Crisper Soup

Three carrots, cut into coins

1/2 onion, cut into half-moons (I prefer Vidalia or Walla-Walla onions)

One potato, diced into small pieces (1/4 of an inch)

Mushrooms, whatever you have, cut into small pieces

1 quart of low sodium vegetable broth

1 can of tomatoes (low sodium, any size)

3 bay leaves

1 cup of lentils (uncooked)

Black or White Pepper to taste

Throw whatever veggies you have into a pot.  Add broth and tomatoes.  Cover.  Take to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Yields about 2 quarts of fresh, delicious soup.

It really doesn’t matter what  veggies you have.  Find three veggies and follow the proportions that I’ve used.  Soups are filling and nutritious.  Oh, and the other thing?  Get a Mason® jar, fill it with soup, slap on a bow, and you have the best gift, ever!  Attach a recipe, too!

Before I head to a party, I eat some soup to fill me up.  When you feel full, you are less apt to over eat.  I also take a hearty soup AND a plant-strong dessert.  A fruit crisp or “fancy” Mighty Muffins usually do the trick.  Desserts usually create the stir, “This is plant-strong?”  And yes, the plant-strong desserts are usually eaten before the traditional fare.

I receive a bundle of fresh veggies every week in a “sort of a CSA” from a local company that delivers  fresh and local produce to your door.  Sometimes I over-order.   If you have extra veggies at your house, take them to a food cupboard.  Most cupboards receive loads of canned goods, so if you are not making a Crisper Soup, take some veggies to  a soup kitchen or food cupboard.  You will create great kitchen joy,

Make some soup and spread some joy.

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Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Loligoss
    Posted at 08:07h, 18 December

    Add spices and herbs for different flavors. I like berebere (Ethiopian spice), curry and garam masala, or basil, cilantro and thyme or cumin, turmeric and curry. There are so many different soups you can make using different combinations of herbs, spices and veg.

  • Katie
    Posted at 11:10h, 18 December

    Great idea to spread the joy Char! Recipe sounds delish!

  • Stephen Jones
    Posted at 08:22h, 19 December

    My wife and I are going to make that this weekend! Thank you

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