ONE RECIPE & FIVE LIFE LESSONS INCLUDED
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I am not alone in thinking soup is a comfort food for stressful times. Remember the book, Chicken Soup for the Soul? A search on Amazon will show it has hundreds of incarnations. The ABC’s of this publishing franchise include books such as these: Chicken Soup for the:
- Adopted Soul
- Bride’s Soul
- Caregiver’s Soul
- Dieter’s Soul
- Etc., etc., etc.
During these days of the pandemic, I find myself consuming lots of soup. Even as the weather gets warmer, I plan to keep up this habit. Nope! I’m not switching to cold soups. I’ll just crank up the air conditioner if need be and slurp away. By the way, that’s the first life lesson from this story: self-care is important! If you need hot soup on a hot day – or even if you need the warmth of a fire in the fireplace – give yourself the gift of ramped-up air conditioning. (In the case of the fireplace, this works best with gas logs that can turn off quickly!)
Beyond being a stress reducer, soup can also aid people who are watching their weight. Nicole Avena, Ph.D., is a research neuroscientist and an expert in the fields of nutrition and diet. She wrote a story for Psychology Today in which she says a large bowl of low-calorie vegetable soup at the start of a meal leads to fewer calories being eaten at the meal. Great life lesson, right?
According to Avena, there is still another perk to vegetable soup – it is super healthy because some nutrients are better absorbed when the food has been heated. Cooked carrots, for instance, yield more absorbable beta carotene than when eaten raw. The same is true for tomatoes, kale, and spinach. Soup holds on to their water-soluble vitamins.
Before I give you the soup recipe to try, let me confess it has zucchini in it – gasp! My kids would not eat zucchini when they were young, so here is the story’s third life lesson: when making vegetable soups – puree them so no one can discern the ingredients. Of course, kids aren’t the only picky eaters, so this is a great way to get everyone to eat vegetables. And when they ask what’s in it, here’s the correct answer: “Only good things.”
Another perk to pureeing vegetable soup is that you don’t have to use great care when dicing the ingredients. No one will ever know how good – or awful – your chopping skills are. Your blender is the great equalizer. And speaking of blenders, in the old days one needed to puree soup in batches, transferring the steaming-hot-stuff from pot to blender. This was a messy ordeal! Does it count as a life lesson to tell you about a wonderful kitchen gadget? I call it a whizzie whacker, but officially it’s an immersion blender. This wand-like device allows you to puree your soup in its original pot. If that’s not wonderful enough, unlike a traditional blender with a blade, ring, glass jar, and two-part lid to wash, the whizzie whacker has just one easy-to-remove section for you to rinse!
OK, then, here’s the recipe. It’s officially called Vegetable Bisque, but we call it “Green Soup” because that’s what happens when you puree zucchini, though that needs to remain our little secret.
- 1 lb. zucchini, sliced
- 1 C sliced carrot
- ½ C chopped celery
- ½ C sliced green onion
- ½ C butter
- 1 Tbs flour
- 1 ¾ C milk
- 2 C water
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- ½ C dry white wine
- ½ C dairy sour cream
- 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
- Cook all vegetables in butter until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Blend in flour. Stir in milk. Cook until bubbly.
- Use an immersion blender – or traditional blender – to puree this mixture.
- In a bowl, combine water, cream of mushroom soup, wine, sour cream and bouillon granules. Stir this into the pureed mixture.
- Heat through, but do not boil.
- Eat and enjoy!
This is a truly delicious soup, which brings us to the fifth lesson of the story: Life is short, so be sure to lick the bowl. Seriously, in an often-harsh world, it’s wise to avail yourself of every speck of pleasure – and comfort – that comes your way.
Buzzfeed tells us that Americans eat ten billion bowls of soup a year and that 99% of homes have cans of soup in their pantry. That’s a lot of people finding a lot of comfort in soup. I plan to slurp along with the masses. Join me?
Looking for things to do while sheltering-in-place? Read a good book! Check out the new book review section of my website for suggestions.