Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Two Warming Soups for a Frenetic Month

I use this cook book more than any other.  If you don't have a copy and you eat with the seasons, you simply MUST have a copy.  Go here to order one now!

The month of October has been even busier than normal:  karate, gymnastics, archery class and soccer keep us on the go throughout the week.  This schedule combined with the colder weather and produce that still needs to be eaten means that the crock pot has been seeing a lot of action.   Now, if we can just make it to November...

All of these soups freeze well, so I often double, or even triple the recipes.

Hearty Broccoli Soup

Adapted from Simply in Season

Feel free to vary the vegetables.  I use what I have, and it always tastes good.

4 c. chopped potatoes
1 c. onion chopped
2 c. chopped carrots
1 c. celery chopped
4 c. chopped broccoli
4 c. water
4 bullion cubes
6 c. milk mixed with 2/3 c. flour before adding to crock pot
2 t. soy sauce
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper

2 c. shredded cheddar

Cook on low for 6-8 hrs.  Add cheese right before serving.

Autumn Harvest Soup

Adapted from Simply in Season

1 c. onion - chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 c. each chopped - kale, cabbage, carrots, green pepper
1 t. salt
1T each fresh basil, oregano, parsley and sage
4 c. water
4 bullion cubes
1 pint canned tomatoes or 2 fresh  - chopped
1 1/2 soaked beans (kidney or other)
1 c. corn
3 T red wine
4 t. barley

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Add 1/2 c. whole wheat alphabet pasta during the last hour of cooking.

Peanut Butter Vegetable Soup

This recipe came from my friend Jane over at Thy Hand.  Jane swore that her kids loved this soup, and said I needed to try it.  I was skeptical about the peanut butter part, but once again - Jane was right.  Who knew that peanut butter and tomatoes make such a great pair? 

This one is fast and easy.  I prepped it and threw it in the crock pot this morning while I was waiting for the coffee to brew.  When I came in the door at 6:30 dinner was almost done.   Heaven!

2 lg. sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
2 lg. carrots peeled and chopped
1 huge bunch of chard, kale or collards - chopped
1 quart of canned tomatoes or 4 large - chopped
1/2 onion - chopped
4 cloves garlic - chopped
1 c. peanut butter
4 c. water
4 bullion cubes

Rounding Out The Meal

The night before, when I'm thawing and chopping ingredients for the soup, I also pull out a loaf of zucchini bread and a jar of applesauce.  When it's dinner time it's simple to just add those things to the table. 

A Few Crock Pot Tips

1) Prep while you're cleaning up the kitchen the night before.  Peel and chop everything and put it in plastic containers in the fridge.
2) Put anything that doesn't need refrigerated directly into the crock pot (salt, spices, etc.) the night before - that means less measuring.
3) Don't put your crock in the fridge - this can cause it to crack.
4) Don't put frozen items directly in the crock - this can cause it to crack.  If you're using something frozen thaw it out the night before.
5) Double check to make sure the crock is one before you head out in the morning.  Nothing  is worse than walking in the door thinking that dinner is ready, and it's still cold.

My crock pot is one of my favorite tools to give my family a healthy, local meal.  I felt very smug when I was pulling out of the parking lot after practice tonight.  I counted several cars where parents were handing their kids fast food bags.  Being organized and prepared in advance means that I have options that are good for my wallet, my waistline and the environment.  I feel warm right to my toes.

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