SOTW: Slow Cooker Vegetable, Bean and Barley Stew

I have fallen totally in love with my slow cooker.  It’s true.  I’ve not yet branched out into non-soup/stew type dishes yet, although Pinterest assures me these options are plentiful.  But to be honest I LOVE soup and while it’s still chilly enough to justify a big steaming bowl of it, I see no reason to move out of the category for the time being.  My six year old twins had their last swim class for this session on Tuesday and despite the slightly warmer than average temperatures last week, they still emerged from the indoor pool with blue lips, chattering teeth, and decidedly tortured dispositions.  I warmed them up in the shower only to have them get cold again walking from the changing room to the car.  Once again I was so very delighted to come home to a big warm Crock Pot full of yumminess.  A few simple directions, and you can have one too.  🙂  The soup of the week (yes, I realize it’s not always once a week, many pardons) is a simple and insanely flavorful vegetable, bean and barley stew. Continue reading

SOTW: Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

What could be better on a chilly day than a hot bowl of tomato soup?  I have an answer to that – on a chilly day, the only thing better than a hot bowl of tomato soup is a hot bowl of tomato soup that is waiting for you, nearly complete, when you walk in the door with two pool-soaked “freezing cold” six year old swimmers.

I should confess that as a child I was never a tomato soup eater – the ever present Campbell’s soup can didn’t do a thing for me, but Mr. Little Sis was a huge fan.  I was always happy to simply eat the grilled cheese that usually accompanied a great bowl of tomato soup.  As my love affair with the tomato became a permanent state, however, I’ve given this simple dish another chance.  In the past I found that creamy versions usually were my preference, but in more recent days, I’ve avoided creamy soup.  What to do?

I was confident someone on the vast internet had conquered the creamy tomato soup with no cream conundrum, and lo and behold, I was correct.  I stumbled onto a recipe that uses beans to thicken, fortify, and give soup some body.  Being the me that I am, I took the recipe to heart and promptly began changing it to meet my increasingly particular standards. 😉  The result was a creamy and flavorful soup that was warming to the toes, each bite full of tomato goodness.  Smoked paprika evokes roasted goodness and smoky warmth.  So flavorful, and so perfectly simple. Continue reading

Beet Soup – Ruby Goodness

As a child I loved pickled beets.  Now I have moved away from childish things… actually I’ve just never purchased pickled beets as an adult and I always end up roasting any beets that I’ve managed to coax from the soil.  Beets are oh so companionably roasted with sweet potatoes and other little colorful potatoes.  Anyway, it was nice to expand the beet repertoire with this simple, easy and nourishing use of beets found at Health, Home & Happiness

Being rebels with poor planning skills, we ate this ‘Cold Beet Soup’ hot for dinner and then cold the next day.  I thought it was delicious both ways, and once again, my 11 year old gave a thumbs up to a food that I thought would be stretching the envelope of his tolerance.  Either he is growing so fast that he’s starving and will eat anything, or his palate is broadening with age.  Or maybe this stuff is just really yummy!!

And don’t throw the beet greens away!  I like to saute them (and anything else not tied down) in a little olive oil and garlic!  Or follow these directions or braising beet greens: http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine-food/cooking-beet-greens-155600995.html

Cold Beet Soup

4 medium beets, peeled and chopped (I peel the part of the beet that is hardened and dirty looking)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped (I am BiggSis and I never met a carrot that I wanted to peel)
3 cups stock, or more to thin the soup as desired
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper -optional
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped -optional (I did not use dill)
2 cloves garlic – add more to taste
Cultured cream, to serve (I used goat cheese, and Little Sis came up with a vegan sour cream that would be great I think!)

Directions for cold beet soup:
Place the beets, carrots, and stock in a crock pot.

Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, until the beets are soft. Add remaining ingredients and puree in a food processor or blender. Add more stock to thin as desired.

Ruby Soup – there’s no place like bowl… there’s no place like bowl….there’s no place like bowl

Chill well and serve topped with yogurt or cultured cream as desired.

Lunch the next day. How I love leftovers!

Enjoy my friends!  (And hey check out the picture of the food actually on the plate, semi-artfully arranged!  I must have not been starving that day.)

http://www.healthhomehappy.com/2011/07/cold-beet-soup.html