When In Doubt, Make Soup

Makin’ another pot of soup, as is evident by the bloodshot, teary eyes I’m sporting above. Stupid onions get me every time, but I still love throwing them in a pot with some garlic and olive oil and then making things up as I go along. Especially on a day like today, which feels more like Seattle than Northern California.

Today’s special is kind of a clean-out-the produce-bin concoction. I had some chard, carrots, onion, mushrooms, celery, garlic, and potatoes. I’m cooking them in veggie broth with various herbs and then I’m throwing in some cooked barley to give it a little heft. We’ll see how it turns out. It certainly smells promising, and it packs the typical eye-burning onion-and-garlic hit that has me opening all the windows for the first half-hour of cooking.

I’m not sure when this soup will actually be consumed, since the father of our new grandchild has graciously donated a big ol’ pile of beef ribs for Brad to cook tonight. I’ll be abstaining, since I’m still sticking to my meatless regime, but ribs are a good excuse to eat some deliciously decadent side like macaroni & cheese. At any rate, my favorite thing about making these big batches of soup and chili and stuff is that I can freeze meal-sized containers of them for later.

By my mention of mac & cheese you can tell I’m not doing the vegan thing so far. Kind of tossing the idea around and experimenting with it a little bit (hemp milk tastes funny, rice milk looks really watery but doesn’t taste as watery as it looks, and almond milk is my favorite non-dairy milk so far), but not sure how far I want to go or exactly how principled I want to commit to being.

Has anyone reading this ever thought of cutting certain items out of their diet for reasons other than weight loss or allergies? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and (if you actually did make the change) what the reactions were of the people around you. Nobody has given me much trouble yet about going vegetarian, but I’ve been keeping a pretty low profile. I’m sure the first backyard barbecue I attend this spring will be the true test.

10 thoughts on “When In Doubt, Make Soup

  1. your soup sound great. i could do without meat a lot of times but live with a bunch of major carnivores. if there is no meat in ti, it is just a snack.

  2. Have you tried coconut milk? I have never been much of a milk lover(even growing up with grandparents owning a dairy farm). Not to mention I really don’t believe milk is full of all the great benefits our government would like us to believe. I have tried many different diet plans over the years. I was vegetarian for 2 years but found I wasn’t able to absorb iron from plants and needed the meat to keep me from passing out. The biggest change that I have ever made that has been a lasting change and will be for the rest of my life is the choice of meat I eat. I only (unless of course someone else is fixing me dinner, in that case I would eat whatever they serve and ask no questions) eat grass fed, home grown, humanly raised beef and pork and I try really hard to find chicken to buy the same way. There are so many reasons that I have chosen to live this way, health being at the top of the list. It seems that a lot of our generation of folks don’t seem to mind(well, except around these parts). The older generations think I am crazy. My mom has always been a big cheap protein kind of gal and she just thinks we are wasting our money and time. Makes me grateful that I can buy my own food. I cook meals for families and the two most popular types of diet people are on right now are the Paleo (aka the cave man diet) and clean eating. Both of these focus on eating real food. Nothing processed, fresh…that kind of thing. We have eaten this way for years in our house but didn’t have a name for it. If only I had thought of calling it “Clean Eating” and written a bunch of cook books I would be filthy rich…dammit!! Anyway…sorry to go on and on…but this happens to be one of those subjects that I love to go on and on about! One last thought…..two really good reads are EATING ANIMALS and ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE. I will leave you alone now!!! 🙂

    • Don’t “leave me alone now”–I love comments and I’m just so excited that somebody’s reading my posts, and also that there’s somebody else around here who’s interested in making informed food choices! I saw on your Facebook page that you have yourself down as a “Personal Chef,” but I didn’t know if you really were or if you were just talking about at your house. 🙂

      I haven’t tried coconut milk yet, but I will in my ongoing quest. I love dairy. Dairy and eggs. Last night when I saw your comment here, I was polishing off a big glob of chocolate ice cream, but in daily life I’m trying to cut back on the cow’s milk products. I’m not having any trouble abstaining from meat, but if we had a little bigger place I’d totally be getting some chickens for eggs. As it is I’m going to start buying from the local egg guy. I just get madder and madder at the food industry and I’m getting choosier about who I give my money to. I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (in fact, I just snagged it back from my mom so I can reread it), and I’ve picked up Eating Animals but not actually brought it home yet. I’ll probably do a post soon in which I get deeper into my reasons for changing my diet. Thanks so much for your interest and feedback, Tawnya!

  3. Okay….just one thought. Be careful buying your eggs from your local egg guy. If he is who I think he is, I caught him buying eggs for resale from grocery outlet the other day. I was so disappointed. I have talked to this man several times and he is a very charming, friendly man…but I think he has a bit of a scam going.

  4. My thoughts exactly. Every time I see the Tri Counties bank commercial on tv and see him on it I cringe. Some friends of mine that live in Chico used to buy his eggs. We were talking about it the other day and I hadn’t mentioned what I had seen at grocery outlet yet. They said that they stopped buying his eggs because the yolks were so pale they thought maybe his chickens were sick or something. Initially when I saw him buying them I just thought that maybe it was winter and his egg production was down but now I am not so sure. I can tell you this….he paid $3.99 for two dozen brown eggs. I am not sure what he sells his eggs for. Enough said about that.
    About Dairy: I love cheese…..and I have tried and tried to convince myself that coffee is fine without half and half. Truth is, nothing can take the place of half and half in my coffee except maybe actual cream. I just think people should be educated properly on the benefits of dairy. The FDA spends a fortune trying to convince us that we need milk for calcium, when in truth, the process of pasteurization and homogenizing removes any calcium that we may have been able to absorb and replaces it with a chemically produced calcium that we could never absorb. So, yes milk has calcium, we just can’t absorb any of it. You probably already know all of this, but I can’t help but talk about it. I grew up on a diary farm and have talked to my uncle about these issues at length. He regretfully admits that on his dairy farm he fed his cows all kinds of crap to make them produce more milk. Hormones, animal by-products etc, etc. I try really hard to only buy organic cheese (not cheap) because at least they are not allowed to inject hormones in the “organic cow”. Okay…that is all I have the energy for today. I could go on and on…but I will spare you!!!

    • Please go on all you like–this is the stuff I’m most interested in right now. I’ll take all the info I can get!

  5. There’s are two ways I know of to chop onions without crying: wear contact lenses (or give the job to someone who wears them) or watch this youtube video. Apparently, cutting through the root is the way you start crying – so leave the root and you won’t have a problem. Who knew?

    • Ahh, I could listen to Chef Ramsay say “gripping the butt” over and over….

      Thanks for the tip and the demo. This is how I did it and I teared up anyway–too slow, I’m guessing, and maybe not as awesome of a blade. Sharpen your knives, folks, leave the root alone, and by all means be swift!

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