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soupGrowing up on the mild-weathered West Coast, I never thought much about soup.  That changed when I moved to Boston, spending my first winter here this year…a record-breaking winter, as we all know!  To focus on the positives, I learned many things this season, including good snow-shoveling techniques and how to be productive while working from home.  But the big, life-long lesson I took away from the never-ending season of snow was this: soup makes everything better!

Soup is comforting and warm.  It can be very healthy, since it can contain lots of vegetables and good protein sources.  And soups are flexible – you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand and play around with spices, knowing that the final product will be greater than the sum of its parts. There are as many soups as there are moods, days, weather conditions, and ingredients.

Instead of a recipe, here’s a general guide for how to create your own soup.  This way, you can use whatever you have on hand, and have fun experimenting!

  1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add chopped vegetables (usually some combination of onions, garlic, celery, and/or carrots) and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add meat, chicken, turkey or fish if you are using meat.
  4. Add your liquid (stock, broth, wine, water, tomato puree), as well as any other ingredients: beans, lentils, vegetables, and spices.
  5. Cook for 1-2 hours until all ingredients are tender. Adjust the seasonings throughout this time as needed, according to your tastes.
  6. If using milk, add it at the end.
  7. Blend the soup, or leave it chunky.
  8. Enjoy!

It’s that simple!  And with spring finally here, I’m looking forward to using this guide to bring fresh spring flavors and vegetables into my soups instead of labeling soups as only good for winter.

What are your favorite soup ideas?  Let us know!

By Kaytlin Fischer, Simmons College Dietetic Intern

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