Tag Archives: soup

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thai coconut soup
from Epicurious.com

It all started with a birthday celebration and Voxer.

6 girlfriends and I went to a local Italian restaurant for Spaghetti Night and to celebrate some recent birthdays.  This group of gals could not be a more mixed bag: some married, some single; some with kids, some with no kids; ages ranging from early 30’s to 60’s.  Some have known each other since birth, some are new to the group.  But we are all friends.  We care about each other.  We do life together.

We had a great time celebrating and eating heartily (no one in this group is bashful about eating) then we hopped in our cars, drove away to our 7 different homes and went to bed.

And then the next day something strange and beautiful happened.

Bright and early the next day, I heard my phone buzzing, messages coming in on Voxer (an app that is like walkie-talkie meets voicemail).  But I was at work and I didn’t have time to stop.  It seemed every 10 or 15 minutes my phone was alerting me to a new message!  Later in the morning I had a few moments and I listened to the thread of messages from all 6 of my friends and it went something like this (paraphrasing for the sake of time):

(Friend 1) Thank you everyone for coming out last night, I loved spending an evening with all of you, eating and being loud.

(Friend 2) Yes, thank you everyone, it was amazing to spend time with you all.  Let’s do it again on St. Patrick’s Day!

(Friend 3) I want to second that, I had so much fun with you all.  Send pictures!

(Friend 4) Amen, all my favorite girls in one place!  Will have to do a Shamrock Day just to have an excuse to get together again!

(Friend 5) Thank you all for such a wonderful night, I had such a good time laughing with you. Thank you for reminding me how beautiful life is.

Here’s what I forgot to tell you about this group of gals: every single one of us is going through something.  Big things, little things. Life things.  And although we spent a good amount of time laughing and celebrating the night before, we also shared the challenges and heartaches we were dealing with that week.  That day.

So the Voxer conversation took a turn later in the morning that went like this:

(Friend 3) Friend 5, I went to bed with you on my mind and woke up with you on my mind.  I’m praying for you today!

(Friend 4)  Amen, I’m praying for all of you!

(Friend 6) Can someone pray for me, I’ve been sick for a month and now I’ve thrown my back out!

So we spent the next few hours sending each other words of encouragement and prayer.

Then out of the blue, the subject of soup came up:

(Friend 4) I know what will make you feel better Friend 6, my Thai Coconut Soup that you love so much.

(Friend 1) Umm… I really like your Thai Coconut Soup too!

(Friend 3) Yeah, I’ve been feeling under the weather…. I need some healing soup….

(Me) I don’t think I’ve ever had this soup….

(Friend 5) I like soup too!!

So Friend Number 4 did something completely and totally selfless: she volunteered to make a vat of Thai Coconut Soup for all of us to share.  She packaged it up individually and all we had to do was show up at her house and pick it up.

And we did.Every single girl drove over to her house to receive her gift of soup.  And while we ate her Thai Coconut Soup later that day we knew we were loved, that we were not alone in this mean world.

I know I’ve shared this with you before, but I’m going to share it again today and I’ll go on sharing it every time I feel like I should. Jesus made a big deal out of feeding people.  There is a connection between nourishing someone’s body and nourishing someone’s soul.  It’s such a small act, but conveys so much.

I hope you all have a support group as amazing as mine.  I hope you have people in your life who will make soup for you when they find out you are sick.  If not, you just let me know.

Here is the link to the recipe on Epicurious for Thai Chicken Coconut Soup.  This is not the exact recipe that Friend 4 used but I think it’s pretty close.

Maybe you can make a little extra and share it with someone this weekend.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I’m betting you have a fridge full of leftovers.  Well, my dad kept all the leftovers at his house so I bought a little turkey to cook tomorrow specifically for the purpose of having turkey sandwiches and turkey soup.  But I’m not going to make just any soup, mine is going to have a Latin flair.  I’m loosely basing it off of a recipe for  Tortilla Soup by Lourdes Castro.  As a side note, I really recommend this book, (even though she isn’t Mexican, she’s Cuban.  Oh well, everyone can’t be perfect :) )

Now, I know some of you indulged a little too much yesterday and are having to live in your stretchy pant today.  It’s OK, this recipe is not creamy and heavy like some of the tortilla soups served in chain restaurants (blech!).  This soup is light, brothy, smokey, de-licious and very healthy.

I know what some of you are thinking:  “Carey made this so it must have 12 hot peppers in it.”  Guess what?  There are NO hot peppers in this recipe.   You can make it spicy if you want to but the base is just tomato, onion & garlic and it so flavorful you won’t miss the punch of hot peppers.

So I just adapted the recipe to turkey, using my turkey carcass for homemade stock but you can use canned chicken stock too.  Oh, and this base will freeze beautifully, just leave the “toppings” out until just before serving.


Turkey Tortilla Soup (adapted from Lourdes Castro’s Tortilla Soup)


2 large tomatoes

1 small white onion, peeled and quartered

3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

2 tablespoons canola oil (or other vegetable oil)

6 cups of low sodium turkey broth (or chicken)

Leftover turkey, chopped into small pieces (roughly 2 cups)

Over medium high heat, heat up a dry cast iron skillet (or non-stick).  Put the tomatoes, onion and garlic in the pan and allow to cook, getting black spots on all sides.  When veggies are toasted and softened remove to a blender BUT allow to cool for a few minutes (don’t puree hot food, you’ll be sorry!).  Pop the garlic out of it’s skin.  Once cooled, puree veggies until all chunks are gone.

In a large soup pot heat up the oil over medium high heat.  Add the veggie puree and watch out because it will sputter and splatter at you.  Cook and stir the mixture until it darkens and reduces by almost half.  If you need some spice in your soup, now would be a good time to add a pinch of chile powder.  You can also add a scant pinch of salt and pepper but don’t go crazy with the salt because we will be reducing the soup again.

Add the broth and turkey, give it a stir then allow it to come up to a low boil then reduce to a simmer.  Allow to simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes then test for seasoning.  Add a pinch of salt if needed.  That’s the base, now it’s time for the toppings.


shredded or crumbled cheese (preferably Mexican queso fresco but Monterrey Jack is a good option)

cilantro, roughly chopped

tortilla chips, roughly crumbled

avocado, thinly sliced

Serve the soup in warmed bowls and then top with the above toppings or anything else that suits your fancy!



This is me, sitting in my pink flannel Christmas pajamas and fuzzy Christmas socks, enjoying a steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup with dumplings. And the best part is, it only took about 30 minutes to make. That’s right, you heard me, 30 minutes.

Naturally, when the weather cools I begin to crave soup.  Soup every day. Bowls and bowls of soup! Now, I’m not going to lie… I occasionally like to eat soup from a can, Campbell’s Homestyle Chicken Noodle specifically. And when I am sick I crave Chicken Top Ramen. I think it must be all the salt.

But nothing, I mean NOTHING beats homemade chicken soup. So when I read this article at The Kitchn for a quick chicken soup I just had to try it. And I am here to report, I have made it nearly every week so far this winter. Or at least my version of it. I highly, highly recommend the “less than an hour” version for weeknights or even a weekend when you don’t want to spend a ton of time slaving in the kitchen.

I’m not going to go over the whole recipe; how silly would that be since they’ve done such a fine job already.  But I will share with you a few tweaks I have made:

I have made this enough times now that I can guess approximately how much of the carrot-onion-celery mixture I want, so I don’t measure. And so far, I have used whatever onions I had in the house which have always been white. I’m sure it’s great with the suggested green onions, I just haven’t given it shot yet. My point is, if all you have are yellow onions use ’em, it will turn out great.

You should also know that I do things a teensy bit out of order according to the recipe, but I think it’s easier. I saute’ my mirepoix (just a fancy French term for carrot, celery & onion) until slightly softened and add the liquid to it, not the other way around as they do at The Kitchn. Feel free to do it your way, it IS your kitchen after all.

Now, a word about stock.  Like most people I often use store-bought stock in a box.  It’s great in a pinch and it has decent flavor if you add some fresh veg to it like they do in this recipe.  BUT I don’t always have it on hand.  Wanna know what I do usually have on hand?  Chicken Soup Base from Sunflower Natural Foods here in Yuba City.  It is organic, it is versatile, it is inexpensive, it’s easy to store and it’s easy to prepare.  And the people at Sunflower are very special to me.  Shop at Sunflower!

What were we doing??  Oh right, cooking soup!

So…. I take about 4-5 heaping spoonfuls of the chicken soup base and add it plus 4-5 cups of water to the mirepoix (the carrot-celery-onion!) and ta-dah… yummy broth!

This is also your opportunity to reach into your spice cabinet and throw in anything else you might like. I love this spice blend from Napa Style here in CA. It has a perfectly balanced blend of garlic, fennel, etc. so I throw a generous pinch in my soup.

(Why does my hand look like a Shar Pei here?  Weird.)

Also at this point I throw in shredded or chopped chicken or turkey breast. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it really makes this soup a meal. Let it all simmer away for 10-15 minutes just to make sure the flavors are combined and well developed.

It is at this point you have to make a decision: plain, dumplings or pasta. Plain is… well…. easy. Pasta is really pretty easy also.  Just grab a handful of small pasta such as ditalini (tiny tubes) or acini de pepe (tiny balls) and simmer for just 5 more minutes. Or…..

… you can take the flavor all the way to top and add dumplings. I really like the flavor of the dumplings suggested by The Kitchn, but to be perfectly frank, I have not yet mastered the Art of the Dumpling. I don’t know if it’s the recipe or just my inexperience but I am still working on the perfect dumpling. My dumpling challenges aside, they add such a wonderful richness to the broth that you just won’t get with the pasta. They do take a little longer, but very much worth the effort if you have time.

So there you have it. It’s so satisfying and quite good for you. It’s almost worth getting sick just to have this healthy yummy soup.  I said almost!!

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Baby, it’s cold outside!  OK, out here in the Sunshine State of California it may not be as cold as it is in say, Michigan,  but for us Best-Coast-ers, a low of 28* and a high of 52* is BRRRRRRR!  And that is why I am craving soup.

Lately, I have been making a lot of quick-weeknight chicken soup, I’ll share more about that hopefully next week.  But tonight I was looking through my archive of soup recipes on my Google Reader (if you don’t use Google Reader you should!), and I was reminded of these two soups and I can’t decide which one I want to make first!

This first one is Chipotle Pumpkin Soup from Simply Recipes and it sounds yummy and easy.  I think the chipotle would help warm me down to my frozen toes and a swirl of Mexican crema to top it off….oh yum!   I bought extra canned pumpkin during the holidays that needs to be used up so I’m halfway there.   I think it would be easier if I had one of these:

But enough dreaming of kitchen equipment we don’t have room for, on to the 2nd soup.

This one is a Nutty Sweet Potato Soup by Ellie Krieger. It has warming cayenne and ginger and the thing that has me really curious is this ingredient: peanut butter!  I’m not sure if it’s Thai inspired or maybe Moroccan…. I don’t know but I think it could be really good on a cold winter day.

Ohhhhh, which to make??!!