Lovely fall weather . . . or maybe just cool weather . . . triggers our desire for a comforting bowl of soup. Yes, you can seek out recipes, but this is a great opportunity to begin to be creative!

Our daughter, Anna, has been around great cooks (that would be me and our many friends who cook!) her entire life. Recently, while I was out of town, she called me to help her make ‘SOUP!’ Three batches of soup later, she now calls herself a ‘soup expert’!

soup300I walked her through the basics and realized those basics might be of help for you.

1. Sauté onions, garlic and celery in a pan (I suggest coconut oil for the oil)
Suggestion: 1 chopped onion, 1 TBL garlic, 2-4 stalks celery, chopped

2. Identify the veggies you would like (i.e., carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, winter squash, spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.) and chop to similar sizes. You can use fresh or frozen (avoid the canned!). I usually work with 4 cups of veggies (more if you want lots of great nutrition).

3. Identify the protein you would like. If using animal protein, you can use ground or larger pieces (i.e., turkey, chicken, red meat) and sauté it separate from the veggies. We like using ground turkey! Again, I use coconut oil. If you would like a vegetarian soup, consider beans (can use canned or soak and cook your own). I usually work with 1 pound of protein or 1-2 cans of beans.

4. Add a liquid. For this amount of ingredients I would use about 4 cups. You can use stock or water. If using water, be sure you have enough seasoning to flavor it. I don’t use bouillon cubes due to the sodium content and artificial ingredients. You might also add a can of tomatoes to your soup for variety.

5. SPICE IT UP! This is where creativity really shines (and where most people get nervous!). Common additions that I use (all seasonings are optional):

a. 1-2 bay leaves (can be purchased in bulk at most stores)
b. 3-5 whole cloves
c. parsley (2-4 TBL fresh or 1 tsp dried)
d. seasoning blends (I love Penzey’s blends for soups – – about 1-2 tsp…from Penzey’s I often use Fox Point)
e. salt (sea salt or celtic salt) and pepper to taste

6. Last TIP – – write down what you do! When you create that ‘perfect’ soup, it is awesome to know what you did! If you want to tweak it, your notes help you do that too. Most of all enjoy learning to be creative in the kitchen! Anna has discovered her ‘current favorite’ soup by doing these simple steps!