Sunday, January 6, 2008

Soup For When the Skies are Grey

It's been grey, gross and drizzly here for the past few days, both weather and health wise. While my maladies are nothing new to me, my family, or anyone reading this blog, my stepbrother (AKA the human garbage disposal) is sick with a nasty chest cold and stomach bug (which he seems to have passed my way, thank you ever so much, Dan). To top things off, my baby sister (who is a fantabulous visual artist and champion horseback rider with the Ontario Pony Club) was thrown off today in a lesson, smacking her head before being kicked by her horse as she hit the ground. She's okay, and was fully cleared at the emergency room (not even a concussion, thank God) but stiff and bruised, as can be expected. However, I have just the thing for dreary days of any sort! Home-made soup mixes are a great gift for anyone who is recovering from a bout of illness or who tends to get cold in the winter (a la moi), or anyone who you feel could use a little homespun cheer now and then but doesn’t have the time to make soup from home.

This first soup-in-a-jar recipe is completely vegan, completely wholesome, and completely delicious! I invented it while trying to figure out a good gift for Andrew's parents at Christmas, and though I don't think they've made it yet, I can tell you that my small bowl (made with the remnants) was mighty delicious and satisfying, especially after the exhausting mall-crawling.

Beans n’ Barley Soup in a Jar
Serves 6
2 envelopes vegetable bouillon
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
½ cup dehydrated soup vegetables
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon paprika
2/3 cup barley
½ cup dried split peas
¾ cup dry lentils

  1. In a large, wide-mouth jar, combine bouillon granules, dehydrated onion, soup vegetables, and seasonings.
  2. Place a layer of cellophane or Saran wrap over the seasonings in the jar, bringing it up the inner sides of the container.
  3. Layer in the barley, split peas and lentils.
  4. Seal the jar and decorate as you wish.
  5. Attach a recipe card with the following directions:
    - Place upper layer of jar contents in a large stockpot and cover with 6 cups water and 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid.
    - Stir in seasonings and bring to a boil.
    - Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
    - Check after 30 minutes and add additional water if necessary.

Per Serving (dry):
Calories: 117.0
Total Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 29.0 mg
Total Carbs: 24.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
Protein: 4.9 g

This next mix is a great quick-fix lunch if you're on the go, or only have access to a kettle at work or school. Creamy, tangy and richly flavoured, this was my gift to Andrew's dad so that he could actually have a spot of lunch while slogging through shifts at Tim Hortons.

Instant Buttermilk – Potato Cheese Soup in a Jar
Serves 4
1 ¾ cups instant mashed potato flakes
1 ¼ cups dry skim milk powder
¼ cup buttermilk powder
½ cup powdered white cheddar cheese (like from macaroni and cheese mixes)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried chives
¼ teaspoon pepper

  1. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly blended.
  2. Pour into a jar, and decorate as desired.
  3. Attach the following instructions:
    - To serve, place 2/3 cup soup mix in bowl.
    - Stir in 1 cup boiling water until smooth, let sit 2 minutes and enjoy!
Per Serving (dry):
Calories: 397.5
Total Fat: 17.2 g
Cholesterol: 28.1 mg
Sodium: 1,712.4 mg
Total Carbs: 43.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 23.6 g