6 Easy & Delicious Soups {& Why It’s OK To Do Dingy Things}

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Old-Fashioned Beef Barley

I must admit… sometimes I do dingy things.

Those who know me well, and still love me, will tell you this is true. They’ve seen it first-hand.

For example, this one evening my family and our friends were sitting around the campfire talking, laughing, telling stories all while stoking the flames for roasting smores after the sun went down.

The warm aroma of soup in a crock pot filled the crisp, autumn air and as we sat in our big circle there was laughter and kids playing tic tac toe toss behind us and we were having so much fun telling stories to one another.

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Old-Fashioned Beef Barley Soup {& Growing Up 1970s}

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Growing up in the 70s in Michigan was a blast!

My sisters and I practically lived outside.

But on occasion, like when 12 feet of blowing snow leaned against the front door of our brick ranch home, we relied on board games like Clue and Trouble to entertain us for hours on end.

And then there were those days when Mom and Dad left us home for a bit and we had the house all to ourselves.

Those were the times when we would make the best stuff up.  

Like this one crazy game of hide-and-seek mixed with tag.

It made us famous in our neighborhood. Continue reading

Hearty Split Pea & Ham Soup


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Last week was one of those weeks.

A slightly frenzied, up and down, going in circles until I was dizzy kind of week — discombobulated…

Thankfully, the side effects didn’t last long.

Have you had a week like that recently?

One you might compare to a roller coaster ride that zips off before you can catch your breath…

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Creamy Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup

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I think I’ve gone mad.

Pumpkin painting.

Pumpkin shooting.

Pumpkin pie — not just one but two — with leftover pumpkin to boot.

And I told myself that was enough.

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Then this extraordinary commercial came on the television touting a piping hot bowl of soup.

Pumpkin soup.

The rich, creamy kind… my kind

…and I smacked my lips and wondered…

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Asian Hot & Sour Noodle Soup


Did you know some sauces make great soup starters?

My husband taught me this trick.

And just in time too, because I used it for this little number when I had dipping sauce leftover after making these Asian Summer Rolls.

Do you like vermicelli noodles?  

Then you’ll love Asian vermicelli noodles…

…they’re even more petite than the pasta variety.

How about red bell peppers, mushrooms and bamboo shoots?

This soup is loaded with them.

And baby shrimp?

Yep, they’re in here, too!

This soup is so savory, healthy and delicious…

                                    …but in a blow-your-doors-off kind of way…

…as my husband would say.




Asian Hot & Sour Noodle Soup

2-1/2 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 TBSP + 1 tsp chili sauce, such as Sriracha
1/2 fresh lime, juice squeezed out
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 TBSP ginger paste
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper seeds
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup Shitaki or Black Straw mushrooms or any variety, any hard stems removed
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 cup uncooked Thai or Asian Vermicelli noodles (or about one handful)
1 cup baby or salad shrimp
salt (optional)

1. Mix together first 7 ingredients and set aside.

2. In large saucepan add 1 tsp oil then saute crushed red pepper, Bell peppers, green onions and carrots, about 3 minutes. Add in the mix of first 7 ingredients plus chicken broth, mushrooms and bamboo shoots then bring to a boil.

3. Add uncooked noodles and shrimp, lower heat and simmer about 2 minutes or until noodles are al dente. Remove from heat, taste for salt if needed.

Lemony Chicken Soup


Have you ever been to Greece?

Okay, well, then when was the last time you puckered up just a wee bit while sipping soup?

Can’t recall?

I don’t remember either, except for when I recently made this dreamy citrusy soup and nearly ate all of it by myself.

It’s Greek you know so it must be good.

I love Greek food, don’t you?

And soup is my favorite go-to-meal for quick dinners and using up leftovers.

It’s also healthy and great for the figure.

When I can’t zip up the jeans…

… eating lots of soup takes care of that for me.


I opted for rotisserie chicken, pre-shredded carrots, frozen peas and chopped spinach to save time.

P.S. — If you’ve never tried lemony soup before… don’t worry… it’s really smooth and delicious. So go ahead… pucker up and enjoy!

Lemony Chicken Soup

1 tsp olive oil
1 sm clove garlic, finely chopped
6 cups of chicken stock
1 rib celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (leftover or pulled from a rotisserie chicken)
2 large eggs
3-4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

1. HEAT oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until transparent, using a small amount of water if needed. Add stock, celery, onions, carrots, pepper, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until orzo is tender, about 8 minutes.

2. ADD green vegetables and chicken and simmer 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in medium bowl. Warm egg mixture gently by whisking in about 1 cup hot stock in a thin stream.

3. WHISK egg mixture while slowly drizzling into soup and warm briefly over low heat 2 minutes. Do not boil or eggs will curdle. Adjust seasoning as needed with more lemon juice, salt, or pepper and serve.

Senate Bean Soup — Classic Homemade Goodness!



Did you know Capital Hill has their own soup?

                                               …I guess it’s famous….

And they’ve served it there for more than 100 years.

Who knew?

I sure didn’t until I ran across this cool article about it a few years ago.

From what I read, there have been several versions over the years, but the original recipe included mashed potatoes, which they said changed after a potato shortage in the 1950s.

Well, my grandmother Pearl’s navy bean soup tasted nearly identical to this one, so that explains to me why it’s been popular with Senators for this long.

Lucky them!

But, I guess anyone who eats in the cafeteria can order Senate Bean soup now…

…It’s no longer exclusive to just the few.

Isn’t that great!

You know where I’m headed first if I ever get to Washington D. C., right?

Now the original recipe calls for soaking the beans overnight and cooking the ham on the bone first. (That’s how Grandma Pearl did it too!) But I quick soaked the dried beans and used leftover holiday ham.

I also prefer Gordon Foods Chicken Base because its creamy and adds great flavor. (Skip their ham base… It’s too salty.) But you can use one large can (49 oz) of chicken broth instead of Chicken base and water if you prefer.

Senate Bean Soup

1 pound dried navy beans, picked over. Soak beans overnight in 3 times their volume of cold water. (To quick soak: In a large pot or Dutch oven, cover the beans in water, bring to a boil, turn off and allow to soak 1 hour, drain and rinse.)
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound leftover ham, shredded
1 Tbsp chicken base (or to taste)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup milk
Freshly ground pepper

1. In Dutch oven or large pot, saute onion, celery, garlic, parsley in 1 tbsp butter until slightly caramelized. Add rinsed beans, 10 cups of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until beans are tender about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

2. Next, dice one potato and add it to the pot, along with the chicken base. Bring soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add ham and cook about 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, poke holes in the second potato with fork, place in microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap, cook 3 minutes on high in microwave, or until you can press a fork through to center. Mash the potato, allow to cool slightly, add 1 tbsp of butter and milk then stir. Add mashed potato to soup as it cooks on low, adding up to 1 or 2 more cups of water if the soup is too thick. Season with black pepper and serve with bread and butter or cornbread if you like.


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