Autumn is my favorite time of the year. The falling leaves, the cooler temperatures, and a warm kitchen put me in the mood for soups. I am a sucker for soups of all kinds: thick bubbly pureed ones, thin savory broth ones, chunky ones with lots of texture variety. My mom is the same way. Here are the recipies for my two newest soup discoveries and my current favorites.
African Yam and Peanut SoupBubbly, warm and satisfying, this soup has one of the most unique flavors I've ever tasted. Made with almost entirely tubers and seasoned wtih exotic spices, it has a markedly African character. It can be made vegetarian, if that's your thing, even qualifying as vegan, without losing anything that makes this great.
1 Tbs olive oil
medium yellow onion, chopped
3 yams, peeled and cubed (I use sweet potoatoes)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 2 Tbs from a jar of preminced garlic)
can diced tomatoes
1tsp Cinnamon, ground
2 tsp Cumin, ground
1/2 tsp Turmeric, ground
few dashes black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
4-5 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (use natural, no sugar, so the soup isn't sweet)
green onion tops, chopped
Heat oil in large stew pot on medium heat. Add onion and saute until onion is getting translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add garlic and saute for another few minutes. Add yams (or sweet potatoes), tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and pepper. Give it all a quick stir to combine.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until yams are very tender.
Add peanut butter and stir well. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until it is mostly pureed. It should appear creamy but have small chunks.
Serve topped with a sprinkle of green onion.
Zuppa ToscanaAfter falling in love with this soup at Olive Garden, I came up with my own way to have it at home. It is way lower in calories and fat than the one from the restaurant but just as tasty. The biggest selling point is that it is impressive enough for company but 30 minutes, start to finish, makes it perfect for last minute guests or just a weekday when you forgot to make dinner plans.
1 lb bulk turkey breakfast type sausage
package onion soup mix
3 cups broth (I use chicken)
2 cups water
2 cans potatoes - drained
bundle of fresh kale, cut off of stems and chopped
1 1/2 cup milk
Brown sausage in a large stew pot, chopping with the spatuala as it cooks. Use some of the water to keep the sausage from burning and sticking while you do this. When the pink is all gone and the chunks are in smaller than bitesized pieces, add the onion soup mix, broth, water, and potatoes. Bring to light boil and turn off the heat. Add kale and milk. Mix, let kale warm up (it won't wilt much) and serve. Enjoy the soup and the praise, all the while knowing it was easy peasy.
Hateful Burden (Book 1 of the Carrier Trilogy)One reviewer says, "A dark, moody look into both the fantasy world of paranormal and early attempts at treating psychological disorders... Yet it also has romantic love, familial love and friendship bonding that are portrayed with sensitivity and finesse."
If you are looking for something a bit darker than the usual paranormal romance, give this a try..."Hateful Burden is unlike anything I've ever read before. Its shocking and thought-provoking. The characters are both likeable as well as easy to hate."
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