Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Soups (page 2 of 4)

Refreshing Cucumber Mint Soup

Cool off with this refreshing and invigorating cucumber mint soup. Cucumbers, mint, and lime juice are some of the coolest foods around.  When pureed with an avocado, some coconut milk, and spices, you get an amazingly flavorful and healthy chilled soup that has a lovely, creamy texture.

cucumber mint soup with pink vaseWith the outdoor temperature around here soaring this week, a cold soup is a perfect addition to any meal.  And it is so easy to make–just put the ingredients in a blender and blend! Then pour it into a container and let it chill!  This recipe is adapted from my husband’s favorite cookbook, Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier.  It is a plant-based, vegan recipe–great for building up the immune system and recharging the body with lots of wonderful nutrients. If you don’t like coconut milk, you can always substitute Greek yogurt to get the creamy texture without the subtle coconut taste.  I have gotten so I really like the coconut milk taste, and it feels good to have an alternative to dairy sometimes, though I still love my cheese and yogurt.

I made this soup a couple of times this week especially for my husband.  Like I mentioned, he loves the Thrive cookbook, and he loves all these super-healthy, plant-based recipes.  Since he is almost fully recovered from his knee surgery and enjoying doing more running and exercising outside, he is looking for food that will help his body renew and gain energy.  Our kids don’t love this soup, so it is in honor of my husband that I make it (though I like it a lot too).  In the busy hubbub of our days and our life right now, he doesn’t always get the special attention he got when we were first married.  He is my biggest supporter when it comes to me doing this blog, and he is awesome.

cucumber mint soup with pink vase 4Summer is fully, completely here.  We went swimming at a nearby lake last weekend.  Before we left for home, I went into the bathroom there to change out of my wet bathing suit. The changing room had an open-air courtyard and curtains across the individual changing stalls.  The wind came in through the open ceiling and was lightly blowing the curtains, not enough to compromise anyone’s privacy, but enough that the curtains were billowing gently in the breeze, creating a hushed, peaceful atmosphere.  It was such a serene setting, with the sun shining through the leaves in the open-air ceiling, and the curtains quietly flowing with the breeze.  Women from all walks of life were going in and out, and everyone was so peaceful and refreshed after cooling off in the lake.  I never expected to find this lovely setting in a public bathroom at a state park. It was a quiet oasis in the middle of a busy crowd, like time was standing still for a few minutes.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and can find some time for some peace in the middle of it all! Fiesta Friday is a happy space to visit too, and I plan to head over there soon. Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck are co-hosting this week.cucumber mint soup in hands 3cucumber mint soup spicescucumber mint soup on traycucumber mint soup in sun 2

Cucumber Mint Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:

  • 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • a small handful of fresh mint leaves, torn from the stems
  • a small handful of cilantro leaves, torn from the stems
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • a pinch of chili powder
  • fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Wash the vegetables and herbs. Peel and coarsely chop the cucumbers.  If they have big seeds, cut out the seedy parts before chopping.  Tear the mint and cilantro from their stems and peel and chop the avocado. Squeeze the lime juice. Place the cucumber, mint, cilantro, avocado and lime juice in a blender.  Add the cumin, sea salt, and pepper.  Puree all the ingredients.  Add the coconut milk and lightly blend to combine.  Add more salt, if desired.  Pour the soup into a container, cover it tightly, and chill for at least an hour.  Serve the soup cold as a side dish or a light lunch. Top with a pinch of chili powder (it looks pretty when swirled) and mint leaves if desired. This tastes great with tortilla chips! Enjoy!

 

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

This delicious soup cooks all day in your crockpot, and when you are ready for dinner, all you have to do is ladle it into some bowls and relax. Creamy potatoes and flavorful leeks, gently cooked all day with chicken and broth, combine to make a hearty soup that soothes and nourishes.  It has been a cold spring here, and there aren’t many vegetables growing very quickly yet.  But leeks are in season in early spring, and potatoes are so versatile that they are almost always in season.  A warm soup tastes good at the end of the day, especially to those coming in from a chilly evening soccer practice or outdoor excursion.

potato leek soup with lilacs on white 9I love a good leek and potato soup, but this time I wanted to add chicken to make the meal extra filling for my growing boy and my hungry husband.  The mild flavor of chicken and chicken broth go great with the potatoes and leeks.  At the end of the cooking time, I added milk instead of the traditional cream, to make it lighter, yet still creamy and silky. Leek and potato soup is usually pureed in a blender, but with the chicken, that is not such a good idea.  However, I found that since the vegetables cooked all day in the crockpot, they were very tender and soft anyway.  Topped with some fresh chives and salt and pepper, this meal is a keeper.

potato leek soup with blue 3I have had my crockpot for many years, and I find it to be such a lifesaver during the times in our life when I am unable to be home making dinner at dinner time.  This week has been that kind of a week, and this soup really hit the spot for my guys–with leftovers, we had it two nights in a row.  If you need a quick crockpot soup to throw together in the morning so you can get out of a pinch in the evening, this is a delicious one!

The upside of a chilly spring is that the flowering trees and bushes seem to be suspended in slow motion.  The lilacs are still blooming beautifully and the dogwoods and redbuds are still luscious.  The grass and leaves are still a bright spring green.  And the mosquitoes are not an issue yet!

potato leek soup with leavesMy kids both had their band concert a couple of nights ago.  There is something about listening to live music that is so invigorating and satisfying.  It brings up all kinds of emotions and memories, and it brings people together.  At the end of the concert, the combined high school and junior high bands played “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.  Someone turned on the disco ball in the auditorium, and we in the audience sat there in the dark, with little twinkling lights swirling around us, listening to our kids play a song that was part of our own teenage years.  For a few minutes we were suspended in time.  When the concert ended and the lights came back on, I was not the only one with moist eyes. The band sounded so good! The kids played so well.  Children grow so fast.  Time flies.  We are all in this together.

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Fiesta Friday is co-hosted this week by Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters. I plan to check out the latest recipes and posts there!potato leek soup with napkinpotato leek soup overhead

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:

  • about 1 pound of potatoes (or approximately 4 medium potatoes or 8 smallish ones), washed and diced
  • 2 medium-sized leeks, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced (just the white parts)
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds of chicken breast (or 2-3 chicken breast halves)
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish

Directions:

Place the potatoes, leeks, and chicken breast halves in the crockpot.  Pour in the chicken broth.  Make sure the broth covers the other ingredients.  If you need to, add more broth.  Add the salt, pepper, and thyme sprigs.

Set the temperature to the low setting and cook for 6-8 hours, or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done (no longer pink in the center).   When the chicken is done, gently shred it with a fork and knife so it blends in with the soup.

Add the milk to the crockpot a half hour or a few minutes before you want to serve the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chopped fresh chives.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Colorful Vegetable Chili

This chili is as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, corn, lime juice and cilantro give each spoonful vibrant color, flavor, and nutrition.  Serve it with some tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese, and you have a festive, healthy meal.

In a previous post, I mentioned a cookbook my husband somewhat recently bought, called Thrive Energy Cookbook, by Brendan Brazier.  This chili recipe I am sharing below is based on a recipe in that book, though I did change and substitute a few things.  The flavor of the this chili is absolutely rich and warm-tasting, with a subtle zing from the lime juice.  My son, who normally won’t go near a sweet potato, even likes it, and my husband loves it.  All the vegetables blend together beautifully.

colorful chili 1 It really is a good meal to have right now, in early March, when we are longing for color, but our gardens have not caught up to that longing yet.  And though our snow has all melted and it has warmed up some, it is still cold and damp enough outside to appreciate a nice warm bowl of chili.

chopped sweet potatoesSpeaking of gardens and color, I did see some crocus and daffodil shoots poking up just above the soil in our yard yesterday.  Spring is coming, though here in Michigan I’m sure we have some cold days ahead of us before spring really settles in.

Until then, there is the fresh wind, the brighter sun, the earthy smell of the wet ground as it prepares itself for new growth.  I saw some red-winged blackbirds the other day–one of the first signs that spring is coming.  Soon we’ll be looking for fresh greens and asparagus!

daffodil shootsFor now, it is the perfect time to tromp around in my favorite boots through mud and wet undergrowth, cleaning up the yard or hiking down to the lake. My friend and I came across these beautiful milkweed pods on a walk the other day.milkweed pods

If you are longing for spring, but still shivering in the evenings, this chili has just the right amount of warmth and bright color to cheer you up and nourish your body for challenges ahead.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  There is a Fiesta Friday going on at Angie’s blog, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Aspara @ Eating Well Diary.  If you are looking for food inspiration or to find great blogs, it’s a great place! I’m looking forward to checking it out!cilantro and lime 3colorful chili with cilantro

Colorful Vegetable Chili

  • Servings: 5-7
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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin (more if desired)
  • 3 cups of tomatoes (fresh, or if canned, I like the San Marzano kind), quartered
  • 2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cans (14 oz cans) of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes’ worth)
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (I like to add a cup of water and a teaspoon of the Better than Bouillon vegetable base)
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • shredded Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
  • sliced avocado for topping or garnish
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

Wash and cube the sweet potatoes.  Place them in a large pot.  Cover the sweet potatoes with salted water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until just barely tender (about 6 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes).  Drain and rinse with cold water. (If desired, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain again.) Set aside.

In the same large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, black beans, lime juice, and vegetable broth.  Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, at medium-low heat.  Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick.

Spoon the chili into bowls and top with cilantro and shredded Cheddar cheese (if desired). Serve with sliced avocado and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier

 

 

Fabulous February Potato Soup

Warm up with a steaming bowl of this deeply satisfying soup.  Potatoes are so versatile that there are endless ways to give variety to the classic potato soup.  This soup, with potatoes, corn, and barley, is lightly spiced with chili powder and cumin, and flavored with a touch of honey and Worcestershire sauce.  Easy to make, not to mention easy on the budget, this soup is a great answer to the question, “what on earth am I going to make for dinner tonight?”

DSC_0520There are evenings when I ask myself that question, and since this soup is made from things that I usually have in my pantry and freezer, it can get me out of a tight spot sometimes. Just serve it with some good bread and/or a green salad, and you have a delicious, comforting winter meal (and probably leftovers for another quick meal–soup always tastes better the second day).  And feel free to throw in some other ingredients too–leftover noodles or couscous also taste good in it!

potato soup with potatoes 2I have been away from the blogging world for a couple of weeks, since my husband recently had knee surgery to repair an injury he got while playing soccer, and I have been taking care of him.  He has been improving really well, but it is a long process.  That’s why wholesome, comforting soups are so good for our family right now.  When things are out of the ordinary, and everyone needs a little extra care, a good, warm bowl of soup can do wonders.

potato soup with spoon 2Or even when things are ordinary, very ordinary, and the February wind is blowing right through your coat, your driveway is a sheet of ice one day and slushy mud the next, a warm bowl of soup can do wonders.

With my husband being laid up for a couple weeks, I have been doing some of his usual jobs around the house.  One of them is taking the dog out one last time before bed.  Although I am bone-tired by then, I drag myself outside and look up, and if it is a clear night, I am amazed.  All the beautiful stars.  Somehow they seem even more beautiful in the winter, on a cold night.  I am thankful to have to go out and look up.  I hope you all have a great weekend.

potato soup and one potatoDSC_0523-001A bunch of wonderful bloggers are gathering at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Lily @ Little Sweet Baker and Julianna @ Foodie on Board , and I look forward to joining them!

Fabulous February Potato Soup

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 5-6 medium to large potatoes, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup of corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 cup of cooked barley
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of milk (I use 2%–use whole or half and half for a creamier soup)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chili powder, depending on your taste
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cumin, depending on your taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • parsley for garnish

Directions:

In a small pot, cook the barley according to package directions.  In a large pot, bring the 8 cups of broth to a boil.  Wash and dice the potatoes.  When the broth is boiling, add the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.  Add the corn, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and the cooked barley, when the barley is done.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the celery and onions and mince the garlic.  In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Sauté the celery, onion, and garlic until celery is tender (it’s okay if the green onion gets a little browned).  Add the chili powder, cumin, and flour.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine.  Gradually add the milk, and stir until thickened.  Add this mixture to the potato mixture in the soup pot.  Simmer until the flavors have had a chance to intermingle.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with bread and/or a green salad. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Cozy Vegetable Soup

What tastes better than on a chilly evening than a bowl of hot soup? Not much! That must be why I am sharing another soup recipe here with you.  This vegetable-pasta soup is made from staples that many of us have on hand, and can be whipped up in a little over half an hour.  The flavor is mellow and comforting, and it is basic enough to appeal to a wide range of people with varying tastes (including, and especially, kids).  This soup actually reminds me of the vegetable soup my mom used to serve to my brothers and me (and any neighborhood kids who happened to be over that day) after we had been out playing in the cold.

vegetable pasta soup on bench 4This is a recipe that I have developed over the years, based on many variations of minestrone and vegetable soups.  I add lots of pasta to help make it filling, and keep the vegetables very basic, so it is a crowd-pleaser.  The broth is so wonderful–a blend of chicken broth, tomatoes, and garlic make is savory without being overpowering.

vegetable pasta soup overview 1My son had a friend over this past weekend, and the boys, my daughter, my husband and I were outside a good portion of the day, riding bikes, tromping through the woods, and throwing stones into the lake.  The kids collected treasures like snail shells and old, abandoned fishing bobbers. The weather was unusually warm and sunny for December, and we all took full advantage of it.  But when it got dark, it got dark fast, and it got cold.  This vegetable soup (served with pieces of flatbread pizza) was a perfect way to warm up and talk about the adventures of the day.

vegetable pasta soup on tableSometimes there is something almost magical that happens when people share a meal together.  For me, it often happens after everyone has been outside for awhile, and often when we are welcoming those to our table who aren’t usually there, and especially when we are not in a hurry.  The food does not need to be fancy or elaborate–just tasty and warm, and lovingly prepared.  As we head into the heart of winter, I hope to have more evenings like this, with comforting food, lively conversation, and sparkling lights in the darkness.

I have read two articles recently about how people in the Scandinavian countries embrace winter in all its cold, dark beauty.  They dress warmly, enjoy outdoor activities, and gather together to eat, drink, and talk by candlelight or around a roaring fire.  Apparently, the Danish term “hygge” describes this feeling of coziness. I hope to experience more hygge this winter, like we did this past weekend, and I hope to learn to cultivate the art of creating it and embracing it.  Best wishes of the same to all of you–warmth in the cold, and lights in the darkness.  Have a great week!vegetable pasta soup in white bowl

Cozy Vegetable Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely sliced
  • 7 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you want to make it vegetarian)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (if Idon’t have fresh, I use 3-4 canned San Marzano tomatoes, chopped)
  • approximately 6-8 ounces (depending on how hearty you want the soup to be) of bite-sized pasta (I like to use orecchiette)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until the onion gets soft. Stir in the carrots, celery, broth, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let the soup simmer gently for about 30 minutes.  Then, stir in the tomatoes and pasta and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with parsley.  Enjoy!

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