Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tag: Soup (Page 1 of 4)

Sole Minestrone

Take advantage of summer vegetables with this delicious sole minestrone!  The addition of sole to this classic vegetable soup gives it lots of protein, and some pesto kicks in even more flavor.  Carrots, zucchini, cabbage, celery, and potatoes provide lots of nutrients.  This is a hearty soup that tastes delicious and covers all the bases.  It is a full meal in one simmering pot.

sole minestrone with glassOnce again, necessity is the driving force behind a great meal.  I had some sole that I needed to cook before it lost its freshness, and I also knew that I had to make something ahead of time that could be reheated quickly when we all got home and wanted dinner.  I adapted this recipe from the Food and Wine website, and I am so glad I found it. The only ingredient I really changed was that I used great northern beans instead of pinto beans, and some of the amounts of the vegetables are slightly different.  All the vegetables are fresh and in season right now, so that was a huge bonus, especially because I still have zucchini to use, and I am always happy to find ways to use it!

sole minestrone in hands 2I have made minestrone countless times, but never with fish, and never with pesto, and I have to say I love this variation.  For this soup, I made my own pesto, since we have a lovely little basil plant thriving in a pot, and because we love to have pesto on hand, but store-bought pesto would work too.  The pesto, mixed with the mild flavor of the sole, takes this soup to a new level.  And soup is good for the soul.  (The poet in me cannot ignore the word play between sole and soul.)  Both making soup and eating soup fulfills some kind of need for my spirit.  With my kids starting back to school this week, this was the perfect way for me to nourish my family and myself through this transitional time.  My son had three bowls it the minute he got home from his cross country practice!

It has been a little while since I last posted, and it is good to be back in this space. The month of August has been really full and a bit chaotic around here, but I have nothing to complain about.  A trip to Grey County, Ontario is one of the highlights of this month, and I already miss that little A-frame cabin in the wooded valley, next to the clear, bubbling stream.  We went to sleep with the sound of the stream flowing over the rocks, and woke to the sun streaming through the trees. The Georgian Bay, hiking trails, waterfalls, and huge hills and valleys enchanted us.  Although Canada is not that far away from here, it does feel like a foreign country to me, and my family and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Why is it that in general, Canadians seem so much more laid-back than Americans?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that, but I tried to bring some of that relaxed approach to life back home with me.

trees in KimberleyMy kids are already back in school, and though it is good, I also miss our summer life together.  They are growing so quickly, and though we get on each other’s nerves sometimes like all families do, my husband and I treasured our time exploring new places and visiting familiar favorite places with them.  I was talking recently with a friend about the passage of time, and she said, “the train just keeps on going!” We laughed, in a bittersweet kind of way, because it is true.  We cannot seem to stop the train of time, or even get off for awhile.  One minute the kids are in elementary school, the next minute they are starting junior high and high school.

I hope you are all having a great summer, and hope we can savor the last month of it! This is one of my favorite times of the year, as the sun stays warm, but is mellow, and the insects are so loud at night, they make it a very distinctive time of year.  One evening not long ago, I stepped from inside my house out to the porch, and I felt like I was stepping into a whole different world, with the surprising humming and chirping of the various crickets, katydids and cicadas (and who knows what else! Luckily, my back porch is screened in.) I love that sound though, because it means the nights are still warm and summer is still here.  Have a great weekend! It has been awhile since I joined Angie’s Fiesta Friday, and I look forward to catching up with some great food bloggers there as well!DSC_0217-001sole minestrone in hands 4

Sole Minestrone

  • Servings: 4
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  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium or 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1/4 head (or about 3/4 of a pound) of green cabbage, shredded
  • 3 and 3/4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I really like the Better than Bouillon broths)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of great northern beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of sole fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper


Wash all the vegetables and chop or dice them into about 1/4-inch pieces.  Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and potatoes.  Cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for another 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cabbage and cook 5 more minutes, still stirring now and then.

Add the broth, beans, tomato paste, and salt.  Bring just to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.  Continue to simmer, partially covered, about 18 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tender.  While the vegetables are simmering, make the pesto (if using homemade) and cut the sole into 1 inch pieces.  When the vegetables are tender, add the pesto, sole and the pepper.  Cook, uncovered, about 1 to 2 more minutes, until the fish is done.  (Sole is a thin fish, so it does not take long to cook).  Ladle into bowls.  Serve warm or wait till it reaches room temperature, if it is a hot evening.  Enjoy!

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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  • 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


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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  • 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


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!




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