But there's a cure for all of the above: warm, hearty and filling vegetable soup.
I made a big pot yesterday lunchtime, expecting it to last a few days. But in less than 24 hours it's all gone! Even the vegetable-averse pre-schooler hoovered up his bowl; and then asked for seconds.
- It's the best food for warming you up: body and soul. If you've been out in the cold weather and need something easy to eat to thaw you out, a hot bowl of soup always hits the spot. Plus, the smell of soup cooking seems fills the house with warmth and happiness.
- It's budget friendly. January is often a month of frugal living. One of the best things about making soup is that it can be really cheap. You can pop whatever leftovers you have in your fridge or whatever vegetables are on offer in a big pot and serve up a hearty meal.
- It's environmentally friendly. Rather than chucking out vegetables that might be wilting or a little past their best, you can give them a new lease of life in soup. In fact, the very act of simmering and stewing the soup seems to bring out the best flavours in older veg.
- It's healthy. The vegetable soup I made yesterday was chock-full of goodness and definitely included our full five-a-day portion in just one meal. It's easy to digest, which is why it's such a great food for anyone feeling under the weather, and full of vitamins to promote good health.
- It's such an easy way to get the children (and your husband) to eat their vegetables. My kids will often turn their nose up at whole vegetables, but when their chopped and pureed into soup, they don't think twice about eating stuff they wouldn't normally touch with a barge pole.
If you're not sure where to start in making your own soup, here's what I made yesterday.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 sticks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, cubed
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1.2 litres vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley / or 1 tablespoon of dry parsley
1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt
Ground pepper for seasoning
- Fry the onion or celery until it softens
- Add the carrots, sweet potato and red pepper or add whatever vegetables you have languishing in your fridge/cupboards/vegetable rack and soften for 2 minutes
- Add the stock and the tomatoes and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Puree the soup using a stick blender
- Stir in the natural yoghurt and parsley
- Season with the pepper and parmesan cheese
- Serve with love and lashings of fresh, crusty bread and butter