Little B loves vegetable soup. I also consider her a whippersnapper. The traditional definition of the term refers to an insignificant or impertinent young person. Such a definition is not what I think of when I use the word. I think it more describes a precocious, inquisitive little one, which is much more in line with Little B’s personality. Her precociousness carries over to her view of soup. Whether it is actually chicken soup or tortilla soup or beef stew, she considers it vegetable soup. Pretty reasonable, I think, since most soup she has seen is loaded with vegetables. Big D and I like soup, too, especially if it has a bit of a spicy bite. I particularly like the limy chicken soup I make on occasion. Our ‘big people’ soup does not always go over well with Little B because her tongue is not yet attuned to hot spicy. I have never served Little B canned soup. I am sure someone has, but canned soup worries me. With the odd, faded colors of the vegetables and the grainy feel of the meat they are a bit unsettling to me. Don’t get me wrong – I grew up on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and still sometimes crave the salty soft noodles and bright yellow tinge of the broth. I don’t think they taste bad, except for the saltiness of some types, but I like to know where my food comes from, and I feel the same for what Little B eats. My know-where-it-comes-from parameters are certainly not met by canned soup. This soup recipe is simple to throw together and freezes well. I make it regularly, with a variation on the vegetables I add, depending on what is in the fridge. Little B eats three or four bowls a week, often when Big D and I eat spicy food. She even has it for breakfast sometimes. Frozen in two to three cups per resealable bag or container is perfect – enough to have in the fridge when requested without any going bad. Our whippersnapper loves it and it is so good for her.
1 pound package 16 bean soup mix, flavor pack discarded
28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
4 celery stalks with leaves
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut to 1 inch lengths
¼ head green cabbage
½ small onion
8 ounces ham, finely chopped (optional)
4 cups filtered water
1 – 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
In stock pot or crock pot combine bean soup mix, tomatoes, celery, green beans, cabbage, onion, ham (optional) and broth. Add garlic, oregano, salt and cumin. Stir until spices are combined. Add water and stir a bit more. On the stove top bring soup to a boil then turn down to simmer. Cover and simmer for about four hours until beans and vegetables are soft. In a crock pot, set to low and cook for eight to twelve hours. Serve immediately or store in the freezer for up to three months.