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I have spent the last 2 hours reading your newsletter and wonderful recipes. I have already printed a whole bunch I want to try. I love them because they are using ingredients one has on hand. I love that and just wanted you to know how much we appreciate all your hard work in putting together this newsletter. Thank you very much.


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       Volume I - February 1, 2008

SMART Ideas!

Count on Soup for an Easy, Healthy,
and Economical Meal

by Alice Osborne

Making soup is typically easy and economical. Add ingredients to a commercially prepared soup -- dress up classic tomato soup with fresh cut tomatoes and a little basil, for example, or choose an easy recipe with ingredients family or friends will like.

We know homemade soup is a good candidate for a slow cooker, but there are also recipes that can be put together to make a meal quickly.

If using a recipe for the first time, follow instructions exactly. Once familiar with the recipes, consider adding additional ingredients, such as extra vegetables, to taste.

To simplify soup making at our house, we keep what we call our “Top Ten Soup Ingredients” on hand.

Here’s our list:

10. Pasta in a variety of shapes such as stars, alphabets, bow ties or tiny tubes.

9. Petite diced tomatoes, canned.

8. Cooked meat or poultry, which may or may not be leftovers from a previous meal.

7. Broth, either homemade or commercially prepared and sold in a can or box. Low-sodium varieties are preferable so that soup can then be seasoned to taste.

6. Barley, a delicious, but sometimes underappreciated whole grain. Choose either quick-cooking or pearl barley, which is the slow-cooking variety.

5. Vegetables, fresh, frozen or left over such as carrots, potatoes, onions, corn or mixed vegetables.

4. Beans, either inexpensive dried beans that require cooking or canned beans that can be drained and used immediately.

3. Herbs, either fresh or dried. Tip: Use less of a dried herb, but rub it between your fingers to release flavor.

2. Lentils, much like beans, come in many colors.

1. Vegetable juice such as V-8 or Tomato Juice to add additional nutrients and body.

For toppers, try...

  • low-sodium whole grain crackers
  • seasoned croutons
  • grated cheese
  • shaped crackers such as Goldfish or oyster crackers
  • a sprinkle of herbs

    To complete the meal, make a salad and add some toasted bread or warmed rolls.

    Soup recipes usually make several servings and often provide enough for several meals. Cover and refrigerate leftover servings to use within a day or two, or place leftover soup in a freezer container, label and date for use as a future meal.

    By the way, soup in a sealed drinking container can make a great snack or petite meal when traveling!

    (If YOU have a smart idea, won't you share it? Life is so much easier and we accomplish so much more when we pool our resources. And after all, we're all in this together. So email or with YOUR Smart Ideas!)

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