Soup – Versatile, Delicious and Fragrant!

Soup – Versatile, Delicious, and Fragrant

What can beat the convenience of a one-dish meal simmering in a pot on the stove or in a slow cooker, filling the house with fragrant aromas?  Nothing answers that question but soup!  I mentioned in a recent post Simple Soothing Soup that to me soup is liquid comfort food.  Soup is a delight to the senses of taste and smell as well as being satisfying to a ravenous appetite!

Making Your Own Soup

Advantages to making your own soup include:

*It will taste better than any canned soup you could buy, especially if you use fresh ingredients.

*You have a variety of soups from which to choose – hot or cold, sweet or savory, thick or thin, bland or spicy.

*You can control what ingredients go into your soup, including spices, herbs and other flavorings.  

*You control the amount of sodium and fat that is in your soup.

*You can make a large amount of soup at one time and freeze it in smaller containers for future use. (Exception: soups with milk or cream don’t freeze well.)

*You can blend or puree the soup to a smooth consistency, especially nice for those with dental or oral problems.

Two Recipes  – Key West Black Bean Soup and Lentil Soup Crescenti Style

Key West Black Bean Soup is adapted from a recipe given me years ago by a representative of Eatem Soup Bases.  Chicken Soup Base may be used in this recipe in place of chicken bouillon cubes.  (I just happened to have the bouillon cubes in my pantry.)  Before making this soup, I cooked chicken breasts in water until they were done and then I used the broth from cooking the chicken breasts as part of the liquid for this soup, instead of using water.  

Key West Black Bean Soup could also be made in a slow cooker.  Just put all the ingredients, including the chicken, in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-8 hours.  Whether cooked in a pot on top of the stove or in a slow cooker, if you desire a thicker soup just mash a few of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the broth.  The complete recipe may be found  by clicking here.

Key West Black Bean Soup

A Brief History about Slow Cookers and Mable Hoffman

The recipe for Lentil Soup Crescenti Style first appeared in Crockery Cookery, probably the first cookbook ever written with recipes for slow cookers, which we all called Crock Pots in those days.  (Crock Pots are to slow cookers as Kleenex are to tissues, Band-Aids are to bandages, Jello is to gelatin – you get the picture.)

Slow Cookers or Crock Pots first arrived on the scene in the 1970’s.  Millions of them were sold in the ’70’s as they were marketed to working women who could put food in the slow cooker before leaving for work and come home to a hot cooked meal.  Slow cooker sales dropped off in the ’80’s, probably with the introduction of the microwave oven.  

Mable Hoffman authored Crockery Cookery which became a New York Times Bestseller in 1975 because she was definitely at the right place at the right time as new owners of slow cookers were clamoring for recipes specifically designed for them.  She published 18 cookbooks over a span of 25 years, with one-third of them dedicated to the slow cooker.  She personally built a collection of slow cookers so large she eventually lost count of how many she owned.

She also worked as a Food Stylist for Better Homes and Gardens and was a consultant and recipe developer for Sunkist Growers.  She died in 2010 at the age of 88.  Thanks to Mable Hoffman for leading the way in revolutionizing cooking for the working woman!

The popularity of slow cookers has waxed and waned over the years but a survey by Consumer Reports in 2011 reported that 83% of American families owned a slow cooker.  Slow cookers are as popular as ever!

The design has changed very little over time except now most slow cookers have a removable insert, making cleaning easier.  Some of the newest models have temperature controls and timers and one even has a refrigerated setting so food can be placed into it the night before.  Fancy!  

Lentil Soup Crescenti Style is a hearty soup with beef neck bones (soup bones), carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, tomatoes and lentils, flavored with marjoram. After cooking for several hours, the beef bones are removed from the soup and the meat is cut off and returned to the pot with the cabbage and zucchini.  For the complete recipe, click here.  

Slow cookers are nice to have in the hot weather months as the kitchen doesn’t get hot when using the slow cooker to prepare a meal.  On a cold day it’s a treat to come in from work or play and smell a wonderful soup waiting for you to eat.  

Try one of these soup recipes soon!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!!


Linking up with these great sites:  www.makeaheadmealsforbusymoms,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


High Energy Treats – Addictive & Delicious!

Fall activities are in full swing!  Football games with tailgate parties, camping, hiking, backpacking, soccer, and other activities call for some delicious high energy treats to replenish those calories that our activities have depleted.  There are two such treats I want to share with you in this post but first a little background information.

A few years ago we bought a dehydrator (I do love my “gadgets!”) to use as a way of preserving various vegetables and herbs.  Dehydrated basil and parsley are a joy to have during the cooler months to add to soups, stews and other dishes.  I’ve also successfully dehydrated onions and mushrooms (and other veggies).  I especially like to use dehydrated mushrooms in my recipe for Paprika Chicken.

While reading and researching how to dehydrate various foods I discovered a wonderful book called Backpack Gourmet by Linda Frederick Yaffe.  Did you know that you can dehydrate spaghetti with meatsauce and reconstitute it later with hot water on the trail or at the campsite?  If you’re into backpacking, long distance hiking or camping it’s an interesting book with many recipes.  I like several of her recipes for high energy treats.

The first recipe in Backpack Gourmet that I would like to share with you is Indian Heaven Treats (I even like the name – reminds me of Indian Summer) which is a high energy treat that the author claims will keep fresh for more than a month. (Not at my house!  I’m married to a “cookie monster!”)  This recipe is almost addictive and is a “no bake” recipe.  

The other recipe is for Sesame Oatmeal Cookies which is a real treat with toasted sesame seeds, coconut and oats.  Toasting these ingredients before adding them to the recipe really brings out their flavor in the cookies.  Both recipes use honey instead of sugar, whole wheat flour instead of white flour and both contain toasted sesame seeds.  

For the Indian Heaven Treats, the first step is to toast the sesame seeds.  For best results keep the temperature low to medium low and watch the sesame seeds carefully, shaking the pan or stirring the seeds frequently to keep them from burning.  

Brown sugar, honey, vegetable oil and water are heated and brought to a boil then simmered for 2 minutes after reducing the heat.

Next the peanut butter, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, wheat germ and chopped nuts are stirred into the brown sugar-honey-oil mixture.

The mixture is rolled into balls the size of small walnuts then rolled in the toasted sesame seeds.  The treats are chilled in the refrigerator until set or firm.  The complete recipe can be found below.

Indian Heaven Treats
Yields 40
These treats are heavenly with peanut butter, chopped nuts, sesame seeds and honey!
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1 cup peanut butter
  7. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  8. 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  9. 1/2 cup wheat germ
  10. 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts (your preference)
  1. Toast sesame seeds in a small skillet (medium low heat) until lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat brown sugar, honey, oil and water until it boils. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, wheat germ and nuts and mix thoroughly.
  4. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts; then roll them in the toasted sesame seeds.
  5. Set on plates, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours until they are firm.
  1. After treats are set, they can be stored at room temperature. Place in individual serving-sized bags for hiking, camping and other activities away from home.
Adapted from Backpack Gourmet
Adapted from Backpack Gourmet
 Sesame Oatmeal Cookies starts by toasting sesame seeds, flaked coconut and rolled oats in a skillet over low to medium low heat.  Stir frequently and watch the mixture carefully to avoid burning.  This may take 8 minutes or so.  Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.

The wet ingredients (egg, oil, honey and vanilla) are beaten together in a large bowl to which the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda) are added and blended well. The sesame seed mixture is added also.

To prepare the cookies, dip your hands in cold water and roll the dough (it’s sticky!) into balls the size of walnuts.  Then dip a fork in cold water and flatten the cookies.  Bake at 325 degrees F. until lightly browned.  (My oven took about 15 minutes, whereas the recipe stated 6 minutes.)  Let cool completely on wire racks before storing in a cookie jar or in individual serving-sized bags.  The complete recipe is below.

Sesame Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 36
A wonderful cookie with toasted oats, coconut and sesame seeds that is very flavorful!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 3/4 cup sesame seeds
  2. 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  3. 3/4 cup rolled oats
  4. 1 egg
  5. 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  6. 3/4 cup honey
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Toast sesame seeds, coconut and rolled oats in a skillet over low heat, stirring frequently for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Beat egg, oil, honey and vanilla together in a large bowl. Stir in whole wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda and blend well. Blend in the toasted sesame seed mixture as well.
  4. After dipping your hands in cold water, roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts.
  5. Place them about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the cookies with a fork dipped in cold water.
  6. Bake for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. (Mine took 15 minutes so check for color & doneness)
  7. Let cool completely on wire racks before storing in individual serving-sized bags.
Adapted from Backpack Gourmet
Adapted from Backpack Gourmet

This is a photo I took last year at the Hillbilly Produce Market in Charlotte.  I’ve always loved how they arrange the pumpkins and fall mums in such a beautiful arrangement.  I was sad to learn recently that they have gone out of business.  I’ll miss driving by their store and seeing the beautiful fall displays.  

Be sure to try one of the recipes for fall energy treats and take some with you in your travels!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


Linking up with these great sites:  www.makeaheadmealsforbusymoms,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Autumn Apple Delights

Fall Greetings All! I have a fall quote I’d like to share with you that I enjoy. “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” This quote is attributed to Albert Camus. Interestingly enough, just this week I was looking at what I thought were 2 yellow … Continue reading →

Simple Soothing Soup

Soup is simple, warm, soothing, and basically “comfort food” in liquid form!  I love soup, particularly in the fall and winter.  My first memories of soup are of the “canned” variety, primarily vegetable soup with alphabet letters, chicken noodle soup (when I had a cold) and cream of celery soup. … Continue reading →

Meatless Meals 1/ Love Those Veggies!

There is a movement in this country that I’m sure you’ve heard about called “Meatless Mondays.”  The idea is to consume one or two meatless meals on Mondays to reduce the carbon footprint while at the same time improving one’s health status.  You may also have heard of the Flexitarian Diet … Continue reading →

Breakfast & Brunch 4 / Ricotta Pancakes

      Fall greetings to all!  In this post are recipes for Ricotta Pancakes and Baked Sliced Apples, both of which are suitable for the fall weather some of us have and some of us are still anticipating.  First I’d like to share a bit of nostalgia from my childhood.  As … Continue reading →

Paprika: Flavoring or Garnish?

Paprika is a wonderful spice made from the air-dried fruits of the chili pepper family.  Often associated with Hungarian cuisine, paprika can range from mild to hot on the heat index.  There’s also a smoked paprika that has a unique earthy flavor.  On the heat index paprika is usually considered … Continue reading →