Quick Easy, Tasty Tomato Soup

I think of the antioxidants found in tomatoes to be little warriors in the fight against cancer. Specifically cancers like colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic tumors. Tomatoes are rich in Lycopene, which is a flavonoid antioxidant - a unique phytochemical present in tomatoes. (Basically, phytochemical means the healthy compound found in plant-based foods.) The red tomatoes have a high concentrate of this antioxidant. It can protect your cells in the body from harmful oxygen-free radicals (which is why it's such a good warrior to have fight against cancer).

This lovely red vegetable/fruit also contains very good levels of Vitamin A, a & b carotenes, xanthins and lutein. Together these pigment compounds have antioxidant properties and help maintain healthy vision, skin and bones. So basically . . . it's a superfood and another wonderful gift from the Mayans (but I'm not going to give you a history lesson now, I'll save that for another time. Right now, I'm just going to share my soup recipe with you.).


Strained Tomatoes (in a box – I use the Pomi brand 26.46 oz box)

2 Carrots – chopped

½ Sweet onion – chopped
2 Celery stalks – chopped
Fresh Rosemary – 1 tablespoon chopped
Fresh Thyme – 2 teaspoons chopped
Vegetable Stock
Chipotle Powder
2 cups frozen chopped spinach
½ cup fat free plain greek yogurt (I use Fage) 
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar
Splash of balsamic vinegar


Sauté chopped carrots, celery, onion, rosemary and thyme in approximately a tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt, pepper and chipotle pepper powder. Cook for 5-7 minutes until veggies are tender and onions are soft. Add box of strained tomatoes and the teaspoon of sugar. Rinse out the box with equal amount of vegetable stock, add to pot. Stir and let bubble away for about 10 minutes until veggies are completely tender. Taste and adjust seasoning at this point. 

Lower heat and use either an immersion blender or transfer soup to blender and blend until soup has smooth consistency. If using a blender, blend in batches using caution as hot liquid may splash when blending. After blending, return soup to pot, add frozen spinach and warm through on low heat. Add splash of balsamic vinegar before serving. 

To serve:

Mix yogurt, lemon zest and salt & Pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls, dollop with yogurt mixture and serve with warm toasty bread.

Turn it into Soup

My favorite part of Thanksgiving (or any holiday) is enjoying all of the leftovers. Reincarnating them into another meal is such a fun challenge for me.  Soup is a good ole standby though, and I can't resist.  It simmers away on the stove and fills the house with the smell of love.  You can leave it on the stove all day for whoever pops over.  Another thing I love about it is you can throw so many things into it, pumping it full of nutrition, vitamins and remedies - disguised as a delicious soup. 
This is a "method" for how I make mine.  I say method because you can take this recipe, modify it, tweak it and make it your own for whatever leftovers you have. Here ya go:

1 sweet yellow onion – chopped
Celery – 6 ribs chopped
Carrot – 4 med/large carrots chopped
Fennel – ½ bulb chopped
1 Tblsp – fresh chopped rosemary
1 Tblsp – fresh chopped thyme
1 Tblsp – fresh chopped dill
4 cups of leftover turkey stock (or 2 – 32 oz boxes of turkey or chicken stock, low sodium)
1 cup of white wine
2 cups – leftover shredded turkey (works with chicken too)
½ bag of frozen sweet corn
½ bag of frozen sweet peas
2 cups chopped savoy cabbage (kale or escarole work nice too)
1 lemon (zested and juice)

Chop onion, celery, carrot, fennel and sauté in olive oil in bottom of soup pot.  Add rosemary, thyme, dill, salt and pepper.  Saute until onions start to sweat and carrots are slightly tender.  Add cup of white wine and let simmer for a couple of minutes.  Stir in turkey (or chicken) stock – after empty each container of stock, fill back up with water and add water from boxes (basically rinsing out turkey/chicken stock with water).   Add shredded turkey/chicken.  Stir for a couple of minutes and then add frozen corn, peas and cabbage (or kale/escarole).  Add lemon zest and juice of one lemon right before serving. 

*You could also add spinach, kale, collards or whatever kind of greens you like for some extra vitamins and calcium.     

*Many people like noodles with their soup too.  I suggest boiling in separate pot and add to bottom of bowl when serving.  If cooked in the soup, pasta will becoming mushy after reheating and in leftovers. 

*I'm a dunker.  I like to dunk bread in my soup, so I usually grill or toast a nice baguette sliced and drizzled with olive oil.  This makes the bread nice and toasty and perfect for dunking.


Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

Whenever there is a cool snap here in Florida I am immediately in the mood to make soup. Factor in that I love pumpkin anything especially this time of year, and you will most likely find a pot of pumpkin-something on my stove. Well yesterday happened to be one of those days - nice and chilly outside, warm and cozy inside - I was ready for soup. I wanted something quick and easy too, so I rummaged through my pantry and I found a can of organic, vegan refried black beans, and a can of organic pumpkin puree . . . I thought, hmmmmmm? This could make a hearty, protein-packed, creamy soup without adding a lot of fat from dairy. I went straight to my pots, started chopping aromatics, clipping rosemary and thyme from my plants, and before I knew it, my house smelled of Autumn heaven!  Here's what I did:

15 oz can of organic pumpkin puree (does not have to be organic, just make sure it's puree and not pie mix)
15 oz can of organic/vegan refried black beans (does not have to be organic, but if you want a fat free version, vegan is the way to go . . . no oils or fats added) 
2 cups of low sodium chicken stock
2 cups of crushed tomatoes (I use tomatoes that come in a glass jar or box, like "Pomi" brand)
1/2 large sweet onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
2 tablespoons of honey
Splash (or 1/4 cup) of cognac (or whiskey)
2 teaspoons garam masala (spice blend)
dash of cinnamon
cayenne pepper to taste
black pepper to taste
salt to taste

Saute chopped onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, garam masala, cinnamon, cayenne and black pepper in olive oil until onion and garlic are softened and cooked through (but not caramelized).  The oil and juices from the onion/garlic mixture will help blend all the spices together and help them sweat to release their flavors.  Depending on how spicy you like things, add more garam masala and cayenne to your taste.  When the onion/garlic and spice mixture look nice and soft and dark, add the cognac.  The smell is intoxicating! Cook off the alcohol for just a minute or two, then add the refried black beans.  Melt them into the garlic/onion/spice mixture, then add the pumpkin puree.  Mix beans and pumpkin until homogeneous, then add the crushed tomatoes.  As soon as I empty the can of beans and can of pumpkin, I pour one cup of chicken stock into each can to rinse out any remnants . . . don't want to lose a morsel of goodness.  Once the tomatoes are incorporated, I pour in the chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of honey (you can add more depending on how sweet you like things).  Season with salt.  Adjust spices to your liking and simmer until flavors meld.  Just before serving, I add a splash of vinegar (red wine or balsamic).  I know it might sound weird, but you don't actually taste the vinegar, it just wakes all the flavors up.  

Ladle soup in a nice deep bowl dolloped with a mixture of fat free Greek yogurt mixed with salt/pepper, lemon zest and chopped cilantro. Serve with warm pita bread.  Yum!  

I've said it before, but don't ever get tired of saying it . . . pumpkin is chock full of goodness!  Just look at it's beautiful, bright color and you know it's going to be good for you.  Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids like alpha & beta carotenes, it's a good source of vitamins C, K and E, along with lots of minerals like magnesium, potassium and iron.  

Now, from a single, one-cup serving of black beans you get almost 15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.  Legumes (more fun to say than just "beans") have an almost magical protein-fiber combination that explains why they have such amazing benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system and the cardiovascular system.  

Mix both the pumpkin and black beans together in this tasty (low fat) soup and you have a powerhouse bowl of yummy, hot goodness ready to eat.  Enjoy!


Fall is upon us and for many of you you're   already feeling the weather change to cool and crisp.  The leaves are starting to concentrate their sugars, turn colors and eventually dry out.  Well, I just found out another cool reason to eat butternut squash that helps your skin stay smooth and not dry out . . . keeping us younger and younger looking! 

Butternut squash is a good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese.  I’d like to focus on the Vitamin A attributes of this particular squash because it’s pretty darn cool what it does: 

Vitamin A was the first vitamin to be discovered in the early 1900s. Vitamin A is part of a large family called retinoids. This is because Vitamin A is primarily needed by the retina (the part of the eye that lets you see light). But vitamin A does more than just “feed” your retinas.

• Acts as an antioxidant to boost immunity
• Protects you from infection
• Keeps your “frontline barrier” strong and your skin smooth
• May help prevent certain cancers and heart disease 

The main form of Vitamin A from plant sources is carotenoids. There are over 600 carotenoids but the main ones are Beta Carotene and Alpha Carotene. Beta carotene basically looks like 2 Vitamin A molecules combined. Beta carotene is what gives fruits and vegetables their yellow and orange color.  For me, knowing how good the nutritional values are for me only makes this great tasting soup taste better . . . enjoy!

Onion – 1 tablespoon finely chopped
Celery – 3 ribs finely chopped
Carrot – 2 carrots finely chopped
Fresh Sage – 3 large leaves finely chopped
Fresh Rosemary – 2 tablespoons finely chopped
Maple Syrup – 2 tablespoons
1 Medium-Large Butternut Squash – peeled and cubed
Chicken Stock - to desired consistency
Curry Powder – 2 teaspoons
Poultry Seasoning – 1 teaspoon
Cayenne Pepper – to taste
Salt – to taste
  • Roast cubed squash in oven for 30 minutes on 400 degrees or until soft
  • Sautee onion, carrot, celery, sage, rosemary in olive oil until soft and starts to caramelize
  • Add spices and seasonings
  • Add squash and maple syrup – use hand blender or food processor and blend until smooth and mixed through.
  • Add chicken stock to desired consistency
  • Serve garnished with croutons and a dollop of sour cream
**Add finely chopped apple (1/4 cup) to sautéed onion, celery, etc. for a sweeter taste and crunch in soup.