Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healthy tomato soup

I’m a collector of cookbooks. Shelves and shelves of cookbooks are tucked into all corners of my home. There’s something very satisfying about browsing recipes and dreaming about healthy and delicious foods (and some not-so-healthy treats) to feed my family.

One of my more recent acquisitions is Jessica Seinfeld’s Double Delicious!, which, much like her popular Deceptively Delicious book, is full of recipes that are loaded with hidden pureed vegetables.

double delicious

I’ve been hiding veggies in our food for years, but it’s nice to have some specific instructions on what to do. So far, I’ve tried a quinoa breakfast dish with almonds and maple syrup, and a yummy tomato soup recipe.

tomato soup

Yesterday, I bulk prepared sweet potato, butternut squash, and broccoli purees for the freezer. Cauliflower is on the to-do list for tomorrow. Apparently, pureed cauliflower can be mixed into cinnamon bun frosting with no one being the wiser. Gonna hold off judgement on that one until after I try it!

roasted veg

I used my large food processor to make the purees, and then spooned them into snack-size baggies in 1/2 cup portions.  All the small baggies went into a larger (labelled!) freezer bag for later use.

Not much new in the crafty department. I’ve been in a slump, and just want to spend my evenings curled up with a good book. At the moment, I’m reading Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan. Here’s the Amazon editorial review for anyone interested:

Jordan won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Mudbound, her first novel. The prize was founded by Barbara Kingsolver to reward books of conscience, social responsibility, and literary merit. In addition to meeting all of the above qualifications, Jordan has written a story filled with characters as real and compelling as anyone we know.

It is 1946 in the Mississippi Delta, where Memphis-bred Laura McAllan is struggling to adjust to farm life, rear her daughters with a modicum of manners and gentility, and be the wife her land-loving husband, Henry, wants her to be. It is an uphill battle every day. Things started badly when Henry's trusting nature resulted in the family being done out of a nice house in town, thus relegating them to a shack on their property. In addition, Henry's father, Pappy, a sour, mean-spirited devil of a man, moves in with them.

The real heart of the story, however, is the friendship between Jamie, Henry's too-charming brother, and Ronsel Jackson, son of sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm. They have both returned from the war changed men: Jamie has developed a deep love for alcohol and has recurring nightmares; Ronsel, after fighting valiantly for his country and being seen as a man by the world outside the South, is now back to being just another black "boy."

Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Henry, Jamie, Ronsel, and his parents, Florence and Hap, the story unfolds with a chilling inevitability. Jordan's writing and perfect control of the material lift it from being another "ain't-it-awful" tale to a heart-rending story of deep, mindless prejudice and cruelty. This eminently readable and enjoyable story is a worthy recipient of Kingsolver's prize and others as well. --Valerie Ryan


  1. Tanya, this sounds absolutely delicious. I did not realize there was a new Jessica cookbook. I am a cookbook hoarder too!! I admire your efforts about sneaking veggies into the mix wherever possible!

    (And thanks for the tip re Mudhound!).

  2. There's a chance you're eligible to get a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.