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  • Writer's picturePat Birnie

What's for dinner when you haven't shopped - this yummy & super easy soup!

It's New Year's Day, and no I'm not hungover:) Thank goodness those days are long gone for me! But I am definitely back into the healthy cooking and eating that I typically embrace. When you are used to eating pretty clean, 2 weeks of Christmas treats, excess food & drink and rich foods do take a toll on the body. There were a few that nights I'd toss and turn trying to digest those foods. Believe me, they taste good going down and I don't hold back (I truly believe in the 90/10 or 80/20 rule when it comes to nourishment, and do not feel one bit guilty about what I eat). However when your system isn't getting what it's used too, it can rebel!

Because we've been eating mostly plant based meals, and it's just my husband & I, so I tend to pick up groceries fresh and plan for a day or two. So....back to midday January 1, I have not planned but I'm really committed to sticking to my plan. So....checking the almost bare pantry, I found a lot of carrots and not much else. And yes! - I also have a big piece of ginger and I know I made a yummy Carrot Ginger Pear soup a few years back. I didn't have pears but it worked anyway. This is a fairly quick to make, super flexible and easy recipe where you can improvise with different spices. Adding diced pears is lovely - that will happen next time. Also, it's very economical - I haven't done the calculations, but I suspect the big pot cost about $3.00 or so.

On a side note, I make my own vegetable stock, as a component of my reduce & reuse efforts. This is "FREE" and quite simple. When I peel & trim veggies instead of putting the waste into the compost I throw them into a ziploc bag that I keep in the freezer (yes I know - plastic - but I reuse that bag many many times!). When the bag is full I toss the contents into a large pot, cover with water and simmer for a couple of hours. Strain, cool and pour into large jars. Be really careful not to overfill the jars if you are going to freeze them - I've learned this one the hard way. I usually keep in the fridge as I use stock frequently.

So, finally - here's the recipe:

Carrot Ginger Pear Soup

Olive oil

6-8 large carrots (about 1 ½ lbs)

1 large onion; couple cloves garlic

Large chunk of fresh ginger (about 1 Tbs minced)

2 cups vegetable stock & 2 cups of water

4 large strips of orange peel

2-3 pears (optional)

Spices: salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder - or you choose!

Peel & chop carrots, garlic & onion (not necessary for it to be uniform, I used a chopper/food processor to speed things up. Saute over medium heat in olive oil, just until soft.

Season with salt & pepper, add the orange zest, vegetable stock and water. If using pears (it adds another flavor dimension) peel & dice and add. Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer about 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove and discard the orange peel (hence the large pieces; they add flavour but can be bitter to eat). Puree with a stick blender or in blender or food processor. (Caution: if using a blender, only fill half full of hot liquid & be sure to hold the lid down firmly -- you don’t want an explosion!). Process until smooth and return to pot. Taste & adjust seasoning. If you used homemade vegetable stock you will likely need more salt. I like the smoked paprika & chili powder (and I added a pinch of cayenne) as combined it really gave it a bit of zing.

Optional serving: top with a tablespoon of sour cream or plain yogurt. I used a spoonful of ricotta cheese as I had it on hand from last night’s recipe.

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