Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tomato-Macaroni Soup, Quinoa Soup again, and the cat!!

This has definitely been a "soup" sort of week.

Not only have I been running in a thousand different directions with overtime work, classes and activities with my kids, but we've also had several nasty storms that have knocked down power lines and trees.

Fortunately we didn't lose electricity or trees at our house, though both my kids' school and the one where I teach were without for periods on Thursday and Friday, and this old tree down the street finally gave in to the winds...

OK, so...Soup, in my book, has to be quick and easy, or something that re-heats well. I'm not one for standing and stirring and simmering for hours...
First up is this stupidly simple "Tomato Macaroni" soup.

Some years back, I'm not too proud to admit, I had to make occasional visits to the neighborhood food-bank. One of the items we always received, not sure why, was several quarts of tomato juice. Maybe it was government surplus, just like the cheese?

Who knows. At any rate, at a loss for what to do with weekly quarts of tomato juice, I created this soup.

It's definitely nothing fancy, but it's quick, easy, cheap (obviously) and filling comfort food. As a bonus, my kids LOVE it and still ask for it often. Hey, tomato juice is actually good for you, you know? Lots of good stuff, including 21957 micrograms of lycopene in every 8 oz. and you KNOW that's good!

Tomato Macaroni Soup

1 large onion, chopped fine and sauteed in a tsp of oil in the bottom of a stockpot
6 - 8 cups water

2 med. baking potatoes cut into smallish cubes

Bring the above to a boil.

Boil for 5 minutes and add:

1 cup elbow macaroni (you can use whole-grain pasta here)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pickling spices tied up in a cheesecloth or put in a teaball - yes, odd, but these MAKE the soup!

Cook the above at a good boil until potatoes are soft. Remove spice bag.


1 pint tomato juice, taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt or pepper if needed. Stir until heated and serve.

We sometimes add a swirl of soymilk to cool it down and make it creamy.

Next up, my "Quinoa Peanut Soup" (which I think I posted here before). I originally posted this over at, and I was pretty impressed when Nava Atlas asked if she could include it in her latest "Soups..." cookbook. Way cool!

Still one of our family favorites, I love that it re-heats so well. My littlest sprout loves the curly-Q "tails" that the quinoa grains leave in the soup and in typical 8-year-old style, she gets a morbid kick out of freaking out her classmates at school when she takes this soup in her thermos (they're not little worms, I swear, though you might want to warn unsuspecting people...).

Quinoa-Peanut Soup

2 Tb margarine
1 chopped onion or 2 med. leeks sliced (I prefer leeks, use all of white and tender part of green)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (I use more because I'm a garlic fiend)
1 fresh jalapeno, minced (Again, I use more)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 diced celery stalks, with leaves (I usually leave this out, cause I don't care for celery much)
2 small diced zucchini
1 large sweet potato, yam or peeled butternut squash, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cup vegetable stock (I use the "non-chicken" style broth)
1/2 cup quinoa, (some brands say to rinse and drain before using - I never have..)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 dash cayenne pepper or to taste (I use more!!)
1/2 cup chunky organic peanut butter, no honey or sugar

Wear rubber gloves to prepare fresh jalapeno pepper if you need to - or just be careful.
In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt margarine over medium-high heat. When margarine is hot and bubbly, add all veggies, and cumin and oregano. Saute 10 -15 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
Add stock, quinoa, black pepper and cayenne.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.
Simmer until quinoa is cooked and veggies are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
I know it looks done at this point, but go ahead and add the peanut butter, using a wisk to blend in completely, and simmer another 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings. (Personally I use a little more salt than listed, but do what you like)
I almost always throw grated fresh ginger in there somewhere but it's not necessary.

Last, but not least, the ever-fearless, but curious cat has taken to "supervising" cooking in a new and slightly worrisome way.

If given the chance, he perches on the range hood, high ABOVE the bubbling, boiling, splattering pans... which scares me more than a little!!
We usually try to keep him far from the kitchen whenever we're actually cooking!! (Maybe it's the liquor bottles hiding in the cabinet that fascinate him, eh?)


VeggieGirl said...

yikes, I'm glad to hear that the storms didn't knock out your power or anything - there's been major storms around here too, along with flood warnings... fabulous! ;0P

mmm, the tomato-macaroni soup and the quinoa-peanut soup (how innovative!) sound delicious - thanks for the recipes!!

haha, your cat seems to love supervising the cooking, in a rather "adventurous" (somewhat dangerous!) manner :0D

Cynthia said...

Glad to hear that you all survived the storm without damage to your property.

I got scared when I saw where the cat was it, the only this I can say is what you suggested - it must be the booze he's attracted to. (lol)

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

i grew up in Tampa, FL . . . so, i can relate to bad storms.

the soups look fantastic. i want some of that tomato macaroni soup!

we have a sneaky cat that creeps his way into the kitchen and on counter tops.

LisaJean119 said...

So, do you get a lot of cat hair in your food? lol.

I just moved back home for a bit at my mother's house and she has five cats and a dog and I can't cook or eat anything without finding fur in it.. blech..

The Veggie Cookster said...

The soups sound awesome! Thanks for sharing. And, the cat pic is hilarious!!!! :-D

aTxVegn said...

I'm going to guess the kitty is looking for a warm spot to hang out.

I would love to try both of these soups whenever it turns cooler here. I've had my eye on that peanut soup for quite some time. I know my son will go esp. crazy for it.

I'm glad you survived the storms. Transitioning into winter makes for some crazy weather.

b36Kitchen said...

Our fearless gray cat just started walking across the very back of the stove when i'm cooking.

Both soups look great. I love a good tomato soup and have never had quinoa soup. It's one of my favorite grains so i'll be giving that one a try.

Ashasarala said...

It's good to hear that your house has been safe from the storms. That stuff can be so scary. My friends in Florida had tons of trash, large chunks of trees and car parts scattered all over their yard after a pretty big hurricane. Luckily it hadn't harmed their house, but the aftermath showed up all over their garden!

My cat likes to climb up on top of the stove, but she'll stay away when there's fire. I actually have a picture of her sitting on top of a pizza box on the stove.

Cats like to live dangerously, I think.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Wow! I love soup and your quinoa soup looks and sounds great. Printing the recipe now. I agree, what an honor to be asked to share a recipe in Nava's book. congratualtions. I hope you make it through the storms ok. I am in the middle of the fire storm in Southern California. Smack dab in the middle. Lets hope the winds don't change. We were evacuated in the cedar fires of 2003 and once is enough.

bazu said...

I love the look of that tomato macaroni soup - I don't drink juice very often, but I love tomato soups and sauces of all kinds.
And your quinoa soup rocks! Before I even knew you from your blog, I knew your soup. I got it from Leslie (Eat Peace Please) who got it from Nava Atlas's book, who got it from you... the circle of life, eh?
I hope the storms have left your region.

urban vegan said...

Still too hot here for soup...but yours look yummy.

Bossa Nova also likes to go exploring--everywhere she is not allowed to.

Monika K said...

Perfect timing for the tomato soup - I was just looking around to see if anyone had a good, vegan version. Looks yumm-o!

Summer Fae said...

Your soups look yummy! I don't think that I have had quinoa before. Sounds like something yummy to try!