Warm The Stomach And Soul

There really is nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup or a rich and hearty stew on a cold day in the middle of winter. Soups are easy to make. You don’t believe me? All you need is a grocery list, a good knife, a soup pot, and an immersion blender.

What is an immersion blender, anyway? Imagine you want to make a thick, creamy pureed soup. One way to do make this happen is to pour the hot cooked mixture into a blender. Too risky! Pouring hot liquid into a blender splashes around and god forbid the top pops off, burns and a possible ER visit. Some brilliant kitchen inventor came up with a blender that you can immerse right into the soup pot. It is like a magic wand. Submerge the blender, move it around for a minute, and voila! Hot, creamy, soup.

Now, onto the soups and stews. A great way to start thinking about cooking is to go to the store and buy whatever is in season. In the winter, that means a lot of orange - like butternut squash and pumpkin and root vegetables like potatoes.

So here are a few ideas to get you going. Get creative and let us know what you come up with!

This first soup, Coconut Pumpkin Soup, is a very orange and very filling meal. The topping is seriously amazing, so be sure to make extra!

1 onion 1 carrot 1 orange pepper 1 can coconut milk 1 cup vegetable stock 1 cup pumpkin puree 1 cup cannellini beans Sunflower oil 1 tablespoon ground ginger S and P 3 (overflowing) tablespoons shredded coconut, garnish 3 (overflowing) tablespoons pumpkin seeds, garnish

Prep the vegetables: chip the onion, carrot and pepper. This soup will be pureed so no need to finely dice.

Heat sunflower oil in soup pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add the carrots and peppers. Cook for a few minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and cannellini beans. Cover with coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the ground ginger, salt and pepper (to taste.) Cook on medium heat until vegetables are soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree until completely smooth.

Just before serving, toast the coconut and pumpkin seeds in non-stick skillet on the stovetop.