I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen; and the holiday season is the perfect time to test out new and interesting ideas for recipes. One of my favorite meals to prepare is soup. You can add lots of vegetables (complex carbs) and protein sources to add dimension and nutrients to each spoonful of goodness; it’s the perfect make-an-extra-batch type of food, that you can freeze (in single servings) and re-heat to enjoy on a cold winter afternoon-coupled with a warm piece of buttered bread. Soup nourishes the body from within and helps in combating a number of diseases because all of the nutrition found in the ingredients used to make the soup stay in the bowl, versus frying or steaming them in a separate pan. Soup can hit the spot as a hearty side dish to a meat main course, or it can be a stand-alone headliner-either way, it satisfies.

During the holiday season, we tend to overeat and indulge on empty calories but when you enjoy soup, you are filled up quicker (with a higher density of nutrition), which in turn, helps you control calories and eat less. We’ve all heard the expression, “feed a cold” and “chicken soup is the perfect remedy for a cold”, well, it’s true. The concentrated nutrients in chicken soup have been known since ancient times, to be the cure for the common cold. According to the American Heart Association, Americans consume way too much sodium which can lead to high blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. The perfect way to do this is to avoid sodium-filled canned soups and make your own.

To save time and money while preparing holiday meals, work with what you have in your kitchen and create a soup from hearty winter root vegetables and a vegetable or chicken bouillon cube or stock to nourish and satisfy your holiday guests. For years, my secret weapon for a variety of kitchen tasks has been my Vitamix blender. I’ve tried every blender on the market and one thing I love about this blender is that you can actually prepare and make soup in it. The speed and power of this blender is that of an industrial blender and it actually has the capability of heating up the soup, simply from the speed of the motor–kinda nice when your stove real estate gets overcrowded with pots of this and pans of that during the holiday cooking rush. Here are two uber-tasty recipes, which can be found on the Vitamix website.

Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 baked sweet potato, halved
  • 1 roma tomato, quartered
  • 1/2 apple, large
  • 1 carrot, medium
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water

Directions:

  1.  Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 5-6 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid. Serve immediately.

Apple Acorn Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small onion, peeled
  • 1/2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cups chicken, vegetable or beef broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 large apple, quartered

Directions:

  1.  Steam squash in a steamer or microwave. Saute onion and garlic in oil until onion is clear and tender. Set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  5. Blend for 5-6 minutes. Serve immediately

Note: Serve with sour cream or yogurt.