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2009.01.13

January 13, 2009

We had a busy Saturday; I had a hair appointment, ran to the library, and did the food shopping in the morning.  Larry’s mom picked up the Peep around lunchtime, and shortly after that Larry and I went mattress shopping (the Peep’s big-boy mattress is being delivered on Tuesday), and ran a couple of errands before going out to an early dinner.

We went to Tryst – appropriate choice for a romantic dinner, don’t you think?

After dinner and dessert we came home and took down the Christmas tree.

On Sunday I played little Susie Homemaker while Larry was dealing with the snow:  I put away laundry, filled the dishwasher, did some knitting and some cooking.

As you may recall one of my resolutions is to eat healthier, shop for food more wisely, etc.  I realized late Saturday afternoon that I’d forgotten to buy Soup at Hands to restock my office supply (I try to keep a few on hand for days when I don’t remember to bring a lunch).   They’re getting increasingly pricey, though, and the nutritional stats could be better.  Larry and I got to talking about it, and finally did the shrug that means “how hard can it be to make tomato soup?”  I cross-referenced a few cookbooks, and made a batch.  It took me about 40 minutes all told, and I made 7 cups’ worth – which translates to probably 6 servings, nearly $10 – for probably less than $3.

I used one can of crushed tomatoes, plus a one-cup container of the oven-dried and pureed tomatoes I froze last summer; you could use one can of crushed and one small can of diced, or really any combination of canned tomatoes that strikes your fancy.

Easy Tomato Soup

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, plus one small can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth or stock (I used two boullion cubes dissolved in hot water)
dried basil to taste
black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan until it shimmers, then add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent (5 minutes or so).  Add the garlic and stir it for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and the broth.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover and let it go for 30 minutes.  Add dried basil and pepper to taste, and salt if you need it – if you’re using boullion like I did you probably won’t need salt.  For a smooth soup use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or whip it into the blender in small batches.

Top with whatever garnish you like – parmesan cheese, pretzels, goldfish crackers, you name it.

It’ll keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer for probably a month.

I also pulled out my bread machine and made a loaf – that’s another thing we do, is buy a fresh loaf of bread to go with soups, stews, pasta.  We only ever use about half of it, and the other half almost always goes to waste.  Our machine makes a 1- or 1.5-pound loaf, which should translate into less waste.  And the cost of a 5-pound bag of bread flour was less than the cost of a freshly-made/purchased loaf a week, which seems about right.  I actually have a loaf in the machine right now, since chicken soup is on the menu tonight.

Larry and I took yesterday off, as a sort of anniversary gift.  We try to take the actual day off, but Friday was a a busy day for me at work, so we took Monday instead.  We took the Peep to the Museum of Science.  More on that in my next post.

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