By Kara Richardson Whitely
After working all day in a cold attic, I couldn’t seem to warm up. My fingers were chilly. The answer was simple: It was a soup day.
A soup day to me is one when you just can’t warm up no matter what. It is when a cold rain falls on the rooftop, or if the yard is blanketed in snow. This is a time in which you need warmth to fill you up.
Over my years struggling with healthy food choices, I’ve often made the mistake that food can comfort me. But in the case of a healthy cup of soup, that may be the exception. To me, it’s a cure for cold weather.
It works in the same way that a hot cup of coffee or tea can warm your fingers, that radiates through your body. This feeling flows through my body and just makes me feel better all around.
Homemade soup is one of my favorite antidotes to frigid temperatures. But it isn’t just the process of eating soup that I enjoy. I actually love making it even more. It takes time and planning.
The act of chopping carrots, celery, and onion has a sort of therapeutic, methodical quality to it. The neat little piles of ingredients are ready to hop into the Dutch oven pot. I love how they create a colorful palette on my plastic blue, well-worn cutting board.
Whether it is simmering all day in the slow cooker or cooking on the stove, the soup’s aroma warms the whole house. There is great anticipation in the air.
This, to me, is comfort food.
It may be because one of my favorite dishes my mom made was her potato soup. It was so delicious and warm. Just eating it felt like home.
In our home, I vowed to make this a weekly part of our winter routine that we could all participate in, to try new healthy soup recipes. I could get the slow cooker fired up in the morning, so I didn’t need to worry about it later in the day, amid the evening homework and getting-stuff-done chaos.
I wanted to make sure my choices had a lot of protein, such as lentil and bean varieties, to make sure we all had energy and nourishment for the day ahead.
I also decided to make double batches so there was enough for leftovers — especially for days when my warm comfort would have to come from the microwave.
Because in this cold season, there will be a lot more soup days to come.
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