These are the tools and gadgets that help simplify my cooking life. They also make it easier for young children to help out in the kitchen.
Including your kids is a win-win-win! Children love spending time with you + cooking is a skill they'll use for the rest of their lives + they are more likely to eat something they have a hand in making.
These are the resources I've found helpful when sharing soup, including containers, downloadable lists and enclosure cards!
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I use my immersion blender so often my kids gave it a name! This makes it easy to blend soups right in the pot… no messy transfers to a blender for a perfectly pureed soup.
If you’re going to making a lot of soup, I recommend an 8 quart stock pot.
Carving out time to be together doing something tangible and worthwhile.
Actively role model what empathy and giving looks like for our children.
Creating a way to naturally talk about why we do nice things for others, especially when we include our children in both the preparation of the soup and the decision about whom to deliver this week’s soup to.
Teaching our children a valuable skill while spending time together.
Immediately experience the positive impact we can have on our world… I’ve yet to deliver soup and not have someone’s face light up.
Make generosity a habit.
Make a chore into something fun that can benefit others.
But kids, even toddlers, love to cook, taste and be part of the process.
They love doing something (really, most anything) with you.
Measuring, pouring, stirring.
Use a hand cranked food processor to make chopping safe and easy.
Clean up is especially fun if it involves a step stool and a sink filled with soapy water.
They love to decorate the container or the bag you use to deliver the soup in with stickers or drawing.
A surprising benefit is that picky eaters become more adventurous when they’ve had a hand in the preparation.
Use tools and gadgets that are age appropriate.
Include everyone in the decision on who gets the soup.
Play music, sing, dance, tell jokes and stories, laugh… a lot!
If you make it an enjoyable habit when your kids are young, they’ll more easily participate as teenagers.
I order the 24 oz. compostable soup containers + lids from Ecoproducts at https://www.ecoproducts.com If I’m delivering soup for 2-3 people I use one container and 2 for 4-5 people.
Brown or white handled paper bags that kids love to color and decorate are perfect add ons, especially if you have really little ones who want to help!
Family (Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin… you get the idea!)
Teacher or Principal or Teacher’s Aid
Vet or Vet Tech
Someone who made you laugh
Doctor or nurse
You get the idea…. just have fun!
I use all of the below to make soup making easy and to add a boost of flavor to my soups.
Bouillon Cubes – I use Edward and Sons Not-Beef and Not-Chick’n
Concentrated Stock – I use Better Than Bouillon
Vegetable, mushroom or chicken stock – I use Pacific
Miso Paste – Different types of miso can be used interchangeably in recipes. In general, the darker the color, the stronger the taste. You can use a white or yellow miso to add a subtle flavor boost to most any soup.
Umami Flavor Booster
This is a recipe for a magic potion. I developed it over the years add that elusive, deep flavor to my vegetarian cooking.
¼ cup mild cooking oil
3 medium shallots, chopped
8 large cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup cashew butter
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup red miso paste
¼ cup tamari
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ cup dried mushrooms, pulverized in a blender
1 Tablespoon sugar
Sautés the shallots and garlic in oil over medium heat, just until soft and beginning to slightly brown.
Cool and scrape the mixture into a food processor and combine with the remaining ingredients.
Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Add to soups, stews, rice and noodle dishes for added depth of flavor.
For the longest time, it never occurred to me to make my own bouillon. When it finally did, I had fun experimenting. Here’s the recipe I finally settled on.
½ cup nutritional yeast
½ cup dried mushrooms (I buy a dried mushroom blend but you can use all shiitake with equally good results)
¼ cup dried peas
¼ cup dried carrots
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
Pulverize the mushrooms, dried peas and dried carrots in a food processor, food mill or coffee grinder. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a glass jar. Use 1 Tablespoon per 1 cup of water, or to taste.