Healthy, Hearty Winter Soups Your Family Will Love

healthy hearty winter soups

healthy hearty winter soups

I love soups. In summer I make big batches of ice cold gazpacho and cold cucumber soups, and in winter I’ve usually got a stash of hearty soups in my freezer for cold days when I need something warming and filling for lunch.

There was ice on my car this morning, so I thought it was high time I shared some of my favourite healthy and hearty winter soups with you.

Healthy Lentil, Tomato & Spinach Soup by Jamie Oliver
Healthy Lentil, Tomato & Spinach Soup by Jamie Oliver

This lentil, tomato and spinach soup from Jamie Oliver is chock full of good for you stuff like red lentils, sweet potato and tumeric. It’s nice and filling, and so simple to make.  It freezes well, too.

Thai Coconut Soup by Yummy Healthy Easy
Thai Coconut Soup by Yummy Healthy Easy

I love a Thai soup – sweet and sour, spicy and savoury all at the same time. This Thai Coconut Soup by Yummy Healthy Easy is really easy to make and it can be cooked in under 30 minutes. That’s faster than getting a takeaway!

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe by Jessica Gavin
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe by Jessica Gavin

This Butternut Squash Soup by Jessica Galvin is an Italian take on the classic Australian pumpkin soup. I love butternut squash, but my boys aren’t so keen. Adding some Italian sausages as a topper means that my kids not only eat it, but love it!

World’s Best Tomato Soup Recipe by Sprouted Routes
World’s Best Tomato Soup Recipe by Sprouted Routes

Who can resist tomato soup? Not the horrible canned stuff with all the added sugar, but a delicious homemade one like this one from Sprouted Routes. Even if you don’t have lots of lovely home grown tomatoes hanging around, you can still get the same flavour with a tin of good peeled tomatoes, roasted off in the same way. And I have to admit, sometimes I don’t even bother with the roasting – I just make the soup! Still delicious.

How To Make The Perfect Leek And Potato Soup by The Guardian
How To Make The Perfect Leek And Potato Soup by The Guardian

Leek and potato soup is insanely easy to make, and it’s so delicious. I like this version from The Guardian, but I don’t usually bother baking the potatoes first. Sometimes I use potatoes with skins on, if I want a rougher, more robust soup. And sometimes I peel the potatoes first, for the most velvety refined version. I make this in large batches, and then freeze individual portions so that I’ve got grab and go lunches for work or lazy weekends.

Warming Beef And Barley Soup by SBS
Warming Beef And Barley Soup by SBS

A rich and delicious beef and barley soup like this one from SBS makes cold winter days worthwhile. My whole family loves this, and it’s so good with homemade beef stock that I make batches just for this soup. I usually leave out the potato, as I don’t think it freezes well, and I generally add heaps more veg. I like lots of carrots, onions and celery, and swede and parsnips add extra deliciousness if you can get them.

Winter Soups: Chicken and Corn Chowder by Annabel Karmel
Chicken and Corn Chowder by Annabel Karmel

This is another one of my kids’ favourite soups. Chicken and Corn Chowder by Annabel Karmel is a cinch to make, it’s super quick and it’s hearty and filling. There’s nothing ‘weird’ in this, so kids will love it and eat it without fuss. It’s a great soup for sending along in a flask for school lunches.

The Best Clam Chowder by The New York Times Cooking
The Best Clam Chowder by The New York Times Cooking

For winter soups, you can’t go past clam chowder. Before we had kids, my husband and I went to New York and Boston one Thanksgiving. Boston was freezing, and I ate a bowl of clam chowder that was so warming and delicious, that I bought a recipe book of New England cooking so I could recreate it at home. I still use that recipe, but this one from The New York Times is just as delicious. I make this with pippis that I can usually buy from my local fishmonger.

Soffritto So Good: Rachel Roddy's Winter Minestrone Soup Recipe by The Guardian
Soffritto So Good: Rachel Roddy’s Winter Minestrone Soup Recipe by The Guardian

I remember eating Minestrone on a family trip to Sydney. We ate in a long gone Italian place in The Rocks in Sydney, called The Spaghetti Factory. It seemed like the height of sophistication, eating Italian, in Sydney! (I was a small town girl from Queensland, which probably explains why I found it so thrilling at the time.) Although there are many versions of minestrone, you can’t go past this winter version from Rachel Roddy.

What are your favourite winter soups? Share below!

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Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup - from your store cupboard!

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup - from your store cupboard!

Soup is my go-to comfort food in the cooler months. I can’t live without it. Normally I make ‘leftover’ soup, which is whatever vegetables are leftover in the bottom of the fridge at the end of the week. But sometimes I actually follow a recipe, or at least try to recreate one.

Way back in my early twenties, I backpacked through the Middle East. I remember eating heaps of lovely lentils and beans – they were cheap and super delicious. Back then I wasn’t much of a cook, so the thought of making some of these dishes at home never occurred to me.

Then one day late last year, I was stuck in Abu Dhabi airport waiting for an onward flight, and I wanted to eat something that was healthy and real and wholesome. So when I spotted lentil soup on the breakfast menu (yes, really!) I couldn’t wait to try it again.

I wasn’t disappointed. It’s tasty, it’s wholesome and filling, and yet it’s fresh, too. And the best thing about it is that it’s so easy to make, and you’ve probably got all the ingredients in your pantry.

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You can easily adjust this for baby or toddler, too. Make sure that you’re only using a homemade stock that’s low in salt, and leave out the tumeric and cumin until after about 9 months. Introduce spices one at a time, just like you would with any other food.

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it keeps really well in the freezer. So make up a big batch, divide it into portions, and freeze.

What’s your go to winter soup?

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No Bake Oaty Seedy Energy Bars

No Bake Oaty Seedy Energy Bar Recipe

No Bake Oaty Seedy Energy Bar Recipe

You know the feeling when you’re about to pick the kids up from school and run them somewhere else, you know they’re going to be starving but you don’t want to spoil their dinner. Grab one of these more-ish oaty seedy energy bars, add a piece of fruit and the kids will be good for another few hours!

They’re no bake, so they’re really simple, and you can keep them in the freezer for ages. There’s no nuts, so they’re good for school, but there’s lots of seeds so they’re really nutritious.

There’s a little bit of sweet, but not too much. I’m so happy with these that I’ll let my kids have these as a ‘rushing out the door without breakfast’ breakfast. Add a pre-cooked and cooled boiled egg, and you’re good to go.

My lovely friend Kerryn gave me the original recipe for these, but I couldn’t help tweaking it just a little. I’ve drastically cut the sweetness (the original recipe called for 175g of honey), and if you don’t have the exact ingredients, it’s easy to swap things around.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g rolled oats
  • 60g sesame seeds
  • 60g pepitas
  • 60g sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax seeds
  • 60g shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 60g butter
  • 65g coconut oil
  • 60g honey or brown rice syrup (you can add more if you want, but even my kids think this amount is sweet enough!)
  • You can also add dried fruit or cacao nibs, nuts or swap the seeds around if you have a preference or allergies.

Directions:

Combine the butter, coconut oil, cinnamon and honey (or rice syrup) in a saucepan and heat gently until they’re melted and combined. Switch off the heat, and leave this while you do the next step.

An optional, but delicious step here is to toast the oats, seeds and coconut in a dry frying pan for a few minutes. Stir continuously, and take them off the heat when they start to brown. Trust me when I say that you need to keep your eye on them! They seem to go from nothing to burnt in no time at all.

Split the oats and seeds mix in half. Put half into a big mixing bowl, and the other half into a food processor. You want whole bits for texture and crunch, but I’ve found that giving the other half a quick blitz seems to hold the whole mixture together much better and it’s nowhere near as crumbly as leaving everything whole. Just blitz for a few seconds, then tip them into the mixing bowl to join the whole oats and seeds.

Take your warm honey mix and pour it over the top of the oats and seeds. Mix everything together until it’s combined, and all the oats and seeds are coated with the honey mix.

Empty the whole mixture into a slice tin that you’ve line with baking paper, or a silicone slice tin (which I find much easier). Use the back of a silicone spatula and press the whole mixture down firmly into the corners of the tin.

Stick it in the freezer for half an hour until it’s set. I like to leave mine until it’s quite hard, and then it’s easy to slice into squares. Pack them into a container and stick them back in the fridge or freezer to keep. I think they’d probably keep for months in the freezer, but ours have never lasted that long!

 

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The One Cup Cake

The One Cup Cake

The One Cup Cake

A while ago, my lovely mum came to stay. When she left, I discovered that she had made and frozen this cake for us. It was all sliced up, so we could just grab a piece and defrost it to have with a cup of tea or for a lunchtime treat. It was gorgeous, and I’m so pleased that she finally got around to giving me the recipe. All I can say is, that it was worth the wait. Thanks, Mum!

2 cups of wholemeal self raising flour

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups coconut

2 cups apricots, chopped

2 cups milk

2 cups sunflower seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds

Mix altogether and fan bake at 150 degrees celcius for approximately 1 hour in a loaf tin.

Note: Mum says that she only uses only 1 cup brown sugar, and it’s still good. Sounds like a good idea to me, too!

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ANZAC Biscuits – a brief history and an original recipe

ANZAC Biscuits have a long association with Australian and New Zealand Army Corps  – dating back to the first World War.

The army biscuit known as ANZAC biscuits are kind of like the old ship’s hard tack. They have a long shelf life, and were often eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard, and some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat them as porridge.

It is claimed that these biscuits originated when they were made and sent to soilders abroad by their loving wives and mothers – they contained ingredients that did not spoil easily and they kept well during naval transportation.

The ANZAC biscuit that is still popular today is somewhat different. You can make them crunchy, or soft and chewy. They’re great for dunking in your tea!

I found this recipe on the Australian War Memorial Web Site and it is a original recipe provided by an ANZAC who was present at the Gallipoli landing.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar, rolled oats, and coconut
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 tbls treacle (golden syrup)
  • 2 tbls boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)

Method

1. Grease biscuit tray and pre-heat oven to 180°C.
2. Combine dry ingredients.
3. Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bicarbonate soda, and add to butter mixture.
4. Mix butter mixture and dry ingredients.
5. Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray, allowing room for spreading.
6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

 

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