Bob’s Red Mill makes a dried soup mix that cooks up thick and creamy in less than an hour. Simply called Vegi Soup Mix, it includes wholesome ingredients like yellow split peas, green split peas, barley, lentils, and small pasta. One cup of dried mix simmered in four cups of water for under an hour feeds two comfortably, although doubling the recipe will leave those used to seconds more satisfied. I added a small brown onion, carrot, and stalk of celery to the pot. The beauty of keeping a dried mix on hand is that you are able to get a meal on the table quickly when you need to, though you are still able to build upon the basic recipe, layering flavors and customizing to suit your tastes when you have the time to be a bit pickier. The Vegi Soup Mix brings me back to the early days of my marriage, when I was first learning to cook for Will. I remember many a soup and stew cooked in our new kitchenware, including the Bob’s Red Mill mix — quite frequently, too. We eventually bought some cookbooks, found new recipes, and forgot all about some of our old favorites. I only thought to buy a bag of the mix again recently, when I spotted it in the health food store and realized that Piper might like it. I’m happy to report that she did indeed enjoy the soup. We did as well; I added just a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (like soy sauce) to my bowl, which made it taste even better.
For dessert we ate some homemade apple pumpkin muffins, which I put together using a recipe I found on the Minimalist Baker blog. I like these because they are filled with healthy, comforting foods like pumpkin puree, rolled oats, flaxseed, sautéed apples, and cinnamon. They turned out really well — soft and chewy on the inside, golden and a touch crisp on the outside. I love the way some of them baked up with craggy tops, because of the way the batter settled around the apples. On the way to Bob’s house to pick up eggs later on, we brought two over for he and his wife to eat.
Baking today felt really healing. I know sugar isn’t exactly healthy, but something about swirling the spiced batter around in the old ceramic bowl, about watching the sifting flour fall like snow and form a miniature mountain peak as it settled once again, about tying on my apron, about biting into a soft apple — warm from the pan — just felt perfect. It also must have been something about the late afternoon, how the sun looked through my windows and how the preheating oven radiated warmth throughout the kitchen. Music, like Dave Matthews Band and Ray LaMontagne, filling the room and food with good vibes…