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Hug in a Mug Tomato Soup

The weather has been pretty erratic around here. One day it’s cold, the next day it’s warm and sunny, the next day it’s pouring rain. Last night the wind was blowing hard enough that we had to take the wind chimes down so they wouldn’t fly off and break. We even had some snow last night.

You can hear the tourists complaining: “Why did you pick this place? It’s freezing and you expect me to walk around? Let’s go to the mall.” Everyone’s got their scarves, hats and ear muffs on but I’ve got my apron on. Well….my figurative apron. I don’t really wear an apron. Anyway, to me it’s time to always have soup cooking or in the fridge waiting to be warmed up so it can warm me up.

When I was a kid, my mother made the most delicious tomato soup. She would only make it at the very end of the summer when the season for fresh plum tomatoes was over and she could buy them by the bushel very inexpensively. Then she would make 2 batches: one for me and one with sugar in it for everyone else. Yes, even then I didn’t like sugar.

My soup is similar to my mother’s soup except I use canned tomatoes during winter months. It has onion, celery and carrots in it. The carrots are the only sweet thing going into my soup; they cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Plus lots of garlic because it’s me and I love garlic in everything! I like my soup chunky. I like to see and taste the vegetables so I don’t blend it or puree it. And I’m a purist so no cream is going into my soup either. But when you make your soup, do what makes you happy. I’ll never know.

My Hug in a Mug Tomato Soup is so hearty and delicious with robust flavor from the tomatoes and the herbs. Serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have the perfect, classic comfort meal.

It’s so comforting to have on a cold day. Just holding a hot mug of it in my hands makes me feel warm and cozy. Like a hug in a mug. Of course it’s delicious in a bowl too. Enjoy!

Hug in a Mug Tomato Soup

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1-15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 tsp. Kosher salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth

2 cups water

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes until it starts to soften. You just want to sweat the onion, not brown it. Add the celery and carrots and let cook for 4 minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic and stir it into the vegetables.

Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir in the spices. Add the broth and water to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let the soup simmer for at least 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Serve while hot with your favorite sandwich.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.
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