Spring is coming. It seems rather slow in coming some days, but I know that it is getting close. And I am ever so thankful. With spring comes warm runs, walks and bike rides with the kids, a craving for more fresh veggies, salads, stir fry, and grilled foods.

But for now, it is still cold and one (maybe the only?) part of cold that I do enjoy is soup. And I am apparently trying to get my fill because that is the only thing that sounds good and thus the only thing I am cooking these days.

I thought I would share a couple of my favorites that I have found over the last few weeks.

Tuesday of this week I was in the mood for black beans, but not necessarily wanting to pair them with rice or a Mexican-flavored dish. I knew I had some barley, so when I saw this recipe for Fall Vegetable Stew with Black Beans and Barley, I knew I had to try it. I had a couple of butternut squash hanging out from one of my previous co-op baskets, and everything else was in my fridge or my pantry. I did use dried herbs instead of fresh (use about 1/3 of the amount requested if you are using dried). I was sure my kids would hate it because of the squash, but to my surprise and delight, Anne loved it and Ty liked it well enough to eat it without much complaint (which is a miracle in and of itself). Mike wasn’t home, so I didn’t get his feedback, but a good friend of mine came and grabbed a bowl as she headed back to work and raved about it as well. It tastes pretty good leftover, too. I think next time  I will mash all the squash, then there will be no complaints from the kids because they won’t know the squash is even there. 🙂

Last weekend, I was just in the mood to cook and was scrolling through my Healthy Food Pinterest board to see what appealed to me and corresponded with what I had hanging out in my fridge. This Carrot, Potato, & Leek Soup just looked fabulous and I had some huge carrots and two leeks that needed to be used and because I am married to meat and potatoes man, we always have potatoes hanging around. It was super easy to make, just chop the veggies, season with EVOO and spices, and roast in the oven. When the veggies are done, puree them with some vegetable broth and add any more seasoning to taste. It was delicious. I even served it to my small group the next evening and the ones that tried it, liked it. It would be really good with some homemade croutons, so I might try that next time.

The other soup I made recently was White Bean and Basil. I found it in the cookbook: Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less. It was really easy, quick, and had a wonderful flavor that came from onions, carrots, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and both dried and fresh basil. My kids aren’t a huge fan of basil (which is totally wrong in my book), so they complained a little, but I think if I had added the cooked elbow macaroni that was offered as a variation, they probably wouldn’t have complained at all. Because that’s the way kids are.

So if you are like me and are soaking up the last bit of soup season, here are a few ideas for you to try. It is amazing to me how many different flavors and combinations that I keep finding and liking that I never would have encountered if I hadn’t made the decision to adopt a vegan diet. And boy am I enjoying it!