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Kid-Friendly Minestrone and Cook Book Review

Posted Apr 10 2013 1:10pm

Our Spring has taken a turn back in time towards Winter.  Boo!  It has been raining which is great, but then the last few days we have had really strong COLD winds.  It literally chills you to the bone.  And so in celebration of the return of Winter, we decided to make warm, savory, fill-your-house-up-with-delicious-aromas Minestrone Soup.  There are a million minestrone recipes out there, but I really wanted to find one that was kid-friendly because if your kids won't eat it, then what is the point of spending all that time chopping veggies right?  I like this recipe because although it does have a lot of veggies, I feel like some of them cook down enough that there isn't big chunks of onion, or cabbage, or veggies that kids can be leery of.  But the chunky veggies are more familiar and accepted by kids - carrots, peas, etc.  

I received this cookbook 'Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking' by Mary McCartney a few weeks ago.  First of all it is a beautiful, hardcover book that had me wanting to open it right away.  We are excited to be giving away a copy of this book!  Just leave a comment of your favorite soup to make your kids below to enter!  We will close the giveaway on Sunday April 14, 2013.  

 Normally I am a bit leery of vegetarian cookbooks when I am cooking with kids in mind because a lot of times their recipes are designed with more adult tastes, flavors and ingredients.  I will say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that the opposite is true with this cookbook.  I found a lot of recipes that are easy to make, familiar, and definitely food my kids will eat.  A little preview of some that looked especially enticing to me:

Granola to go bars breakfast pancakes    
Granola Bar To Go Breakfast Pancakes    
Hearty quinoa and white bean soup Corn fritters
Hearty Quinoa and White Bean Soup Corn Fritters

As you can tell, the photography in the book is absolutely beautiful.  So I was definitely excited to try her Minestrone Soup Recipe.  She calls it Lip-Smacking Minestrone, which let me tell you it is definitely lip-smacking.  Our family of four finished off an entire recipes in 2 days which is pretty incredible for us.  

You begin by cutting up your veggies.  One of them is a Leek, which if you have never used one before I just learned a great tip!  Last weekend I attended a cooking demo with Carla Hall from Top Chef and she talked about the best way to wash leeks.

 

How to Wash a Leek
Begin with your leek, you basically just use the white part. Cut off the end and most of the green. 
Chop your leek into small pieces. 
Place the pieces in a bowl of tepid water.  Not cold because it will make the pores of the leek close up, and the dirt will want to stay on it.  Agitate with your hands to shake off any dirt.  The dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl, and then you can gently lift the clean leeks out of the bowl and leave the dirt behind!

 Chop the rest of your veggies.  One quick-prep tip.  Chopped carrots freeze really well if you are going to use them in a soup.  I grow a ton of carrots in my garden and then chop and freeze them for later.  Then when you are ready to make soup, they are basically ready for you to throw in the pot!  We have here leeks, celery, onions and carrots.  

 After that it is just a matter of adding the rest of the ingredients to your pot, simmering, stirring and voila! You will have a beautiful pot of simmering veggie goodness to delight your family with.  One thing I really like about this minestrone that is different from others is that it has peas in it.  I feel like peas are a definite kid-friendly food and even if they aren't as familiar with the other veggies in the soup, they can definitely find comfort with the peas.  

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