I refuse to be annoyed by this super loooooong winter.  Sure, sure in the beginning it was fun.  Lots of snow, freezing temperatures, yippeee.  My kids were happy therefore I was happy too.  But now I’m kind of over it and ready to get out there and play on the playground, step into the sand and feel the sun on my sunscreen covered body.  I know we are still in the thick of it, so until I can feel warm on the outside, I’m going to continue to warm myself up on the inside, and I invite you to join me.

Like many of you, I’ve been enjoying soup A LOT and STILL.  But I find that store bought soups (i.e. Hale and Hearty) are just waaaaaaay too salty for my taste.  Don’t they know you can’t taste the other ingredients through all of that salt?  And that too much salt in our diet can cause health issues including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, not to mention bloating (AGH!).  Well, my homemade soups have all the flavor, a lot less salt, fewer calories and are usually dairy free (helpful during cold/flu season too since less dairy = less mucus).

My latest batch of soup was adapted from Bon Appetit (can’t go wrong there) and was a simple tomato soup that I made dairy free, in less than an hour and now have TONS of it in my freezer to heat up for dinner, bring for lunch and serve to my kids after a snowball fight with grilled cheese sandwiches (on whole wheat of course!).   With easy to use ingredients, whip up a batch and let me know what you think!  YUM!

“Creamy” Tomato Soup ( serves 8 )

2 TBSP unsalted, organic butter
1 tsp dried thyme
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2-28 oz. cans whole tomatoes, organic
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (if desired.  I found the soup was very creamy without this added)

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add thyme, onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is completely soft and translucent, 10 – 12 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high; add tomato paste.  Continue cooking, stirring often for another 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices, sugar, and 8 cups water to pot.  Increase heat to high; bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer until flavors meld and soup reduces to about 2 – quarts (about half it’s original volume), 45 – 55 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Working in small batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth.  Return to pot.

Stir in 1/4 cup almond milk and simmer soup until flavors meld about 10 more minutes.  Season with salt, pepper.  Enjoy!