Okay here’s the truth. I don’t love Halloween (gasp!). Its possible that my mom passed her lack of enthusiasm for this particular holiday onto me, which never stopped her from making us the most amazing costumes when we were little. Literally, all she needed was her sewing machine, some craft or fabric paint, and some glue and we were magically transformed into a beautiful butterfly, whose wings would then be repurposed the next year for an entirely different costume. But when it came to getting all decked out and participating in the Halloween fun herself…she wasn’t interested.
Now that I’m a mom, I get it. Each of my kids (like their mother) have sensitivities to sugar, and the Halloween sugar overload does not bring out the best in any of us…so this time of year is simply not my favorite. But, like my mom, I help them get all dressed up and let them run around town begging for the stuff…what else can I do? When they were little I could bribe them with a trip to the movies or the swimming pool on Halloween night, but that doesn’t work anymore. So since I can’t really stop the goodies from flowing in, or stop myself from dipping into their stash (Shhh…), I’ve simply started adding a lots of extra nutrition to their diets this time of year instead. And we have a rule. No candy until after eating a protein and some veggies. I know…I’m so mean.
This year I wanted to arm them with something deliciously healthy and packed with nutrition. This soup/stew is one of my favorites this time of year, especially if you love tomato based soups, which I do. Its packed with vitamin C, garlic and any other veggies you want to throw in…Mmmmm! This time I threw in a half cup of quinoa to mix things up. It soaked up a lot of the broth making it thicker, which my kids liked. And it will be perfect for throwing onto a baked potato tomorrow night. Bonus!
So here is the recipe. And its kind of vague because you can really do anything you want with it. Make it chunkier, or brothier…add green peppers or black beans…what ever suits you.
PS – Instant pots are amazing for making soup! You can set it to saute first and then add the liquid and let it slow cook all day.
PPS – No need to compliment my ninja photography skills. 😉
4-5 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 full stalk of celery (the whole thing)
2-3 cups chopped carrots
2 cans diced or stewed tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce (This give is more of a chunky stew textutre, if you want it more brothy exchange for a 3rd can of diced tomatoes instead)
1 cans green beans
4 cups of chicken broth (you can add more of this depending on how chunky or slurpy you like your soup)
1 Tbs of Italian seasoning (or chili pepper if you want to turn it into a chili)
Optional: 1 can of white or black beans
Salt and Pepper to taste (and a pinch of cayenne if you’re into that…which I am NOT)
Optional: About an hour before serving throw in some zucchini and/or some whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or brown rice. Just keep in mind that it expands a lot, so only put in a little. I used 1/2 cup of quinoa this time and it was plenty. If you just want a good ole’ “slurpy soup”, don’t add any grains and keep it simple.
You can also add meat for an added source of protein. We are trying to eat a meatless meal once or twice a week so I opted out this time. If you are using a pressure cooker you can cook the meat right in the soup. If you are using a regular crock pot, I suggest browning it first.
There you go! Happy Halloween!
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