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Can I ask you guys something?  … Where did 2012 go??  It’s December 2nd and I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that another year has gone by.  Time seems to be going a little to fast for my liking and it’s starting to freak me out.

On the bright side, I am excited that it is the holiday season, which, let’s face it, is the best season of all.  Nothing makes me happier than the first snow, lots of sweaters, a ton of time with family, and packing on a couple pounds so that I can stay warmer in the cold weather (wait, did I just say that makes me happy?).  Either way, the cold weather definitely bring in new cravings for comfort food, especially hot, hearty soups that simmer on the stove for an hour and leave your kitchen smelling heavenly.  Oh yes… how I love those meals.

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This soup is by far one of the best soups I have made and I am pretty damn proud of it.  The original recipe I based this off of was a more brothy soup.  It’s not thick and it doesn’t have any barley in it.  But with a few of my (fantastic) tweaks, this soup will leave anyone feeling full and satisfied after just a bowl!  Which is perfect because it lasts longer and feeds more!

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The recipe this is based on is from a store/restaurant/cafe in Geneva, Illinois.  It’s called The Little Traveler.  It’s the ultimate girl place, filled with everything from kitchen stuff to candy and tea, from kiddie toys to fancy crystal bowls, from a year round Christmas room(s) to some pretty interesting clothes… it has everything.  But best of all it has a little restaurant inside that has, by far my favorite vegetable soup.  When I thought the other day about making it though, I was worried that it just wouldn’t be enough for us.  Sometimes I get really hungry and let’s face it, a bowl of soup just doesn’t do it for me.  I remembered I had a package of barley still in the pantry from when I made beef stew about a month ago and decided I’d make some alterations to the original recipe to make it more filling.

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It’s a rather simple soup to make, it does take a little time though to cut up all the veggies and simmer.  But in my opinion, it’s well worth the wait.  It is loaded with vegetables and has a lot of flavor that comes from beef broth.  You could try to make this soup vegan by using vegetable broth, but I worry it would be quick as flavorful.  You could pair this soup with fresh out of the oven cornbread or crusty bread or biscuits… or it my case, just a lot of saltine crackers.  Whichever you choose, they will pair well with the soup.

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This is the most perfect meal for a cold night, especially a Sunday night where you can curl up on the couch and watch football, if that’s your thing.  If it’s not your thing, then just make it on any night you want, no big deal.  I really think you will enjoy this soup, I hope so anyway!  I’d love to hear about if you do!

 

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Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup
Adapted from a recipe that’s not online or anywhere to be found other that in my mom’s recipe box… oh wait, yes it is, I wrote about it on my old blog!
Makes a lot… I’d say at least 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
14-28oz petite diced tomatoes (I don’t like a lot of tomatoes so I only used half of a 28oz can)
6-8 cups of low sodium beef broth (I used about 7 cups, almost 2 full cartons)
1 really big thinly sliced potato
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
3/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 of a small head of cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons flour

Ok… heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery and onion and saute until they start to get tender.  Add the tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes and the basil and parsley and bring to a boil.  The stir in the barley.  Add salt.  Simmer this for a good 30 minutes.  Next, add the cabbage and stir.  Using a ladle or measuring cup, remove about 1/3 cup of the broth from the pot and stir in the flour.  Poor this back into the soup and stir to combine.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  Check seasonings and add any if necessary.  Serve and enjoy!

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