I made this Hearty Vegetable Beef & Rice Soup for the first time a few years ago. It was a cold, rainy fall day, just like it is today in Western New York. We lived in town then and my older two children who were 6 & 8 at the time, had just gotten off the bus. The skies looked dark and ominous as I rushed them in the house. As cozy as it was inside the warm house, I couldn’t help wondering what type of storm was coming our way. It just looked weird outside. The wind was very calm, but the skies were different somehow. As we were looking outside of our living room window, the crisp fall leaves started blowing by sideways. I thought that seemed a bit odd and then without warning, the rain hit, the sky was covered in an incredible darkness and the power went out. The rain came down so hard that I could not even see an inch in front of me. I yelled out to my children to get into the closet under the stairs in the middle of the house. I am the kind of person who loves a good storm, but this was scary. The storm made sounds I had never heard before and it was frightening not knowing what was going on while we were under the stairs tucked away from the windows. After several minutes it had calmed down to a quiet rain. I couldn’t wait to look out the windows and see what had taken place. There were a few large branches down and leaves blown all over, but everything looked okay.
The power was still out, but I remembered that I had this Hearty Vegetable Beef & Rice Soup hot and ready to eat on the stove. I lit several candles and set the table. We sat down and ate dinner in candlelight. I wasn’t sure if my children were going to like this soup because they can be picky if they see an onion or a piece of cabbage mixed into their dinner. It was so dim that I did not hear one complaint! All I heard were compliments:) They loved it! This soup packed with delicious meat and vegetables- even tomatoes, was a hit all the way around! I couldn’t help but smile to myself because I knew as soon as the lights were back on and my daughter saw what she was eating, she was going to change her opinion of the soup very quickly.
After the power had returned late that evening and reports of damages came in, there was talk of the storm being a tornado. There were homes and garages right down the street that had their roofs ripped right off and hundred year old trees that lay across the road like someone had just bent them over. It was later confirmed by the National Weather Service that it was indeed a EF 2 tornado that had touched down. Thank God no one was hurt and I felt extremely blessed that my family was safe and sound. I think of that day every time I make this soup and sometimes I even serve it like I did that night, with candles lit and no complaints from picky eaters:)
This soup really is one of my favorite soups. It’s simple, delicious, and serves a crowd. You can even store any left over soup in the freezer and pull it out on a day that you might not feel like cooking. If your child doesn’t like onions (or the look of them) in soups, try pureeing the onion in a small blender (I use my Magic Bullet) and then adding it to the soup. I do this a lot and the children are so happy because they think I left out the onions!
*Recipe adapted from Money Saving Mom
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