Sunday, May 6, 2012

Better than chicken noodle soup, soup!

I apologize for the white background behind the text. Somehow I came up and now I cannot remove it. Bear with me I'm still learning Blogger!

I've been sick for the past few days and suddenly missed that soup my mom used to give me as a kid. You know the one, Campbell's condensed chicken noodle soup. Yeah, that one. My mom worked full time so making soup for us was often a big task and only left for dinner so she always provided a sense of warmth with that little can that all you need to do is heat and serve, just add water.

As I grew up I still relied on that bit of "home." It always made me feel better. Perhaps because it reminded me of childhood and the love that came from my mom. Along with saltines and 7-up I'd be back up again in no time.

Now that we've all gone plant-strong I no longer could rely on my "home" of chicken noodle soup. I've been sort of craving it this past few days thinking it would make everything better. But, the knowledge I've gained about what you eat tells me otherwise.

So, as I lay in bed I did a little research on some of the top healing foods. Here is what I found.

As a natural anti-biotic, Garlic is the only known herb that can protect the body against poisons that are causing an infection while also killing the virus or bacteria that is actually causing the infection. The blood of a garlic eater alone is enough to kill off dangerous bacteria before an infection sets in. Garlic is one of only nine herbs that show anti-fungal properties and is especially effective against Candida and candidiasis. The sulfur rich components in garlic increases the activity of natural killer and T helper cells, stimulating the immune system and becoming a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Considered a miracle food, garlic offers prevention and healing benefits to a wide variety of diseases ranging from the common cold to deadly diseases. In past decades, garlic was even used to treat the once common and seemingly returning disease of tuberculosis. Americans once commonly referred to Garlic as the 'Poor Man's Treacle'. Today, garlic is now being known for being nature's wonder drug. For hundreds of years, garlic herb has been performing medical miracles throughout the world.

Garlic, for example, has been used to treat fevers, sore throats, digestive ailments, hardening of the arteries, and other health problems and conditions.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) -- Thyme has traditionally been used to treat respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and to treat cough. Two preliminary studies suggest that thyme may help treat acute bronchitis and relieve cough. Thyme is approved by the German Commission E to treat those conditions.

Sage has been known to prevent the common cold and flu.


Onions have super antioxidant power. They contain querciten, a natural antihistamine that reduces airway inflammation and helps relieve symptoms of allergies and hay fever. Onions also boast high levels of vitamin C, which battles cold and flu symptoms. Onions' anti-inflammatory properties help fight the pain and swelling associated with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.


Beans are a miracle food. They lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production, promote digestive health and protect against cancer. If you think of fiber, protein and antioxidants, and immediately think whole grains, meat and fruit, then think again—beans offer all three in a single package.


You already knew spinach was good for you, but did you know just how good? Spinach protects against eye disease and vision loss; it's good for brain function; it guards against colon, prostate and breast cancers; it protects against heart disease, stroke and dementia; it lowers blood pressure; it's anti-inflammatory; and it's great for bone health. Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K,calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and iron.


Carrots contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C and an incredible amount of vitamin A. The alpha-carotene in carrots has shown promise in inhibiting tumor growth. In Chinese medicine, carrots are used to treat rheumatism, kidney stones, tumors, indigestion, night blindness, ear infections and more.


Cabbage builds strong bones, dampens allergic reactions, reduces inflammation and promotes gastrointestinal health. Cabbage is routinely juiced as a natural remedy for healing peptic ulcers due to its high glutamine content. It also provides significant cardiovascular benefit by preventing plaque formation in the blood vessels. In Chinese medicine, cabbage is used to treat constipation, the common cold, whooping cough, depression, irritability and stomach ulcers.


Kale is in the same plant family as another cruciferous superfood and contains high levels of the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane. The indoles in kale have been shown to protect against breast, cervical and colon cancers. The vitamin K in kale promotes blood clotting, protects the heart and helps build strong bones by anchoring calcium to the bone. Kale has more antioxidant power than another leafy green and is extra-rich in beta-carotene (containing seven times as much as does broccoli), lutein and zeaxanthin (10 times the amount in broccoli). In Chinese medicine, kale is used to help ease lung congestion.

Dandelion greens:

Dandelion promotes digestive health by stimulating bile production, resulting in a gentle laxative effect. Inulin further aids digestion by feeding the healthy probiotic bacteria in the intestines; it also increases calcium absorption and has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels, therefore being useful in treating diabetes. Both the dandelion leaves and root are used to treat heartburn and indigestion. The pectin in dandelion relieves constipation and, in combination with vitamin C, reduces cholesterol. Dandelion is excellent for reducing edema, bloating and water retention; it can also help reduce high blood pressure. On top of all that, dandelion contains multiple antidiarrheal and antibacterial properties.

In Chinese medicine, dandelion is used in combination with other herbs to treat hepatitis and upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The sap from the stem and root is a topical remedy for warts.

With all that goodness I realized that that chicken noodle soup I had been eating wasn't so healing after all. It is for 1) full of meat (or meat parts rather, eww!), 2) full of unnecessary sodium and 3) nothing in it, flavor/herb wise, is healthy.

Today I decided I'd make my own mom approved soup. One I can give to my daughter when she's feeling sick. One I hope she, one day, signifies as home.  
But, there is a caveat. I liked the soup but the hubby, who is not sick, thought it was too "kitchen sinky" for him. Too much stuff. That very well could be but it satisfied my hunger and helped me get a burst of energy I so desperately needed. Please be aware it's a strong soup, flavor wise, so if you're making it while not sick you may want to back off on some of the seasonings.  
This is also a bit of a rough draft. Only because my sinuses are so clogged (yes, pretty sick) that smelling and tasting this soup was perfect for me...with a clogged face!! I found it to rather tasty and chalk full of goodness!

What you will need:

1 Tablespoon of oil or ¼ cup vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
3 small carrots or 2 larger, small dice
2 stalks of celery, small dice
Bay leaf
6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 can great northern beans or kidney beans (I used what was on hand), drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 cup purple cabbage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon garlic (I like garlicky soup!)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup whole wheat dry pasta (any shape you may have, remember you are probably not feeling that great when making this soup)
1 cup curly kale, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh basil (if you have it on hand), chopped
Salt to taste
A dash of hot sauce (optional)
Juice from one lime
Green onion as garnish

What you will need to do:

Heat oil in  a large stock pot over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery) and bay leaf, cook until the onion becomes translucent and the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently as to not allow it to burn. Add beans cook, 1 minute. Add stock and water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add cabbage and dry herbs. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Once the soup has simmered add the greens and pasta, let the greens wilt and the pasta heat through, about 2 minutes. Then add the fresh herbs. Salt to taste. Add the hot sauce if you so desire and the lime juice. Serve with a garnish of green onion.

Yes, it definitely has a lot of ingredients. If you don't have some of them you can always sub some items. If you just have kale or just have spinach don't worry about the other green. This soup doesn't need cabbage it's just got great healing qualities. Fresh basil, I believe, is always nice in soup but it's not a necessity especially since there is dry basil already in it. As for garlic, try and use both the fresh and the dry. I truly believe that gives a great extra garlicky flavor.

I hope you don't have to make this soup, seeing as it's made for sick people. But, if you fall ill with that common cold or a sinus infection like I've had then I do hope you enjoy and it gives you a sense of warmth as it did for me.

And just for fun here's a playlist of songs I listened to while cooking. I love music!!

CTRL - Years Younger
Depeche Mode - Sweetest Perfection
U2 - With or Without You
The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
Assemblage 23 - Awake (Imperative Reaction Remix)
Fischerspooner - Emerge
Praga Kahn - Pittsburgh Angel
New Order - Temptation
Bono and Michael Hutchence - Slide Away

Cheers and happy eating!


  1. I don't want to be sick, but I'm keeping this recipe close by for the next time it strikes... or even just the next cold, gloomy day!
    Thanks so much!

  2. You are very welcome! Yes, please don't get sick! Being healthy is so much better than this soup. :)