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We awoke to the message that the kids would be out of school, and there is just something about the kids being home due to inclement weather that makes me want to cook. But not just anything will do, it has to be hot, hearty fare to warm the soul as well as the stomach, and cookies!!
I made this Black Bean Soup for lunch, which my husband and I shared before he went back to work. I managed to get the kids and their friends that were over, to sit and eat, between putting on coats and gloves and trips out to the trampoline.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
cilantro, sliced avocado and plain Greek yogurt for serving

Heat oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans and broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until beans are heated through and creamy, about 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper and rewarm. Divide soup among bowls and serve with cilantro, avocado and Greek yogurt.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


In a deep pot over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in 2 chopped shallots and 1 cup of thinly sliced celery. Cook until onions are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon ground coriander and 1 head of chopped cauliflower. Add 1/2 cup water.
Increase heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for about 25 to 30 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree soup using an immersion blender, until smooth.
Spoon soup into bowls and garnish with creme fraiche.

Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal, September 2013


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup alphabet pasta
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, water and bay leaf and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the pasta and simmer until tender, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the peas and chives. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, August 2007