It's cold .... Mamma's homemade vegetable soup

Dear Friends,
Yes it snows in Virginia Beach, just look outside for the proof. I don’t like cold never have never will. That’s the only good thing about going thru menopause. I don’t freeze like my DH does. So when I complain its cold, then it’s really cold.

I can remember when I was a child going to my Grandma Ford’s house. It was an old farm house with a large front porch and an even bigger wrap around back porch. Every room had a fire place and doors that closed them off to the rest of the house. My grandma kept the doors closed to keep the heat in the room where she and the rest of the family were. Not only that but she always wore a sweater and when it was really cold she wore a crotched shawl to keep her even warmer. Instead of turning up the heat to get warm they just put on more clothes. She also had a bed jacket that she put on so she could sit up in bed and read. A bed jacket is just a robe that’s cut off at the waist so the wearer can sit up in bed without all the extra stuff down under the covers.

Grandma Ford had to be thrifty. She ran the farm and was the female head of our whole family. She also helped to raise my daddy, his brothers and sisters along with my Kaki; my dad’s mom. You see my Grandma Ford wasn’t really my grandmother but my great grandma. I learned most everything I know about gardening from her. All the other things I learned from the other women in our family. Being southern women they were totally self sufficient. Many poor southern women raised there families alone since the men seemed to die very young. We might talk slow, but don’t let that fool you. We’re tough and make no mistake about it we are the driving force in out families. If mamma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.

Today I put on some homemade vegetable soup. We southerners love soup on really cold days. Along with grits this is one of my comfort foods. It served many purposes in the older southern homes. It used up any and all vegetables that we had around the house and helped to heat the home on really cold days. Not to mention it was/is a cheep meal. The ingredients vary from house to house and from person to person. The whole point is to use up all your left over vegetables and warm your body. It comforts me in more ways than one. Add homemade corn bread or mayonnaise biscuits and I’m back at mommas’ house or my Grandma Fords.

This is another one of those recipes that I’m putting in my recipe book for my DD. There are lots of old southern recipes and ways that I don’t want lost so I’m putting them down in a book for her and my grand kids. It’s a link to our past and their future.

Mamma’s Homemade vegetable soup

I start this soup early in the morning. You can either put it in a stock pot on the stove to cook all day or in a slow cooker. I use frozen mixed vegetables but my mom and grandmother used fresh. I’m gonna list all the vegetables that go into it so that if you’re really energetic you can too. We put everything in it except the kitchen sink, but believe me if the sink would make a difference we would put it in there too. The ingredients are what most of us have on hand or can be gotten really easy here in the south.

• Corn
• Lima beans
• Green beans
• Carrots
• Potatoes
• Peas
• Cabbage
• Celery
• Okra (yes okra just put it in there. It’s a southern thing you won’t even know it’s there)
• Stewed tomatoes
• Onion
• Tomato juice
• Ground meat ( I use ground turkey or chicken since I’m allergic to beef)
• Bay leaves (whole)

If you make this soup completely from scratch don’t put the peas, cabbage, celery, or okra in till the very end. Wait till the last hour of cooking before you put them in the soup. Otherwise these ingredients will be all mushy and not hold up well.

Back to the way I make homemade vegetable soup. The ingredients that I use are

• Large bag of mixed vegetables
• Potatoes ( 2 or 3 how ever many you like)
• Onion
• 1 to 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
• Tomato juice large ( at least 64 oz. or 2 quarts)
• Whole bay leaves
• Salt
• Pepper
• Ground meat ( of course I use ground turkey or chicken)

Fist I brown the ground meat. Because I use ground turkey and chicken I don’t have any grease, but if you use ground beef drain the grease off before you dump it into your pot. Then I cut a whole onion and dump it in the crock pot. I don’t dice it but cut it into longer thin strips. Then I peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks and dump them also into the slow cooker. I continue to dump the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker as well as the tomato juice. I add a little bit of water so that the liquid comes all the way up to the top of the slow cooker. I then add salt and pepper to taste. I use a lot of whole bay leaves because I like the taste. Most people use 2 or 3 I use 6.
Once you’ve dumped all the ingredients in your pot or slow cooker put the lid on and cook it all day. When I worked outside the house I’d dump all these ingredients in my slow cooker pot and put it in the refrigerator. In the morning before I left for work I’d put the pot in the slow cooker and cook it on low till I came home from work.

I’ll bake some cheese biscuits that I have in the freezer. Since today is my moderate cleaning day, I’ll have my comfort food as well as dinner ready when I’m done. I love this soup and every time I make it I think of the women in my family and my mamma.

Take care, stay warm and ya’ll come back now ya hear…. And by the way it’s only 18 days till spring.

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