Monday, February 26, 2018

Beautiful Music and Frugal Soup

Jan here, with a special treat for you!

Cantio Flutes
My friend Olya is part of a flute ensemble that plays gigs all around town. They formed last year, and are already in demand for Christmas parties and weddings. Check out their Facebook page! Cantio Flutes Facebook page

Olya has uploaded some of their music to YouTube, set to lovely pictures. Here's a sample for your enjoyment: Beautiful music here. (By the way, this is the first time this video has been shared publicly!)

You'll find links to the YouTube videos on their Facebook page.

Isn't the music lovely? Sigh.

Meanwhile, winter is hanging on in the Black Hills. We've had some warmer temperatures and sunshine the past couple days, but snow still covers the Hills. As it melts, it provides us with some much-needed moisture, but we won't be seeing flowers for a couple months.

With our cold weather, we're still deep in the soup mode. I've been making soup for supper three or four times a week. My husband recently asked me why I don't make "Freezer Soup" anymore. I told him that it is a recipe from a bygone era.... A throwback to years ago...

Our four children with Grandma and Grandpa
back in 1994

Back to the days when...yes...our children were that small. Now they're grown, two are married, and all of them are way too big for me to tell them what to do!

But back in those days, we lived in a great older neighborhood in a great small town in northern Indiana, and life was good.

We had no time. No money. Going every-which-way. Refereeing sibling squabbles. Falling into bed exhausted every night.

But life was good. More than good...blessed beyond belief.

In those days, we would have leftovers at the end of a meal. Can you believe that??? It never happens now, and hasn't for years! But little bodies don't eat as much - and their appetites are unpredictable - so there would be extra food.

After dinner, I would save the leftover hamburger patties, meatloaf, pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, leftover spaghetti sauce... You name it! I would cut everything into bite size pieces and put them in a container in the freezer.

Once a month (or when the container got full,) we had freezer soup for dinner.

Freezer Soup

Actually, there is no recipe for this soup, and it's different every time you make it!

Here's what you need:

My home canned tomato sauce was always more
juice than sauce

1) About a quart of leftovers, cut in bite sized pieces.
2) 1 quart tomato juice/sauce (I used my home canned sauce which was never as thick as store-bought)
3) Beef or chicken broth, as much as you need for the amount of soup you want to make
4) Additional vegetables as desired - I quite often threw in a pint of frozen green beans or an extra diced potato
5) Seasonings to taste - garlic, basil, thyme, and marjoram make a good blend

Combine the ingredients in a large pot, then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about an hour, more or less. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

I always served this soup with some bread (often homemade) and some homemade applesauce.

I used to can 70 quarts of applesauce every year!

Times change. I haven't made freezer soup for a long time. Partly because of the lack of leftovers! But mostly because I'm not feeding growing bodies anymore.

When I make vegetable soup now, I use a basic simple recipe. But it turns out the same every time I make it. It lacks that surprise element!

It reminds me of how our lives have longer chaotic, rarely surprising. The only sibling squabble that erupts is when Thatcher tries to eat Wynter's food. Life these days is quiet. Predictable. These are the years in between watching our children grow and the time when grandchildren bring new life to the family gatherings.

But it's still good. More than good... Blessed beyond belief!

Have you ever made soup from leftovers? Or are you so ready for spring that you're sick and tired of hearing about soup? :-)

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan


  1. Well, Jan, while we only have snippets of winter here, these gray days we've had lately not only have me wanting soup (made chicken and dumplings last night and can hardly wait for lunch to roll around so I can have more), but longing for spring. Usually I'm the one hoping for one more blast of winter. Because once spring arrives, summer isn't far behind and then it's just plain hot. And I'm nowhere near ready for shorts weather yet.

    My girls' great-grandmother always made soup from leftover pot roast. Like your freezer soup, I haven't made it in years because we rarely have leftovers, but it holds fond memories. I guess sometimes that's the best part of those things we once frequented is the memories.

    Perhaps I'll cook a bigger roast next time. ;)

    1. Leftover pot roast is the best in a soup like this! All those flavors blend together...

      We're having a taste of spring weather here today, even with several inches of snow still on the ground. The streets are clear, though, so the dogs are getting a much-needed walk this morning. :-)

      And can I say it? We might even be turning the corner toward spring!

      But, as you know, spring around here means more snow!

  2. Jan, I'm sorry I missed your post yesterday! I've never heard of this type freezer soup. I love the idea!! I may start doing this with our leftovers (which we have since we're empty nest).

    I can't wait to visit the site and listen to the music!

    1. One thing to remember is that sometimes you need to leave leftovers out of the freezer soup! Some combinations just won't work. :-)

    2. LOL. Yeah, I'll have to keep combinations in mind. :)