Monday, June 25, 2012

A Vitamin Packed Summer Minestrone...Because Someone's Having a Baby!

Yes!!  Someone is having a baby!'s not me. (Just thought I needed to clear that up.)

I received this delightful invitation (below) in the mail to attend a "virtual" baby shower for a new-mom-to-be who lives in my newly adopted "home away from home"...

Austin, Texas.

Shelley, of the adorable blog Franish NonSpeaker will be the proud Mommy to a baby girl who will make her debut in August.  They've named her Ruby (my grandmother's name) and I'm sure they are getting impatient while waiting for her to arrive into their world.

We all decided to get together and plan a "virtual" baby shower of recipes that Shelley can prepare "ahead" of Ruby's birthday.  With some frozen dishes tucked away, she should get off to an easy, comforting, and healthy start with her new family.

I wanted to prepare something seasonal for Shelley that is packed with all the goodness of summer.  I thought a nice Minestrone soup would be a good option for her.

She can make use of all of the abundance of zucchinis, yellow squashes, and tomatoes that are loaded up in the markets right now.

When I make this soup, I make a huge batch at one time.  I take those containers from our local Japanese restaurant when we bring udon soup home, and fill them up with soup.

Several go into the freezer and several stay in the fridge for quick lunches throughout the week.

What a way to pack vitamins, minerals, and fiber into mommy as well as into baby Ruby.  Summer goodness all in one steaming bowl of flavorful soup.

I am assuming Shelley is "nesting" somewhere inside where there is icy cold air conditioning!  I know that is what we are doing. 

Shelley lives in the awesome city of Austin, Texas where my daughter will be attending college.  We just spent last week getting to know the campus and the city.  

We tasted the succulent barbecue of the popular Franklin BBQ (see my review here)and I have so much more coming on "Thyme" that will highlight her super cool city.  

So, here is to the healthy arrival of baby Ruby!

A healthy summer vegetable-packed minestrone soup to see them through the first days of life as they adjust to the  arrival of a sweet bundle of baby girl cuteness.

Please have fun peeking into the other "shower guests" to see what they will suggesting for Shelley so she can get off to a good start with the baby.  Each day this week, these sites will offer up their suggestions.  Here is a list of the guests:

Summer Minestrone:
(Serves 8)

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, minced
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
6 cups peeled and chopped rip Italian plum tomatoes
3 cups trimmed and roughly chopped zucchini
3 cups trimmed and roughly chopped yellow zucchini
3 waxy new potatoes, diced (optional)
4 garlic gloves, crushed
2 1/2 quarts vegetable stock or water
8 tablespoons shredded fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook slowly for about 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly, until soft.

Stir in the sun-dried tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, zucchini, diced potatoes, and garlic and cook slowly for 10 minutes, uncovered, shaking the pan frequently to stop the vegetables from sticking to the base.

Pour in the stock or water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, half cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.  Add more stock if necessary.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil and half the cheese.  

[At this point, the soup can be served chunky.  If a smoother, creamier soup is desired, then transfer the soup in batches to a blender.  Add a touch of cream, 1/3 cup,  if you like the soup creamier]

Serve the soup hot, chunky or creamy, sprinkled with remaining cheese, shredded basil, and salt and pepper!


  1. How fun! Your soup looks wonderful.

  2. Yum! Who wouldn't want some suppers of this come this fall?

    And what a great idea to welcome Ruby!

  3. what a fun idea for the virtual baby shower- and wow, this soup looks absolutely beautiful and straight from a magazine cover!

  4. Aww, that's sweet:) Ruby is a lovely name, too.

    Now you've got me thinking udon...!

  5. I love the look. You always shoot the most appetizing photos! I should be able to freeze this one as well. I know this is supposed to be for Shelley but I will get started to stock up some for winter:)
    We have a small, take out only noodle restaurant we go and everytime I come home with those tall plastic soup containers, they get cleaned and used for freezer as well.
    So I guess we will see you in Austin a lot this coming year ;)

  6. I love minestrone. Your version is so tempting and will have to try this one soon!

  7. lovely soup, lovely pics! thanks for from Istanbul...

  8. That is such an interesting and unique idea! I'm sure Shelley would love this recipe as much I as would! It's so cold right now I can totally do with some of this soup!

  9. What a lovely blog post in honour of Shelley.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here for entry details and current theme offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon. July's theme is Summer Soups.

  10. I'd never heard of a virtual shower before, but what I wonderful way to welcome baby Ruby! Your soup looks beautiful and seasonal, and I love that it can be chunky OR pureed -- it's like two soups in one!

  11. This soup looks fantastic. We love minestrone - well, half of us do - the other half doesn't enjoy the chunks, and I don't know why I've never thought to blend it. Brilliant. I'm going to try your recipe next time. Beautiful photo too - soup is always a tough one!! LOVE the name Ruby too!

  12. Awwww Shelley must be thrilled about this post :D
    I can't wait to see the virtual baby shower, that is simply the sweetest ever!

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. Lovely minestrone.
    Lovely photos.

  14. Sarah- thanks so much for participating in my virtual shower and for the delicious looking and sounding minestrone recipe. A perfect pick to use up my CSA bounty! My grandmother's name was Ruby, too- hence our little Ruby's name. I'm so glad you enjoyed Austin and I can't wait to read your upcoming posts on our fair city. Wasn't Franklin's fabulous?

  15. Oh wow, this looks divine! I love minestrone soup, but mine's not as creamy and more a tomato base. Love the color in yours! And a great way to use all these fresh vegetables. I love making soups now and freezing them for the winter!

  16. What a lovely idea. Sometimes finding a great recipe takes more time than actually making it so this should make it easy for Shelley.

  17. Minestrone is such a delicious soup... love your recipe.

  18. Minestrone is full of great taste and lots of vitamins…just right for a mom to be! It looks scrumptious!!

  19. Love all the Zucchini in there =D


  20. A lovely post Sarah! Incidentally, I have added your blog to my list of brilliant blogs ; )

  21. This looks fabulous. What a great way to use the summer produce in one dish. It looks so healthy AND delicious.

  22. What fun!! And such a perfect way to honor an expectant mother and her baby!!!

  23. What a flavorful, summery and perfect new mommy soup:) So great to meet you through Shelley's baby shower. Keen that your daughter will be attending school in Austin--you can meet baby Ruby in person!

  24. This soup looks amazing and full of great summer flavors! So great to have found your blog through Shelley's shower.

  25. Absolutely gorgeous pics! and ironically I have a pot of minestrone on the back hub for dinner tonight-I needed to clean out the veggies in my fridge. I love that yours is creamy. It's an absolute pleasure to meet you through this virtual shower, and I hope you get to see a whole lot more of our wonderful city when your daughter settles in for school.

  26. Maureen, MilwaukeeJune 27, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Help - how much tomato paste? Want to make this tonight and don't want to get it wrong - please "fill in the blank", and thanks so much for what looks like will be a delicious dinner!

  27. AAAAghhh!! So sorry Maureen! I just pulled out my Soup book and it is: 2 (TWO) tablespoons of tomato paste. This would have driven me bonkers if I was in the middle of making a soup. Good luck!!

  28. What a great idea - a virtual baby shower! and LOVE that name Ruby! the soup sounds SO delicious - perfect for any "body" as you say - packed with goodness :)
    Mary x

  29. I am not having a baby either but I love the guest list... GREG

  30. I love a good minestrone with summer vegetables! Yours looks delicious pureed and with basil and parmesan on top. So glad you had fun visiting Austin with your daughter!

  31. Lovely, lovely photos! So happy to find your blog through Shelley's shower!

  32. Totally the best idea ever! I can't wait to browse the other recipes and steal lots of recipes for our freezer! And I do believe I will be using this virtual recipe shower idea for the next new mom I know!

  33. What a wonderful, creative idea. And, of course, you had something wonderfully delicious to offer.

  34. I never seem to think about soup in the summer, but this one looks divine so I may make an exception. Soups are so easy to make and so satisfying. This would also be great to freeze up and have in the fall when the flavors of summer are gone.

    BTW, I'm going to try and roast up some beet chips this week. Wish me luck.


  35. These beet chips look super gorgeous my frind - healthy but flavoursome :D
    Your trip sounds so awesome - all the awesome pictures had my head whirling :D

    Choc Chip Uru


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