Sunday, September 9, 2012

Everyone's Velvet Cream of Potato Soup and a Cookbook Review of "The Back in the Swing Cookbook" for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

If it is still blazing hot in your neck of the woods, you may want to bookmark this tasty Everyone's Velvet Cream of Potato Soups for when it starts to cool down in the next few weeks. Unless you are like me and eat warm soup year-round. (Since the temperature is pretty consistently in the 80's around here, even on a more humid weekend like this one, good soup still appeals) . Although creamy, this is by no means a heavy soup and it is surprisingly good cold too. 

The recipe is from "The Back in the Swing Cookbook" by Barbara C. Unell and Judith Fertig. Published by the non-profit organization Back in the Swing USA, the book is designed as a cookbook and resource for people getting back into the swing of things after breast cancer. It's a gorgeous book full of about 150 healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes designed to support healthy-living and help embrace a positive lifestyle. Although designed for breast cancer patients and their support, the healthy recipes and health tips woven in, are applicable to anyone interested in eating and being well. 

Andrews McMeel Publishing: August 7, 2012
Hardcover: 8"x9", 288 pages

The book is divided into: Desserts (gotta love that they start with dessert), Breakfast, Beverages, Appetizers and snacks, Salads and Side Dishes, Soups, Stews, Risottos, and More, and The Main Event (entrees). Beautiful photographs abound and the "Recipes for Life" throughout the book include tips on exercise, meditation, relaxation, friendship, positive emotions and more. There are also sections on New Horizons in Prevention, Survivor Resources and Menu Planning

Authors Unell and Fertig have about 30 cookbooks and books about healthy living between them and have created a book that would be a great gift for a friend or family member looking for support and a way to embrace a positive lifestyle.   

Recipes that caught my eye and received a "to-make" tab include; Sweet Couscous with Dark Chocolate and Dried Fruit, Baked Lemon-Spice Apples, Blueberry-Lavender Sauce, Bountiful Breakfast Strata, Wake-Up Pizza, Chamomile and Apple Peel Tea, Orange-Scented Hot Chocolate, Aztec Guacamole, Roasted Rosemary Garbanzo Snacks, Parisian Raspberry and Blue Cheese Salad, Wild Rice and Cranberry Harvest Salad, Cauliflower and Saffron Risotto, Tuscan Ribollita, Provencal Salmon Aioli Platter, and Ricotta and Parsley Gnocchi with Slow-Simmered Tomato Sauce with Red Wine. Being a lover of potato soup, that was the recipe I chose to make to "road test" this book. 

I made two changes to the recipe--swapping out the yogurt topping for cashew cream (mixed with a little lemon and salt to make it yogurt-like) to make a non-dairy, vegan version, and pureeing about 1/3 of the potato/cauliflower mixture to make it thicker and creamier.

"You'll adore this creative way to use cauliflower; it's perfect for those who love creamy soups, but not the fat. Leeks, green onions, and shallots are different members of the onion family, but tender green onions have a much stronger onion flavor than the tougher leek, which is somewhat sweet. The leeks, garlic, and bay leaf help build flavor in a gentle way."

Everyone's Velvet Cream of Potato Soup
From "The Back in the Swing Cookbook" 
(Serves 4)
Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
2 leeks, white only, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small head cauliflower, core removed, florets cut into small pieces
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I subbed cashew cream)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley or snipped chives

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the leeks for about 8 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, potatoes, cauliflower, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender.

To serve, remove the bay leaf and season to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of parsley.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 70, Total Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 5g, Dietary Fiber: 1.5g, Sodium: 400 mg

Notes/Results: Creamy comfort food--the kind of soup that is like a warm hug in a bowl. It's a subtly-flavored soup but tastes sweet and satisfying. I like the additional silkiness that pureeing part of the potatoes and cauliflower give the texture, as well as the cashew cream stirred in. I ate two bowls at dinner and another for breakfast today. Yes, I eat soup for breakfast. ;-) I will make this again. 

Note: I received a copy of "The Back in the Swing Cookbook" from the publisher (Andrews McMeel), however I received no monetary compensation to review it. As always, my thoughts, feedback and experiences cooking from it are entirely my own.

There are good friends with soup, salads and a sandwich waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look.

It's been a while since my good friend Stephanie, The Happy Sorceress at Dispensing Happiness has been at Souper Sundays and I am happy to have her here with a pretty bowl of Real-Deal Tortilla Soup. She says, "...despite Matt not being much of a soup fan (I know, I cry a little on the inside, too), he was very interested in this one.  I think the only changes made were using some already-cooked (and smoked) chicken for Matt, tortilla chips instead of frying fresh...and of course, leaving out that foul cilantro. OH! and blue potatoes. Come on; look at that beauty!  Really fabulous & quick soup. Deep flavor - it has a lot going on. And so filling!"

Gwen of Saturdays with Maggy is back this week with "Costco  Style" Broccoli Salad, featuring broccoli leaves. She says, "It turns out the leaves of the broccoli plant are edible. Rejoice fellow gardeners! Although, maybe I am way behind and you already knew this. You'll want to pick the leaves while they are still small and tender, bigger leaves will be more bitter and fibrous. You can cook them as you would chard, kale, or collards. I don't juice, but this would probably be a great addition to a juice or smoothie. If you do decide to use the larger leaves, remove the stem which will be hard to chew. Or, add them raw to this salad."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes made this gorgeous Grilled Shrimp Couscous Salad with Jalapeno Dressing and says, "I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you missed it, you can now get the Donna Hay magazine app on your iPad!!!  It is super wonderful and even more fantastic than getting her magazine.  It is everything a cooking magazine app should be.  There are charming videos and movies, a recipe index, several ways to view a recipe.  It is seriously perfect.  ... So, anyway, back to this salad.  As usual it was wonderful.  Full of Donna Hay’s simple clean flavors.  The only thing is that next time I think I might add a bit of olive oil to the dressing to make it a little more runny and allow it to coat the salad more easily.

Finally, we have a creative sandwich this week from Janet at The Taste Space, this Vegan BLT Sandwich with Curried Kabocha Squash Flatbread and Tofu-Cashew Mayonnaise. Janet says, "While most people have returned to school this week and may be looking for totable lunches, sandwiches are common for the masses. ...  A Vegan BLT. Not so farfetched with prepared store-bought vegan bacon, vegan “mayonnaise” and a loaf of bread. But this is Janet-style. Whole foods only. No white flours. A return of the raw eggplant bacon. Flatbread made with kabocha squash, buckwheat and flax.  And for that mayonnaise, I whipped up a tofu-cashew version.

Thanks to Stephanie, Gwen, Pam and Janet for joining in this week with some delicious recipes. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!



  1. Soup for breakfast? Sounds great! Not much different than a smoothie, if you ask me. :) Thanks for yet another wonderful round-up, Deb. :)

  2. Thanks again Deb:) That potato soup looks like a must-try for sure!

  3. Joanne (eats well with others)September 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    For a creamy soup this is actually super good nutrition-wise! I can definitely see myself making it when the weather gets a bit less humid. :)

  4. I'm with you Deb, I can eat hot soup year round. This recipe sounds delicious. Great addition with the leek and cauliflower. I will be making this one. I made soup yesterday ... I'll be sending you a link for Souper Sunday.

  5. I love potato soup...and to see one that is so low in calories! Yes, I'm going to bookmark it for when it's no longer 90+ degrees outside :)

  6. It's great to see more soup posts again. I hate saying goodbye to summer but Fall means more soups & stews. I'll be back with recipes, myself. As for the soup you made, it's one of my faves. Love the idea of adding cauliflower with potatoes. Slurp.


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