Cuppa Soup

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I love having soup for work, especially in the winter. Warms ya right up! Mmm warming up my cold, cold soul. 🙂

The problem with having soup for work is, unless you’re willing to buy it at work, it’s just sooo messy!! Those tight seals and leakproof containers never work. So I end up with some soup in my lunch bag, covering my spoon, on my banana…you get the jist. It is a hassle to bring, and no one likes a hassle.

I usually buy soup, but a couple co-workers and I (herein referred to as BBR and MJ) decided to make our own “no-spend” January challenge and limit it to not wasting money on coffee/tea and food at work [trying to save money – woooooot adult life choices YAY!].

I needed a lunch staple for when there are no leftovers so that I don’t buy my bagel and tea from Tim’s. I actually stole this idea from MJ, but some of these pictures are of her lunch too, so it’s okay. 😉

Question: how to have soup like this everyday without the spillage?
Solution:

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Ooooh

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Aaaah

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Mmmmm

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Wowww

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Yaayyy

[Drumroll please!]

Introducing our version of “instant noodles”!

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That’s right, all you have to do is put all the ingredients minus the liquid in a jar and bring it to work! Sort of like those terribly delicious and completely bad for you, instant noodle cups. Our homemade ones are also terribly delicious but without the outrageously high sodium [I do want to make it to age 40 – ha].

Questions you probably have right now:

You: But how does that turn into delicious soup?
Me: Simple! You just boil water in a kettle and pour it in!

You: Won’t that just be veggies floating in hot water?
Me: Nope, not at all! Here’s the secret: vegetable, chicken or beef broth concentrate! It’s like a paste, try the “Better than Boullion” you can find it with all the gravys and broth cubes etc.

I use this one [generic brand!] and add about a tablespoon:

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You: Do the veggies cook?
Me: They soften, and the smaller you cut them, the more they cook.

You: What about the noodles?
Me: You either a) cook them ahead of time or b) check out the asian section of the grocery store for ones that only need a minute or so in boiling water, like this:

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Or this:

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More things to know: I pack my jar too much to eat gracefully, so I pour it into a bowl, and presto! Homemade soup at work in seconds! (well like 1-2 minutes and some prep time…but you know…)

What are the components that make up a good soup?

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Here are my ideas on how to get the flavourful broth:

  • Veg, Chicken, Beef Stock Concentrate/Paste
  • Spices – Mrs. Dash, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, Pepper
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Green Onions
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Hot Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Curry Paste
  • Fun Flavour Combo: Dijon mustard, soy sauce, brown sugar, veg concentrate, (1 tsp each), garlic powder (½ tsp). I also added thyme, rosemary but I wouldn’t suggest it, doesn’t “cook enough” and gets caught in teeth.

Ideas of what to add to your soup:

  • Noodles / Rice / Quinoa – cook ahead of time unless using instant noodles!
  • Tofu / Chicken / Pork / Beef – don’t forget to cook meat ahead of time
  • Frozen or Fresh Veggies – I prefer fresh!
    • Veggie ideas – Mushrooms, Carrots, Peas, Snap Peas, Beans, Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Purple Cabbage – the “harder” the veggie, the less they will soften, so cut them up smaller or cook ahead of time as well. FYI: I never cook any of the veggies ahead of time and it turned out fantastic for me.
  • Boiled Egg

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  • Instant Chicken Noodle Soup! – Pasta [or udon noodles like above – no cooking yayy!], shredded chicken, chicken stock concentrate, veggies [carrot and celery to be traditional] and some garlic, salt/salt substitute and pepper…mmmmmm 🙂

How do I normally make it?

  • Noodles
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Concentrate
  • Lots of garlic powder
  • Lots of ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • Fried (or uncooked) tofu
  • And as many veggies as I can fit in 🙂

How to build it:

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Layer your items!

“Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers… You get it? We both have layers.”

Veg paste and spices at the bottom then noodles and veggies [switch the order if you’ve pre-cooked the noodles], then your tofu, green onions, fresh herbs etc. You don’t want to crush anything or get it too soggy.

Mix it up, be creative, keep it simple, whatever you want.

Let us know your creations! Either here in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – you name it!


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