This post goes out to all my East Coast readers. And fellow Midwesterners. Actually, if you have ever been in the depths of a brutal winter storm, this post is for you.
Winter is weird, you know?
Two years ago, I was literally buried under feet of snow. More than I could keep shoveled. More than I wanted. More than the city plows could keep up with.
Oh, dear Jetta. I miss you. Oh, dear converted-into-a-tiny-house-two-car-garage-I-lived-in-for-four-years, I don’t miss you.
Last year, after moving from Arizona to Wisconsin, I shoveled exactly once.
This year, still in Wisconsin, I have been shoveling almost daily. In fact, I’d be shoveling far more if not for the generosity of my neighbors, who plow my driveway and front sidewalks for me.
As much as I hate shoveling (I don’t really hate it when I only have to do every week or so, but I do hate doing it daily), I love cross country skiing. (Megan – this picture was taken during the epic 2 hour ski ride with my friend when we got lost. It was fun….until it wasn’t.)
Since we’ve been getting so much snow lately, I’ve been wanting to do more playing and less shoveling, so as to mitigate my growing hatred of the snow. Which is exactly what I (finally) did yesterday morning, before the second (third? fourth? I’ve lost count) snowstorm of the winter hit us here.
And it was as much fun as I remember. And as much of a workout.
And I am SORE.
But aside from the soreness, I was cold when I got home. Even after doing my 20 minutes of yoga/stretching (didn’t help with the soreness, damnitall), I was still cold.
What’s the best and easiest way to warm up after playing in the snow?
Take a warm shower! Exactly.
And then drink a mug of tea! Exactly.
And then? Make soup. Exactly.
I really can’t believe that I haven’t posted this recipe ever. Not even on my old blog. I could have sworn I had. I mean, I’ve been making this soup at least once a month every winter for as long as I can remember.
It’s almost perfect in its simplicity, it’s taste, it’s adaptability, and it’s freeze-ability.
Basically, it’s the world’s perfect soup.
Oh, and did I mention that is is CHEAP? It is.
Crockpot Refried Bean Soup
- 14 ounces (1 can) refried beans
- 28 ounces (1 large or 2 normal-sized) cans diced tomatoes (I like the kind with onions and garlic)
- 4 ounces diced green chilies
- 2 cups broth (Vegetable, beef, or chicken, doesn’t matter)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Various other veggies (whichever, and as many as you see fit; I usually use onions, bell peppers, and celery)
- 1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, chili powder, dried cilantro
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp liquid smoke, optional (but highly recommended)
Put everything in the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado, tortilla chips, etc.
You can customize this soup so much, which is why I love it. I’ve used a jar of salsa in place of the tomatoes, for example. I’ve also used all frozen veggies, for a soup that requires absolutely no chopping and still tastes homemade.
This recipe really has been in my arsenal for years. It is beyond easy, is packed with good-for-you foods, relies on basic pantry staples and can be supplemented (or not) with fresh and/or frozen veggies. I have yet to meet and serve this to someone who didn’t love it.
Try it. You’ll love it. I swear. Five years of friends can’t be wrong, can they?
Do you like cross country skiing or playing in the snow? Sledding? Ice skating? Ice golfing? My brothers went on their annual ice fishing trip last weekend and sent pictures of their practice ice-golfing putting “green”. I don’t know which is more boring – ice fishing or golfing.
What’s your favorite way to warm up in the winter?