Vitamin C + a hearty fall soup

Recipe for Balsamic-Tomato Soup follows at end of post.

I have a cold. it is the 3rd cold that I’ve come down with this year. I am not pleased with this cold– the runny, itchy nose and scratchy throat- and yet I am pleased with my response to it. I am “taking it easier”. Formerly, when I’d get a cold I’d push through it. I’d do some of the same things that I do now: take Emergen-C or Airborne, drink lots of water, and try to get to bed earlier. But, in reality, I’d still push through 12+ hours work days, not sleep enough, keep friend and family dates even when too tired to do so, push through whatever running workout I was scheduled to do. In essence, I’d do everything possible to ignore my body.

This time around I’m learning to listen, feel, and respond. Really, that should be my motto of 2013: Listen, Feel, + Respond.

I like that. 

Yesterday, after my 8 hour work day (including an exciting interview!), I went to sleep for 2.5 hours. I awoke for some toasted bread and chicken (thanks to beautiful boyfriend who’d gone grocery shopping) and a couple of hours of couch snuggle time. I went to bed again and when I woke up at my regular 6am hour, I drank some water and went back to sleep. And I slept until 9:45am. All total, I got at least 11hours of sleep. And, while my cold is still here, I feel rested for the first time in a week.

Later today, I’ve planned exercise. But, instead of busting through a run for the sake of it, I’ve planned a walk into town with my dog: about a 2-3 mile loop depending on where we go. We’ll stop and see some old friends at my former bakery. We’ll go to the bank. We’ll go to CVS for more Emergen-C. And then we’ll come home. And I will cook.

I will cook the most beautiful soup I have tasted in my life. Introduced to me by my former wife, this Balsamic-Tomato Soup is rich, creamy and packed with vitamin C. I love it. It originates from a Cooking Light recipe from which I have made adaptations based on my mother’s homemade tomato soup, a desire to add in more nutrients, and my former vegetarianism. [And, because the original recipe doesn’t leave enough for leftovers!]

Granted, I have the privilege of making this soup today. I have the privilege of having this cold-healing sleep-, walk-, and cooking day. I can have this day because I have chosen not to have children. I do not have parents to care for right now. My partner is well. I have one dog who will tell me (or anyone else in the house) when she needs out to pee. Unlike earlier this year, I no longer work on Saturdays (other than grading a few student assignments from home). I have few barriers (other than my Self) to interrupt making space to nurture my body and kick this cold’s @ss.

But, to all the people who have colds out there on this first day of fall AND who do have other commitments: Take time to make this soup. It practically makes itself. And after, when you’re spooning steaming, velvety tomato goodness into your bowl for dinner, you’ll thank me. And so will your cold.

Balsamic-Tomato Soup

  • 2 cups, divided, homemade veggie broth (or store-bought less-sodium veggie broth)
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped white onion
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups baby carrots (or big carrots chopped into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • Cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 500°.
  2. Combine 1 cup of broth, sugar, vinegar, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Place onion, garlic, carrots and tomatoes in 2x 13 x 9-inch baking pans coated with cooking spray. Pour broth mixture evenly over tomato mixture. Bake at 500° for 50-60 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned.
  3. Place tomato mixture in a blender (you may need to do this in two iterations!). Add remaining 1 cup broth and the almond milk, and process until smooth.
  4. If you desire a fully smooth soup, strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Otherwise, enjoy the remaining chunky goodness 🙂
  5. Garnish with cracked black pepper and serve with a side of toasted bread. Yum.

Adapted from Creamy Tomato-Balsamic Soup recipe published in Cooking Light, October 2005


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