Monday, September 1, 2014

VeganMoFo 2014 Day 1 - Your Kids Will Love This Soup

After careful deliberation I settled on the theme of The McDougall Family's Favorites. At first I chose Favorite McDougall Soups, went back and forth a few times, but settled on mixing it up. But don't be surprised if you see a lot more soup recipes than other types of dishes.

What are "McDougall Family Favorites? Every now and then in the monthly McDougall newsletter's recipe section, the recipes of the month will come with that label. Sometimes a recipe in a McDougall book will also say it's a favorite of someone in the McDougall family. They're usually simple to make, not too many ingredients, and flavored just right so everyone from kids to the old folk love them.

I've been reading the McDougall newsletters since 1993, when the first issue of my subscription arrived in the mail via USPS. That was the March/April issue, Volume 7 Number 2. The cover article was titled: Health Care Solutions for Hillary Rodham Clinton. None of the recipes in that particular issue will make it into my VeganMoFo rotation, but many of the ones I did choose came from some of those issues, as well as the later on-line newsletters, and all of the McDougall books throughout the years. Some recipes appeared in more than one book, more than one newsletter. Some are credited to Mary McDougall, some are in articles by daughter Heather McDougall and either verbatim from her mother's recipes or a little twist of her own to make the particular recipe more palatable to her own kids.

One of those recipes is the first one I'm sharing today. This is the recipe Mary McDougall dubbed "Your Kids Will Love This Soup," and says it first appeared in the book The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart, there's also a variation of it in one of those old print newsletters back in 2001. If this recipe sounds familiar to this blog's readers, it's because I also shared it last year when I did the month of heart-healthy recipes. This is one of my family's all-time favorite soup recipes, and is easily changed by using different base ingredients and spices.

Your Kids Will Love This Soup

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking time:  12-13 minutes
Servings: 4

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup water
2  16 ounce cans fat free refried beans
1 ¾ cups vegetable broth 
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup mild Mexican red sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Place the onion and water in a medium saucepan.  Cook and stir until the onion is tender and the water has evaporated.  Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro if your child likes cilantro.

I made this particular one a little different than this.

I used more onions, half a bag of frozen diced ones. You can use white, yellow, red onions, or even scallions or shallots instead.

3 cans of refried beans. 2 of them were the Eden Foods Lightly Salted Black Refried Beans that I purchased from VitaCost. In the past I've also used organic refried pinto beans. Other times I just take a can of either black, pinto, or kidney beans and mash them and just add extra seasoning later on. This time I also added a third can of refried beans, this one Old El Paso brand. These are a lot higher in sodium, but being mixed with the other 2 greatly dilutes the amount per serving.

I wanted leftovers, so used a whole quart box of vegetable broth.

And a whole 1-pound bag of frozen corn. I used plain old "corn" this time, but in the past I've used super-sweet, white corn, roasted corn, and corn cut right off the cob.

I also increased the salsa to 1/2 cup. I like things mild, my husband likes hot, and he adds sriracha at the table. You can use any heat of salsa, either home made or store-bought, regular or fruit flavored, or substitute your favorite pico de gallo for the salsa.

I doubled the cumin. I added it too early and by the time we were ready to eat there was no taste from it at all, so I added more. At other times in the past I've skipped the cumin and added either home-made or a package of Old El Paso fajita mix, our favorite Mexican spice blend. It all depends on our mood that day which I use. There are loads of other Mexican spice mixes that can be used. Look at the salt-free selections from Mrs. Dash, McCormick, Penzey spices, or your favorite spice place.

As I think I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I'm not a fan of cilantro, and usually skip it when recipes call for it, but I recently bought a jar of organic dried cilantro and sprinkled a little bit on the top of each bowl.

I served this up with cornbread from a Happy Herbivore recipe for my husband.

This may be the last cornbread for a few months for the poor guy. I'm currently avoiding things made with maple syrup since my triglycerides are still over twice what they should be, even after cutting out almost all fruit, sweeteners in cooking, and taking the ultra-refined fish oil capsules the doctor ordered a few months ago. If they're not down by January's labwork, then it's even more meds to do the job. When he went over my recent labwork the doc just shook his head and said it just has to be genetic now. My husband eats the exact same foods during meals that I do but in larger quantities, and yes, he's on a low dose statin, but this time around his numbers would make Dr. McDougall and Dr. Esselstyn proud! And he eats snacks and I don't, including up to 4 pieces of fruit a day and that above-mentioned cornbread. At least I know that the doc really does believe me when I tell him what I cook, what we eat, because my husband's labwork is so fantastic. We're hoping his cardiologist stops that statin next time he sees him, but don't count on it. He's one of those doctors that says everyone should be on statins once they hit a certain age. My husband refuses to go against doctor's orders and stop them himself.

So, prepare yourself for a bunch of Mary McDougall's recipes, many of them hearty soups or stew. Most are MWLP compatible, with one or 2 requiring pasta or go best with some bread. With the cold weather approaching, I'm sure you'll be trying some or all of these in the upcoming months. I know we'll have many of these a number of times between now and Spring 2015.


  1. I make a version of that soup all the time, from the McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook. I think it's the same except that it calls for salsa instead of red sauce.

    Here's a tasty cornbread that is sweetened only with fruit and fruit juice: Quinoa Cornbread from Straight Up Food. I've made it twice in the last two weeks, once using applesauce instead of banana. Really different texture and tasty.

    I'll be launching my VeganMofo blog this afternoon...

  2. I love soups and I love anything that I can put salsa in! I think I would add more veg to this, though, maybe some chopped zucchini.

    Looking forward to seeing what else you share!