The winter solstice was a week past, yet it still felt as though the days were shorter and the nights longer; it had been alternately raining and snowing for nearly a month. Earth was in a restorative mood, and so was LJ.

“This is the time to slow down, go within, and just be,” he thought while walking through the quiet streets headed home. There was no traffic, so he ignored the red lights; he wanted to get home to Annie and whatever she was cooking for dinner. It was twilight; only a few others were walking too; a bicycler peddled past their headlights, making way for them.

Earlier, Annie had eyed the soba noodles and leftover chicken. “It’s looking like a Chicken Soba Noodle Soup night around here,” she thought while chopping mushrooms and putting the recipe together. The aroma brought out a smile; I love the way this, “ohhhhh LJ, your lips and hands are so cold,” she squealed as he reached around her with a kiss.

“I’m just expressing gratitude for your incredible ability to read my mind,” he said. “How did you know I wanted a nourishing chicken soup tonight?”

Annie laughed as she kissed him back, “well, baby, it’s cold outside, so I figured this would make you happy. Besides, we have all the ingredients, so it was a no-brainer. Did you know the U.S. population consumes 31 percent of their soup during the winter months?”

LJ chuckled, “you are my favorite encyclopedia, and that makes sense. Fall is harvest season, which means autumn’s bounty is winter’s meal. Soups are therapeutic, healing, and a cozy way to stay warm. Creating soups with them is a smart, healthy way to get us through to spring. The right soup has curative benefits such as a low-carb, Winter Green Soup. It is loaded with broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and leeks. All leafy greens are chock full of vitamins and minerals that protect from cold and flu. Or one featuring the powerhouse of vegetables, Cabbage Soup. Cabbage is high in vitamin C, phytonutrients that prevent cell damage, and is great for digestion and weight-loss.”

“I am a fan of the mighty legume,” said Annie. “I love a  Hearty Vegan Lentil Soup. This one includes spinach and kale. Both are high in vitamin C, improve heart health, and support weight loss. The lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots in this recipe are good dietary fiber and antioxidants sources. Chili is not soup, but its supporting cast member is legumes. There’s no better chili than Bryant Terry’s Uncomplicated Chili con Tempeh when it’s cold outside and the NFL games are on. It’s a simple and easy recipe that includes black beans, known to strengthen bones, protect the heart, and aid digestion.”

“I agree with you about legumes and their many benefits. And stews are also not soups because they are made with a thicker broth and bigger chunks of ingredients, but I am a big fan of Caribbean Black Eyed Peas Stew. The black-eyed peas are a healthy source of vitamin A, manganese, and prebiotic fiber, supporting a healthy digestive tract.   They are also a rich source of complex carbs, which take longer to digest, leaving you feeling fuller longer.”

Annie thoughtfully nodded, “In the words of Auguste Escoffier,

Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple, and their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.


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