Beautiful Day

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Of Candlelight and Cream of Tomato Soup

Yesterday we had a power outage for a couple of hours as a result of a windstorm.  Moments like these are always reminders of how dependent we can be.  I was putting myself in preparation mode, not knowing how long our power would be out.  Plus, the children had choir practice, which takes us out of the house for the better part of the afternoon.  This means dinner is to be ready before I depart.  Needless to say, my plans were thrown awry for awhile.  It was kind of a little adventure.  And times like these I appreciate the opportunity to be reminded of how much I need to brush up on emergency preparedness.

I had one of these little moments in a hotel a couple of weeks ago.  Warrior and my oldest children were away for half of the day.  I was at breakfast with my littlest children.  I did one of those things I NEVER do.  I decided to minimize what I was carrying down to breakfast and leave my purse (with my keys!) in the hotel room.  After all, I already had a stroller and a diaper bag.  Then it the middle of breakfast (on a cold and windy morning) the alarms went off ordering everyone to evacuate the hotel due to a small electrical "incident" (or fire) somewhere. Oh now I was really kicking myself for not having my keys!  We did not have coats and my poor little Princesses were distraught and COLD.  At least I had a hat for baby and a wrap and blankets.  If I had my keys, we could have at least sat in the truck to warm up while waiting it out.  Or do like our friends did, and head to Starbucks for a warm drink!  But I was stuck outside with many others (and there were many children who came down to breakfast in their pajamas and bare feet--or shorts!).  Fortunately, it passed within about 30 minutes.  And thankfully, a gracious woman had brought a bed comforter down with her when we were evacuated and gave it to my little girls before they headed to their car.  But ever since, when I get out of my vehicle I think about scenarios like this and if I'll have what I need in an emergency.

I've also become quite aware that one cannot ultimately prepare for EVERY emergency.We must trust the sovereign LORD.  Even if I have all of my ducks in a row, there can always be a circumstance that makes it all for naught.  That said, it IS wise to prepare what we can, as Joseph did, especially when little ones are depending on us to care for them.  This post isn't going to be all about how to do that.  It is simply a reminder to me of things I want to comsider.  And to share my recipe that came of it all.

So, with the power outage I found myself thinking of all the things I hadn't done yet....diapers that needed washing and dinner that needed making among others.  Since our phone is connected to our computer, our landline was cut off too.  I got out my cell phone and discovered it was running a little low on charge.  At this point I was rather wishing to be more "off-grid" than we are!  (And thinking of my sweet friend who is!)  I remembered that I do have a functioning range, however.  Since it is a gas range, all I needed was my handy lighter wand.  So I could indeed fix soup!  I just had to rearrange my plan as to what kind.  It needed to be quick and easy.  I thumbed through my favorite recipe notebook and ruled out a few until I came upon my Tomato Soup recipes.  I have two favorites that are slightly different from one another.  One is my favorite and one is my children's favorite.  I usually reserve this recipe for the peak tomato season in summer when tomatoes are in abundance in our garden.  But, if you can have tomato soup in a can all year round, I figure you can make your own year-round too!  So I adapted to canned ingredients and mixed the two recipes together and it came out delicious!!

I started to savor the occasion and since my kitchen is prone to being a bit dark, I lit one of our beeswax candles to cook by.  It was quite romantic.

Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil

28 oz. cut tomatoes, fresh or canned, pureed in blender (unless you prefer chunky)
1 large can tomato juice (40 oz.)
3 cups water or chicken stock
1 tsp. garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp. dried sweet basil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2-3 tsp. sugar

White Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 cups milk (can use up to 1 cup of cream for some of the milk)

Combine pureed tomatoes, tomato juice, and water or chicken stock in large pot. Add dried basil.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer 30 minutes.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Saute onion and celery in butter until softened.   Add flour and salt and whisk together until thick and blended.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Heat until thickened, stirring so the milk does not scorch.  Add a bit of fresh ground pepper to your taste.  When the white sauce is thickened, stir into the large pot of tomato mixture.  If desired, use an immersion blender to have a smooth texture to your soup.  Top each soup bowl with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh basil and oyster crackers, if desired.

It went marvelously with my homemade artisan sourdough cheese bread that I pulled out of the freezer to defrost and then heated in the oven before serving!  (Yes, the power returned before dinner).  Don't forget the salad!

When the electricity returned, my children did the happy dance.  I had taken more notes on how to prepare ourselves in the future.  I enjoyed my little thoughts about Ma, Laura, Mary, and Carrie and my wishes for a wood cookstove.  I was a bit sad that there wouldn't be a candlelit evening of reading aloud.  But I kept that candle by my stove and refused to turn the lights on while I finished my soup--and savored how both the softly flickering flame and stirring the tomato soup were feeding a quiet place in my soul that day.



  1. I made this soup for dinner tonight and we LOVED it! I found your blog through Carrie's and have really been enjoying your posts. :)

    1. Thanks for visiting, Mikaila. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!



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