Whenever I go through our refrigerator to see what needs to go on the shopping list, I always find vegetables that were not cooked – our meal plans changed, we were lazy or we just over-bought the previous week. They’re still good but not as fresh and definitely not as appetizing as when I threw them into the shopping cart a week earlier with expectations of a stir-fry that never happened. There sits unused but washed kale, a soft tomato, a handful of mushrooms, 1/2 a bag of baby carrots, a stalk of broccoli, some cabbage and a lonely zucchini. I hate to throw away food, especially good food so I’ve begun to make soups. Soups are healthy, fill you up and can be made according to your own likes and dislikes. I make a pot, cool it down, portion it into individual freezer bags (family dinner portion or single lunch pouch) and there you go. You basically need a soup pot with a lid and a wooden spoon. It’s worth investing in an immersion blender (amazon $13.29). Here’s my go-to soup recipe. Ingredients:  one large can of crushed or whole tomatoes; one bottle of carrot juice (and/or carrots); cut-up raw vegetables; salt, sugar, pepper, whatever other spices you like and dried beans of any kind. Instructions: Pour tomatoes with juice and carrot juice (or cut-up carrots and 2 cups of water) into pot. Bring to boil and simmer. Separate vegetables into longer cooking ones and softer, shorter cooking ones. I puree the broth so I add the vegetables I want pureed in my soup base now and save what I don’t want pureed to add later (eg. I may put some potatoes and carrots in to puree now but also keep some out to be added later and eaten in the soup). I simmer the soup for about an hour and then use the immersion blender (or pour into a regular blender) to puree the broth and vegetables. Then I add more water if needed, the dried beans and the rest of the vegetables. I simmer until the beans are done which is usually for another hour. THEN I season to taste because I want the vegetable flavors to cook into the final soup before deciding what seasoning I need. For a 2/3 full soup pot I’ll add 1/4 cup of sugar depending on the sweetness of the vegetables I used, one tablespoon of salt and also pepper to taste. I usually add 1/2 cup of white vinegar which give the soup a mild tang. I want to make it clear that I am no cook, but even someone whose kitchen skills are basically crafted to only make family dinners can still make a good, nutritious soup.