Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mom’s Beef Vegetable Soup

 IMG_6829e“Peas and Carrots, Carrots and Peas.  Book come out, please, please, please!”  That phrase of Princess Pea’s from Super Why has been haunting me like the March of the Toreadors, It’s a Small World and the music from Peter & the Wolf.  Don’t you just hate when a song gets stuck in your head and drives you crazy?  So you ask why is that phrase haunting me?  Well this month for the Improv Cooking Challenge our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker has challenged the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choosing using the two specified ingredients of, you guessed it, peas & carrots, carrots & peas, let me figure this out, please, please, please! 

If you don’t have a child or have never seen Super Why, what happens is that Whyatt, the main character gets a call on his computer in which he discovers that one of the other characters has a "super big problem". After investigating the problem Whyatt calls on all the "Super Readers" to come to the Book Club.  There the four characters, Whyatt, Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea gather.  Whyatt plugs in his Super Duper Computer and uploads data about the problem and they all discuss it.  Once the problem is discussed, Whyatt says, "When we have a question, we look ... in a book!" Pig always asks, "Which book should we look in?" and in response, Princess Pea casts a magic spell to summon the appropriate book: “Peas and Carrots, Carrots and Peas.  Book come out, please, please, please!”  The book then magically descends from the shelves.  Whyatt, invites the audience to read along, summarizes the problem faced by the book's characters and drawing a parallel to the problem the Super Readers are trying to solve. The Super Readers follow the storyline to solve the problem applying their literacy skills to change the story when needed to overcome any obstacles.  Throughout the story they are rewarded with red glittery "Super Letters" which are uploaded into the Super Duper Computer, eventually forming the words that make up the solution to the "super big problem."  Yes I know, for those of you who have never experienced the show you now feel like you have a “super big problem” and have missed out…or maybe I have a “super big problem” as I know oh-too much about this show.  I’m just glad that Maisie’s outgrown the show…even if it is still haunting me there’s hope that the haunting will end. 

So now that you’ve read this far, let me tell you that I could have used Whyatt, the Super Readers and a magical book as I was at a complete loss as to what to make using peas & carrots.  That was until I had my DUH… moment.  I seriously for an entire month had been wondering what on earth to make using peas and carrots and then I just wasn’t feeling well, our weather was cold and stormy and I wanted to make some comforting soup, my Mom’s Beef Vegetable Soup.  I was writing out my shopping list, beef, split peas, barley, string beans, yellow squash, parsnips, carrots, lima beans, mushrooms… and light dawned on Marblehead… peas & carrots, carrots & peas, I had found my recipe, please, please, please!

My Mom doesn’t remember if it was her Mom or my Dad’s Mom who originally made this soup but either way it’s been made my entire life and has always been a favorite of mine.  Of course the recipe below can be cut down but just like my Mom does, I make the recipe as written which makes a huge, and I mean HUGE pot of soup.  I then freeze individual sized portions so that anytime I crave this delicious, comforting soup, it’s there in the freezer, ready to be eaten after just a few minutes of defrosting and heating in the microwave.  

Peas & carrots, carrots & peas, try & enjoy this soup, please, please, please!!

IMG_6831eMom’s Beef Vegetable Soup

In a very large stock pot add the meat and marrow bones and cover with 3x the depth of water.  Add the peas, barley & lima beans to a cheesecloth or put into a colander and suspend into the water.  Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook at a simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meat is tender and the peas, barley & lima beans are soft.  Skim the soup as needed.  Once everything is soft, empty the contents of the cheesecloth/colander into the beef stock and add the string beans, carrots, summer squash, parsnips, mushrooms and soup base to taste.  Simmer until the vegetables are cooked and soup has thickened to desired consistency.  Add salt to taste. 


My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

February 2013  Hearts & Flours:  Three Ingredient Fudgy Nutella Brownie Bites
January 2013  Bananas & Nutmeg:  Baked Bananas 
December 2012  Chocolate & Marshmallows:  White Chocolate Marshmallow Cranberry Cashew Bark    
November 2012  Sweet Potatoes & honey: Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp 
October 2012  Oatmeal & RaisinsS’mores Granola Bars   
September 2012  Zucchini & Brown Sugar:  Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar 
August 2012  Tomatoes & Peppers:  French Fries Hash Browns 
July 2012  Corn & Butter:  Fritos Crusted Pollock 
June 2012  Cherries & Almonds:  Dried Cherry Almond Tart 
May 2012  Strawberries & Cream:  Strawberry Soup 
April 2012  Peanut butter & Jelly:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars 
March 2012  Potato & Cheese:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
February 2012  Ginger & Carrots:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing 
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream:  Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart 
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries:  Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter 
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese:  Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
October 2011 Caramel & Apples:  Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies


  1. I have two girls, 2 and 5, so I am quite familiar with the Super Why songs. They always get stuck in my head too. Annoying!

    Your soup looks warm and comforting.

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm -- loves me a good beef & veggie soup! (Unfortunately, it's getting a little too warm here where I live for my guys to eat soups...)

  3. Your post and soup speaks of the comforts of mothers, children, and storybook characters =) Thank you for this beautiful sharing, Lisa =)

  4. The weather (at least in MD) is definitely cooperating for this soup.

  5. When my little girl was about three years old and we would ask her to do something she didn't like, she would say, "I can't Mom, it's not in my story." I grew to dislike Super Why immensely! Now your soup on the other hand, sounds like a winner!

  6. It has been snowing like crazy here for the past few days, so we have been craving lots of hearty soups and stews. Your soup looks great and love that it is a family recipe.

  7. I bet the marrow bones impart a wonderful depth of flavor! Wonderful soup that I'm sure will be passed down to another generation!

  8. This is a great recipe! I love that you use the marrow bones... they are so yummy! I will have to try this out - nothing beats a great homemade soup recipe!

  9. Family recipes are just the best, this soup looks hearty and comforting


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