Sometimes life needs a little spicing up to make familiar things new again, and it’s funny what even the simplest things can do. Moving a piece of furniture can make a whole new room. Taking a new way to work, trying a new restaurant, or exploring a new neighborhood can add a new dimension to a familiar city. Even just adding a new recipe or two to the rotation can make the weekday grind more fun.
And if this works with adults, it’s even better with kids. I remember as a child our family had a plate with the words “You’re the Best” inscribed in script along with a big red heart. We typically ate on white plates, but every so often, the “You’re the Best” plate would make an appearance at my or my sister’s place at the table. Sometimes it appeared if we were especially good, but other times it was for no specific reason at all. And let me tell you, if you ate on the “You’re the Best” plate it was basically THE BEST DAY EVER. (Genius, Mom; genius.) While we wait to become parents, I’m working to find devious ways to make things seem special to our future children. (All you with children, please advise.)
Case in point: these star toasties! My child self would have been in love with these little toasts — because even my adult self is! Something about floating stars in soup makes it much more intriguing to eat, no matter what your age. And while we’re hoping it will go over well with the littles, there’s more to this soup than just fancy toast. First of all, it’s a creamy dairy-free tomato soup, made silky smooth by blending in cashews instead of the typical cream. And though it’s simple to put together, it’s got a robust, bright flavor. The secret (besides cashews) is the fire-roasted tomatoes — their roasty flavor is perfect for using in a quick tomato soup. We use Muir Glen’s fire-roasted brand and love the way they allow for a robust taste without simmering for hours (and in this case, we’d recommend finding fire-roasted for the best flavor). Since it’s dairy-free it works for multiple diets, but don’t let that deter you if you’re not looking for that: it’s mainly just plain delicious, and the cashews add some extra oomph.
How about you — what simple things do you do to keep life interesting and varied? Or for those of you with kiddos, what fun things have you done to make things “special”?
Creamy Dairy-Free Tomato Soup with Star Toasts | dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup cashews
- 28-ounce can Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 4 slices bread
- Chives, for garnish
- Chop 1 onion. Mince 4 cloves garlic. Chop ½ cup basil leaves.
- In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; sauté 1 minute until fragrant. Add white wine vinegar and cook until evaporated.
- Add basil, cashews, canned tomatoes and their liquid, broth, kosher salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. When done, use an immersion blender to puree the soup for several minutes until creamy and the cashews have fully incorporated (alternatively, puree in a blender).
- Meanwhile, toast the bread slices and use small, star-shaped cutters to cut out star shapes. Chop the chives.
- Serve soup warm with star toasts and chopped chives.