A Souper Lunch Option: Smart Soups

Forget you, Olive Garden!  We are bringing our own soup and salad to work.  Soup is an awesome option to consume more veggies AND feel full with fewer calories but packaged soups often have too much sodium, weird looking meat pieces, or too many additives.  We were souper (hehe) excited to try some samples of Smart Soups because they are (ehem..be jealous cans o’ soup) none of those things.  Creator, Anne Chong Hill has long history in the prepared food industry and recognized the need for high quality, easy to make food and her recipes are inspired by her international background and travel experiences.

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Smart Soups are:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free (Hooray!)
  • Made with REAL FOOD and no preservatives
  • American Heart Association Certified (cholesterol free!)
  • Low Calorie and controlled sodium (as one of our friend with high blood pressure was amazed to notice during our lunch break)

Taste:

With 7 souperb (ha ha ha) flavor options, we had a hard time choosing what to try first.  We received 5 options.

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Greek Minestrone was Kate’s first go to.  Packaged minestrone tends to be bland or have too many noodles in the way.  The Greek Minestrone was packed with veggies and rich in herby flavor, possibly the best Minestrone out there except what your grandma might be able to make (if she can cook).  Pairing tip: Greek Salad with feta, olives, artichokes and mixed greens.

Thai Coconut Curry is Mon’s fave Smart Soup.  Full of coconut water blended with fresh red curry made an amazingly authentic dish, especially tasty on a rainy day.  It includes plenty of baby corn, bamboo shoots and red pepper.  Pair with side of grilled spiced tofu.

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Sante Fe Corn Chowder is vibrant with red peppers, black beans, and corn, balanced with a squeeze of lime.  Dunk a vegan tostada and plenty of avocado in it!

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Vietnamese Carrot Lemongrass is filled with rich tasty Asian flavors and veggies.  Pair the satisfying soup with a Tofu Bahn Mi sandwich.

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French Lentil Soup makes a hearty meal with green and red lentils, leeks and moorish spices.  Mix it up with a baguette and nicolaise salad.

Cooking:

Smart Soup stores easily in the freezer and couldn’t be more simple to make.  You open the bag and pop it on the stove or in the microwave and then you’re done.  You can get creative with Smart Soups too by integrating them into new recipes as well.

What’s the most delicious soup you’ve ever tried?  Maybe you could inspire a new Smart Soup!

Chicago Thin Crust? A Pizza Must!

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Blaze Pizza

Oh Twitter,  how we love thee.  Recently, the Chicago Food Scene held a Twitter poetry competition for free Blaze pizzas.  We dug deep back to our middle school Haiku writing days  and typed a clever pizza ditty….and won!!   Once our coupons came, we gleefully braved the snow to try the “new to Chicago” casual pizza chain, Blaze Pizza, situated in Boystown right near the El stop.  We weren’t really sure what to expect when we entered but the staff hollered out a welcome and invited us to come closer.

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As we shyly peeked around, they detailed the Blaze pizza process for us.  The fine art of pizza creation is set up in an assembly line format.  Patrons can pick their own pie toppings and sauce or choose a signature ‘za and watch while it is made.  Pizzas are 11 inches of thin crust glory and take only 3 minutes to cook.  We were intrigued by the gigantic oven and learned that 12 pizza could fit inside which brings to mind sitcom hijinx of craaazy pizza cooking.  The oven man assured me that he avoided that magnitude of pizza multitasking.  The oven does, however, cook pizzas at a blazing (get it?!!!?) hot 800 degrees.

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There were a ton of signature veggie pizza options available to us as well as gluten free and vegan substitutions.  We decided on the Red Vine, with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil and chunky red sauce, and the Green Stripe, with pesto sauce, arugula, and garlic minus the chicken.

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Blaze Pizza – “Red Vine” with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil and chunky red sauce

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Blaze Pizza – “Green Stripe” with pesto sauce, arugula, and garlic minus the chicken

Pizza Highlights: Blaze Pizza is a real departure from Chicago style pizza and a real good one at that.  The crust was light, crispy and a titch garlicky. Our wallets were happy because their pizzas only cost 8 bucks and we each walked out with leftover slices.  We also tried the S’mores pie, a chewy marshmallow with melted chocolate in between 2 British biscuits.  It had appropriately crumbly texture but we decided it could have used a quick pop in the oven.

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Status: Liked, retweeted and plused, we loved Blaze Pizza and will be back to make our own creation.  Thanks to Blaze Pizza and Chicago Food Scene for choosing us as the creative poetresses that we are and giving us pizzas instead of an award.

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