I make home-made soup every week, especially during the Fall and Winter months.

My soups vary, from chicken soup to lentil, pea, sweet potato and a variety of other types of soup. What type of soup I create depends on what I have on hand. I always have vegetable and chicken stock, unsalted of course, as I add salt as I like, not as others like.

I usually buy organic carrots and celery as these ingredients are part of almost every soup recipe. I always have garlic and onions in the pantry and sometimes buy whole mushrooms that will go into certain soup recipes.

Putting these recipes together does require focus – the chopping and slicing of veggies, for example as opposed to the slicing of one of my fingers!

I add spices and they vary as well: very little if any salt, lots of black pepper and the other choices could include cumin, thyme, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, and paprika.

I also consider other additional vegetables to add in at the end after the soup has found its best taste – baby spinach or kale leaves for example.

After cooking in either a crockpot or a top of the stove stockpot until done, which again, is very personal, I have to consider if I add cooking sherry or apple cider vinegar or just plain white vinegar to add the final pop of acid flavor.

I do taste my soup as I add each ingredient, just to make sure the new ingredient works or maybe more of something special needs to be added. If it is too much of one thing, I can always add more stock, probably vegetable stock, as this is relatively benign and will not change the base of the soup.

My clients vary as well. Some require more salt than others; some need no salt at all, then others require a bit more pepper. Each one is different and must be treated as so. That is my job, to discern the difference in personalities and what they need. The basics are there for every client, yet not everyone likes kale, so I have to keep that in mind! My soups are custom made.

My client’s recipes are different for a reason; everyone is different from one another. If a client likes canned soup, they can go to someone else who uses materials, thoughts, and ideas from other coaches. I don’t; that is why people come to me, to get that special, personal recipe just for them.

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Joanne Victoria