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January 04, 2011

Recipes | The Best Tomato Basil Soup & The Best Grilled Cheese | Dinner Ideas




Tomato Basil Soup

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3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 - 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 - 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned
parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute - being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Add the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan to break them up.  Add the juice from the whole tomatoes, as well.  Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar.  Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes.  

To finish, reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.  Serve topped with parmesan cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich.  Get the recipe for The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich here.


 

When I first started my catering business I wrote all of my favorite recipes in a little blue journal book so I'd have them with me all of the time.  Over the years I've shared a couple of recipes from this little journal, but not all.  Truthfully, when I started this blog (forever ago...?) I was a burnt out on all of those recipes I'd made hundreds of times.

Now, after a four year break from the catering business, I am ready to dive back in to some of those old favorites, because after all, they were really great recipes for entertaining.  This Chocolate Molten Cake recipe was one of my first and best go-to's as a caterer.  I always served it at dinner parties - with great success.  The ingredients and supplies are humble - chocolate chips and a cupcake pan!  They work great for parties because the batter is made in advance, then baked right before dessert and served warm.

I made these last year for a friends dinner.  While the recipe makes 6-12, they work great in the freezer.  Just bake all of them together, then freeze the leftovers.  You can reheat in the microwave for just 30-60 seconds.


Now, onto the recipe, perfect for any celebration....

Chocolate Molten Cakes
makes 6 medium cakes or 12 small individual cakes

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2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of cocoa
......

3/4 cup of butter
12 ounce of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream 
5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of flour

Prepare cupcake pans by coating the inside of each with melted butter by swirling it around.  Then sprinkle the insides with cocoa, coating completely. 

To make the batter, place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, then top it with butter and cream.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth.  When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour.  Pour into prepared cupcake pans.  Refrigerate for 1 hour (at least) and up to a couple of days.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes for regular 12/pan size and 15-18 for jumbo 6/pan size, just until the outsides and most of the top have set, and the centers are still slightly runny.  You can insert the tip of a knife to test.   You just want a bit of the very center to be a thick pudding like texture.   Let them cool for 5 minutes, then place a sheet pan on top of the muffin pan and invert them.  

Serve with whipped cream, ice cream and dusted with chocolate or cinnamon.

 

Melting chocolate with the butter and cream this way is so easy - microwave! 


The pans buttered and cocoa-ed while the chocolate is in the microwave.


Perfectly melted. 




You can fill them almost all the way to the top - they don't puff too much. 


Cooling for 5 minutes to help them continue to set. 


Top with a sheet pan... 


Ready for the flip... 


Mid-Flip 






So, so good.  You really must try them. 


10 seconds later...

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Here is the easy-to-pin strip!

 






The Spring Collection

Each morning I take a walk with Mr. Darcy.  While gauzed as my "workout" this daily ritual gives me a chance to quietly observe the seasonal changes.  February is truly a winter month here, but there are small signs of awakening.  Amongst the brown grass, small bits of new green sprigs are starting to break through, tips of daffodils are emerging just a tiny bit, and the birds are back and they are singing. 

The beginning of March brings all of the changes of spring that I love the most - the season before the season.  I love to watch the slow reveal of each new flowering bulb - first the crocus, then the daffodils, then the hyacinth and finally the tulips.  The trees aren't just grey sticks any longer, if you look closely you can see their new buds slightly shading their branches.  Our maple trees look almost red with their tiny buds, and Emma's cherry tree has deep pink buds that will be blossoms in a months time.  I also love to obsess over my peonies.  Right now, you can go in your garden and see the teeniest deep fuchsia shoots poking through the dirt.  And the dirt, I live for the scent of the fresh, damp mud that hangs in the air during the pre-spring season.

Every season brings a fresh beginning, but none quite like Spring.  This is the time of year when I want everything simple, clean and fresh inside.  I want my windows open and each room to be filled with light.  This collection reflects that feeling of freshness for your home and Easter celebrations this Spring.



Spring Changes

This year has been one of exciting moves for my business.  You all read about The School House that will by my business' new head quarters.  We're working to have it up and running next month!  Another new avenue I'm traveling down is offering more custom designed products.  I've been at this for a while now, and I find that the only time I'm really able to offer you exactly what I want is if I design it myself.    I'm moving to an almost entire store of completely custom collections designed by me, just for my store.   In the Spring Collection, you'll see some of my newest custom products and some classics. 

Not only am I interested in bringing you my custom designs, but I also want them made in a way that feels good.  I want the products that I offer to be made by someone that loves making them and that makes them in a way that they'll last forever.

I've partnered with a local service organization, Rightfully Sewn.  They seek out under-employed, and sometimes at-risk women and train them as seamstresses and pair them up with businesses like mine so they are able to work for themselves.  The custom designs and quality they've been able to offer me are beyond what I've had available before.  




I feel so blessed to be one of their partners and have plans to help them to continue to grow with me.  You will be blown away at the quality of the stitching, zippers and hand-pressing of each item.  And look at my new cute tags!  It all feels very official.  And the entire process gives me the warm fuzzies, which is the entire idea - all the way around.  I want the entire process of my business from inspiration, to design, to production, to fulfillment to feel good and solid and right.



Creamy and classic, the Natural Check Pillows are perfect for brightening our sofa for spring.  Offered in 22" & 20" Squares that are self-piped and self-backed, and in a Rectangle that is piped and backed with a natural oatmeal.


Here is a close-up shot of the natural oatmeal backing and piping featured on the Rectangle pillow.


The Square 22" & 20" is self backed and piped in the natural check.



The Spa Check is in between a blue and a green - in the best way.  It is such a soothing color - almost neutral, but in an airy, breezy way.  Like the Natural Check, the Square Pillows have a matching check back, while the Rectangle has a natural oatmeal backing and piping.






What is more charming than a pair of Wellie Boots?  They are nostalgic, yet modern, seemingly child-like yet utilitarian for any adult that enjoys the outdoors, alike.  This paper collection of tags, tablets and cards will add that sweet, charming touch to a gift.  I set the kids' Easter table with a tablet at each place, ready for drawing.  I'm also using it as my official tablet for the School House.  
Tags : Set of 10
Tablets : 50 pages
Card & Envelope Boxed Sets : Set of 10


Here I've used a Spa Check Napkin as a liner for an Easter basket.  A tea towel would be easily used, as well.  For a little color, I add a simple tied Pool Satin Ribbon on the top of the basket.



I have loved this Pool Paper-Source ribbon for years.  Like almost 20 years.  I use it with kraft paper to wrap gifts, to tie on cello bags and everything else.  The color is just fabulous - not to saturated, just the right shade of blue.  It is a bit of a splurge, but a little goes a long way.
Small : 1/4", 10 yards
Large : 1 1/2", 10 yards






I set the Kids' Table with a Spa Check Runner folded in half.  Each setting has a Wellie Boots Short Tablet.


Creamware Creamers holding daffodils and colored pencils act as the interactive centerpieces.





At the dining table, I featured the Natural Check linens, using the long and wide runner with the napkins.  I love this rustic, gardeny setting.  It feels elegant but also feel a bit like you're lunching in the potting shed.  Use a collection of vessels for flowers, and bring some outdoor pots inside for that fresh from the garden feel.  The monochromatic creams and pale yellow make this a really lovely scheme.



Each setting is tied with a Grosgrain Ribbon and a Garden Tool tag as the place card.







The Creamware Platters have been restocked.  They are a favorite all year long, but the creaminess is especially Springy to me.  Great for entertaining and for display, as you can see on our walls and hutch.


As a favor, each guest receives this charming hyacinth wrapped in a Natural Check Napkin, and tied with the same Grosgrain Ribbon and Garden Tool Tag.




I love this stationery suite because it is rustic enough to use to label your gardening supplies or make out your to-do list in the garden, but still elegant enough to use on your Easter table.  I think it would be perfect for a springtime gift to a friend - maybe a potted plant or a favorite packet of seeds.   
Tags : Set of 10
Tablets : 50 pages
Card & Envelop Boxed Sets : 10





Easter Basket Essentials : Grosgrain

I've added some essential ribbons in pastel colors, perfect for Easter.  All of these color coordinate with both the Natural and the Spa Check Linen Collection.  I know that we all love ivories mixed with these colors, but we also know our kids will love some hues that are a little more fun.  Emma, for instance, will love the Lilac Grosgrain on her basket.  I'll probably accent the basket with the Spa Check Tea Towel, then tie her treats up with the Lilac ribbon.





This is the perfect Easter Kids' Table craft - all of the supplies needed to make a Bunny & Pom Garland you can use year after year.
Kit includes pre-cut shapes, yarn pre-strung with poms.  Makes 1 garland approx 12 feet with 12 bunnies each 5x5".



Speaking of colorful...  These will be right up Emma's alley!  Each season she makes some decorations for our home.  Today after school, she's going to work on these and apply them to our french doors in the kitchen.    She will love the bright, fun colors, and I can't wait to see how she adds a little personality to each one of these bunnies.  I'm sure some of them will have Jo-Jo bows... if you know what that is, then you know what I mean ; )

12 bunnies



This might be just the thing for you to add to your Easter Baskets, or cello bags to give them a little Easter spirit.  Great for class gifts!
An Easter Collection isn't complete without mention of Granny's Bunny Cake!  This year, I have the perfect Deep 8-inch Cake Pan that will make a delightfully plump bunny.



79 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! Nothing says comfort food more than a big bowl of tomato-basil soup. Yum. Lovely photo, too, BTW. :-)

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  2. Yum! I will definitely be trying this recipe. That soup looks divine!

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  3. Gorgeous and comforting. Makes me want to curl up in my jammies with a big bowl of this and a grilled cheese sandwich.

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  4. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Delicious. There is nothing in this world that can compare to a bowl of hot velvety tomato soup on a bleak, chilly day...espcially when there's a gooey grilled cheese on the side!

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  5. Looks great! How many serving does it make?

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  6. oh that looks delicious... gotta try this, thanks for the recipe! :)

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  7. Allie, the soup should make a little more than 4 cups... since I like a big, healthy serving.

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  8. Just made this for lunch and it was delicious! I will make this again for sure!

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  9. I love this tomato soup! I'm about to make it for the 3rd time tonight and I can't stop thinking about it! Even better than BoudinSF :)

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  10. deliciousssssssssss

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  11. I saw this on Pinterest and HAD to come and get the recipe. I can't wait to try it out! Thanks so much for sharing!! cute blog.

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  12. just made this.. VERY yummy :)

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  13. I saw this on Pinterest too, and hopped over here for the recipe...made it this afternoon and it is scrumptious! I did cut down on the cream...I like my tomato soup really tomato-y, and the cream kinda cuts the flavor for me. But seriously good food right here!

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  14. We must say your recipes look awesome. Very inviting photos. A blog for true foodies...

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  15. dede goff4:52 PM

    I also saw this recipe on Pinterest...I'm definitely going to make this. Looks Delicious. Thanks for sharing!!! : )

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  16. I've made this TWICE this week. Best soup ever!

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  17. I made this tonight for dinner! So tasty!

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  18. Traci8:22 PM

    I found your tomato basil soup recipe on Pinterest - I made it tonight along with the grilled cheese and they were fabulous!!! I have been trying to find a good tomato soup recipe and have not had much luck until now! Thanks for sharing the recipe, can't wait for leftovers tomorrow!

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  19. I made the Basil Tomato Soup today for lunch. Absolutely divine. My hubby and I have never liked tomato soup, but your recipe looked so amazing. And it WAS! A definite keeper in our house :) Thankful to have it in time for the winter :) Thank you!

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  20. The grilled cheese and tomato basil soup look MOUTHWATERING. I put it up on my blog for my readers to see as well. Love your blog, Im now a follower!

    inspirebylois.blogspot.com

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  21. Thank you for this recipe. It is a new staple in my kitchen:) The basil just makes it fabulous!

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  22. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Can't wait to try this recipe! I want to make it in bulk so I'm wondering if you've ever tried freezing it?

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  23. Anonymous9:18 AM

    made this yummy soup last week and we all enjoyed it. I even wrote aobut it here http://recipeswelove1.blogspot.com/2011/11/tomato-basil-soup.html

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  24. Anonymous10:32 AM

    made this last night. it was delicious!!! thank you! :)

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  25. I made this last night but I added an onion with the garlic. It is so yummy! Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Anonymous10:15 PM

    I found this on pinterest and made this today. It was easy and delicious! Will definitely be making again in the future. Thanks for the recipe!

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  27. Anonymous3:19 PM

    I have to say, I will never buy tomato soup again! This recipe is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

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  28. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Wonderful recipe, easy and delish. I did substitute Greek yogurt for the cream to cut calories and it was perfect. Thanks, I will be checking more of your recipes.

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  29. I've been thinking about this all day! I am on my way to the groceries to get the missing items! It's what's for dinner!

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  30. OMGoodness so yummy!! My 9 year-old grands said 'grandma this is better than Mimi's Cafe!'. And if I do say so myself it was!!!

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  31. Made this last night for dinner--I loved it!! Thank you for the great recipe.

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  32. Anonymous4:09 PM

    all i can say is YUMMY.........YUMMY.......THIS WAS GREAT SOUP.

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  33. Phyllis9:02 PM

    I had looked for a good tomato basil soup and had not found one until I saw this one. I don't like my soup too spicy. This is just right!! Thanks. I'll be making it again.

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  34. Patti8:08 PM

    Jenny----Love this soup. I've got the ingredients to make my 3rd batch this winter. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  35. Anonymous10:36 PM

    Absolutely DELISH! So excited I found this on Pinterest. I am now going to follow you on FB for somemore recipes!

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  36. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Soooooo delicious! I had dill rather than basil and it still tasted great!

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  37. Anonymous9:58 PM

    I'm reading these reviews and I totally disagree! The soup tastes like eating tomatoes out of can. Just being honest.

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    1. Anonymous11:45 PM

      Agree. I love tomatoes, so I dealt with it, but I knew my husband wouldn't be a fan. He ate it (most of it, once smothered I cheese). Not good, but I guess not bad. Just chunky , like you said, like eating canned tomatoes.
      ....on the plus side, the dog Loved It. By the way, I cook/bake all the time and am also a chef for a restaurant....just like easy recipes now and then. I blame myself for using canned tomatoes....but at the same time, they work well in many recipes.

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  38. Anonymous10:24 PM

    I agree, it's very acid... it is missing something. Probably more cream.

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. I just made this soup last night- I added 2 more Tbsp of basil and a dash more cream. I thought it was fantastic! Made in one pot in under 20 minutes, so time-and-clean-up friendly. I tip my hat to you, Ms. Steffens Hobick!

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  41. Anonymous10:58 PM

    Can't wait to try this! Sounds so yummy and comforting:)

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  42. Anonymous9:52 PM

    This was good...thanks for the recipe...I used chicken broth but will probably use veg broth next time. I added a tiny pinch of baking soda to reduce the acidity of the canned tomatoes I had on hand

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  43. I will be giving this recipe a try. Looks so good I can smell it :D

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  44. Your blog is great and i also know Allen always adds balsamic vinegar to his soup. Try this kind of recipe..very great..

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  45. Made this soup tonight. OMG, so Good!!! Thanks for the recipe. :)

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  46. Made this soup tonight. OMG, so Good!!! Thanks for the recipe. :)

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  47. I love tomato soup with grilled cheese. Thanks for the recipe! Going to use it against mine: http://www.cookeatdelicious.com/vegetables-recipes/tomato-basil-soup-recipe.html

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I made this recipe this week and it was so YUMMY!! Thanks and I am glad I found it on Pinterest! Very much a keeper!

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  50. April7:31 PM

    I just made this soup for the first time...man am I glad I doubled the recipe! I plan to freeze this in individual servings and enjoy for lunch in the weeks to come. Thanks!

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  51. Anonymous6:40 PM

    im making this tonight!

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  52. Anonymous1:53 AM

    Pregnant and loved the soup! Been craving a good tomato basil soup, now I can make it. Thanks!!

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  53. Does anyone know how many people this serves? I want to make it for my family.

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    1. Anonymous8:34 PM

      makes about 4 big bowls

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  54. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Made this last night..... WONDERFUL.......If you didn't like it, you did something wrong! the kids loved it with a grilled cheese sandwich. My 6 year old liked to dip his in his sandwich in the soup...Yummy

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  55. Anonymous8:47 PM

    My absolute favorite meal! I used uour recipe as a baseline and use fresh tomatoesinstead of canned whole, I also use coconut milk instead of cream, and lots of it, and lots more basil. Thanks for a great recipe!
    Comfort food for me, especially with freshly made sourdough.

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    1. Anonymous3:05 PM

      Thanks for this idea with the coconut milk - made it and LOVE it!

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  56. Oh my goodness... It tastes so damn good!!

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  57. Anonymous4:04 PM

    i would love suggestions for using fresh tomatoes, as my garden is spitting them out like crazy right now!

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    1. A friend ask me for a recipe because of all the fresh tomatoes in her garden. I came up with a tomato, basil soup with a touch of parmesan cheese. You can check it out at http://www.ohappydeals.com/2012/tomato-basil-soup-with-touch-of-parmesan-cheese/

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  58. Delicious!!! I made this tonight and I could have eaten it all! But had to share with my family :) I used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream since I am trying to cut down on fat. I'm sure if I ever tried it with heavy cream nothing else would do, but it was really good with the half and half. I added a little grated parmesan into the soup as it was cooking. This is definitely a keeper! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  59. This soup was so amazing!! Just found your blog recently and love it! I can't wait to try more of your recipes and I love your design tips. Thanks for sharing!! PS your fam and your lil girl are so cute :)

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  60. Anonymous6:25 PM

    We are having a very cool fall day and I made this soup in the crock pot this morning. It tastes amazing and will make again.

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  61. Anonymous2:34 PM

    All I have to say is WOW, this was amazing! Best tomato soup recipe ever!!!

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  62. Anonymous2:35 PM

    PS: love your blog! Can't wait to try more of your recipes! I am already planning a ladies lunch to make the tomato soup recipe again!!!

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  63. Terra W9:06 AM

    omg!! soup and sandwich are both so friggen good!! will be making this combo again and again!!!

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  64. does anyone know how many people this recipe serves?

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  65. I found this on Pinterest and absolutely LOVE this soup. Even my tomato-hating husband agreed that it was so good! Have you ever made it with a crockpot? I would love to take it to a all day scrapbooking event, but it would need to be in a crockpot for about four hours.

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  66. I found your recipe on Pinterest. A friend of mine found it from me. We both made it separately & our families loved it! Thank you!

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  67. Our family loved this - thank you!

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  68. I doubled the recipe and it made enough for at least 10 people. It was delish!! I roasted fresh tomatoes in the oven first before blending them and adding them to the soup, but for a quick midweek dinner I could totally see using the cans. Fresh basil made a big difference and I had also added a small diced onion. Would definitely make again, thanks!!

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  69. Delicious and already read your post Darcyeats its true there is nothing in this world that can compare to a bowl of hot velvety tomato soup on a bleak
    Personal Chef To Go

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  70. Tomato is my favorite thing. And thanks to share this recipe.

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  71. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Looks really good. Just a question - it seems it would be pretty salty with broth, canned tomatoes, and sea salt. Are you using unsalted tomatoes or broth? Thanks

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  72. I am thinking to do some experiment with this recipe. I am thinking to add ginger garlic paste for different taste.

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