Yesterday afternoon Andy said, “Let’s go on a family outing. How about we run along the bush track, the one on the other side of town?”

“But it’s cold and windy,” I protested, looking out the window at the grey sky and swaying trees. “It’s not really the right sort of day for being outside.”

“We could be brave and adventurous.”

I thought about this: We could go Saturday afternoon shopping as usual or we could do something different. I yelled, "Girls, do you want to go for a run? Get your gear on!”

Anticipating we'd be hungry after running, we filled some thermos flasks with coffee and hot chocolate, and wrapped up some freshly made brownies.

Soon we were running in a line along the bush track, me in front, Andy in the rear and four girls between us. We crossed several creeks; climbed a few sets of stairs cut into the rock; picked our way over stony ground, trying not to turn our ankles; skirted around several mud puddles, formed after recent rain; sprinted along several almost level stretches of path; danced over tree roots, hoping no one would trip and dive over the cliff; ran through the shady casuarina cutting and then panted up a few long steep hills, before turning around and doing it all again in reverse order, as we headed back towards the van.

As our feet pounded along the track, I thought about how times change. Not so long ago, we could only walk along the track as far as we could carry the baby and swing the toddler. We always had to turn round and return before we were ready. The youngest members of the family always determined the distance the rest of us could walk. Then a year or so ago, because we no longer had little ones, we managed to walk the whole track for the very first time. And yesterday we didn’t just walk the track, we ran it.

When we returned to our starting point after running 5 kms, we climbed into the van, out of the wind, tired and hungry and ready for our post-run afternoon tea.

But despite the brownies, we were still hungry when we arrived home. “What shall we have for dinner?” Imogen asked, as we stumbled through the front door.

“Zucchini and leek soup!” What could be more perfect than soup on a cold evening when we are hungry but too tired to cook something more complicated?

Imogen cut up the vegetables while the rest of us took turns showering, and it wasn’t long before a huge pan full of soup was simmering on the stove.

Just in case you’d like to make this soup, I’ll write out the recipe. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Maybe it will become one of your favourite recipes too.

Zucchini and Leek soup 
  • Chop…

          8 zucchinis
          4 leeks
          3 carrots
          3 potatoes

  • Place in a large pan, and add enough vegetable or chicken stock to cover the chopped vegetables

  • Bring to boil, then simmer until the vegetables are cooked

  • Puree or blend

  • Add cream, as much as you like!

By the way, we aren’t too fussy about our measurements.  We made enough soup for 8 ravenous people with some left over for the next day. Just use whatever zucchinis, carrots, potatoes and leeks you have. The soup will always turn out perfectly delicious.

Andy made a pile of garlic toast, Imogen filled bowls and then we enjoyed!

“Didn’t we have a fantastic afternoon?” asked Andy. We all nodded. 

"We didn't spend a cent but we had a great time together."

"We should do this every weekend.”

“Where shall we run next Saturday afternoon?”

And what will we eat when we return? Perhaps we can make a big pan full of Andy’s Amazing Tomato Soup.

Anyone want to join us for a run and some soup?

PS I don't have a photo of the soup. It was eaten and enjoyed before I even thought of taking a picture of it. Instead I've added a photo of 5 tired but happy runners. The 6th runner is Imogen who was behind the camera!

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  1. That soups sounds yummy. I shall have to whip up a batch. Did you know in NZ zucchini are called courgettes? Fancy ey?

    1. Lisa,

      The soup is very easy to make. You'll have a batch whipped up in minutes!

      " Did you know in NZ zucchini are called courgettes?" I didn't know that. I was aware that corgette is the name used in the UK, but I thought you used the word zucchini like us. I have learnt something! Yes! Courgette sounds very fancy.

      If you make the soup, tell me if you like it.

  2. Sue-

    That soup does sound delicious and simple. And I happen to have a huge zucchini in my refrigerator right now just waiting to be used. It is not cold or windy here but even in the horrid August Florida heat, I just might have to try it!

    Thanks so much for sharing- both your recipe and your running adventure!

    Blessings, Kari

    1. Kari,

      I keep forgetting... most of my blogging friends are experiencing summer at the moment, and not winter! It's not really soup season for you. I wonder if there are any delicious cold zucchini recipes. I have an easy zucchini slice recipe, which goes well with salad... eggs and grated zucchini and a few other simple ingredients. I must hunt it out!

      Thank you for reading my story!

  3. Sue
    I enjoyed the story as well as the recipe! (You should share this with a few of those homemaking/recipe/do it yourself blog hops...the readers would so enjoy your back story, as well as your yummy soup!)
    And that is a TERRIFIC picture of the two of you with a few of the kids! I really like it a lot!!

    I pinned your recipe on a few of my boards...soup tends to be popular in my family in Fall and Winter ---- right now it is in the high 80s Fahrenheit, Sunday in several mos, I know I'll be clicking back to get this recipe!

    Timmy is a big soup maker. He whipped up a soup for Father's Day ( also a very hot day here in June, but that's what he really wanted to make regardless,) and it was delicious! He and I will enjoy making yours...:)

    Have a lovely Monday...I think it's late on Sunday night by now for you.

    Be well...
    Love ya

    1. Chris,

      Thanks for the great suggestion of linking up my post to a blog hop. You always have great ideas! The only problem is I'm so bad at networking I don't know of any suitable hops!!

      Thank you for pinning my post. I feel very honoured. I'm trying to resist joining Pinterest, but I can see how handy it would be to have somewhere to store useful bits of information for future reference. Don't forget to return to your pin when the weather turns cool. You will enjoy this simple soup!

      I saw your memoir email this morning. Hurray! Memoir Monday is returning! I hope to have something written for next week. I love joining in.

      God bless!

  4. Thank you for sharing your soup and your fun day!!!! People over here are clamoring for zucchini recipes at this time of year (it must be the easiest-to-grow-veggie-ever), and this looks delicious. Stay warm!

    1. Nancy,

      "it must be the easiest-to-grow-veggie-ever"... Yes! Even I can grow zucchinis! (I kill everything else.) Sometimes a friend gives us zucchinis from his garden. They are always ENORMOUS. One zucchini is enough to feed 8 of us.

      I don't suppose it will be long before you'll be heading towards winter and soup, while we'll be experiencing long summer days. We'd better enjoy our soup while we can!

  5. THat sounds like the thing for a rainy and chilly Saturday. When autumn comes this way - not yet as we're still enjoying Summer - we'll have to try this soup. I hope it goes well with biking or after swimming, as we're not big runners.
    And Zucchinis ... when they grow, they GROW.

    1. Uglemor,

      I can just imagine your garden full of huge zucchinis!

      Our children love biking and swimming too. Andy does as well. But me? I don't like getting wet, and I always fall off my bike! I feel much safer running on my own two legs. But whatever the activity, just doing things together as a family is lots of fun, and yes... have soup afterwards!!

  6. I'm back to say that I've encountered one snag with my making of this soup. I have no blender. Nothing that would puree or blend. Any ideas?

    1. Nancy,

      You don't have a food processor or simple stick blender? You could try cooking the vegetables until they are very soft, and then use a potato masher. Harder work than a blender but it might work, though I think the carrots and leeks would still be a bit lumpy. I wonder if it would be easier to drain off the liquid before mashing and add it back afterwards. Other than that, you could find a friendly neighbour who's willing to lend you a blender!

    2. Nancy,

      Some more ideas... cut the vegetables very small and when they are cooked, try pushing them through a sieve with the back of a spoon. Or I read how someone put all her veges into a ziplock bag and then squished it in her hands until everything was thoroughly mixed up!! A bit of texture is probably acceptable. Not all soups have to be smooth.

  7. Could you make this without blending, Sue? I've never made smooth soup before - we usually eat the chunky stuff. Maybe, Nancy could look for a cheap blender in a charity shop. I got a little food processor in a Salvos store and it works really well. I also bought a hand blender from a Vinnies shop. You turn the handle instead of using power - I was in my green living stage, at the time:) It was still in its box and it works well enough to even make butter. It would do soup easily.

    Lovely photo, too, Sue!

    God bless:)

    1. Vicky,

      Yes, soup doesn't have to be blended though I think in this case, it's the combination of flavours in a creamy smooth blend that makes it so delicious. Maybe Nancy should start looking in charity shops as you suggested! It's amazing the bargains you can find in those stores, things other people have never used.

      "green living stage" I like that! Yes, life seems to be made up of stages. I think we're entering a frugal stage. I will have to start visiting secondhand shops too!

      I was surprised the photo turned out so well. We were all very wind blown and the (weak) sun was coming over our shoulders in the wrong direction. And for some strange reason, I didn't have my eyes closed or a stupid expression on my face!!

      God bless!

  8. Love that picture and story. The soup sounds yummy too! I just love that you guys are on opposite seasons than us. I'm able to live vicariously when it is 90 out.

    1. Pam,

      When the heat hits us in a few months time, I shall read your blog posts and dream of cooler conditions! Though maybe where you live winters are very mild? It's all relative though. I'm sure my online friends, who experience snow every winter, wouldn't think our winters are cold at all. Just look at the photo: some of the girls are in short sleeves! They were glowing from all that exercise though. Running is a great way to warm up!

      Thank you for taking the time to stop and say hello. It was lovely to see your comment!

  9. I think it's so awesome that you're experiencing cold runs at a time of year I'm experiencing hot humid bike rides. I cannot wait for the first cool front to blow through our neck of the woods! That soup sounds so yummy! I will have to try it in the fall!

    1. And I also think its SO lovely that you have FAMILY runs. I pray our family stays as close knit as the children get older.

    2. Elizabeth,

      You ride a bike? The last time we went on a family bike ride I fell off and landed in a bush. I am safer on my feet! It's hard to exercise in the heat. In the summer we get up early and run before breakfast, about 6-6.30 am. It gets too hot later in the day.

      I am so thankful our kids like to do things with Andy and me. We have so much fun running together, sharing our progress and encouraging each other along. It's like being part of a team: Team Elvis! I wonder what your family team enjoys doing together.

  10. Sue, can't wait to try your a few months. It's 96 degrees here today. But, I love homemade soup in winter.

    Love the post! How come you look younger and younger in your pictures? Could it be that zucchini soup? If it's Andy's potato salad, you'd better share!!! :)

    Sending you a big hug to keep you warm! xoxo

    1. Patricia,

      A big bowl of soup and some thick crusty bread... perfect when the weather is cold!

      Looking younger and younger? It must be the camera. I look different in different photos. This one is a good one. I really don't know why it turned out so well. My hair was all wind-blown and I felt a mess, but it didn't show. Now if the photo had been a close up of me, you might have seen all those lines around my eyes! I am very fortunate with my hair colour. It is still quite red which I'm sure helps!

      Andy's potato salad... You must try that while your weather is hot. I remember I posted that recipe when it was cold where you are and warm here. Make the potato salad now and the soup in a couple of months' time!

      Thanks for the hug. It feels good!

    2. Hey, I thought the potato salad recipe was a big secret..or was that the tomato soup? I know there is a secret "Andy" recipe...or did I dream that one up when your family came to visit me? :) Either way, I'm getting hungry, and it's dinner time here. Just having yummy soup tonight. But, I am cooking up some zucchini with onions and garlic and butter. We actually had to buy it. I need to pay Mary a visit...I'd love that, even if she didn't have zucchini growing in her xoxo

    3. Patricia,

      I might look fairly young in the photo but my brain is definitely getting older. I'm losing my memory! Yes, you are quite right. The potato salad recipe is the secret one. I never posted it. So you will find it very difficult to make without any instructions! I can see I will have to share that wonderful recipe sooner or later.

      I had to buy my zucchini too. I could say I bought it because nothing is growing in my garden at the moment- it's winter - but I have to admit nothing grows in my garden all year round because I'm a hopeless gardener! You would be shocked at my lack of gardening skills if you ever came to visit!

      I'd love to visit Mary too, and you and Nancy and so many people... One day maybe...

  11. Thanks for the recipe, Sue - I will be cooking a lot of meals with zucchini from the garden very soon! There's a joke around here that if you leave your car door unlocked around these parts you're likely to find a big pile of zucchini in it when you get back ;) I guess it grows well everywhere!

    I love the photo!

    1. Mary,

      Your story about unlocked car doors and zucchini made me laugh!

      A few years ago, when we lived at a different house, we used to find boxes of eggs and various vegetables sitting on our doorstep at regular intervals. There would never be a note attached so we wouldn't know who left them. We would bring everything inside, cook it all and enjoy. I told this story to a city friend one day who was amazed at my courage in eating things that had an unknown origin. I didn't think twice about eating them, but he would have. That's the nice thing about living out of the city: We don't have to be suspicious about unattended and unlabelled packages!

      Enjoy your zucchini! You could post some favourite recipes on your blog!

  12. It is he simple and easy things like your run and the soup that make life fulfilling and happy. I also think they are what your kids will remember at they look backu

    1. Karna,

      I think you are so right. We had great fun that afternoon running together. I know I will remember that day forever and maybe my children will too! Thank you so much for stopping by to say hello. I appreciate your comment very much!


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