Food

Tricks to Turning Soup Cartons into a Full Hearty Meal

Skip the canned soups and their BPA linings

It's full-on soup season over here. And while we love eating a warm bowl of soup all cozied up in a giant blanket, we also know that sometimes soup isn't the most filling. Especially if you are trying to be good and opting for a soup that comes in a carton instead of a can that is almost definitely lined with BPA. While we love the soup cartons for many reasons, including the fact that we are sure they are BPA free, we do realize the soups available in cartons aren't as chunky or filling. But, before you write them off or go back to your standby chunky in the can, hear us out. With just a few tricks, you can turn some of those cartons of soups into hearty, delicious, warm, cozy meals. We always have a couple flavors on hand in the pantry for last minute, low prep, and healthy meals. Here are our top picks!


Tomato Soup

A tried and true classic that is also kid friendly, is to make a grilled cheese sandwich to go with the tomato soup. If you want to get fancy, you can make your grilled cheese, then cut it into cubes, and toast the cubes for another minute or two and make grilled cheese croutons. Basically the same thing, but then you can eat everything with the spoon. Also, if you are having someone over, this looks ways cooler, even though it tastes exactly the same.

A second option is to spice it up a bit and add some chorizo, beans (often white beans), and spinach. This makes it quite a bit heartier and gives it a bit of a Spanish flair. Trust us, it's a thing and it's delicious.

Potato Leek Soup

Three words- Loaded. Baked. Potato. Yaaassss! Who doesn't like baked potatoes with all the fixins. So, pretend your potato leek soup is a blank baked potato canvas and load it up. Think cheese, pieces of bacon, sour cream, and chives. Hey, if you like to add jalapeno slices or olives, go for it. It's totally up to you, and because this soup is tasty to start with and so are all of the toppings there's really no way you can go wrong.

Butternut Squash Soup

With butternut squash soup, we like to add a little crunch and salt. For us, that means top it with some pumpkin seeds. If you're feeling extra fancy, you can even add a bit of goat cheese or sour cream. To take it one more step further, sprinkle it with a few pomegranate seeds too for a nice little pop. If you add all three, it will look like a restaurant soup, we promise. Send us some photos.

The other route you can go here is to again add some crispy bacon. Enough said.

Or, if you want to go a little sweeter, you can top it with pecans (candied or not), creme fraiche (or sour cream), and fried sage. It's a little fancier because of the fried herbs, plus it smells amazing and tastes wonderful.

Carrot Ginger Soup

To make this with a Thai twist, try adding some shredded chicken, rice noodles, curry paste or powder, and cilantro. Definitely ups the ante and turns what is basically carrots and broth into a truly filling meal.

Or a vegetarian favorite is to roast a bunch of veggies, think broccoli, delicata squash, cauliflower, and zucchini (really whatever you have!) and add them on top of the piping hot bowl of carrot soup. This turns the carton of carrot soup into a full healthy meal.

Mushroom Soup

This might sound like an obvious one, but we like to saute up some fresh mushrooms and add those to our carton of mushroom soup. They add some texture and a nice fresh earthiness that gets a little lost in a shelf-stable soup. Consider tossing some cooked quinoa or barley into the mix to really bulk it up.

For you meat lovers, a carton of mushroom soup is a perfect base for cheeseburger soup! Saute ground beef and potato chunks with a clove of garlic. Then add it to the soup and melt some swiss cheese on top. We love this mushroom-y cheeseburger soup almost as we love a real cheeseburger.

These are just a few ideas and of course, the list of add-ins and toppings is endless. So get creative, and don't just settle into believing that your soup has to go from the carton, to the stovetop, to the bowl without gaining any extra oomph. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean your meals have to be bland. You've got this, without having to buy anymore chunky canned soups, and none of them really take all that much work.

Roundups

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For the beach and all your outdoor sweaty activities. Reef safe too!

We updated our sunscreen roundup for 2019 with the 10 best reviewed, non-toxic mineral sunscreens we could find. As always, we make sure that our picks are easy to find online and in stores.

Sunscreen in our minds is synonymous with summer and being outside! But there are so many choices, it's hard to know if what you're getting is something that actually works and that other people like. Not to mention that there are some questionable chemicals in sunscreens that are definitely horrible for coral reefs and might be endocrine disruptors that soak through your skin. So look for one of our top 10 picks for non-toxic sunscreens the next time your tube is empty. We have plenty of options for everyday wear, sweaty sports and beach days!

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Environmental Factors May Have a Bigger Impact on Fertility than You Think

Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures

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9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

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Life

Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh Without the Synthetic Scents

Cause Traditional Car Air Fresheners Are No Good For Your Health

Those little tree-shaped air fresheners dangling from a rear-view mirror or air vent clip-ons may feel festive, but most car air fresheners can be bad for your health. They seem so innocent, so how is that possible you might ask?

One of the biggest issues with these products is the mystery behind what goes into them. Believe it or not, It's actually hard to be 100% certain about what chemicals are in air fresheners. There's a ton of secrecy into what actually goes into a fragrance product because companies can claim their ingredients are trade secrets. We definitely can't say a product is safe if we don't even know what is used to make it.

However, we do know that most air fresheners are made up of a ton of synthetic fragrances. There are literally thousands of chemicals manufacturers can choose from when making a product with synthetic fragrance. And a lot of these chemicals are known to have negative impacts on our health. (1)

On top of that, fragrance in air fresheners usually contain both phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (2). Although these chemicals can make scents powerful, they can also be allergens that cause coughing, headaches, and runny noses (2). Phthalates are also hormone disruptors and VOCs can be carcinogens. We definitely don't want to be constantly breathing in those chemicals, no matter how good they might smell!

The amount of space inside your car is also a reason we don't like traditional car air fresheners. A smaller space = more concentrated exposure, and since you probably have your windows closed 90% of the time, a car is one of the worst places to keep a strongly-scented product.

Luckily, there are easy, nontoxic ways to make your car smell fresh! You can keep a container filled with baking soda or a baking soda freezer pack hidden somewhere. Baking soda is a completely natural way to eliminate odors and a box is only a couple of dollars! Using scents from natural sources are also a great way to add a little freshness to your car. You can put a few drops of an essential oil onto a clothespin or another wooden item and leave it somewhere in your car (3). When the smell goes away, just replenish with a few more drops of oil! If you prefer something a little more contained, we also love putting satchels of lavender or rose petals around our car.

But perhaps the easiest way to get rid of a bad smell is to simply roll your windows down! Maybe rolling down the windows will help make your commute a little more relaxing too.

References:

  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919
  2. https://kellybroganmd.com/is-your-uber-air-freshener-making-you-sick/
  3. https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-make-3-naturally-scented-air-fresheners-for-cars/
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Our top recommendations for your baby's bottom that parents love

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