we had this strange burst of spring-like weather, and then, as if on cue, thursday dawned cold and wet. the perfect setting for Soup Swap!! i'm finding it hard to believe that this was our fourth swap. it is still one of my favorite activities of the year, so i'll venture to say that in six years, i'll be all, "i can't believe that this was our tenth swap."
(have you swapped yet?!? if you haven't, then you must stop reading this right now, and hop over here to remind yourself why you should do this.)
we had some new swappers this year (yeah!) and as everyone arrived, the table filled up quickly. i noticed quite a few swappers have learned how to "upped the ante" with things like croutons and marshmallows and mini loaves of mexicali corn bread! (last year i gifted the person who chose my soup first with a set of cocktail napkins. i forgot to do that this year.)
you'll notice some of us are getting crafty with freezer space and are using quart size bags. this is a GREAT idea, especially if your household is providing two soups (12 quarts). WORD TO THE WISE: when strategically emptying out your freezer in anticipation for soup swap, do NOT assume that EVERYONE will use bags. there are approximately 27 ways to package soup in a quart-size container, and just because you could fit 12 "bags" of soup in your freezer, you should not assume that you will be able to easily refill it with 12 "other containers." a-hem.
we chose from 10 soups this year (our second highest loot). without any coordination on our part, this year boasted a bevy of vegetarian-ish soups:
roasted butternut squash soup with curry toppings
ancho chicken chili
Irish onion soup (with Guinness!) first gone!
"almost TGIFriday's" black bean soup
smokey portobello first picked!
chicken and spinach
garlic and chorizo soup
curried sweet potato bisque
crock pot chicken and dumplings
traditional potato soup
i continued with the traditional prizes of first picked (the silver ladle) and first snatched up (the wooden spoon). you might remember i usually give out a prize for the last soup picked, but after the same person "won" that distinction two years in a row, i decided to mix it up a bit. (hi, tonya!) (and, by, the way, being last picked had nothing to do with her soup!! they have all been delish!)
i love giving prizes, and i think it definitely challenges the swappers to step up their stories during the telling of the soup. i got some fun ideas from the official Soup Swap site. this year i included a magnetic shopping-list memo pad for the soup with the most ingredients, and a few boxes of tic tacs for the soup with the most garlic. YUM!!
when it was all said and done, this was all that was left on the swapping table. oh, those two containers you see there? they were just waiting for me to find a way to squeeze them into my freezer...
another great event! jack was ever the gracious host as he allowed his room to be taken over by a bunch of kiddos half his age. (who knew that a leftover bag of dollar store balloons can be so entertaining?)
i kept with my tradition of keeping it simple with coffee and brownies. this initiated an interesting discourse on the The Perfect Brownie Pan vs. traditional baking dishes. (is it just me, or does the PBP really produce thin, cracker-like brownies? we've taken to calling them "brownie brickle" around here.
which gives me a new SWAP idea!! coming soon: a reason for me to get rid of all of the As Seen on TV stuff i've been talked into purchasing. (do you really want to know how much we have?)