We "technically" don't have Hostess and Scrapbook Club this month as I figured with the holidays my stampers and scrapbookers might like a break…but apparently they "need" to come to their Happy Place, or so they've told me.   So I'm opening the doors from 11am-midnight for my ladies to come and Hang Out.

Actually, what I'm hoping to do is make a Haven for them on Friday.  I want them to bring whatever projects they are working on and finish them up here and just hangout in the haven…away from their laundry, chores, shopping lists and their kids.    It's my treat.  I need to get a little gift stamped up for them and I'm providing the Soup and Bread.  I'm hoping to make a couple of different soups in the next day or so and I'll share one that I'll be making.  Let me begin by saying I HATE TOMATO SOUP.  Rob's family is a big cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese (with jam no less!) family and I abhor cream of tomato!  Bleech and I really like JUST about anything….  Now this soup changed my mind….we tried this on Sunday and it was absolutely FABULOUS!    Trust me, you will NEVER go back to Campbells!  Note:  We had company and it served  4 adults, 3 teens and 3 kids and every single one of them raved about the soup.

Interested in joining our Hostess Club or Scrapbooking Club?  We meet on a monthly basis and always welcome drop-ins.  Call me or email me for more information about clubs. 

(Forewarning: this soup is a little time-consuming, but oh-so-worth it!)

Cream of Tomato Basil Soup

2 (28 oz) cans of whole tomatoes (reserve juice)
2 TB brown sugar
4 TB butter
1 small onion chopped
2 TB tomato past
2-3 TB flour
2 (15 oz) cans or one carton of chicken stock/broth
2 fresh red peppers roasted* ( I had some roasted ancho peppers in the freezer that I tossed in instead)
1 cup prepared pesto
1 1/2 cups half and half (low fat or fat free substitutes fine)

*Note: to roast peppers, cut them in half, clean out the seeds, and place them skin side up on a broiler pan. Broil them for about 20-25 minutes or until you notice the majority of the skin turning black. Don’t be alarmed, they’re not burned! Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel off the black skins, and cut in large chunks. DO NOT skip the red peppers, they’re the secret ingredient!

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Squeeze the seeds out of tomatoes and discard.  Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with brown sugar. Bake until liquid is evaporated and tomatoes caramelize (about 30 min).

Heat butter, onion, and tomato paste in large pot. Saute until onions soften.   Add flour and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually add chicken stock and reserved tomato juice.  Bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and peppers and puree until smooth with an immersion blender, or remove from pot in small batches and puree in a food processor or blender. Return to pot, simmer 15 minutes. Five minutes before serving, add pesto and half and half.


The roasted red peppers add a delicious crisp texture to the soup and will have people begging for the recipe. It’s pretty much a gimme you’ll never go back to canned tomato soup again!