Soup Starters for the Cold Season Ahead & A Food Gal Giveaway

By adding a handful of ingredients, I made my own tom yum soup in the time it took to heat up the broth.

Is it me or is everyone pretty much coughing up a lung these days?

Cold and flu season is definitely here, unfortunately.

Thank goodness for hot, steaming bowls of soup to make us all feel better. I know it sure did the trick when I was felled by a cold a couple of weeks ago.

Luckily, I had just received samples of new Pacific Organic Soup Starters to test out from the Oregon-based company.

They’re soup bases packaged in shelf-stable cartons for easy use. Last year, the company debuted its beef, chicken and vegetarian Vietnamese pho Soup Starters. This year, it added two more varieties: Tom Yum and Tortilla.

The new organic soup bases.

With my stuffy nose leaving me talking like the Snuffleupagus, I reached for the Thai-style Tom Yum for relief.

It couldn’t be easier. You just empty the broth base into a pot and heat. Instructions on the back of the box give advice on what other herbs or protein are good additions. I added chunks of chicken breast, sliced shiitakes, a chopped tomato, broccolini, cilantro and slivers of jalapeno. The instructions recommended cooked rice as an accompaniment, but I went with rice noodles instead.

The soup came together in mere minutes. The chicken broth-based soup starter was flavorful with a faint tang from lime oil. I like my tom yum a little more assertive, so I squirted in more fresh lime juice to kick it up.

A half-cup portion of the soup base has 10 calories and 330mg of sodium. The package says it serves eight. But really, if you’re indulging in a ramen bowl-size portion, one carton serves more like two.

Of course, you could doctor up your own chicken broth to make tom yum. But it’s pretty convenient to have a starter already in your cupboard much like you would canned chicken or beef broth at the ready.

The Pacific Organic Soup Starters are about $3.49 each for a 32-ounce carton at Whole Foods, Sprouts, New Leaf, and select Save Mart stores.

Contest: Five lucky Food Gal readers will each win a trio of Pacific Organic Soup Starters, one each of Vegetarian Pho, Tortilla, and Tom Yum. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Nov. 10. Winners will be announced Nov. 12.

How to win?

Just tell me what you wish there was a starter kit for in life. Best five answers win the soup starters.

Here’s my own answer:

“I wish there was a starter kit for caring for family as they get elderly. So many of my friends now are at that age where we all see our relatives getting more and more frail and sickly. Until you’re finally thrust into that situation, you just don’t realize all the hoops you have to jump through to navigate through the health care system, assisted living system and home-care system. It can be so numbing and frustrating to search for just the right phone number or extension to get a real person to help you such a trying time. I wish there was a starter kit to lay out all the steps you need to take and how to go about it precisely to get what you need efficiently.”

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Date: Monday, 5. November 2012 5:25
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15 comments

  1. 1

    I wish there was a kit for not only finding the one lost sock, but also for matching the athletic socks. Can you guess that I have a teen guy?

  2. 2

    I wish there were a starter kit as to how to deal with a quarter life crisis. This sounds a bit odd (and possibly obnoxious to non-quarter life crisis members), as most people would give an arm and a leg to be 25 again, but that awkward, anxious time nestled in between adolescence and adulthood can be pretty darn terrifying. Anxieties range from paying back student loans, finding a job (to pay off student loans), finding your own place, finding yourself, finding a mate, deciding whether to have children, finding the career that suits you the best (monetarily and spiritually fulfilling), and just figuring everything out (vague, but there is no better way to explain it). Though all these things terrify me to the max, at least I am confident in one thing in my 25 years of living- no matter what, just be yourself and engulf yourself in all that you are passionate about. Oh and one other thing, soup is a very, very good thing. 

  3. 3

    Wow, your finished bowl looks sooo comforting! :) I love Vietnamese soup noodles, but can never make them at home because I always feel the broth is what makes it distinctive. I always find doctoring up plain chicken broth doesn’t really give you the body for the rich beef broth of pho, for example. But this Pacific brand seems a bit closer. I didn’t realize they made a pho version, I have to look at that. I’d love to have pho at home! :)

  4. 4

    I wish there was a starter kit for career choice. I would have chosen to be a teacher so I could learn parenting skills and have 3 months off in the summertime. I went for the ideal & impractical that do not pay!

  5. 5

    What a kick-butt bowl of noodles. So cool they have pho and tom yum starters.

  6. 6

    I wish there was a starter kit for dealing with the loss of a loved one. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my grandparents. I was blessed to have a grandmother who was a fantastic cook. My sister and I are both excellent cooks and still make some of her favorites (like mac and cheese). I would love to have one more day of cooking with her and my sister, all together. We don’t realize how much they mean to us until they’re gone.

  7. 7

    What a lovely bowl of goodness! :) Yum!

  8. 8

    How about a starter kit that will grow the perfect boyfriend? I think I’m too old for a “boyfriend.” A manfriend? :-)

  9. 9

    I wish there was a starter kit for cultural engagement. One that helps you understand the great melting pot we have in America, and how to eat, interact, and be respectful to each person.

  10. 10

    Michele: Never too old to have a boyfriend! Here’s hoping Prince Charming is en route to you. ;)

  11. 11

    I wish there was a starter kit for packing to move long distance over oceans. Now that we’re starting that move home to the US, I’m overwhelmed by what to do with what we have–what to give away, what to keep and whether I can afford to ship things back. Then, I’m going to need a starter kit for finding a place to stay, a starter kit for unpacking, a starter kit for finding the kids the right schools and enrolling them, a starter kit for refreshing my resume and looking for a job, a starter kit for all my starter kits! Arghhh….

  12. 12

    How about a starter kit for retirement–Medicare A,B,D, health care options, pensions, annuities, etc. Psychological symptoms of “postworkpartum” depression, anxiety due to reduced income. Ways to keep busy, volunteer work, ways to add a little income. There are a large number of Baby Boomers facing these issues now along with the issue of being in the “Sandwich” generation — taking care of adult children and elderly parents at the same time as we’re starting retirement. It’s a daunting situation in which to be. We could use a starter kit.

  13. 13

    I wish there was a starter kit for teaching an elderly person to use technology(i.e., computers, cell phones, tablets, programming DVR, etc…) Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing it! I really don’t! But it really can be quite frustrating at times! lol Something as simple as checking a voicemail message or sending a text can be quite the adventure! Computers are the ultimate though! Seriously JAVA, must you have to have an update almost daily? I mean c’mon!(Cause you know my Mom calls me every time to take a look!) To be fair, I must say that after a few times, my parents retain it pretty well and for the most part are self sufficient though—Emphasis on For the most part! ;)

  14. 14

    I wish there was a starter kit for being organized.

  15. 15

    I wish there was a starter kit for re-starting your career! How to make your career go in the direction i want after spending too many years headed in the wrong direction….

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