Swappin' Soup

One of the hardest parts of this year’s winter was that it kept so many of us stuck indoors!  I really missed my MaryJanesFarm Sisterhood Chapter farmgirls!  For our first get-together of 2011, I decided we’d do a daytime event, a luncheon, featuring something easy but hearty.  What’s better winter fare than soup?  Come join us for our first ever “Soup Swap!”


I decided to start a Sisterhood Chapter around a year ago, and christened it “Connecticut Simpler Life Sisters”.  Although I have lived in Connecticut for almost two decades, I sometimes found it hard to meet apron wearin’, simpler-life-lovin’ girls like myself, so my chapter is a blessing.  We usually meet at my house once a month for a potluck and “lapwork” (knitting for example), and we always wear our aprons!  In the last year, we also did some “field trips”, as well, taking a canning class, heading to a flea market, and taking a “Rustic Farmgirl” class at a Connecticut farm.  There we learned all sorts of things such as grinding grain and milking a cow!  Instant friends, we have members from several different areas in Connecticut, and one member, Heidi, who drives in from New York City!  We are married, single, some of us are moms, some work, some stay home…all different, but all with the need to harken back to days of “old”, when women got together as a group, enjoying each other’s company and the simpler things in life.

Heidi and her daughter  pick squash at the Rustic Farmgirl Class, October 2010

The beautiful, gentle bovine we learned to milk .  You could tell some of us were “city farmgirls” when we said, “Bless you,” to her…she wasn’t sneezing, she was chewing her cud!

We also learned about chickens. Here my daughter gathers eggs. October ’10

Wanting to beat the winter blahs, this month I decided to do something centered around food and warmth.  Voila!  The idea for a “Soup Swap” was born.  Our “Soup Swap” lunch was fun, and I think it could also work for a church gathering, or other group, as well as a chapter activity.

“Connecticut Simpler Life Sisters” 2011

I love to do potlucks for large groups of people. That way, one person does not bear the burden and expense of providing all the food, and it gives everyone attending (including the hostess) a chance to try new things.  To organize the “Soup Swap”, I sent an email out explaining the fare, asking each person to bring one pot or crock pot of their favorite soup, a ladle, and copies of the recipe. (Similar to a cookie exchange). Each farmgirl added her name to the bottom of the list with what she would bring, so there weren’t “doubles” of the same recipe. A few people brought desserts, as well, such as Teri’s decadent Chocolate Rum Cake, and Kathey brought “organic salad and fresh bread for all”, also bringing a mason jar of the best homemade dressing ever!  I can’t tell you how delicious the kitchen smelled with all those warm, amazing soups simmering all over.

I provided small cups and spoons next to each pot, so everyone could sample each soup. The kitchen was abuzz with all of us going from one pot of soup to the next. “Did you try this one?”  “What’s in this one, it’s amazing!”  “Who brought the Chicken Tortilla Soup?”  This was also a good ice breaker, as this month, our group had several new girls join.  Pretty soon, everyone was eating, talking, and getting to know each other.  We shared lots of laughs, and all ate until we burst!

It’s always great to see Ali’s sweet smilin’ face!

Retiring to the family room, we got to know our “new” girls better, caught up with what we all have been up to since the last time we got together, and shared ideas of some fun things to do this year, which I am excited about and looking forward to.  We have done some pretty interesting things together, but my favorite times are those spent just getting together over a meal.  Good food and good friends are two of the best gifts life has to offer!

  1. Barb says:

    What a truly amazing group of women. I am very happy to be a part of this group. This was my first gathering with everyone and I felt  welcomed by everyone. I look forward to getting together with the girls in the future months. Nicole is an amazing woman with lots of farm girl spirit.

    -Barb, oh my goodness!  What a sweet thing to say.  I’m so glad to have met you!  See you soon!  -Nicole

  2. Linda P. says:

    I *love* this idea!

  3. Diana says:

    What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! I’ve been doing cookie parties for years now and they are so much fun. This sounds even better…thanks for the idea!

    Diana, Thanks for reading!  Let me know if you do a Soup Swap and how it turns out!  Have fun!  – Nicole

  4. Loved your idea of a soup swap. You might want to check out what my farm girl chapter is doing, it is so much fun to share. Farm Girl Hugs Florence

  5. Jane Clausen Drew says:

    I love the idea of a soup swap! Your group sounds (and looks)wonderfully fun – I may have to copy your idea for my gals out here in Black Forest, where we have a weekly knitting group called The Knitwits. Any way you can share/post some of the soup recipes?

    Thanks for asking…will see what I can do about that!  Love your knittng group name!  -Nicole

  6. Wendy Brown says:

    Recipes!! Can we have the recipes? It’s cold and has rained non-stop here in Georgia for days. Oh some hot soup sounds wonderful, all steamy with fresh bread or some of the homemade crackers I read about in the Farmgirl magazine. I love hot chili but hot hot soup sounds much more friendly. Would you PLEASE post the recipes for the soups, bread and Teri’s decadent Chocolate Rum Cake so the soggy farmgirls can make some and pretend we are there warm and dry with all of you? The article was great and inviting.I wish there was a farmgirl chapter in northern Georgia.

    Hi Wendy in Georgia!  Keep posted…I’ll see what I can do!  -Nicole

  7. Margaret says:

    That sounds like so much fun! I can’t wait to give it a try! I don’t have a local Farmgirls chapter but it might be time to try and start one! What a great way to get some new recipes for the family! Keep having fun and don’t worry, Spring will be here soon!

  8. Linda Garber says:

    What a great idea! Wish I lived closer!
    Was disappointed you used Styrofoam and plastic plates and utensils though!

    Linda, Usually I use china.  However, I had so many new people coming, I did not have enough for everyone to try each soup.  -Nicole

  9. Bonnie Whitehead says:

    I really did enjoy reading about your wonderful Soup Swappin event. I have thought about doing the same sort of event, but using Pies. I would do this with my Church Lady Friends. Meat, veggie and dessert pies.

    I was able to get some very good tips from your post here.

    Thank you for reading, Bonnie! -Nicole

  10. Denise Cooper says:

    Having a place in the middle of "no where New Mexico" I gave soup to a neighbor who is recovering from a stay in the hospital. Soup warms you from the inside out. Great article. Thank you. Denise

    Denise, thanks for reading.  Such a sweet thing you did…I know your neighbor appreciated it.  -Nicole

  11. Ann says:

    Hi! I hadn’t looked at the suburban farmgirl blog in a while and I’m glad I did. What a great idea. I love to cook so the idea of a soup swap is fantastic along with the recipe swap. Several years ago, I did a monthly "soup kitchen" for my staff and then gave them a cookbook of all the recipes at Christmas time. Soup is always a good way to make friends and provide comfort and get folks chatting. Congratulations on your chapter success.

    -Thanks fo much for reading!  I like the idea of compiling a cookbook of all the recipes…thanks for the idea.  I will have to do that with all the wonderful recipes!  -Nicole

  12. Debbie says:

    Hi Nicole!
    Loved this post.. It’s very encouraging for gals who want to start a Chapter or just start a regular time to get together just for fun. I love the soup swap idea. I’m excited to be having my first " Catch the farmgirl spirit meeting" this month and I can’t wait! I’m going to introduce them to Mary Jane and share my own farmgirl journey too. I’ve got a handful of gals raring to go and we hope to gather more along the way! Oh, our chapter is called the Hometown Farmgirls. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for sharing this today. I would be interested in a soup recipe as well!

    Beach Blessings,

    -Deb, glad you liked the post!  Good luck with your new chapter.  I’m sure you will have a blast!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  13. brenda says:

    Sounds like you girls had fun. Wish I was there. Soup is always better with friends or family. I too would like the recipes and any other that girls have to share. Thanks again for sharing as always I enjoy reading what you share.

    -Brenda, I am working on how to share all the yummy recipes…I’ll keep you posted!  Thank you for reading!  -Nicole

  14. Heather :) :) :) says:

    Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun 🙂 🙂 🙂 I do love soup and it’s something that’s pretty economical, too. So that allows everyone to participate. Oh, and everyone goes home with so many recipes for different soups. I like that idea!!!

    On a completely random note, I really love that vintage Coke box 🙂 🙂 I have a vintage wooden crate from the 7-Up bottling company in Los Angeles 🙂 🙂

    Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂

    Thanks Heather!  The only other thing I would do is have everyone bring "to go" containers so any leftovers could be swapped.  As for the crate, I love all the different fun uses for it!  Found it at a flea market.  Thanks for reading! -Nicole

  15. Adrianne says:

    I just wanted to add a quick comment- it was a very nice time and I loved the variety of soups! I had the Black Bean with Citrus Salsa – I never thought I would like oranges in my black bean soup! And the Lentil with Turkey Bacon was amazing and very filling. Gone are the days of Chicken Noodle! ; )

    Until next time,

  16. Comments on Swappin’ Soup –
    Loved the idea of the soups. I have belonged to the Extension Homemakers Club, Four Corners, for 30 some years.
    Every January we have had Soup Day. Two homemakers make the soup base with beef ahead of time. Each lady brings a cup of vegetables. We have the meat part heating up and just add the cupfuls as each lady comes. Delicious. When it is time for lunch, our meal is ready. We fill our veg. container with the left-over soup. Supper for our husbands.
    At our church pie social, I brought Brussel Sprout Pie.
    They ate the whole pie, no left-overs. Enjoy your blog.

    -Sandy, how much fun is that!  Great idea to have everyone bring something to make the soup with.  I would also love, love, love to have your Brussel Sprout Pie recipe – sounds delicious!  -Nicole

  17. Kim Yates says:


    Been meaning to write you a quick note…I have recently moved back to CT & was wondering where in ‘picturesque CT’ do you live or where do all of you ‘farmgirls’ meet? Room for another??

    Kim Yates

    Hi Kim!  Thanks for reading the blog…i’ll email you directly.  -Nicole

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