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Summer Squash Soup

I’m a huge fan of a hearty bowl of soup. I love to select, chop and see the change in texture of fresh, seasonal vegetables as I take them from market to my favorite Dutch oven. I love the smells that permeate my home from the dried or fresh herbs I’ve added. I love that soup can feed many people just by adding a little water and a few more herbs, a pinch of salt. There’s indeed much blessing in that.

Not everyone shares  my same passion for soup. There are a few around here that simply want a cup, not a bowl, of soup. They want to save room for meat, rice, pasta or anything else but all that hot liquid. Especially in the very hot summer.

During Ramadan, however, I get my way.

Soup is an amazing type of food to have when beginning the iftar (breaking of the fast) meal because it helps to acclimate the body to food after such a long period of not eating. We enjoy it after we break our initial fast with dates and water or juice, pray the maghrib (sunset) prayer and return to the table to begin the meal.

I enjoy soup even on hot summer days, though you can make any type of vegetable soup and eat it cool instead of hot. During Ramadan when we need extra hydration to keep us going throughout the fasting hours, it helps to have vegetables like squash which hold a lot of water and pass that on to us when we eat them.

Another quite important thing about soup is the grand opportunity to put calcium into your body. Did you know that animal bones provide an incredible amount of much-needed calcium to us when we cook with them? Add a little vinegar to the pot and it helps to leach out even more calcium from the bones.

Our dilemma as halal consumers is that it’s usually hard to find a healthy ready-made broth that we know is halal and made from animals that were treated and processed humanely.  I’ve personally spent hours toiling in the kitchen to make the perfect chicken stock, fish stock, beef stock, lamb stock, duck stock simply because it’s a rare opportunity to have halal broth made rich with halal gelatin for our meals. I love to do it myself, but like so many other busy people, it’s a rare occurrence to have that much time on my hands.

In comes Saffron Road.

You may be thinking that it’s all I’ve been talking about lately, but there’s a reason for that. I’m truly supportive not only of the quality halal products they’re providing to the halal consumer, they’re providing products that anyone who wants to feel good about what they eat can actually enjoy.

I’ll go into more detail about these broths later in the month, but for now I’ll leave you with one of my favorite summer soup recipes and a chance to win big from Whole Foods and Saffron Road.

 

Tell us what you like most about Saffron Road products even if you’ve never tasted them. Consider their sustainable food concept and overall mission as a company.

Answer this question at the end of this post in the comments section and you could win FIVE coupons for FREE Saffron Road halal foods AND a $100 Whole Foods Market Gift Card! For those of you who follow the MHK Facebook page, you probably already know that this is the third of FIVE giveaways sponsored by Saffron Road and Whole Foods Market during the month of Ramadan. Please stop by their pages and thank them for offering such generous giveaways in an effort to reach out to halal consumers at a time that is so special to us. Saffron Road is donating 50 cents to the IFRC and the Whole Planet Foundation for every ‘like’ they get on their page during Ramadan, too!

Summer Squash & Mediterranean Herb Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

4 yellow squash, unpeeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 cup carrot puree

salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

3 cups Saffron Road Traditional Chicken Broth

3 cups water

2 cups shredded cabbage

Directions for Carrot Puree

You can puree any amount of carrots that you like. I prefer to get an extra large bag of them and process all at once since the puree freezes so well.

Steam or gently boil the carrots until soft in the center, which you can detect by poking with a fork.

Allow to cool, then place in a blender or food processor with just enough water (about 1/2- 1 cup for a bag of 24 carrots) to loosen up the contents enough for the blender to work.

Freeze the puree , unseasoned,  in freezer bags or jars and use to add to stews, rice dishes, soup or even smoothies.

Directions for Soup

In a large, heavy bottom pot or a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil gently over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until translucent, but not brown.

Increase the heat and add the cut squash and proceed to brown slightly. Add the garlic.

Add the carrot puree and stir until well-blended. Add the salt, pepper and spices and then immediately add the broth and water to the pot. Stir so that all the contents can cook evenly.

Add the cabbage and bring the pot to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat again to a medium-low simmer.

Cover and cook for 40 minutes or until all of the cabbage and the skins of the squash are completely tender.

 

Tell us what you like most about Saffron Road products even if you’ve never tasted them. Consider their sustainable food concept and overall mission as a company.

Your answer in the comments section of this post will enter you into the giveaway for FIVE FREE Saffron Road halal frozen, redeemable at Whole Foods Markets AND a $100 Whole Foods gift card, redeemable at any U.S. Whole Foods stores.

Coupons will only be sent to U.S. addresses, as they are redeemable at Whole Foods Markets in the United States.

US Sweeps will randomly choose a winner selected from those who follow the giveaway eligibility guidelines.

Giveaway ends August 15, 2011 at 12:01 am.

To Enter the Giveaway:

*please note: if you have already subscribed and/or signed up to the pages below, there’s no need to do it again- you’re already eligible!

1) Leave a relevant comment after this post that answers the question above.

2) Subscribe to the MHK Monthly Newsletter 

3) “Like” the Whole Foods Market Facebook Page

4) “Like” the Saffron Road Facebook Page

5) Subscribe to the Whole Story blog.

Entries (comments plus other requirements) must be received by 12:00 am on August 15, 2011

(please note: this is not a printable coupon)

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49 comments

  1. I love Saffron Road’s availability and ease to the consumer while providing halal and quality ingredients.

  2. I love that Saffron Road has created prepared Halal meal options that are certified humane and 100% natural! You don’t find qualities like that in MAJORITY of frozen meals..and I think not one can be found in the limited halal frozen meals that exist. Knowing that the meat is vegetarian-fed and antibiotic free makes me feel confident in the brand. Also knowing that Saffron Road supports the natural food movement makes me immensely happy since they have strong ideals – which makes me believe that they won’t skimp on quality in their product.

  3. I am so excited that Saffron Road is making Halal broth. I love making chicken noodles soup but before I would have to get extra chicken to make sure I had enough broth. Now I can just pick up a package of there broth. I love adding fresh veggies in with my chicken and noodles. I love the convenience of Saffron Road after a long day of fasting if we don’t feel like cooking we don’t have to. Thanks to Saffron Road. Another big convenience is if we wake up late we don’t have to worry, we have already made meals in the freeze. All we have to do is warm them up and you can warm up some bread to eat with it while the food is warming is. Last year waking up late meant not eating till sun down but this year even with 10 minutes left we still have time to eat. Lets face it sometimes us women don’t want to cook and now we don’t have to we have already made meals that are halal available for us now.

  4. I am impressed that the company supports family farms. As a farmers daughter, that is not something seen often enough.

  5. Saffron Road products are unique in every way –

    1. As we all know, not all frozen products take such keen measures in quality control as saffron road which is why many health-watchers do not opt for frozen foods but the stringent measures taken by Saffron Road clearly show that they ‘care’ about us.

    2. I adore the fact that Saffron Road treats its livestock humanely. I have watched so many videos that show how ruthlessly the poor livestock is treated and left suffering in cages.

    3. Another quality I adore is the fact that the livestock is raised on vegetarian food and without antibiotics. It is of utmost importance that we know what ‘goes in’ and what doesn’t in the meat we consume.

    4. Their meals cater to people from all cultures and tastes and I am sure with more entrees to come they will cover up all the delicacies that are enjoyed in the world. It is also worth mentioning that their Indian entrees are gluten-free.

    5. I had also read that Saffron Road supports family owned farms and local growers which clearly shows their support for the community as well.

    To crunch it down, Saffron Road has gone way beyond any other frozen brand in every aspect right from how the livestock is treated, what it is fed, quality of the ingredients used, catering to different spice levels for each consumer and ofcourse making halal a ‘next-door’ thing. They have shown interest in each step from raising livestock until the very attractive packaging!

    Saffron Road without a doubt cares about it’s consumers and that’s the quality we consumers look for. I wish them success is all their future endeavors.

  6. After having been more aware about the food industry and now having started my own family, I have for some time been struggling to find the right balance when it comes to taste, good organic quality and off course halal. Saffron Road has been the answer for my family!

  7. I wasn’t aware of Saffron Road food until Whole Foods’s halal promotions this month. Now, I absolutely love the brand – Saffron Road supports local & family farms, makes organic food, and the food is halal! Ethical consumerism is very important to me, & I have yet to find any other brand that does all of these things. Now I have an option that is very accessible.

  8. What I like most about Saffron Road products is that they provide healthy, quality, delicious meal options for those who appreciate the convenience of frozen prepared foods, as I do! :-) Saffron Road products are so much better for everyone’s health than typical frozen meals. I also like that they raise awareness of the meaning and importance of “certified halal cuisine,” and are making it more available and accessible.

  9. I recently discovered, from a post on Facebook from Adnan Durrani (CEO of Saffron Road) that they not only ensure the animals are hand-slaughtered but they adhere to all the aspects of halal/zabiha. Most Muslims tend to forget that halal/zabiha extends well beyond just hand-slaughtering the animal and saying the tasmiya and takbir – it also incorporates how the animals are raised, cared for, and fed. Following the sunnah is very important to our family and it’s refreshing when a company makes a concerted effort to also follow the sunnah and not just their bottom line!

  10. Three words: “Certified Halal Cuisine”. What more could I ask for, Alhamdulillah! :)

  11. Wow! I just love squash. Never tried this brand before. I bet it is good. I would like to try it sometime.

  12. Gelatin has always been a problem for my family, so I’m thrilled to hear about Saffron Road’s halal broths. I’ll keep an eye out for it in our local co-op. Thanks for telling us all about these cool products. Ramadan Kareem. :)

  13. Wow! Can’t wait to pick this up and use in my cooking. Ramadan Mubarak!

  14. Finally, halal and healthy, in a box!

  15. How exciting to finally have halal chicken broth! this will definitely save me time from having to make my own :)

  16. Like MKH I love SOUP! Unfortunately most recipes call for broths and I get frustrated as there is no halal broth available. I am so excited to hear about the Saffron road making halal broth along with the fact that it is available at Whole Foods means it must be made from pure ingredients with no fillers etc. cant wait to try it!

  17. I like that Saffron Road is Halal for my family and has gluten-free options for my daughter. That combination is hard to find!

  18. I like that Saffron Road humanely raises their chicken without antibiotics.

    Subscribed to newsletter.
    Like Whole Foods on Facebook
    Like Saffron Road on Facebook

  19. Halal chicken broth??? FINALLY!!!! I’ve been making everything with veg broth and its just not the same!

  20. I love that I can get easy Halal foods and now ingredients where I already shop weekly. A blessing!

  21. I love that they make international food easy and attainable for the newbie cooks.

  22. As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

    I love that Saffron Road is setting the bar high when it comes to halal by using meat from animals that are pastured, 100% vegetarian fed, and raised without antibiotics. A rare gem in the world of halal food. And they are currently on sale at my local Whole Foods alhamdulillah.

  23. Salaamz,

    This topic is really personal for me because I started eating Halal like three years ago. Basically it has been challenging to know exactly what type of life style the animal has lead; so when you have a product like Saffron Road that is (*Gluten Free, *Certified Humane+Vegetarian Fed Chicken, *All Natural, *Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics) its really wonderful & a true blessing Alhumdullilah.
    By the way I was in Whole Foods today, lol; I picked up a two boxes of Saffron Roads Chicken Bites & Tandoori Chicken Nuggets:) this will be my first time buying this product. The Quality looks great. Mash’Allah

  24. I just came to know about Saffron Road products. Very interesting.

  25. As Salaamu Alaikum,

    My husband and I recently made a trip to Whole foods specifically for the Saffron Road frozen meals. We were very very pleased with what we tried so far, the quality is excellent. I’m very excited to go back in order to try their chicken broth.

    Can I still be entered into the Giveaway even though I have decided against having a Facebook account, and therefore cannot “Like” either Whole Foods or Saffron Road?

  26. I love the variety Saffrod Road has to offer — so many options, professional and healthy! Love the recipe posted will have to try soon!

  27. I have never had Saffron Road products or even walked into a Whole Foods market (as it is farther than the local store) but I support them both in their efforts to provide products that support the health (both physical and spiritual) & well-being of their community. I keep entering because I think it would be the excuse I need to convince my family to go. When the friend who introduced me to Islam asked if I would ever become Muslim I remember telling her that if I did I would be all the way or not at all. Many, many years later I would take shahadah and with it the hijab with no second thought or reservations. This also included eating halal and so when my family realized I would not eat meat unless it was halal that is when we began shopping at our local halal meat store because as I said…”Halal means it is good for everyone!” :O) Now I am on a big health kick and losing weight for my health (I have lowered my high BP significantly). Insha-allah, hopefully each success in my health goals will also inspire my family as well and get us one step closer to becoming Whole Foods & Saffron Road consumers. Shukran for all your wonderful posts and work in the community Yvonne. You keep us informed and inspired!

  28. I tried Saffron Road for the first time two nights ago–the lamb stew and couscous. Several years ago I was in Morocco and the family of a friend prepared this meal for me…I was transported to that moment: the lamb hanging in the kitchen, the smell of the stew, how the women rolled the couscous into balls in their hands. Who knew one could get so romantic over a frozen dinner? And better yet: natural and healthy. Shukran!

  29. Ramadan Mubarak! I love that Saffron Road is making Halal food more mainstream in the natural foods market. It’s about time people realize the healthy benefits of Halal food. :)

  30. I love the variety. I’m not just eating halal chicken tikka masala but pad thai and lemongrass basil chicken. And the food quality is outstanding – I don’t do frozen food but this I will do !

  31. Thank You Saffron Road for making Halal sound so sophisticated!! I love that Saffron Road will make it that much easier to buy great-quality halal food!! Looking forward to “Whole Food-ing” Ramadan 2011!!

  32. I love the having access to Halal broths and other halal entrees is just great. With 3 kids in the house I love keeping these on hand for quick meals.

  33. I love Saffron Road’s commitment to a green balance; healthy, sustainable food and regard for animals and the environment. It’s a win for everyone!

  34. Thank you for leaving such wonderful comments- please pass on this giveaway to your family and friends, as well!

  35. So excited to see halal frozen entrees in the mainstream grocery stores:-) The variety and quality is fantastic and am excited to see the broths and nuggets for quick and easy cooking. Thank you Saffron Food!

  36. Ahhh I love Saffron Road! Cannot wait to try this soup…

  37. Hi! I just discovered your blog. Please enter me in the contest to win coupons
    for Saffron Road products at Whole Foods. My husband is disabled and on a fixed
    income, and I work part-time as a home health nurse aide. We love Whole Foods
    and sampling all sorts of foods, and we love lamb! Thank you for your Whole
    Foods blog; we have to drive 30+ miles to get to Whole Foods in Austin. We are
    not Muslim, but we respect all religions.

  38. I love Saffron Road frozen meals–I just bought four of them from Whole Foods today and I’m heating one up right now! After I switched to eating halal-only meat, this was so exciting to discover. Now I can have my chicken tikka masala or biryani again without having to go very far to find a halal version!

  39. Salaams,
    As a warning to those who may have to travel a distance to get to a Whole Foods, you might want to call them first to see what or how many Saffron Road products they are carrying. I stopped at my local Whole Foods yesterday, where I had already bought frozen meals, and couldn’t find the broths. When I asked at the service desk they said they didn’t carry the broths currently and it was unlikely they would start.

  40. My husband and I have tried many eating lifestyles due to our concern for the well-being and treatment of animals. We were vegetarian for about 3 months and also ate Kosher organic chicken and turkey as well. We’re very excited to try Saffron Roads Halal meals and ready to eat food without worrying and guilt. We bought some today and we’ll plan on trying them tomorrow and throughout the week. I love Saffron Road due to their accessibility, convenience, earth friendly, and animal friendly ways. THANK YOU!

  41. they sound like a great company! love their variety and company ethos. i just moved to an area with a whole foods so i’m excited to have a brand to look for!

  42. I love Saffron Road because they are providing delicious, easy and healthy meals which contain certified humane and most importantly halal meat. They understand and recognize the Muslim consumers’ tastes and discerning eye that wants to know where their meat is coming from and how it was raised, not just the fact that is it halal. Saffron Road is looking to fill this gaping void in the market by making it their mission to focus on sustainability and to make their products readily available to consumers (Muslim and non-Muslim) who care about and support this mission.

  43. I like their sustainability and humane treatment of animals!

  44. I like Whole Foods on FB!

  45. I like Saffron Road on FB!

  46. I know I’m too late for the giveaway but I was so excited to learn that SR makes broths that it was all I could do not to leave work immediately and head off to find some. I’m so glad you’re sharing more about their products since I’ve only had the frozen foods (and only from Whole Foods).

  47. @Aamina- yes, you would have to follow all of the requirements to be eligible for the contest, otherwise it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else who followed those guidelines. Though I certainly respect your decision to choose not to engage in that specific form of social media, I do hope you’ll make an exception this month so that at least you can have a chance at winning some great things!

  48. @Leslie, thank you very much for your comment, even after knowing the deadline for the giveaway was up. I hope you’ll make it in time for the next one and I always appreciate your feedback! -Yvonne

  49. yvonne–finally got around to making this soup…divine! i had quite a difficult time making the carrot puree, but after that it was smooth sailing. enough soup to last the week, perfect with a bit of bread for getting all the broth. thank you for the new summer staple : )

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