Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Warming Soup at Panera Bread - "Good Goes In"

I don't think that there is anything more comforting than a bowl of steaming soup on a bone-chillingly cold day.  I love putting on a big pot full of veggies, broth, grains, meat, noodles... or some combination thereof.  A mere whiff of that magical potion brewing on the stove is enough relax those muscles you've tensed against the frigid air.  It can even thaw out those cheek muscles enough to form an anticipatory smile.

And while I love homemade soup the best, there are times when I don't have enough time to hang out in the kitchen and concoct a batch.  Namely - holiday shopping season.  As in, right now.  You know the kind of days I'm talking about, right?  Go, go, go from the time your toes are ripped from underneath the warm blanket and placed tentatively on the hard wood floors beneath your bed or the cold tiles of your bathroom floor.  It's a flurry of school clothes and backpacks and lunch boxes.  It's a tugging of winter boots over heavy socks and wrestling the stuck fabric from the zippers of heavy coats.  It's deal-hunting and parking-space hunting and money-counting.  It's bag-stuffing and bill-paying and present-hiding.

Then, before you even have time to wonder where the past six or seven hours went, bus brakes are squealing, little bellies are rumbling, and math problems you don't even want to remember how to solve are calling.  Then dinner and rides home from practice and showers and laundry.  Until suddenly it seems you're tip-toeing right back over that same wooden floor and into a comfortable bed with warm covers.

So tell me, where was the time to make a pot of comforting soup in all of that?  Mmmm hmmm.  No where.
That's why I'm happy that I can carve out thirty minutes between crossing to-do's off my daily list and wondering where I can sell a kidney to earn extra money to pay for the holidays this year to stop by Panera Bread.  Panera has a steaming bowl of soup just waiting for me.  Waiting to chase off the chill I've worked up.  From cups to bowls to "you-pick-two"... I can order a bowl of tangy Creamy Tomato Soup with Asiago Croutons.  I can order a bowl of  Baked Potato laced with the smoky flavor of bacon.  Heck, I can order both.  But best of all, I can get a tiny semblance of sanity restored in the midst of all the madness.

Although Panera's philosophy of "good goes in" refers to the fresh, thoughtfully sourced ingredients that go into their soups, I think it equally apples to the hearty, delicious spoonful that is lifted to your mouth.  Good goes in on all levels.  Have you stopped by Panera lately?  They have a large selection of tempting soups from the Vegetarian Creamy Tomato with Asiago Bread Crumbs and Baked Potato you see here to Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable with Pesto to French Onion and Sonoma Chicken Stew, to favorites like Broccoli Cheese in a Bread Bowl, Chicken Noodle, and French Onion.  There's also Vegetarian Black Bean, as well as Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice.  Don't you feel warmer already?

So while  you're out there, stuck in between the beauty and the madness of the season, don't forget to pull over and give yourself a bit of peace in the form of a bowl of warming soup next time you pass a Panera Bread.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Panera Bread as part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker Program. All opinions are my own.