posts may contain Amazon affiliate links, which earn me a small commission when you buy (but doesn't cost you anything extra). Occasionally I receive free products and/or run sponsored posts—this will always be stated clearly in the post. Thank you for supporting this blog.

This website contains some quotations, excerpts, and screen clips from copyrighted material. These uses fall well within the copyright doctrine of "Fair Use".
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sopa de Letra (Alphabet Soup)

Is it okay if I vent for a moment?  It's not that big a deal, really.  And it has nothing to do with food.  Scroll down to the bold print if you want to skip my pointless rant.  But it's bubbling over and I need to let it out.  I mean, Mexi has heard it sort of non-stop for the past six or seven hours.  You think that'd be enough, wouldn't you?  Well.  You think I'd learn my lesson.  Or just accept things and drop it.  That's just not in my nature, I suppose.  Why, oh why do I watch movie or tv adaptations of books and expect them to actually be the same as the book?  Why!?  I've known for ages that they never are.  I remember sittin gi my living room marveling over the differences in 'The Outsiders' book and movie.  Although, I think I was okay with that one.  I mean, what 8 year old girl isn't just tickled to watch Tom Cruise and Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell and Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe and Matt Dillon and Emilio Estevez on the big screen playing characters with names that are just as fun to say as the characters are to look at?  The first one that I actually had to turn off and not even finish watching (I just couldn't) was 'What Dreams May Come'.  Don't even get me started on 'Twilight'.  I mean, the writing is juvenile.  In more than just that they are written for teenagers.  The writing itself is pretty weak. BUT...I liked the books.  I liked the story.  I wanted to like the films...but they are just so incredibly boring next to the they "should" be.  My original rant (from the beginning of this ridiculous paragraph) has to do with True Blood.  I happily watched the first two seasons in ignorant bliss.  Then I read the Sookie Stackhouse books.  All ten in rapid succession.  And eagerly awaited the eleventh which I devoured in a day.  So now season three is out on DVD and I'm spending the whole thing complaining.  I admit, I'm enjoying it.  But I do think I'm enjoying it less because I loved the books so much.  Anyway...I could go on and on my "why's", but I won't.  I feel better just getting that off my chest.  I still like True Blood, though...don't get me wrong.  I just have a hard time separating them in my head.  Okay.  On to the food.

Rant on for the food.  You know of my slight soup obsession.  And if you don't, well then, I'm telling you now.  I have a slight soup obsession.  It's right up there with cheese and bread and garlic for me.  But I didn't make this soup.  Okay, let me rephrase that.  I didn't start making this soup...but I did finish making it.  It was one of those "the cupboards are bare" type of days when you start scouring the shelves and freezer and trying to decide what you can pull together.  Well, I had no patience for it, but Mexi spied a package of pasta that reminded him of the Sopa de Letra that his mami made for him when he was a kid.  His simple, comfort version includes nothing more than the pasta, a bit of oil, some tomatoes and some broth.  He started heating and stirring and browning and smelling up the kitchen all nice and soup-like when the memories of the Alphabet Soup I ate as a kid came flooding back...and they all had mixed veggies bobbing in the broth along with those little letters.  I knew there was a package of frozen mixed veg in the freezer.  And the rest, as they say, is history. And yes, of course you can make this with fresh veggies.  But it's such a perfect use for those little (practically empty) bags of veggies hanging out in the freezer.
Sopa de Letra
Alphabet Soup
from the kitchen of girlichef
yield: ~2 quarts/~6 svgs.

~1 Tbs. coconut oil (or vegetable/olive oil)
7 oz. uncooked Alphabet (Letra) pasta
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes (we used fire-roasted this time, but any type is fine)
~2 qt. chicken broth (or rich stock)
~8 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh, chopped*)
ground white pepper
salt (optional, may not be needed)
In a large, wide, deep pan heat oil over medium.  Once hot, add uncooked pasta and cook, stirring for ~5 minutes until golden and beautifully coated.  Pour in tomatoes (with or without their juices...may as well add it if you have it...and even swirl a little bit of water to get the rest of the flavor out, then pour in) and let cook another minute or so.  Raise heat to high, pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce to a low simmer and let cook ~10 minutes.  Add frozen veggies.  Cover and bring to a simmer again for about 5 more minutes.  Taste and season with white pepper...and salt, if needed (depends mostly on your chicken stock/broth).

*If you are using fresh veggies, chop them in soup-size pieces (so they fit on a spoon).  You can add them to the pan along with the tomatoes and just simmer for a total of 10-15 minutes.  Use one veg or any combo you like.

**You may want to have some extra broth (or even water) if you're not eating the whole batch in one serving.  Not that I'm assuming you'll eat it all by your lonesome.  You know.  You and the fam. You and the neighbors.  Noodles are notorious juice suckers.  Sometimes I use broth/stock, sometimes water...after the soup has cooked and sat around getting comfy in its flavorful juices for a while, a bit of water doesn't seem to detract from the flavor.  Up to you.
How 'bout you?  Do you have any books that you adore that have been made into television or film that you just can't watch without nit-picking?  No, that's just me?  And what about soups that bring back memories of being a kid...are they just as good now as they were then?

I am sharing this post with:
Juli at Pictures of all my Princesses is hosting PPN this week.
prestopastanights Souper_Sundays2 Miz-Helen-Badge-ALT5 fridaypotluck FCFButton fresh food friday at la bella vita foodfriday Foodie Friday Logo 2 foodiefridaylittlebrickranch food trip friday friday food at mom trends recipestorunonbutton

Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh my goodness - I haven't nodded my head up and down reading a rant like that in a long time! I definitely agree...Remember The Firm by John Grisham? I was P-O'd after watching the movie! "How could they take that out?!" Ugh - but don't get me started...

    Regarding soups - crema de zapayo that I can only enjoy at my aunt's house in Peru(with little butter-fried pcs of bread) and, of course, albondiga soup (my fave mexican soup) - yum! Stop making me hungry!

  2. this brings me back to childhood when my mom use to make alphabet soup. We won't tell her this looks alot better!

  3. Que ricura, esto tiene que estar de vicio.


  4. Very few movies can have the same effect - guess we have to enjoy (or not) both for what they are. I haven't read the Stackhouse series yet, but have heard they are fantastic! LOVE True Blood, though...and LOVE this soup!

  5. cutely done who would say no to this delicious soup :)

  6. I myself love this soup. This is fun with kids too.

  7. I love that alphabet soup It's like from sesame street =)

  8. wow, never made the alphabet soup, sounds superb and great temptation for kids.

    OK, I am with you sister on your rant. I am a big fan of twilight and the movies have disappointed me big time. I mean the first one was bad. Second was better than that and the third better than the 2nd one. So, having my hopes up again with the first part of the 4th one, which will get released this fall.

  9. I totally understand where you're coming from in regards to True Blood. The books and the series are SO completely different from one another. While I do love the series, I've enjoyed the books more. Funny how Bill really doesn't exist in the books but is so prevalent in the series? And, some of my favorite characters in the series are Lafayette and Tara yet they aren't in the books at all. What can you do? I'm in the middle of the 11th book right now and am excited for the 4th season to start shortly.

    Anyway, I love this soup and I really think you should blow up that first pic and frame it- it's awesome! Funny enough I bought a bag of alphabet pasta at my Mexican market and would love to see if my daughter would like this soup.

  10. Oh, and I had to laugh because we're down to bare bones in the pantry and fridge too and I also had to resort to pasta. LOL! It's the best staple.

  11. yeah, sometimes the movies are just a far cry from the book...but i still watch them anyway. sometimes. lol

    ooooh, that alphabet soup looks so delicious! would love to make a batch for my sons...but first i have to buy the pasta. :)

    thanks so much for linking to Food Friday again, Heather

    enjoy the rest of the week!

  12. You crack me up! I read the Sookie Stackhouse books way before the True Blood seires came out...I love the books, but I feel the same way as you and Kim do about the series, I enjoy it, and can't wait for season 4 to start, but the books are better. You almost have to look at them both seperate. I never like to see the movie before I read the book, and the book is always better. One movie that came close is The Secret Life of Bees I thought the movie was so close to the book and the charaters were spot on...the only thing missing from the movie were the fancy hats. Then there are the movies with the wrong star playing the main I thought John Cusack, should of played Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code instead of Tom Hanks, and I certainly didn't picture Morgan Freeman, playing Alex Cross in the James Patterson's Kiss the Girls... I guess I had a little issue going there too :D

    Perfect soup from the pantry, I love it...I can't believe you spelled out the name on the spoon lol! But isn't that what the alphabet past is for?

  13. Yeah, I can't watch movies of books either. It just ends up being too much of a let down! And my poor soul can't take it.

    Love this soup though! Reminds me of one from my childhood as well!

  14. I just found (& bought) alphabet pasta the other day! I wasn't sure what I would make with it, but knew the kids would love it. This soup sounds simple but delicious! thanks!

  15. love the rant, love the soup. sweet photo with the letters in the spoon :)

  16. I just put alphabet pasta on my shopping list. (down to bare bones here too) And I am so saving this recipe. The grandkids are coming for a month in July. They will just LOVE it!!! Of course, I will introduce them to your blog too, Heather:)

    Thanks for sharing...

  17. Never liked Twilight. Neither the movie nor the books. Like True Blood, although it's a bit too graphic for my comfort. I have not read the books, but now I can't wait to!

    I did love LOTR, though. One of the best movie adaptations yet.

  18. Ohhhh, sad but true. Twig light, def a bummer movie (so why do I own all 3?) what about 'Water for Elephants'? Excellent book, lame, lame movie, even Reese Witherspoon sucked! And every Stephen King movie I've seen, sucked.
    Oh, very fun soup tho! My kids will l.o.v.e. this!

  19. Alphabet soup! Kids love it!

    I totally agree with you on the books. I love to read and usually when the movie comes out, I've already read the books years ago, so I re-read it. The discrepancies really disappoint me. Sometimes they completely change the story or just take the title (Bourne Identity). The closest to the books were the Harry Potter series.

  20. Kids love this soup very much, delicious and comforting bowl..

  21. I have to admit, I'm horrible at reading. I don't know what it is about the season I'm in right now, but reading has taken a backburner. :( But enjoyed your post. And this soup looks SOOO good. SOmething I'd love to have in the fridge to eat throughout the week. Thanks for linking to REcipes To Run On!

  22. I am totally with you on the book/movie rant! It never fails. Also, that soup looks awesome and I am going to make this for my daughter next week. Thanks for linking to Fat Camp Friday, see you next week!

  23. very creative and looks yummy too :)
    here's mine

  24. wow, i wish i can find some alphabet soup here, my kids will love that and i will be happy with it too! looks delicious though, have a great weekend! :)

  25. What fun soup!

    There is a children's book I love called Because of Winn-Dixie. It is a lovely heart-warming tale, that leaves you feeling happy and comforted. The movie, well it was just pants!

  26. Such a playful soup. Alphabet soup never fails to give me a giggle. ;)

    I never thought to toast the pasta a bit...lovely idea.

  27. Hi Heather,
    Well I just love your rant, because it made me feel better to know that I am not alone. I also love your Sopa de Letra because it would make me feel better too. Very comforting, and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday, have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  28. You can never go wrong with a good soup Heather!
    I love Sookie Stackhouse, but the books are very different from the HBO series, aren't they? I'll rant with you (but I like them both like you do)

  29. I couldn't get through one chapter of Twilight without being very angry. I couldn't stand the writing--mostly because I'm a literature brat. Haven't attempted the movies.

    I looove True Blood, but have never read the books. True, last season was weak, but I think season 2 was weaker. I'm excited for the witches in the fourth season coming up, they really built up that storyline at the end of season 3!

  30. I spent the first season of True Blood grumpy about the differences and finally just decided to accept it and began liking the show too. That's usually how I deal with it--try to look at them as separate entities.

    The soup looks delicious. My soup this week was a pantry/fridge clean out too. Those are always my favorite kinds of soups. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays.

  31. I found you via recipes you via Recipes to Run On. Firstly I love the soup. I am impressed you took the time to pick out the letters you needed.

    As to Hollywood changing a book my biggest "hated it" had to be the change in the ending of Hannibal.. As we all know life does not always end well LOL

  32. Hi!

    To be honest I lost a bit of interest in True Blood because of how different it is from the books, but hey, Eric is still as sexy as a viking vampire can be :)

    The only time I saw a movie and thought omg this character is really like I had imagined, was with the Swedish movies of the Millennium-trilogy.(Have you read the books?)

    Your sopa brought me some sweet memories, my granny used to make us sopa de letras that we loved, because I had started to know how to read, and would spend the whole meal trying to get the letters to write small simple words. :)

    have a great weekend!!

  33. Heather, now that was a rant! But anyhow, I wanted to thank you for sharing this with Fresh Food Friday and for stopping by every week to link up. I really do notice your consistent presence, kind comments, and wanted to thank you. Plus, I just have to say how this soup brings back so many loving memories of childhood. It looks and sounds so delicious; but sadly, I can't make this recipe until these hot temps decrease down here!

  34. Oh dear, another fellow Vampire fiend..!I read the Twilight books while breastfeeding in the middle of the night and i think the only reason I liked them was because I was pumped with hormones! Anyway, I have come to accept films for what they are and books for what they are although books win most of the times.

  35. Kim...yes, I know. I'm thinking that maybe he'll begin to take more a backseat next season after watching the season finale? Hard to tell, many of the characters that "should" be there aren't, so...

    Lyndsey...don't even get me started on how "wrong" Tom Hanks is as Robert Langdon. So. Incredibly. Wrong.

    Sophia...yes, you definitely need to brace yourself for how graphic True Blood is...the books are a "bit" graphic, but nothing like Hollywood did with it. I agree about Lord of the Rings...I also think the Narnia's they've done so far have been pretty decent.

    Gwen...I haven't seen Water for Elephants yet...but I'm bracing myself for disappointment. Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment, because I always "try" to watch anyway. And I'm pretty much on the same page w/ you about Stephen King movies. I LOOOOOVE Stephen King. I think Room 1408 was pretty decent.

    jellybelly...I haven't read the Harry Potter series (though we have all of the books because my son has read them). I will be starting on them soon. I'll probably wait until the final movie installment is out, though...then I can start. Glad to know that!

    Jac...I wish I'd read that book. I'll have to get it for my daughter. I guess I'm glad I watched the movie first...because I actually adore it (and own it). Although, I'm a bit biases because anything with my man Dave Matthews (magic man) is golden. ;P the books...I don't think you'll be disappointed.

    Mike...I haven't read any of the Hannibal books. Yeah, I can imagine that's pretty glammed up.

    Ana...I haven't read the books yet, but I've been meaning to. I did see the movies, though. They are definitely on my "to read" list.

  36. I am going to be so upset if TB ruins all the Eric perfectness that happens in book 4 (and of course, I know they will...and I will watch it...and like it anyway..because Alexander Skarsgard is gorgeous.)


    I also want to say that you have the photo on this post is adorable! love it!

  37. I never watch a movie that was a book I liked before, it ruins them both!

    And the soup looks tasty, thanks for linking to PPN!

  38. Wow, that was quite a rant. Soup looks good.

  39. wow! looks yummy and so creative of you! hope you could come visit me at

  40. Are you okay now? that was quite a rant!! Okay i do not understand Twilight or my teens obsession with it. The book never held my attention, now I know I am not the only one.
    I hate the way novels are adapted in movies the latest one being harry potter!!

    Love the soup!! just brought a packet of alphabets. It monsoon now here in Goa so we will be having quite a few soups.

  41. I love, love, love soup any time of the year. I especially like your opening photo. I'm going to remember it for a future blog post.


  42. My youngest will be eating this soon.

    Heck, he pretty much eats everything already, we just mush it up (no teeth yet). steak. chicken curry. tajine with lemon and olives. anything.


    Remarkable! I made it for my mom and she loved
    it thanks! She also admired the recipes that I’ve got from and
    That I’ve made for her these sites are certainly amazing!

  44. The dish looks delicious, I want to try some of
    that one of these days. and also have attractive recipes that you’ll surely love!

  45. Loving this recipe so much. I made it at my grandma’s house.
    The combination of recipes goes well with each other and the taste is certainly
    admirable. and www.coffeefashion
    .com also have interesting recipes that you’ll surely want to try!

  46. Love cooking that’s
    why I'm finding ways to improve my cooking abilities, I’m glad I found this
    site , the recipe above was wonderful , I made it for my family and they told
    me it was delicious!! Thanks, I’ve learned new today!! Take a look at these sites, and for more interesting recipes!!


  47. Enhanced version of veggie alphabet soup