Happy Valentine’s Day! The true essence of Valentines Day–love spread around, many times through food and by doing good for others–for sure brings love and joy to the heart.

Last weekend after a cold soccer game up in Portland, we were the lucky guests of our friends for dinner, indulging in their chicken white bean soup, with soup and salad.

There’s just nothing like soup to bring comfort to a chilly day.

Oh, wonderful soul-warming soup. :) Especially my friend Stephanie’s soup, just getting back from Chile with her little kids, it was hands down the most flavorful, best tasting soup we’ve had in a long time. It was so good, we all went back for seconds … and thirds.

I appreciated Steph’s stories of the wonderful foods they shared in Chile, but also her new kitchen inspirations and goals, one being cooking more simple soups for dinner, which in a sense are one-pot meals.

Fresh ingredients
Fresh ingredients make the best soups–fresh meats, vegetables, beans, herbs and spices. Even by using leftovers and items in the refrigerator and pantry (some on the verge of spoiling), when you are setting out to make a really good soup, try to use fresh ingredients.

Season well
Soup makes a wonderful addition to any meal, and once you make a pot or two, it’s really not that hard. But the final adjustments are essential. Try to season before the soup hits the table.

Provide garnishments
Some soups are finished with special garnishes or sauces, which allows each guest to create their own dish that suits their particular taste. This night we garnished our soup with cilantro. Often I’ll set out a bowl of sour cream.

How to serve
I love how my friend served each bowl before we all sat down, and then placed a small plate on top to keep the heat in. While we gathered around the table (sometimes it takes a little longer with little kids), as the hostess she didn’t have to worry about the food getting cold.

I’d say our dinner of soup, salad, and bread was simple.

Simple, yet satisfying.

Satisfying and we ate like kings.

Do you have any serving tips for soup when hosting guests?

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