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It’s really dark. Has anyone else noticed? Look outside now. See? And I’ve still a few hours of work to do before I’m done for the day. When it’s like this, all I want to do is quit working, draw the curtains on the night, curl up at home and attempt to chomp my way into a chocolate-and-haribo-induced hibernation. But we must fight that urge. Short days shouldn’t mean low productivity, and I’ve found the secret for keeping energy levels surging for myself and my team during this sleepiest of seasons.

What is this secret? It involves a quality blender, some bright, fresh and beautifully nutrient-rich ingredients and a handful of simple recipes. Put simply: Vitamin D isn’t the only vitamin you need to feel more alive this winter. Working in a small, sociable start-up office with an even smaller kitchen, I whip up enough batches of delicious soups and smoothies for the whole team, souping our way to success, summer and beyond.

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I use a Vitamix 750 pro series, which is like the Porsche-mixed-with-a-Rolls-Royce-mixed-with-the-international-space-station of the blender world. Overkill? Perhaps, but this baby can blend dreams into reality and allows me to quickly and (more importantly) cleanly prepare healthy, bright and energy-giving lunches for myself and my in-house office colleagues, should they be so lucky.

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And on this dark and dreary day, a vegan-and-vegetarian-friendly sun dried tomato and red pepper soup should do the trick.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato and Red Pepper and Soup (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Ingredients:

1 340 g. jar roasted red pepper
1 230 g. jar of sun dried tomatoes
3 fresh roma tomatoes
½ red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
300 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp. sugar or agave syrup
1 tsp. creme fraiche or soya cream
a handful of fresh basil leaves
a pinch of thyme
a pinch of freshly ground pepper and salt
1 ciabatta or bread of choice

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Creamy Sun Dried Tomato and Red Pepper and Soup

Directions:

First, drain both the sun dried tomatoes and roasted red pepper jars. Reserve 2 tbsp. of the oil from either jar for a later step.

Add sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chopped onion, and fresh tomatoes to the blender.

To the side, heat half of the vegetable stock in a small pan, or in the microwave in a microwave-safe container, until warm. Pour the warm broth into the blender.

Next, cover the blender, and purée the mixture using the “soup” setting, until smooth.

Next, heat the reserved tbsp. oil from above in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.

When the oil begins to spit, pour the soup from the blender into the medium-sized saucepan, and stir constantly until the soup begins to darken in color (about two to three minutes).

At this time, add the remaining vegetable broth to the soup, continue to stir constantly, and allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Turn the heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. You shouldn’t be able to taste the “rawness” of the onion any longer.

Next, add the creme fraiche or soya cream. Stir well for an additional two minutes.

Add salt, pepper, and sugar to the mixture, and season to taste.

Serve warm with buttered, crusty bread, and enjoy!

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About Author

Nine, a suburban Berliner, is the hidden heart of BLY and has known the city longer than most of us. She loves the rapid and multicultural development of the city, and exploring the more unknown Kieze, looking for new restaurants and crazy things to do, and following the Berlin Startup Scene. Her first Berlin moment was walking along Kurfürstendamm shortly after the wall fell, looking at the famous "Schaukästen".

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