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Along with the cold of winter comes the desire for a warm and comforting bowl of soup. Soup has many advantages for any cook. It can be made with a variety of ingredients that you find stored in your refrigerator or cupboard; it can make a complete meal; you can put together a hearty soup in a short period of time and it can be left to simmer in the slow cooker all day.

When the Christmas crowd arrives, some will be visiting Missoula for the first time, which requires a motor or walking tour of Missoula highlights — the University of Montana, Rattlesnake, Pattee Canyon, downtown, the river corridor.

We are encouraged to eat more plant-based foods, and even if going vegetarian may not be for you, how about trying one day a week to go meatless? When following the vegetarian lifestyle, it is important to include quality sources of protein in your diet. Beans, legumes, lentils, soy products, protein-rich grains, dairy and eggs are all good sources of protein. Try one of the following recipes and you will find you can enjoy going meat-free.

The long train shuddered through the middle of a cold winter night, somewhere between Mongolia and Siberia. The last car was ostensibly a dining car, but wasn’t very hospitable. Half-full of boxes, with blaring with techno music, only one table was occupied, with some babes playing cards and smoking. It wasn’t the kind of place where I wanted to throw down with the Russian Mob. But then, where is? And it definitely wasn’t the kind of place where I wanted to eat a bowl of borscht. But I did. Or at least, I tried.

I raided my dried pasta supply the other day and found some Japanese soba and udon noodles I didn’t even know were there. Funny how that works. I must’ve bought them who knows when, but when they turned up I thought, “Time for some soup.”