With that in mind, I wanted to share my "recipe" for vegetable barley soup. This is so ridiculously easy I am almost embarassed to pass it on. Almost...
Vegetable Barley Soup
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1 potato, peeled and cubed
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup of frozen peas
2 handfuls of barley
2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans
1 bay leaf
salt, pepper, sage, and oregano to taste
Throw all ingredients into a slow cooker. Add enough broth or water (or combination of the two) to equal roughly six cups of liquid. (I usually eyeball it and make sure the liquid is at least 1" above the vegetable line. You can always add more liquid later if the soup looks too thick for your taste.)
Cook on low for 8 hours.
There are so many variations to this soup. If you don't like an ingredient, leave it out or add something that you want to use up. I listed the spices I like but obviously you can adjust it to your own taste as well.