Brenda Smith’s Beef Barley Comfort Soup and Awesome Selkirk Career Centre Opening

Brenda Smith  has helped countless students find summer co-op placements and now is working hard linking employers across Canada with students looking for employment. Thursday Nov. 14th their new Career Centre is having their grand opening.  Brenda and Olga help all Selkirk students, past and present, find employment.  They have access to postings across Canada:

CEES (Co-op Education and Employment Services) is  having its  opening of their new Career Centre on Castlegar campus this Thursday at 11:00-1:00 – room LLB019 – all students welcome! 

Contact her @   or phone 250-365-1280 for information about upcoming employment opportunities.  You can also find CEES on facebook :!/coopemploymentservices?fref=ts

Ask her and her amazing assistant Olga   about our new Orbis Portal that connects us to employment postings across the world.

When Brenda is not in her office, she can be found with her golden retriever Kasey helping students learn to read or  busy tending her Kootenay Kid Farm.  Here is one of her quick and easy cold November day comfort soups and I bet she is using some of her own tomatoes, carrots, garlic and thyme in this recipe!



1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced fine (my addition, original recipe uses no garlic)
1 (28 ounce) can plum tomatoes, undrained
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1 (10 ounce) can tomato soup
3 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
4 celery ribs, leaves removed and chopped fine (add celery leaves to soup if you wish, I often do)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme (original recipe used less, but I love thyme)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (even more is better)
1/3 cup barley (pearl barley or pot barley, both work fine)
salt, to taste


1.  In a large dutch oven, brown meat, adding onions and garlic. When meat has lost its pink colour, drain off any excess fat if there is any visible.
2.  Add all remaining ingredients, turn heat down to low so soup is barely simmering, cover, and let cook for about 2 hours (even longer is fine). After one hour, taste soup and add salt if necessary.
3.  If you have leftovers (soup freezes well, so consider making the whole pot even if it’s a lot for your family), be aware that it tends to thicken when cool. When reheating, I always add a little more beef broth.

For Vegatarians – this could still be a great soup without the meat and beef broth.  Stock up on some good veggie stocks – or even the Veggie Boullion cubes add a rich flavour.  You could also add cubed squash and potatoes to make this a great filling winter soup.

Why you should expand your grain repertoire and try barley:

Barley: a nutritional powerhouse

As cereal grains go, barley is a winner when it comes to good nutrition.  This centuries-old grain is packed with fiber, contains important vitamins and minerals, is slim on fat, and, like all plant products, cholesterol-free.  Here’s a closer look:

Barley is a great source of dietary fiber and actually contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber is effective in lowering blood cholesterol and can reduce the risk of heart disease.  Soluble fiber is also beneficial in slowing the absorption of sugar and reducing the risk for developing type 2 or non-insulin-dependent diabetes.  The insoluble fiber found in barley may be beneficial in helping the body maintain regular bowel function.  Insoluble fiber may also help lower the risk for certain cancers such as colon cancer.

Cholesterol and fat
Like all plant foods, barley is naturally cholesterol-free and low in fat.  A 1/2-cup serving of cooked pearl barley, a typical grain serving, contains less than 1/2 gram of fat and only 100 calories*
*Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference 13 (November 1999)

Vitamins and minerals
Barley contains several vitamins and minerals including niacin (Vitamin B3), thiamine ( Vitamin B1), selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and copper.

Barley contains antioxidants, which are also important for maintaining good health.  Specifically, antioxidants work to slow down the rate of oxidative damage by gathering up free radicals that form when body cells use oxygen.


2 responses to “Brenda Smith’s Beef Barley Comfort Soup and Awesome Selkirk Career Centre Opening

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