I had to turn the heat on this morning, much to my delight. We've been going through an unusually long and hot summer here in North Carolina, complete with a drought that has caused landscapes to droop and lawns to brown across the state.

And while we really need some rain, we at least have cooler temperatures — finally! To celebrate, I decided a good pot of soup was in order. With colds and flu being just around the corner, having a good dose of garlic in your soup will help you fight those cooties.

So if the temperatures are starting to dip where you live and you want to celebrate the end of summer and the start of fall with soup, here is a favorite soup of mine to celebrate with:

Garlic Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small chopped onion

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 medium stalks celery, chopped

1/4 medium head cabbage, chopped

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes

3 cups water

3 cloves garlic, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat; saute onions, carrots, celery and cabbage for about 5 minutes, stirring well. Raise heat to high and add broth, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Remove from heat and add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a big spinach salad and grilled cheese sandwiches for a hearty and healthy meal.

NUTRITION per serving: 110 calories; 6g fat; 6g protein; 8g carbohydrate; 2g dietary fiber; 0mg cholesterol; 793mg sodium. Exchanges: 0 grain (Starch); 1/2 lean meat; 1 1/2 vegetable; 1 fat. Points: 2