Creamy Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup


2 (14 oounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (substitute milk for less calories)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. At this point I added all of the vegetables to a blender and blended until smooth.  Return blended veggies back to the slow cooker.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add the flour. Stir roux constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. 
4.  Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.
5.  Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.