Sunday, July 11, 2010

Craving-squashing soup, my way.

What a busy week.

I'm glad to have one day at home before the madness starts all
over again.

We spent most of the week at the lake, which was wonderful.
Washington only has about a month of hot weather and when it
is finally hot, we do it up. At least to Washington standards.
This meant a lot of juggling my meals because I don't do sandwich
with thick deli meats, sliced cheese and lots of mayo from the
cooler or packaged treats, like chips or crackers. I mean,
the ones I buy for my boys are organic and all low in sugar/fat,
but I try not to eat much out of a box/bag/package if I can
help it.

I ended up throwing together a soup from a suggestion that I got
from a friend and just kind of making it my own. It was too hot
to roast broccoli for soup so I skipped that step and just
steamed 4-5 cups of broccoli. (If you can do it, roast your
veggies for your soup. Just toss your veggies with a little EVOO,
about a tablespoon, and a little salt/pepper and roast for about 20
minutes at 350*. Super simple and really bumps up the flavor of your ingredients/soup.) If you'd rather use cauliflower, I've done that
instead of broccoli. Just use a whole head.) Anyway, once you get
your broccoli just barely steamed, let it cool just a bit and
puree in batches with enough organic chicken broth to make it
into a thick puree. Set that aside for a second and get going
chopping whatever veggies you have on hand. Last batch I made,
I used zucchini, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms and
cabbage. I sauteed my veggies in a large saucepan with a tbsp.
each of UNsalted butter and EVOO until just a little limp, then
added it to a medium-large pot with the pureed broccoli adding just
another cup or so of organic chicken broth or so. It's really
depending on how thick you want your soup. I like it a little
thicker so I use just a cup. I warmed it through and added 1 cup
2% sharp cheddar, some red pepper flake and about a 1/4 cup fat free
evaporated milk. (If you don't have evaporated milk,
you can also use fat free milk or fat free half-n-half) I just
warmed it through to melt the cheese
and wa-la.....a creamy vegetable soup that's both filling and
fooling because you think you're eating a fattening soup but
you're really not. Sometimes, I add a tbsp. of dijon to give it a
little twang. I find that a cup of this is filling enough for lunch
and the little cheese and butter curbs all my wanting for foods that
I shouldn't have. One pot of this will do lunch for me all week OR will
go about three days if I eat it for lunch and dinner, which I did
last week as it was too hot to cook and again, I didn't
want a sandwiches with fattening cold cuts and processed cheese.

And you know, it fits into the "single wide budget" because it only
uses a smidge of cheese and all the veggies were bought from my local
produce stand and really only cost me a couple bucks to make a huge pot
of soup that fed me very well for up to a week. Just think how much
you'll save making a pot of soup from home and brown bagging your lunch
for work every week!

So, that's what I ate last week. I plan on making the soup again and
roasting the veggies as it's a little cooler in Washington next week.
I love that I am cooking with all these local fresh vegetables that
last month, I would have completely passed over for a less healthy
choice. I have tried this with the cabbage soup diet and as it's
a very tasty soup, it didn't have the little touches of the
creaminess that I love in soup. My soup has a just enough of that
where I can have my creamy-cheesy goodness without gorging myself
on a high-calorie, carb-laden soup. I hope you try it for yourself
and let me know how it works for you.

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