IT’S STILL THE SEASON FOR SOUPS and LOVE —
AND OTHER GREAT (easy to do) HEALTHFUL THINGS
Since it’s February and I have a delicious line of homemade soups with LOVE as the first ingredient, I thought I’d elaborate on that subject…love that is.
Love is the first and foremost ingredient in Mchealthy’s Organic Soups -for good reason.
When I began making the soups and encouraging my clients, who were struggling with weight and other health issues, we talked about how they felt about loving themselves first. Didn’t seem like a nutritional issue until they realized that nourishment comes in many forms.
How many of us take time and effort to make everyone around us happy and comfortable and well-fed and find there’s no time left to take care of ourselves? It’s the typical “mother-the-world”-first actions that leave us – especially women – feeling depleted, pooped, left out and depressed.
Have you heard that YOU come first? Yes, it’s true. Not in a selfish way, but in the way that enables YOU to be more relaxed and actually more available to those you love and care about.
Remember the airlines’ instruction about putting your oxygen mask on first before you help your children or others?
It applies in a lot of other situations, particularly with a family or a partner/loved one. Ever think of saying this: “what part of NO or NOT NOW do you not understand?” Have you ever wanted to say that to your kids or partner or a friend who kept bugging you while you were trying to get something done – especially for yourself? Yep, we’ve all been there and done that.
Years ago I heard of a concept called Tough love. The toughest part is learning to create your boundaries with those you think you have to accommodate all the time. And, not feeling guilty about taking the time for yourself! That’s part of loving yourself so you have more love to give to others.
When I began suggesting soups and stews to my clients as easy to prepare and filling meals, the thought occurred that these dishes are a great way to love oneself and be able to share the bounty. (It’s hard not to make enough for a small army once you get started).
Take some vegetables, onions, leeks, scallions to start and saute them in a pot with either olive, sesame or coconut oil. Then, using your nose and what’s in the refrigerator that looks and smells good to you start adding to the mix.
Other vegetables, a hunk of leftover ham or meatballs, the chicken wings and thighs left over from the game Sunday, some water, salt pepper and garlic or other spices you love. If you’re into beans or lentils, pop in a handful or more with some extra water and watch- er- smell what happens in about an hour.
Oh, yes, the tomatoes and bell pepper that were not eaten can go in too. Got potatoes? Scrub a few- no peeling needed- chop coarsely and add. And while I’m on the subject, almost all vegetables and fruits may be cooked in their skins in soup – well, except for bananas….
Note: with dried beans (kidney, white, adzuki, etc.) cooking them separately for several hours (without salt) before adding them to the pot is a good idea as it helps with digestion. Making them the day before is good too.
Note 2: Fruit may be used to add sweetness and depth with chicken, curry, and vegetables especially apples and raisins. Are you getting the idea?
Without much fuss, you come out with a filling and satisfying meal, use up the leftovers creatively and have a one pan meal or two made with love.
Note 3: Most soups can be frozen for enjoying another time.
Loving yourself, the meal is already 80% done, Just add salad and perhaps a chunk of your favorite bread and a good bottle of wine….need I say more?
Regarding the “other nourishment” we referred to earlier, taking the time to create a fun soup means you have to focus on nothing else for a short time, 1/2 an hour or so to begin, and that gives you a relief from work, the computer, laundry, running around in the car and any other errands or stuff that had your attention.
One thing you can do to nourish yourself in several ways is to pour your soup in a mug, get your favorite book and curl up in a chair and read. If no one else is around, who’ll see you snarf up the chunky veggies from the mug with your tongue or schlurp from your fingers? Just enjoy!
HINT: When you bring home the veggies and fruit, wash and store them clean and ready to use. It takes a few minutes longer at first, but it saves lots of time and effort when you get home from the office and “have to fix dinner. And, if your loving family is starving, smile and hand them some raw veggies or nuts to chomp on for a couple of minutes or a tool to help you prepare their food while you create the main course. Keeps ’em busy and out of your way.
So that’s how the LOVE got into the soup recipes.
This month is Lover’s Soup month, which in my house means a smooth blend of beets, leeks and other veggies that is the most gorgeous color and has a smooth satisfying texture and taste that fills the mouth and the heart with love.
Truly, the taste and satisfaction that comes from a comfortably full tummy make it easy to lose weight and feed yourself healthfully with soups.
You’ll enjoy the souper experience as you gain energy and feel the love that goes into every morsel and maybe even lose a couple of pounds too 🙂
Here’s our February Lover’s Soup Recipe: Roasted Beet & More
3 lbs large red beets with greens, scrubbed and separated from greens & stems. Cut 1+1/cups of the stems and reserve. 1 +1/2 cup Swiss chard, chopped with stems. 1/2 cup celery, chopped. 1 cup leeks green & white parts, chopped. 1 cup onion, chopped. 3 TBS butter, 3 TBS olive oil, 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 4 cups water, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 cup parsley leaves and stems, 1+ TBS dried thyme, 1/4 tsp EACH: ground ginger, allspice and pepper, salt to taste (please don’t over salt!)
Preheat oven to 375′. Cut beets into chunks and spread in a baking pan on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and cover with another piece of foil and roast for about 40 minutes or until tender. (If you’re in a hurry you can skip the roasting, but it does make a difference in the flavor.) Remove from oven and have ready to add to the soup pot.
While the beets roast, put the beet stems in a pot with 2 +1/2 cups water and bring to low boil for about 10 minutes, Chop the other vegetables. Melt the olive oil and butter in a heavy soup pot and saute the vegetables on medium high until the chard stems begin to brown lightly. Stir frequently, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spices and roasted beets and turn the heat up higher and cook until the vegetables all begin to almost stick to the pot (caramelize) takes about 10-15 minutes. Add the 4 cups water and 6 cups broth, bay leaf, thyme and parsley and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the liquid, including the water with the beet stems and bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and blend soup with a hand blender or in several batches in a regular blender until thick & smooth. The parsley and thyme sprigs will all blend well. Serve warm or cold with some plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Bon Appetite and may your hearts be filled with LOVE and soup.