Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Italian Chickpea and Zucchini Soup in a Tomato Base
I am feeling much better since I forced myself to do a little exercise. A couple of slow miles, some pilates, yoga and abdominal work and I am almost feeling human again. With this new found energy I decided to get myself into the kitchen and make some food.
Having soup in the refrigerator earlier this week made it easy to grab lunch for me and pack lunch for Dan. I had forgotten how nice it was to have on hand so I decided to make another batch for Thursday and Friday’s lunch. After contemplating mushroom or bean I opted for a bean based soup. Here is what I made:
Italian Chickpea and Zucchini Soup in a Tomato Base
Makes 6 servings of about 2 cups each
1 cup chickpeas, dried
4 cups of water for soaking
6 cups water for cooking (assumes you are simmering the beans in a covered pot which allows less of the water to evaporate)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
1 red onion, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, finely diced
28 ounces diced tomatoes (or the equivalent in fresh peeled diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 zucchini, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
For serving: either cashew crème fraiche, walnut parmesan or fresh minced parsley and balsamic or wine vinegar
Soak the chickpeas for at least 4 hours, 8 is better. Then rinse the beans and cover with the cooking water, add the garlic, onion and bay leaves and simmer until the beans are tender. You don’t want to add the tomatoes until the beans are tender as the acidity will keep the beans from getting tender. The same thing is true of salt. Only add that after the beans are tender, assuming you are using salt that is. ;-)
Once the beans are tender add the remaining ingredients and cook for another 15 minutes. Then store in a covered container until you are ready to eat. Like all soup this will be better tomorrow after the flavors marry.
To serve, top with cashew crème, walnut parmesan or some fresh minced parsley. If desired you can serve on top of cooked pastina (small soup pasta), brown rice, quinoa or millet. The grains will change the texture and make this more like a stew than a soup. If you need extra calories adding the grain makes sense. I like the make certain that we have a little fat with our meals so that we efficiently absorb our fat soluble vitamins. In addition the cashew crème and walnut parmesan tastes good on top of soup and it look pretty. ;-) I also like to finish my soup with a little acidity to brighten the flavors. Today I used a drizzle of balsamic on my lunch serving but you can also use wine vinegar or lemon juice. That little bit of acid makes a big difference in flavor.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 171.8
Calories From Fat (12%) - 21.08
Total Fat - 2.52g
Saturated Fat - 0.31g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 57.37mg
Potassium - 786mg
Total Carbohydrates - 31.32g
Fiber - 8.89g
Sugar - 8.64g
Protein - 8.69g
This is a simple soup that I have made for years. In the past I would have added small soup pasta to this dish. However soup pasta is hard to find in whole wheat and isn’t much better for you even if you can find it. Brown rice and quinoa work well as substitutes. I cook the grains separately and add them to the portion of soup that we will be eating. That method keeps the grain from overcooking or making the soup too thick.
Happy Birthday to my shy friend:
A very close friend of mine has decided to treat themselves more kindly and eat more produce and eliminate processed foods. Can you imagine how thrilled I was to hear this? I was doing the happy dance when I got the phone call. I promised my friend I would not out them publicly on the blog, though I am dying too, LOL. Since this person is buying themselves a Vitamix for their birthday this week you know I have to jump on the health bandwagon. I can’t share what I have bought my friend for their b’day (because they read my blog) but I took pictures of everything before I wrapped it so I could tell you all about it. Let’s hope my friend is half as excited about this stuff as I am. I had the best time shopping for the b’day present this year. Normally I agonize and don’t know what to get, but not this year. Since I know my friend is reading, don’t worry it isn’t bad I am 90% sure you will like it all. It will remind you of my healthy theme from this past winter holiday gift giving season though. ;-) But I know you will accept it for what it is, a sign my affection. I am so thrilled that you are focusing on health you have no idea, this is the best present you could have given me.
If any of you have or have worked out on a TRX I would love to hear your thoughts on it. This has been on my list of possible gym acquisitions for about a year. What do you think, is it a good workout and intuitive to use? Any input on this is great appreciated.
What are you thankful for today?:
Do you ever have one of those weeks where things just don’t seem to go right and you find yourself wanting a “do over”? That describes my week so far. How can it only be Wednesday? *sigh* When I have these sort of weeks I push myself to write at least 10 things that I am thankful for to remind myself how great my life really is. Somehow the act of writing these things down allows me to focus on what is good in my life. I thought I would share my list with all of you in the hope that you will think about what is good in your life when you are having a bad week. Here goes:
1. I am married to my best friend.
2. I love my husband more now than I did decades ago when we met which I did not think was possible.
3. I can’t imagine a marriage happier than mine. It is so nice to know my husband knows all my faults and still adores me. I am a very lucky girl.
4. My other best friend Louis is like the brother I never had. Please know how much I appreciate and love you. You have always been there when I really needed you. Thank you for holding me together. Who else would have taken time off of work to go shopping with me during the surgery so I didn’t pace and obsess? ;-)
5. We have a comfortable life that gives us one less thing to stress about.
6. I am able to care for my family (Dan and the fur children) and parents rather than leaving that to others.
7. Being home allows me to concentrate on keeping my family healthy by studying nutrition and reading medical and scholarly journals. I can’t tell you how much of a difference that has made in our lives.
8. I have a husband that puts up with my “nutrition nazi” ways (as he calls them) and still eats what I give him and doesn’t complain (well not seriously). I am thankful that he trusts me enough to go with what I think is best for our health. Thank you sweetie. I love you!
9. I wake up every morning next to the person that means more to me than anything else in the world. Every day I get to spend with Dan is a great one.
10. Our felines are very loving and bring us happiness every day, though they are a little spoiled. We both adore those bad little cats.
Okay your turn. Can you name at least one thing that you are truly thankful for in your life? I know it seems a bit corny but focusing on the good things seems to have a calming effect and focuses my attention on what is right rather than looking for the negatives in life. We have all things we would rather change but in the end the big stuff matters so much more.
Weight Watchers Commercial Rant:
Am I the only one that is tired of the commercial with Jennifer Hudson? What sort of signal is it to young girls when she says, “it makes me love myself that much more” regarding her weight loss? Really? And to think we wonder why so many young girls have eating disorders. *argh* The message behind that commercial really irritates me. Okay, rant over now.
If I am going to get my mushroom pate finished before Dan gets home I need to get into the kitchen. Talk to you all again soon. With a little luck I will have time to write up the mushroom pate tonight. I hope everyone is having a good Wednesday.