Thursday, December 23, 2010

Creme of “Krab” Soup Kissed with Marsala

Wednesday morning we almost had a heat wave. When we woke up it was actually 35 degrees. The temperature had fallen few degrees before Dan left for work but it was still warmer than we have had lately so it was very nice. Sadly no gym this morning as my knee wasn’t up to it, darn it!

Breakfast for Dan was another green smoothie (kale, spinach, frozen banana, walnuts, cinnamon, powdered ginger, ground flaxseeds and a pinch of stevia). I know the color looks odd but they are really good and taste mostly like banana. I used part kale and part spinach this morning because we are rapidly going through the three bunches of kale that we bought on Sunday. I didn’t want to run out of kale before I had a chance to get back to Whole Foods.

Once Dan left I made myself breakfast and I had savory oatmeal. I haven’t made this stuff for myself in ages. Normally I eat whatever Dan is in the mood for but since I had my breakfast after he left I made myself something different. I think savory oatmeal gets better every time I make. This version included minced garlic, cumin, oregano, fresh spinach, ground flaxseed and salsa. This stuff is so good and has great nutrition. Too bad Dan doesn’t love it as much as I do.

My mid morning snack was an orange and two Brazil nuts (for the selenium).

Later I had a banana with a few walnuts.

Since I didn’t get much cardio in today due to my knee pain I found I wasn’t very hungry. I notice the inverse when I do get in a good workout I am ravenous. Does that happen to you too?

Dan ended up coming home sooner than I had expected which was wonderful but I wasn’t ready. Since I didn’t have much time to plan or cook I went with a quick soup that is started in the Vitamix and finished on the stove. I decided that I wanted to make a healthy vegan version of an omni soup I used to make with crab and heavy cream. No fat in my prior version of the soup. As you can see we had a very unhealthy diet in the “bad old days”. ;-) Here is what I did:

Creme of “Krab” Soup Kissed with Marsala
Serves 4


½ red onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup raw cashews
1 quart of canned tomatoes or 2 – 15 ounce cans tomatoes (to be pureed)
1 pint of canned tomatoes or 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
dash of cayenne, to taste
¼ teaspoon celery seed, to taste
¼ teaspoon dill weed, to taste
1 tablespoon hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
1 cup brined jackfruit, cut into small pieces like crab
1 cup marinated or frozen defrosted artichokes, cut into 1/8th’s
3 or 4 tablespoons of dry Marsala, to taste (you can also use Sherry, if you want to make the soup non alcoholic use a little lemon juice or sherry vinegar to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely minced, for garnish
1 tablespoon sliced almonds, for garnish – optional


In your high speed blender combine the onion, garlic, 1 quart of tomatoes, juice from the pint of tomatoes, raw cashews, celery seed and dill. Process until smooth and pour into a pot to simmer until the harsh onion and garlic has been cooked out. Alternately you can process the soup for 5 minutes in your blender and cook out the harshness. Add the brined jackfruit, artichoke hearts, drained diced tomatoes and Marsala then cook to warm the vegetable chunks. If you don’t have jackfruit you can use all artichoke hearts which we think have more flavor anyway. LOL

To serve top the soup with fresh parsley and almonds (if desired)

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 273.98
Calories From Fat (38%) - 103.66

Total Fat - 12.39g
Saturated Fat-  2.05g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 60.71mg
Potassium - 1132.63mg
Total Carbohydrates-  35.87g
Fiber - 7.68g
Sugar - 8.73g
Protein - 9.82g


When I asked Dan what he thought of the soup he said it was good, and I agree. I also asked if it reminded him of my crab version and he said not really but that it was good and that he no longer cares about recreating omni food. Wow! I had no idea he had come this far. I was very happy to hear this since I agree that as long as the food tastes good it doesn’t need to taste like the original that inspired it.

To accompany the soup we had a small salad of baby spinach, cooked sweet potato, salsa and sliced almonds.

After we ate Dan and Binky did what they do most evenings. Dan does a Sudoku puzzle and Binky helps because we all know cats are smarter than humans and we couldn’t do anything without them. Just ask your cat they will tell you, LOL.

Tomorrow (Thursday) will be the last day the gym is open until January 3. I already miss it and it isn’t closed yet. The only down side to joining our college gym is the wonky schedule during holiday break. However other than that one problem we love the gym. It is ridiculously convenient and has everything we could possibly need. Dan and I are talking about playing racquetball some evenings after work before dinner at the gym which we wouldn’t do it we had to drive very far. The proximity of this gym couldn’t be much better.

Staying Healthy Through the Holidays:

Each year I rather dread the holidays. You are bombarded with well meaning friends and family that somehow think the holidays mean it is okay to eat too much rich food with too much fat and sugar. I have no idea how this tradition started but I am sure it explains why the average American gains 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. *ugh*

I have a few ideas for staying healthy during the holidays that think will work for most people:

• Continue your exercise schedule to minimize the “holiday food damage”. If anything try to step up the exercise to burn additional calories since it is almost unavoidable to not consume more calories than usual.

• Eat something healthy and filling before holiday parties/gatherings to minimize the amount of unhealthy food you have room to consume. Most people aren’t as focused on health as you are and know the food at gatherings probably contains a lot more sugar, fat and salt than you consider healthy.

• I also like to wear a tight belt or snug pants to gatherings. That way there isn’t much room to eat if you know what I mean. ;-)

• If you are at a cocktail party avoid high calorie alcoholic beverages and choose something like vodka and soda instead. Better yet make every other beverage sparkling water. Alcohol has no nutrition and is just empty calories that also increases your risk of cancer. The less you can consume the better off you will be on a number of levels.

• When people give you baked goods if they are absolutely fabulous stop eating them after the first bite. I won’t waste my calorie/fat/sugar budget on anything that isn’t fabulous. We have all had those subpar cookies made by a well meaning friends or relatives. I don’t care if they are vegan or someone made them just for me. If they aren’t fantastic I don’t eat them. This has been tough for Dan since he loves sugar much more than I do. But even he has come around to this concept. It sounds odd but it does work and will help keep the holiday pounds from creeping on.

• I get on the scale every morning to see what is happening. The sooner you know something is going wrong the sooner you can do something about it is my theory.

I hope that gives you some ideas. The notion of only eating fabulous desserts is the one I think makes the biggest difference for me. I try to keep in mind that I have a “finite” calorie/fat/sugar budget and that each time I “indulge” something else has to go to maintain equilibrium.

Happy thoughts:

Wednesday was a decent day for me not perfect but they never are. Here are my happy thoughts:

• It would be easy to complain about my knee but that wouldn’t make things any better and would probably result in my feeling worse. On the bright side I have a nice exercise bike at home so that I can get me cardio in and not hurt my knee. I realize that I am very fortunate to that that option.

• Dan had a “food break through” that I am thrilled about. When he told me he no longer has any desire for vegan meals to approximate omni food I could not have been happier. I think that is a sign that this healthy vegan lifestyle has become permanent. Woo hoo! I could not have asked for a better Christmas present than this. Thank you sweetie!

• We both enjoyed the quick soup I made for dinner last night. I love my Vitamix and am very lucky to have it!

• Luca Belle is still doing well with her asthma. We have stepped her down to ½ dose every other day and no wheezing thank goodness. Fingers crossed that she will be able to get her teeth cleaned sometime in January. Our vet wants the asthma completely under control and her off meds before she goes under anesthesia. I am thankful that things seem to be working out because I worry when my little furry ones are sick.

• I am also thankful for the wonderful medical team we have. It is very reassuring to have doctors (human and feline) that are genuinely concerned about everyone’s well being. We are fortunate to have them all.

• The expected snow for Christmas now appears to be coming the day after. While I am disappointed at least that means very accidents on a holiday when a lot of people are traveling to see family. Also without snow it will make it easier for Dan and me to get a little outdoor exercise in early in the day.

• So far there has been no, zero, nada holiday “goodies” at our house. I am so shocked but pleased that Dan asked me to make cookies, chocolates or some type of sweet. This will be the first year this has happened. This is a big sign of how far we come changing our diet.

Signing out:

Today has been a long one and I am not sure why that is. I think most of it is due to the pain in my right knee. The pain has made going down steps uncomfortable. Have I said recently how much I love this whole aging thing? *rolls eyes*

My plan for the rest of the day is a trip to Whole Foods and the gym once Dan gets home from work. I don’t know that my knee will agree with me on the gym in a few hours. However I have my fingers crossed that I can get to the gym for a little elliptical and rowing machine work. As much as I dislike the elliptical I get a better calorie burn than I do the on bike which means I am almost looking forward to it today.

I hope you are all have a wonderful end of the week and the year and that 2011 is even better than 2010. Talk to you tomorrow.


  1. Have you tried nutritional yeast on your oats? Putting nutritional yeast on the savory oats is really good, and since Dan doesn't care for the savory oats, you can add as much as you want :-)

    I am so sorry your knee is bothering you. I hope you can take it easy and just rest it for a few days.


  2. I am glad Luca Belle is doing well!!!
    I am curious...what is brined jack fruit?
    I thought your soup and salad looked divine!!!!



  4. "he no longer cares about recreating omni food"
    that is really good, it takes awhiole to get to that point!

    the tip about not eating something unless its ABSOLUTELY the best,well its good to read about somebody else doing that! its so hard explaining that to people, i always feel like they are judging me and maybe assuming i have an eating problem. "this food just sucks and im not eating it" doesnt go down well....but it would be a lot more fun to say!

    i was going to buy some jackfruit yesterday at a thai res we were at! should of!!(the food was horrible by the way,not authentic)

    try dmso for your knee, or look into the stuff and tell me what you think.

  5. Mmm, mmm, that soup looks delish, Ali! I love your tips about staying healthy--especially wearing a tight belt, LOL! Also, loving your happy thoughts, as always. :)


  6. So sorry to hear about your knee. The soup looks great--and so funnny, I've been saving a can of jackfruit to try in a special dish--and here you make one!

  7. Sorry to hear about your knee, Ali. My grandmother and I were just discussing the benefits of hot baths for sore knees, legs and feet.
    Happy Holidays!

  8. That stinks that the gym is going to be closed so long. But I know you know how to get in a good workout at home too. That soup looks so rich and thick and warm!

  9. Wow! I love Dan's breakthrough! Congratulations on consistently providing good vegan food for yourselves (otherwise he might not be so thrilled about eating vegan, LOL). And I love him on the couch with Binky doing sudoku. Very sweet.

    Merry Xmas!

  10. "he no longer cares about recreating omni food"

    Once you reach this point, life is so much simpler in the Veggie/Vegan World. But for some reason I don't think this applies to your Neapolitan Lasagna. I have portions of this (some with whole wheat noodles and some with zucchini or eggplant "noodles.") It is fantabulous, and I finally don't miss the olive oil!

  11. Courtney,

    I do use nutritional yeast on the savory oats but didn't have any in the kitchen that morning. However you are right it is really good. :-)

    My knee is finally improving and it is killing me not to lace up my shoes but I am behaving myself, begrudginly. LOL

    I hope you are enjoying your holiday with the fam,

  12. Brandi,

    I can buy jackfruit frozen or jarred in brine like artichokes. When it is brined it tastes a lot of artichokes to me which is why I used both in this soup.

    Luca is improving but it is taking much longer than we expected. Hopefully she will be able to get her teeth cleaned in January sometime.


  13. Jhe'anell,

    Thanks we think Binky is cute too. I have not seen Arthur so I didn't know there was a Binky character. I will need to check that out now. :-)

    How our Binky got his name is a long story. I will try to remember to tell it on the blog the next time I post a pic of him.

    I hope you had a great holiday,

  14. Michelle,

    I was so thrilled about Dan's break through you have no idea. Needless to say there was a happy dance happening here when he said that. ;-)

    I loved your comment about why you aren't eating it, LOL. You crack me up. In all seriousness I am not wasting calories on something that isn't great. Each time I see someone eat something like "stale cake" on their blog I scratch my head. Life is way to short for that. ;-)

    If you like artichokes I think you will like brined jackfruit, very similar IMO.

    I need to ask my pharmacist buddy about DSMP. I don't remember the orthopods recommending that but things may have changed since I left health care. Thanks for the suggestion. I will let you know what I find out.


  15. Laura Jill,

    I hope you are enjoying the fam and all is going well. This is a soup I think everyone would like it is rich and creamy yet flavorful. I am almost positive my parents would enjoy this too.

    I use the tight pants or tight belt trick for most "dangerous food situations" like parties. It helps to remind me to keep things under control. ;-)


  16. Ricki,

    I can only get jackfruit at the Asian market here which is about 25 minutes away. I hear you on saving it for special occasions I do the same thing. ;-)

    My knee is much better today no pain at all in fact. But I am trying to behave and not reinjury it. It is practically killing me to stay still, LOL.

    talk to you later,

  17. Aimee,

    Thanks for the hot bath tip for the knee. I have been doing that, heating pads and icy hot for the last couple of weeks. I dislike using pain killers because I think that causes me to overdo and then I am injured longer. However I love using heat and anything that is grandmother approved has to be good. :-)


  18. Heather,

    I was upset about the gym initially but it is perfect timing given the whole knee situation. I know I need to stay off of it for 2 to 3 weeks. Having the gym be closed will make it much easier to rest my knee. ;-)

    We both really enjoyed this soup. I think you and Jason will like it too. :-)


  19. Stephanie,

    Dan's breakthrough was probably still my favorite Christmas present though the TRX is pretty cool, LOL.

    Thanks for the sweet compliment on my food. I try to make things that are healthy and interesting but sometimes I am not feeling overly inspired. Like today I have no idea what I am going to make but we are out of leftovers so I need to whip something together so Dan has lunch for tomorrow. *scratches head* Wish me luck that I come up with something. ;-)

    Dan and Binky are best buddies. That little fuzz ball adores his daddy. I should take a video of them sometime so everyone can see them together.

    talk to you later,

  20. Aggie2145,

    Thanks for stopping by. I was extremely happy about Dan's breakthrough. I have been there for a while but since he wasn't I was catering to him. I totally agree with you that this will make my cooking life so much easier. LOL

    Everyone loves my lasagna even my omni parents which still surprises me. I imagine the fat in the real thing would be too much for us now. I am glad you like the filling too. I like to use eggplant and zuccini for noodles too but Dan prefers pasta. Maybe he is ready for a change now. ;-)

    Congrats on kicking the olive oil habit that is a tough one. I struggled with that myself. Good for you!

    stop by anytime,

  21. It IS hard for us when wonderfully thoughtful (even those who are being very FORGETFUL since they SHOULD know us)are handing over tins of cookies and stockings full of candy for the kids that we're NOT going to eat. I hate all the wastefulness. I hear ya on Dan's declaration. It's kind of similar to my husband (who is ALMOST/PRACTICALLY a vegan but eats dairy occasionally when he's at work dinners or his family's house, etc.). He recently ate a piece of cheese pizza because that's all they were served at a lunch meeting, and he was disgusted by it. He (formerly the BIGGEST cheese lover) no longer wants or misses dairy cheese. Yay!


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