Sunday, December 19, 2010

Curried Carrot Soup & Smoky Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Saturday started off well with a temperature over 30. Okay so it was only 31 but we have had days where we didn’t reach that so I was thrilled to see any temperature that in the 30’s even if it was just barely.

Given Dan’s dental surgery yesterday we had our usual green smoothie for breakfast. When we first starting drinking green smoothies I always used spinach because I was “afraid” that kale would result in a bitter smoothie that Dan wouldn't drink. I don’t know whether our taste buds have adjusted to the kale or it isn’t bitter but either way the kale smoothies don’t taste bitter to us.

Did you see this article about the impact of exercising before eating breakfast?  In the article it discusses the impact of nutrion on health and I was surprised by how quickly an unhealthy diet can impact your health. Specifically the article said:

“A recent study by scientists in Australia found that after only three days, an extremely high-fat, high-calorie diet can lead to increased blood sugar and insulin resistance, potentially increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes.”

I have read many studies about the impact of diet on health but a measurable difference in three days surprised even me.

A separate study feed participants an unhealthy high fat diet and had one group not exercise, another had breakfast then exercised and the third worked out on an empty study. Those that exercised before breakfast were best able to handle the unhealthy diet. This is not to suggest that I agree with eating an unhealthy diet only the idea of exercising on an empty stomach.

I am mention this because we have been going to the gym and exercising before breakfast and that seems to work well for us. Exercising on an empty stomach probably isn’t going to enhance our exercise performance but that doesn’t matter to us. We are exercising for fitness not to win any sort of competition. I hope you find the article as interesting as I did.

When do you like to exercise? Do you eat first or not?

I made a quick afternoon snack for myself to tide me over until the 3pm meal with my folks. I decided on a small bowl of marinated artichokes, topped with salsa and a few pumpkin seeds. This is one of my favorite snacks at the moment. Do you have any favorite snacks?  I would love to know what they are since I am always looking for ideas. ;-)

Since I didn’t want Dan eating anything chunky yet I made him soup in the Vitamix.

I decided a curried cream of carrot soup in the Vitamix for a snack for Dan. Here is what I did:

Curried Cream of Carrot Soup for One
Serves 1


2 carrots, cut into chunks
¼ cup raw cashews
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds
black pepper, to taste (remember to be generous since the piperine in the black pepper makes the curcumin in the turmeric more bioavailable – meaning you absorb more of it)
water necessary to get a smooth soup (I used 10 tablespoons)


Toss everything in your Vitamix and process until smooth and hot, about 3 minutes.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 208.13
Calories From Fat (45%) - 94.61

Total Fat - 11.31g
Saturated Fat - 1.96g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 120.42mg
Potassium - 717.05mg
Total Carbohydrates - 24.13g
Fiber - 5.93g
Sugar - 9.16g
Protein - 6.29g


This is a very simple soup that tastes better than the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare. Making quick soups is one of my favorite things to do with my Vitamix.

The mid-day meal with my parents was also something simple and pureed so that Dan could enjoy it too. I decided to make a simple smoky roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Here is what I did:

Smoky Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Serves 4 generously


64 ounces homemade canned tomatoes or 4 – 15 ounce cans of tomato, whole or diced (preferably no salt added)
1 cup raw cashews
6 roasted red peppers that have been peeled and seeded
3 carrots, scrubs and cut into rough chunks
6 cloves garlic, peeled
½ tablespoon smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Process everything in your Vitamix, you will need to do this in stages. As you process the soup pour in a soup pot. Simmer until the soup is hot and the flavors have married.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 283.01
Calories From Fat (35%) - 99.08

Total Fat - 11.84g
Saturated Fat - 2.05g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 71.15mg
Potassium - 1698.99mg
Total Carbohydrates - 41.29g
Fiber - 11.39g
Sugar - 16.34g
Protein - 10.47g


Everyone enjoyed this soup today. It is always surprisingly to me when the omnivores and vegans in the extended family can agree on a dish.

I liked the lightly smoky background from the smoked paprika and the definite presence of the red pepper (roasted and smoked). My taller half (Dan) thought it needed more tomato flavor but that wasn’t where I was going. I guess it looked like tomato soup so that was what he expected to taste first.

Since Dan assured me he could eat a salad I made a small side salad to accompany the soup. I used mesclun greens, marinated artichokes (can I tell I love those?), marinated portabellas (to boost our immune systems) and roasted red pepper strips. For my parents there was a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on the salad. We thought the marinated veggies added more than enough flavor and juiciness to the greens.

I had someone ask where I buy my marinated artichokes saying they could only find them packed in oil. I have a few ideas for how to get around that. First check the Italian section in your grocery store and you may find marinated artichokes without oil.  I can buy them at Wegman’s and Giant. If your store doesn’t carry them check the freezer section they usually carry frozen artichokes and those would work fine. If all you can find are the oil packed variety buy those and rinse them under hot water to remove most of the oil. It won’t get all of it but it will get most of it. I did this with ground meat for years to eliminate any excess fat on the exterior of the meat and it works very well but you need to use warm or hot water. Cold water makes the oil coagulate. I hope that helped.

We are actually experiencing a heat wave today. When we checked the weather channel at 5pm it was actually 37 degrees. It hasn’t been that warm in at least a week, maybe longer. Too bad I didn’t get a chance to enjoy it.

Speaking of enjoying I had to share this picture of our little baby with you. Isn’t Binky just precious when he is sleeping? There really isn’t much cuter than a sleeping fur baby. Too bad he can’t be that angelic when he is awake, LOL. Well he might be bad but we absolutely adore that little troublemaker.

Another comment or question I get often is about how nice it is that we have my parents for lunch/supper so often. This started a few years back when my mother was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetic). I said I could show her how to eat that would keep her from progressing to a diabetic. Since my mother hates to cook she immediately took me up on the offer. Of course she has learned nothing about how to cook healthy. The only thing she has learned is that she doesn’t like my “healthy rabbit food” as she so lovingly calls it. Believe it or not she actually ate everything today but the mesclun greens. It is amazing how she always seems to leave behind the most nutritious part of the meal. *sigh*

Before you ask my mother did progress to a full blown diabetic and is on two oral medications now. She won’t listen to anything I have to say about health. If I had a dime for every time she pointed out that my undergrad and grad degrees are both in finance and not nutrition I would be rich. *rolls eyes* I am telling you this because recently I have gotten a lot of feedback from other ladies about how they have a difficult relationship with their mother. Let’s just say I can completely relate and I feel your pain. Things are never quite as they seem are they? ;-) Now you know another reason why health is so important to me. I don’t want to "grow up" to be my mother. *shivers*

Dan and I both had an orange, I had Brazil nuts which he didn’t have.

Dinner was more of the black bean soup, pureed for Dan and chunky for me. I gave Dan a huge bowl and I had a smaller one. He claims I am stuffing him so he doesn’t have room of soft serve. *rolls eyes* Men!

Surprisingly Dan is having very little pain from the wisdom teeth removal and no swelling. I can’t understand why this is so easy but I am very happy it is.

Happy Thoughts:

Saturday was a good day for us. Here are my happy thoughts:

• I am thrilled that Dan is doing so well in the aftermath of the procedure.

• The smoky red pepper and tomato soup turned out extremely well today and was quick. If I were making a smaller amount it would have been a Vitamix only soup and those are always the easiest. ;-)

• The weather is a tiny bit warmer here but that is still good. It is nice not to feel the cold so straight through you the minute you go outside.

• Christmas is starting to come together, slowly but surely. Now I am starting to look forward to New Years Eve.

Signing out:

We started our morning at Whole Foods in Mt. Washington to stock up on kale and other organic yummies. Then we came home for green smoothies. Sometimes we are too predictable.

Now it is time for me to figure out what I am making for the mid day meal with my parents that will work well for Dan too. It will be nice when I can make my usual food again.  As quickly as Dan is recovering it won't be long until we are back to normal. Woo hoo!

I hope all of you are having a great weekend. Talk to you again soon.


  1. Thanks for reminding me that I need to buy some Brazil nuts! You are doing such a good job taking care of Dan with all your blended soups :) I wish I could get my husband to eat more soup, he's not into it. He will drink green smoothies and green juice though, so I guess that's something right? Every time I go to Wholefoods, like you, I also load up on greens. I am convinced they have the best selection and freshest organic greens I have seen anywhere so far. I just go some avocados, kale and broccoli yesterday from them. Have a great day!

  2. Carissa,

    We try to eat two Brazil nuts every day for the selenium. I buy them in bulk form Whole Foods or Wegman's and keep them in the freezer. It takes a while for eating them to become a habit. It helps me to remember if I have them with my fruit snack.

    Thanks, Dan likes soup so it isn't too tough to get him to eat it. The only problem is that he doesn't like pureed soup as much. He will be happy to be back to chunky soup.

    If your hubby is drinking green smoothies and green juice sounds like you are doing a great job. Most men won't do that. ;-)

    I really love the produce at Whole Foods too. We picked up three bunches of kale this morning for our morning smoothies.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

  3. Glad Dan is doing so well. I too had no problem after my wisdom tooth removal one of which was impacted. In fact, it was a relief because I'd been in so much pain for the months (yes, it took that long, mainly because I had to get a CT scan to check the location of my facial nerves which were tangled up in the roots of my tooth).

    And I'm jealous of your proximity to Whole Foods. I love that place but the nearest one is a couple of hours away and I don't own a car.

    And can I ask why you keep your brazil nuts in the freezer? Is that how you store all your nuts?

    Have a great Sunday night.

  4. Shannon,

    Ugh, the nerve story made me cringe. I am not the best patient. Dan is doing very well today. He had a salad with salsa about an hour an ago and said it didn't bother him.

    We are very lucky to have a Whole Foods so close. It is too far to walk if I am buying a lot but I can ride my bike there when the weather is nice and go more often. It is about 2 miles from us. Wow, 2 hours is a long way. Have you tried ordering food from Amazon grocery?

    I do keep all our nuts in the freezer. We have a big 25 cu ft model so it is easy to toss them in. The oil in nuts goes bad more quickly at room temperature. With Brazil nuts since we eat 4 a day (2 for each of us) a bag lasts a very long time. ;-) I also keep my seeds in the freezer for the same reason, BTW. It would be just as easy to buy smaller quantities but since I have the storage space I use it. ;-)

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

  5. Thanks for sharing about your relationship w/ your mom, Ali. I think just by sharing, via our blogs and via twitter, it makes the mama drama a little easier just because we know we're all going through it together. :)


  6. LJ,

    I think most mothers and daughters have difficult/strained relationships. I have no idea why that is but it seems to be a universal truth. Maybe someday the cycle will stop. ;-) We can always hope right?

    big hugs to you,

  7. Ali,
    There are a few decent health food stores around here but there are some things that I'd like to try that I can't find in the area.

    And no, I've never even heard of Amazon grocery. Off to google it right now! Thanks for the tip!

  8. Shannon,

    Thank goodness for local health food stores. We have one we really like that is on the way to Wegman's (another one of my favorite grocery stores).

    We order quite a few things from Amazon, the grocery division, and have always been happy with the service/products. I hope the items you are looking for are there.


  9. You know I'm on a soup kick now, so I'm loving both of these. Aren't pics of the sleeping furbabies the best! makes you forget about all the antics ;-)

  10. Heather,

    There will be another soup tomorrow too, LOL. Glad you liked these two.

    Sleeping fur babies are adorable. And yes it almost makes me forget about the antics. Almost, LOL.

    talk to you later,

  11. I would volunteer for dental surgery if I could come over, have two types of your soup and a green smoothie, and then cuddle with your cat.

    Hope Dan is recovering. Truth is, I'd almost rather have anything done to my body except for procedures in the mouth. Glad it's over for him!

  12. Stephanie,

    Dan was a little souped out I think, *LOL* but thank you. ;-)

    All three of our felines will happily cuddle surgery or not. They are little cuddle bunnies all the time.

    Dan is doing great actually. Much better than when I had my wisdom teeth extracted. I have a complete dental phobia myself so I understand. He goes back to the dentist tomorrow. Let's hope there is nothing else to be done. *fingers crossed*

    Enjoy what is left of your weekend,

  13. Hi Ali,
    For a few reasons, morning is a great time for me to do certain types of exercise-particularly yoga. First, it wakes me up and especially these days, warms me up! Second, you do it and then it's done. You feel great the rest of the day. Third, since you didn't eat breakfast first, you can't use the excuse on yourself that you have to wait an hour and then start procrastinating.

    When I do more vigorous exercises though, I like to eat something small before hand. For instance, I could never last through my belly dancing class on a completely empty stomach (even though that is what the teacher advises). I always pop a few peanuts/raisins and that helps (maybe it's just in my mind but it helps to stave off the hunger since the class is at 6:00 pm).

  14. Jill,

    I think morning works best for me because it gets exercise out of the way before something else comes up. Also I prefer exercising on a empty stomach though I had no real reason for that until I read the article. ;-)

    I love belly dancing and haven't taken a class in ages. It is such a great form of exercise. :-) I hope you are enjoying it as much as I did.

    I hope all is well in NY,

  15. Awww Binky!! ;)

    So nice what you do for your mother. I bet deep down she knows that you are right, but what a hard thing for a mother to admit!!

  16. Sarah,

    LOL that was extremely funny! I could not stop laughing when I read it.

    thanks so much for the giggle,

  17. Kale in smoothies tastes like cinnamon to me (sorry if I've already shared that with you). I most often buy frozen artichokes from Trader Joe's.

  18. Hi Ali,

    I tried the curried carrot soup in my vitamix today. It was amazing esp for the time it took me to make it.

    Thanks very much


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