Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two Different Soups on Sunday

Sorry I didn’t get this posted last night. Somehow we ended up out much later than either of us expected. By the time we got home, had the car unpacked, things put away and had dinner the day was gone. Getting up at 5 am for the gym means going to bed early too.

Since I didn’t get Sunday posted yesterday today I will be posting Sunday and Monday in two different posts. Monday isn’t written yet so that won’t be up until later today.


I am happy to report we ate all our meals at home for a change on Sunday. The whole eating out thing was getting way out of control and I was watching the devastation on the scale every morning. *ugh* Time to get back to eating healthy before things get out of control. ;-)

As you may remember we belong to our college gym (from 30 years ago) and it doesn’t open until late on Sunday. We ended up skipping the gym all together. Sunday seems I have turned into a morning exerciser. Who said that? Seriously I never thought it would happen but it seems to have. I am not sure how long it will last but for now we will be concentrating on going to the gym first thing in the morning.

When I got up my feet were still hurting from those darn shoes I tried to wear on Saturday. I even decided not to go to farmers’ market which tells you how bad it was. Instead we took our time getting up and had a leisurely mug of double green tea (with powdered ascorbate C to help absorb the EGCG). This was followed by a bowl of oatmeal with wild blueberries, cinnamon, ginger, ground flax seeds and chopped walnuts.

We had a nice leisurely day at home which was nice. Sometimes I need to be at home doing nothing but the occasional life administration task (which is what I call cooking and cleaning). The times I spend at home nesting seem to help me recharge my batteries so to speak.

Knowing that I was going to make soup today I soaked a pound of chickpeas overnight and starting them cooking first thing in the morning. Since the chickpeas were fresh and soaked more than 8 hours they were tender in about 30 minutes. I find that bean cooking times are never predictable. If the beans are more recently dried they cook faster. It always pays to check your beans often so that you don’t get mushy beans.

While I was making soup I also made another batch of the reduced-fat peanut butter. If you haven’t tried that I highly recommend it. We have been eating it this way for so long I think that full fat peanut butter would taste far too fatty now. I like that the reduced fat peanut butter is creamier and less fatty.

Sunday late morning early afternoon I spent the making two pots of soup knowing that Monday was going to be a little hectic. Here is what I made:

Curried Tomato, Coconut and Peanut Butter Veggie Soup
Serves 6


1 large yellow onion
10 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
28 ounces diced tomato
28 ounces tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 cup light coconut milk
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
water if necessary to adjust the texture
2 stalks celery, finely diced
4 small red potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
2 leaves green cabbage, cut into approximately 2 inch by ¼ inch slices
1 ¾ cups cooked chickpeas, no salt added (or 15 ounce can)
approximately ¼ cup reduced-fat peanut butter, to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


As always mince the onions and garlic and then allow them to stand for 10 minutes before heating them. Add the remaining ingredients through the coriander and simmer covered for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavor and cook the onions.

Add the remaining veggies and beans and cook until they are done. Add peanut butter and black pepper to taste.

If desired you can finish this with fresh minced parsley or cilantro, cashew cream fraiche, or chopped peanuts.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 307.61
Calories From Fat (24%) - 72.49

Total Fat - 8.14g
Saturated Fat - 1.59g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 771.23mg
Potassium - 1489.37mg
Total Carbohydrates - 50.11g
Fiber - 11.33g
Sugar - 15.98g
Protein - 12.41g


I served this Sunday afternoon to my omnivore parents and it disappeared. Clearly this one is omni approved. We think it is a nice rich cold weather soup. If you have any leftovers it would also be good over brown rice.

To accompany the soup we had a simple salad. I whisked together white miso and apple cider to use for dressing. The salad also included mesclun greens, parsnips and chopped walnuts. It always amazes me how good something so simple can be.

The second soup I made used the same vegetables but had a chowder base. I used the same vegetables because I wanted to prove to myself (and Dan) that the seasoning is what makes food taste different. These two soups could not be more different. This one has a much lighter flavor making it a better dinner soup. Here is what I did:

Vegetable Chowder
Serves 6


1 small yellow onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup almonds
7 cups water
1 cup light coconut milk
2 stalks celery, finely diced
¼ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (just enough to be buttery not enough to be cheezy)
4 small red potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
2 leaves green cabbage, cut into approximately 2 inch by ¼ inch slices
1 ¾ cup chickpeas cooked without salt (or 15 ounce can chickpeas)
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Chop the onions and garlic and allow and don’t heat them for 10 minutes.

While you are waiting for the alliums (onions and garlic) make the almond milk. Combine the almonds and water in your blender and process until the almonds have been obliterated.  If you aren't using a large blender you may want to make this is two batches. Strain the almond milk to remove the pulp. The pulp can be saved in the freezer to add to veggie burgers or vegetable pate.

In a soup pot combine the almond milk, onions, garlic, coconut milk, celery and seasonings. Cook to allow the celery to soften and the flavors to blend. After 30 minutes add the veggies and beans and cook until the veggies are tender. Add the cornstarch slurry thicken the soup.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving

Calories - 359.01 **
Calories From Fat (34%) - 123.74 **

Total Fat - 14.19g **
Saturated Fat - 1.6g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium- 56.71m
Potassium - 1009.1mg
Total Carbohydrates - 46.31g
Fiber - 10.02g **
Sugar - 6.88g
Protein - 12.42g  **

** The calories are overstated by the almond pulp that wasn’t included in the final dish. Since I had no way to accurately measure that I didn’t guess at the adjustment. However I can tell you that calories, fat, fiber and protein are all overstated by some amount.


This soup is similar to traditional chowder but the base has a little more flavor because that is what we prefer. We had this soup last night for dinner and it made a nice light meal. You can vary this by changing the vegetables. It would also be good with tempeh, mushrooms, celery root, carrot, turnip, etc.

Happy Thoughts:

We had a very good Sunday and Monday which means I have much to be thankful for. Here are my happy thoughts today:

• It was wonderful to spend Monday afternoon with Dan even though we had things to do and places to be. I always enjoy my time with Dan.

• This morning I was thankful for arctic running gear to get me to and from the gym because we had a wind chill of 16 degrees when we left the house. Major brrr. I was also thankful for my Thinsulate gloves. ;-)

• I was very happy my knee didn’t give out this morning. Long story and I will fill you in soon. Bottom line is my knee is acting up again. *ugh* Have I said recently how much I love the whole getting old thing? ;-)

• It was wonderful to come hometo our warm house after the gym and have a nice hot bowl of oatmeal.

• Monday was a productive day. Before and after our appointments we did a little shopping. This resulted in two more pair of arctic running pants for me. They came in very handy this morning.

• It is darn cold here today and I am thankful that I can spend my day inside. I think there may have to be another big pot of soup in my future. When it is cold like this nothing seems to taste as good as hot soup.

Signing out:

That is going to be it for me this morning. I need to get caught up around the house and then write the post about Monday. I hope all of you are having a great week. Ours has been good but so cold. This morning it was 28 with a wind-chill of 16 when we got back from the gym. It is definitely a day to bundle up and stay warm. Talk to all again soon, hopefully later this evening.


  1. That chowder looks so tasty. Jason loves chowders and it's been ages since I've made one. Wonder how it'd do in a slow cooker?

  2. Heather,

    I would think the chowder would be fine in the crock pot as long as you cut the veggies into big chunks. The only concern I would have is the veggies getting over cooked. Also I would add the cornstarch at the end of cooking.

    I hope you are having a good Tuesday,

  3. WOW WOW! double wow :) Those two soups are both winners. Both bases sound like just my taste. Well done!

  4. Sarah,

    Thanks, glad you like the sound of the soups. Even though they used the same veg and beans they have very different flavors. It is hard to say which one I liked better. The curied tomato did have more flavor if that helps you decide.

    We are clearly in soup weather here at the moment. Dan and I are going to have the last of these two soups for lunch which means more soup will be on the stove later today. At the moment I am not sure what I am making other than it will have chickpeas. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  5. Ali,
    I love your white miso/apple cider dressing idea! Also, your chowder looks so cozy:-)

  6. Aimee,

    The salad dressing did work out really well. I seem to be a on miso dressing kick recently. ;-)

    The chowder was very cozy. That is a good description. I am having the last of it for my lunch today.

    I hope you are having a good Tuesday,

  7. The soups look so yummy, and good point on the beans. I soaked some red beans for a really long time this weekend (overnight and nearly half the next day), and they cooked up super-quick.

  8. Bianca,

    Thanks I was happy with both the soups.

    The variability of bean cooking times used to throw me when I intially began cooking them from dried. It took me a while to figure out the age of the dried beans made a difference. I over cooked quite a few batchs of beans before I learned to test them sooner rather than later. ;-)


  9. The soups look so good, especially the chowder based one. I'll have to give that one a try...it sounds sooo yummy!

  10. Michelle,

    I was very happy with both soups. When I asked Dan which one was his favorite he said they were very different but equally good. I think the tomato version tasted more rich. I hope you like the soup as much as we did.


  11. I like both soups, but especially the curried one with tomato and peanut butter. How do you find the peanut butter holds up after you replace the oil with water?

  12. Jessica,

    I really liked the tomato soup with coconut and peanut butter. Then again I also liked the chowder, LOL. I don't think either of us honestly had a favorite. They were both good but very different.

    We go through a bunch of nut butter here but I haven't had any problem keeping it for 3 weeks in the frig. I can't tell you if it lasts much longer since we eat a jar before it can get older. Last night I used it in a quick "chocolate soft serve" for Dan. Sometime tells me our consumption of peanut will be increasing from now on. ;-)


  13. No farmers market?! Oh no! What happens to your CSA share if you don't pick it up?

    I hope you are staying warm today :-)


  14. Courtney,

    I bet you never expected me to say no market did you? ;-) Our CSA is great if we miss a week we can get it the following week or spread it out over a few weeks. But the fall CSA ended two weekends ago so we don't have that problem.

    It is so cold here that I feel like an old women. It is one of those types of cold that seems to go right through you. I was happy to stay inside today once we got back from the gym.

    I hope you are staying warm,

  15. I also love soups this time of year and all of your ideas are so helpful.

    Have you tried putting different nuts in your peanut butter? I tried it in my food processor with all kinds of nuts and seeds, but it didn't turn out very good (kind of crumbly and the flax seeds stayed intact). Maybe a Vitamix is the answer? I'm seriously tempted to get one soon. But all the different models and prices make my head spin! On a related note, do you use your juicer and food processor very often these days?

    Speaking of hurting, I've been meaning to warn you about overdoing it on the aerobics machines...not that it would have helped :) I know what it takes to burn a lot of calories and find that my knees/hips are much more sensitive the past few years (I'm 54), meaning that I have to mix it up and not do too much or I'm forced to lay off for periods of time. Yes it sucks, but you don't seem to eat much anyway. And on the bright side, maybe you'll save on groceries!

  16. Laura,

    Glad you like the soup ideas. I hope your hubby agrees. ;-)

    I also make walnut, cashew, hazelnut and pecan butter. The walnut butter is our favorite for health reasons. Dan was eating it everyday but got bored with it. I need to start making that again. I have not tried to add any seeds but that is an interesting idea. I will try that soon in the Vitamix and will let you know how it works. I also make tahini in the Vitamix so I suspect it will do fine with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I love my Vitamix. If you are asking my opinion I would say buy one.

    I haven't been using the juicer much lately since it is so cold. But I do need to get back to it. I don't use my food processor often but I do still use it probably more out of habit than anything else.

    My knee has bothered me for the last 30 years this is nothing new. I haven't actually ramped up my exercise much only just starting talking about it because I get email questions about it. I did take a break from aerobics yesterday and today for the sake of my knee. With a little luck I can get back to it tomorrow. Sadly I know from experience when I have to back off on the exercise. ;-)

    I do try to mix up my cardio but I always go back to the best calorie burn. This is one of the curses of being a numbers person and having a device which measures the calorie burn. ;-)


  17. My husband loves the soups too, as well as many other dishes I've made from your blog. In general, he prefers to have them blended rather than chunky--another good reason for a Vitamix! We can't get the crushed red hots here, so I finally bought some sriracha a few months ago and have enjoyed experimenting with it. A nice hot spicy soup is just the thing on a cool day, or should I say Cold, as the high has only been about 40 this week with lows in the low 20's...very unusual for Dec. here.

    I too have had a knee issue for many years and pretty much know how to manage it. It burns me up that I can't go all out like I'd prefer, though.

  18. Laura,

    We eat a lot of soup when it is cold outside. We are exactly the opposite here regarding soup. I prefer it smooth and Dan likes it chunky. You can see whose opinion usually wins out. ;-) The Vitamix is great for making creamy soups.

    I am sorry you can't find wet hots (hot crushed picked peppers) where you are. But sriracha would also work really well. I need to figure out how to make my own wet hots sometime. I use so many of them that I would prefer my own homemade version.

    Sounds like your weather is similar to ours now. I think our highs this week have been in the mid-30's with lows in the 20's. It is way too cold me. When does spring get here? LOL

    I get annoyed with my knee problems too but try to view it as something that I have to manage when it acts up. No big deal really, more irritating than anything else. Sometimes I can go a year without trouble but normally the knee acts up once or twice a year depending on what I am doing to it. ;-)


  19. I bought a can of light coconut milk this morning and made a big pot of curried soup tonight -- YUM! I sort of combined your two recipes and used what I had on hand: onion, garlic, celery, carrots, crumbled tempeh, mushrooms, chickpeas, spinach, chard, zucchini, light coconut milk, diced tomatoes & sauce, water, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, black pepper, nutritional yeast, and mashed potato. It was higher in fat than my normal soups, but soooooo delicious!

    BTW I decided to get a Vitamix right after the holidays! I'm tending toward a "refurbished" one, since I think they're mainly returns that are just like new. A couple of days ago I was leaning toward the Blendtec, which has a few advantages (looks better, fits under the cabinets, and is easier to get thick mixtures out of), but it doesn't seem to be as robust as the Vitamix and is also a bit louder. I figure if I'm spending that much money, I might as well get one that will last a really long time...like my 70's era Robot Coupe food processor!

  20. Laura,

    Glad you liked the soup. I tend to like higher fat soups when it is cold outside. My body seems to crave them for some reason.

    Regarding the Vitamix do you belong to Costco? A friend of mine was going to go the refurbished route and ended up buying his at Costco (new) for a little less then than the refurbished model on the Vitamix website. Thought you would want to know that option is out there.


  21. The Costco website only has a $650 "ultimate" package and when I called the store to find out about Vitamix demonstrations, they said none were planned for our area. Could you please ask your friend if they got it during a demo period at their Costco?

  22. Laura,

    He did buy it during a demo and I think he paid $394. I have seen the demos here in the summer that might be why there are none scheduled soon in your area.



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