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Monday, 6 January 2014

Cupboard Soup: Nutrish&Delish!

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of going to the shops and spending money. OK, that's code for not having money at the moment to shop--ha! Even though, I was frugal and sensible on my food shopping and splurges over the holidays, I still ended up cooking and baking more than usual. I like to do both, but I was determined to not gain my hard-earned lost pounds over the feast days, thus, I chose to not overdo stocking up on too many ingredients to make and bake too many rich meals and treats. The family didn't even notice! They were just as happy, if not more appreciative of the couple specialties we DID enjoy and we are so thankful to start the new year feeling healthy and ready to keep up the momentum! With both my husband and myself having a genetic predisposition to obesity, and thus, my children having that double-whammy legacy (sorry, guys!), we all really have to work at it in this house! Being an RD, I take on the extra responsibility of trying to set a good example. I always tell my children, too, that we have to look at the positive aspects of our reality -- that is -- we are the chosen -- those who MUST be careful and selective about our food intake and, in the end, we choose wisely and most deliciously and really appreciate and enjoy eating, food, treats, etc, and keep all in perspective. Do my kids buy it? Well, they get it, for sure, but they feel screwed -- haha! Like it did me, I think it will take another 25+ years for them to truly appreciate how ahead of the curve and our time we all are! Yep, real visionaries -- trendsetters -- that's us!

So, this morning -- the day after the particularly long holiday break, imo, I'm snooping into my fridge and cupboards for my usual Monday morning inventory check before I head out to the grocery store, and I see the following:

1/2 of a 500g bag of dried yellow split-peas (so, about 250g dried split-peas -- these are the kind Indians make dhal with)
3 carrot sticks
3 celery sticks
3 small onions
5 wandering cloves of fresh garlic
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
8 small vine-tomatoes
1/2 bag baby spinach leaves

and I get to thinking, "Why go shopping? With all this cornucopia in the home ;), I'm making Cupboard Soup!!"  OK, I didn't call it 'Cupboard Soup' at that moment, but I did soak the split-peas for a couple hours (it says this was not necessary, but I still do it to rinse off some of the excess starch anyway), put them in a soup pot covered with cold water (about 1 1/2 liters -- you can add more or less depending on whether you want a thick or 'soupy' soup), bring to the boil, lower to a gentle boil for 10 minutes (to 'de-gas' the split-peas) and then add a bay leaf, and lower further to a simmer for about an hour. At this point I added an organic chicken stock-cube, but you can add any stock you want (or stock gel or best to add is homemade stock, if you have it!). I chopped up the carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauteed them till soft (about 12-15 minutes) in olive oil, chopped up the vine tomatoes and roasted them in a hot oven till slightly charred, and then mixed the softened vegetables and the tomatoes into the split-peas while simmering and simmered for another 20 minutes. While the soup was simmering this extra 20 minutes, I tipped in the 1/2 bag of baby spinach leaves (they were pre-washed, otherwise, I would've washed them), chopped and added the parsley, seasoned with salt&pepper to taste, and also added about 1/2 tsp of dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried oregano. And.....Voila! I have tonight's meal -- Cupboard Soup! I usually sprinkle some fresh-grated parmesean cheese over before serving and, for those of us in the home who want it ( I want it, but I forego it as I am 50+ and have to watch my carb intake -- lucky me!!), a toasted slice of whole-grain bread or a whole-grain cracker or two and the meal is complete!

And the best part -- I didn't spend a red pence today!!!! Bring it on, Tuesday ;)

Happy HEALTHY New Year, Everyone!

xo, MJ, RD

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