06 March 2013

Healthy and Delicious Vegetable Soup

So, this past weekend I went up to Prescott and then Flagstaff to spend some time with my parents and to go skiing with my Dad. I hadn't gone skiing since I was very little so it was definitely interesting... I got up at 6 am (which is SO early for me... closer to my usual bedtime than the time I usually wake up!) and we got to the Flagstaff Snowbowl around 8. I was pretty unsure of my abilities and was basically downright terrified for the first bit. I could only go across the slope in an ever-so-slight decline (as opposed to going vertically down the slope) at a snail pace... and I was on the bunny hill (which toddlers were learning on!). BUT, we took a two hour lesson from 10-12 and it helped so much! I fell a few times, but after a couple tries I was able to stop myself, turn, speed up and slow down, and actually go down the slope in the direction intended. After the lesson, I was able to go down the entirety of the hill easily and even rode the ski lift to one of the higher starting points and managed to ski from there as well!

Unfortunately during the first half of the day I stupidly forgot to put on sunscreen... even though it was just a few morning hours, my face got SCORCHED! Having never really skied before I didn't know snow sunburn was such a serious thing. Basically you get double sunburn from the sun reflecting off the bright white snow. Anyways, by the next day my face was bright pink (aside from a few attractive pale sections from my hat... ugh) and blistered! The blisters turned to scabs and now for the past couple days my face has been dry, tight, flaky, and still bright red. I can't WAIT for it to heal and for my face to go back to normal. Working the counter at Brooklyn on Sunday and Monday was NOT fun.

That was really the only low of my weekend... the rest of the (short) time was spent with my aunt and uncle in Flagstaff and my parents in Prescott. I don't have the opportunity to come home all that often, but it's nice when I do because it's kind of like being a teenager again. I can sleep in my old (pink) room with all my old things, sit on an actual couch (not a futon!) and watch an actual tv (not a laptop!), and eat from a fridge full of food I didn't have to pay for (or cook!). The last thing is particularly nice because my parents eat very healthfully... and they have the money and skillz to do it right and make it super delicious!  I try to be very health conscious down here in Tucson, but it's expensive.. and between cooking from scratch every day (on top of school, work, and everything else), researching recipes, and meticulously calculating, counting, and recording calories... it is work. When I can open a fridge and have a ton of fresh, healthy stuff already there ready to eat, it makes me happy.

And that's where this vegetable soup comes in. My mom made some last week from a recipe loosely based on the 7 day diet 'wonder soup' (oh gee, another crash diet that has you eat practically no calories in order to lose 10 pounds in a week- miraculous!). This version bulks up the veggies, adds spices, vegetable broth, and tomatoes (and V8, if you like) for flavoring, and comes with no hyperbolic weight loss claims! At 60 calories a cup though, it doesn't really need to.

I ate this with a simple soup for lunch 2 of the 3 days I was out of town... it probably would have been 3 for 3 but I spent one of the days on the slopes! It is SO yummy and filling. I liked it so much that today, 3 days after being back in Tucson, I whipped up a batch for dinner tonight and lunch for the next few days. It was so easy too. If you're looking for a simple, low calorie, nutritious meal you can eat throughout the week, definitely try this one out! It's the perfect thing alongside a salad or sandwich.

I was going to take pictures while I was making this to go with the recipe... I took a picture of the veggies sauteing... and then put my camera down and forgot about it. Oops. I do have a picture of the finished product before I had it at my parents' house.

Simple Vegetable Soup 
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp  fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you do not like heat)
1 box (4 cups) vegetable broth (I used Safeway O Organics brand)
1 14.5 oz can diced italian stewed tomatoes (regular Safeway brand)
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
2 cups baby spinach
4 cups water (or v8, if desired)

1. Heat olive oil in large pot.
2. Add onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper. Sautee 5 minutes, or until slightly softened.
3. Add salt, pepper, spices, and garlic. Continue to cook until veggies begin to brown.
4. Add vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
5. Add cabbage. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until beginning to soften.
6. Add spinach. Stir to incorporate until spinach has fully wilted.
7. Add water and/or v8 and boil to reach desired broth:veggie ratio. Taste and adjust  seasonings.

That's it!

This recipe (made with water) makes about 9.5 cups with a 1 cup serving equaling about 60 calories.
The total calories for the recipe is only 557! Crazy, right? It will be about 200 more if you use 4 cups of v8 as opposed to water... so then it would be about 80 calories a cup. Still fantastic.

The salad is a mix of spinach, arugula, and kale with cucumber, carrot, cherry tomatoes, onion, celery, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for dressing.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked the soup, Sweetie, and that it is easy enough to make even when life is busy with other things.