Semi-Organic Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots,peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced, skin on
  • 1 medium green squash, diced
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound top blade roast
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 large white button mushrooms, thick dice
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch dried parsley
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 quart organic beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes about four healthy servings.

  1. In a small stockpot heat olive oil until hot.  Salt and pepper the roast.  Brown the beef on both sides over medium high heat.
  2. Add the celery and onion.  Reduce heat to medium and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add garlic powder and thyme.  Add enough broth to almost but not completely cover the roast.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer slowly for two hours.
  5. After two hours, remove the roast to a cutting board and allow to cool.
  6. Add the rest of the beef broth and tomatoes to the pot.
  7. Add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes add the squash , mushrooms and corn.  Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  9. When the roast is cooled, trim any excess fat, cube and add to the soup.
  10.  Adjust your seasonings.  Add parsley.

My meals since Friday evening have been soup, cereal, soup, soup, toast/banana, soup, and soup.   The jeans are getting a little loose.  I cannot remember a weekend of such healthy eating ever.  Yes, The Boss is still sick.  Friday I made chicken soup.  Last night I made Vegetarian Vegetable Soup.  Today I decided upon Beef Vegetable for a change in pace.

A high quality beef vegetable soup is the end result of the right cut of beef and some high quality broth.  This recipe is semi-organic because most of the ingredients were organic but some were not.  The beef broth was hand selected store bought prepared organic broth.  I used top blade which IMO makes a big difference  due to the cut and marbling.

Tips

I remembered the mushrooms.   Use vegetables you have on hand.  I also decided to leave out peas because peas are not one of my favorite vegetables.  The corn adds a touch of sweetness.  Note the roast is braised whole for several hours, cooled, cubed and returned to the soup.  The beef stays tender this way.  You won’t end up with tiny hockey pucks.

A salad on the side and crusty bread would make this a meal.

So would a three pound top blade roast.  But with that much beef you might as well make Pot Roast.

Semi-Organic Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

  • 1 T minced sweet onion
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 small red potatoes, diced, skin on
  • 1 medium yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15.5 ounce can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch dried parsley
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

Makes about four healthy servings.

  1. In a small stockpot heat olive oil until hot.  Add the carrot, celery and onion.  Reduce heat to medium and saute for several minutes.
  2. Add salt, white pepper, garlic powder, and thyme.
  3. Add the potatoes and continue sauteing for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the yellow squash and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes, and spinach.
  7. Simmer until the vegetables are soft.
  8. Adjust your seasonings.  Add parsley.
  9. Serve this soup with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

I typing this as fast as I can.  Before I forget.

The Boss is sick.  Last night I made chicken soup.  When you’re sick you have to have chicken soup.  There was enough leftover for lunch.  So we’ve had chicken soup, raisin bran, chicken soup for the last three meals.  The Boss has a sore throat.  As I’m typing I hear coughing.  Well, time for soup again.

A high quality vegetable soup is the end result of the ingredients you have on hand.  The other key issue is balance, hence the small amount of spinach leaves and just a half cup of diced tomatoes.  This recipe is semi-organic because most of the ingredients were organic but some were not.

Tips

I kind of tossed this together and surprisingly, it tasted fine.  Next time mushrooms.  I used low sodium organic broth.  The Boss didn’t add any additional salt but I added a dash and it really helped.  Use vegetables you have on hand.  I bought a green squash but didn’t use it.  I also decided to leave out peas and corn.  Try different beans.  Chickpeas or kidneys would work well.

A salad on the side and crusty bread would make this a meal.

But so would a nice ribeye.

Beans May Help With Weight Loss

 ‘Pulses’ like these may help dieters feel fuller and reduce food cravings, new analysis shows

Source: Beans, Chickpeas May Help With Weight Loss

I have two bean stories.  I’ll start with my second favorite memory of beans.

I moved from NJ to Texas at the age of 25.  Talk about culture shock.  It was a big brand new world to explore.  And if you enjoy ethnic cuisine you try to eat whatever the locals ate.  I wasn’t quite sure what Texas cuisine was besides smoked brisket.  On one day of exploration I passed a rather cheap and gaudy looking fast food joint that probably no longer exists.

“I wonder what this is?”

So I stopped, went in, stared at the menu and had absolutely no idea what anything was.  So I ordered a bean burrito.  It was your typical fast food burrito, thick brown paste, a little cheese, a little chili sauce, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  This happened so long ago the only remaining memory was that I liked it.  A lot.

So ends my second favorite bean story.

 

 

 

Eat More Nuts

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Blogs/LifestyleMedicine/55500

 

I have to admit as a child I rarely ate nuts.  The closest I got to a nut was peanut butter…on pancakes.  I added more tree nuts to my diet when I drank beer in bars.  The good bars always had good nuts.  That’s where I discovered my love for cashews.  I would pick all of the cashews out of a bowl of mixed nuts.  Still do.

This Medpage article offers up a short summary of the clinical evidence for higher nut consumption.  I eat a small handful of nuts daily.

Cashews and peanuts.

Baked French Toast

“I’ll take a loaf of challah please.”

“Sorry, we just ran out 10 minutes ago.”

“You must have had quite a few people buying challah this morning.”

“No.  We only made one loaf for the morning.”

This really happened at a bakery contained within one of those fancy we sell you everything type of grocery stores.  It was a Saturday morning.  I came to the store specifically for this type of bread.  So this little story explains how a loaf brioche got into this recipe now adapted from a recipe of nearly the same name by the Steep Acres Farm B&B somewhere in Oregon.

Seriously.  Why does a bakery make one loaf of bread?

  1. One stick butter
  2. Half cup brown sugar
  3. Half cup pure maple syrup
  4. One cup chopped pecans
  5. Eight large eggs
  6. One and a half cups of half and half
  7. One and a half tsp cinnamon
  8. One tsp vanilla extract
  9. One loaf brioche sliced thick

Heat butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth.  Transfer to a 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish.  Sprinkle pecans.

Whisk the eggs, half and half, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Dip bread slices into the mixture and arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.  Pour the remaining egg mixture over the bread slices, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, take the dish out of the refrigerator a minimum of thirty minutes prior to baking.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake the dish uncovered until it becomes golden brown and puffy.  This will take between 35 and 40 minutes.  It will be done when a knife stuck in the center of the puffiest part comes out clean.

Serve warm with more maple syrup.  Sit back, savor, and enjoy the compliments.

Tips

Pure maple syrup and pure vanilla extract.  Any usage of maple flavored sugar syrup or imitation vanilla will destroy this dish and you’ll never be invited over for anyone’s pot luck brunch ever again.  In a pinch, a loaf of soft French bread will work.

 

Dean Ornish: Can Healthy Eating Reverse Some Cancers? : NPR

Dean Ornish: Can Healthy Eating Reverse Some Cancers? : NPR.

Over 30 years have passed since I was a vegetarian.  My coworkers thought I was crazy.  Dinner invitations were met with hesitation.  Some friends made excuses like “My hamster is sick and I can’t come over for supper”.  My life as a vegetarian lasted 18 months.

At the grocery store the other day I was asked if I was a vegetarian.  I said no.  When I thought about the correct answer, I really had no answer.  There’s not really a good word to describe my eating habits.  Most weeks two thirds of my meals are meatless.  I avoid processed foods and fast food restaurants.  I guess I try to eat less bad food and more good health enhancing foods like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, less animal products, and more craft beer.

I stumbled upon this old TED talk this morning.  If you are not familiar with the work of Dr. Dean Ornish, this short video is a great place to start.

A Longevity Diet? Learning From the Blue Zones | Senior Planet

Summary:

  • high carbohydrate diet centered on whole grains
  • beans
  • eat less
  • eat more earlier in the day, less at night
  • drink alcohol
  • socialize

In my 20’s I was vegetarian for about a year and a half.  I managed to drive everyone around me crazy with my soapbox rants about how eating fast food burgers were the root cause of rain forest clearing for livestock grazing in Central America.  I’ve mellowed with age and no longer rant endlessly about the health benefits of a plant based diet.  I eat almost anything I want, just more of some things and a lot less of other things.  On a weekly basis, approximately two thirds of my meals are meatless.  Bean burritos are a staple, along with homemade bean soups and hummus.  Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, some good craft beer.  I eat differently than I did growing up.  But I guess that’s obvious given my history of losing over 200 pounds.

Good article and audio.  Check it out.

via A Longevity Diet? Learning From the Blue Zones | Senior Planet.