Today is the first “official” day of my winter holiday and if I did not have to venture outside tonight for my Weight Watchers meeting, I could easily stay in my lounge clothes and robe all day. The landscape outside is covered with a fresh and fluffy coverlet of snow and it is a hot-bowl-of-soup and a steaming-cup-of-tea kind of day. The next few days will be bustling with Christmas cheer and family, so today I am enjoying a hushed house as I ruminate over the past year and continue to map out my intentions for 2014.
My health is always #1 on my resolutions list and in 2013 I managed to create healthy routines involving our living spaces. I find that the less cluttered our tiny house is, the stronger and more “in control” I feel. Yes, it is true that I make healthier food choices and do not make as many excuses not to exercise when our house is tidy. With the stressful nature of teaching I need to have a restful and calm sanctuary to come home to and wind down.
When I started Produce with Amy my goals were to both eat more produce and to be productive. How accomplished I feel to say that I have been successful with both. Thank you to my readers for sharing this journey with me. Your feedback, comments, and support has helped me stay accountable and I love being able to help others make healthy choices.
Cooking is a pleasurable activity for me and I enjoy the creativity found in combining different flavors and textures. A few weeks ago I heard someone refer to themselves as a refrigerator cook because they cook meals out of what they have on hand. I could relate to this since I do the same thing. Now that I am blogging my food combinations, I do try to write them down so I can share them with you.
This white bean soup is an example of a dish that I tossed together with what I had in the house. I am always cooking up large batches of beans from dried to freeze for my meals. For this soup I also used my Spicy Brown Rice since I had several servings in the freezer.
- 4 cups of vegetable stock
- 3 cups of tomatoes (I used tomatoes from my garden that were roasted with rosemary and basil)
- 3 cups of Spicy Brown Rice (you could also use plain brown rice and add some taco seasoning or spices for flavor)
- 3 cups of white beans
- 1 cup of chopped cabbage
- 4 minced cloves of garlic
- 3 ribs of chopped celery
- 1 large chopped carrot
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1 small chopped zucchini
- Salt & pepper to taste
Once all your vegetables are chopped simply toss into the slow cooker. I cooked on low for 4 hours. Normally bean soup would take twice as long but the beans were already cooked. This recipe makes approximately 12 cups of soup and it freezes well.
My favorite way to eat bean soup is with a dash of vinegar added to the top before eating. I love the way the vinegar brightens up the flavor. I also often drizzle two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil on top.
This soup is very versatile and you can add any vegetables that you have on hand (sometimes I also add tomato sauce). The combination of beans and rice make it hearty and satisfying.
Vegetable packed soup is one of my secret weapons for weight management and my husband Mike and I have a cup each night with dinner. This bean soup, along with a salad, is a filling meal. I make soup on the weekend and I often like to make a double batch so I can freeze a few portions. This is especially helpful if we end up going out of town on the weekend and I do not have time to make our weekly soup.
I hope that this soup helps you to stay warm and healthy this winter. Enjoy any holiday festivities that you may be attending and do not forget to pile your plate with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and build exercise into your schedule.
I challenge you to reflect on your successes for 2013 and come up with a list of goals that you would like to achieve in 2014. Stay tuned ~ I promise another year of healthy recipes coming your way!