Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter Soups

Just a few weeks out from the Barry-Roubaix and I'm feeling the rise of panic. Turns out that snack runs to Wesco isn't the best training strategy. As if I don't put enough pressure on myself, one of the guys at the bike shop said his goal was to race me! Okay, I know it's a race and that there's a theoretical target on everyone's back. But now there is a specific threat--against me. Time to get serious, drop the holiday weight and get back into the training mindset.

My weakest aspect of fitness/training is nutrition. I can squeeze in some riding, running and strength-training but I have a hard time staying away from the snacks. I have the best success when I plan ahead and make some nutrient rich, yummy meals that are ready to reheat in a milisec. Here's a couple of my favorite soups I whipped up:

My Vegetable Soup
Olive Oil
4-5 Carrots, chopped
2-3 Celery Sticks, chopped
1 small potato (you could add more), chopped
1 md or 2 small onions, diced
1/2 cup or so frozen peas
1/2 cup or so frozen green beans
1 box organic veggie broth
1 can 12-16 ounce tomato sauce
1 tsp Curry Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh Parsley

In a large pot, pour in a bit of olive oil. Swirl it around some. Toss in onions and cook for about 1 minute. Then add carrots, celery, and potato. At this point, I stir everything to cover the goods in olive oil and then sprinkle with some sea salt. Maybe do one twist of the pepper grinder. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Add in 1 box or a bit less, depending if you want more/less broth. Add can of tomato sauce. Next mix in your spices. I prefer Curry powder, it gives the soup extra warmth and goodness. After stirring well, add your frozen vegetables. Let simmer on the stove, covered, for another 10-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh Parsley. Why parsley? Because it is PACKED with good stuff: protein, vitamin E, vitamin C, fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium--I could go on. I should note that this is one of those soups that is better the second time around.

Curried Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili?
Olive Oil
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 small yam, peeled and shredded
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 box Butternut Squash puree thawed
1/2 cup(ish) Soy Milk
Generous Squirt (not long squeeze) of Agave Nectar
1 can Black Beans, rinsed
1 tblsp Curry
1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
Kosher Salt

Heat Olive Oil in a large skillet. Toss in onions, stir until they start to caramelize. Throw in the shredded carrots and yam. Stir around for 2-minutes or so. Add chopped peppers and cook another few minutes. Shake some Kosher Salt over the mix.

Add thawed butternut squash puree, soy milk and Agave Nectar. Stir. Shake spices on--more or less to taste. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat. Use a submersible blender to puree the soup, should be a nice creamy consistency. Place back over heat and add black beans, let simmer on low for another 10 minutes or so.

Serve with a sprinkle of shredded coconut. Yummmmmmmm.