Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ahhh Soup!

Winter is here and with the drastic dip in temperatures it has me craving a hot bowl of soup. There are soups for everyone and every occasion ~ cream-based soups and broth-based soups, meat soups and vegetarian soups, hot soups and cold soups.

The soup I have been eating the longest in my life, probably is borscht. I know, not your typical soup, but a family tradition in my Polish/Czech family. It is our Easter Sunday meal, without fail. Although we usually have a simple, cream based version (essentially cream and beets).

Each person receives a bowl and they can doctor it up to their own specifications. Since it is Easter, we always have ham, polish sausage, hard-boiled eggs and horseradish (have to have the horseradish) that each person can add to our own bowls of delicious beet soup.

Makes about 8 cups

7 medium sized red beets
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
28 ounce whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
2 celery stalks, julienned
1 large leek, julienned
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Sour cream, optional
Horseradish, optional

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Scrub beets, place together on a large piece of foil, wrap tightly and roast on a baking sheet for about 1 hour, until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then slice and cut into thin strips.

Add stock to soup pot. Bring to boil, add tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, celery, leek and tomato paste. Simmer, partially covered until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add beets, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and cream if using. Simmer, partially covered for another 15 minutes.

Garnish with sour cream and horseradish, if desired.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year

Is one of your New Years resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier? This time of the year is a great time to assess where we are in our lives and make changes. Unfortunately most people fail to keep their resolutions. I read a statistic that said 80% of people have given up on their resolutions by January 20. Give up after 20 days, wow that is amazing.

My advice is to set reasonable goals. If your goal is to eat healthier, try another approach than starting a crazy diet that will only last one or two weeks. Make small changes in what you are already doing. If you are lacking in your fruit and vegetable consumption, make your goal to add one serving each day. Or make it a goal to include whole grains in two meals each week. Try switching from processed foods, like peanut butter to natural ones. Make small changes and stick with them.

One useful tip after you have set your goal is to determine what obstacles will stand in the way of meeting your goal. By realizing what problems you may encounter from the beginning, it can help you stay on track and meet your goals.

Remember it takes three weeks to make changes stick, so do not give up!