Vegetarian Honey Winter Vegetable Soup

vegetarian winter veg soup

Reprinted from Salon.com

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

2 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

One 35-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 quarts water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

One 2-by-2-inch piece Parmesan rind

7 ounces butternut squash, cubed

5 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped

Two 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, undrained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Shaved Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into an 8-quart stockpot over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Decrease the heat to low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the carrots, celery, onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes. Add the water, soy sauce and Parmesan rind, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, add the squash and kale, cover and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Return the mushrooms to the pot along with the beans, honey and red wine vinegar and cook until all is heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind and serve warm with shaved Parmesan.

Serve with hearty whole grain bread and a green salad.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – The Essentials

Fat bee

Okay, here is the diet I made up.  I’m no expert, but I’ve been on just about every diet there is with varying levels of success. I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

All of the foods allowed on the Romancing The Bee Diet (“RTBD”) are low (below 55) on the Glycemic Index (GI).

The GI is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A GI of 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.

For me, a food with a low GI keeps me satisfied longer and naturally suppresses my appetite. The variety of foods allowed enables me to still cook creatively!

Foods allowed on the RTBD are listed below. If it’s not on the list, I’m not going to eat it!!

Lean meats such as beef, skinless chicken, lamb, pork loin and veal – 8 ounces per day, OR

Any type of seafood without breading or batter – 8 ounces per day, OR

Three eggs per day (3 ounces), OR

Any combination of the above, not to exceed a total of 8 ounces of protein per day.

One grapefruit per day

One lemon per day

Apples or pears – two per day, total.

Non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, cabbage, salad greens, winter greens, onions, and garlic. (unlimited)

1 avocado per day

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (not light) or mayonnaise made with olive oil (not light), or a combination of these, not to exceed two tablespoons total.

2 tablespoons bleu cheese or parmesan cheese

Unlimited – Tea, diet soda, water, Vinegar, Tabasco, salt, pepper, fresh and dried spices and Dijon Mustard.

1 five ounce glass of wine per day, preferably red. (May be used in cooking)

EATING BREAKFAST IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED!

That’s it.  No counting of calories or carbs or points.  I’m hopeful that the small amounts of “naughty” foods will keep me from feeling deprived, while still allowing me to lose 2-3 pounds per week.

New Year’s Eve – Mixed Winter Greens With Honey Champagne Vinaigrette

winter greens salad.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Ingredients

8 cups (10 oz. bag) mixed winter greens, such as frisée, arugula, mustard, beet greens, chicory, escarole.

1 pomegranate

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix mustard, Champagne vinegar, honey and garlic.

Then, whisking constantly with a fork, slowly add 6 tablespoons olive oil, until the vinaigrette is thick and creamy

Dress clean, dry salad greens immediately before serving. Add pomegranate seeds for accent.

Braised Winter Greens

Braised greens

Kale, Swiss chard and collard greens are in season virtually everywhere. They are so good for you, and especially tasty when prepared southern-style with honey.  Try some from your local farmers’ market.

Yield:  8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound bacon slices, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 cups chicken stock

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed

1 bunch kale, ribs removed

1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large pot heat oil and bacon over high heat until bacon is well browned. Stir in garlic and cook 45 seconds. Deglaze with chicken stock and vinegar. Add honey and greens and partially cover. Lower heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.