New Year’s Day brings with it a deluge of articles and tips on healthier practices and vows that we know we can’t stick to. Juice fast, anyone?
Most of us can’t make it to a daily yoga class, let alone consider a shot of wheatgrass every morning.
But most of us do have at least a little time to pursue a “good for you” habit or two, if for no other reason than to justify the occasional descent, guilt-free, into full-on pork-fat-filled debauchery. Feel better? It’s all about balance.
One healthy thing you can do for yourself is trying to add some more leafy greens into your diet. A great way to do that is to blanch them in some garlicky stock and puree the whole pot into soup that you can carry with you to work with some crusty, whole-wheat bread. That’s my style this week. It’s a delicious way to be “good.”
Here’s a food blog I stumbled across that has some other great ideas for getting a healthy start to the new year, including that green soup. Big Girls, Small Kitchen is written by a couple of food bloggers who regularly contribute to the Huffington Post.
Their green soup looks gorgeous if you’re into food items that resemble pond algae. I mean, for real, if you’re the type of person that walks around town clutching green super-food smoothies, this one will be right up your alley. Actually, I took one look at it and thought, “That’s what I can do with all of that baby kale I accidentally left in the car so long it froze.”
The author’s recipe is listed below:
1 bunch Swiss chard stems and leaves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, stem ends removed, coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken stock (or veggie)
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
In a medium dutch oven, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Add the chard stalks and simmer for 4 minutes, or until they start becoming tender. Add the chard leaves, zucchini and salt. Replace lid and simmer for another 4 minutes or so. When the vegetables are beginning to soften, but are not completely cooked through, add the cilantro and cook for an additional minute (you just want the herbs to wilt slightly). Remove greens from pot, and set cooking liquids aside for another use. Blend the greens in a food processor or blender, adding some of the liquids as necessary to obtain your desired texture. Add the lemon, cayenne, and taste for seasoning.
As with almost every recipe created — ever — it’s really overwrought and sounds way more complicated than it is. If you want my slightly doctored version (you know, if you already basically know your way around a kitchen), here you go:
Saute 2 onions (diced), three garlic cloves (chopped) and two stalks celery (chopped) in a large pot (add some chopped broccoli stems if you have them). Add two quarts stock of your choosing (I keep homemade chicken stock in the freezer. Want to get in that habit? Check here. That’s from my long-abandoned blog.). Bring to boil, then simmer till vegetables are soft. Add cilantro, fresh parsley and assorted chopped greens (I used that frozen baby kale and a whole bunch — stems and all — of spinach). Simmer a couple of minutes, add salt, pepper, lemon to taste, maybe a little cream if it suits you, and puree. Maybe shave a little hard cheese on the top when you serve it.
I ended up with about three quarts, one of which went into the freezer. The rest will be my lunch for the next few days. Sound boring? It’s not, once you realize how good it makes you feel. Two days of green soup, and I already feel the New Years cobwebs melting away.
Want more easy New Years resolutions for a healthier you (so you can eat your face off in a decadent manner when the opportunity arises?) Check in here over the next few days. We have other ideas coming for you.
But here’s a hint: Bon Appetit is singing the praises of whole grains right now, and it reminded me that I need to try to eat more barley and less white pasta. I know, some of you stopped paying attention when Gwyneth Paltrow ended up on the cover. Who can blame you?