Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today's Lunch

Today's lunch was super simple because I was in a hurry. I was also in the mood for cheese so I took half of an onion poppy seed bagel from the freezer, thawed it a bit in the microwave (but left it still a bit cold), topped with Colby Jack cheese, and stuck it in the toaster oven just enough to soften the cheese. It's amazing how something so simple can be so good when you really crave it. I had it with carrot soup that I had already made and just a few strawberries. I had more strawberries later as a snack, but wanted a few as a sweet finish to this small lunch.

carrot soup:
  • 1 tsp. oil (40 calories)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed (7 calories)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (44 calories)
  • 1 semi-heaping tsp. curry powder (9 calories)
  • 2 small whole garlic cloves, peeled (9 calories)
  • 3 large carrots, scrubbed with tips removed, sliced (90 calories)
  • 1 can (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock (20 calories for chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat milk (135 calories)
  • 1/2-1 cup water
  • salt and coarse black pepper to taste (I use 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper)
total (entire batch): 354 calories

Heat a medium soup pot (that you have a lid for) under low heat. Add the oil to the hot pan and tip it around to coat the bottom evenly. Add the fennel seeds and allow them to cook for about a minute. Add the diced onion and garlic cloves and stir it around in the oil and fennel. Cook the onions over low or medium heat until they become translucent. If they start to stick or brown too quickly, lower the heat and stir more frequently. It should take 5-10 minutes to cook the onions. It's important to do this to remove the "raw" or harsh flavors from the onion.

Add the curry powder to the onions and stir it around. Cook the curry powder for 2-3 minutes with the onions. Add the carrots and stir around to coat with seasonings. Add the soup stock, salt, pepper, water and milk. Note that the amount of water you use depends on how thin you want the soup to be. I prefer mine thick, so I use a half cup, but the size of the vegetables plays into this as well. Stir to mix, cover with a lid, and allow to cook over low to medium-low heat at a vigorous simmer. A vigorous simmer means it is boiling a little, but not at a point where the pot might boil over. Stir the soup occasionally (about every 10 minutes or so).

Cook until the carrots are tender. The time this takes depends on how you slice or cut up your carrots. Smaller pieces take less time. Generally speaking, between 30-45 minutes is good. It's okay to overcook the soup, but not to cook too little as the carrots need to be very tender. Test the carrots with a fork to see if they are done. If you can cut one of the thicker or larger pieces in half easily with a fork, it is cooked well enough. When the carrots are thoroughly cooked, use an immersion blender to puree it well. Serve hot or cold.

This makes between 4-5 one-cup (8 oz.) servings of soup. The volume varies slightly depending on the size of your vegetables and whether or not you make the soup thinner or thicker. For my FitDay logging, I just place one serving at 80 calories which I believe is going to be within 10 calories one way or another if I have a one cup serving.

bagel = 160 calories
1.6 oz. cheese = 174 calories
8 oz. carrot soup = 80 calories
4 strawberries = 16 calories
total = 430

Because of the low amount of protein, I was hungry about 2 hours later, but I rather expected that. I had a half cup of (full fat, with sugar) yogurt with the second serving of strawberries about two hours after this.

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