I have a problem, and I don’t think I’m alone in it. My problem is that I just can’t say no! I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to miss out, in situations varying from a night out with some friends, right the way down to Liam getting himself a drink from the kitchen. I want one too! Ha! So, when there are a pile of scrummy-looking cakes on offer in the office, baked by some of my colleagues’ fair hands, I definitely can’t say no. I just have to try one.
This week there have been no less than three types of cake on offer. People have been busy over the weekend! A peanut butter and chocolate cake with a crumbly biscuit base and whipped cream topping, some lovely moist banoffee cupcakes and some delicious white chocolate and macadamia brownies. Oh my! There was no way I could resist all of these. In actual fact (and as you can probably guess), I tried all three. (Oops!)
I like to think I’m a relatively healthy person, but if I deny myself these occasional treats, well, I would probably go insane. I think it is healthy (for my mind) to allow myself things I want, rather than denying myself and leaving myself feeling unfulfilled. After treating my tastebuds, I looked at what I had to eat for the rest of the day: carrots and hummus, sugarsnap peas, an apple, a banana, a salad for lunch, and soup for dinner. Thankfully I can afford to treat myself once in a while.
I think this is what people who try to ‘diet’ forget. It isn’t about starving yourself, or following a strict ‘rabbit food’ regime, but about eating healthy and filling foods and allowing yourself a cake, or a pizza, for example, every now and again. Balance is key, and no-one is perfect!
After my cake day, I returned home to this soup, which I had made at the weekend and frozen in portions of 2. It makes 8-10 portions, so that is 1 portion of this soup a week for myself and Liam, for the next 4-5 weeks! It is a bonus if my healthy food works out as pretty darn cheap per meal as well. I found this soup on the Food52 site, and was instantly sold.
This soup is foolproof really. I’m sure anyone can throw a load of vegetables and spices into a pan and leave it to cook, then blend it all up. If you are into making your own soup, you should definitely try this one, the flavours are just wonderful. If you have never made your own soup before, well, this is is a tasty way to start.
With 6 carrots and a huge sweet potato in this soup, it contains loads of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in our bodies. This is an essential nutrient, important for keeping our cells moist and happy, and therefore able to stay free from infection. The antioxidants in these vegetables are thought to slow the degeneration of our eye health, and are also implicated in cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. Time to get the blender out!
Oh, and this is Liam’s favourite soup. Convinced?
This is what you need:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions
5-6 large carrots
1 large sweet potato (approx 550-600g)
1 cup red lentils
1 tbsp harissa paste
2 tsp Ras el Hanout (you can buy this from a regular supermarket – I got mine from sainsburys)
8 cups (approx 2 litres) vegetable stock (I used 2 Knorr stockpots to make 4 cups (1L) of stock, then added another 4 cups (1L) of just water.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Slice of wholegrain bread/ciabatta/your favourite bread for soup!
1 tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt
A few coriander leaves
This is how to make it:
Heat the oil in a large pan, then cook the onions for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the remaining ingredients, put the lid on at an angle to crack a bit of room between the lid and pan, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Let cool slightly, then blend with a stick blender until smooth.
Enjoy with Greek yoghurt, coriander and some bread to mop it all up.
Either freeze the rest for up to a few months, or keep in the fridge for a few days.
Stay happy guys!