Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cauliflower Soup

I just partook in one my my favorite simple pleasures in life - eating toast with butter and jam (or in this case, toast with Earth Balance and jam). It was comforting and satisfying on this cold winter's night. But, now, I have to partake in the unpleasant part. I have to go get my iPhone, open the My Net Diary app, and log my calories. A little backstory...
It's probably been a couple of years now that I've had a desire to increase my core strength. As a runner and a cyclist who has never put any focus on strength training, I'm starting to feel a need to make my middle body stronger. I've been doing yoga at least once weekly for almost a couple of years now, and while that has helped some, it's still not enough. So I have spent nights over the last many months meandering around different gyms, but not having any idea what to do and having a hard time having any motivation towards trying. Then, recently, I talked with a couple of different people who went to this place called Fitness Together. They each at one point had been in a similar frame of mind (and body), but found the inspiration and direction they needed to get some results. It turns out Fitness Together is pretty much in my backyard. I cut through the gap in my fence, walk through the cemetery, cross Broadway, and there I am. It just took me longer to type that sentence than it does to get there. I went and had a consultation, handed over my credit card and I am now the proud owner of 16 personal training sessions (actually 15 since I had my first one this morning).
So, let's get back to my toast. As part of the process, I have to track my calories, so we can see my protein intake, etc. When Mike broke this news to me, I felt a sense of dread. Make me do lunges or push-ups. That kind of pain is manageable, but making me hyper aware of each bite of food I swallow wasn't really what I was in the mood for. I know I need to do this though. In fact, I'd been thinking about doing it anyway, knowing that my food intake is more than what it should be lately based on my activity level. I do not want to be some calorie obsessed junkie sitting at the lunch table saying things like, "Do YOU KNOW how many calories is in that buffalo fried chicken pizza you're eating?" But, it is creating a deeper sense of nutrition awareness for me and I will likely keep doing it for longer than just my required week.
If you're curious, the answer is 240. One piece of oatmeal bread (110), one tablespoon of earth balance spread (100), and one tablespoon of apricot jam (30). Whatever the number attached to it, it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
In addition to my toast, I also had some cauliflower soup. A friend had sent me a recipe, looking for an alternative to the cup of cream that was in it. I tried adding some potato. I want to do a version with cream, just to taste the difference, but in the meantime, I enjoyed this. It's very simple - so few ingredients, and I am in love with cauliflower these days. The hardest part was taking the roasted cauliflower out of the pan and into the soup pot without eating it all first.

Cauliflower soup
1 small to medium head of cauliflower, sliced into 3/4" "steaks"
1 small onion chopped
1 large or 2 small potatoes (russet or yukon gold), cut into good sized chunks
2-3 cups veggie broth
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat the oven to 380.
2. Lay the cauliflower, onion and potato in a baking pan, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Roast until golden brown, turning once half way (I think I cooked them for a total of 40 minutes).
4. In a soup pot, add 2 cups of the broth and all the roasted veggies. Simmer together for a bit and then puree. Add more broth or water until it's at the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.