Combatting Stress Eating with Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup
Stress. Grief. Loss. Anger. Worry. Exhaustion. Frustration. Disappointment. These are the feelings that for me all too often seem to be better handled by indulging in whatever food and drink I feel like. I know better. I’m not some youngster just trying to figure this all out. And every time I eat either the wrong things or more than I should in order to assuage my feelings, I know very well that I’m doing it. Sometimes I don’t care – the food is just too delicious, too comforting. And then there are days like this past weekend when I get on the scale and think, “Holy crap! What am I doing!?” And then I try to get a grip.Now I’m not one to promote dieting, fasting, cleansing, or anything else like that. It feels too restrictive to me and I usually just fall off that wagon big time. Instead, I like to just attempt to return to eating healthier, but very satisfying, food. Lots of vegetables. Lower in fat. Whole grains. Vegetable sources of protein. You get the picture, right? So when I saw these items in my freezer and refrigerator – carrots, celery, leeks, some cooked anasazi beans, some cooked barley, some cooked kale, and Parmigiano Reggiano rinds – I knew exactly what to make.The beauty of this soup is that you can make it with whatever vegetables and grains you have on hand. Just be sure to have a balance of veggies, protein (I used beans but you could use a lowfat protein like chicken as well), and grains, and then cover the whole thing with enough stock to barely cover it in order to keep it rich like a stew. Simmer just long enough to soften the vegetables a bit, season with salt and pepper, and remove the cheese rind before serving. The rind will have imparted wonderful flavor, and you’ll be tempted to eat the whole gooey thing when you pull it out, but please try to show some restraint. If you want some more Parmigiano Reggiano flavor in the soup, just sprinkle a little on before serving. I had one bowl for lunch without the cheese, then one for dinner with some cheese – great either way. Best of all? I went to bed without hating myself for eating out of control. Enjoy!
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup sliced leeks
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 cups cooked beans, any variety (I used organic anasazi)
- 2 cups cooked barley
- 1-2 cups cooked kale, roughly chopped
- 1 large parmesan rind, for flavoring soup (optional)
- 4 cans stock, any variety
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until vegetables soften slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove rind before serving.
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