If you are one of the people who make new year’s resolutions, raise your hand. Hmmm, there are a lot of you! I had my hand raised too. I had my annual physical on the last day of 2012, and while my overall health is great (thank goodness), I need to lose some weight! But I love to cook! I love desserts! I love pasta! What to do?
I’m sure a lot of the gals, and some guys too, can relate to the fact that I’ve tried every diet trend out there, with varying degrees of success. But what I’ve come to realize (and what my doctor confirmed) is that there is no magic bullet. Well, there is, it’s just not going to be sold on a late night cable channel! The cold hard truth is that you have to exercise and eat sensibly.
Now I’m the first to admit that The Dude and I have a membership to a lovely health club not 10 minutes from our home. But have we been consistent in our attendance? Nope. There are always a multitude of excuses when we get home from work. Too tired. Too busy. Parks and Recreation is on TV and I don’t want to miss it – even though we have a DVR! You get the idea.
So, as so many have done before us, The Dude and I are resolving to lose weight this year. No crazy diets, just more chicken, fish and fresh veggies. No denying ourselves an occasional goody or two. Getting to the gym three days a week for swimming or weight training. My doctor said it takes 4 months to make something a habit, so I’m hoping by April I won’t be grousing every time I leave for the health club. I’ll still be posting yummy things here. But the thing to remember is everything in moderation! Keep it flavorful, fun, and low-fat when you can. Splurge every once in a while!
Today, I’m going to give you a great meatless option for a perfect winter dinner. Vegetable Bean Soup starring my favorite legume, Cannellini beans! Enjoy it with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio, and a slice of crusty bread. Low in fat, high in fiber, big on taste. Enjoy!
Vegetable Bean Soup
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 8-10 stalks of red swiss chard, de-stemmed and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced fine
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 2 15 oz cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until they begin to soften. Add the swiss chard and saute until the chard is wilted. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, water and tomato paste. Then add your cannellini beans.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour, partially covered. Season to taste. Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, briefly blend the soup making sure NOT to puree it. You just want to break up some of the vegetables and beans. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a potato masher.
Serve with a sprinkle of shredded parmesan cheese.