New Year, Improved Us!

Happy New Year, everyone! 2018 is here and I hope it has started off strong for everyone!

Resolutions are always a topic of discussion once a New Year starts and I have never been a big fan of making them, honestly. I like to focus on making improvements to habits I already follow AND I do like to include learning at least one new thing every year. Last year, I learned how to make pottery – which was fun, but I also discovered that I am not a huge fan of the practice… I also learned how to back-country ski – which I am now a big fan of and my plan is to improve this skill this year!

Often New Year’s resolutions are focused on health, particularly eating habits and refining them. Many resolutions were talked about this week throughout my place of work and the most common ones I heard were:

  • I am going to lose X number of weight this year;
  • I am going to give up soda;
  • I am going to avoid sugar entirely; or
  • I am going to go to the gym every day.

These are lofty goals and they hardly ever include how the individual is going to accomplish this goal. Also, they lack built-in flexibility for when things “just don’t go your way.” Often, I see individuals doing well with these resolutions for a couple of weeks, then something occurs, they get off track, and all is abandoned. This is why I tend to focus on making improvements with habits as yearly resolutions, which has led to bigger changes in the long run for me, personally.

Sarah and I feel that one of our biggest goals this year will be to cook with better intentions! We have laid out some specifics for our 2018 intention setting with Sisters with Good Taste! We plan to provide you with more stories and adapted recipes that include the following:

  1. We plan on posting more recipes that are plant based. We won’t necessarily be removing meat from our recipes, but we want our recipes to showcase more plant-based foods and let meat options take a back seat. It is hard to argue otherwise that plant based foods are better for our health and one of the goals of this blog is to provide our readers with healthy recipes.
  2. We want to be better about utilizing locally-sourced ingredients in our recipes and utilizing local food markets, Co-Ops and farmers markets. We are both lucky enough to have great access to local food year round (Sarah works at her local year-round farmers market on the weekends!) and we plan on using at least one locally sourced ingredient in our recipes. Winter is a tough time to start this, but many healthy foods are grown and prepared throughout the year and we hope to do our best to take advantage of these practices.
  3. We plan on preparing dishes that serve at least four people. We like to offer recipes that are family friendly and will actually feed a family. We also enjoy leftovers for next-day meals because it really helps cut down on the prep and cooking daily during those busier weeks.

We are excited to embark on this New Year with you and hope you will follow in our footsteps with your meal preparation and eating intentions. I chose a soup recipe Sarah prepared for our family a week ago as our first post for 2018. January is also National Soup Month which is very fitting since the temperatures this month are typically very frigid!

Let’s see how this recipe meets our new criteria:

  • This recipe is plant based without any meat added. The protein source in this recipe is white beans. You can also top the soup with some shaved Parmesan cheese which is an optional additive for additional protein and flavor.
  • I purchased most of the ingredients for the soup from my local Friendly City Food Coop and I used potatoes and canned tomatoes from my husband’s grand daddy’s garden in central Virginia. I also purchased a loaf of locally baked bread to go with the soup from the Staff of Life Bakery here in Harrisonburg, Va., but it is just an optional additive, but I do recommend it!
  • This recipe makes a medium stockpot full of soup producing more than four servings making it an ideal recipe to feed a family of four plus some leftovers.

Escarole & White Bean Soup

Modified from Lorinda Breeze’s blog.

Tweaks We Made:

  • We actually didn’t add escarole because it can be difficult to find in many grocery stores. We added fresh kale instead. Swiss chard is also a great substitute.
  • Also, we did not add the orecchiette pasta to the soup. When Sarah made this previously, the pasta actually absorbed a lot of the stock, so it became more of a “stoup” than soup. I added 4 small chopped potatoes from my husband’s grandfather’s garden which was a nice substitution. You can also not add the pasta/starch to the soup all together and instead ladle the soup over riced cauliflower or brown rice.
  • Instead of canned tomatoes from the grocery store, I actually used yellow tomatoes canned the previous summer by my father-in-law! Yellow tomatoes are less acidic than red and add a really nice flavor!
  • I also toasted some small pieces of local bread and topped the soup with them along with the grated or shaved Parmesan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked orecchiette pasta
  • 2 – 3 TB. of olive oil
  • 1 small red onion (sliced and chopped)
  • 2 medium carrots (sliced into pieces)
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of white beans
  • 2 – 3 cups of coarsely chopped escarole
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 2 TB. of fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmesan

Directions:

  • First, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, and set aside.
  • Second, prepare the vegetables by slicing and chopping them into bite size pieces.
  • Next, put the olive oil in a skillet and lightly saute the onions and carrots until softened.
soup prepPhoto c/o Lemma 🙂
  • Now, add the minced garlic, then 1 cup of the broth.
  • Next, transfer this to a saucepan or a soup pot, then add the rest of the broth and the canned tomatoes.
  • Now, add salt & pepper and let this simmer for about ten minutes until heated through.
  • Right before serving add the cooked pasta, the chopped escarole and the thyme and gently stir together.
soupPhoto c/o Lemma 🙂
  • Serve in soup bowls, adding more salt and pepper to taste – and pass the Parmesan!
soupFINALPhoto c/o Lemma 🙂

Post by Lemma

4 thoughts on “New Year, Improved Us!

  1. This looks delicious! I’m going to have to try it! And I love that you all are using locally sourced and more plant based options. I’m not vegetarian; however, we’re on a grocery budget and I only like to buy organic meat… so we don’t eat it that often! :o) I’m looking forward to the New Year! 🙂

    Like

  2. I loved this segment of your blog. The pictures were wonderful and educational and the beginning article about resolutions and additions and subtractions to a diet was great!

    Like

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