Happy New Year!
I love the idea of renewal that the New Year brings. In the dead of winter with nothing growing outside but icicles (a least in Chicago), the notion of starting or growing something new is far from the mind. Yet in this bleak time, with autumn’s occasional warmth and colorful beauty still fresh in our memory, and the very long wintery road ahead of us, we think, “Time for a fresh start!” We assess our failures and shortcomings, set our sights on self-improvement, and head into the New Year with a shiny new attitude and motivation.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and be healthier. I didn’t even have to look that up. I just know it. After a month (or perhaps a year…) of celebrations filled with dips, chips, cookies, cheeses, crackers, cookies, cakes, candies, cookies, drinks and cookies, we look in the mirror and vow to eat better. January first comes along and gives us the perfect motivational deadline to help spur our resolve.
Unfortunately, many of us set our sights too high and find our resolutions unattainable. Just remember to keep your expectations realistic. Try to exercise more each week, not two hours every day. Try to buy more produce so you have healthy options to choose from and can slowly whittle away at your caloric intake—don’t suffer hungrily through the day only to lose your focus and eat a box of cookies because there’s nothing else in the house.
Here’s a healthy, easy soup recipe you can make at home. I made a large batch. You can make a smaller one, or freeze the extra in single serving portions—then you’ll have a quick meal at the ready when you need one.
I needed to come up with some soft food recipes. This week my youngest got braces on her bottom teeth, and my son got all four of his wisdom teeth removed. Happy New Year!
I made scrambled eggs. I mashed avocado. I mixed smoothies, smoothies, and more smoothies. I bought applesauce and yogurt. I had two children asking for different things to eat because they were sick of the usual stuff and tired of dairy.
I tried to think of a healthy soft food that wasn’t cold (my son was chilled from all the icing), and soup came to mind as I perused the produce section. The tofu caught my eye. Silken tofu is soft and packs a powerful protein punch. Then I saw the broccoli, looking all fresh, green, and nutritious, and I knew what I would make.
I sautéed a large onion, added garlic and broth, and made a tofu broccoli soup. It’s very nearly all nutritious, except for two tablespoons of olive oil, which isn’t even terrible for you. Many creamy soups are loaded with whole milk, cream, cheese or butter, but not this one. When I mentioned to my daughter that it was vegan, my husband asked what was in it, because he couldn’t tell it was tofu-based. If you like, you can serve shredded Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese to sprinkle on top if you have cheese lovers at home. Then it’s just a small serving of cheese, and everyone can add the amount they prefer.
I thought I’d share this recipe since it tastes good and is incredibly healthy. Since tofu is loaded with protein, iron and calcium, and broccoli is packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, Potassium, and other antioxidants, this soup will fill you up and hopefully help you start the New Year off right!
Creamy Broccoli Tofu Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Large onion, chopped
3-4 Cloves garlic, chopped
7 Cups Broccoli florets and peeled stems, chopped (about 2 pounds)
8 Cups broth (vegetarian or chicken)
2 16-ounce packages silken tofu
2 Tbsp. flour mixed with 1 Tbsp. water until smooth (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute longer. Add Broccoli and broth and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until broccoli is tender, about 15 - 30 minutes. Add tofu and heat through.
Mix with immersion blender until blended, being careful to not splash. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer to a blender to mix, carefully, in batches.
If the soup is too thin, add the flour mixed with water, and stir in until it thickens.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
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