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Happy New Year my fellow resolute-rs!

Normally I kick off every New Year with a slew of exercise posts. Be sure to check out my Gym Equipment Guide posts (under the Exercise Categories to the right) if you are new to working out.  This year my focus is on nutrition.  I had been feeling a bit sluggish towards the end of last year. If truth be told, my level of energy had slowly dwindled throughout 2017.  In late November, I realized that I had to make changes. I needed to make more of an effort to get the nutrients my body required so that it could work at optimal levels. Eating plant-based can be a challenge.  It takes knowledge, consistency, time and organization to get it right. The propensity to let things slip is easy if you are not on your game.

There will be more on the changes that I have made in the weeks to come.
In the meantime, the post below is one that I was working on in December but didn’t have the time to complete.

 

Three months ago I entered a recipe competition exclusively for home chefs and the response from the sponsors has been…

 

 

 

 

deafening silence.

The contest was co-sponsored by a well-known professional Italian chef.  Many of the showcased entries were heavy in meat, dairy and or sugar.  I opted to submit a plant-based creamy artichoke and spinach soup recipe because that’s what I do.

Chirp.

On the bright side, one of the submitted entrees intrigued me and inspired me to research recipes similar to it.  It was a Tuscan soup dish (love my zuppa!) which was weighted with sausage, bacon, heavy cream and surprisingly table sugar. My first thought, upon perusing the ingredients, was that I was going to make a dish similar to this but adapt it to fit a plant-based lifestyle. The results were delicious and exceeded my expectations.

Nutritional note: Farro is a common ingredient in Italian recipes and is the grain I added to my dish to give it a nutritional boost. It is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron.  There are three types of Farro: whole (bran has not been removed and is fiber dense), semi-pearled (part of the bran has been removed, some fiber remains), and pearled (all bran removed, little fiber and nutrition remain).  Whole farro should be soaked overnight. This will ensure that the grain will fully cook.

Cooking note: In the last month I have made this dish both as a soup and a stew.  The amount of farro you want in the dish will determine how much vegetable broth you need.  For a soup, use less farro (about 1/2 -3/4 c of farro to 8 cups of broth). For a dense dish, increase the amount of farro. Start with 8 cups of vegetable broth and add more as needed.

Tuscan Soup /Tuscan Stew

Serves 6-10

Ingredients:
8 oz dry white beans, soaked overnight
1/4 c dry black beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, sliced
4 carrots, julienne
4 celery stalks, julienne
3 leeks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
8-12 c veggie broth
1/2 c- 2 c farro , if whole, soak overnight
salt and pepper

Directions:
Soak beans overnight in a little salt water.  Drain beans the following day, add a little salt to the water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. About an hour.

Heat a large soup pot on high. Add onion and a little water to keep onions from burning.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add carrots, celery and leeks. Add water as needed. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until farro is tender, about 30 minutes to an hour (depends on the type of farro used, with the whole form taking the longest).
Serve in warm bowls

Please leave a comment…

* This label is a close proximity to the nutrient facts.  I could not find a label creator that recognized farro as an ingredient.  As a result, I substituted barley which is a close cousin to farro.

 

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