I currently write this post not from the comfort of my apartment in San Francisco, but rather from the stark and impersonal confines of a hotel room in Los Angeles. Having recently been transferred to a project that requires that I travel to Los Angeles for 3 weeks of each month has been somewhat of a disruption to my normal routines and daily life (to put it mildly). Please, don’t misunderstand me, for I am very grateful for the opportunities to spend time back in Southern California where there is a never-ending supply of sunshine, blue skies, and friends. However, cooking regularly is rather difficult when you see your kitchen for perhaps a weekend at a time. Those of you who know me well know that I am particularly fond of cooking (again, putting it mildly) and often find myself wishing that I could just cook and bake all day long. Now, that is a mere pipe dream as I face the reality that is a full-travel project.
Perhaps harder yet than cooking regularly is eating wholesome, healthy food regularly. Being in LA for part of the week means that my team and I end up eating out for every meal. Literally. Yet, that doesn’t mean I have to eat poorly (and subsequently suffer the consequences of such impulsive decisions). Sometimes, something as simple as preparing your delicious soup, with only delicious, healthy ingredients, is what you need to maintain your gastrointestinal sanity and recover from those crazy weeks of binge eating.
And best of all, it takes almost no effort to make.
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tbspns coconut oil
- 4 cups water
- 1 cube chicken (or vegetable) bullion
- 3 cups broccoli
- 2 cups peas
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- salt and pepper
Start by chopping your onions and dicing your garlic. As many of you know, onions and garlic are my two favorite ingredients for any savory dish. Perhaps this is a remnant of my childhood days watching my grandmothers each cook with copious amounts of both ingredients, or perhaps it’s just my subconscious recognizing the undeniable truth that is the delicious, fragrant wonder of garlic and onions. Either way, I know that they are always the first ingredients I reach for.
My advice to you is not to fret about the size or uniformity of your chops when it comes to garlic and onions for this soup. Since it will all be blended together later into delicious liquid form, you really should only focus on making these first few steps as easy as possible for yourself. Chop them coarsely and set aside.
Once your onions and garlic are prepared, heat your coconut oil in a soup pot on medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and onions, stirring frequently to let them saute and gain a beautiful pearly translucence. Before they are completely sauteed to mushy nothingness, add in your 4 cups of water and the chicken bullion cube.
After letting the onions, garlic, and soup boil, it’s time to add the main attraction of the soup – the peas and broccoli. Out of necessity (and convenience), I used frozen broccoli and peas. I have nothing against it, and encourage it if you do not have fresh ingredients on hand. Once added, go ahead and bring the soup back to a gentle boil, leaving it to simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
After the vegetables have thoroughly cooked and warmed, soaking in the flavors of onion and garlic, transfer all of the ingredients in the soup pot to your trusty blender. If it doesn’t all fit in one turn, blend half the ingredients at first, and then repeat with the second half of the ingredients.
Add in your cilantro to the ingredients in the blender. Cilantro, which is a hit or miss ingredient for many people, I find adds a lot of character to a soup like this one. It’s got a somewhat strong flavor, and is very earthy and herbed. Yet, when added in as a flavor note in a soup like this, it really only helps to blend all of the ingredients together (see what I did there?).
Give the blender a few pulses to make it all blend evenly, and you’re done! It’s really and truly that simple to create a delicious dish that is both hearty, tasty, and healthy.
I’ve known many people who, in the face of the adversity of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling every week and eating out constantly, feel overwhelmed and simply give up on being healthy. Frankly, it’s far easier to just say “Forget it, I’m going to do what I want”. Been there, done that.
Yet, for whatever reason, I’ve recently come to the realization that your health is not something you can bargain with. You can put off mowing the lawn or doing laundry, but you can’t put off taking care of your body. You can’t do irreparable damage to it now, and then hope that some day down the road, you’ll be fine. Yes, I still enjoy eating burgers with my friends, going to Bi-Rite in the Mission for ice cream, and drinking wine while reading my book in my apartment. I don’t think anyone should just give up foods they love. But I DO believe in eating them in moderation, and doing your absolute best to eat healthy the majority of the time.
May this soup find you healthy, happy, and wholesome.