Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back to Your Roots. Simple Planning and Cooking to Keep You on Track.

I’m driving home from work. It’s 6:30 PM. And I’m hungry, very hungry. I get stuck in rush hour traffic and now I’m starving. Unless I know that the hired help will have dinner ready for me when I get home, my thoughts wander to take out. And since I don’t have hired help awaiting my return, I know I’d better have a plan in place for dinner. Because I need immediate gratification. And I won't feel good eating out too frequently, especially when I'm hungry and vulnerable.

Nutrition knowledge is great. But if the groundwork isn’t laid to prepare a meal, even to mentally prep for eating, your knowledge will get you nowhere. Yes, even nutritionists can be impulsive if they fail to plan. Cooking in advance helps enormously. Soups and stews work like a dream—they freeze and reheat well, contain lots of satisfying ingredients in one bowl, with only one pot to clean up! And they typically make enough for multiple meals, so leftovers can be enjoyed for many days.

Tonight’s dinner (
mentally prepared during my lunch break) was leftover Back to Your Roots soup—a root vegetable puree that is delectable, even reheated from the freezer.  It is total comfort food, creamy and satisfying, but relatively low in saturated fat (given the number of servings it makes). Don’t let the half and half scare you. The bulk of the soup is pureed yummy veggies. The cream is a tiny morsel of this meal! And so satisfying and filling.

Tonight, I served it with a small omelet. I arrival home from work at 7 PM. Dinner? Served at 7:20 PM. And yes, it beats fast food and take-out any day of the week! I had never tried many of these vegetables yet they were a perfect combination of flavors! This is now an absolute favorite, guaranteed to please.

Back to Your Roots Soup (makes 10 generous servings)
(adapted from New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Druker)

3 Tbsps. oil (olive or canola, or  butter)
3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 large turnip or rutabaga, peeled and cut in chunks
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bulb celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks
12 cups stock (chicken, vegetable, regular or reduced sodium cartons work well). Some water can be substituted as well.
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups half and half
salt and pepper to taste (skip the salt if using regular stock versus reduced sodium)

Heat oil (or butter) over medium heat. Add garlic, onion ,celery, carrots, and parsnips. Saute about 8 minutes. Add turnip, sweet potato, celeriac, and stock.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.
Simmer until vegetables are soft and tender, about 40 minutes.
Remove from heat, adding nutmeg.
Puree soup with a hand blender until smooth (those wand-like devices that save you the trouble of pouring scalding soup into the food processor).
Add the half and half and stir.

Savor every spoonful! And let me know what you think.
I have a few other soup favorites I'd be glad to share--just say the word!


  1. I *love* soup - a real comfort food. I would be thrilled if you would post more soup recipes!

    I've just googled 'half anf half' and it says it's a 'half cream half whole milk' product - could you literally substitute this in for half and half (ie: 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream)?

  2. Absolutely! In the states, the product is sold already mixed.And while it may seem like a lot of a higher fat ingredient, the recipe makes no less than 10 servings.

  3. Oh Yum - that sounds wonderful. Like Cate I had no idea about half and half (another aussie)so thanks for the heads up!

  4. This looks and sounds delicious, Lori! What exchanges does it count for? I do love soup, especially in the winter, but rarely eat it because I'm never sure how it fits into my meal plan.

  5. Okay, I analyzed the recipe and here's how it fits into a plan best
    (Assuming 11 servings which is easy to yield when choosing large vegetables as suggested):

    1 grain
    1 fruit
    1 vegetable
    1 fat
    And worth every exchange, I might add!
    Let me know how you like it.

    And thanks, Aussies, for educating me about the absence of convenient products I take for granted (half and half, canned pumpkin)!

  6. Made this soup today - really, really tasty. And really great to cook with veges I've never tried before :-)