Monday, November 5, 2012

Day One: Off to a Great Start

Today was a great day. I am feeling energized and upbeat about our program. Matt’s enthusiasm is contagious. He is totally pumped to drive us straight into 2013. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle and training regimen is so much easier when you're working it together.

I hit the free weights today, working my biceps, back and core. I hit all three hard. I am feeling a little sore now, which is great. I welcome soreness when it’s the result of a solid work out. I also made sure to get my daily cardio in, training on the elliptical for a fat-burning session. I felt strong -- way stronger than yesterday.

Now a little something for you.

For the past year, I have been trying to perfect "minestrone soup." My every attempt turned out edible but never memorable. Today I nailed it!

The best thing about a good minestrone is that it’s loaded with vegetables. I even added winter squash, which brought a taste of autumn to this hearty and healthful bowl of soup.

Here’s the recipe.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups of winter squash, peeled, seeded and diced small
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper
½ teaspoon ground thyme
3-4 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can organic crushed tomatoes
10 cups vegetable broth
2 cans cannellini beans
2 cups kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups of whole wheat or whole grain small pasta shells (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add squash, oregano, hot pepper, bay leaf and thyme, and cook 5-7 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a soft boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Add white beans, kale and uncooked pasta (if using). Cook for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves, adjust seasoning and serve with crusty bread.


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