Quick And Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Brought up on my mothers home cooked traditional meals, I am no stranger to soup… honestly, I can ramble a good 20 odd straight off the top of my head at any given time. However, it seems to me there are a lot of people around me these days who don’t know how to make soup, or hold of a lot of misconceptions about soup. Despite what people may think soup doesn’t have to be labourious or take hours to make, instead, soups can be one of the simplest, easiest, heartiest things you can make.

Vegetable Soup

Bonuses

  • Great for bulk cooking
  • Freezes well
  • One-pot cooking
  • Versatile
  • Healthy
  • Quick and easy *ready in approx 15 minutes

Ingredients (per serve)

  • 200 grams of cauliflower (approx. 1/3 of a large cauliflower or packed 2 cups)
  • 50 grams (about ½ a medium) carrot
  • 50 grams of frozen peas
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper
  • ½ medium tomato
  • ¼ medium onion
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock – or water with a stock cube added
  • Drizzle of oil – for cooking
  • Other recommended ingredients that can be included include – green beans and/or corn; replacing a portion of stock with canned/pureed tomato for a richer soup; and/or adding shredded chicken, beans or red lentils (which will require additional liquid) for a protein boost.

Herbs and Spices *Please adapt the spices to your taste preferences. You can simply double the quantity of spices/herbs if you like them.

  • ¼ teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder – you can use fresh garlic if you prefer
  • ½ teaspoon of Italian herbs – I used oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram
    *You can also use herbs like dill, rosemary or fennel to suit your taste preferences
  • ¼ pepper
  • Pinch of salt – if your stock is salty you might not need this
  • Other recommended spices/herbs that can be included include – cumin, turmeric, chili and/or cayenne or bay leaf, dill, rosemary and/or fennel.

Equipment

  • 1 small pot with a lid – if you’re only making a single serve. If you don’t have a lid, you may need to use more stock/water
  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board
  • Blender – I used a handheld blender
  • Spoon
  • Knife or fork

Nutrition

  • 200g or cauliflower is approx 50 calories
    A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
  • 50g of carrot is approximately 20 calories
    A great source of vitamin A
  • 50 grams of peas approx 30 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, B1, K, Manganese and fibre.
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper approx 30 calories
    A great source of vitamin C as well as B6 and A
  • ½ medium tomato approx 10 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, and vitamin K
  • ¼ medium onion approx 10 calories
    A good source in vitamin C, was well as dietary fiber, and folic acid
  • The nutritional content and health benefits of the remaining ingredients including stock, herbs and spices will depend on the type you use.
    However, according to my research, 500mls of the average supermarket stock will set you back approx 40 calories.

Process

  1. Chop cauliflower, capsicum, onion and carrot roughly. The size of your cutting will determine the cooking time, the smaller the quicker it will cook so I recommend small florets for the cauliflower, 1.5cm cubes for the carrot and ½ cm strips for the capsicum and onion.
    Note: To speed up the process, I cut my onions, and whilst sautéing them I cut the rest of my vegetables.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, herbs and spices and sauté until onions are transparent, approx 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add stock. When the liquid boils, add the carrot and cauliflower. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the capsicum and tomato. Cook until the carrot and cauliflower is tender. This should take approx another 3-5 minutes depending on how small you cut your vegetables.
    Note: To test of vegetables are tender, simply taste a vegetable or place a sharp knife on a vegetable, and applying very minimal pressure, the knife should enter the vegetable with little give. If the knife meets resistance in the middle of the vegetable, more so than the outer portion of the vegetable it is not quite ready.
  4. Once tender. Turn off heat, and add peas.
  5. Vegetable SoupBlend soup to desired consistency. I use a handheld blender and simply give it a quick 5-10 second buzz.
    Note: Be careful of any splash back if you are blending the soup whilst it is still hot.
  6. Serve immediate, or let cool and pack away in the fridge for tomorrows lunch, or freeze for an evening you can’t be bothered cooking.
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Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Cauliflower rice has become the core to of many of the dishes I have recently been making. My new found obsession with Instagram really opened my eyes to just how much of a staple this simple idea has become. And I’m not surprised, because if I can get my traditional Polish family enjoying it to the point it gets requested I’m sure you and your family or friends will enjoy it too.

10306478_10152522355171871_2023850728592781835_nWhy It’s Great

  • Great for bulk cooking
  • Freezes well
  • Can be made the day before
  • Versatile
  • Healthy – It’s a vegetable!

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower (or however much you want to make)

Nutrition

  • 600g or 1 medium head = approx 150 calories
  • 4 serves of 150g = approx 37.5 calories per serve
  • A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
  • Also contains choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin (B7).
  • When compared with cooked white rice, 600g will set you back 780 calories, or 130 calories per 150g serving.
  • Nutritionally is doesn’t even come close. Whilst white rice is a good source of folate, thiamine (B1), niacin (B3) as well as containing some magnesium, manganese, and iron, its 90% carbohydrate content really fails to provide fiber.

Process

1) Cut your cauliflower into several pieces. This will help you get it into your food processor and process more evenly.

Blending Cauliflower Rice

2) Process fresh cauliflower until it is the size of rice. If your food processor has a pulse setting I recommend you use this. Otherwise, blend for 2 seconds, pause, check the texture and keep doing this until it’s the right texture.
Note: If you don’t have a food processor you can use a hand grater or cut the cauliflower using the knife, however this can get quite messy.

3) You can serve it raw, however I don’t enjoy the taste of raw cauliflower, and I find it doesn’t quite act like rice as well as it does when cooked. You can cook your cauliflower rice in a couple ways. My personal preference (for textural, bulk cooking and nutritional reasons) is to steam it over the stove, using a pot with a lid, water and a colander.

Cauliflower Rice BowlNote: If you don’t want to steam your cauliflower rice over the stove you can microwave it in a bowl with a cover. The moisture from the cauliflower will steam in the bowl and cook the cauliflower accordingly.

Note: With both options I do recommend stirring the cauliflower rice half way through the cooking process to ensure even cooking. I find it usually takes about 5 minutes to steam, however it may take longer depending on your equipment etc. It’s definitely worth giving it a try at 2.5 minutes when you stir it, and then again at 5 minutes and leaving it to cook further if required.

Cauliflower Stirfry

4) If you are looking to cook a dish such as a stirfry with cauliflower rice it is worth letting it sit and dry a little before using it… As you would with regular rice. Day old is best, but even 5-10 minutes to cool will do if you’re in a rush. This simply ensures the integrity of the texture is kept in tact.

5) Freeze it. Store it in the fridge. Serve it straight up. But most importantly, no matter how you choose to serve it, enjoy!

Time For A Healthier Grizzly Bear

Eva and AppleRecently many of you will have noticed some changes in the types of foods I’ve been blogging about, and those of you who follow my Facebook page, profile or Instagram account will have noticed a significant shift in the types of food I have been enjoying… particularly towards vegan, vegetarian and paleo foods. And though I am none of these things, I have in-fact recently started to rediscover my passion for the healthier things in life. And whilst my passion of food and cooking remains, the types of things I am looking to share with you are now inspired by my goal to find a healthy balance in my life… something that seems to elude so many of us.

As many of you know, I was born into a love filled Polish family where I was brought up on my mother’s freshly made traditional Polish food. To this day I can remember spending a lot of time in the kitchen watching my mum cook schnitzels and pumpkin soups. This kick started my love of food and cooking, which then led me to spend my childhood dreaming of becoming a chef and opening up my own cafe or restaurant. Though my passion for food developed early on, I was actually known to be one of the fussiest eaters around until I hit my twenties.

Porridge With Kiwi Fruit, Banana, Strawberries, Blueberries, Cinnamon, Chiaseeds and Ground FlaxseedsIn my early twenties I spend just over a year living in a vegan/vegetarian orientated household. This was initially a shock to my system, as I was coming from a home were meat, carbohydrates and butter were at the core of most meals. After a short period of time my body adjusted, and I found myself thriving on a whole new world of flavours and healthy dishes. I was exercising regularly and smiling every day. What I didn’t foresee happening was just how badly my body would react to all foods I use to enjoy so much when I moved back to my family home. But once again my body adjusted, my food habits shifted and I never did quite get back to that lively place I once stood.

Spicy Chicken, Green Bean, Carrot, Capsicum, Onion And Cauliflower Rice StirfryNow in my mid-twenties, I find myself looking back over the years and discovering that I’ve never truly had a healthy relationship with food. Over the years my relationship with food has seen me go through many things from thriving and smiling to being sick and depressed, from having great times and meet new people to exploring new passions and learning a lot. And alongside all that I’ve been critisised through it all. I’ve been told throughout the years that I’m too thin to be healthy, too heavy to model, too obsessed with health and fitness, and not caring enough in regards to finding myself malnourished. Every opinion under the sun, no matter how polarising, believe me when I say that I’ve been on the brutal and soul destroying receiving end of it.

I Love South Trigg BeachTaking those experiences and discussing them with the people currently in my life I’ve come to the realisation that unhealthy relationships with food, health and fitness are a very common trend. Over eating, under eating, undernourishment, unhealthy food choices, restricted eating, losing too much weight, gaining too much weight, poor body image, self loathing, eating disorders and so much more. If you can name it, I can probably find someone in my life that has or still struggles with it to this day… and I find that to be a sad and scary thing.

Tasty SaladSo as a result of my new found awareness I’ve decided to make some changes in my personal life, in an attempt to find a healthy balance in my life for the very first time. I’ve been training a lot more, making better food choices, and most importantly, I’ve learning about so many new and exciting things along the way. I hope you’ll stay with me on my journey as share with you some of the new foods, tasty restaurants and general health and fitness things I discover as I develop a truly healthy perspective on my life here in Perth.

All my love and wellness wishes. xx

PS. I recently managed to get my mum and dads taste buds enjoying my cauliflower rice, and that says a lot. Keep an eye out for my upcoming paleo stirfry recipe, because I think I might just be onto something here.

Toms Cafe, Leederville

For healthy yet tasty lunches on the go.
Cuisine: Salads, Sandwhich, Coffee.

Located in Tip Top Arcade on Oxford Street in Leederville, Toms café is a little casual gem for local workers seeking out a quick and healthy lunch. It’s not the type of place you sit around, as seating is very casual and limited. Having previously worked in Leederville I reviewed Toms Cafe in 2013. Click here to read my previous review. Now working over the bridge in West Leederville, I recently visited Leederville for lunch and decided to try Tom’s again.

Service: The service is just as pleasant and quick as it has always been. As I was browsing the fridges one of the serves quickly came over to ask if she could help before Tom recognised me and asked whether I had left my job or what had happened to my office as he’d noticed we weren’t around as much these days. It was lovely to see he’d remembered and noticed. It’s worth remembering Toms does not offer Eftpos, though a selection of ATMs are available on the street.

Food: Rather than opting for a mix of salads I decided to purchase one of the pre-packed ½ price large containers of salad for $6. The salad was a combination of the edamame with corn and   Israeli couscous salads, and it was still extremely fresh and delicious! So much so it may have become my new personal favourite. These ½ price large containers of prepacked salads can be found on the left side of the first fridge.

Toms café still offers a wide variety of fresh salads, soups (in winter) and a variety of traditional hot and cold deli foods such as sausage rolls, subs and soups etc. Once the only local offering healthy fresh salads, wraps etc a new competitor offering a selection of salads, wraps, bagels along with their main offering of fresh juices and smoothies has now opened opposite to Toms. It will be interesting to see how -if at all- this affects this local gem.
Half Price Container Tom's Cafe

Price: A variety of takeaway container sizes are available starting at $6 for a small container which you can fill with 1 or 2 different salads. Though the smaller containers seem small they are always packed to the brim and surprisingly filling so you definitely get your moneys worth of fresh, healthy, delicious food. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, there is always the ½ price selection which is worth having a look through.

Summary: As I said before, I’ll say again, Toms Café is a great hidden gem for lunch on the run. The food is fresh and the variety exceptional, so much so that even salad avoiders are guaranteed to find something worth trying. It’s definitely worth giving it a go.

Tom's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Nutritional Notes:
Tom’s cafe makes it really easy to eat healthy on the go, with a variety of fresh soups, salads, wraps and other foods. As long as you ignore the small hot counter offering sausage rolls and chips (which is easy to walk past) it’s pretty hard to go wrong. The choices of salads are vast, so remember to choose a mix of wholesome, wholegrain and vegetable packed salads, and opting for those with little to no dressing or refined carbohydrates. That way your body as well as your taste buds will thank you.

-The Grizzly Bear