As I mentioned Monday, like many, I am working on eating healthier. It’s not a New Year’s resolution per-say, I’ve been trying to head this direction even before Christmas, you might recall me talking about eating better in conjunction with my goal of coming up with more healthy vegetable recipes. More recently however, I’ve been trying to eat “French” as part of my efforts to eat healthier and loose weight, but also to find a way to eat that is sustainable. For me I think pleasure is an important part of eating, and I know that if I no longer find pleasure in my food due to some diet I’ve decided I need to be on, and I feel deprived. I WILL NOT MAINTAIN that diet. (Duh, right?)
I know I should probably be motivated purely by health, but I’m not. You would think vanity might do the job then, but it doesn’t. Heck even guilty emotional feelings about not being in the best health for my children only motivate me so long. And I adore my children. But none of that stuff works as a long term motivator. I guess I am who I am though, and I kind of figure I’ll have much more success if I acknowledge that and find a method that falls in line with this. Hence the “French” eating method. The French are all about getting pleasure from their food. Granted that food must be high quality, and eaten in much smaller quantities, and they appear to take pleasure in vegetables as much as anything else they eat, but the pleasure is definitely there. I think (I hope!) this way of eating will be the best way of having my cake and eating it too.
So, you might wonder, what does this translate into in my daily life? Well, I would tell you, so far it means eating much much smaller portions then I’m used to. It means paying focused attention to the taste of my food when I’m eating. It means cutting out fast food 99.9% of the time (because it’s crap food and we all know it.) It means learning to truly appreciate the flavors of vegetables, and eating way, way more of them. (On the plus side, this does not mean I have to eat salads with no adornment, or yucky fat free dressing. The French always dress there salads with some good olive oil and balsamic, which strangely enough makes the salad taste rather good.) But, equally important to these things is finding a way to enjoy the food pleasures of life, chocolate, dessert, a glass of wine, in moderation.
I’ve actually been on a dark chocolate search (the results of which I will share with you in another post soon), because of this French eating method and a really good piece of advice I happened to read while learning about the method. The advice: Don’t keep treats you can’t trust yourself with in the house. Until you learn to eat you’re triggers in moderation go have the treat out once in a while and be done. It’s a brilliant combination of not removing a true pleasure from your life, but having that pleasure in a setting where you are much more likely to enjoy it in a moderate amount, and if by chance you don’t you at least won’t have the offending item sitting in the cabinet so you can repeat the performance the next day. This is what got me looking for a really good dark chocolate that I adore. the logic is this. I love chocolate, it is an indulgence. But in candy form I can control myself with it, as opposed to cookie/cake form where I am prone to over indulging. However, if I’m going to indulge it’s gotta be worth it (this is very French too), which is why I’m on a search.
The other thing this new French eating method has me doing is really working on finding ways to eat veggies that I truly enjoy. Which brings me around to today’s recipe, Creamy Spinach Soup With Goat Cheese Crumbles. I was looking for a veggie laden alternative to a salad for lunch, that also happened to be hot. It’s been snowing around here and I have a hard time being motivated to eat cold food when it’s cold out. Soup was the obvious choice to my dilemma. I also had a ton of spinach leftover in the fridge from another meal that needed using up in a hurry so as not to spoil. Creamy Spinach Soup was born. And Creamy it is! Amazingly without the addition of cream. The soup is actually creamy-ied by the addition of potato. It’s thick, filling, and so tasty! But, I’ve gotta say it’s the addition of the goat cheese that really puts it over the top. The tang/salt factor just works so well in contrast to the spinach. I’m also psyched because the soup requires four ingredients (plus seasoning) and takes no longer to cook then it takes to boil a potato. Serious winner in my opinion. Simple, tasty, healthy. Now that’s French eating at it’s best.
Creamy Spinach Soup With Goat Cheese
Yields four large bowls.
- 1 lb fresh spinach (feel free to substitute frozen spinach if you need to)
- 2 large russet potatoes, washed and cubed
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 24 oz chicken broth + extra as needed
- crumbled goat cheese to taste
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Add spinach, cubed potatoes, and garlic powder to a medium sized pot. Cover with 16 oz of chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook until potatoes are tender and fall apart when poked with a fork.
2. When the potatoes are tender use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth and creamy. You may wish to add the additional broth if you prefer a thinner consistency to the soup. If you do so, mix well, and simmer the soup to heat the additional broth.
3. Serve hot garnished with a generous tablespoon or so of goat cheese crumbles, sea salt and black pepper as desired.