I’m so ready for hibernation. Since my 50th high school reunion in August 2012, I’ve packed back on 30 pounds. Bring on the stinky cave — I am re-insulated and ready to live off my hips for a few months.
Some of that’s a lot of sitting in office chairs since then. Some of that’s not going to the Y (and some of that’s living 40 minutes away from the Y with my work in every direction except that one). A lot is the psychology of food and its being my favorite friend.
So, good things: All my in-laws (who live right here) won’t have to say a word about my gaining 30 because none ever said a syllable about my losing 46. That Y membership continues. I know how to count calories and now I can do it on my Smartphone. I know how much worse I feel when I fall face-first into the sugar. I know how to turn off the TV and go to bed.
Tough thing: Not beating myself up. Again. I get so frustrated with the black lab-pit bull who can’t walk calmly on a leash after more than a year. Well, damn, I’m waaaay more than almost 2 years old (even in dog years) and I keep acting as though more food (weight) will make me feel better. Acting as though feeling better should be the goal.
Before I go to the Y for water aerobics on this gloomy gray afternoon then, I’m ready to re-launch with the best beef and vegetable soup I’ve ever eaten. I tweaked a Betty Crocker recipe when a couple of comments said the original was bland.
My version is not bland. It has a full flavor and a good “mouth feel.” The tomato sauce and beef broth blend into something like a light tomato-beef gravy. The barley is a natural thickener that keeps its crunch, even when cooked.
The recipe makes about 10 servings, each of them coming in around 200 calories. My best guess is that a serving’s around 1 cup of soup so even if you double it, the calorie count is reasonable for a snug supper.
Beef barley and vegetable soup
2 pounds good-quality stew beef in cubes
1 fresh bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup uncooked barley
2/3 cup whole kernel corn
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3-1/2 cups good-quality beef broth
2 14-1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces tomato sauce
Combine all ingredients and cook in slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours. Total yum!