Tubby oldsters and slimmed-down broccoli soup

When I repeated something I’d read about never seeing any old fat

weekend in virginia 006
Cooking in Virginia with Jesse Knadler (center), 2012.

people, Stoic the Helpful suggested, “Santa Claus.” OK, besides a really fat and really old guy with a Downton Abbey-worthy household staff, who else? Anybody? Anybody not on a walker because of their abused old knees or hips?

I can’t think of anyone; nor do I know many old people who haven’t had at least one original part replaced. In fact, over Christmas a friend told me it would be easier to have my hip replaced than to lose the 40 pounds I need to shed to make that hip feel better!

So with these cautionary thoughts in mind, I trundled out to HeartSmart class at 7:30 this morning (I’m the only chubbo in this class, and I’m also one of the youngest participants.) We did 30 minutes of aerobic intervals, 25 minutes of strength and toning work, and I was inspired enough to come home and make soup for Stoic’s birthday lunch.

I am keeping up with my 2014 food journal and my Y visits. I am trying to leave the kitchen for other worlds when the urge to graze threatens to overcome my resolve. I’m trying to go to bed by 10 p.m.

I realize that 3 weeks of good habits and resolve do not a new me make. But being healthy is a matter of doing all those things, every day, day after day after day after day. Without excuses and without rationalization. As Anne Lamott likes to say, I so resent this.

And then I think of all the people I know — my age and younger — who suffer from one awful ailment after another. And shouldn’t I be willing to do these things (i.e., not live like a gluttonous pig or a sloth) to keep my health?

I do find that the less I eat, the more I read recipes. I found this one in my go-to comfort food place, Taste of Home magazine. This recipe takes on the challenge of slimming down broccoli and cheese soup. I upped the salt from 1/8 to 1 teaspoon because neither of us has any sodium worries. Also, I think it would be way too bland with the suggested 1/8 teaspoon.

Broccoli and cheese potato soup

3 cups cubed peeled white potatoes

1 medium onion, cut into big chunks

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 cups chicken broth

1-3/4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups frozen broccoli florets

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar

Minced fresh parsley

In large saucepan combined potatoes, onion, garlic, broth, water, pepper and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in broccoli; return to boil.

In custard cup, whisk together flour and milk until smooth. Stir into soup. Cook and stir for a few minutes more or until thickened. Remove from heat.

If you’re lucky enough to have an immersable blender (thank you Jesse Knadler, author of Tart & Sweet, Rodale, 2011, and Rurally Screwed, Berkley, 2012) for telling me this is essential in my kitchen), process the soup in the saucepan until smooth. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Makes 3 servings, 262 calories and 4 g fat each.

Greener than it looks in this image, slimmed-down broccoli-cheese-potato soup is perfect for lunch on another chilly January day.
Greener than it looks in this image, slimmed-down broccoli-cheese-potato soup is perfect for lunch on another chilly January day.

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