Adventures In Slow Cooking- Parsnip & Apple Soup

It’s been a rough couple of days on body and spirit so when faced with a free Wednesday afternoon I felt up to little more than filling the slow cooker and sitting still for a nice while.

Fridge contents put me in mind of how frequently I’ve seen parsnip and apple soup on menus of late as I had both of these things in, and by happy coincidence the result was bloody lovely. Substantial and slightly sweet, this is a great, vegan friendly winter warmer.

Boomboom Parsnip & Apple Soup


all times and quantities assume 3l slow cooker


2 medium white onions, finely chopped
500g parsnips, grated
3 small eating apples grated,
1.5L vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
bay leaf
1 small red chilli finely chopped and de-seeded
fresh ginger to taste, grated (about a thumb sized piece at most)

Simply sling all the veg and spice into your slow cooker then cover with hot stock and cook on high for about 4hrs. Season and serve sprinkled with linseeds or roasted pumpkin seeds and hot buttered toast.

Variations- using a combination of stock and cider might make for a more festive version of this soup and the non vegans might wish to use chicken stock or add some cooked lardons at the beginning and a slug of double cream at the end.
Grating the veg and apples gives a thicker, more soupy finish and the apple will dissolve completely into the broth but you may wish to use a stick blender before serving if you don’t like it rustic!
 If you use cold stock add another hour to the cooking time but it’s much easier to just warm in a saucepan (or use fresh from the kettle) first.

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The Skinny Thing- Weight Watchers

Weight watchers. Haven’t I slammed them recently? Don’t I hate commercialised weight loss plans? Yeah, I do, in a way. I understand weight loss science and the evil psychology of effective marketing. I also need to lose more weight. I’m also a begrudging fan of Elliot Hulse. 

Who?

Elliot Hulse: Relentlessly in your face former strongman, men’s fitness guru and YouTube star. He’s a macho, unapologetic, muscle vest clad American in the world of strength and body building foremost, with some general life and manliness advice on the side. I won’t big him up here, you’ll find him on YouTube if you want to. I both love and despise him in equal measure. Let’s focus on the love though. 

WTF has this got to do with the world’s best known commercial weight loss product? Contradiction. Mr Hulse is quite good at slamming an approach then trying it and converting, or at least borrowing the high points. He built a career on the classic strong man body before realising that he had much less  real-life strength than those who took quite seriously different approaches to their diet and training regimens. As anyone who studies the Other Side does, he learned, he improved, he moved forwards. 

I’m giving him too much credit here. I’m justifying a stray from IIFYM to a commercial points based system because I’m letting myself off the hook too often for a kit Kat and a daily calorie excess. I hate the guilt aspect of points or sin based eating plans.

I need the guilt aspect of a points based eating plan. My favourite gap jeans that don’t fit me need that guilt too. I think my cruddy knee and 5k time will both benefit from  as well. 

So, I’ve purchased a cut price three month digital membership to weight watchers and I’m going to see how it goes whilst still logging calories and macros for comparison. I’m not going to say anything past this post about it until February. I’m not going to meetings. I’m still building back up to regular running and getting my yoga on as often as I can. I’m still going to talk about all kinds of food and cake and restaurants and coffee. You will see some references to what I’m eating on my instagram offering (jsboomboom). 

My Saturday Breakfast, weight watchers style racking up an even third of my daily smart points. The tomatoes, onions and tomato purée & mustard spread on the toast were free.

I’ve been learning the ropes of the system this week and in honesty, I don’t like it. The points allocations don’t make sense to me. For those not in the system: some automated maths from the app allocates me 30 standard points a day then another 42 extra points to spread through the week. There’s the opportunity to dig into points earned from exercise if you really over do it. Most fruit and veg are free, as is black coffee. Beyond that it gets complicated, especially where carbs are concerned. Expected diet staples like lean meat and fish are pretty low. Snacking and boozing are a mine field. 

Since attempting the principles of the plan on Monday I’ve dropped three kilos of all-inclusive holiday weight, which I’m thinking doesn’t really count as much of that was due to flight and booze bloat. I’ve been quite hungry, grouchy and over emotional at the same time. Tiredness, hormones, low carb fever, Trump, so many factors. This is why I’m going for the full three months before a review because you have to give these things time to work, and follow them fully. I learned that from Elliot too.