Holiday Soup for the soul!
It’s great to get away from it all but it’s important to get back on track when you get home. With a little planning and about 1 hour of your time, you can have the right food ready for your return. That way you don’t risk your diabetes getting completely out of control or increasing your risk of type 2 and you will get away knowing that you are organised for your return.
Most of us have ended up with unused vegetables when we go away for a few days or a holiday. We either throw them out before we go or horror of horrors leave them to rot while we’re away. Not a nice sight to come home to….. a waste of money and not very eco-friendly.
It doesn’t take long to make a batch of soup from the veg in your pantry and it can be done while you are finishing your packing. Here’s how….
- Peel and very roughly chop your veg. If you have a mixture, that’s great. It’s preferable to have a low/no carb veg or a mixture of low/no carb veg like onions, peppers, mushrooms, leeks, celery mixed with starchy ones like butternut squash. In the soup I’m making here I’ve ended up with a good bit of butternut squash and I’ve mixed it with low carb veg.
- Make a quick note of what you’ve used on labels or write it on the freezer bags you are going to put the soup into. If you are carb counting it’s important to have an idea of how much starchy veg you use because this will determine the carb count for each portion of soup.
- Sauté an onion or two and a few cloves of garlic for about 8 minutes in a large saucepan. If you like a spicy soup add some curry powder at this stage and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, bit by bit letting them heat up before adding the next pieces. I find its best to put a lid on the pan as it stops the oil evaporating. Otherwise, you will have to add more and more oil. Keep an eye on the pan at this stage, so that nothing burns.
- Add some fresh or dried herbs and about a cup of water or stock (more if you are making a big batch) and let them steam for about 5 minutes.
- Then add enough stock or water to cover the veg and bring it up to the boil. Turn down to a simmer. Depending on what veg you used, the soup should be ready in about 40 minutes – allowing you time to get the last of your packing done! As long as the veg is just simmering this soup will survive a lack of attention at this stage.
- If you have tomatoes, throw them in near the end of the cooking time. Cherry tomatoes are fine left whole, but roughly cut larger ones. Put the lid back on and the tomatoes will break down and cook. Tomatoes add a lovely lightness to the soup.
- The soup is ready when a knife slides into the harder vegetables with ease. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool a little. Blend at least some of it in a liquidizer or hand blender and mix with the remaining soup mix, to make a chunky soup. Completely blend for a creamy soup.
- When it’s completely cold, pour into freezer containers, label each with the name, date and the carb count for each container if you are carb counting. How many of us have thrown in unlabelled packets into the freezer and have no idea what it is a month later?
I like the fact that I haven’t wasted the vegetables and I end up with several meals which will be handy when I get back. The soup can also be used as a base for other meals, like stews and a ‘tomatoey’ soup is ideal for lasagna. You could bake some chicken or fish in the oven and add to the soup. Spices or extra herbs can be added depending on what you are having for dinner on the day.
When you are going away it’s a good idea to stock up on a few things that you can make handy meals from when you get home. That way you’ll avoid the urge to continue your holiday eating pattern which may not have been the kindest to your blood sugar levels. A bit of blood sugar TLC is in order when you get back!
Stock up on staples like chickpeas or beans which make good bases for a lot of different meals and lunches. They have carbs, but it’s easy to know how many they contain. If you buy a few basic vegetables and eggs you will be able to put meals together in a few minutes and won’t be templated to buy processed foods when you get back from your travels.