Manly (and Slimming)

Hey all you Manly Men out there! Take a bite of this! 

20151203_204614_001-1[1]London broil is a rather inexpensive piece of beef, can easily be frozen and thawed, and doesn’t get tough in the soup-making process. It was also convenient since I happened to find a ton of it in the freezer… Cubing the steak is super easy when cutting a partially thawed piece.

Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup

makes 16 servings

    • 1 1/2 lb london broil, trimmed of fat
    • 6-8 Tbsp brown gravy mix, low sodium
    • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp paprika
    • 1 Tbsp thyme, dried
    • 2 tsp oregano, dried
    • 1 tsp parsley, dried
    • 1 Tbsp minced/chopped dried onion
    • 1 tsp ground rosemary
    • 3/4 to 1 tsp black pepper, to taste
    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 6- 7 cups water
    • 4 cups chicken broth, fat free, low sodium
    • 2 cups beef broth, fat free, low sodium
    • 3/4 cup barley
    • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, low sodium
    • 2 1/2 cups celery, chopped, including leafy ends
    • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
    • 2 cups kale greens, rough chop
    • 2 (10oz) mushrooms, white button, chopped
    • 1 cup green beans, cut (frozen will work)
    • fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish (optional)
    • oyster crackers (optional)

Cube the london broil into equal bite-sized pieces and place in a large pot. Add the onions through rosemary. With a large spoon, toss everything in the pot to coat the meat and onions.

Place the pot over low heat, add water and broth and cover. Allow to simmer for 40 minutes, or so. Add barley, cover, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat back to low, add vegetables, cover and allow soup to simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

*I’m curious if using Italian seasoning could substitute many of the green herbs… let us know in the comments if you try!

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Keep covered, remove from heat, and allow soup to cool. Refrigerate, freeze, or my favorite recommendation… Mangia! Top and garnish to your liking.

Nutrition based off 6 Tbsp gravy mix

119 calories!

Ha! I’ll take TWO!

Barley Babe

I have really been trying to embrace healthy carbs, lately, such as whole grains. I have always loved barley. I remember being a little kid and stealing the barley out of my moms chicken soup pot. I remember the chewy texture sucked me right in!

I was on an oatmeal kick, last year, and then heard of quinoa bowls. I made one for breakfast one morning and thought how great of an idea it was to switch out my oatmeal and top this grain with berries! Then I heard of breakfast barley bowls, which I, still, have yet to try! But, today, I bought a bag of barley and I’m ready to rock!

With an eggplant on the discount rack and a bag of cauliflower in the freezer, I was more than ready to try Julie’s barley risotto. I’ve always had risotto made with rice and I have heard that it is rather difficult to make. Bring it!

Heres my take:

Eggplant Barley Risotto

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  • 2 1/2 cups cubed eggplant, skin on
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 16oz bag cauliflower florets, frozen
  • 2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Swiss cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat grated Parmesan
  • s/p to taste

Heat the oven to 440 F. On a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, spread the eggplant and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Roast int heat oven for about 8 minutes. While the eggplant is roasting, Add the onion and garlic to a large pot, cover, and simmer over medium heat, until the onions start to sweat.

Add the barley, along with 1 cup of broth. Bring to a boil. Add the eggplant and frozen cauliflower. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium high. Stir the pot frequently. As the broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth. Once the last cup of broth is added, add the thyme and granulated garlic. Stir until spices have been disbursed.

Lastly, add the cheese wedges and stir. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the parm in a little at a time, stirring constantly.

Each serving is 3/4 cup. If you’re really hungry, this dish can be divided into fours!

Damn I love barley! I’m already planning another barley dish! Stay tuned!

In Bulk

I had three goals today, all of which I accomplished!

  • Exercise
  • Make soup
  • Make today better than yesterday

I woke up and began making today’s recipe. I figured that it could simmer while I went to my Zumba toning class. I arrived at Zumba toning only to find out it had been cancelled! I guess thats what happens when you don’t check your facebook…

Nonetheless, I was determined to be active! As I drove home, I thought of what I could do and the chores I needed to do. Well, I need to pick up flour for tomorrow’s recipe… I decided to take the opportunity to continue to train for a 5K and ran 2.6 miles down to The Riverfront, where the ShopRite is. I always enjoy mixing up my running trails. Its like 5 Gum.. It “stimulates” my senses! Haha. I just enjoy the different scenery, smells, people….

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I was so proud of myself for making it there in 35 minutes, as opposed to the navigators estimate of 58! Yay for Refrain Running!

Frank picked me up and I treated him to a breakfast of “The Kim” from Fresh Thymes (bagel, cream cheese, onion, tomato, and lox), and grabbed a cinnamon coffee for myself. When I arrived back home, I whipped up a Black Forrest bowl, topped with Gnu’s Espresso Chip, and spent some time sending out resumes, and checking my email.

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  • 1/4 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Splenda packet
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp rum extract

It was just what I needed to fuel my day even further! Suddenly, I was Suzy Homemaker! I did tons of work! I began vacuuming and suddenly I realized this kitchen floor needs to be cleaned. I got on my hands and knees and began to scrub away. We have a textured floor and so much dirt gets stuck. Such a pain in the butt! Then, the old girl, Beauty, peed on the carpet. Poor baby. After I used the carpet cleaning machine to clean up the pup’s mess, decided the carpet could use a one over, too! Next thing I knew, the carpet was scrubbed and smelling good!

WP_004608It was also a good today because I had a lunch, a dinner, and a snack! Yes! Normalcy!

Dinner was a chicken cheese steak with onions, ketchup, and cheddar! The day flew by! I couldn’t believe how quickly it went! I ate like a real person, kept busy, got shopping done, cleaned the floors, did some laundry, and cooked one heck of a brunch for tomorrow!

In my opinion, cold weather has the best food! Sure I love fruits and veggies fresh from the garden, but I love chilies, soups, dumplings, turkey, pumpkin, and, hello, Christmas cookies! This is one of those recipes that means Jack Frost is in the air! Its a set and forget recipe, minus the crock pot, that yields beaucoup (boo-koo) amounts of soup! This family has no clue how to cook for a family… we cook for an army! We freeze this stuff and eat it year-round, but its usually gone by March… I use a 32 cm pot, about a 2-3 gallon pot, with lid.

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Chicken and Barley (Noodle) Soup??????????????

  • 10 chicken thighs
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried pot herb*
  • 2 cups uncooked barley
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • abobo, to amp up the flavor, if necessary**

Place chicken, water (to the top, about 40 cups) , carrots, celery, and pot herb*, cover, and simmer over lowest heat for 3 hours. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and add barley. Boil the barley, skimming off the starch as it forms, for about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the barley, return to the pot with water, bring to a boil, again. Skim off the starch, boil for another 8 minutes, rinse and drain, until the water is clear.

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After 3 hours, the chicken will begin to float to the top of the pot, as will fat and marrow byproducts. With tongs, remove the chicken thighs and set aside, allowing to cool. While the thighs are cooling, add ketchup, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Remove the skin and bones from the thighs, and discard. Shred the chicken with your fingers, removing any fat or grissel. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, as well as the drained barley, recover and allow it to simmer for another 2 hours.

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Your heart and waistline will thank you.

Your heart and waistline will thank you.

Optional, but highly recommended: Working in batches, spoon the soup into containers and refrigerate. This allows grease and fats to float to the top and solidify, so it can be removed. This may take a few hours, I recommend letting sit over night. Skim the fat off the top and discard. Return all skimmed containers back to the pot, cover, and heat through.

If you are a noodle person, boil some pasta, we use farfelle (AKA bow tie). Once al dente, drain and rinse the pasta and divide amongst the bowls. It can also be served, as is! Ladle the soup on top, and finish with a sprinkle of reduced fat grated Parm!

WP_004702*Pot herb: Pot herb is, technically, any green grown for the use of its leaves, including kale, collards, parsley, ect. Typically, mom and I use fresh pot herb, which is hard to find, but some grocery store have it in the produce department. If using fresh, place in a paper bag over night before using. Snip off most  of the pepper, with just a piece of the pepper still in tact, and throw the whole thing in there! If using dry, place two tablespoons in a cheese cloth and create a spice ball, and throw the whole thing in!WP_004607

**Abodo: The broth in this recipe is from scratch and sometimes the chicken flavor may not shine through. If this is the case, sprinkle some adobo in, to taste. It brings out all the flavors in the soup!

Sorry bloggers! Its a huge vat and goes pretty quickly! A rough estimate would be around 135 calories per serving. Even without the noodles, its keeps you seriously full!