I try to watch what I eat. I read labels for sugar and salt and chemical content. I rarely buy things that have the nutritional value of cardboard, even though they probably taste amazing. I try to get enough protein. And anti-oxidants and vitamin C and calcium and all those other healthy things that are supposed to keep you alive and kicking.
On days that I work I take a salad with me for lunch. This started several months ago, and frankly no one is more surprised than me that I’ve kept it up for so long. Some days I’m more creative than others. It depends on how much chopping time I’ve allowed myself and what kinds of things are in my crisper. I’ve become really tired of peppers so I’ve taken a break from them, but celery, carrots, red cabbage, spinach, romaine, green onions, tomatoes – all these things have become staples. I add chopped hard-cooked eggs, tuna, ham, crumbled bacon, leftover meat or cheese. Then there’s all the salad dressings and salad toppings and nuts and seeds to choose from, and voila – it rarely gets boring.
However, as with any healthy food choice regimen, it’s pretty easy to stray off the straight and narrow, a bit at a time until you’re deluding yourself that it’s all good. Like yesterday, for instance. In my fridge I’m down to lettuce, carrots, celery and toppings. (Yes, I need to go shopping.) I made ranch dressing with Epicure spices, plain greek yogurt and a dollop of mayo. None of that is bad, but before I ate the salad I threw in half a bag of garlic ginger wonton strips. When the salad was gone and there was still dressing left over, I used it as a dip for the rest of the strips. It was just like chips and dip minus the guilt. Until the entire bag of salad toppings, which should have lasted through several salads, was empty. And I was full. Of mostly wontons.
The santa fe tortilla strips don’t even need dip, they’re that good all on their own. Never mind how I know that.
What got me started on all this was finding a recipe in amongst my piles of papers that need to be sorted, even though I wasn’t sorting at all and merely moving them from one location to another. It’s a recipe for creamy potato soup which I used to make all the time until I realized it’s full of POTATOES and carbs and starch and butter and flour and other deadly things. And begs for thick slices of garlic bread on the side.
In a dutch oven combine 10 medium potatoes, 2 carrots, 4 celery stalks, one onion, (all vegetables chopped), 1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper, 3 cups of chicken broth and water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer until vegetables are tender.
In another pot, melt 3/4 cup butter, add 1 tsp salt, 3/4 cup flour. Make a smooth paste and bring to a boil. Add 4 cups milk, stir and cook until smooth, add to soup. Cook until thickened.
Serve with bacon bits, chopped green onion and shredded cheddar cheese. (But no wonton or tortilla strips please. We have to draw the line somewhere.)