Fennel Soup – {WAY} More Than Meets the Eye

This is actually one of my favorite things I’ve made to date. I was curious, and purchased a bulb of fennel, but really had no reference as to what to make, but for some reason my mind kept wandering back to soup. It’s fun to experiment with different foods, but this girl had never even eaten, let alone cooked fennel. Ever {shame on me! This is what I’ve been missing all these years?!}. But I think those itty-bitty food instincts kicked in when soup was calling out to me.

Fennel is just an absolutely amazing vegetable. It has LOADS of health benefits – more than I’ve probably ever seen in one little plant. Yep. Again, power food is the term here. According to the website Organic Facts, “the health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, eye care, etc.” WHOA – that’s a mouthful! Click the link above to see an in-depth look at this wondrous bulb.

Here’s what I did:

1/2 Fennel Bulb, roughly chopped

1/2 C of Chopped Onions

1 C of Frozen Peas, thawed

1/3 C of Frozen Butternut Squash cubes, thawed

1 1/2 C of Chicken {or vegetable, to make it vegan} stock

S&P to taste

A Drizzle of Olive Oil

Set your stove on medium-high heat, and drizzle in some olive oil, a couple TBSP of water, and toss the coarsely chopped fennel bulb in. Cover. After a couple of minutes of letting the water tenderize the fennel, toss in the onions, cover. After another couple of minutes, throw in the butternut squash. Do not cover. If the pan is getting dry, and the squash starts sticking, you can add a little more water. When everything is nice and tenderly sauteed, take the pan off the heat.

In a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 the peas and 1/2 the stock together with about 1/2 C of the cooked veggie mix. Pour into a separate bowl, and toss the remaining peas, stock and veggies into the blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed mixture that we set aside back into the blender, add a good helping of pepper {1/2 – 1 TBSP} and salt to taste {I used a couple teaspoons}. Once again, blend until everything is nicely mixed. Pour into two bowls, and microwave to heat the soup to your hearts content {because putting piping hot food into a blender could be dangerous}. Garnish with a little pepper on top.

Not only was this soup so simple to create, let me tell you – the fennel is delicious! It has a slight anise flavor, and paired with the black pepper, it gives a pleasing little kick. I will continue to come back to this soup, especially when cooler weather begins to greet us.

Not only does this soup have exceedingly monumental health factors, but this whole recipe is for two servings! Yep, you get a giant bowl of this enchanting emerald-green soup for – get this – just 145 calories {or eat the whole thing as a meal}! Not to mention 3/4 of your daily need for vitamin A, and 6 – count ’em, SIX – grams of protein!

Double the recipe to serve 4.



How to Pack a Lunch

On Saturday, the hubs and I took the kids out to Waterworld, and we had such a blast! Knowing that we would be in near 100 degree weather, walking around, using up all our energy, all day, I knew I needed to pack something extra good for the lunchtime meal.

Little bodies need even more sustainable food than we do, so I was thinking of the most effective {and yummy} way to combine carbohydrates and proteins without over-stuffing their little tummies {because riding on a water roller coaster isn’t so fun if you’re about to ralf}, and quesadillas came to mind. But not your ordinary quesadillas. No – these ones are packed with power foods.

I took 3 tortillas and sprinkled over half of each one the following ingredients:

3 TBSP of Cheddar/Colby Jack Shredded Cheese {contains Calcium for their growing bones, and protein for an energy boost}

2 TBSP of Black Beans {which contain lots of fiber, to keep their little bellies fuller for longer & carbohydrates for long lasting power}

1 TBSP of chopped Red Bell Peppers {contains tons of Vitamin C and antioxidants to kill those germs from that icky water and increase immunity}

1/3 C of shredded chicken breast that I cooked up on the stove with S&P and Olive Oil {contains B Vitamins and protein, both of which provide sustainable energy}

And then fold over the empty half.

I don’t like to microwave quesadillas because they just get soggy, so I quickly threw them on the griddle on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side.

Then to the lunchbox, I added granola bars, a bag of carrots with ranch for dipping, and 100% juice boxes {plus huge bottles of water}.

The kids ate half of their quesadilla, the carrots, their granola bars and juice. This was perfect because by the time we left, they were starving, so they ate the remaining half of the quesadilla.

It’s always a great feeling to be able to provide my family with such nutritious foods, and their attitudes the whole day {no whining or complaining} made the little bit of work in the morning more than worth it.


*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

Note: This meal is meant to be high in calories.

 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 496.7
  Total Fat 17.4 g
  Saturated Fat 8.7 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 6.1 g
  Cholesterol 76.7 mg
  Sodium 756.3 mg
  Potassium 448.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 49.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
  Sugars 0.0 g
  Protein 34.2 g
  Vitamin A 18.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 9.2 %
  Vitamin B-6 24.9 %
  Vitamin C 30.9 %
  Vitamin D 1.0 %
  Vitamin E 4.7 %
  Calcium 29.1 %
  Copper 15.5 %
  Folate 37.7 %
  Iron 21.7 %
  Magnesium 18.3 %
  Manganese 25.9 %
  Niacin 53.7 %
  Pantothenic Acid     12.3 %
  Phosphorus     45.2 %
  Riboflavin 25.1 %
  Selenium 49.4 %
  Thiamin 35.4 %
  Zinc 16.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.