For years I have walked 4 miles in an hour's time, almost every morning, rain or shine. And then a few months back my walking buddies suggested we try Zumba and Jazzercise. I gave them every reason why we shouldn't torture ourselves, jumping around in public is not for sissies and as you know, Sissy is my middle name. But they were insistent and before I knew it I had purchased two 10-class punch cards, one for Zumba and one for Jazzercise.
Walking took one hour each morning - the classes take two hours - because of driving time over and back. Two hours out of my day! Little by little it became harder and harder to go to class - those two hours were needed for other things, like LIFE!! I had to work, leave town, be places at the crack of dawn and before long I realized I hadn't done a thing, exercise-wise, for ONE MONTH! Egads!
After 30 days of lolly-ing about, I was faced with a daunting decision...either go back to exercising so I could eat what I wanted or stop eating everything I make and eat lettuce for every meal, with a side of kale.
Lettuce and kale, me, funny, no? As if. I made my decision and forced myself out the door...4 miles, 6,000 steps...now I can feel good about eating this delicious soup one more day. This soup made it easy to decide to jump/slink back onto the exercise wagon, and not because it is so calorie laden I had to walk it off...au contraire...it only has 360 calories in a bowl so in my book that's diet food! No, the reason I hauled my arse over hill and dale is because I cannot visualize a world where I can't eat this whenever I want - I love it that much - and in order to eat this and everything else I want, I have to exercise. And that, my friends, is the purest definition of the phrase, it sucks!
It sucks: preposition/verb: 1) suction, as in sucking; 2) having to exercise in order to eat what one wants.
Now you know. Feel free to quote me. The sweetness of carrots with coconut milk - mmmmm...farmer meets the hula...and then there's just a bit of bite from chili sauce - but not so much that the mister minded, he's my "bite barometer", so I kept it on the mild side but you could ramp it up as much as you like. Make this one kids, you won't be sorry! Plus it's SO easy! I'm going to put my book club and quilt group on notice right now, the next time you come to my house you will be served this soup! It's definitely something to look forward to!
Carrot-Coconut Soup - Adapted From Bon Appetit Magazine
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 1/2 cups carrots, peeled, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, like a Walla Walla or Vidalia, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk (lite or regular but do not use cream of coconut)
2 tablespoons chili sauce plus more for serving, if desired
(I used Sweetened Chili Sauce, that's what it says on the bottle, available in Asian markets and most grocery stores. On the label it also says for Spring Rolls. This sauce has just a little bit of heat, but not so much that you won't want to suck it up with a straw! So good!)
Fresh cilantro or basil leaves for serving, optional
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring often, until carrots are softened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in broth, coconut milk, and 2 tablespoons of chili sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is slightly reduced, 40 to 45 minutes.
If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree the soup to your desired consistency (I left a few larger pieces of carrots.) If you don't have an immersion blender, puree the soup in batches in a regular blender, being careful not to overfill. Divide soup between bowls and serve. Drizzle with more chili sauce and garnish with cilantro/basil, if desired. Serves 4. This soup is great reheated; it will be a bit more thick the next day so thin, if desired, with water or chicken broth.