Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup (17 Day Diet Friendly)

Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup

As we were driving out to Holiday Valley Ski Resort, the cars temperature gauge registered at -18! A few days ago I posted that The Buffalo News front page headline was "February our Coldest Month Ever!" At -18 today, that record month will remain a record for a loooong time. But trust me, -18 temps don't deter the Siwiec family (excepting me) from skiing; they are hardcore skiers. Dave was like a kid out there today he was so excited to ski.  He bought a new pair of Volkl skis last week so he couldn't wait to rip tup he hills in them this weekend. He came back to the lodge and loudly cheered "Best ski day EVER!" Once he took his helmet off, a woman at the table next to us started laughing and said "Before he took his helmet off I thought it was your teenage son running in to tell you that it was his best ski day ever!" Yep, he was just like one of the boys today. I must agree about the best ski day ever comment because it truly was. As cold as it was, the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky, and there was no wind. The skiing conditions were perfect, and so was our lunch!

(Best ski day ever) + (-18 temperatures) = Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup. That's what we had for lunch and wow, did that warm us up. Dave and the boys devoured 2 bowls each. I'm so glad my boys love veggies because I'm on day 6 of the 17 Day Diet and my recipes have been loaded with veggies. Kale, carrots and tomatoes were the veggie highlights of this soup. I added orzo pasta on the side for the boys to add a little more substance. Plus they were skiing pretty hard today so the extra carbs were good for them. The italian chicken sausage and fire roasted tomatoes in this soup added a spicy kick which helped to warm us up even more. Dave and the boys love a soup that bites your mouth.

I love a soup that's bursting with palate pleasing flavors and this soup fits that bill. I also love a soup that is 17 Day Diet friendly and this soup fits that bill as well. I used a fat free chicken broth as the base, and added the veggies and italian chicken sausage. I made this in the crockpot but it could be made quickly over the stovetop too. This recipe took 10 minutes to prepare and it heated in the crockpot for 3 hours. The chicken sausage was already pre-cooked so I just sliced them and tossed them in the broth. I used kale that was already pre-washed and cut. You spend a little more money but the pre packed veggies are so worth it. Everything about this soup is good…it's healthy for you, it's tasty, and it's satisfying. What more could you ask for in a soup?  

Today was the most difficult day on the diet (read my impressions below) so I only give a semi-salute to successfully completing day 6 of the 17 Day Diet, but a full salute to a Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup that's sure to warm you up even on the coldest winter day! See recipe below.

Cycle 1, day 6 of 17 Day Diet Menu and Impressions

Morning Beverage: Hot water with fresh lemon. 

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt with fresh blueberries and a cup of green tea. 

Lunch: Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup and a cup of green tea. 

Dinner: crudités with a lemon yogurt dip and a mesclun salad with an olive oil and red wine vinaigrette and 2 cups of green tea.

Exercise: Two hours of skiing!

Impressions: The Negatives: Today was the most difficult day because we were invited to our dear friend's house tonight for dinner. The hosts, who are amazing cooks, made homemade pizza, chili, pasta fagioli, a mesclun salad and also served some killer wines. These wines were brought back from vineyards in Napa that had recently visited. How could I resist all of this amazing food and wine? Why would I want to resist all of this amazing food and wine? Trust me it took every ounce of me to resist. But tonight, resisting wasn't the most difficult part…the absolute most difficult part was declining our friends food. How incredibly rude is that? I felt awful. They put time, energy and passion into the food they made for us and I had to say "I'm sorry I can't eat any of the food you are serving because I am on Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet." One may say "good for you for maintaining such willpower and dedication to your diet" but I say "how selfish of myself." Our friends were absolutely gracious about me declining their over the top good food and wine and said "no worries", but that didn't matter to me. I still felt like an ill-mannered guest. As we were pulling up to their house I reminded the boys to behave, be respectful and be well mannered, and they were. But how hypocritical of me to preach those words when I broke all of those rules myself. So because I want to loose a few pounds and look good in my bathing suit, I declined an amazing meal while feeling like a total buzz kill and offending my friends. It's one thing to decline food because of an allergy or a medical reason, but to decline food because of vanity didn't sit well with me. I guess I could have declined the invite but that would have been just as selfish and rude. So my deepest apologies again to our gracious hosts. This has truly been the most difficult part of this diet so far. You may say I'm being harsh on myself but the premise and subtitle of my food blog is: The joy of making lasting impressions on my family and friends through my love of cooking." I always frowned upon people who couldn't enjoy a night out with friends because of a diet they were on. In the back of my mind I would be like seriously??? What a party pooper!!! So here I sit, that person. I couldn't enjoy a glass of wine with my husband Friday night because of the diet; I have to decline attending a super cool wine tasting event with my girlfriends this Thursday because of this diet; I can't enjoy a piece of the homemade artisan bread that my son Zachary made this weekend for a school project because of this diet; or I can't even enjoy the chocolate chip banana bread or the rice krispy treats I made for my family because of this damn diet. So these are some of my impressions so far on this diet,...I know mostly negative…but it's how I feel. So today the hardest thing for me about this diet is how it's affecting others. I'm really looking forward to Cycle 1 being over. And for all I'm giving up, which is a lot, this diet better show results on this body. 11 more days, Cycle 1!

The positives: Anything positive about the diet today you ask? Yes there are! Luckily, Stephanie, who introduced me to this diet, was there with me tonight. So I wasn't the only one not eating the scrumptious food or drinking the amazing wines. Stephanie brought the crudités platter with the greek yogurt dip which was super good…I will post the recipe once I make it this week. Stephanie showed up with a box of green tea in hand and I stashed a few tea bags in my coat pocket too! It was actually pretty hysterical. So we munched on veggies and salad all night…trust me it was very satisfying but hard to watch everyone else stuff their faces with yumminess. So it REALLY helps when you have a friend or family member doing this diet with you. If Stephanie wasn't at the party too, I may have caved, so thanks Steph! I'll admit I did have a few sips of red wine…I had to taste test, plus I couldn't be that rude. Even with the guilt I felt tonight I must admit I feel really good about how my body feels. The diet has helped my body to detox impurities and that feels really good. So far I've eliminated coffee, alcohol and significantly reduced sugar and carbs. My body is loving me for it. I added lots of water, green teas, and probiotics which are all helping me to feel this good too. Dave is now implementing the hot water and lemon in the morning. The boys have been drinking more teas and they are enjoying it. I haven't tried on my red shorts at all this weekend since they are in Buffalo but I do feel a bit lighter and feel that my boobs and arms have thinned out a bit. Unfortunately, thats not where I need to loose fat…it's in my buttocks and thighs! So Monday morning I'll try them on and see…fingers crossed. The other positive is that I'm really enjoying the recipes I've been making like the Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup! Yum. I guess you have to take the good with the bad with some things…and trust me there is the good and the bad with this diet! I keep plugging away though.

17 Day Diet Friendly
Orzo added, not 17 Day Diet Friendly
Chicken sausage, kale, fire roasted tomatoes, carrots, and chicken broth. 
Make it in the crockpot or on the stovetop
Simple, easy, delicious, spicy and healthy 
It's -18 and we're skiing anyways!
Dave and Zachary warming up with Chicken and Kale Soup
Nate and me!
My 17 minutes of exercise is completed, skiing!
Dave's new Volkl skis and his best day ever!
Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup: (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 10 minutes prep and 2-3 hours in the crockpot. Stovetop 30 minutes.

Serves: 8-10


  • 10 pre-cooked italian chicken sausage, sliced
  • 2 cups of sliced carrots
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 8 cups fat free chicken broth
  • salt n pepper
  • optional: pasta on the side like orzo or elbows
Add all of the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for 2-3 hours or until carrots are tender. Optional: add pasta to the soup. Enjoy!

Morning beverage at the lodge…hot water with lemon
Breakfast at the lodge: Greek yogurt loaded with blueberries  with a cup of green tea
Lunch at the lodge: Spicy Chicken and Kale Soup with a cup of green tea
Dinner: Crudites with lemon yogurt dip, mesclun salad with olive and red wine vinaigrette, and 2 cups of green tea. 
The boys and Gabriella enjoying all of the food at the party…I wish I could have enjoyed it too…damn diet!

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