TT Thursday – Weight Loss Challenge Week 18 and Gazpacho

TT Thursday – Weight Loss Challenge Week 18 and Gazpacho


One of the best ways to lose weight is to simply eat at home.  Do you remember in August, I talked about following along with Peter Berley’s Bluprint cooking soup course and I made my first hot tomato soup from scratch?  Well, I was supposed to also make a gazpacho with the other half of the tomatoes I had squished.  You forgot?  Yeah, well me too so today I finally made it.  It’s so easy.  Thank goodness because I’m trying to develop the cooking gene.

Cooking is something my mom and my sister are good at but I never felt was my forte although I can follow a recipe as long as it’s simple.  However, I want to eat home more often because I need to step up my weight loss and you have a lot more control of ingredients at home. So I need to change.  I’d like to learn to be one of those people who look in the refrigerator and says oh, I got this and this and this so, hmmm, I know what would be awesome to make. Right now I look into a full refrigerator and think I don’t know what to make, where’s the box I can nuke.  I have a master’s degree in nuking boxes.  Really!  It’s hanging in the kitchen.

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Remember we started with 3 pounds of tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt?  Half of that we used for the hot tomato jazz soup.  I put the other half in a jar and chilled it.  Taking out the jar, I gave it a good shake because the liquids had separated into tomato juice on the bottom and water on top.  And remember how I said Arizona tomatoes might be saltier than other tomatoes?  I tasted the liquid and it still tasted salty but otherwise fine.  It had not gone bad. Phew!

I’m ready to make the second soup in the first lesson : the gazpacho, a chilled soup suitable for summer.  It’s still in the 80’s here in Arizona so I’m sure some people will think that’s summer weather. To me though, 80s feels a little bit on the cool side.  The first step for the gazpacho is to create scallion infused red wine vinegar so Peter has us mincing one shallot and putting your minced pieces (is it wrong that I think of the word “minions”?) in one third cup of red wine vinegar.  And then you let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

Now remember that Peter thought of cooking like jazz.  You have the main thing but you have all these improv bits going on at the same time.  He does that by chopping up different things that people can add into the soup if they so please.  It’s like when you go to a Korean barbecue and you have all those tiny dishes except instead of being tiny sides, you can add anything from the tiny dishes to your main dish to make it unique and add flavor.  So when you have people over for dinner, everyone will have gazpacho but no one has the same gazpacho.  Isn’t that so cool?

So here we set to slicing, mincing and chopping.  By the time that’s all done the vinegar will be all infused and we can serve lunch.  Peter suggests corn, onion, fresh dill, cucumber, feta and croutons.  The cool thing with the jazz concept is that if you don’t have something, it’s perfectly acceptable to use something else.  So first I scrapped raw corn off the cob.  Autumn is a great time for corn because it is very sweet and yummy right now.  Eating it raw preserves more nutrients and it’s perfectly safe as long as you’ve washed off all the dirt and silk.

Here’s where I get to experiment.  I didn’t have cucumber but I wanted a green accent for the soup so I sliced up an avocado.  Since I’m eating alone, I crushed up one clove of raw garlic (yeah, no vampires here).  I skipped the onion as a condiment as I figured I’d just use the shallots in the red wine vinegar.  Why chop when you already have?  I didn’t have dill so I cut up a bit of tarragon instead.  I had bought a little tarragon as an experiment.  I took a little nip.  Hmmm, tastes a little like anise to me.  Playing it safe, I only use one strand.  I didn’t have any feta but I had bought a little garlic and herb infused goat cheese on sale yesterday.  It didn’t really crumble so I pinched it into little pieces. I tasted one.  It has a light mild flavor.

Now my shallot-infused red wine vinegar should be done.  Berley explains that tomatoes are bursting with umami flavor and that you use the vinegar to season the soup to enhance the flavors.  I’ve never  used vinegar to season.  Good thing I was watching a video or I would have dumped the whole 1/3 cup in but no.  You just do one or two spoonfuls, stir and taste it.  If it’s enough, stop.  If not, add another spoonful, stir and taste again.  This was great.  Remember I thought the my hot tomato soup was too salty.  The shallot-infused red wine vinegar balanced the salty somehow and suddenly it didn’t taste salty.  Who knew?

Time for soup.  After my spoonfuls of the infused vinegar, I added the condiments I made : corn, avocado, goat cheese, garlic, and tarragon.  I tasted my brand new soup.  Lovely!  Because it’s a chilled soup, the corn keeps it’s crunch.  All the pieces keep their distinct flavors instead of melding so it was like they were partners dancing with the tomato soup base.




After I started eating the soup, I remembered I had some fresh cilantro.  So I chopped a bit of that and added it in too. (I don’t have a picture of that since I’d already started eating it.) The soup was perfect.  Now it’s morphed into a wonderful  Southwestern soup with the jazzy condiments: avocado, corn and cilantro. I love it and so healthy!

I am using Chronometer to figure out calorie count.  I figure these serves about 2-4 people depending on if the soup is the starter or the main dish.  So 547 calories divided by two for big bowls is 279 calories each.  And if it’s small bowls then its 140 calories each.  Pretty cool right?  Plus look at Vitamin A, C& K.  Now remember when you’re looking at the vitamins and stuff, divide by 2 for big bowls and divide by 4 for small bowls because this is the total count for everything.  It’s pretty low on starch and sugars but high on fiber so it does have a little carb. I might swap out the avocado and cheese next time for some other jazzy “condiment” to bring the fat count down. For 279 calories, the soup was very filling.

I’m hoping to cook more of his soups this week.  I bought some groceries yesterday for the Parmesan Herb Soup and the Roasted Mushroom Stock — those two are still part of lesson one.  He really gives a lot in each lesson and I learn something new with each soup.  Like this time, my big takeaway is that vinegar can take away salty.  Looked it up on the web and it turns out lemon and vinegar both do that so good things to have around.  I’ve signed up for the monthly $9.99 as I still haven’t done the Thai food one and I saw another cool one which teaches you to do stuff like make your own yogurt.  And not that I can do cake (diet!) but there’s the cutest cake decorating one.

HealthyWage Weight Loss Progress report

Okay, it’s late so this will be quick. I hit 215.2 today which is my lowest so far so I’m still dropping.

As you know, I’m in a few challenges that pays cash if you succeed in reaching your goal weight. The little 6% ones are Pound Shedders, Falling Pounds, Big Losers, and Going for the Goal.  I’ve finished reaching my goal weight of 219.7 pounds for Going for the Goal but am waiting for October 24th before I can weigh in.  All four of them I’m in the green which means I’m on track.  I still haven’t caught up to the main one HealthyWage which is why I want to learn to cook soups.  I think it will help me to drop a little faster — I have yet to catch up after that plateau a month ago although I’ve been fairly consistent since then of losing 1-2 pounds per week.  I’d like to move it up to 3 pounds to catch up.  I still have the goal of winning the $768 in sight.  The lesser challenges should win me between $50-$100 each as long as I succeed. My target weight on the big one is 185.  I started at 252.1 pounds.

From HealthyWage: “According to a recent Mayo Clinic study on weight loss, participants who received cash incentives were more likely to stick with the weight-loss program and lost more weight than participants who received no incentives. Find your incentive when you bet on your weight loss with a HealthyWager from HealthyWage.

Going for the Goal
Target : 219.7 done
Weigh in : Oct 26-Nov 9, 2018

Pound Shedders
Target : 209.7
Weigh in : Nov 12-26, 2018

Big Losers
Target : 209.7
Weigh in : Nov 19-Dec 3, 2018

Falling Pounds
Target : 206.7
Weigh in : Dec 12-26, 2018


Affiliate disclosures:

I am an affiliate for HealthyWage because I like them and I think it helps people a lot to have that extra incentive to lose weight.  In the post text, they are affiliate links only but down here you can also choose to join by a friends link.  If you join through the links above, I’ll get a small fee whether you or I succeed or fail. However, they also have a friends link where we both earn only  if we both succeed — the added motivation of social pressure! If you join up by clicking this friends link, it adds a $40 to your HealthyWager award if you complete your goal and $40 to my HealthyWager award if I complete my goal.  Neither of us gets the $40 if either person fails.   I think the $40 is for HealthyWager challenges only and not the other ones like the 6% individual challenge or the team challenge. The HealthyWage affiliate link doesn’t matter if anyone succeeds but there is no benefit for the friend, just for the affiliate no matter what kind of challenge they join. Joining through the friends link also lets you view your friend on the dashboard: you’ll see their name and what % they’ve lost so far but not the actual weight.  That’s private unless you make it public.

I am an affiliate for Craftsy so I may earn a small fee if you sign up by clicking a link.  I enjoy and like them because they have a wide variety of cooking, diy, crafts and art classes.









19 Replies to “TT Thursday – Weight Loss Challenge Week 18 and Gazpacho”

  1. When I eat at a restaurant, I always eat the BAD things! Who wants to pay to eat stuff that I eat at home?! So I try to avoid the eating out temptation, but sometimes I just long to have someone else prepare and serve me a meal.

    1. I really love anybody else cooking and cleaning — hence my love of eating out. But also because they can cook the stuff that I couldn’t — which was just about everything since I used to live on ramen and frozen foods, lol.

    1. Cooking is easier than I thought. Well, it helps that Peter keeps it down to just a few ingredients for the main part and then does the add-ons separately. I think I thought of cooking like talent — some people have it and some people don’t. Your saying “skill” is actually a help to me, to redefine it. A skill is not innate like talent. Thanks for your great comment.

      1. Glad it helped, and yes, I feel it is a skill. Like many skills, it comes easier to some than others, and practice always helps. Experience makes a huge difference, and I can tell by your willingness to try stuff with your cold soup that you are getting the hang of things. Over time, it gets easier as you have a better sense of what you like and what combinations work well together (for your palate) Like you, the SW combo is a good one for me. Minor tweaks and you can go indian or italian or middle eastern with most of the same ingredients. I think its fun to play with.

        1. oh that sounds really cool — I love the “minor tweaks and you can go” a whole bunch of other cultures.

    1. wow, you’re lucky! I miss dessert, sighs. Right now the closest I get to a cherry cake is a cherry tomato. Hopefully soon though.

  2. That soup looks amazing. You are doing so very well. It’s hard to lose weight and it gets harder as we age.

    I agree that eating at home helps with weight loss. Some of us (me) has trouble with the healthier choices when we dine out.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

    1. I agree it’s harder as we age. I remember how easy it was when I was 20. Now it’s like two pounds off, one pound back, two pounds off, one pound back. and like you I find it’s easier to lose if I stay home. Thanks again for your encouraging words and continuing support.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend out on the water

    1. Thank you! They had “edible flowers” for sale for $1 in a tube so I got it. I tasted one — it might be edible but it didn’t taste that good. Too strong. but it did look pretty on a soup. I have a few more left in the tube so maybe they will be more tasty. Thank you too for enjoying the Southwestern twist.

        1. I remember once i had flower petals in a salad and I liked them. They had a peppery flavor. I wish now I remembered which flower they were so I could grow them and use them in salads. I like the colors flowers would add to salads and soups and other things.

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