Happy first day of spring! Yay, it's finally here. Now, everything can thaw. All of those piles of snow can melt. Put the snow plowing equipment away. Store away all of the heavy coats and gloves. The butterflies will come out and the buds will bloom. Everything will change from pure white to colorful shades of green.
Ha! Just kidding. What happened to winter? It never came. That was the weirdest Minnesota winter I have ever experienced. I was only there for part of it but it was strange.
Nobody missed the icy roads, scraping windshields, or shoveling the driveways. Kids probably didn't bundle up like they usually do or freeze quite so much as they waited for the bus. I am positive everyone enjoyed the lower price spent on heating our homes.
Hout & Sour Soup
Hopefully, the lovely weather also means that people didn't put on the winter pounds either. The lack of hibernation weather should have encouraged people to do more things outside. Hopefully, it wasn't too cold to drive to the gym. There were no icy roads or blizzard conditions to use as excuses. So, everyone is in perfect shape for swimsuit weather, right? It's right around the corner. I don't know if I am ever comfortable with swimsuit season.
I am not ready to think about swimming suits just yet. Instead, I am thinking about sticking to my workout routine, eating good healthy food, and not gaining any more weight before summer arrives. I'm giving up on trying to look like I did when I was twenty.
While we are on the subject of good food, this weekend, I filmed ten videos on how to make a variety of guacamoles for EHow.com. Six of the videos were different versions of guacamole: with serrano peppers, with cream cheese, a garden variety, etc... The rest were how to preserve guacamole, how to fix a too salty guacamole, and how to keep it from turning brown. It was tons of fun to film. I'll post some of them on my Simply Foodify Facebook page once they are up and ready to post.
Hot & Sour Soup
Time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon grape seed oil (or eliminate the oil
and use water method to saute)
2 bunches spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 serrano pepper, chopped
3 cups shitake mushrooms
5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cups carrots, shredded
3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos
(or Soy Sauce)
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one lime
1 block tofu, cut into cubes
1 can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a large wok or pan, heat oil on medium high heat. Saute onions, garlic, ginger and pepper for about five minutes. Add mushrooms and saute five minutes more. Pour in the broth. Turn heat on high. Add carrots, Braggs, lemon juice, lime juice, tofu, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Then, turn heat down and let simmer for five minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.
It's funny because this is the second time EHow.com has hired me to create cooking videos for their site and both times, I was so nervous before the filming began. Last time, I filmed a series on cooking with kids. Each time, I asked myself, "Why did I say yes to this?" My stomach was in knots; I was finding it hard to breathe properly. Then, as I got started it was so much fun and I loved doing it. Sometimes, you just have to go for it even though it seems challenging and scary. I'll probably do it again if they ask and I will go through the same dreadful experience as I get started.
Needless to say, my neighbors were treated with guacamole because there was no way we were going to eat all of the guacamole I was left with once we were finished filming. Even after I gave three bowls to the camera guy, I still had tons left. So, off to my neighbor's houses I went to deliver the loot. One neighbor, Michelle, was feeling under the weather. Even without much of a winter, people still get sick. I had to do something about helping Michelle feel better. I always turn to food as a cure.
I went back to my house and dug through the piles of paperwork on my desk and found a recipe for a soup which I saw on Dr. Oz a couple of weeks ago. I had been meaning to make it and now I had the perfect opportunity. This soup is supposed to be excellent as an immunity booster.
Once I started making it, I changed a few things. I stuck with all of the ingredients listed from the show, but I added in extra seasonings and coconut milk to give it some added layers of flavor. Also, I changed the original recipe from a jalapeno pepper to a Serrano pepper since I had some of those in my refrigerator leftover from the guacamole shoot. Luckily, I had everything I needed to get going.
In no time, I was ready to head back over to Michelle's house and deliver the magic cure soup. She looked tired and not very well. I really hoped that this soup would do the trick. I didn't see how it could hurt with all of the nutrients inside. There are carrots, onions, shitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and so much more. I used tofu in the soup. However, it would be quite easy to substitute chicken if you prefer. All you have to do is add the chicken pieces into the section where you saute the vegetables.
If someone you know is feeling under the weather (and missing out on the beautiful weather outside), try to fix some of this soup to cure them. If nothing else, your kindness might be just the trick they need to feel better. Happy Spring.