Adventures in Drool: Fighting the winter cold
It's winter (maybe not officially) but the cold and rainy weather has left Droolface slightly under the weather.
When the mucus starts to build up, I know it is time to deploy evasive action to try and prevent the cold.
Mom and grandmom know best when it comes to winter colds. They have been using hearty chicken soup for decades to boost the immune system and beat any illness.
I like to follow the same path with made-from-scratch chicken soup, but when time is of the essence, there are a few short-cuts you can take to serve up a delicious and cold-busting soup without taking all day to do it.
Try this recipe from For the Love of Food.
Tom Kha Soup
Serves 2 - 4
Adapted from Fun and Food Blog
You Will Need:
3 stalks lemon grass (bottom white part only)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 lime (preferably organic)
1-inch piece of ginger, sliced
1 can coconut milk
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 serrano chilies, sliced
1/2 block firm tofu
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
cilantro for garnish
1. Use only the white bottom part of the lemon grass stalk (discard the woody part). With the flat side of a knife, pound and crush the lemon grass so that it releases the flavor. Cut into 2-inch segments.
2. Put the vegetable stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the lemon grass, zest from 1 lime, and ginger and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, onion, and chilies and simmer for another 5 minutes. Then add the tofu and vegetables. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked. The lemon grass, ginger, and chilies can be discarded before serving, or serve them for extra flavor in the soup.
3. Squeeze fresh lime juice over soup. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.
How do you try to boost your family's immunity and beat an illness?
In my house, I try to get as much spinach into my family as possible. As you know, I blend it up in smoothies, sneak it into rice and into any pasta sauce possible.
I also try to sneak either chia seed or flax seed (or a blend of the two) into everything possible. This isn't as easy, but it goes into smoothies and baked goods rather easily.
Baking with pumpkin is another good tip. Over the weekend, I made delicious corn muffins. I simply added a half-cup of pure pumpkin puree to a box of cornbread mix and baked as directed. You would never know there was pumpkin in there instead of the oil called for.
I think a good breakfast is key to staying healthy in bad weather.
In the winter I try to keep serving smoothies each morning, but also like to add in something else. Try out this granola recipe from The Food Channel.
You Will Need:
4 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups Brazil nuts, raw, chopped
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup cashews, unsalted, chopped
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups tropical dried fruit, diced (such as dried mango, papaya, pineapple, banana chips and shredded coconut)
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Combine oats, Brazil nuts, coconut, cashews and wheat germ in large bowl; toss to blend.
3. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla and stir until blended. Pour over oat mixture and toss to evenly coat oat mixture.
4. Spread granola evenly onto a 13-inch x 18-inch baking sheet.
5. Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove from oven and cool.
7. In a large bowl, combine toasted granola with dried tropical fruit and gently toss to blend.
8. Transfer to storage container or zip lock bags to store.
This is a great recipe that you can make in advance and serve each days in different ways. Try topping granola with a probiotic yogurt, which also helps boost immunity.
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