One of my favorite quotes is by J.R.R. Tolkien: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." Here I'm giving glimpses of all I am deciding in the time that is given to me. Enjoy! All pictures and posts are mine, thank you! Please ask permission for photo use.

Monday, April 8, 2013

spring fever

Okay, I don't have a fever. But I'm sick--on a beautiful spring day (and when I should be at work), I'm home sick with a cold. There's a gland on the left side of my neck behind my ear that's swollen to the size of a small tumor. I knew this cold would come, because every spring and autumn I get a cold triggered by my allergies. Drinking lots of water, my elderberry syrup, and hot lemon water with honey are soothing my throat while I lie around the house doing nothing.

Those who know me know I'm not a fan of doing nothing, so I decided to make a soup I've been wanting to make since ripping the recipe page out of a Shape magazine.

I doubled the recipe and modified it based on what I had at home.

I love shiitake mushrooms, but they're also pretty pricey, so I used both shiitake mushrooms and white button mushrooms. Before I did anything, I cooked the udon noodles, drained them, then set them aside. Next, I sauteed my mushrooms in olive oil until soft, then added about eight or nine cloves of minced garlic.

Before I continue, I just have to say a huge thank you to whoever created the wonderful garlic mincer. This tool is one of my faves in our kitchen drawer.

And on the subject of favorite kitchen tools, the lovely lemon squeezer (also good for limes!) is another one that's frequently used in our house. I've been using it to make my hot lemon water with honey, and it gives me every last drop out of my lemons.

Okay, back to the recipe! I added about 1.5 teaspoons of dried ginger to the mushrooms and garlic, continuing to stir. Then I added 8 cups of veggie broth, added about another cup of plain water, and put in a heaping spoonful of miso, stirring over heat to dissolve the miso. I added my spicy Fiero sauce and the cooked udon noodles, stirred, and covered and simmered for about 10 minutes. I roughly chopped some raw cashews and put them in a Blue Avocado reusable bag to save as my garnish for the next several days. I didn't toast them as the recipe suggested because I wanted to keep them raw.

The soup smelled wonderful as it was cooking!

When it was done simmering, I ladled some soup into a bowl. In my individual bowl of soup, I added a splash of rice vinegar and a splash of sesame oil (I'll be reheating the soup at home for the next several days, and I don't want to heat the vinegar and sesame oil in the soup, so I'll just garnish my individual bowls of soup with the vinegar and oil once they are hot and ready to eat).

Finally, I topped it all off with a spoonful of my chopped cashews.

I'm such a baby when I'm sick. I want to be comforted, even if it's me cooking something delicious and nutritious to make me feel better. This soup did the job, and it's something I would enjoy even when I'm not sick.

As much as I hate my allergies and the inevitable cold that comes every spring, I do love spring! The warmer weather and sunshine make me happy, and the cherry blossom outside our home has begun to bloom. I also have a little birdie friend keeping me company with a spring tune and nesting preparations. She was flitting around the branches and would sometimes pluck off blossoms and buds, chew them for a moment, then drop them down to the ground. Suddenly I have the biggest urge to watch one of my favorite Disney cartoons, Bambi. "Little April Shower," "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song," or "I Bring You A Song," anyone?

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