ALL SET FOR THE ARCTIC BLAST! #CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP

Well, dear momma said there’ll be days like this. And she was correct. On this day, in my neck of the woods, (So. Florida) I’ll be prepping and cooking for the arctic blast. Yes, I know you must be saying, “Florida!?”. Already, we’re experiencing a mix-bag of rain, wind and of course, a nose-dive of temperatures.

Yep! Those cold digits have long legs and as I pen,  they are making their way here. In a couple of days, temperatures will plummet to the low forties and in some  northern regions, twenties and thirties. Forecasters said there could be SNOW.

So, what does a sun gal do with all that thinning blood pulsating through her veins? Well, other than reaching for her coat, mittens and boots, she’ll heading for the kitchen alright. And, that’s what I did. Decided to prep and cook for later. So, when that cold weather pattern enters my locale, I will have some form of culinary control.

Made me a big pot of chicken and veggie soup.  Have done so a ‘million and one’ times. Had all my ingredients on hand.  With all my root veggies and other ingredients, (diced carrots, onions, celery, pumpkin, corn on the cob, fresh thyme, scallion, chicken noodle mix, etc) the whole process went quite smoothly.

I know my stomach and my palate will be very much satiated during this arctic spell. As I feast on this mouth-watering dish with perhaps a few crispy crackers, I’ll reach for my throw and dress in my favorite sweater while I let my remote lead me to something entertaining on the tube. Arctic blast….bring it on!

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NO TRADING MOOD #LENTIL SOUP

It is said that these healthy legumes (lentils) date back to Bible days where Jacob traded same to Esau for his birthright. For thousands of years, lentils have graced many  Mediterranean, Asian, African and other tables. This was music to my ears.

As I washed my tiny beans I smiled knowing what was in store.  I’ve consumed lentils many times. I like the fact that they are very satisfying and will not spike the glucose level within my body. I used the brown lentils I had on hand.

These super-foods are of a variety of hues such yellow, green, black, orange and brown. Based on research, lentils are some of the healthiest foods around as they are loaded with nutrients such as cholesterol-lowering fibers, protein, vitamins including B12, folate and others.

Lentils cook relatively quick and easy and is able to absorb flavors and seasonings. And, with that on my mind, I sautéed  in a drizzle of olive oil root vegetables like:

  • diced carrots
  • diced celery
  • finely chopped onions
  • garlic
  • bell pepper
    SAUTEED ROOT VEGGIES FOR LENTIL SOUP
    SAUTEED ROOT VEGGIES FOR LENTIL SOUP

    This was seasoned along with salt, black pepper, cumin, bouillon, and fresh thyme. Then, I added rinsed brown lentils and coated them in oil for a few minutes.

    LENTILS AND ROOT VEGGIES BEING SAUTEED
    LENTILS AND ROOT VEGGIES BEING SAUTEED

    Cold water was then added. This simmered on low for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Additional water was  added as required.

After soup arrived at the preferred consistency, this was cooled  and then pureed. Lentil soup was served with a dollop of sour cream and finely chopped parsley as garnish.

 

RED BEANS(PEAS) SOUP WITH ROOT VEGGIES AND HAM BONES/PIG’S TAIL

The first day of 2016 found me quite naughty in the kitchen. You see, I blame my childhood friends, Dorna and Clova.

My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Bean soup (pig's tail on spoon)
My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Beans soup (pig’s tail on spoon)
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

They requested a Jamaican favorite, red beans (well, we call it ‘peas’ in Jamaica) soup with pig’s tail, left-over ham bone and a medley of root veggies. I’ve consumed this soup numerous time over the years. It’s such a rich and flavorful one. Moreover, it’s loaded with great fibers,proteins, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients that are great for the body.

I couldn’t help myself. As I  fetched my left-over ham bone, I smiled. I felt rather naughty.  After all, it’s still the festive season. I figured we should go out in a succulent ‘bang’. Thus, I also included a fresh squeeze of coconut milk for added flavors and richness.

Of course, no red bean soup is one without a medley of root vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.) I also incorporated yellow yam (ground provision) along with boiled dumplings made with a combination of whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and all-purpose flour.

Red bean soup was also flavored and spiced with fresh thyme, all spices (pimento), fresh ginger, garlic, diced onions, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and dried seasonings. With a packet of noodle soup and  veggie bouillon, my soup simmered on low and came to a beautiful consistency and finish.

Oh, we were on a roll. We chowed down on left-over Jamaican fruit cake served with strawberries and mint. Of course, we had to include a little spirit. And because I feel like every moment should be a celebration, I served chardonnay in champagne chutes. Those chutes are gifts from Dorna. Yeah….I was happy.

JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT
JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT