I originally posted this last September, but since I've left my old blogging site, I thought I should share it again...especially with cold and flu season just around the corner.
With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, I have been searching “immunity building soup” recipes in which I could incorporate my immunity tea. I found several, but many just seemed to be lacking. That’s when I knew it was time to make one up myself. So I took the best and omitted the rest, and since many of my ingredients just screamed Asian to me…that’s the flavor profile I went with.
As you can probably tell by my recipe below, I prefer to use recipes as guidelines. Use what you like….add and subtract what you do and don’t like. Make every recipe your own…that’s my philosophy.
What make this “immunity soup” other than the tea? Many of the ingredients are immunity builders! The yams, the squash, the cabbage and the greens are all great for the immune system; as is the miso, the shiitake mushrooms, the garlic and the ginger. However, there is still a lot of room to personalize it and still have a great immunity boosting soup. If you prefer acorn squash, use that…if you have a bag of spinach in your crisper, use that. No other mushroom measures up to the shiitake mushroom in regard to immune boosting power, but if you don’t like them, leave them out. There is enough other great stuff in this soup that you can add and omit and still have a powerful soup.
So here is how I made my immunity soup….
1 cup Immunity tea, 32 oz veg broth, 1 miso packet (I used white miso which contains a little seaweed, tofu and shiitake mushrooms) but red miso would work well too.
½ Onion, 2-3 cloves crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, hot sesame oil, cayenne pepper or other spicy pepper, soy sauce
6 Shiitake mushrooms, ½ c any other mushrooms, 2 carrots, a big handful of greens (kale, beet greens, spinach, I used swiss-chard), any type of squash (I used 1+ cup butternut), 1 yam, 1 handful shredded cabbage (any kind, I used plain ole’ green cabbage)
Quinoa or brown rice (I used brown rice)
Scallions and parsley
I started with the list of ingredients I wanted to include in my soup…the quantity I came up with as I made it.
Since I did not have fresh shiitake mushrooms, I started with dried.
While simmering ¼ c brown rice in just shy of ½ c water, I soaked 5-6 shiitake mushrooms in ½ cup of hot immunity tea to re-hydrate.
While the rice was cooking and the mushrooms were hydrating, I chopped ½ fairly large onion, a yam, 2 carrots and a good cup of butternut squash.
In my soup pot – I added a few swirls of olive oil and sauteed these veggies until almost tender. You can sprinkle in a little salt if you wish, but I would suggest waiting until the end, as the soy sauce will probably add enough salt. I added a bit of soy sauce, probably 1/2 TBSP to start building some Asian flavor. I also added a little crushed red pepper flake and cayenne pepper. I started with about ¼ tsp of each (you can always add more later). I removed the shiitake mushrooms from the tea, and added that tea (with all that mushroom goodness) to the veggies to allow them to steam a little. I then added 3 cloves crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger (about1/4 inch of a 1 inch diameter piece) **note here – I learned a great tip from Rachael Ray…peel and freeze a chunk of fresh ginger, then you can simply and easily grate some frozen fresh ginger into any recipe then throw the chunk back into the freezer.
I mixed the packet of miso soup into another ½ cup of immunity tea, then added that to the pot plus the box of veggie broth. At this point I added about a tsp of hot sesame oil (if you don’t want a lot of heat, use plain sesame oil) and I also added another splash of soy sauce.
Do a taste test – add whatever you think you need. Salt, soy, cayenne??? I found I needed to add a little more hot sesame oil.
Before I added the mushrooms, rice and greens, I hit it with an immersion blender, just a little, just to thicken the broth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just take out a good cup of soup and put it in a blender and then pour back into the pot….or if you just don’t want to bother, skip this step altogether.
Add mushrooms, rice and greens and a handful of cabbage. I allowed the soup to simmer for just a few minutes to be sure all the flavors were combined, then scooped up a couple bowls and topped with scallions and parsley.
All I can say is DELISH! This soup was great. It had a lot of great flavor, and it was packed with veggies which made it filling. My husband had instant plans to take the rest to work to eat for lunch the next day, but alas, I had to dash his plans. The rest will be bagged up and frozen.
So when I next feel the beginnings of a cold brewing, I have a great immunity boosting soup waiting for me. I almost can’t wait….almost.
Just recently I did a guest blog for Rochester Brainery to promote my upcoming class "A Beginner's Guide to Meditation" on Sept 30th. Check out the blog, then check out the class! Rochester Brainery is an awesome place to spend the evening learning something new!
Teacher Spotlight: Tracy Martorana
Want to meditate? ….just breathe.
By: Tracy Martorana, Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Herbalist and Owner of Tracy’s Teas
Meditation does not have to be complicated. As a matter of fact, you can do it right now. Okay, you may have to wait until you are done reading this!
If you have never tried meditation, keep it short to start – 30 seconds is perfect. As you get the hang of it, you can slowly increase the time…try 1 minute….then 2….lost focus?…go back to 1 minute. The key is to work your way up very slowly. I promise you, 30 seconds of meditation can be all you need to ease your stress and bring a little peace and serenity back to your day.
How do you start? It’s simple:
1) Find some place quiet with little chance of distraction. This could be your bedroom, it could be outside in your garden, it may even be the bathroom.
2) Sit somewhere comfortable; you do not need to twist into a pretzel. Find a comfortable spot on a chair, a bench or on the ground. You could even lie down, but this sometimes leads to a nap!
3) Close your eyes.
4) Breathe….focus on the breath. Feel the air come in through your nostrils, feel it on the back of your throat, feel your chest and belly expand, feel and hear the air leave your body slowly. Pause between your inhalations and your exhalations to notice the lack of thought…the gap.
5) Thoughts will come. Don’t chastise yourself for having them, it’s natural. Simply let them go and bring your attention back to your breath.
6) Repeat for as long as you choose.
7) When you are done, I like to put my arms overhead and give myself a little stretch and feel some gratitude for this peaceful moment, as I take one more big breath in and out….ahhh.
Sounds easy enough, yes? So what are you waiting for? Go give it a try.
Today, make nourishing yourself a priority.
Want to learn a little more about Tracy? Visit www.holisticwellnesswithtracy.com
Tracy will also be teaching “A Beginners Guide to Meditation” on Monday, September 30th from 6:30-7:30pm. Check it out...
No, I"m not talking about red-heads...I'm talking about that wonderfully spicy herb in the produce section of your local grocery store!
Ginger is often used to aid digestion, as well as to treat nausea, gas, diarrhea, acid indigestion, as well as general stomach upset. While ginger has such a positive effect on nearly every stomach ailment you can think of (from morning sickness to chemotherapy stomach upset), it has several other benefits. Ginger has a warming effect that can be helpful when suffering from the common cold. It is said to decrease cholesterol, increase cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, as well as to treat arthritis. It is also has an overall detoxifying effect, which makes it a great addition to your diet to counteract all the toxins we come in contact with/inhale/ingest during our day.
Try a delicious ginger tea after dinner or when you are feeling under the weather. Simply slice up about an inch of root, pour hot water over it and steep for 5-10 mins. Strain out the ginger, add a splash of lemon juice and a dollop of honey...and enjoy.
Want another delicious way to use ginger? Try these yummy cookies!
TRIPLE GINGER COOKIES
2C AP flour ¼ C molasses
2 tsp baking soda 1 egg
1 tsp ground ginger 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
½ tsp salt 1 TBSP minced crystalized ginger
¾ C margarine if using hard version from spice rack, soak in boiling water to 1 ¼ C sugar, divided soften
Sift flour, baking soda, ground ginger and salt into medium bowl. Melt margarine in small saucepan, pour into large bow and cool. Add 1 cup sugar, molasses and egg; mix well. Add flour mixture, mix well. Add other gingers and mix until just blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Heat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Form 1 inch balls, roll in sugar, place 3” apart. Bake 8-12 minutes. (8 mins for chewy, up to 12 for very crisp)
These are the best ginger cookies I have ever had!!! Give them a try!
There are many ways to use ginger in your diet: from the recipes above, to adding it to salad dressings or throwing some in your rice or in a stir-fry. Experiment. Just keep in mind that ginger has a strong flavor, so start out sparingly, you can always add more.
Today, make nourishing yourself a priority.
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.