We are snowed in here on the East Coast, surrounded by piles of soft, white velvet. Inside, we relish in the perfect opportunity to warm the home, heart and stomach with comforting foods and drinks that a day like today requires. Snowy winter days call for hearty, wholesome soups and stews, and warm, sweet drinks. Chicken Noodle Soup & Hot Chocolate are classic winter day recipes, but how about adding a stylish twist to these traditions? Below are a few jazzed up suggestions to make your winter day a bit warmer. If you don’t have these pantry items available, stock up for the next snowfall.
Chicken Udon Noodle Soup: Combine a box of reduced sodium organic chicken stock or broth in a large pot. Add in your favorite vegetables (snow or sugar peas, carrots, bok choy, and green onion would be traditional) and let these cook for 5 minutes. Add in a ¼ to ½ block of firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieces. In a separate pot, boil water and add in the Udon noodles, cooking according to the instructions on the box. Once ready, then drain the Udon noodles and combine with the soup. Add in a dash of tamari (or soy sauce), some fresh herbs like parsley or basil, and some uncooked green onion tops. Serve in a deep bowl with a spoon and chopsticks and some warm crusty whole grain bread.
Take your favorite milk (rice, soy, almond work just as well) and heat it slowly over low heat (about 1 cup per person). Add in dark cocoa powder or for a richer flavor, melt in some dark chocolate. Stir continuously and slowly until chocolate is incorporated. Add in a cinnamon stick and a bit of fresh ginger (about the size of half your pinky finger) or powdered cinnamon and ginger (about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of ginger). Stir into incorporated and heat on low for about 10 minutes to let the flavors combine. Serve while hot. Interesting facts: Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. Cinnamon helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into the body. Ginger calms the stomach.
To go along with the hot chocolate, bake up some healthier cookies
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 ½ cups rolled oats, divided ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola, safflower or sunflower oil * ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup ½ teaspoon vanilla ¾ cup chocolate chips or raisins ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional) 1 cup barley flour ** ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon Dash of nutmeg ½ teaspoon salt — Preheat oven at 350F. Process ¾ cup of the oats in a food processor or blender until they are the consistency of coarse flour. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the oil, syrup, vanilla (NOTE: If you are using the flax instead of oil – add this to the dry ingredients). In a separate larger bowl, place the ground oats, remaining ¾ cup rolled oats, raisins (or chocolate chips), walnuts. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spatula until well incorporated (NOTE: if using the flax, you may need to add a little milk or water to the mixture until smooth). Scoop out heaping tablespoons of batter onto a well-oiled or parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Flatten the cookies. Bake for 11 minutes and rotate the cookie sheets a half turn to ensure even baking. Bake 6 to 7 minutes more or until the cookies are golden. (NOTE: If you are using flax, the cookies may brown faster so keep an eye on them). Let cool on the cookie sheet 5 to 6 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. * To make these cookies even healthier and add essential Omega 3’s and fiber to them, substitute ground flax seed for the oil in a ratio of 3 to 1. For example, here I would add a bit less than 1 cup of ground flax. Refer to the NOTE(s) above if using the flax. ** Barley is a great substitute for wheat. You can use whole-wheat pastry flour instead. My favorite combination is ½ cup barley flour, ½ cup brown rice flour.
Wishing you warm and tasty Appetites for Life today!