Inspiration by Patricia Feager, 2/20/18
FOUR WAYS TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
My mother taught me a long time ago, the best way to chase away the winter blues was to roll up your sleeves and be prepared to start in the Kitchen.
Start your day healthy using fresh fruits and vegetables. Mixing up an assortment of different types of oranges and grapefruit is really tasty and good for you too! Peeling the oranges and grapefruit is very relaxing and doesn't take much time at all. Making your own fresh Granola seems to look and taste better when adding dried coconut, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raisins, walnuts, pecans, or an assortment of nuts.
With your kitchen stove, you can bake, grill, fry, or boil food. When was the last time you made homemade bread? It takes time for the yeast to rise to make the bread, so make sure you start real early! Punching the dough and feeling it between your fingers does two things. It takes away any aggression and makes your hands feel smooth. Once you place the bread in the oven to bake, the whole house smells delicious. If you can't eat bread bake apples! Or make the bread anyway and give it away as a gift, placing it in a basket and tying it with a pretty ribbon with your business card.
For lunch, I like to make homemade Chicken Tortellini soup. While my chicken breast seasoned to my liking is baking in the oven, I fry onions, yellow, green, and red peppers with garlic and olive oil. Make sure everything is fresh and not frozen. Just heat them on low. In a 4 qt. stockpot, I use bone chicken broth and a large jar of homemade canned tomatoes. Depending on quantity, you may have to double ingredients and broth. Then I add about 2 tablespoons of ancho chile, and about half cumin, one or two bay leaves, and one chopped up a fresh tomato. I don't measure my dry ingredients, but I do use twice as much ancho dry chile power to about half cumin and definitely fresh garlic cloves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the chicken in the oven is done, add the chicken to the pot of soup. While it's simmering, I boil or make my own tortellini noodles. They boil quickly. I don't taste, my nose just knows when I got it right. Before serving, add Tortellini noodles, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, fresh avocado, mild cheddar, and sometimes I add Tortilla strips; other times I prefer Snyder's Wholly Cheddar Cheese crispy baked crackers.
The air temperature changes when you bake or make homemade food. Spices are really nice to experiment with and sniffing the air smells great! You just don't get the same smell in your kitchen when you make frozen dinners. Even on cool days, I like to crack open a window to keep the air fresh and clean
Taking a nice hot bath or shower before or after breakfast and in the evenings is very relaxing. Playing your favorite music softly can be very enjoyable.