Impromptu Lunch: Soup for the Soul

I am not someone who is comfortable writing about food. Don’t get me wrong, I love food.  I love to eat, love to read about food and love watching food channels in TV.  That love shows quite well on my midriff. I do cook reasonably well.  It’s just that I am not organised enough to write a recipe or plan a meal.  I just make do with whatever is in the pantry and the fridge and cook up a reasonably savory dish.

After my visit to the dentist yesterday, I was pampering my teeth with soft foods to ensure that the temporary crown stay in place till next week when the permanent crown would be in place.  So for lunch today I had bought a carton of butternut squash soup from Trader Joe’s.  I opened the carton and poured a cup of soup into the bowl. One look at the color of the soup and my appetite went south.  I knew I had to do something.

I did not have much time on my hand.  My tummy was growling.  Some frozen and fresh ingredients from the fridge, added spices here and there and about 10 minutes later I had a hearty bowl of soup ready.  It tasted really good.  It soothed my appetite and calmed down my soul. I hope my readers will indulge me in my endeavour in penning the recipe.
impromptulunch_2 The ingredients were ( in order of cooking):
1. Four medium size frozen shrimp
2. Half cup frozen mixed vegetables ( carrots, sweet peas, cut beans, corn)
3.Half cup vegetable broth
4. Fresh ground black pepper and pinch of salt
5. Heat all of the above in  microwave(1100 watts) for eight (8) minutes in 50% power.
6. In a separate bowl, mix one diced large baby bellas mushroom, one half diced roma tomato, quarter cup thin sliced onion, one green chilli diced and a handful of baby kale with one and half teaspoon of soy sauce.
7. Once the shrimp and the mixed vegetable is done, mix the mushroom, onion, baby kale etc. into the shrimp and mixed vegetables.
8. Mix quarter cup of pre cooked barley ( pearl barley ).*
8. Pour a cup of butternut squash in the bowl and heat everything in the microwave for two and half (2 1/2)minutes.
9. Soup for the soul is now ready to be enjoyed with few pieces of thinly sliced french baguette.*1

Note:   Ingredients were based on what was available.
*  Barley was pre-cooked in a slow cooker for breakfast
*1 Thin slices were to favor my temporary crown so that I did not have to bite hard.  I am sure the soup will taste good with any other bread.

 

Summer of 2017 – Part 2- A New Trail

Continued from previous post : http://wp.me/p73yZZ-3ml
Summer of 2017 had been quite unpredictable.  There were a few days of triple digit ( fahrenheit ) temperature followed by mild, even cool for summer, temperature.  So when the leader of my weekend warrior group of hikers suggested a new trail, we decided on one that will be in shade for much of the hike just to be on the safe side.

PART 2: June 25, 2017 : Sunday: A New Trail

I would have missed this hike like many of the hikes that I missed during the last few months.  After the kids left for college, need to get up early in the morning was no longer a priority. Specially during weekends, it had now became a habit of sorts to scan the social media in the morning. Normally the group that I hike with drive to one meeting point and then bundle together in one or two cars, depending on the number of hikers, to the chosen trailhead for that day.

During all these years we had hiked many trails in the area around Castle Rock State Park but did not hike this particular trail. On this day our group was small, only four hikers.  At the start of the journey we were greeted by a mystery, an old VW Bug that 20170625_085518must have skidded down from the highway above and stuck for all these years in a tree. Wheels were long gone, paints were faded but there was no mistaking the shape.  After the perfunctory selfies and photographs, we proceeded on our hike, leaving the bug and its mystery to be solved by some other mystery blogger.

 

No more mysteries followed but the trail rewarded with us views of majestic oak groves as the trail meandered up and down the hills.  Due to the orientation of the early

morning sun with respect to the hill we were on the shade for majority of the hike.  We sent our silent thanks to the weather gods because a few sections where there were no shade, sun was brutal at the hilltop.

This new trail was a joy to hike.  Elevation gain was about 400 ft, but we started at a high point of about 2500 ft. We made a loop of the trail, retracing only a few hundred feet of the of the trail at the end of the hike.  Definitely a trail worth going back to.  We could still see the remnants of wildflowers clinging to the side of the trail in many places.  Surely there would be a bounty of wild flowers during spring.

A wild mushroom fulfilled our appetite of photographing wild flowers. Satisfied, we bid adieu to the trail with a promise to come back next spring.

 


To be continued.

©All photographs in this post were taken by the author.  Readers are free to use with proper acknowledgement to the author.