Hot and Sour Miso Soup

What do you do when you are sick? What do you eat, or try to eat? This is the soup I turn to. Every time. I’ve been making this soup for over 15 years. It is my feel better healing soup.  Everyone needs one of these.

I found the foundation of this recipe in 2000 from the August Chatelaine Magazine. The recipe for Hot and Sour Soup got my attention. Especially the sentence under the title: “This version of hot-and-sour soup skips the cornstarch that makes some commercial varieties of this Asian favourite thick and gloppy.”  I love the flavours of hot and sour soup but didn’t really care for the texture, so I was excited to try this version.  It was amazing.

Miso is a wonderful addition to this miracle soup. Miso adds an extra umami flavour and has many health benefits.  Miso is a source of probiotics which add beneficial bacteria to the gut to support digestion. An even quicker soup recipe is 1 cup of broth and 1 tablespoon of miso.  This makes a nutritious flavourful broth to help you feel better quickly.

Hot and Sour Miso Soup
Hot and Sour Miso Soup

The October Recipe Redux Challenge focuses on recipes to promote a healthy gut. “With cold and flu season upon us, the best defense may be good gut health. Since much of our immune health begins in the gut, show us your healthy, delicious recipe to bolster gut health.” Look for the links at the bottom of the post for great ideas to help keep you healthy all winter long.

Hot and Sour Miso Soup

Serves 4

1 litre vegetable stock*

2 shiitake mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 tablespoon soy sauce*

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon honey

100 grams soba noodles

150 grams tofu, chopped into small cubes

1 tablespoon miso

1/4 cup water

3 green onions

cilantro

spicy peppers, minced

shimiji mushrooms

Directions:

Heat vegetable broth and add garlic, ginger and shiitake mushrooms.  When hot, turn to simmer and add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, honey, soba noodles, and tofu.  Heat until noodles are soft.

Is a small bowl, combine miso with 1/4 cup water. Stir to dissolve.  Add this to the soup. Heat gently.  High heat can destroy the benefits of the miso.  Add green onions and garnish with cilantro, spicy peppers, and shimiji mushrooms.

*I recommend using lower salt varieties as the miso adds sodium as well.

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Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Tacos

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Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Tacos

This recipe started out as a dip.  It was so popular and well liked it turned into a main mix for a few different Mexican style dishes.  It has evolved a little over the years, but always starts with the same foundation.  It is a very versatile mix that can go a lot of different ways depending on what you have on hand, what ingredients are in season or what your preferences are. We use it for tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and as an ever popular dip for parties and potlucks. This recipe definitely has increased our use of black beans.

Black beans and all legumes are nutrition powerhouses.  They are a good source or protein, iron, and other nutrients and a very good source of fibre and folate. In addition black beans (along with other pulses) provide exceptional support for blood sugar balance and blood sugar regulation due to their protein plus fibre combination. Although all beans and lentils are very healthy,  there are unique properties to black beans. Current research is showing they may have particular benefits in preventing colon cancer as they support a very helpful bacteria in the lower colon.   Here are a couple more recipes using black beans.  Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (with black beans) and  Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Ancient Grains Salad.

If you need taco inspiration, you have come to the right place. This month Recipe Redux challenge is to make a taco that is healthy and creative. Look for the link at the bottom of the post to take you to all the wonderful ideas from the members of The Recipe Redux team. You can probably make a different recipe for Taco Tuesday for at least a year! I’m looking forward to checking them out.

This recipe is very easy, quick, healthy, and creative.  It takes only about 15 minutes to prepare.  It doubles well to make extra to freeze for another day. Simply defrost in the fridge, reheat and serve. For another easy pulse based taco filling see my very popular recipe for Lentil Tacos.

Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Tacos

Makes 8

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp chipotle powder or 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp cumin

3/4 cup strained pureed tomatoes

1 3/4 cup cooked (or canned) black beans

1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Taco shells

Toppings such as chopped avocado, grated cheese (or vegan cheese), chopped tomato, lettuce, salsa, lime wedges

Directions:  Add olive oil to medium saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Add spices and heat until they are fragrant (a few more minutes).  Add tomato, black beans and corn.  Cook until filling is heated through (about 10 minutes). Top with freshly chopped cilantro and serve.

While taco filling is cooking prepare taco shells.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place taco shells on cookie sheet and heat for about 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve.

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

My Mom was a terrific cook and baker, and I learned so much from her.  I have so many memories of cooking with her, from learning to make bread and  buns, roll cabbage rolls, pack pickle jars, and shell peas for freezing to baking cookies and cupcakes.  She did so much to provide healthy delicious foods for her family. Food was love for the family.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

She loved to bake chocolate cupcakes, and this was one of the first recipes she taught me. We didn’t have a stand mixer but used a hand held mixer over a bowl.  I remember one day we were making cupcakes together and I got to hold the hand mixer.  I was doing fine so she momentarily left the room.  The mixer slipped out of my hand!  It kept spinning out of control, splattering chocolate cupcake batter all over me, the floor, the kitchen table, the chairs, and even the ceiling.  The mixer came to life and kept hopping around.  It was like a comic strip unfolding in our kitchen.  It was hilarious and fun and we both laughed and laughed.

I still make this recipe today for my own kids.  We haven’t had the mishaps I experienced but have had lots of fun, especially in the decorating department.  My kids came up with adding a mix of white, milk and dark chocolate chips on top.  They look so tempting.  The cupcakes are delicious, rich and chocolatey.  The recipe makes a great birthday cake or mini cupcakes for parties or picnics.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

First cooking memories is the September theme with The Recipe Redux.  I can’t wait to read all the stories! The link is at the bottom of this post.   These early experiences we have in the kitchen shape our futures even though we don’t realize it at the time.  I look forward to creating lots of fun kitchen memories with my kids.  Remembering my own makes it even more important to be sure to have lots with my kids.  I want them to realize one day that my cooking and baking was love too.

Mom’s Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Makes 12 large cupcakes

1 2/3 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare cupcake pan with liners.   Mix flour, soda and salt together well and set aside.  In a mixer beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, cocoa, brown sugar and vanilla until well blended.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Spoon batter into cupcake liners and bake for approx 25 minutes.  Check them with a toothpick to see it they are done (a crumb or two on the toothpick is perfect). This recipe works well as a 9 inch cake pan or as mini cupcakes as well.  Adjust your cooking time accordingly. They freeze well so can be made ahead.

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Honey Lime Yogurt

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt
Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Honey Lime Yogurt

#ad #sponsored I received free samples of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time and all opinions are my own.

I am quite familiar with kiwi fruits but mostly the green variety and I had not tried Zespri SunGold kiwi before.   When the opportunity came up to participate in the Recipe Redux SunGold Surprise Challenge,  I was excited to be part of it. I love finding new ways to enjoy fresh fruits and if I can find a way to dress them up into an elegant healthy dessert: even better.

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt
Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt

This gold variety of kiwi fruit is sweeter than its green cousin.  It is not quite as tangy but has a bright tropical flavour.  When I tasted these delicious gold kiwis I knew immediately I wanted to include lime in my recipe.  I was surprised that complimentary flavours were very easy to find with gold kiwi.  It is very versatile and tasted delightful with everything we tried it with, both savoury and sweet.  Our favourite combination was with blackberries along with a little lime flavoured honey sweetened yogurt. Honestly this is such a healthy dessert it could easily be a snack, breakfast or part of a special brunch.

Reading about the nutritional value of Zespri SunGold kiwifruit is even more surprising.  They are very nutritious;  providing  folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E and fibre. Kiwi also contains enzymes which aid digestion.  Kiwifruit typically has a fuzzy skin and although it is edible many people prefer to peel kiwis.  SunGold kiwis have a smooth skin and eating the skin provides a valuable source of fibre. This also makes kiwi quick and easy to prepare.

Make the Lime Honey Yogurt first so the flavours will blend while you prepare the fruit.

Kiwi Blackberry Stacks with Lime Honey Yogurt

Serves 4

1 cup yogurt

zest of 1/2 of a lime (approx 1/2 tsp)

1 tbsp honey

4 Zespri SunGold kiwifruit

1 cup blackberries

Directions:

Mix yogurt with lime zest and honey until smooth and place in refrigerator while you prepare the fruit.

Wash blackberries and drain well.  Wash and trim ends of the kiwifruit and slice in even slices. Starting with the widest kiwifruit slice, put a small amount of yogurt mixture in the middle of the kiwi slice and add blackberries to mostly cover.   Repeat with the next kiwifruit slice and on the final slice, top with one blackberry.

Check out all the entries to this fun competition here.