Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 148- No Chicken Soup for Me

Not something you really think about before making great sweeping diet changes, right? I mean, you're making health, or moral, or budget, or whatever decisions. What you'll eat when you're sick doesn't usually factor in.

In fact, I avoided thinking about it for years after I went veg. Partly because I was never much of a chicken noodle soup girl (Campbell's isn't very good, after all). And partly because I was so busy figuring out other stuff. Like how to get Doritos or Kraft Mac and Cheese to New Zealand (girl cannot live on falafel and tim-tams. Sad, right?).

Then 3 years ago I moved back to the land of chips and orange cheese. That first winter I got pneumonia. It happens more than you might think in Wyoming-I've also never seen so many people with their own personal oxygen supply. Pneumonia at high elevations is about as exciting as you might imagine, in all bad ways.

But anyway, I had to come up with something healthy to eat, that didn't take any effort to make ('cause I was kinda cyanotic), and that got at least *some* nutrients into me. That time I went with jarred matzah ball soup (veggie, oddly enough). That's not an option now- not because it isn't veggie anymore. I'm pretty sure they still make a veggie version. Nope, it's not an option because that stuff's expensive. And it's got eggs in it. Pleh.

So this time I (finally) went with the endless vat of lentil soup.

Lentil Soup of Cheapness (+2)

  • 1lb dry lentils, checked for trash and rinsed
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 head garlic, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 sm can tomato paste
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3T salt
  • 1T oil
  • water
  • Optional other stuff

Put the lentils in a crock pot and fill to within about an inch of the top, cover and turn on high. If you don't have a slowcooker, use a large stockpot on medium. In a pan, fry the onions and carrots in the oil with a bit of salt. When the onions start to brown add the garlic, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add veggies and the oil they cooked in to the crockpot. Dump in the can of tomato paste and stir until everything is mixed in. Leave cooking on high for about an hour, then stir and taste test. Add salt and whatever spices you have, and cook until the lentils are soft.

  • peeled diced potato
  • fresh tomato
  • saut├ęd zucchini
  • soy sauce
  • fresh herbs
  • meat?
  • diced celery

Don't use-
  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • spinach

Trust me on those last 4- no good can come from using them. I'm sure there are other things you should leave out, but those 4 are pretty much guaranteed to make the pot smell like things you don't want to eat.

The real benefit to this lentil soup-o-doom isn't that it's easy. It's not even that it's cheap- though as written it's about $2 for a big pot. The major win with this one is that- as long as you keep the stuff hot- you can just keep adding to it. It starts out very lentil-y, more like a bean stew. Eat some beans, add more water and a random veggie, and you've got the same amount of soup as you started with. Seriously, though, you could probably feed 50 people with just what I've listed here.

Ok, and some bread.

But yeah, this is what I make when I'm sick. When I've finally got enough energy to drag myself to the kitchen, anyway. Now at least I've got a full tummy, a pot of soup, and a burnt tongue. No photos, though.

How about you guys, what's your go-to sick food?


  1. My Mom makes Brown Potato Soup. Just cube and boil a few potatoes, make a dark brown roux with oil, flour, salt and pepper, add the roux to the boiling pot of potatoes and voila, Brown Potato Soup. You can garnish with cheese and/or butter if you want. Thick and comforting.

  2. Well, we have stages of how sick you are and what you can eat: most of the time, if you are recovering or just mildly bed-ridden, it will be mashed potatoes and boiled eggs. Nothing really fancy. If you are with a sensible stomach/very very sick but have to eat, then it is angel hair type'ish veggie soup: Add in fine angel hair pasta destroyed to about half inch pieces, bullion cup, potatoes, carrots, some cilantro and celery and done. If you are ok and just weekend-lazy sick, garlicky plantains dish.

    For some reason, we never were big believers in soups… my house had about 3 recipes for soup (including a VERY heavy stew) and that was it.

    Glad to hear you are getting better. You sound a lot better as well, for however much the internet communicates that.

  3. two words

    Hot Toddies

    not food.... but excellent when you are sick.

  4. Ugh, after being poor and realizing what a terrible industry fast/processed food is... I'm realizing how I was raised on McDonald's, Kraft, Campbell's, and KFC.

    And now real, good chicken soup tastes gross to me (needs an asston of salt)...and save my dairy-eating for honest homemade mac and cheese.

    My go to is now my deli's soups and hot toddies. Definitely taking note of other's suggestions to use in the future though!

    Glad you are feeling better and have a full stomach, that should help your immune system fight this bug!

  5. Ok, I'm having commenting problems today, so if this goes through, good, if not... I'll fix it later.

    Cyndee- that's a super filling sounding recipe. Sounds mild and soothing too.

    TJ- when I was sick and still living at home (and eating cheese) I'd talk my mom into making me grilled cheese sammiches with rubbery american cheese, tons of butter, mayo and (if we had it) tomato- then cutting them into "sailboats". 3 sammiches made 4 even sailboats, swimming in circles around my plate.

    Me? Spoiled? Never!

    Maureen- I think the booze Friday night actually helped clear this up a bit. Don't know that it counts as a hot toddy when you have the tea and the liquor separately, though...

    theresa- I'm with you on the salt thing... I don't miss the processed standard crap until I start thinking about it. It's kinda funny, I don't try to eat healthy, but there's only so much junk I can manage without going deep into dairy territory. But wow, do I miss velveta shells and cheese some days....

    I'm thinking some bread would help me out too, but with the food yesterday and today the cold seems to have found it's second wind, and it's back, full force... Ugh.

  6. Cream of wheat, and made very liquidy so that it'll slide down without much pain (adding butter, sugar and a dash of milk to the hot mixture). Decaf tea with honey, and keep it coming. Soups, any kind, just so that it'll warm up the system and kick start a low grade fever (burn it out baby!) And camping out on the couch with Kleenex, blankets and pillows and a lineup of videos to help me zone out, and ultimately feel like a kid again (anything Disney).