Japanese Clear Onion Soup

The recipe trials continue!  I’m not a whiz enough to come up with recipes on my own from scratch so I scour books, blogs and Pinterest for recipes that I like the looks of and that are healthy, easy and made with fresh ingredients to try out in my kitchen.  If it’s too hard for me to make or doesn’t taste great, you bet I won’t make it again and I’ll let you know here.  But if it’s easy and delicious, I also love to share that too! I found this delicious dish one night as I was rolling and scrolling through Pinterest.  It comes from www.livingchirpy.com, a blog run by a South African couple (I had no idea about any of this until writing this blog post, but how cool!).

Here’s the picture that caught my attention on Pinterest:

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My inspiration (www.livingchirpy.com)

I can just taste the beloved appetizer of Hibachi restaurants.  I screenshotted the recipe and this weekend when planning for my meals, remembered it was stored in my phone.  The ingredient list is simple and so was preparing it.  But of course, I managed to “mess up” one of the simplest recipes I’ve reviewed so far.

Scores: 

  • Taste: 10 out of 10!
  • Ease: 9 out of 10! (only because I couldn’t follow directions completely)
  • Total time: 43 minutes

Utensils you’ll need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Bag for onion and celery remains
  • Soup pot
  • Strainer

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 cups of broth of choice
  • Button mushrooms, sliced (to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (let’s be honest, I can only ever manage to get garlic to a chopped stage)
  • Sriracha, coconut aminos to taste

So, I had no wine on hand for this prep.  I did have the Dance Workout station on Spotify which made the kitchen a delightfully upbeat place.  Y’all, if you don’t like cooking, do whatever you can to help you enjoy it a little more. It’s one of the first steps to a healthier lifestyle (and thinner wallet!).

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My favorite kitchen helper

To begin, you’ll first chop the onion, celery and carrots.  Don’t worry too much about how small each gets chopped, we’re not actually going to eat any of these, they’re just for the broth.

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Trifecta for a good broth!

The onions will join the olive oil in the soup pan over medium heat first.  Stir occasionally for about 4 minutes.  Or until you’re tired of waiting and ready to put the other veggies in.  Just be careful not to leave those onions unattended, they will burn!  Add the carrots, celery and garlic to the pot and mix together.  The six cups of broth are added next.

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THIS IS WHERE I SCREWED UP! PAY ATTENTION!

You’re supposed to bring the broth to a boil and then reduce it to simmering for 30 minutes.  DO NOT KEEP IT BOILING AND LAY DOWN TO TAKE A NAP!  A nap is a great idea since there is minimal clean up in this one BUT reduce that heat first.

Just in case you don’t listen to me, here’s what will happen: about half of your broth will evaporate into your kitchen air, leaving maybe a serving and a half of soup left.  DON’T PANIC though, just add the remaining 2 cups of broth from one of the containers :D.  You can let it simmer some more if you want, I just let it warm up a bit.

No harm done.  Next, put a strainer over another pot and pour the broth and veggies into the strainer.  Discard the veggies and examine your first pot of homemade broth!

IMG_0159.jpg I found some pre-sliced mushrooms at the grocery store so I just threw in an appropriate amount for my taste.

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(Sprenkel tip: If you don’t love mushrooms enough to put the whole box in, and likely won’t eat more later, just buy them from the bulk section of the front produce area.) I am not a huge fan of mushrooms so I put in just enough to cover the surface of the soup.  I did not let double layers of mushrooms form.  Keep the heat on low and let the mushrooms cook a bit while you chop some scallions.  Add those babies in and you’re done!

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I am so surprised at the simplicity of this recipe (not at all surprised that I managed to botch it a bit) and how closely the taste matches that of the restaurants’.  The mushrooms remind me a little bit of a pizza which is a weird thing to taste in a Japanese soup but I didn’t mind it.  I’ll make this one again for sure.

(Original recipe said to add Sriracha and/or soy sauce to taste but I forgot!)

Sunday Vibes

Hi Friends!  I hope you’re enjoying this Sunday, even though an hour of it has fallen to Daylight Savings.   This past week was the first official week of business for StudiOne yoga+fitness and man it was a whirlwind.  It’s so cool to walk in and know that the studio is part mine and to have complete ownership over my classes.  I’ve loved welcoming friends and strangers into the space and hope to create an environment that makes fitness fun, exciting and a desirable part of people’s days.

This week was strange and exciting.  Stressful and wonderful.  Fun and hectic.  Pretty much any set of antonyms you can think of is how I felt about the week and having this new gigantic responsibility in my life.  I’m thankful for my partner and the army of supporters I have to speak fears to, and little excitements like our first drop in student.

With all this new studio stuff going on, I’m trying to be more intentional with my time.  That means no more lazy Sundays.  Or should I say, not-quite-so-lazy-Sundays.  That’s not to say I’m not relaxing and catching up on all the Bachelor gossip before tomorrow’s big finale (#teamjojo), but I have created a very specific list of tasks to get done that I know will make my week easier and breezier.

  1.  Change sheets – and make bed.  As hard as I try, it never gets done in the chaos of the early mornings during the week.  But on Sundays, one of my first tasks is to take the sheets off the bed and throw them into the laundry.  While they’re in there, I clean my room and make the bed with the spare set.  It sets the tone for the calming day, and hopefully start to the week.
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    Fresh sheets

    (Later, while I was out on my quality time date, Miley peed all over these clean sheets.  Sometimes Sundays don’t always go as planned….)

  2. Do laundry – Nothing like fresh clothes to start the week.  For me it’s 95% sweaty workout clothes and 5% weekend outfits.  I’ll usually have to do one load mid-week too but I do everything on Sunday.
  3. Grocery shop- I’ll usually pick a recipe or two to make for the week ahead.  I purchase these ingredients plus several staples (eggs, almond milk, peanut butter, bananas, a green vegetable) and fresh flowers on Sundays.  Then during the week I may have to swing by once for an item or two.  I learned today not to go early afternoon….

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    Gerber Daisies for today

  4. Cook one or two meals for the week- I don’t plan or prep every meal for the week in neat little rows of tupperware containers.  But I have found that if I can make even one meal on Sunday, I eat much better during the week.  I normally get home from my last appointment at 8pm M-Th and if something’s not ready in the fridge, it’s cereal, take out or no dinner at all.  Luckily this week I’ve got rainbow salad and mushroom soup prepped.
  5. Take out the trash- Save this for after all the cooking.  Grab office, bathroom, bedroom trash bags too and take it all out.  I’ll also scan through each room for obvious pieces of trash – rogue pieces of mail, packaging, receipts etc.
  6. Write all appointments down- While things are cooking or after a nap, I’ll sit down and plan out my weekly schedule.  This may not be as crucial for people with consistent work schedules but I’m sure even within your 9-5 you have specific appointments etc.  I’ll map out each day’s training appointments, classes and social events.  It helps me see which days may be particularly exhausting and which ones I can treat as recharge days.

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    Appointment calendar

  7. Fill in the gaps with my workouts – I keep a separate planner to track workouts in.  Sometimes I teach a class and do it with them, sometimes I just boss them and do my own workout later.  This second planner helps me keep those things straight.

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    Workout calendar

  8. Clean out car- I don’t always get to this one.  Like today since it rained all day.  But I do feel so much better on Monday mornings if I at least took all the trash out of the car and moved extra clothes and water bottles and coffee mugs back inside.  It’s amazing how much can accumulate in just a few days.  If I’m feeling really productive, I’ll take it to get vacuumed (once a year maybe 😉 )
  9. Update budget- I try to deposit checks for both business and personal accounts as I get them, and update any purchases on my budget spreadsheet as they come in but anything that falls behind gets paid or logged on Sundays.  I started tracking everything I earned and burned in 2015 and it is by far the best lifestyle habit I’ve picked up post-college.
  10. Quality time- This is my love language.  I’ll use time on Sundays to refill relationship cups with Miley by going to the dog park or with friends by taking a walk or meeting for coffee.  Sometimes its an evening drive to see the fella or a night in with him in Tulsa just spending a few hours catching up.  Long distance family members may get a card written or a phone call.  It always varies but I try to give some quality time to people on Sundays since the rest of the week is usually very distracted.

If you’re looking for a way to make your week more enjoyable and less hectic, I’d recommend starting to slowly add one of these ten tasks to your Sunday to-do list at a time.  Doing it this slowly shouldn’t interfere too much with brunch plans or sleeping in ;).