By Mary Honrud
For the Courier 

Sunshine, Spring Sprouts and Soup


April 22, 2020

While the calendar says it’s spring, there’s still the occasional snowflake swirling down, at least up north. I wish Mother Nature would update her calendar to match ours. The sky is blue and the sun is shining as I write this Monday morning, and the temperature is well above freezing. What few snowdrifts remain are slowly melting away. The howling winds are assisting with that.

Most of the seeds I started are sprouting, which is encouraging. However, some of the starter pots are showing no signs of activity, which isn’t. Okra was the first to pop through the soil, which surprised me. The really old tomato seeds likewise sprouted, which was also very surprising. None of the pepitas pumpkins nor delicata squash are showing signs of life. So far only one melon is coming. I’ll give the non-starters another week before I contact the seed company I ordered from. The packets say they have a 100 percent guarantee.

I’ve spent a couple afternoons outside gathering some of the many tree branches, twigs, and limbs that were broken off by the heavy frosts and winds last winter. As the snow recedes, more of them are being exposed and therefore accessible. What’s left of the trees show signs of breaking dormancy. The leaf buds are swelling and the flower pods are as well. My daffodils have pushed through the dead leaves piled over their flowerbed. The daylilies and poppies on the south side of the house are sprouting. I surely love seeing the green return.

Last week, on one of the more dreary days, I took out my instant pot and made lasagna soup. It was a large potful, so half is in the freezer for later enjoyment. This soup goes very well with a salad and garlic toast. I used hamburger, my own canned tomatoes, opted for spinach (frozen and thawed) rather than kale, and minced several cloves of garlic instead of using powdered garlic. Mozzarella was my choice of cheese. Not having fresh parsley on hand, I skipped that, but sprinkled in some I had dried.

I.P. Lasagna Soup

1 pd. lean ground turkey, OR hamburger

11 oz. lasagna noodles (12 sheets)

2 (14oz) cans tomato sauce, low sodium

3 C kale or spinach, chopped

2 C water

1 Tbl avocado oil

1 Tbl Italian seasoning

1 Tbl garlic powder

1 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

4 oz (1 C) mozzarella OR cheddar, shredded

Parmesan to taste, optional

Parsley for garnish

Use the saute setting, letting the pot heat up before swirling in the oil. Saute the meat, breaking it up as it browns. Season with the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt and pepper while browning. Turn off the pot, remove half of the meat. Add water, then four noodles, broken to fit. Add half the kale, then another four noodles, broken. Add the rest of the meat, rest of the kale, and pour one can of the tomato sauce on top. Add the last four broken noodles, then the other can of tomato sauce. Pressure cook on high 7 minutes. Let pressure come down naturally 7 minutes, then vent. Sprinkle on cheese, then cover, without turning power back on, to melt the cheese.

To reheat leftovers, add 1/4 C water and pressure cook on steam for 1 minute.

I used the following salad recipe, doubled. It’s unconventional as there’s no lettuce involved, although you could serve it on a lettuce leaf if you wished. The jalapeno was left out, as were the Aleppo chile flakes, since I had neither on hand. I did sprinkle in a few red pepper flakes. Having blood oranges, those were used, although I have used naval oranges before. The lime juice is not only for flavor, but also to keep the avocado from browning. Even so, you should consume this salad within a couple days.

Orange/Avocado Salad

1 blood orange (or regular)

1 ripe avocado

1 lime

1 Tbl cilantro, optional

1 jalapeno, sliced thin, optional

Salt & pepper to taste

Aleppo chile flakes

Peel orange, cut bite size. Peel and cut avocado bite size. Add cilantro and jalapeno. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add flakes. Squeeze half the lime on top, stir gently. Taste and adjust seasonings. May need more lime. (Could drizzle with EVOO if desired.)

I’ll end this week’s column with a dessert. I grew up thinking meals should end with a sweet. This particular dessert works for my Whole Life Challenge as honey is allowed on the playing level I chose. I skipped the sugar-laden glaze since refined sugar isn’t allowed on any levels. The glaze really isn’t necessary anyway. One real lemon was squeezed, after the zest was removed to use, then bottled lemon juice was added to get the amount called for. I feel this lemon bread rivals any Starbucks offers.

Almond Flour Lemon/Poppyseed Bread

2 C almond flour

1/2 C coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

1/2 C coconut oil, melted

1/3 C honey

1/2 C almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C lemon juice

2 Tbl poppyseeds

2 Tbl lemon zest

Heat oven to 350°. Line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper, then spray with no-stick spray. In a small bowl, combine flours with the other dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in the next five ingredients, then add the dry, stirring until completely combined. Stir in the seeds and zest. Pour into the pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cover halfway through if it’s browning on top. Let cool completely before glazing. Store in fridge after 48 hours.

Optional Glaze: 1 1/2 C powdered sugar, combined with 2-3 Tbl almond milk and 1 Tbl lemon juice. If too thick, add a bit of milk. If too thin, add more sugar. Pour on top of the bread.


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