You know those three little words that make your heart race and cheeks flush.
Those three little words that have the power to change your life.
Those three little words that typically appear on a torn cardboard sign before the phrase “will work for food”…
I. AM. HOMELESS.
Yeah, that’s right – those three little words apply to me now. Thanks to a bizarre situation, which was a cross between The Amityville Horror and Animal Planet’s show Infested!, my home became uninhabitable. A plague of wasps, horseflies and American dog ticks drove me – screaming, itching and scratching – from my home in May, never to return. For a little over eight weeks, I have been living in a Candlewood Suites hotel with my beau and two schnauzers.
“So, Homeless G., what does your domestic status have to do with a) hanger and b) helping me control my hanger with healthy snacks and meals?”
My, my, my! We’re in a hurry to get to the point of my post, aren’t we? Are we getting a little hangry, perhaps? The reason I’m broadcasting my homelessness is simple: Life’s unexpected twists and turns might deposit us into situations where it can be particularly challenging to plan and prepare healthy dishes. To illustrate my challenge, I went from living in a spacious home with a chef’s kitchen to living in a shoebox with this kitchen:
Two electric burners, a microwave, a sink the size of a postage stamp and an oversized cooler posing as a fridge. We have no oven, no food processor, no blender, no juicer, no George Foreman grill (I miss you, George) – really, no kitchen appliances to speak of. I did, however, manage to rescue our toaster oven and hand mixer, which I threw into the car upon fleeing from our house of horror. If ever you find yourself making a hasty exit from your domicile, with no intention of returning, I urge you to bring a toaster oven and hand mixer. These two appliances have the ability to restore a smidgeon of sanity in the midst of chaos.
Granted, my situation could be worse. By simply turning on the news, I am keenly attuned to the fact that things always could be worse. I’m not living in a cardboard box under the Chicago ‘L’ tracks, wondering where my next meal will come from. So believe me when I say that I am not hosting a pity party over here; I merely am adjusting to preparing meals with considerably fewer resources.
One day you might find yourself in a similar situation and if you do, I am here to help you adapt – at least, from a nutritional standpoint. From now until whenever we find a home, I shall write my posts within the constraints of a hotel kitchenette, stocked with a very limited supply of appliances and other resources. On the plus side, necessity is the mother of invention; therefore, my current state likely will prompt inventive – and less difficult – ways to create fabulously nutritious, hanger-crushing dishes like…
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ of a medium to large onion (red, white or yellow – your choice)
- 3 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you’re not a vegetarian)
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ large head of broccoflower (you can substitute with cauliflower), chopped into medium to small florets
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon curry
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat, and then add the onions. Sauté for a couple minutes until the onions are transparent.
2. Add the broth, almond milk, water, carrot, broccoflower, ginger, curry, coriander and cumin. Maintaining the high heat, bring to a boil. Then cover the pot, and adjust the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender enough to cut with a fork.
3. Using a handheld mixer, purée the soup right in the pot until it is smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, carefully pour the soup into a blender and blend on high.)
4. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
I decided to serve my soup in a cup. No spoon required! Clever, yes? No, not really. Our hotel room comes with four bowls and four spoons, all of which are loitering in the dishwasher, dirty. In this case, necessity was not the mother of invention – that honor goes to laziness. If you are not wrestling with laziness like me, serve the soup in a bowl, and sprinkle a little fresh, chopped cilantro or basil on top.
The rich spices and creamy texture of this soup will make you come back for seconds (and maybe thirds). That’s okay! This recipe yields about seven servings and is exceedingly healthy. The cumin and curry contain heart-healthy antioxidants and have been used to treat inflammatory conditions for centuries. Coriander is used to treat many issues like skin inflammation , high cholesterol levels, indigestion and blood sugar disorders, to name just a few. (If you are pregnant, ask your doctor if you can ingest coriander. It’s potent stuff.) Broccoflower, a cross between cauliflower and the chlorophyll of broccoli, is a good source of vitamins A, C, folic acid and antioxidants. So go ahead – go back to that pot for fourths. Your body will love you for it.
I saved the best benefit of this soup for last: This recipe yields a generous amount of soup, which means you likely will have leftovers. If you find yourself at an 8, 9 or 10 on the hanger scale, this HOME(less)MADE CREAM OF BROCCOFLOWER SOUP has your back. Reheating it will take only a minute or two, or you can eat it cold! This soup is so good that you truly can enjoy it at any temperature, making it one of the best supplies in your first-aid kit for the treatment of hanger emergencies. (As well as other emergencies involving supernatural insects.)