Chicken Soup – good

Bonnie Johnson's PostMy son, who lives 2500 miles away, called to tell me he is sick with a cold.  I love that he still wants his mommy when he is sick : )  My first thought was “I need to make some chicken soup”, but it doesn’t mail well so that’s out.

We are making the trip to the East coast to visit him soon so when I’m there I’ll get him stocked with the essentials for this time of year – immunity boosting vitamins and chicken soup.

Although a 12th century physician named Moses Maimonides first prescribed chicken soup as a cold and asthma remedy, its therapeutic properties have been studied by a host of medical experts in recent decades.  Findings vary.  Some say the steam is the real benefit. Sipping the hot soup and breathing in the steam helps clear up congestion.  Irwin Ziment, M.D., pulmonary specialist and professor at the UCLA School for Medicine, says chicken soup contains drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines.   For example, an amino acid released from chicken during cooking chemically resembles the drug acetylcysteine, prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory problems.  Spices that are often added to chicken soup, such as garlic and pepper (all ancient treatments for respiratory diseases), work the same way as modern cough medicines, thinning mucus and making breathing easier.

It turns out that chicken soup helps by inhibiting neutrophil chemotaxis (movement of the inflammatory white blood cells).  Back in the 1970s, the first articles started appearing; Effects of drinking hot water, cold water and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance. In other words, these researchers gave their subjects either hot water, cold water or chicken soup; and then measured how fast they were able to blow out their (ewww) snot. nose blowTherapeutic Efficacy Of Chicken Soup came out in 1980, and reviewed the nasal mucus velocity findings. It concluded approvingly, ‘The judicious use of chicken soup as an important element of the therapeutic approach to upper and lower respiratory tract infections seems to be fully justified’.

An added bonus:  Allowing the bone to cook in the mix for as long as possible allows the bone to break down a little, releasing calcium ions into the soup. This increases your calcium intake, theoretically helping to lower your risk of osteoporosis.

Chicken soup makes you feel better.  Why else would Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen have called their book series  Best of the Original Chicken Soup for the Soul?

chicken soupSo in keeping with the scientific findings and my motherly desire to lovingly supply a steaming bowl of health and comfort I’ve decided to share a recipe for chicken soup with you that I found on (my personal recipe isn’t written ’cause I always just throw whatever comes to mind in the pot, but this one sounds close to mine)

How can the best chicken soup recipe make you feel better?

Quite simply, the best chicken soup recipe contains everything you need to feel good, and nothing your body can object to.  If you aren’t feeling well your body can have reactions to certain foods, especially dairy.  Also, the neutral flavors of chicken and the vegetables won’t trigger a “gag” reflex if your tummy is upset. Lastly, it is substantial enough to give you nutrition, but not heavy enough to require lots of energy to digest it.  But really, the most important reason is that it tastes so darned good! You can switch this up in lots of different ways to make your own homemade chicken noodle soup recipes too.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper to taste
A dash of olive oil
A small pat of butter (optional)
A cup or so of chopped, cooked white chicken meat, skin and fat removed
Half a cup of chopped, cooked dark chicken meat, skin and fat removed, (optional)
6 cups of chicken stock or broth.
Half a cup of pre-cooked rice (see notes below)
Chopped or dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (yes, just like the song!)


1. Warm up your olive oil and butter in your soup pot on medium-low.
2. Add the vegetables and a dash of salt. Add the garlic a minute or so later. Cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent.
3. A minute or so before the vegetables are done, add the sage, rosemary and thyme.
4. Add the chicken pieces and cook for a minute or two more.
5. Add the chicken stock and the pre-cooked rice.
6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
7. Add the parsley a minute or so before serving.

Notes: If your rice is not pre-cooked, you will need to add liquid to compensate. Add double the liquid by volume as you are adding rice, and reduce the amount of rice to about half. So to replace half a cup of pre-cooked rice, you should add a quarter cup of uncooked rice and half a cup of liquid (either water or additional stock or broth). Also, you need to increase the cooking time to about half an hour to allow the rice to cook. This means you may need to top up the liquid part way through cooking to compensate for evaporation.

You can replace the rice with noodles of any sort. This turns it into my best chicken noodle soup recipe! Just add them about 7 to 10 minutes before serving to allow them to cook (will depend on the type and thickness of noodles). Simply cook until they are the desired tenderness.



Girlfriend Bonding Recipe

TracyGirlfriend bonding is equally as important as spending time by yourself.  It’s empowering to spend time with girlfriends sharing stories, swapping tips, giving opinions, and belly laughing for days in a row.  I think I have found the perfect recipe for a just that!

It starts with a destination of your choice, add girlfriends for spice and mix in a few excursions here and there.  Let the conversations marinade and Voila the recipe is complete!

Jacquie and I went for a road trip up to the Okanagan to spend time with our BFF and partner Bonnie for a little girlfriend bonding of our own.  The road trip gave Jacquie and I lots of time to catch up and reconnect before arriving at Bonnie‘s house.

We started out with a day of stimulating conversations which really got our creative juices flowing.  Being in the same room together allowed us to really get the others vibe!

We went to Genesis Designs Tattoo and made a memory together that can’t be removed…easily!  What a powerful moment that was for all three of us.  If you missed it check it out, Tara Cronica Ink’d at Genesis Designs Tattoo.

Predator Ridge SpaWhat’s a girlfriend bonding getaway without a Spa experience.  We had ours at The Predator Ridge Spa.  I chose a facial which was a combination of two, Aveda Green Science Facial & Enbrightenment Facial.  If I had to describe my facial in one word it would be ’Spiritual’.  For 60 magical minutes I was pampered by Michelle Snider. Michelle’s hands and expertise made my entire facial heavenly and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…it did.  My face, shoulders, chest, feet and scalp were massaged.  My facial included hot lavender face wraps, essential oils, hot rock massage, brushed on luscious creams and gentle steam.  I was massaged, cleansed, moisturised and reminded how wonderful it was to be a woman.  I will definitely book an appointment with Michelle on my next visit.

The reconnecting with Bonnie and Jacquie made our bond even stronger than it was before.  It’s important to have a place you feel safe to express yourself and girlfriend getaways are the perfect venue.  We hope that coming here to Tara Cronica to visit gives you a sense of that girlfriend bonding experience when you can’t create an excursion of your own.  We are all on the path to enlightenment and welcome you to join us on ours.  We hope we make you feel comfortable to add your comments or let your voice be heard through this medium.

These moments together have reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by friends who are so amazing, non judgmental, giving and effortless to be around!  Svaha !



Favourite Guilty Pleasures ~ Instructions (or recipes) Included : )

Happy Birthday Bonnie !!  You are soooo loved ! xoHappy Birthday Bonnie!!

I have personally waited 114 days for Bonnie and I to FINALLY be the same age!  You truly are the Best friend I could ever ask for and I love every ounce of your being.  I continue to learn from you and look forward to growing older along side you.  You are amazing!  Happy Birthday Best Friend!  T xoxo

Ladies, this post is about sinfully good treats.  Add your favourite recipe if you don’t mind sharing.

Jacquie’s Take~

jacquie janzen yeeFirst thing I need to clarify is that I only use the words ‘guilty pleasure’ for effect.  Nothing that tastes so good you want to bathe in it should ever make you feel guilty.  We need to take care of ourselves and indulging in a little something decadent every so often is good for the soul.   Now, I’m a savory kinda gal.  When I feel like a treat I usually go for the cheese and cracker board, salted nuts and pickled anything; herring, asparagus, olives, eggs and green beans.   And I LOVE making my own chicken liver pate!  (email me if you want my recipe.  I’ll keep your secret)   Right now I’m going to share a favourite Chocolate Brownie recipe because, well, when it comes to chocolate, there is no substitute.

Stuff You Need To Put In ‘Em
  • 1 cup (250 mL) whole hazelnuts, skin-on or blanched whole almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 6 oz (168 g) semi-sweet chocolate, about 6 squares
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

What To Do With The Stuff

  1. Preheat oven to 325F (160C).   Toast nuts until golden, 8 to 12 min. Stir halfway through.   Rub hazelnuts in towel to remove skins. When nuts are completely cool, coarsely chop.
  2. Coat or spray an 8-in. (2-L) square baking dish with oil. In a small bowl, using a fork, stir flour with cocoa and salt. Coarsely chop chocolate. Place in a medium-size bowl along with butter.
  3. Microwave chocolate and butter on medium until almost melted, about 3 min. Use a rubber spatula to stir chocolate halfway through microwaving. Then stir until smooth. Or place chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and set over low heat. Stir constantly until melted. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, then sugar and vanilla. Using a spatula, scrape in cooled chocolate mixture, then stir until evenly mixed. Gradually stir in flour mixture, just until almost mixed. (Over mixing toughens brownies.) Stir in nuts until evenly distributed. Spread batter in baking dish. Smooth top.
  5. Bake 35 to 45 min. Don’t over bake.  Cool. Cut into squares.  Eat.

Bonnie’s 2 cent’s~

Bonnie's PostOh.  Oh you mean food! So my first thought of sharing a recipe for sinful loooove would probably be inappropriate.

I looked at a recipe I have for Nanaimo bars…waaay too long and to be honest its a lot of work, so take my advice and just buy them at Costco.  They’re not quite as good but if you made them from scratch you’d be so cranky by the end of it you wouldn’t be able to appreciate how good they taste anyway.  (If you really want the recipe drop me an email and I will share it with you.)

I’ve created a few recipes for disaster in my time but again, probably not appropriate here.

Much to my husbands chagrin, I don’t like to bake and I’m not a huge sweet fan.   Consequently he rarely gets home-made sugary treats.  We always have a bag of Tamari almonds on hand though!  Poor guy.

Years ago everything was coated, dipped, folded and basically drenched in butter, but we are supposed to know better now.  Anytime I have one of those delicious old recipes I feel guilty and sinful.  Tonight I will be treated to fresh Atlantic lobster and I plan on soaking each morsel in as much butter as it will hold mmmmmm.

Here is a really easy recipe that is kind of sinful because of the sour cream but mostly I love to make it because it tastes really good and no one ever knows just how easy it is to prepare.  That can be our guilty little secret.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Cook 1 lb pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente.  Drain and keep warm.  Shell and devein (ya right! I buy them ready to go) 1 lb cooked large shrimp.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet, add 1 thinly sliced onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until golden.  Add the shrimp, 1 1/4 cups bottled salsa (hot, medium, mild – up to you) and 1 1/4 cups sour cream, then reduce the heat to low and stir until heated through.  Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.  Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.

Tracy’s thoughts~

TracyI have to admit when I first read Jacquie’s topic for this Sunday’s post I gasped and sighed big time.  I am that person everyone sends the ‘recipe exchange chain letter’ to who just presses delete without even thinking it over for a nanosecond.  I wreck the chain every time, just DELETE it, no guilt what so ever.  I don’t like recipe exchanges where you forward off your favourite to 10 friends and then you get a million in return.  I don’t use recipes unless I absolutely have to.  I love to cook from scratch, I do a lot of preserving each year and I experiment from time to time but I usually just add a little of this and a little of that.

I have only had to wash off beef stew once in my life because I added a little too much of ‘that’.  But my attitude was, it’s better than gum for dinner.  I am a good cook don’t get me wrong, I cook sit down meals for my family at least 4 days a week.  But I don’t do recipes.  Have I gone on long enough to avoid adding one?  I am going to just go with the flow and give it a go, for the team!

I recently hosted a sterling silver jewellery party at a really great gals house where she made Belini’s.  This drink Lee’a was serving looked really really really good, no really!  I very rarely drink but I couldn’t resist when she politely asked if I could have one.  Well why not!  It was the best drink I have ever put my lips to…EVER!  Yes better than tequila with Jacquie in Cabo!  I can’t believe I asked for the recipe and that she willingly gave it to me.  It was meant to be.  So here we go my first recipe exchange online!  I want to correct one thing after thinking it over for a moment…no drink is better than a shot of tequila with Jake in Cabo!   But I will give the Belini a close second because there is a recipe involved !


Lee’a Belini
8 – 10 oz. White Rum
1 – 750ml bottle champagne (an inexpensive one $5-6)
¾ of a 2L 7UP
1 – 225 gms. (1/2 lg. pkg.) Sunspun or No Name peach crystals  ~ I buy them at Superstore
Mix all ingredients together in a large container and freeze for 24-48 hrs.
Before serving, spoon into blender and mix until smooth.
For best results freeze the blender and martini glasses, it will keep the drinks really slushy until the lassssst drop!  Top with 1 oz. of Boone’s Sangria (at the liquor store for $5.99)