Conscious Cook: An attitude of gratitude

“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” — Thomas Goodwin

During the stressful and frenetic holiday season, it is sometimes difficult to feel grateful. But the simple truth is, the more you embrace an attitude of gratitude, the easier it will be to cope with the chaos of life.

The holiday season is a perfect time to refocus on being grateful. Whether it be good health, happy children, a sturdy roof over your head or a warm meal on the table, the list begins to grow, as you acknowledge each blessing. As one grateful thought leads to another, you may find that you suddenly have a long list of things to be wildly, tearfully, joyfully grateful for. Gather these gifts around you and revel in their glory.

To give is always better than to receive. When you extend kindness and friendship, you will receive kindness and friendship. If you feel lack, that is the time to give. When you give love, you will receive love, in a myriad of unexpected ways.

Caring for our bodies and nurturing an attitude of gratitude for our physical health can be challenging during these harried days. We may eat poorly, overindulging in sugar, rich or fatty foods and alcohol. Filling the body with life sustaining foods is one way to sustain a superior level of wellness.

After the Thanksgiving holiday, or any of the December holidays, is a fine time to enjoy leftovers and a more simple way of eating. Preparing a gratitude soup will utilize turkey leftovers and provide a warm and soothing supper. Turkey sandwiches piled high with glistening ruby red cranberries, crispy stuffing and even a layer of squash or potatoes is so simple, yet so satisfying.

Turkey is an excellent source of protein and also provides significant selenium, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorous. Turkey also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be supplied through food sources. Tryptophan may have an impact on sleeping patterns, by calming and relaxing the body and could potentially reduce anxiety and depression and help build a stronger immune system.

It is a good idea to enjoy leftover turkey within three to four days. This recipe for hearty turkey noodle soup is a dish I am grateful for. It will warm you on bitter cold days, and is one more reason to gather around the table with loved ones, for a meal that inspires a delicious life.

Gratitude Soup

Serves 6

1 turkey carcass (cut up or broken into pieces)

2-3 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into pieces

2-4 large celery stalks, washed and chopped

1 large onion, quartered

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 bunch each of fresh parsley and dill, washed

10-15 cups of water

4-5 small carrots, sliced

2 cups wide egg noodles

2 cups shredded, cooked turkey

½ cup each fresh dill and parsley (washed and roughly chopped)

sea salt

black pepper

Place first seven ingredients in a large pot. Ingredients need to be covered with the water by one inch, so add more water if necessary. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for two hours, skimming off any foam. Take off heat, let cool for a bit. Strain and discard solids. Skim any fat from the top.

Place strained, skimmed stock back in the pot. Bring stock to a low boil. Add the sliced carrots, and cook until just becoming tender. Reduce heat and add egg noodles, cooking for 4-5 minutes. Add the 2 cups of shredded turkey. Ladle into soup bowls, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parsley and dill. Grated parmesan cheese is a nice touch.

(If you have any leftover vegetables that you would like to add to the soup, do so when carrots are almost cooked)

For more information on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, The Conscious Cook, go to theconsciouscook.net.