Is it just me or did September come out of nowhere? I am feeling so not ready, so not prepared. Back-to-school shopping? Yeah – that didn’t happen. Or at least it was not the idyllic experience I imagined it would be – you know where the girl finds that unique and totally functional ensemble that says “I’m cool yet have my own style”. Where the boy finds enough comfortable yet rugged items that all effortlessly coordinate so he doesn’t emerge head to toe in various shades of green 5 minutes before the bus comes – everyday. And where we enjoy an after shopping treat at the coffee shop, relaxed and laughing and smiling at each other, comparing purchases. Reality – I forgot to buy Gav pants, of any kind. And later at Starbucks, all of us dehydrated and suffering low-blood sugar, a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie flew across the table and hit Gav in the face. For the record I did not throw the cookie.
On a side note – and totally unrelated – have you noticed everyone is cooking with pumpkin already? The pumpkin recipes are filling up my Facebook feed and my inbox. I don’t know about you, but I’m still enjoying the pool on the weekends. Pumpkin pie blondies can wait until October. Thank you very much.
Weeks ago I had intentions to sit down and start making menus and meal plans. Thought I’d even get a few meals socked away in the freezer. I informed the kids I expected them to come up with their lunch bag eats – they make the list, I will buy it. I had a plan.
But right now, we are one day in and I’m packing lunches at 9:30. Just like before. I’m not stressed. I’m complacent. This is how it is and I’m okay with it. It’s just another day after all.
In the meantime I found this asian noodle soup recipe in the Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day cookbook that is incredibly quick and healthy. I adapted this slightly to use tofu and mushrooms – making this Tofu Noodle Soup. Bonus the kids think Asian noodles of any kind are really cool. In this house we have slightly shifted away for a mostly vegetarian focus most of the time, to mostly vegetarian for some of us most of the time. And this is one of those recipes that works well in a “mixed” house. You can do just tofu here, or some tofu and some chicken, or all chicken. Where the instructions call for adding tofu to the stock and bringing to a boil, just add skinless boneless chicken breast and be sure to simmer until the chicken is completely cooked through – 10-12 minutes (you will need to continue simmering the stock for another 10 minutes or so) When the chicken is fully cooked, scoop it out of the broth, slice it up and serve it on the side for those that want to add it to their bowls.
Don’t be alarmed by the length of the instructions on this one, it flows fairly easily. Just read it through first so you know what comes next.
Asian Tofu Noodle Soup
30 minPrep Time
30 minTotal Time
- 10 cups combination of low-sodium vegetable stock and water
- 1 bunch green onions (used to flavour both, more needed below for toppings)
- 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thick (you will have to fish it out later)
- 2 Tablespoons Asian Fish Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 1 clove of garlic (slightly smashed or bruised)
- six cloves
- 454g of extra firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 10-12 button mushrooms thinly sliced
- 5-6 heads of baby bok choy, sliced
- 8oz dried rice noodles (about half 454g package)
- Toppings and garnish:
- - Fresh chopped cilantro and basil
- - bean sprouts
- - Soy sauce or hoisin
- - Green onions thinly sliced
- - fresh green chilies, thinly sliced
- - lime wedges
- In a large dutch oven add stock and water, the green onions, ginger, fish sauce, chinese five spice powder, a clove of garlic and cloves. Bring to a boil. Add the tofu and mushrooms. Bring to a boil again, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes. The longer it simmers the more concentrated the flavour.
- Meanwhile prepare garnishes - chop cilantro and basil, sliced green onions, chilies and fresh lime.
- Fill kettle and turn on to boil water. Place noodles in a large heat proof bowl. Once water is boiled, pour over noodles and let sit for a few minutes.
- Remove the green onions, ginger and garlic clove from the stock pot. I leave the cloves, the will fall to the bottom of the pot. Avoid digging deep when you serve it up.
- Season broth with salt and pepper and add the bok choy. Bring to boil again and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the noodles and add them to the soup, cook until tender - 2 minutes.
- To serve, ladle tofu mushrooms, noodles and bok choy into serving bowls and cover with both. Serve with prepared garnishes.
Trish Cowper | infinebalance.com