Keeping Your Zen While the City Cleans Up…(Slowly)

We hope all our FIT readers survived the snowfall of the century! Is there anyone still waiting to get plowed out?

Assuming you have been freed, you will need to practice patience out there on the roads as the entire DMV area is still quite the mess. Three lane roads down to one, icy conditions, road closures…the list of traffic headaches goes on and on.

As a mobile training company, our trainers spend a lot of time in the car so they have picked up a few tips on avoiding road rage and driving in sub-optimal conditions.

Need some zen in the car? Make sure you have something to listen to that interests you – be it music, a good podcast, the news, etc. Won’t seem so bad to be “stuck in the car” if you feel engaged and interested.

Also, remember that other drivers are HUMAN BEINGS. Louis C.K. puts it best…(WARNING: may not be safe for work or with young kiddos around…)

Still need a good laugh/some real advice? Read these tips on how to drive your car in the snow…I think people in this area need this little lesson.

If none of these tips work, try to relax and unwind with a delicious, nutritious and hearty meal after a frustrating day on the road. Spring can’t be that far away…can it?

In honor of soup-week for all of the East Coast, check out this recipe:

Spicy Grain Soup (courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 3 ancho or dried mulato chiles—stemmed, seeded and broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 6 cilantro sprigs, plus 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds
  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the barley with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 35 minutes; drain. Return the barley to the pan and cover. In another medium saucepan, cover the brown rice with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain the brown rice and add to the barley.
  2. In a medium bowl, cover the bulgur with 1 cup of hot water. Cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  3. In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chiles, onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, cilantro sprigs and allspice and season with 1 tablespoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pan.
  4. Add the mushrooms, black beans, carrot, zucchini and parsnip to the pureed soup and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the barley, rice and bulgur and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro and serve.

 

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Gazpacho 3 ways

If you follow our blog, you know we LOVE soup! There is no reason to stop the ease of soup just because it is summer. Enter: Gazpacho! Light, healthy, delicious, and easy to make. If traditional gazpacho isn’t your thing, try a different variation. Yum!

Traditional Rustic Gazpacho

(as found in Food and Wine Magazine)

Rustic Gazpacho

  1. 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
  2. 1/2 large cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
  3. 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  4. 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  8. Salt
  9. Hot sauce, for serving

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, water, oil and vinegar and process until coarsely pureed. Season with salt and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with hot sauce. **MAKE AHEAD The gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight.

Tangy Green Zebra Gazpacho
Tangy Green Zebra Gazpacho
Green Zebras are heirloom tomatoes with a striped pattern; they are sweet like red tomatoes but give this gazpacho a lovely jade hue. To make the chilled soup extra tangy, use tomatillos or unripe red tomatoes instead of Green Zebras.
  1. 2 pounds Green Zebra tomatoes cored and coarsely chopped, plus 1 Green Zebra tomato cut into small wedges for garnish
  2. 1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled and coarsely chopped, plus finely diced unpeeled cucumber for garnish
  3. 1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  4. 1 Hass avocado—halved, pitted and peeled
  5. 1 small jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
  6. 2 garlic cloves
  7. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  8. 2 tablespoons mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  9. 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  10. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  11. Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, combine half each of the coarsely chopped green tomatoes, cucumber and onion with the avocado, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice and 1 cup of cold water and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large bowl. Add remaining coarsely chopped green tomatoes, cucumber and onion to the blender along with the 2 tablespoons of mint, the cilantro and 1/4 cup of olive oil and pulse to a chunky puree. Add the puree to the bowl and stir well. Refrigerate the soup until well chilled, about 1 hour. Season the gazpacho with salt and pepper and ladle it into chilled bowls. Garnish the cold soup with the tomato wedges, diced cucumber, mint leaves and a drizzle of olive oil and serve. **MAKE AHEAD The green gazpacho can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated overnight.

Watermelon Gazpacho
(as featured on chow.com)
Watermelon Gazpacho
Ingredients

For the basil oil:

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the gazpacho:

  • 1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped cored tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped seedless watermelon
  • 3 cups large-dice crustless day-old country bread, such as pain au levain
  • 2 medium Kirby cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the garnish:

  • 1/2 cup small-dice Kirby cucumber (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup small-dice seedless watermelon

Instructions

For the basil oil:

  1. Process the basil and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

For the gazpacho:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Working in batches, process the mixture in a clean blender until smooth. Transfer the puréed soup to a large, nonreactive bowl. Taste and season with salt as needed.

For the garnish:

  1. Combine the cucumber and watermelon in a small bowl.
  2. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the cucumber and watermelon mixture, and drizzle with the basil oil.