Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings Of A Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen’s Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honor of Momzie, Kim’s Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.
I think everyone has been touched by heart disease in one way or another, be it with their own health or that of a family member. It is still, in the year 2013, the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States with over 600,000 deaths per year. Why? genetics of course but you can add in there the increasing tendency towards obesity and the utter lack of exercise many of us get other than walking to and from the snack cabinet. Add in the high fat, high calorie foods so many of us, including myself, love and it is far too common to see people be literally one heartbeat away from death.
I had a stroke last year as many of you know. While it’s not the same as a heart attack or heart disease, it can be caused by many of the same things I just talked about. So is this important to me also? Damn straight. It’s why I lost almost 50 pounds and have tried to get my own health issues fixed.
My family history isn’t pretty when it comes to heart disease. My dad had a heart attack in his mid 40’s. My mom had tachycardia from early adulthood until her death. I have issues with a heartbeat that goes so slow at times that I get dizzy.
On my husbands side, HIS dad has had…five…yes, five…heart attacks. The man is amazing. But the chances of most people being that blessed are rare. Tragically, a lot of the time, one heart attack is all it takes to leave behind a family who will feel that loss forever. So if there is a family history of heart issues for you (and even if there isn’t), I beg of you, don’t wait until later to take steps to insure your own heart health. If you need to lose weight, do it NOW, not after you finish all the junk food you have in the house. If your exercise consists of lifting your hand to your mouth to insert a doughnut, get off your butt and move, even if it’s only a short 20 minute walk per day. But please… please… take care of yourself. Too many people need you. Yes, even YOU back there eating that bag of potato chips, no matter what you think. You…are…loved. Why? Because you have a good heart. So keep it that way.
This soup can be either semi decadent or healthy, depending on what you use in it. For this post, I obviously chose the healthy way; even if you ARE used to seeing foods that have 14,000 calories from me. It can also be played with in many ways to make it more to your family’s tastes. Like things spicier? Add some Sriracha or red pepper flakes at the end or use a hot curry paste. Want a bit less tang? Use less lime juice. Slightly sweeter? Add a touch of brown sugar along with the regular. Plus you can use full fat coconut milk if so inclined and regular chicken broth instead of fat free. Don’t like chicken or just not in the mood? Use shrimp. You could even do this full on vegetarian by using vegetable broth and firm tofu instead of meat. This is a very versatile recipe. It’s also delicious and made as stated you won’t miss the fat or calories. I PROMISE. I mean, c’mon, you all know what I normally cook. So would I lie about something low fat being tasty? This has it all. Spicy, meaty, rich and creamy (yet with no dairy), sweet, salty, tangy. Also, don’t use dried lemongrass in this. If you can’t find fresh (I couldn’t) get the squeeze tubes of lemongrass you can now find in the produce section of most major supermarkets.
This recipe originally comes from Cooks Illustrated.
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 stalks lemongrass, tough outer parts removed, then sliced lengthwise (or use 1 tablespoon of the squeezable lemongrass)
- 3 large shallots, chopped
- 8 sprigs cilantro (they say to chop them but I don’t bother since you will be straining them out later anyway)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (Nam Pla) (do NOT omit this. Yes, it smells ghastly as it heats but it adds that needed something to so many Thai dishes and it leaves NO fishy taste)
- 4 cups fat free chicken broth
- 2 14 ounce cans low fat (lite) coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced thin
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into bite sized pieces
- 3 tablespoon lime juice (I also use the zest from one of the limes)
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I tend to use more… no such thing as too much curry in my book hehe)
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add the lemongrass, cilantro, shallots and one tablespoon of the fish sauce (like I said, the fish sauce smells horrid as it heats. But it is not meant to be eaten plain. Once mixed with everything else, the smells fades and it leaves an undefinable flavor. Cook this mixture just until the shallots and lemongrass are softened, about 2 to 5 minutes. If using the squeeze lemongrass, use it now too.
- Pour in the chicken broth and one can of coconut milk; bring to a simmer over high heat.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about ten minutes
- Strain soup over a mesh strainer into another pot; discard the solids.
- Return pan to medium high heat and stir in the remaining can of coconut milk and the sugar.
- Add the mushrooms and chicken. Stir and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is JUST done.
- Combine the lime, zest if using, remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce and the curry paste in a bowl. Stir into the soup.
- Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with more cilantro and scallions and some slices of serrano (or jalapeno) pepper. If you really like the tang, pass around some lime wedges too.
The Recipes from the Heart Crew: