TORTELLINI SOUP

I'm a huge advocate of eating soup in the winter, its easy, its affordable, and best of all it warms you up! We have been loving this simple tortellini soup recipe, because you can toss any savory veggies you have on hand right in and it always tastes great. I have made it on the stove or in the crock pot, its so easy and will impress any dinner guests. I have to give photo credit to Savoring the Thyme because we ate all of our soup before I could take a photo, hey sometimes you just forget you are documenting your whole life on the internet... it happens.




Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:
2 celery stalks, chopped
3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 spring fresh thyme
1 (15 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes and juice
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
10 oz. fresh tortellini
a handful of fresh parsley or spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large pot saute celery for about 3 minutes, stirring often, Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes before adding the garlic and cook for another minute. (You could also add corn, or carrots to the soup if you have them on hand)

Add the thyme, tomatoes and broth and bring all to a boil. Add the tortellini to the pot and cook according to the manufacturer package directions. Remove the soup from the heat, mix in your parsley or spinach (I usually use parsley because I have an aversion to cooked spinach) Finally, season with salt and pepper if necessary. Makes 4 large servings. 

PRIVATE RESIDENCE: COTTAGE KITCHEN

I have been working with great clients who have a 1940's cottage, and they are renovating their original kitchen. They wanted a clean, contemporary space that was reminiscent of the style of the home. They have been using vintage dishes because the plates from their new set won't fit in their cabinets! Their only design must-haves were simple, white cabinetry and stainless appliances. I love them already. Here is the design board I came up with for them. I am installing the project in mid Spring, and can't wait to share the finished product with you!

HOME REMEDIES FOR COLD/FLU SEASON

As you know I have been a bit MIA this month because I have come down with a serious cold, twice. I know, you are thinking how can I be that awesome. I refused to go to an actual doctor, because they were going to tell me what I already knew, oh you have a cold miss-- drink lots of water and sleep it off. So that's what I did for the first few days, and then I slept right through the premiere of "The Bachelor" and that's when I knew things had to change... No cold messes with my Monday nights and gets away with it. Here's where every cold home remedy I ever heard in my life comes into play. Some really worked and others were just an awful idea period, but here goes:


Spices: Ginger and Cayenne
Often used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat the common cold, ginger has long been a preferred home remedy for stuffy noses and sore throats. Its has anti-inflammatories that help to reduce the discomfort of a sore throat. Add 4 quarter-sized pieces of peeled ginger to 2 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Discard the ginger and enjoy the warm flavored water with a bit of honey and lemon.

Rich in capsaicin, a known natural expectorant, just a little bit of cayenne can go a long way towards easing unpleasant and uncomfortable congestion. When consumed, this healing compound immediately starts breaking up congestion in the throat and nasal passages while flushing out any potential infection-causing irritants. I tried pouring it in a glass to gargle- big huge mistake. My mouth was on fire for hours, instead try this:   Add a bit of cayenne to ginger tea or warmed lemon water. It is also a delicious addition to broth-based soups. Just remember to start small.


Garlic
Garlic is a known virus and bacteria killer, so if you have an ear ache/infection a few drops of garlic oil are supposed to ease symptoms and help fight of the infection. In addition you can prepare meals that have fresh garlic, and soak your feet in a garlic foot bath. I have never been this desperate, but I have been told if you do this at the beginning of a cold it will disappear the next day.

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Use about 10-15 cloves of garlic, peel them, and smash them, don’t cut them. Then place the boiling water into a large bowl so you can soak your feet.  Put the garlic into the boiling water, and allow it to cool a bit before you stick your feet in. Chill out in your foot bath until the water gets colder than your feet. Dry off, and you are done!





Honey
If you have congestion in your nose, the chance is it has also migrated to your throat. And it just gets worse as you sleep.  Honey is supposed to be as good, if not better than cough syrup because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. It's also soothing to an irritated throat. Before you hit the hay, take two tablespoons of natural honey. Mixing it with tea or warm water may help it go down easier.

Hydrogen Peroxide in your ears:
I got this one from a coworker, her daughter-in-law swears by it so I was willing to give it a go.
You take a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide, preferably food grade and a dropper. Tip your head to one side and drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into your ear. It tingles for a second and tickles your ear, but that means its working! Let the hydrogen peroxide sit for a couple of minutes, then hold a cloth over your
Hold a washcloth over that ear and then tip your head to the other side to let it all drain out. Then Repeat for the other side.

I guess the theory that cold and flu germs could enter through your ears sparked this remedy. It works best if you do this right when you begin to feel symptoms, or you have family or coworkers who have already gotten sick.

 Apple Cider Vinegar
 It loosens mucus and helps turn the body alkaline when it is acidic. To help prevent colds mix 1 teaspoon of honey with about an ounce of hot water, then and add 1 teaspoon to 1.5 Tablespoons of the vinegar. Increase your vinegar use when sick, but for prevention purposes you can keep it lower.  This is a life saver. It helps prevent sinus infections too. Just don't drink the Apple Cider Vinegar straight from the bottle, trust me you will regret it for the next 5 min. The honey and water are there for a reason!

Salt Water
This is my go to cure because no matter what, I always have warm water and salt. You simply make a mixture of the hottest tap water you can stand an add about a tablespoon of salt to it, it should be really saturated. Then you proceed to gargle with it for as long as it takes to finish off the glass. Do this at the first signs of a sore throat and once it sets it if you ignored your symptoms. It soothes the irritation and helps kill the germs that are hiding out in there. Works like a charm, every time, and its so easy.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Style Me Green just turned 1! I know that isn't long in blog years these days, but I am excited that we made it this far and I didn't give up on it when projects and life got in the way. I have some great giveaways and guest posts coming up in the new year and can't wait to share all of the surprises with you. Cheers to a great 2013!

Don't you love this birthday card idea from Sam Dubeau