Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

There’s a nice little restaurant just around the corner from me that makes a great Tom Ka Gai,  aka Coconut Soup.  I eat there at least once a week and I’ve said for a while I was going to try making this myself.  I live in Metro Atlanta and I could get the authentic ingredients, but being in the suburbs it would require a bit of a trip to gather them.  Luckily, I was flipping through some old cookbooks the other day and stumbled across this recipe (found in Light Slow Cooker recipes from Better Homes & Gardens), using all ingredients that I can get at my grocery store.  Since it was missing some of the authentic ingredients like kefir lime leaves, galangal and fish sauce I wasn’t sure what to expect from it.  I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised.  If you can readily get the more authentic ingredients it might be even better.

Sorry I don’t have any prep pics here, I wasn’t planning on posting it but it came out so good I wanted to share.  This recipe is slightly tweaked from the original, and I also needed to add a bit more salt for my taste.  The original recipe also suggested adding crushed peanuts when serving.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

THAI CHICKEN COCONUT SOUP
Makes 6 servings
Printer Friendly Recipe

Ingredients

1 Lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 medium carrots, biased cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 ½ tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
1 15 oz. can straw mushrooms, drained
1 15 oz. can unsweetened light coconut milk
2 medium red, yellow and/or green sweet peppers, cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro

My tweaks… I needed to add some salt to mine.  I also sliced a jalapeño and tossed it in the last 5 minutes for a little extra heat.

Directions

  • In 3 ½ – 4 ½ quart slow cooker, combine chicken, broth, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, lemon peel and crushed red pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2 ½ – 3 hours, skim off fat.
  • Stir in mushrooms, coconut milk, sweet peppers and cilantro.  Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

 BASIC NUTRITION INFO (per serving)

  • Calories: 186
  • Carbohydrates: 13 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams

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Easy Breakfast Sausage and Sausage-Sweet Potato Hash

One of my favorite meals, at any time of the day, is sausage and eggs.  However I don’t like all the preservatives and such that come in most store-bought sausage (and bacon) or the price of the healthier choices.  So… I decided to try my hand at making them myself.  The bacon is still a work in progress, I haven’t tried a recipe I really liked yet, but I’ve engineered a quick and easy recipe for breakfast sausage that I really enjoy, my base for this recipe is Alton Brown’s Country Sausage but I’ve tweaked it to make it easier and I’ve cut out the sugar.  For any non-US readers, country sausage, AKA breakfast sausage here in the States, is a loose sausage.  Usually pork or turkey, but it can be made with any ground meat.  Although some places do make it into cased links it’s also served as patties or cooked and crumbled for use with other ingredients, like the hash recipe below.  Oh yeah this recipe and the has recipe are both Paleo diet friendly!

Sausage Seasoning and Ground Turkey

Sausage Seasoning and Ground Turkey

Sausage Crumbles

Sausage Crumbles

EASY BREAKFAST SAUSAGE
Print Recipe

(Recipe below seasons 10 lbs of ground meat.)

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp smoked kosher salt (use plain Kosher salt if smoked not available but the smoked salt really adds to the flavor.)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp dried sage
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes

BASIC NUTRITION INFO (per 4 oz serving, made with lean ground turkey)

Calories: 170
Carbohydrates: 0 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Protein: 21 grams
Fiber: 0 grams

If you choose to use  ground pork with an 80/20 lean/fat ratio this would have 280 calories per serving with 21 grams total fat and 20 grams protein.

Directions

Put everything in a spice grinder or break out a mortar and pestle and grind together.  Once ground, use 1 1/2 Tbsp per Lb of ground meat, I’ve made this with pork and turkey and it works great with both.  Mix it into the meat and it’s ready, flavor is improved if you refrigerate for about an hour after mixing and this will keep in the fridge for a few days.  Spice mixture will keep for quite a while in a sealed container.

Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash

Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash

SAUSAGE AND SWEET POTATO HASH

  • 4 oz breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, diced and boiled or steamed
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • OPTIONAL: Diced bell pepper, sliced jalapeño, sliced mushrooms

Directions

This one is super easy to prepare.  Add a bit of oil to a hot pan (medium heat) and sauté the onion for a few minutes, add the sausage and cook until browned.  Now add the sweet potatoes and any other ingredients you like and cook until done to your preference, you can cook just until heated however I like to let the sweet potatoes caramelize a bit first.  Plate and serve, this is excellent topped with a fried egg.

BASIC NUTRITION INFO

Calories: 222
Carbohydrates: 14 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Protein: 24 grams
Fiber: 2 grams

Topped with 2 large eggs:

Calories: 362
Carbohydrates: 14 grams
Fat: 18 grams
Protein: 36 grams
Fiber: 2 grams

Pickett’s Mill Trail – #22 from 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Atlanta

Creek at Pickett's Mill Trail

Creek at Pickett’s Mill Trail

First hike of 2013!  Between the weather and the holidays it’s been a while since I’ve been hiking.  My Christmas and New Year were spent with great friends and filled with plenty of food and drink, it’s definitely time to get back at it now.  This wasn’t a long hike, it was only supposed to be 3.1 miles going in but with some trail section closed I ended up with 2.37 miles total.

Pickett’s Mill Trail at Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site
$4.00/person for adult admission
Trailhead Coordinates: 33.973908, -84.759223
Distance Hiked: 2.37 miles
Hiking Time: 1:11:20
Click to download GPX file

There’s a good bet that  unless you live in the area, or are a Civil War buff, you’ve never heard of The Battle of Pickett’s Mill.  One reason being that Sherman got his butt kicked so thoroughly at Pickett’s Mill that he decided to leave mention of it out of his notes and memoirs, and as we all know it’s the victors that write the history books.  It’s understandable he’d want to forget it, the Union lost 1,600 troops compared to the Confederacy losing just 500.   I use “just 500 lives lost” only as a reference to the fact the Union lost over 3 times that many.  The battle took place on May 27, 1864 and covered a rather hilly and heavily forested area.  In some cases the soldiers were entrenched less than 100 yards from each other.

Soldier Keeping an Eye on the Battlefield

Soldier Keeping an Eye on the Battlefield

Hiking Pickett’s Mill Trail I can imagine what it must have been like to do battle there.  Most of the terrain is hilly with a couple rather steep sections where the soldiers faced each other on opposite sides of a ravine.  There’s a small creek that runs throughout the area and it is heavily wooded.  Almost 150 years later it made for a very nice hike, it’s humbling to think that over 2,000 men lost their lives on and around these hiking trails.  The trails are very well marked with like-new blaze markers up as well as numerical points of interest which you can refer to on your map.  There’s also a nice visitor center with a small museum and gift shop and restrooms, water and a soda machine are available just outside the center, there are no other facilities at the park.

Overall this is a nice, leisurely hike with a great history lesson.  Definitely worth checking out.

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