Adventures in South America - Hot Cooking for a Cold Cabin
While many of you are turning up your air conditioners, it's winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. Granted, winter temperatures in Uruguay rarely drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 Celsius, and having spent six years in the Colorado mountains, where temperatures often dropped to -1 Fahrenheit, I hardly have the right to complain. The problem occurs indoors, where there's no central heating. We rely on either firewood or electric heaters, and it costs us. This is food for thought if you are planning a long-term – as in one month or longer-- on your Uruguay Vacation. In some cases, the heating and electricity costs might be your responsibility. After looking at one heating bill, I began experimenting with different ways to lower the costs. Help came in the form of an accidentally created coconut soup recipe.
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Spice up Your Life, Raise Your Body Temperature, Lower Your Heating Bills
Vegetables soaked coconut milk was the plan, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. I was already stir-frying the vegetables and their spices, but the coconut milk was much too thick. No matter how hard I shook my wrists, it would not come out of the bottle. Finally, I decided to add some water. That helped. I got to the middle of the bottle and added some more, perhaps too much more. As I looked at the pot and saw the vegetables swimming contentedly in a warm sea of coconut. “I ruined dinner,” I told my husband. He looked at the pot. “Maybe not,” he said, taking a spoon and tasting the liquid. The smile on his face said it all. “You know,” he said, I've paid good money for soups not half as tasty as this at Thai restaurants.” Considering there are no Thai restaurants in our immediate area of Uruguay, this is a big deal. I took a taste. He was right, it was darn good, but it needed something.
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My original plan was for something bland, with a touch of spice. Now that it had transformed into a soup, it was just begging to be spicy. I proceeded to the spice drawer, and added garlic, chopped red pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Perfect! We sipped our soup in contentment. A few minutes latter, we decided that we no longer needed the space heaters. Since then, my spicy soup variations are my go-to meals when indoor temperatures begin to drop. You don't have to have a South America vacation rental to appreciate this type of soup. I recall the chilly August evenings of my childhood summers in the Catskills and Adirondacks. A warm spicy soup will also work wonders at your ski cabin vacation rental.
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The great thing about staying in a vacation rental is that it gives you the opportunity to cook the types of foods that you like, as well as the types of foods that you need for the specific circumstances. Here are some of the foods and spices that will keep you warm and decrease your reliance on electric heaters.
Whole Grains: I sometimes use whole grains, such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley and millet to my recipes. These grains provide a viable source of B vitamins and magnesium; the nutrients regulate thyroid function. Your thyroid, which regulates body temperature, tends to slow down during colder weather.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon boosts your metabolism, increases you blood circulation and strengthens you immune system.
Ginger: Not only is ginger an antioxidant, it improves circulation to all parts of the body. Cayenne Pepper: Rich in vitamin C, some cultures use cayenne pepper as a remedy for the chills.
Garlic: Garlic serves as a vasodilator, which speeds up circulation by preventing blood cells from clumping together. While spicy is good for warmth, don't go too spicy. Ultra hot spices make you sweat, and lose too much heat, which explains why they are common in tropic environments.
Shopping for Ingredients
Here in Uruguay, I like to purchase my grains and spices at the feria, or weekly outdoor market. Almost every rural area has such a market. They provide wonderful venues for purchasing fresh herbs and spices – so wonderful that you might never by spices from the supermarket again.
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And just think: If you have a planning that perfect vacation , Access to a kitchen make a huge difference to your financial bottom line so go back to your rental and experiment right away!