This is me…as an alien.
Welcome to Fresh Friday!!! These recipes are brought to you from a very busy, often stressful place…my work. I am a 911 dispatcher. On Fridays, I work the evening shift with 3 other fantastic ladies that just happen to share my passion for cooking. We like to have potluck dinners a lot. It’s a way for us to bring a little joy into what can sometimes be a very harsh atmosphere. As 911 dispatchers, we hear the good, the bad, and the horrific. We have to be ON at all times. When the phone rings, you never know what is happening on the other end. It is important for us to be ready and I feel that a healthy meal helps.
Faith…seriously, we don’t really look like this
I have worked for many departments (traveling throughout the country with my husband in the Marine Corps) and I have seen a common factor everywhere I’ve been. We have one of those jobs that makes it necessary for us to stay put. We don’t have the luxury of being able to leave for a lunch/dinner break. We hardly get to move around the room. When we sit for 8 hours, in a sometimes stressful atmosphere, our bodies take a hit. When we add fast food, bags of chips, and other processed products as our fuel, we are only making things worse. Our bodies deteriorate, our minds aren’t sharp, and the stress from our job and daily lives shows itself.
Linda…enjoying a healthy snack
If we get a simple cold, it lingers longer. We aren’t healthy enough to fight off infection quickly. Then we take our colds to work and give it to everyone else. We call off work because we’re sick, and someone has to take our place. Then that person gets run down, catches the cold, feels miserable, and the cycle goes on and on.
Here’s my theory…if we put better fuel into our bodies, share a good meal together (that we plan together), we have camaraderie, we work better as a unit, we feel positive and healthier, we feel more motivated to stay healthy, we want to spread the good vibes, and, in a perfect world, everyone goes home happy.
Val…a little silly helps us get though the rough stuff.
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s difficult at times. As 911 dispatchers, we have a lot of responsibility. I want to make sure those police officers and firefighters that I work with make it home safely to their families. I can’t change the calls, but I can, in my own little way, try to make myself and others as sharp as possible. Food, for me, is the key.
Think of how this would work in any profession. Camaraderie, through a simple meal, is a good thing. My co-workers, Faith, Linda, Val, and I will do our best to come up with great ideas. This week, I made the soup ahead of time at home and we reheated it when we had the chance to eat.
Everyone brought in ingredients for the salad and we just quickly put it together at work. If we can do this in our little office (with just a George Foreman and a microwave), you can do this. It was a team effort…and a job well done.
Creamy Potato Parsnip Soup
- 1 lb. parsnips
- 2 large potatoes
- 1 shallot
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 t. thyme (fresh is best, but you can also use 1/2 t. dried)
- 4 c. low sodium chicken broth
- 2 c. water
- 1 c. skim milk
Boil the parsnips and potatoes until soft. Saute shallot in olive oil until starting to brown. Add chicken broth and cooked parsnips/potatoes and puree with hand blender. Add water and continue to puree until smooth. Add thyme, salt & pepper (to taste) and cook 15 min on low just to warm and meld flavors. Add milk (more or less to the consistency you desire). Serve with crusty bread or garlic croutons.
After I boiled the potatoes and parsnips in water a light bulb came on. You could cook the potatoes and parsnips in the chicken broth and water until soft and then just puree and add the rest of the ingredients. Duh! Why didn’t I think of that before? This would be easier and skip a step or 2. I did not try it this way yet, so I wanted to give you the original way I made it.
You could also make this soup with veggie stock and almond or soy milk. A very good friend of mine, Brenda (you’ll meet her soon), tried the soup using almond milk and added shaved ginger for a different flavor. Genius Brenda! I love it when people play with the flavors and make it their own. If you try your own variation, please report back and let us know how it went.
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
- 2 T. honey
Put everything in a jar with a good seal on the lid and shake it up. So simple! It’s a very good pairing with the soup. I even drizzled a little of the vinaigrette on top of my soup. Yum!
For the salad, we chose butter bibb lettuce, baby spinach, slivered almonds, clementines, Honeycrisp apples, and grilled chicken.
After dinner, we like to end with a little sweet (of course). This week we indulged in Dove chocolate. Mine was speaking to us all. Someday I’ll find one that says, “Une Vie”.