Simple and Healthy Egusi Soup 


I am not a chef nor am I a food blogger. There are many places you can go for delicious recipes, tips and tricks; but one thing I know is that I love food. I love healthy food. I love food that won’t make me feel gross. That is hard to find nowadays. I cook most times, and I watch what I put into my dishes. I monitor the salt, oil and even sugar (but I hardly ever cook with sugar anyways). Most of my ingredients are natural and organic, from the ground to my plate. That is how I prefer it. With my traditional food it is no different. In fact, I usually try to add some ingredients with health benefits and omit ingredients more prone to giving me and my husband health consequences. As I  Doctor, I am constantly preaching to my patients to do better so I much practice the same.

One of my favorite soups is Egusi. I used to think it was hard to mess up. Used to. It is a simple soup to make given you have the right ingredients. I’m going to show you how I make my own. Not to the T, because the way I season my food will not be how you like your and my biggest pet peeve is seeing people go back and forth over how much salt should be in a recipe. Season your stock to your liking, but I will show you how to get chunky, flavorful and beautiful soup like in the restaurants back home.

Ingredients:

  1. Egusi, ground.
  2. Meat of choice
  3. Spinach or leaf of choice
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Black pepper to taste
  6. Red pepper to taste
  7. Two large red bell peppers
  8. Two onions
  9. 2 cloves of garlic
  10. 2 habanero/scotch bonnet 
  11. 3/4 Knorr cubes (chicken)
  12. Optional: curry, ground crayfish, okpei, paprika I used them and like the result.

Steps:

1: make your stock with meat. My meat of choice for Egusi is usually chicken and if I’m feeling doubly good then goat. You want to cook your meat with seasoning like salt, black pepper, cumin (if its goat/beef), garlic, onions and optional buillion cube (knorr). Season the stock based on what goes good with the meat. Beef likes cumin and coriander. Chicken likes thyme and paprika. Do you, but don’t cut the essentials.

2: while the stock is going I usually go to my red pepper mix, this is another base item that is necessary. I take two red peppers, one whole onion, a few garlic cloves, and a habenero/ scotch bonnet pepper. Grind to liquid consistency. 

(If you were making a jollof or stew you could cook your red pepper mixture down to eliminate the water; that’s for another recipe tho)

**red pepper gives the coloring to soups and stews without having to use palm oil. That’s why I love it.

3: add this red pepper blend to your stock, allow it to cook. You can also taste at this step and add additional seasoning like curry, paprika, ground crayfish (I’m a crayfish head and a little goes a long way), okpei, cayenne or thyme. I say this because this is my base stock, so depending on what I am making, stew, Okoro, Egusi, Oha or whatever I tend to change my spices up.  

Some will usually make and save excess stock in the to bring out at for other preparations. That is fine, just remember what’s in it, label it, so that you don’t get an über spicy Okoro soup… or whatever.

Also, some tend to fry off their red pepper mixture and save that as well as a paste. I do this sometimes. Save the stock and tatashe mixture separately.  Just depends, but here I will instruct as if we are cooking in one round.

4: once the meat is cooked and flavored through, remove it. You can bake it or leave it, I opt not to fry it for a healthier choice.

This is how I get chunky yummy Egusi without frying or the addition of oil.

5: get your grounded Egusi ready! Now pour about a cup of the ground Egusi into the stock and stir. Keep adding Egusi until you get a creamy consistency.

6: Cover your pot and let it cook on med-low heat for 5-10 minutes.

7: open your pot. The Egusi should have caked a little bit. You can see some holes and some liquid straining to the top? Good. Stir again. You can choose to add 1/2cup – 1 cup water for more volume but most importantly you are trying to get the Egusi to the chink ones you desire. Cover again and let it cook 5-10 minutes. Check it, stir it, don’t let it burn, adjust your heat if you have to. You will repeat this step each time get chunkier pieces of Egusi. I usually do this about 3 times total.

I like my Egusi nice and chunky, not soupy or watery. This is preference however.

8: add your leaf of choice. Okazi, bitterleaf, spinach. Why bitterleaf? I’ve seen it done, I don’t recommend it. I do like spinach in my Egusi, not as authentic, but it light and green and I like the benefits. In this step I will add a whole bag of spinach. Remember spinach wilts and shrinks so don’t be intimidated.

If you are using Okazi, I recommend softening it so it’s edible immediately. I softening it with hot water in a bowl before adding to the soup. If you do this, wring it out before adding.


9: taste your soup! Touch up on those seasonings. You should have an orange, chunky, vegetably, delectable egusi soup before you.

10: eat your soup with your starch of choice. Wheat Farina is my preference (I use cream of wheat). You can also use ground oatmeal, pounded yam, garri, and I heard people are pounding eggplant and cauliflower now. Wow. Wonders shall never cease. Do your own.

  • You didn’t fry
  • You didn’t add palm oil
  • You didn’t fry your meat
  • You didn’t drown in salt

You feel good and free don’t you? You can eat this like every day can’t you? No guilt, no shame.

Nose Freida = Snot Freee-da

My judgement on the Nose Frieda

Baby girl had been sound kinda congested lately. Really, she has been fussy, irritable, refusing the bottle. We have spent a sum of $65 dollars trying to rectify the problem. We bought new nipples… for her bottles. We changed her bottles. She pushed the solids route with infant cereal, mashed peas and sweet potatoes just to sustain her.


But none worked and she still kicked and screamed whenever we brought the bottle into her sight. It wasn’t a flow issue, it wasn’t a breastmilk lipase issue, it was just an issue. Maybe she was teething we thought. We bought teethers, but this daughter of mine refusing to put anything other than her hands in her mouth… so those did not work. We gave Tylenol, but she screamed and kicked us so we wondered if that was causing her more bother than the fussing. She took to breast perfectly well… I just couldn’t leave the house… couldn’t work (not like I’m working anyways), couldn’t gym, couldn’t take a shower or relieve myself (she is a brutal master).

At night, as I said she had been sounding gurgly. It bother me, but if she had nasal passageways anything like her fathers I would probably have to get use to this. It still bothered me, and I thought about what could be going wrong. To be honest, I had some extremes on my mind, what if there were an open fissure or canal from her upper oral palate connecting into her nose bubbling breast milk up there everytime she fed. Surgery stuffy, big surgery stuff. But otherwise she looked healthy so that couldn’t be it. My mind wandered like mothers minds do.

Then I woke up to this:


What? Is? That? Never seen that before! She has never been sick. Until now we have never had a sniffle or cough from our little angel. Not until we got this new nanny anyways, grrr. But I jumped up and knew then and there that this was a job for the Nose Frieda! (Thank you, who ever blessed us with this on the baby shower day! Love you! So thoughtful) I grabbed it and without reading the instructions, I’m a doctor I can figure out how to get snot out of a nose, I got to assembling and sucking. She fought me. We went to the nannys room and she helped hold her down. And finally, though she screamed through the whole process and it was tough to hold the thing right on target, we got the snot out. Fortunately. I cheered. Then I went online to see other success stories. That when I figured out…

What the heck?…


That’s how you use it?! You don’t just cover her nostril with the red thing and such from the other end? Wait… scrolled through more pictures and my stupidity was confirmed. My ADHD was glorified. I did a facepalm. Doh! Couldn’t I have looked at the package for 30 seconds before I sprung to action?! 


It right there Chris…

Welp. The deed has been done, the more challenging way nonetheless, but needless to say we were successful. So I will no always remember the proper way to use my Nose Frieda.




My review:

Overall rating- 5/5!!!

Ease of use: 5/5 nevermind me.

Functionality: 5/5

Eye appeal: 4/5 but this is a snot sucker guys

Storagibility: 5/5

Ladies, throw away your bulbs, you are doing yourself a disservice by not having this thing in your homes. My mother used to suck my snot out with her mouth, real love but gross, I’m sure even she would have opted for this thingy.

So my verdict is in. LOVED IT! Saved my baby from horrible discomfort of a clogged nose and maybe we can try the bottle again. 

This is hard!

Avoiding sugar is not easy at all! All of a sudden the foods you used to eat regularly drop out of your access. It’s not the candies and pastries that do it… not even the sodas or ice creams… but the breads, pastas and rices. Wow….

My plate went from Hero to Zero overnight. My plate was looking lacking. This would definitely be a big lifestyle change. And although I didn’t rely on a carb-based diet before, I realized how much I used fast, high glycemic indexed carbs to balance my plate when I didn’t need to. The side of potatoes or roll, where I could have just had an extra serving of veggies. The bowl of spaghetti or rice and stew. I Could do without, they should not be main players in my day to day diet.

I am learning and growing. Appreciating different foods, nuts and fruits. 

I’m craving and trying to be strong. Super Bowl weekend was rough. I survived. I realized many alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar. Yuck!

I’m six days in and I’m proud. I’m hanging in there! I hope you are too!!

Happy Detoxing!

The Art of BabyWearing

Whether you believe in attachment parenting or you have been forced to comply, baby wearing is essential for being able to live your life.

Baby would love if you stared into their eyes and fed them on demand all 24 hours of the day, but if you run a home, that is just not practical. I still try to cook… clean… shower… and baby won’t let me out of her sight.

Baby wearing is ancient. In some places in the world like Africa, mothers carried their babies everywhere they went, whether it was working in the farm or fetching water, cooking over an open flame or sweeping out the compound, baby was intact with its little head peering over her shoulder contently. Attachment parenting worked just fine for them and they were much busier than we are give or take.

Luckily I received a Boba and Bjorn as gifts. The Bjorn is practical in that I can take it outside the house and not look like a ceiling curtain dancer when I’m trying to wrap it and baby around my body. The Boba, though I look like one of those ceiling curtain acrobatic dancers, it doesn’t put as much strain on my back and I feel more comfortable wearing it around the house to do tasks. But I sometimes wonder… what if I had neither, and what if I wanted to use neither (says the brat in me.)

This technique passed down from generations. The wrap and tie. The little one squirmed a bit, my husband had to help keep her sturdy and we both muscled and clenched to giant knots on my chest. Felt as natural as my husband putting on my glamour makeup. So I redid it. 

  1. Put baby on hip
  2. Slide her to your back
  3. Make sure her arms are sort of wrap around your chest (important if you have a little baby Houdini)
  4. Take the large rectangular wrap and cover her bottom to shoulders
  5. Wrap it tight like a towel up top
  6. Tie the bottom like a giant double knot
  7. Look at you masterpiece 

*make sure it’s tight and baby is snug, it may take a few tries to get it right. Also, as baby gets used to this it should get easier.

*some say this is hard on babies hips… use your own discretion.

* Please make sure it does not unravel. Should be nice and tight throughout, if not, alway re-wrap… laziness can lead to injury.

Enjoy!

Sample Menu and recipes for the Sugar Detox!

Sample Week Menu

 

Some recipes

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Chia seeds
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • Optional: 3-5 strawberries

You can blend in a blender for a smoother texture, or place all the ingredients in a mason jar and leave overnight. You can also add: matcha, toasted pecans (or other nuts), or banana. Refrain from adding sweeteners like maple syrup or stevia.

Kale Chips

  • Kale, (washed, cut, patted dry)
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Take prepped Kale, coat with olive oil by tossing lightly. Kale should be very lightly coated so that it does not end up soggy. Place on noninsulated cookie sheet with the curly ends down. Bake on 350 for 10 minutes, but watch closely. You don’t want them to burn. You can remove the pan and turn 180 degrees so that they cook evenly.

More recipes are coming, stay tuned and stay strong!