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Pandemic Fatigue Remedy: Wonton Soup

Try something new this week!


Earlier this week I mentioned that stress can cause inflammation in the body. So I thought I’d dive into stress a bit more. I listened to a podcast featuring therapist Esther Perel, in which they discussed post pandemic life. One of the notable parts, for me, of the podcast spoke about COVID fatigue. We often talk about this fatigue as simply “stress” however there is a whole host of negative emotions going on here including collective despair, loss, grief, and depression that simply is labelled stress. We are exhausted and we don’t know why so one of the ways to combat this stress is to dissect how you are feeling to be able to adequately deal with it.


A specific strategy for dealing with this “stress” is welcoming the chaos and randomness back to our lives: creating rituals and boundaries around (post) pandemic life. Make the space for chaos! Ever wondered why people are having babies, adopting puppies, watching bread rise? Because making space for the unpredictable helps combat the fatigue. This past year, we haven’t chatted with people on our commute or at the grocery store. We haven’t randomly helped a stranger or heard a goofy story. With so much focus on our prefrontal cortex, being task oriented, and being productive – our brains are exhausted! We need another way to recharge those batteries. Try doing something fun and random. This week, I homemade wonton soup which I have never done before. I used a few different recipes as inspiration and I ran with it. It was fun to do something, and find ways to solve problems in a new, non stressful way.


That brings me to the narrative of productivity: let’s change our narratives around our own productivity. Frequently, I find myself and others saying: “But I’m at home – I should be able to do more; I should have been able to start working by now; I still can’t find time for myself or my family."


Don’t expect your productivity to be the same – as if this hasn’t happened, because it has happened. It’s happened to all of us. You are not alone. So take in a deep breath, let the old expectations go and make the space for new ones.

What do you do to manage pandemic fatigue stress?








Recipe:

Wonton Soup


Though not traditional, this is my rendition of a flavourful comforting wonton soup. Filled with veggies and great flavour, I loved making this soup and trying new flavours. Folding the dumplings takes a bit of time; if you don’t want to bother with the wontons, try scooping the filling into tablespoon sized balls and boiling them without the wrappers – then add some rice noodles if you’d like for a satisfying alternative.


Full ingredient list:

½ lb of ground pork

½ lb of shrimp

4 TBSP tamari (or soya sauce not GF)

3TSBP sesame oil

1/3 cup chopped green onions

2-3 big tbsp of chopped ginger

Store-bought wonton wrappers

3-4 litres of water

2 chicken carcasses

1 small onion (about 1/3 cup chopped)

5 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp salt (if needed)

1 tsp sugar (if needed)

4 tbsp of ginger, thinly sliced

1 stalk of lemongrass

3 TBSP tamari

4-6 cups of mixed vegetables. I used bok choy and shitake mushrooms.

To Garnish: lime, cilantro, hot sauce

Broth:

2 chicken carcasses and remaining skin

Enough water to cover.

  1. I used my dutch oven for this and simmered on low with the lid on for 3 hours. Alternatively, you can use bone broth which I find very delicious, or a boxed broth.


Wontons:

½ lb of ground pork

½ lb of shrimp

4 TBSP tamari (or soya sauce not GF)

3TSBP sesame oil

1/3 cup chopped green onions

2-3 big tbsp of chopped ginger

Store-bought wonton wrappers – I haven’t made my own dough yet, but they are a simple dough of flour and water

  1. Take all of the ingredients minus the wonton wrappers and place in a food processor.

  2. Pulse until combined and the shrimp are broken up. This will turn it into a paste (you may chop the shrimp first and then stir the ingredients together and add the green onions last for more texture)

  3. Place a dumpling wrapper on a work surface and dip your finger in a small bowl of water. Trace your finger along the dumpling to act as the glue. Add 1-3 tsp of filling depending on the size of your wrapper. Less filling makes them easier to wrap.

  4. There are many beautiful designs online and traditional ways to fold dumplings. I am by no means an expert. I used circle wrappers and I followed a guide which told me to pinch the top together, then pinch the sides in towards the centre, and then pinch to close. Whichever way you choose, make sure you pinch a lot so your dumplings don’t open up when boiling. Set dumplings aside.

Soup:

Broth, as above.

1 small onion (about 1/3 cup chopped)

5 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp salt (if needed)

1 tsp sugar (if needed)

4 tbsp of ginger, thinly sliced

1 stalk of lemongrass

3 TBSP tamari

4-6 cups of mixed vegetables. I used bok choy and shitake mushrooms.

  1. Sauté your onion, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger in 1-2 tbsp of oil for 2 minutes. Then add the broth, tamari, and mushrooms (or other vegetables that can handle a longer cooking time) and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and sugar if using.

  2. Bring your broth to a low boil and boil your wontons in batches for about 4 minutes until done.

  3. Once all wontons are cooked, add your leafy green vegetables. I cooked them for about 3 minutes with the lid on.

Assembly:

  1. Put about 5 wontons into a shallow, wide bowl

  2. Cover with 1-3 cups of broth and veggies

  3. Garnish with hot sauce, lime, cilantro, and green onions.

  4. Enjoy!





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