TIP OF THE WEEK Enhance homemade soup

While making soup can be as easy as grabbing a can opener and heating it up, homemade soups not only can warm you up, they can also provide for several meals.

Here are a few tips, according to SimplyRecipes.com, that can help you improve the taste, texture, or complexity of your flavors.

— Brown or sear the meat: If you are adding meat to the soup, sear or brown it in a sauté pan before you add it to the soup. This adds a deeper savory flavor to the whole soup. This trick is especially useful for things like chicken and sausage, which can sometimes get bland and rubbery while floating in a brothy soup.

— Roast the veggies: Try roasting your vegetables before adding them to the soup. This gives them a little bit of char and concentrates their flavor, giving the soup a more complex taste.

— Mix up the texture: Mash or puree some vegetables in your soup to give it a creamy texture while still having some chunky bits or puree the whole thing for a silky-smooth experience.

— Use homemade stock whenever possible: It’s possible to develop flavors as you go with just water and whatever ingredients you are using, but if you have it handy, use homemade stock. This gives you a jump on the flavor-building process.

— Add fresh herbs or dairy when serving: Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro lose their flavor quickly if simmered in a hot soup, but they add freshness and bright flavor when sprinkled over top just before serving. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt can add a bit of tang to cool off a spicy soup or balance the sweetness in soups made with a lot of root vegetables.

DRINK

Even moderate drinking can affect brain function

According to a recent study published in Scientific Reports, moderate alcohol consumption is associated with decreased brain volume.

The study found that drinking more than low-risk guidelines has an increased risk of dementia. Researchers also found there was a reduction in the amount of total brain tissue seen on brain scans of people who reported moderate or low-risk levels of alcohol consumption (an average of fewer than 14 units of alcohol per week).

FUN FACT

Nutella

One in four hazelnuts end up in a jar of Nutella.

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