*PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SKIP MY MUSINGS AND GO DIRECTLY TO THE RECIPE.
I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy. The second week of 2022 gave me a dose of déjà vu. Mr Sweetie and I had quite a bit of a dramatic beginning to the New Year. Mr Sweetie got sick right on the very second day of January. We blamed (with much affection) my sister in law who called us two days after NYE to let us know that she had been exposed to her unvaccinated friends who tested positive for Covid. She and Mr Sweetie were sitting right next to each other on NYE while we played bingo as we were waiting to ring in the New Year with our family. I was at the same table with my mom, brother, niece and nephews, Matthew and Jacob. The rest of the family and friends including my dad were scattered all over my sister’s house during the game.
In her defense, my SIL did not get sick. No one else did except for Mr Sweetie who had to isolate for 7 days. He started to get chills, was coughing, had a fever and sore throat on January 2nd. He got better four days later but he could not leave the house while waiting for the result of his Covid test. He was going stir-crazy at home while I was at work. (CDC says it is okay to leave the house after 5 days if without symptoms.) By day 8, he went to work without waiting for the result. Thankfully, after waiting 6 days for the result of his PCR to come out due to the backlog as Omicron variant was surging, his result was negative.
Exactly a week later after he got better, I started to have the same symptoms as he had. My throat was sore and I was so tired. So tired that I was happy that work would only allow me to go back only after 10 days from the onset of my symptoms, or bring a negative result. Free and forced vacation, yeah? Nope, I could barely do anything except still check and respond to my work emails. Being in a supervisory position, I could not avoid working even while on sick leave. Other than that, I only had enough energy to read, cook soup and eat soup. As I am writing this, I am already feeling better after being sick for 6 days. My Covid result also came back negative. Whew! Mr Sweetie and I were so convinced that we got Covid. We were just resigned to it knowing that we are both vaccinated, boosted and even got our flu shots!
2020 déjà vu
Oh, and why a dose of déjà vu? Because in 2020, Mr Sweetie and I had to quarantine after I have been exposed to a co-worker who tested positive. (He was fine.) For seven days, we stayed home and that was fun! I look back to those days with fondness! In preparation for quarantine, we made a made dash (with masks and social distancing) to an outdoor garden center. He bought me plants and pots. This was when we started working on our backyard that is now my happy place. We binge-watched so much bad Netflix including Tiger King, 90 Day Fiance, Hawaii 5-0 marathon, and ordered so many delicious delivered meals including more than our share of mac and cheese! LOL! On hindsight knowing now that we were okay, those were fun days for us despite the threats of the virus.
Now that I am better, I can write about my week of solo isolation. It was not as fun as that one in 2020 because I was truly sick this time. Whatever it was, it was annoying more than anything else. However, It gave me time to finish a book, sleep on and off and live in my pajamas. Looking back now, staying home sick was not so bad after all. Maybe someday, we will look back to these slow days of the pandemic and realize that there were some goodness to them — like being forced to rest, eat healthy and be able to indulge in luxuries like reading all day at home.
Sun-dried Tomato Orzo Soup
I ate nothing but soup for 6 days while I was isolating at home. At first I was asking myself, am I really sick (despite the sore throat, headache, aches and extreme fatigue)? That was when I noticed that I really did not have any appetite. All I wanted was a hot bowl of soup. So yes, I was definitely not well. I wanted a soup that was home cooked, easy to make, hearty and flavorful. Sun-dried tomato orzo soup was exactly what I wanted. The orzo kept me full while the sun-dried tomatoes made the soup very flavorful. It was a really good soup combination and something that I will make over and over again. This was my soup for day 1 of isolating. There will be more soup recipes to come!
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 4-6 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced into bite-size pieces if came whole
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning *Please see not below before adding.
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup coconut milk
- salt and pepper
- In a pot, heat two tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar and add sun-dried tomatoes. (Add sun-dried tomatoes only not including the oil from the jar!) Cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic, mushrooms and crushed red pepper flakes. (Add Italian seasoning if using. Please see note below). Cook for about a minute.
- Add orzo pasta and coat in oil. Stir for about another minute.
- Pour vegetable stock and coconut milk into the pot and bring mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat until the pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add more salt if needed.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired and more freshly ground black pepper.
- For a meat version of this soup, shredded cooked or roasted chicken are perfect additions to this soup.
- Use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth for non-vegetarian version.
- Use heavy cream instead of coconut milk, if desired. The taste will change but both will be really good.
- If using whole sun-dried tomatoes, use clean kitchen scissors to cut them into pieces so you will not get oil all over the place and your hands will not get greasy!
- If the sun-dried tomatoes are already seasoned with herbs, omit the Italian seasoning.
Did you make Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo Soup? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. Enjoy!