Creamy Spinach Soup Put 1 chopped onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 3 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add 10 ounces chopped spinach and 1/2 cup parsley leaves; cook until the spinach is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup Greek-style yogurt and purée. Garnish: A spoonful of Greek-style yogurt and chopped parsley.
Squash-and-Ginger Soup Substitute 1 tablespoon minced ginger for the garlic and 4 cups chopped butternut squash for the spinach (it will take longer to soften). Skip the parsley and substitute half-and-half or cream for the yogurt. Garnish: A spoonful of cream.
Curried Cauliflower Soup Substitute 1 tablespoon minced ginger for the garlic, 2 cups cauliflower florets for the spinach (they will take longer to soften), 1 tablespoon curry powder for the parsley and coconut milk for the yogurt. Garnish: Chopped cilantro.
Vegetable Broth With Toast Put 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped onions, 1 small chopped potato, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 garlic cloves, 10 sliced mushrooms, 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine), 10 parsley sprigs, 1/2 ounce dried porcini, 8 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 30 minutes or longer. Strain and serve over toasted good bread. Garnish: Chopped celery leaves.
Egg Drop Soup Beat 4 eggs. Boil the strained stock, lower the heat so it simmers and add the eggs in a steady stream, stirring constantly until they’re cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Skip the bread. Garnish: Chopped scallions.
Rice-and-Pea Soup Boil the strained stock, lower the heat so it simmers and add 3/4 cup white rice. Cook until tender, then add 2 cups fresh or frozen peas; cook for a minute or two. Skip the bread. Garnish: Grated Parmesan
Bean Soup Put 1 1/2 cup dried beans, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 6 cups water in a pot over high heat. Boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the beans are soft, at least 1 hour, adding more water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish: A drizzle of olive oil.
Chickpea-and-Pasta Soup Substitute chickpeas for the beans and rosemary for the thyme and add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine). When the chickpeas are almost tender, add 1/2 cup small pasta. Cook until the pasta and chickpeas are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish: A few chopped rosemary leaves.
Spicy Black-Bean Soup Use black beans and substitute fresh oregano for the thyme. When the beans are done, add 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 dried or canned chipotle and the juice of a lime. Garnish: Cilantro and sour cream.
Minestrone Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery rib and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cubed potatoes and salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine) and 5 cups water. Boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped green beans; simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish: Chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.
Mushroom Soup Substitute 1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms (preferably an assortment) for the potatoes; sauté until they brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Substitute ½ cup white wine for the tomatoes, skip the green beans and add a fresh thyme sprig with the water. Garnish: A few thyme leaves.
Tomato-and-Garlic Soup Use 2 tablespoons minced garlic and substitute 2 tablespoons tomato paste for the celery. Skip the potatoes and green beans; use 3 cups tomatoes and 3 cups water. Cook the tomatoes for 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish: Lots of chopped or torn basil
All of these recipes serve four, and you’ll want about a 2.5-to-4-quart (medium or large) pot. Most can be cooked for a while — but not so long that the freshness is gone. Most will taste as good or better the next day, so consider making a double batch and refrigerating (or freezing) the leftovers. But never boil a soup after you’ve added dairy to it; instead, reheat gently.
If you want a supersmooth soup (and just about any of these soups can be puréed if you like), use a standing blender — let the soup cool a bit first — which creates a finer purée than an immersion blender does; you might even strain the soup after puréeing it.
Garnishes are all optional, though herbs add a dimension that will be lacking otherwise. If you taste as you’re cooking, you’ll be fine, because there is really nothing to go wrong here.
These breathtaking tree tunnels are famous in their perspective countries, standing as a testament to time and beauty:
Wisteria Tunnel, Tochigi, Japan - Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi is one of the best places to admire different varieties of wisteria.
Dark Hedges, County Antrim, Northern Ireland - This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century, and is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in the country.
Tunnel of Love, Kleven, Ukraine - This luscious green tunnel provides passage for a private train that provides wood to a local factory. The tunnel is also used by lovers to make a wish – it is said that if they are sincere in their love, their wishes will come true.
Ginkgo Tree Tunnel, Tokyo, Japan - Around 65,000 ginkgo trees line the streets of Tokyo; they are known as “the bearer of hope”, since some of them survived the bombing of Hiroshima. This tree tunnel is located in the outer garden of Meiji Shrine.
Jacarandas Walk, Johannesburg, South Africa - The Jacaranda trees explode into full blossom every October, turning the walk into a purple paradise.
Point Reyes, California, United States - Bishop pine, douglas fir and coast redwood are all to be found in this atmospheric part of the Pacific Coast.
Ashdown Forest, West Sussex, England - Much of the tree cover in the South Downs area was razed thousands of years ago, but some thickly-wooded areas remain.
Sena De Luna, Spain - A small Spanish village in the province of Castile and León, Sena De Luna is home to around 450 people.
1. If you like someone, wait.
2. Give lots of compliments, even if you’re shy. Everyone else is too.
3. Change. Get a haircut, try new perfume, get new sheets. Become better than you were before.
4. Eat healthier. Learn to cook something fancy.
5. Get up earlier and watch the sun come up.
6. Wear soft clothes, take a bath, drink something warm.
7. Meet someone new, even just a friend.
8. Become closer with your friends and your family. Call your mother. Cry with your best friend. Tell everyone how much you appreciate them.
9. Keep your room clean. Buy some candles. Let the natural light in.
10. Make a list of reasons why you’ll be better off without them. Believe they are true, because they are.
11. Listen to new music.
12. Write everything you’re thinking and feeling. Write letters. Write happy letters, sad letters, and angry letters, even if you’re never going to send them.
13. It’s okay to be sad, but not forever. Sadness is not as beautiful as music makes it seem. Lack of sleep makes your eyes droopy, not deep. Wake up every morning and tell yourself you’re going to have a good day.
14. Go to the library. Don’t forget to look in the music section.
15. Remove them from your life. Get rid of the things they gave you if they make you sad. They’re not worth it. You will never be happy if you continue to hold on to the things that make you sad.
16. Make new memories.
17. Try to find something to appreciate in everything you do or experience.
18. Being alone is okay, you don’t have to surround yourself with people.
19. Become your own best friend. Buy yourself coffee and drink it alone in a cafe. Take your time.
20. Learn to love every bit of yourself.
How to feel better and become better by me (via timidgeek)