I started spring cleaning recently, in the hopes we might have a spring to enjoy. I put the winter clothes away, removed the down comforter from my bed, washed the windows and went on a program to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Spring cleaning, inside and out, was my thinking. No more "I deserve this brownie sundae with extra whipped cream because it's so gosh darned miserable outside" for me. I want everything in my life to be lighter and leaner -- especially me.
So I started pumping up my intake of fruits and veggies, which is when I found the recipe for Bieler's Broth, a mixture of zucchini, green beans, celery and parsley. Never heard of it? Me neither. Honestly, at first it didn't sound very appealing. You simply steam the vegetables and blend them together. That's it. How boring is that?
And, yet, it was strangely delicious and comforting. In light of full disclosure, I did add salt, lemon juice and a sprinkle of cayenne, but even so this concoction tasted better with every sip. I poured it into a coffee mug and sipped it as a snack between meals. Actually, I have been making it at least once a week.
It was developed by Dr. Henry G. Bieler, a somewhat controversial advocate of using food to improve health. He was talking about this back in the 1950s and '60s so you can imagine how well that was received. He prescribed this brew to his patients to reinstate the body's alkaline state after years of acidifying the body with improper foods.
While I can't vouch for any of the medical claims, I can say it was incredibly easy, super healthy and a nice pick-me-up between meals.
And just because Dr. Bieler didn't include any spices doesn't mean you can't experiment with your favorites. I thought a squeeze of lemon juice brightened the flavor and salt and cayenne added the zip I require. But you can try any of your favorite herbs or spices. I think thyme or tarragon would be a nice addition or maybe even some cumin.
However you tinker with it, it's a great way to to lighten up for spring.
• M. Eileen Brown is the director of strategic marketing and innovation for the Daily Herald and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.