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How to Beat the Winter Blues in a Soup-rising and Flavorful Way

We are no strangers to long, frigid Minnesota winters. The shorter days, lack of sunlight and negative temps can take a toll on our mojo – which is why we bank on a few tried-and-true methods to battle the winter blues.

You can catch us strolling around the North Loop at 3:00 p.m. for our daily wellness walk, diffusing essential oils in the office or heading over to the Minneapolis Bouldering Project for a post-work climb and sauna sesh. But in addition to all of these tactics, we have one secret weapon that trumps them all: Soup days.

This office tradition began 3 years ago as a way to bring everyone together family-style. Now, when the calendar reaches November, it’s our cue to whip out our favorite cold weather recipes. Each week, one team member signs up to be our chef. While we call it “soup day,” we don’t restrict ourselves – any warm, comforting food is welcome.

Whether it be authentic Pad Thai or Instant Pot magic, read on to hear about some of the dishes we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying thanks to our team of talented in-house chefs.

Around the world in a 1-hour lunch break

The chef: Caroline

The dish: Pad Thai

Caroline_makes_pad_thaiIn June, our content strategist Caroline globe-trotted halfway across the world to visit an elephant sanctuary, weave through the vast mountains of northern Thailand on a moped, and most importantly, learn how to make authentic Pad Thai.

Far less “flashy” than the American version, authentic Pad Thai delights with a subtle, yet satisfying flavor. Ingredients from United Noodles brought this dish to life, featuring tamarind, bean sprouts and fish sauce.

We enjoyed this cultural twist on our soup day, though have to admit – the Americanized version might not live up to our standards from here on out.

Some like it hot (dish)

The chef: Maggie

The dish: Tator tot hot dish

A Wisconsin native, Maggie has grown up with a deep appreciation for hot dish. A staple at family gatherings and the ultimate comfort food, it’s the perfect way to bring all of her favorite people together. As long as the real foodie of her family – her dog, Cal, doesn’t get into it for a taste.

Layers of tator tots and veggies bound by melted cheddar cheese had us lining up for seconds… and, okay, maybe thirds.

Instant gratification, or Instant Pot chili?  

The chef: Emily

The dish: Instant Pot Chili

Perhaps both, with Emily’s tasty chili recipe from Twin Cities-based food blog, Pinch of Yum.

Not only does Emily juggle a full-time account executive role, a part-time gig at GetKnit Outdoor Events AND intramural broom ball – she also recently became an aunt! Cue easy, instant pot recipes to the rescue as she spends time with her baby niece, Margot, and helps her sleepless-sister, Ashley, through the new mom stage. “It makes me feel extra cozy during cold Minnesota winters,” Emily adds.

A whiff of what’s next

Upcoming Soup-er stars include Nina with a shrimp jambalaya and a beer cheese soup from Drew. Want to join in on the fun? Good news, you can! While we can’t extend the invite to our soup days (we only have so many soup bowls), we can invite you to our next Food Connections gathering. If you are in the food industry (or want to be), come join in on the food and fun!

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