I need to drum up some serious positive thinking, ‘cuz I just came down with something and right now I feel like a blunt awl is tunneling into the left side of my skull.

Positive thought #1: Good thing I made this chicken soup for the kids last week. They had all taken the week off from school, with their little faces glued to shows like Kickin’ It and Good Luck Charlie, so they could get rid of this fever and sore throat they all had. They never ate (drank, whatever you insist on saying) the soup, so now I still have a big pot of it for me.

Positive thought #2: On Saturday night, when I was watching a movie with some friends, I started aching all over my body and shivering. I knew had caught what my kids had. Oddly enough, I kind of like fevers—they mean I have a provable illness and can take time off and no one will judge me—but the headaches that come with them . . . they’re maddening. (In case you missed the positive thought in there, it was the bit about taking time off.)

Positive thought #3: The people at Muir Glen sent me samples of their amazing tomatoes awhile ago, and I used them for the soup. And I’ll totally be talking about them again soon.

Positive thought #4: I awoke this morning to find my friend Jon shoveling my walkway at 7:15. I have good friends.

Positive thought #5: The snow we got last night finally cleared out all the pollution that’s been hanging out in the valley for over a month, and now it’s sunny.

Positive thought #6: Another friend sent me the Allegretto movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and the intro to an old Zoom episode on YouTube. He also taught me the beauty and simplicity of writing lists, which comes in handy when you’re trying to get a post up and you have a raging fever and headache.

Here is the recipe:

chicken quinoa soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup quinoa
4 cups very good canned chicken stock (I love Kitchen Basics)
1 14.5-ounce can organic diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen
1 pound chicken tenders
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
kale or other greens, such as arugula or spinach, torn into bite size pieces
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add in onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until slightly browned on the edges, and the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and quinoa, and cook for a minute more. Pour in stock, and raise to a gentle boil.

2. Reduce heat to low, and place chicken tenders in the broth. Let the chicken simmer slowly until cooked through. Remove chicken, dice or shred into generous pieces, and set aside. Simmer the soup for a few more minutes. When the quinoa is fully cooked and tender (but still chewy), return the chicken to the soup. Add enough water, the tomatoes, vinegar, and salt and pepper to achieve the taste you are looking for.

3. If adding kale, add to the soup while it simmers, and cook until bright green. If using spinach or arugula, add a small handful to individual bowls, and cover with the hot soup.