Three Ways to Nourish Your Heart & Soul

When people talk about nourishing, the next word I usually think of is “food.” But you can nourish yourself in a whole bunch of different ways, and I’m going to share a few with you today.

First, we nourish ourselves with downtime. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, a warm bath, a favorite daydream, a relaxing massage, a swim, a break from your iphone, a pedicure (guys, too!), a little yoga, a good book, a snuggle (with your special person), a drum circle or a prayer circle, knitting a few rows, or an earlier bedtime, these kinds of activities nourish your soul just as much as food nourishes your body. There is research to suggest that time spent out of doors in natural settings has significant beneficial effects on mood.

We nourish ourselves with activity, too. Swimming, drumming, walking, yoga. Kickball, intervals, Pilates, weights. Some people say that gardening is the key to their happiness. Sign me up!

And, of course, we nourish ourselves with food. So if you have a little time, you could try out this recipe, which was inspired by a recipe I learned this past week from another yogi.

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas

4 tsp. olive oil
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 large, sweet, white onion (like Vidalia), peeled and chopped coarsely
2 Tbsp. garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of fresh water
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into ½ inch slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped roughly
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup curly parsley, chopped

Cook the onions, garlic, and olive oil in a crockpot set on high for 15-20 minutes. Rinse the chickpeas with fresh water, and add to the crockpot along with cumin, curry, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well, and add the squash, red pepper, carrots, tomatoes, and broth (or water). Reduce heat to low, and cook 6-8 hours until carrots and squash are soft. Adjust salt and pepper, and serve with plenty of fresh parsley.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Homemade Ketchup

My dad has a very hard time with the fact that high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS) is the first ingredient in most national brands of of ketchup. He is on a mission to get people to eat less HFCS without compromising their love for ketchup. Recently, he asked if I would post an entry about this. Absolutely. Here you go, Dad! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: After-Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

No introduction is really necessary for this recipe. Just pop on over to the supermarket for some scallions and a little knob of ginger if you need, and make this soup with your leftovers. There’s a good chance you already have all the other ingredients. It’ll take all afternoon to cook, but only 10 minutes to throw together. The biggest time investment is looking through the bones for bits of meat. But don’t feel the need to go crazy looking for every last piece. Feel free to stop when you feel like it. It’ll be enough, and it’ll be worth it. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Hugs (Lentils) and Kisses (Carrots)

Bring a platterful of this amazingly delicious recipe to the table, full to the brim with tiny round hugs (lentils), and cross-hatched X’s (carrots), and share the love all around. Everyone will be so glad you did. You can serve it warm, or at room temperature. It’s great either way. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red Lentils & Sweet Potatoes

I’m on a kick here. I think it might be the spinach. Or maybe the garam masala. It might be the orange vegetables and their phytonutrients. This recipe is slightly simpler than the chickpea-spinach curry one I posted a few weeks ago, but it’s also out of this world. The leftovers are so fantastic that you may decide to eat them for breakfast AND lunch, both.

1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled
1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (use 1/2 tsp. if they aren’t super fresh)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup red lentils
4 cups fresh spinach
a pinch of salt Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Spinach & Chickpea Curry

Let this list of spices inspire you! Sure, you can reach for the curry powder in the spice cabinet, but wait! Don’t! You are not going to believe the difference between THAT and THIS. It’s diamonds vs. paste. Top shelf vs. moonshine. Everything you’ve ever wanted vs. anything you’ve ever settled for. You will be so grateful, and your tastebuds will, too. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Fennel Vegetable Soup

The folks where I work are always coming up with the most sublimely delicious recipes. This is one. If you’ve never eaten fennel, you are in for a delicious treat. Raw, it’s crunchy and sweet, a bit like celery with a faint whiff of licorice. Cooked it’s a different vegetable altogether. A great addition to any vegetable soup recipe, it is a total team player, happily absorbing other flavors from the pot at the same time as it shares its own. Fennel comes in bulbs, and the easiest way to cut it up, no matter how you intend to use it, is to slice it in half from top to bottom, and then to slice the half-bulb into thin blades, all of equal length and width, as you work around the bulb. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Stogie’s Belize Hot! Sauce

When I was a kid my parents had friends, Ted & Frieda, who grew hot peppers on their farm in Muncie, Indiana. When we stopped in Muncie for a visit, on our way across the country to the Twin Cities, Ted laid out an array of peppers on the kitchen counter. I tried every one. They were spectacular, and I was hooked. Forever after, he called me “Hot Pepper.” I’ve never met a hot sauce I didn’t like. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Coconut Curry Lentils

Here’s what I love most about this recipe from Julia Turshen, a genius in the kitchen and author of a very fine cookbook, Small Victories. Julia says dried spices are just “sleeping in the cupboard,” and that a hit of hot oil is just what they need to get them to “wake up.” In her curried lentils, the spices (cumin seed, coriander, and turmeric) are roused from slumber for 10 minutes, which is a pretty long time in comparison to other recipes. That’s why she adds them right at the beginning, along with minced garlic, shallot, and ginger. Not to worry, though. This dish comes together in 30 minutes, which gives them enough time to blend with the aromatics (garlic, shallot and ginger) and make the lentils taste earthy and “deeply curried.” Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Black Bean Salad with Quinoa

You can’t go wrong with this one-pot meal. Eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Take it to a picnic, a potluck, a brunch, or your own kitchen table. For folks with dietary restrictions, it’s the perfect dish to bring to a celebration or gathering when you’re not sure there’ll be anything there you can eat. Make a big batch on Sunday, and see how long it takes to disappear from your refrigerator. Continue reading