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: Recipes to Watch the Leaves Fall By

Any day now, our kitchen counters will be covered in pumpkins and onions, and this week I have two simply extraordinary recipes for you to try. Both make a meal very special: if you’d like to test them in the next few weeks for any upcoming fall celebrations, go for it. Also, although it’s not essential, if you have time to make the onions the day before, then I highly recommend it. As fabulous as they taste on day one, they taste even better the next day! Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Rainbow Beet Salad

Beets are one of my favorite foods. Whether purple, yellow, orange, or pink-and-white, these babies are phytonutrient heaven. Some people are partial to the smaller-sized beets, considering these the sweetest but, no matter what size you like, you’ll want to make sure to get ones with firm, dark green leaves on top. Beet greens are absolutely the best! When I buy beets, I cut the green tops off right away so I can slice them into short lengths, rinse them well, and saute them quickly in olive oil. They usually get eaten fast.  Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Huevos Haminados (Slow-roasted Eggs)

Haminados are one of my all-time favorite Passover recipes! Simple, sublime and delicious, they have been a staple at the Passover tables of Mediterranean Jewish communities for millennia! Check out this recipe and you’ll see why. Whether you make this dish in your crockpot or oven, it takes just a few minutes to toss it together and get it cooking. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Chickpeas & Posole

If you have never heard of posole, you are in for a seriously delicious treat. Posole is the same as hominy, kernels of corn that have been soaked in limewater, then hulled and dried. These are whole, not like the ones that are crushed for making grits. You can get some extraordinarily good posole from Rancho Gordo in Napa, or from a Mexican grocery, or from most anywhere that beans, nuts, seeds and grains are sold in bulk. Americans eat loads of grain, including corn, but not like this. Posole is the real deal. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Slow Chicken & White Beans

In honor of the upcoming marriage of HLJ to ESS:
Here’s a magnificent recipe, inspired by the fact that this year is the #Year of the #Pulse! You know how much I love beans and the flavors developed by slow cooking! Try putting it up right now, and you’ll have a very special, delicious and nutritious meal for dinner tonight. Of course, if you’re me, you might decide to make it tonight instead of in the morning, so it will be ready just in time for breakfast tomorrow.
Whenever food cooks in our slow cooker through the night, it gives me delicious dreams. Sometimes it even wakes me up, a few times for a few moments, to savor the smells. Then, when morning comes, I can barely get myself up and dressed fast enough in my hurry to get downstairs to eat my yummy breakfast from the crockpot! I’m not kidding — consider yourself forewarned.

Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Tomato Quinoa Risotto

The most important part of this beautiful dish is the gorgeous tomatoes. First find the tomatoes, and then organize the rest of your ingredients. The rest will all come together beautifully once the tomatoes are chosen.

Plan to make this recipe only if you’re going to be around to keep your eye on it. It’s a great choice for a small group of friends planning to spend the day together and looking for something special to make. It goes great with a mixed green salad and a glass of wine. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Cucumber Salad with Dill and Red Onion

My aunt used to make a recipe just like this. She was famous for mixing the brine with a little sour cream and drinking it after the cucumbers were gone. No kidding, her idea was once written up in a national magazine, and my family has been excited about it ever since! Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Rustic Zucchini Layered with Tomatoes

A long time ago, I spent an exciting albeit exhausting day climbing inside the Pyramids at Giza. Later that night, I ate a dish just like this in a restaurant in Cairo. Having worked up quite an appetite, my memories of that meal are layered through with the sounds of noisy waiters and clanging pots, the smart smack of pottery plates being gathered to and from tables, and the sight of dozens of cats walking silently above us on the ceiling beams of that busy restaurant. Continue reading