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: Gazpacho, Gazpacho, Gazpacho!

If your counter looks anything like mine, there is only one thing to do! Tomatoes are best stored and eaten warm, so you’ll probably be starting with tomatoes at room temperature. Make this early enough in the day that it has time to cool thoroughly. It will be worth it, especially on these hot, humid, late summer days. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Early Tomato Salad

This is not the time of year to turn on the oven or stove. But that’s not going to stop me. The tomatoes are starting to ripen, and it’s time to celebrate. You don’t need more than a knife and a cutting board for this recipe. It’s simple, and it’s oh-so-much-more than the sum of its ingredients. Continue reading

Let the Growing Season Begin!

The first time I joined a community-supported agriculture (CSA), almost ten years ago, its kickoff late on a Thursday afternoon sent me racing out of the office at the end of the day. The first week’s bounty included lettuce greens, herbs, onions, kohlrabi, radishes. Adults chatted and children hopped around like happy rabbits as we waited for strawberries to arrive. After a long winter, we all hungered for fresh food. 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: Oven-Dried Grape Tomatoes

At the farmer’s market this past Sunday morning, I brought home a bucketful of tomatoes for this recipe. It’s simple, elegant, and (most importantly) out of this world! And it keeps you in tomatoes for just a little while longer… Continue reading