Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme and Rosemary

Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme and Rosemary

Mains & Sides Recipe

As we transition into fall, it can be helpful to pause and reflect on the busyness and outward movement of the summer and prepare to turn inwards and find comfort as we prepare for the winter. A comforting soup made from this season of harvest, along with herbs that remind us of the fall and winter seasons can be just what the mind and body needs. And, one can never have too many butternut squash recipes.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs fresh thyme
  • 2 pinches dried rosemary or ¾ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Puncture the butternut squash a few times and place on a baking sheet. Roast until squash is fork tender, about 60 minutes.

Once the butternut squash is done, cut it in half and allow it to cool until it can be safely handled. Remove and discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh from the skin.

In a large pot, heat oil and butter until butter begins to froth. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and thyme until onion has softened.  Add the rosemary and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the squash, stock and Aleppo if using, stir, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Purée mixture to desired texture with a hand blender. Salt and pepper to taste and warm the soup until ready to serve.

Garnish with fresh thyme.

Serves 6-8.

Late Summer Wakame and Greens

Late Summer Wakame and Greens

Mains & Sides Recipe

This is side dish that is healing and simple. Wakame has a very cooling thermal nature and moistens dryness, which is ideal for the transition from late summer into autumn. It’s a diuretic and also one of the seaweeds highest in calcium (hijaki is the first) and is said to promote healthy hair and skin. Here I combined it with amaranth greens, which is in season from summer to mid-fall. The leaves are similar to that of spinach, and the stems are a little thicker which I chopped in ½” pieces. Amaranth greens have a deep flavor and are hearty yet tender. The overall flavor is slightly salty, sweet with a touch of pungency. If amaranth greens aren’t available, you can make this dish with any greens you choose. Kale is an accessible go-to green. This serves as a side dish or is great integrated in a soup, with rice and/or lentils, or in Asian noodle dish.  I added soy sauce to it and paired it with chow mein for dinner and the following day tossed it into a soup for lunch.

  • 4 cup wakame, soaked, drained & chopped
  • 2 tsp avocado or sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 large bunch of greens (about 12 oz) chopped
  • 2 tsp avocado or sesame oil
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • ¼ cup stock or water, as needed

In a sauté pan, heat oil on medium heat. Sauté wakame 10 to15 minutes, adding a little water as needed. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant, then add greens, salt and lemon. Stir greens until they begin to wilt, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until greens are tender. Add water or stock as needed.

Serves 6-8.

Even a brief introduction to meditation can ease pain

New research has found that a 30-minute introduction to mindfulness can significantly reduce negative emotions and ease physical pain — even for those who have never practiced the technique before. Article from Medical News Today  (February 2020) referencing published results from Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal.

Meditation Can Down-Regulate Pain

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

This vibrant, warm and sweet soup reminds me of the Autumn season, but I’d happily feast on it all winter though spring. It’s easy to make and really yummy. In my recipe I used some of Elemental Alchemy’s Spiced Golden Milk, which contains turmeric, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and more. You can also substitute it for more turmeric to start and add a dash of any of those flavors you enjoy.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Spiced Golden Milk or 1 additional tsp turmeric
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro

In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions until they start to slightly soften. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add cauliflower, cashews and salt, stir and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then stir in 2 ½ tsp or a combination of turmeric and Spiced Golden Milk. Cook an additional minute. Add stock. Once mixture boils, bring to a simmer and cook until cauliflower and nuts soften, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend soup well with an immersion blend or transfer to a blender. Add lime and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 6-8

Fennel and Leek Soup

Fennel and Leek Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

This is great for a warm day is soothing on the belly. It’s light and cooling, with a nice touch of sweet, pungent and bitter qualities. Fresh herbs would work perfectly – for the flavor I wanted I only had dry herbs on hand. Also, if you enjoy the flavor of fennel, I suggest adding ½ teaspoon or more of crushed fennel to stock.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb with stalks, coarsely chopped, stalk ends and fronds set aside
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and cleaned
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped and divided
  • 1 small red potato, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp dried fennel, crushed
  • 3 pinches dried summer savory
  • 3 small pinches dried rosemary
  • ½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped, and more for garnish
  • ½ raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté leeks in olive oil until the leeks start to soften. Meanwhile, in another pot, heat stock, water, fennel ends and fronds, fennel seed, 1/3 of celery and chopped parsley on medium heat.

To leeks, add fennel, fennel stalks and remaining celery. Cook until fennel starts to soften, approximately 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add potato and a generous pinch of salt. Stir then add all the contents from the pot with the stock. Add the summer savory and rosemary and bring to a boil. Once it boils, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet for 1 or two minutes. Immediately remove and pulverize in a food processor. Add a ladle of liquid from the soup to saturate the pumpkin seeds and set aside.

Remove large pot from heat and add the pumpkin seed mixture. Blend soup well with an immersion blend or transfer to a blender. Add Aleppo pepper if using and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6-8.

Long-term meditation practitioners have a faster psychophysiological recovery from stress, study finds

“Stress is responsible for a variety of negative health outcomes, and takes a toll on quality of life and well-being. Thus, research on behavioral approaches that can help to attenuate the stress response is of utmost importance,” Article from PsyPost referencing research published in Psychoneuroendocrinology (April 2019)

Link to Article

Fresh Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Fresh Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Mains & Sides Recipe

For this soup I used lots of summer/early autumn vegetables. Substituting the zucchini and corn with butternut squash and turnips and using canned tomatoes in lieu of tasty summer tomatoes would be an easy transition for a warming late autumn or winter soup. This soup is well balanced with flavor and texture and is quite fulfilling in the belly.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 medium red potatoes, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 ¼ cup corn kernels (2 cobs)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, and more for garnish

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and peppers until onions become slightly translucent. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for about 1 minute. Add Mexican oregano and tomatoes, cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the potatoes, stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa then reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes and stir occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, and possibly more smoked paprika. Stir in cilantro before serving and garnish individual portions as desired. Although not listed as an ingredient, a splash of lime adds a nice brightness.

Serves 6-8.