Category Archives: Soups

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Sacred & Delicious Update

Dear Friends,

 

In case you’re wondering if I fell off the planet, I’m writing with a quick update to explain why you haven’t heard from me.

While on a beach vacation with my husband and step-daughter in July—totally social distanced, of course—I took a bad fall and fractured my wrist. It was a major big OWIE! Happily, the fracture healed, but it triggered a rare response known as complex regional pain syndrome and, alternatively, reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Medical experts believe that this is a response from the sympathetic nervous system.

I’m still unable to use my left hand, which has become quite stiff, particularly in the fingers. So, rather than dreaming up and testing new recipes, I’m focused for hours a day on rehabilitating my hand. This was a real surprise for me, as I had not intended to be gone for such a long time.

Before I disappear again, for whatever length of time it takes to restore the functions of my hand, I’d like to remind readers that you’ll find three fabulous pumpkin recipes on my blog: Puréed Pumpkin Soup, Spiced Pumpkin Pound Cake, and Pumpkin Spice Cookies—all gluten-free.

Sometime after this momentous election, I will share the ways I’ve adapted in the kitchen so that I’m still able to cook fresh food six days a week. (Like our Creator, I rest from cooking on the Sabbath!)

During this extraordinary moment in history, with all its inherent anxiety, we especially need to eat well. Cooking delicious healthy food can definitely bring joy to ourselves and to our loved ones. I wish you and yours good health and a beautiful autumn. Stay well! Stay safe.

With love,

PS For those of you who may have CRPS, or know someone who does, please reach out if you’d like to hear about my approach to healing with the help of several complementary therapies—and of course, an anti-inflammatory diet. You can leave a private note here.

 

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A Sweet & Savory Vegetarian (or Vegan) Valentine’s Day

As you plan an alluring vegetarian or vegan meal for Valentine’s Day, I invite you to sample this unique Savory Sweet Potato Soup with Mushrooms & Chocolate Swirl!  I owe its inspiration to one of my very favorite and utterly charming movies: Chocolat.

In the movie, the main character, Vianne (Juliette Binoche) opens a chocolate shop that is considered too great a temptation in a conservative French village. If you watch the movie, you’ll see amazing delicacies that will have you lusting after chocolate! One of the movie’s more memorable and talked-about scenes features a chocolate-themed luncheon that Vianne hosts for a friend’s birthday in which chocolate sauces accompany every dish. Her menu features a large turkey and a pork roast, though I’ve often wondered what that meal might look like for a vegetarian feast. Today’s sweet and savory soup is my attempt at the first course!

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10 Ways to Celebrate the Healing Power of Spices

Looking for a soup to warm you, body and soul? Then look no further than this Curried Cauliflower Soup, which serves as a great introduction to the healing power of spices.

After a week of frigid weather in North Carolina, we’re definitely craving hot soup for dinner. Although the cherry trees in our neighborhood were already starting to bloom, as they were apparently confused by a few weeks of 65 to 70 degrees!

To many readers, nothing says “hot” quite like “curry,” but if you don’t enjoy heavily spiced foods—because, like me, you avoid cayenne pepper—you may be pleasantly surprised how much you’ll love this cauliflower soup. Why? Because this recipe has built-in flexibility from delicately flavored to spicy hot. Although “curry” usually signals fiery hot, when I cook, I leave the cayenne out altogetherbut you can certainly add as much as you enjoy. A curry is simply any Indian-spiced dish with a mélange of spices that are cooked in water and fat to create a gravy, or in this case, a soup.

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Introducing Kokum with a Vegan White Bean Soup

It’s bitter cold in North Carolina and across much of the country as I write this blog—a perfect time for a wintry Vegan White Bean Soup. I’ve seasoned it with kokum as a way to introduce this fruit that is unfamiliar to most Americans, although it has been used in Ayurvedic cooking for millennia.

Dried kokum (also known as whole garcinia fruit or mangostein) is used in Indian cooking because of its sour taste. What makes kokum unusual is that, unlike other sour foods—lemon, lime, vinegar, tomato—kokum does not increase pitta’s fiery nature. If you have pitta problems and eat too much of these other sour foods, you can set yourself up for a lot of pitta maladies. These include acid indigestion and acid reflux as well as skin problems, headaches, and

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All Things Pumpkin…continued!

Have I told you that I love fresh pumpkin  (see Spiced Pumpkin Pound Cake)? As the holiday season moves toward its peak, what can be better than a fresh Puréed Pumpkin Soup. The markets are still filled with sugar pumpkins, the sweet edible pumpkins used for pumpkin pies and all things pumpkin.

Pumpkin, like squash, is one of the favored foods of Ayurveda because it is so easy to digest. It’s ideal for vata and pitta. For watery kapha, it’s still fine if balanced with warming spices. I’ve chosen cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and fresh ginger—

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Post Halloween Detox

Post-Halloween Detox!

If you or your kids plan to eat a lot of Halloween candy, then I highly recommend that you plan a pot of Mung Soup with Vegetables for the day after! According to Ayurveda, mung beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and the greatest source of vegetarian protein, because they’re so easy to digest. This soup is made from whole mung beans, which have a scraping action. Translation: eating cooked mung beans will detoxify the body, specifically the colon, liver, kidneys, and the lymph system.

You can make a simple mung soup with a few spices and serve it with vegetable sides or, as I do, you can cook the soup with vegetables to make it a heartier dish. My preferences are Swiss chard and winter squash or a combination of

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Bring on the Cucumbers!

cucumber and coconut milk soup

Ayurveda’s common-sense dictum is that opposite qualities balance one another—whether in the body, the mind, or the emotions. So, to quell the last of the summer heat, I call for balance and say, “Bring on the cucumbers!”

In this lovely summer soup, the cooling power of cucumber is augmented by coconut milk, cilantro, and mint, all which cool the metabolism even further. Fresh ginger, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and lime all aid digestion besides being richly flavorful. They are also warming foods, which bring balance to the dish for vata and kapha types, who tend to be cold natured.

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Zucchini Soup in 20 Minutes or Less

If you like zucchini, you will love Creamy Zucchini Soup. This tasty soup will help you make an easeful transition from summer to fall. And another thing about this dish that is great is that it takes no more than 20 minutes to make, start to finish!

 

During September and October, and even into November in some places, zucchini is being harvested before the first big frost. As the nights are getting cooler in many parts of the country, this warm, gingery vegetable soup is a perfect accompaniment to a veggie burger, a pasta entrée, or a sweet potato stuffed with black beans! As cold and flu season approaches, one

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Mushroom Lentil Soup

With so much cold and flu circulating in every public place at this time of year, I started eyeing the shiitake mushrooms at the grocery store today… and then invoked the Goddess Annapurna to help me create a delicious approach to mushroom soup. This Mushroom Lentil Soup is just that—a dish that’s definitely for mushroom lovers, as it boasts a hearty amount of the immune-boosting shiitakes.

The neutral-flavored red lentils, also known as masoor dal, give the soup substance as well as protein and iron. I use a mixture of traditional Ayurvedic spices (cumin and coriander to balance agni) along with classic American herbs (rosemary and sage), which you might expect to find in a mushroom bisque. You can add a couple of tablespoons or more of wine if you wish—just a little adds a nice dimension to the flavor.

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Auspicious New Beginnings with Black-Eyed Peas!

Ask any Southerner how to start the new year in the most auspicious way, and they won’t even blink before naming a bowl of Hoppin’ John or some other version of peas and greens—like this vegetarian Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards! Serving such a dish on New Year’s Day is thought to bring good luck because long ago black-eyed peas reminded someone of coins. The greens are said to bring prosperity because greens are associated with green cash. If you enjoy food history, you can read more about this legend at Southern Living  and Epicurious.

My Black-Eyed Pea Soup is filling because of the generous proportion of peas, and it is made even more satisfying by the addition of butternut squash, a favorite winter vegetable. If you serve this soup over rice, like a traditional Hoppin’ John, you will need little (if anything!) else at your New Year’s Day table.

How can you make your New Year’s Day even more auspicious?

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