Winter Warm-up Soup

It is cold up here in the Pacific Northwest! At the beginning of the month, we had some  days where the world was softened with white, sounds muted by the quiet snow. Now it finally feels as if  the heart of winter has passed, and that Spring is just around the corner. But it isn’t here yet, and I look out my window at another grey, wet day.

I haven’t written here for a couple of months. January was full of activity, with both my daughter and my birthday’s, along with all the regular busyness of raising kids.

Then, during  the snow days, both my husband and son got the flu. It hit my little six-year old and held him down for days. It was hard to take care of him at the same time that I felt his suffering, almost as my own. Thankfully that is behind us, and health has been restored!

How do we warm ourselves up and keep our internal fire burning strong through this cold season? As usual, my remedy is born in the kitchen. I had this soup in the crock pot during our snowy days and it truly fortified me for all that I had to take care of. My family LOVES it when I make this, and I know it fortifies them, too.

Rosemary smells amazing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps keep our memory healthy. Living with Hashimoto’s, a memory boost is much appreciated 🙂  Garlic is a wonder plant. It has anti-bacterial properties that give our GI tract a tune-up. Garlic backs up the ‘good guys’ within our micrbiome – the little world going on within our bodies. Pepper is a powerhouse this time of year. Black pepper helps dry out any excess phlegm in the system. It also gives our internal fire extra pep – something we all need this time of year in the Northern hemisphere.

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ON CUTTING VEGETABLES

I invite you to make this soup. Cutting vegetables is a truly soothing activity, so even if you feel too tired, or too busy to try making this, consider taking a Sunday afternoon, or any time you have free, and doing it anyway. Put on your favorite music, use it as a time to BREATHE deeply and evenly. It always amazes me how centered I feel while I’m cutting vegetables. Maybe having our hands on earth’s bounty somehow makes us feel more connected to the natural environment. Whatever the reason, making this soup feels like a healing activity for me. And it is YUMMY.

RECIPE for WINTER WARM-UP SOUP

First we create the broth. I have talked about the numerous benefits of bone broth in other posts. It will strengthen you from the inside out!

Broth

1. Buy quality grass-fed beef bones. Neck bones are fabulous, and it’s good if they have some meat still on.

2. Roast a few bones in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, to bring out a yummy flavor.

3. Place bones in large stock pot and cover with 4 quarts of filtered water. You can easily double the amount by adding more bones and more water.

4. Add a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar.

5. Let it sit without heat for twenty minutes. The vinegar will begin to pull minerals from the bones.

6. Add sea salt and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.

7. Turn the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 24 to 30 hours.

Soup Recipe

Slice three organic sweet onions and add them to a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add five cloves of garlic, and lots of fresh rosemary leaves. Sprinkle pepper over the mix. Stir often and let the onions lightly glaze.

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Cut up your veggies. I use lots of zucchini, some red potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, purple potatoes and carrots. Put these veggies into your crock pot. Scoop the top layer of fat off your broth with a ladle and pour it onto your veggies, careful to keep the bones out of the crock pot. Add the onion mixture, a generous amount of additional pepper, a few more garlic cloves, and sea salt to the pot. Browned beef chunks are also an option; I personally like it without beef chunks better, but both ways are good. Simmer on high for five hours, and enjoy. You can turn the heat to low and keep it in the pot for 24 hours, eating as desired. Keeping this in your system for a couple of days will fortify you, warm you up, and make you strong! The picture below shows my soup right as it’s starting to simmer in the crock pot. After it’s cooked, it will look more like stew. Oh so good!

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Reset Your Digestion and Assimilate Your Life

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December is here! There is something unique about this month. Another year, wrapping up. Tis the season to take stock of all that has occurred, to allow it to sink in. Wait – most of us barely have time to breathe this time of year, let alone reflect!

But, every experience must be digested. The obvious association with the word ‘digest’ is food and the digestive tract. However, everything we go through – all that we read, the conversations we engage in, the experiences we have –  must be processed. The physical system of digestion is but one mechanism used for this type of purpose; there are also the spiritual and mental levels. These levels are equally important, if not more so, to our health and well-being.

We are overwhelmed with news right now. Information is coming at us so fast, there is no time to assimilate it on top of our already busy lives. And so,our systems are becoming backed-up at alarming rates. This is impacting the state of our collective unconscious. We are collectively clogged up.

How can we remedy this? The benefits of meditation are gaining solid, scientific backing. Slowing down, even for a few minutes a day, and simply breathing deeply can help immensely.

Another way we can give our overloaded body/mind/spirits a chance to properly assimilate everything, is to give our physical digestive systems a rest. Between parties and festivities this month, consider eating only an easily digested food for a couple of days. As the digestive system rests, the other areas have a chance catch up – to deal with all that we are being forced to deal with.

Here is a recipe for Kitcharee – the perfect food for this type of reset. I make up a big pot and save some in a glass container in the fridge to be warmed up throughout the day. The idea is to eat nothing but this food. Water and tea can be consumed, but this reset only works if we truly give our bodies a break from sorting out myriad foods and additives.

Give yourself a rest, on the level that you can affect, while still engaging in your busy life.

 

Simple Kitcharee

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked organic basmati rice – soaked (Soak your rice in water for around 8 hours to make it easier to digest. Drain the water you soaked it in, leaving only the rice)

1 cup  green mung dahl – soaked (Same process as with the rice, but dahl can soak for 24 hours) This legume can be found in the bulk section of a good health food store.

5 tablespoons organic ghee

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

3 tablespoons organic turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt

7 cups pure water

To prepare:

In a big stockpot, melt the ghee over low heat. Add the coriander seeds and cumin seeds, stirring continually. When you hear the coriander seeds begin to pop, add the turmeric and salt, as you stir. When the paste is mixed together, add the mung beans and stir them in well. Now add the rice, stirring well. Add the water and turn the heat up to high. Allow the mixture to boil for about three minutes, then cover and turn the heat down. Simmer for around forty-five minutes, until the water is gone and you have a soft porridge. You may add steamed veggies of any kind, except for white potatoes, to add variety.