Spiced Carrot Soup with Pistachios and Rosemary

Spiced Carrot Soup with Pistachios and Rosemary

Nourish

Great for a windy and rainy day, this comforting soup warms the body. Seasoned with harissa, a blend of pepper, caraway, coriander and cumin, enhance the flavor of the soup, while the pistachios and rosemary add a little texture and color.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tsp harissa paste*
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs rosemary, chopped
  • ½ cup raw pistachios

Lightly sauté carrots in 1 Tbs of olive oil. Add water and stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add butter and harissa and blend well using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Add salt to taste. Return to low heat until ready to serve. In a separate pan, heat remaining olive oil on medium heat. Sauté rosemary until it sizzles, then add pistachios and cook until they just start to lightly brown. Remove from heat.  Top soup with pistachios and rosemary.

*Harissa Paste

You can buy harissa paste already made or make it yourself with red peppers or dried chiles. I use a dry (mild heat) blend that’s made with guajillo peppers, caraway, coriander, sweet and smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon and salt. If using a dry blend, whisk together 3 Tbs of the spice with 3 Tbs of olive oil, 1-2 minced garlic cloves and the juice of one lemon. Let sit for an hour before using and store in an airtight container. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Serves 6-8.

5 Ways to Support Mental Wellness This Winter Season

5 Ways to Support Mental Wellness This Winter Season

Wellness Article Wellness Tip

As the year winds down and the weather gets cooler, it can create a change in our physical and mental space. Before you say yes to more invitations and holiday to-dos, it’s important to check in with yourself first and make sure you have the capacity to take on additional tasks, to prevent burnout and over committing yourself. 

If you’re feeling like you want to end the year with more peace and calm in your life, here’s a few ways that you can support your mental wellness this winter season. 

1. Bring Your Attention to the Present Moment

Stay in tune with what you’re doing now. 

When you feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be completed, just focus on what needs to be done in the moment and how this moment connects to the spirit of the season. If you find that what you are doing doesn’t contribute to your true intentions or desires for the season, consider changing directions.

If you need a moment of pause to check in with yourself, try this grounding exercise: Pause while standing and curl your toes, alternating feet a few times, as if you’re a squirrel gathering acorns for winter. Next, spread your toes for a second and relax them. Feel your feet touching the earth. Then, close your eyes and take 3 feather-light breaths, equal parts inhale and exhale. 

Another way to stay present in the moment: Try leaving your phone in another room for an hour and practice being present with those around you or the task at hand. Pay attention to how you feel. Are you able to complete your task with more focus? Are you more present with the people around you? 

2. Have a Centering Routine

When your schedule gets full this time of year, it’s easy to put self-care on the back burner and get caught up in a frenzy of endless tasks. 

One way to make time for yourself is to set a time to do your routine every day and prioritize it no matter what else is going on. This could be journaling, meditation, yoga, or saying a daily mantra. 

Studies show that journaling reduces anxiety, depression, and improves all over mental well-being. The great thing is, you don’t need anything special to get started. Journaling is an accessible practice that anyone can do from home using a notebook or your phone. It’s also a great way to reflect on the past year and plan out what you hope to accomplish in the future with your personal and professional growth. 

Journaling Prompts to Try Out: 

  1. What are three things you’re grateful for today?
  2. What three ordinary things bring you the most joy?
  3. List 10 things that inspire or motivate you. 
  4. What are your top 3 happiest moments of this past year?

3. Get Proper Rest

If you find your stress levels rising as the seasons change, it could mean that you need more rest, both physically and mentally. Proper sleep and rest will help you think more clearly and be in a better mood. 

Ask yourself, “In what ways could I add more restful activities into my day?

Resting doesn’t have to mean just sleeping or laying down. It can also mean getting out into nature and invigorating our senses. If you have to think a lot for work or use a computer, it could mean doing something more active, like taking a walk or hike to give your mind and eyes a break from the screen. 

According to the American Pyschological Association, researchers have found positive correlations between nature and mental well-being: 

The stress reduction hypothesis posits that spending time in nature triggers a physiological response that lowers stress levels. [Another] idea, attention restoration theory, holds that nature replenishes one’s cognitive resources, restoring the ability to concentrate and pay attention.

With screen time reaching an average of ten hours a day, making time for mental rest is just as important as getting proper sleep. 

4. Set Intentions for Before Each Activity 

One powerful centering technique can be to set an intention for what you’d like to embody or experience before each activity of the day. This will help plant the seed in the fertile soil to manifest growth in various areas of your life. 

Here are some ideas for setting intentions in your day: 

Before a meeting: Center yourself by setting an intention of what you want to achieve in this meeting. What kind of energy do you want to bring? What is your objective?

Before getting together with a friend: Clear your mind of any mental clutter or stresses from the day and focus on enjoying the present moment with your company. 

Before attending a holiday gathering: Set an intention of the energy you want to bring and how you want to interact with others. If you get overwhelmed in crowds, take mental note of this to prepare some conversation starters to ask others. 

5. Surround Yourself with Positive Quotes and Affirmations 

Think about how you can sprinkle your day and life with positive thoughts and inspiration, such as quotes, a book, or listening to a podcast. After all, you are what you think! 

Developing a positive mindset can be as simple as having a conversation with someone who inspires you or is a good friend. If you often fall into fear and panic, try limiting your news and social media exposure and focus on bringing more positive channels into your life. 

Here’s some daily affirmation and quote ideas to get you started. Feel free to write your own in your journal or display them on your office wall for a simple, daily reminder. 

Daily Affirmations:

I am enough as I am. 

I am allowed to rest and take breaks. 

I am at peace with myself. 

Things do not have to be perfect to get started. 

You can try writing your own affirmations as a daily practice. 

Positive Quotes: 

“The groundwork for all happiness is health.” – Leigh Hun

“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.” – Greg Anderson

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” – Paulo Coelho.

“Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” – J. Stanford.

By adopting a few of these practices, you can bring more balance into the holiday season. If you’re looking for more guidance, check out our previous article on Mindfulness Tips for the Holidays. Feel free to share your other wellness tips in the comments. How do you stay centered in the winter months and throughout the holidays? 

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season! 

Wholesome Mushroom and Barley Soup

Wholesome Mushroom and Barley Soup

Nourish

I’m back on my soups and stews trend, for they make great leftovers and freeze well. This satisfying soup is full of aromatics and flavor. It has hearty mushrooms, healthy vegetables and tender barley. I love the color and texture and the extra finish with black garlic salt. And, if you like and have white truffle oil on hand, try adding a couple drops to each bowl. This wholesome soup is simple and filling.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 10 oz shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned, about ¾ of them sliced & ¼ chopped
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes with juice
  • ¾ tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 7-8 cups stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • ¾ cup parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Black garlic salt for finishing (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 Tbs oil. Sauté shitake and sliced cremini mushrooms until mushrooms soften, about 5-10 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pot and set aside.

In same pot, add remaining oil and sauté onion, celery and carrot until onion has softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add chopped cremini and white button mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, and then add tomatoes, ½ tsp salt, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and barley. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add 7 cups of stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, cover and simmer on low heat until barley is tender and cooked through, about 45-50 minutes, adding more stock and adjusting spice amounts if needed. Once barley is tender, add the cooked shitake and cremini mushrooms. Stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes until mushrooms are warmed through. Remove from heat and combine in ½ cup of parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Finish individual bowls with small pinch of black garlic salt (and white truffle oil if you have it on hand.) Garnish bowls with parsley.

Serves 6-8. For leftovers, a splash of water may be necessary as barley continues to absorb liquid.

Kohlrabi and Baby Leek Soup

Kohlrabi and Baby Leek Soup

Nourish

My husband and I were at the Farmers Market. He wanted kohlrabi; I wanted baby leeks. I thought I’d make a soup with both. That’s essentially how this recipe was created.  And while the recipe is written for kohlrabi and baby leeks, there are some alternate ingredients included below. When visiting friends in Seattle and wanting to make it for a dinner party, kohlrabi and baby leeks weren’t available or in season. So, I used what was at hand locally and in my friends’ pantry. I know you aren’t supposed to experiment when cooking for others but I made a rutabaga, which I’ve never cooked but is from the same brassica family, and leek soup. Both soups were equally delicious and didn’t disappoint.

The flavor profile using kohlrabi versus rutabaga is mildly different – hints of sweet, peppery broccoli stem versus bitter turnip. And, the kohlrabi will create a slightly thicker soup. Pick your desired combination and enjoy!

  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, separated, plus more for flavor if needed
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch baby leeks* (about 5-6) chopped; use entire leek
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 small to medium kohlrabi,** greens and stems removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 medium Yukon potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Aleppo pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme, plus extra for flavor or garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pecorino Romano cheese,*** grated, for garnish

Heat 4 Tbs of butter and the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, melting the butter until it is slightly foaming. Add baby leeks and onion and cook until the onions become slightly translucent, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add thyme sprigs and 3 generous pinches of Aleppo pepper. Reduce heat slightly and cook until leeks or onions just start to caramelize.

Add kohlrabi, potato and 1 tsp salt. Return heat to medium and cook about 5-7 minutes.

Add stock and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until kohlrabi and potato are tender.

Remove pot from heat and discard bay leaf and thyme stems. Purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Add stock to thin or cook longer to reach your desired consistency. Taste and add chopped thyme, Aleppo pepper, salt and/or pepper to adjust seasonings as needed. Butter can also be added if desired (which I did for the rutabaga variation.)

Return pot to heat and cook on low until ready to serve. Garnish with Pecorino Romano and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 3-4 dinner portions or 6-8 side portions.

Alternative Ingredients (interchangeable for one or all of the above):
* 2 leeks, white and light green portions only, chopped
**1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
*** Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Nourish

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

Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme and Rosemary

Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme and Rosemary

Nourish

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.

Transitioning into Fall

Transitioning into Fall

Daily Practice

In order to be in balance and to stay grounded with what is around us, we need to seek or find grounding and balance within ourselves…the best we can. Create a ritual for yourself – maybe something as simple as a 10-minute meditation to steady the mind. Or, start your morning with some gentle sun salutations and balancing postures to invigorate you and prepare you for your day. Finish the practice with a forward fold and a cozy Savansana.

Celery Root Fennel Soup

Celery Root Fennel Soup

Nourish

This soup is great for Kapha season as we transition from the cooler temps to the spring. Celery root, which is one of lighter of the root vegetables, is a mild diuretic and slightly warming for the lungs and sinuses. Fennel and celery are diuretics as well. All three help pacify Kapha and encourage healthy digestion. Adjust texture and flavor with other spices by adding a fingerling potato or splash of heavy cream or replace the quantity of butter with ghee or olive oil. You can also use the fennel stalks in lieu of the bulb if you aren’t sure for what to use them.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 or 2 fingerling potatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large celery root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-6 cups stock (vegetable or chicken, less for a thicker consistency)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 cup half & half (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fennel fronds or fresh dill for garnish

In a large pot, heat oil and butter. Sauté onion, fennel, and celery until tender for about 5-10 minutes, adding 1 tsp salt a few minutes into cooking. Add potato if using, then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Add celery root, stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until celery root has softened. Remove from heat and purée mixture with hand blender. Add pepper and if using, half & half and stir. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish bowls with chopped fennel fronds or fresh dill.

Serves 4-6.

Tofu, Bok Choy & Shiitake Mushroom Noodle Bowl

Tofu, Bok Choy & Shiitake Mushroom Noodle Bowl

Nourish

It’s that time of year when our immune system may need a little help adjusting to the colder season. This dish contains ingredients that contain anti-viral properties (garlic, ginger and shiitake mushrooms, as well as antioxidants (bok choy.)  For preparation, you can either layer it noodle bowl style or combine it all before serving. The former is a prettier and more ‘bowl’ presentation, but I typically use prepared noodles and like combining them and the tofu into the broth to warm.

  • 3 Tbs canola oil, divided
  • 2 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 1 small jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, sliced
  • 4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 cup water (or 1 additional cup of broth)
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 6 to 7 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced, lengthwise
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 10 oz yakisoba, soba or buckwheat soba noodles (fresh or dry)
  • 1 14-oz package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-size cubes
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Furikake (optional)

If using dried noodles, bring a medium saucepan to a boil.

In a large pot, heat 1 Tbs canola oil over medium-low heat. Add 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, garlic, ginger, green onion whites and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add broth, water and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a slight simmer.

In another large skillet, heat 2 Tbs canola oil on medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms and bok choy until the bok choy stalks become slightly translucent, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and add remaining ½ tsp sesame oil, salt and white pepper.

If using prepared & refrigerated noodles, add noodles to the broth mixture. Set tofu on top and return broth mixture to a simmer until noodles and tofu are warmed through.

Either add vegetables to broth mixture or bowl and serve, or for a prettier presentation, in a bowl place noodles, top with tofu and vegetables, and then add the hot broth. Garnish bowls with green onion greens, cilantro and furikake (my favorite is noritamago furikake.) Add salt, pepper if desired.

Serves 4.

Late Summer Wakame and Greens

Late Summer Wakame and Greens

Nourish

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.