There are many little bits of good out there in the world.
Let’s make sure we keep celebrating them!
Today I’m very lucky to be featured on my friend Kelly’s blog, Little Bits of Good. There she’s counting her blessings with fellow “Celebrationists”, looking for the good things in life to focus on and “lifting up the amazing humans who are making the world a brighter place to play”. I’m honored she considers me to be one of those people, and I spent two lovely hours working on her interview, which focuses on my living with Lyme and the things I do to make life rewarding and so beautiful despite the many hiccups a chronic illness puts in one’s way.
It was both really emotional and really empowering to write, and the best start to a long writing day a gal could ask for. Head on over there for my favorite super-foods, the habits I’ve built that keep me focused on good things, and stories from some really special people who have turned their struggles into superpowers, and whose stories have lifted me up and inspired me weekly!!
In sisterhood for her starting her posts with three things she’s thankful for, here are three things that resonate strongly with me in this moment:
- I’m thankful for the simple but powerful things that we often take for granted when we live in a first-world country: a roof over my head in a safe city, hot running water, air-conditioning, and plenty of food is a huge thing to be thankful for.
- I’m thankful to have a job that is more healthful for my body. Making money writing largely from home is not easy, and it’s still not completely paying for my ongoing health challenges, but it’s getting closer. And I’d much rather have a simpler lifestyle with a calm and thankful body than more money but pushing my body beyond its limits, like I was before I stopped performing / cooking regularly.
- I’m thankful for loving friends, like Kelly. A friend of mine recently told me that he only really loves three people in the world, and that made me sad. I love a lot of people, and am very loved as well. Loving and being loved are incredible gifts.
Now, this soup!
I mention this recipe in the interview, as it’s become one of my favorite go-to meals for days when my joints feel particularly angry at something, or I’ve overindulged in sodium or vino the night before and I feel it in every pore of my being! It’s packed with cinnamon and turmeric – two incredible herbs for the body – and spicy fresh ginger, which is great for soothing the digestive system and reducing inflammation overall. Carrots are obviously yummy, and are easy to digest and packed with vitamins. And you can throw in some zucchini or chic peas for bulk and protein, or blend in any other veggies you like!
Big-batch it for bad days: I like to double the batch and freeze it in small takeaway containers, that way when I’m too tired or not feeling well enough to cook, it’s at the ready. But this batch comfortably makes six portions.
Fancy-pants it up: In my private chef days, I’d plate up blended soups with a swirl of good olive oil, a smattering of amazing salt like Maldon, and some freshly toasted sunflower or pepitas. If making for the holidays, add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar or honey to the soup to make it sweeter, and then roast the nuts with some cinnamon and sugar to make them crunchy and sweet. This is a great soup for a Halloween or Thanksgiving starter, as it’s a lighter, more health-full take on a fall-veggie soup.
Don’t worry too much about the quantities of ingredients below; follow to a T or alter depending on what you have on hand. Just taste as you go to make sure you’re happy with levels of things, and don’t be afraid to add things during the blending stage to get the soup where you like it!
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for blending
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped (or a mess of shallots and sweet onions – whichever you like!)
- 2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves of awesome garlic (the stuff minced in a jar is NOT the same – the good oils are already developing and depleting. Please use whole garlic!)
- 2 lbs carrots, roughly chopped (I sometimes just buy baby carrots and throw them in whole!)
- 2 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp sumac (optional)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
Set a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the olive oil, and let it heat until it glistens. Add the onions, and stir them occasionally until they start to soften and color. With a microplane or very fine grater, grate the ginger directly into the oil and onions; ginger doesn’t soften too easily, especially if it’s a bit old or particularly fibrous, so grating it as finely as possible will release as much of the juice and flavor as you can get from it. Add the chopped garlic, and stir the lot together, letting it all soften for about 3 minutes.
Add the chopped carrots and zucchini. Toss together.
If the lot looks a little dry, throw in a glug more olive oil.
Toss all the spices in, and stir to coat the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let them dance together for about 10 minutes, softening the veggies a touch and letting the spices infuse and permeate.
Return heat to medium, and add just enough water to cover the lot by about an inch (I like to heat water in my kettle and then pour it in, so it’s already hot). Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for as long as you like. It should only take about 30 minutes to get everything to a blending point, but I often let it go as much as two or three hours, to get everything to really work together.
Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
Blend with either a hand blender, or do so in batches in a standing blender, being extremely careful if the soup is hot (I cover the cap it with a kitchen towel in case the heat makes the lid pop off, and start blending on low before increasing the speed, occasionally stopping to release steam).
Add water if you need to thin it out and, when it’s blended a bit already, stream in a tablespoon or two more olive oil to help emulsify and make it creamy and smooth.