Thursday, February 17, 2011

Comfort Chickenless Soup


Recently, I took another yoga retreat getaway to Kripalu for some R&R (Reatreat and Renewal). I came back with one major complaint: it was too short. Two of my co-workers and I headed out to the Berkshires with the intention of staying 3 nights. Due to one of the previously mentioned slew of snowstorms we have been having, we were forced to leave early. This made me sad because I was having such a nice time. To give you an idea of the kinds of things you can do there, the following is the schedule of events I chose to take part in on one of the days I was there:

6:30-7:45: Intermediate Morning Yoga
8:00-9:00: Silent breakfast
9:00-10:30: Workshop on Core Stabilization
10:30-12:00: Reading time in the Solarium
12:00-1:00: Yoga dance
1:00-2:00: Lunch
2:00-3:00: Hula Hooping: Flowing through Life class
3:00-4:15: Bought cute yoga dress in gift shop and more reading time
4:15-5:45: Intermediate afternoon Yoga
5:45-7:30: Dinner and hang out
7:30-9:00: Cooking demonstration

During our stay we also did a meditation workshop and took part in a drumming circle. I realize this type of thing may not be everybody's cup of tea, and you might be thinking "that sounds awful", but I really did come back rejuvenated. I find that yoga can do that for me in similar, yet different ways that running or riding perk me up. Last night, for instance, I left work feeling completely droopy and wilted. I could've gone straight to bed to put an end to the day. I had wanted to run, but I just didn't have it in me. I opted instead for a candlelight yoga class. I left with more energy and focus and felt more positive. It's not the same as an exhilarating run or ride when you get that endorphin high. Instead, it's both calming and energizing at the same time.
I recently read an article in the NYT about meditation and how some recent research is showing that it may actually change the brain by increasing the gray matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. I've been wanting to add a regular meditating routine to my day, anyway, and hearing that is good incentive for me. I've talked to many people who have had noticeable behavioral differences from regular meditation. I'll keep you posted on my own routine.
I'd like to share with you one of the recipes I learned at Kripalu, but I haven't made it yet, so instead I'll share this comforting brothy soup, Kriste, a vegan co-worker passed onto me and I've made a couple of times. It's provides comfort very quickly since it's so simple to put together. The original intent by the author, oliviabeans, was to create a Lipton like cup of soup that was vegan friendly. It really works!

Comfort Chickenless Cup of Soup
2 tblspns grapeseed oil
1 small onion, chopped up small
5 cups of water
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes (or 5 cups of broth instead of cubes and water)
3 to 5 tblspns nutritional yeast flakes
1 stalk of celery, sliced thin
Leaves from celery stalk, chopped finely (optional)
1 small carrot sliced thinly
1/4-1/2 cup of small pasta (I used orzo)
1/2 tblspn garlic powder
pinch of celery salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tspn turmeric
1/2 14 oz can chickpeas (or more to taste). You could also cook your preferred chix substitute like Quorn naked cutlets and chop one of those up and add it at the end.
Pepper to taste

1. In medium pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion. Cook until starting to brown.
2. Add: 5 cups of water and bouillon cubes. Let dissolve.
3. Add everything else except for pasta and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 7 or so minutes, until carrot is partially tender.
4. Add pasta and simmer until pasta is cooked. Add chickpeas and let heat for a few minutes.

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