It’s occurred to me that our blog is as forgiving as my yoga practice is. There is no judgment for any hiatus taken. There are no questions upon my return. They just wait and when I do return, it feels like home.
For some reason though, taking a hiatus from writing is much harder to get back to than it is to get back on my mat. To be fair, my mat is always out and I can pop into handstand or break out into a few sun salutes throughout the day. I chant, cooking, for me, is meditative. Yoga just has a way of being everywhere for me.
Words. They are more elusive. They’re tied to experience and are fueled by motivation, ignited by inspiration. I’ve had neither for months now. I’ve been feeling like I’m just keeping my head above water; adjusting to a new home city, a new way of life, new people, trying to make it HOME as much as possible for the girls. It takes a lot of energy and I am in constant awe of mothers and parents everywhere. Then there are the global tragedies, Beirut, Paris. Local ones and personal ones. Sometimes you do wonder what the point is.
But, then there’s an opening. An unlikely gathering of several women, some of whom I’d met before and some just that day, cooking for another woman, 3 weeks away from having baby #2. Women talking, women cooking, women sharing life stories all for the journey of motherhood. Simultaneously there was a red lentil soup and a palak paneer cooking, a minestrone being prepped, a pumpkin coconut soup being blended, and another lentil soup cooking. It was all enough to inspire me.
I’d forgotten about a delicious pumpkin soup that had made my acquaintance way back when. I’d buried that soup under pumpkin waffles and pancakes, pumpkin scones and smoothies. There was no room for that soup with all the maple roasted pumpkin and pumpkin salad going on in my kitchen. But then that smell, the lemongrass coupled with the pumpkin; yup, that was it. It was enough to motivate me to write.
My other motivation was that I’ve been getting some amazing pumpkin in my RIPE boxes. That deep and rich orange color screams beta carotene, but it also boasts other antioxidants like Vitamins A, C and E. It’s high in dietary fiber, which is good for your colon, but also great to give you that full enough feeling. It’s rich in the B-complex vitamins and stores a few minerals such as copper (makes red blood cells, helps form collagen), calcium (yes, strong bones and teeth but also an electrolyte), potassium (another electrolyte that is also key in proper function of your cells, tissues and organs) and phosphorus (calcium’s #1 partner, necessary for growth, maintenance and repair of cells, tissues)¹.
If the science behind the goodness doesn’t turn you on, I won’t be offended. The taste is sure to do the trick. I’m sure of it.
I was going to list the pumpkin seeds as optional here, but really you don’t want to miss out on what these seeds have to offer here. I won’t go into the nitty gritty details (magnesium, zinc, iron, protein), but the CRUNCH, you’ll need that to round this soup out.
It’s easy and it’s delicious and it’s a great way to ring in the new year.
Happy New Year to you. May it be one filled with cheer, lots of love, some adventure, good people and good talks, good reads and good food.
Pumpkin Coconut Soup
2 T coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 3″ piece of lemongrass
2 lbs (or 1kg) pumpkin, peeled and cut in large dice
5 C vegetable stock or bone broth or water
1 C coconut milk, divided
Celtic Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 T pumpkin seeds, toasted (the toasting is optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and let cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the ginger and lemongrass. Then, let them cook together until translucent and fragrant.
Add the pumpkin and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to combine and add 1/2 C of the stock/broth/water.
Once the stock has almost fully evaporated, add the remaining stock and bring to a boil. Then, reduce to simmer and add the coconut milk (except for 2-3T). Let it cook till tender, around 30 minutes. Remove and discard lemongrass.
Transfer soup to a blender one ladle full at a time and puree until creamy and awesome. Return back to the saucepan and adjust seasoning.
Serve garnished with pumpkin seeds and a swirl of coconut milk. If you’ve got fresh herbs to play with, mint or cilantro would work nicely.