Spicy African Yam Soup: Serves 8
One of the things I love about food and cooking is how it can help us connect (or stay connected) to the natural rhythm of life. With the change of seasons, we get to see a different list of fresh ingredients in the market, bringing our awareness to the changes in nature-- things getting quieter, cooler, our bodies seeking heartier, denser food to prepare for the coming of winter. Anytime we can bring our focus to a deeper connection to the natural world around us, there exists the invitation to remember that we are not alone and that there is more going on than our singular dramas and preoccupations. Food is a simple way to call us back to the bigger picture and to comfort us on so many levels of our being!
Try this hearty, healthy stew to light the internal fires on a cold night!
1 tablespoon sesame oil (organic butter or ghee is okay)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large yams, peeled and diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2tsp tablespoon dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (160z) jar chunky salsa (to your spice preference)
1 (15.5 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
2 diced zucchini
1-1/2 cup cooked quinoa (or rice) (optional)
6-8 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 packet extra firm tofu (could use chicken instead)
½ bunch cilantro
Salt, pepper, Siracha
1. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Saute onion, sweet potato, and garlic until onion is soft. Turn down heat if necessary to prevent burning.
2. Stir in the chicken broth, thyme and cumin. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in salsa, garbanzo beans and zucchini. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the cooked rice, tofu, and peanut butter until the peanut butter has dissolved.
4. Taste and season soup with salt, pepper, Siracha according to taste
5. Chop cilantro and serve soup with cilantro as garnish.
For thousands of years in India and other parts of Asia, turmeric has been respected as an almost miracle spice. Held as a medicinal cure-all in many Eastern traditions this unique beverage has been used for a variety of conditions and afflictions. The West has started to acknowledge many of its benefits, thus it is becoming a trendy alternative the “mom’s chicken noodle soup.” Enjoy this recipe to soothe and balance the mind and body. Let its warmth, sweetness, and spice give you comfort on cold nights or bothersome days.
Changing seasons, holidays, politics, pandemics… what doesn’t create flux and a little chaos in our lives right now? It’s important to remember, whatever is cluttering our minds presently can also have an effect on our bodies. The gastrointestinal tract is especially susceptible to our stress levels and actually plays a role in our mental health.
When we get stressed we signal the release of stress hormones and increase immune system activity. If this happens chronically, we can end up with inflammation in the body which wreaks havoc on our gut flora. This can become a vicious cycle since, if the gut flora is compromised, we can get invading species of bacteria or a general imbalance of gut flora. If this happens, the invading species can upregulate the production and release of those same stress hormones and keep the immune system in high alert… you see where I am going? Gut flora imbalances have been linked to a myriad of mental health concerns such as ADHA and depression. 1