My Ma had this saying when I was growing up, “Children should be seen and not heard.” It truly drove me crazy every time she said this because at the time, I really didn’t understand it’s meaning. Now though, well into my 30s, I catch the drift. (I hope I wasn’t a huge pain in the ass Ma!) And the saying is kind of like soup, you know? One of Andy’s friends who is a chef in Chicago has lost more things in vats of soups and had to remake them again and again, costing him more money than I think he’d like to admit. He actually lost and found his wedding ring not once but three times while in the process of making soup. Ew! Right? Who wants to ‘hear’ about that now! Needless to say, he doesn’t wear a wedding ring anymore! 

So you guys all know I love soup. I’ve written a few blogs on my love for easy peesy soup recipes, that are both vegan and vegetarian friendly. Most soups you find at restaurants are cream heavy and if you’re allergic to dairy, and don’t know what’s in it, it makes for a pleasant morning the day after! HA! Also, what’s better than a grilled cheese sammy accompanied by a lovely fresh soup? Whatever your pleasure; tomato, pea, minestrone, chicken noodle, nothing’s better than a hot bowl on a cool day. Since the grocery stores are brimming with squash at the moment though and it’s cheap, this recipe features Butternut and is clean, easy and will cost you about $10… and you’ll have plenty leftover!

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I made this soup yesterday afternoon and it took just over an hour to prepare and cook it. You can toss this all into your Slow Cooker or Crock Pot too but since I broke mine (long story) I chose to use a big ole pot, stirring occasionally. The weather actually feels like fall today at a cool 62 degrees, (haha) so I’m enjoying this for lunch. Especially after all the meditation and pranayama work I did with my students at the workshop I’ve been teaching at Kennedy Club Fitness in Arroyo Grande. Last week, I eased them into developing a slow mediation practice while focusing on breath work. You can learn how to here!

So today, we took the breath work a little farther and I explained and demonstrated Nadi Shodhana Pranayama that in Sanskrit means alternate nostril breathing. In layman’s terms, you inhale from the right nostril and exhale through the left and then inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right, and you repeat for as long as you want to/can. The tricky part of this breath work is the mudra (Sanskrit) or hand posture that is required to block off one nostril while you inhale/exhale through the opposite one. I’ll explain and show you as simply as I can and then you’ll have to try it out for yourself.

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 To start, place your index and middle fingers down on your palm so they’re out of the way. Keeping your pinky and ring fingers together, gently place them on your left nostril. The thumb will be placed on the right nostril, like so.

*Don’t press too hard*

1. Press down on the left nostril and block it off.

2. Inhale through the right nostril.

3. Use the thumb to block off the right nostril and then exhale out of the left nostril.

4. Continue blocking off the right nostril as you inhale through the left nostril.

5. Block off the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.

6. Keep the left nostril blocked as you inhale through the right nostril and repeat the steps again.

**Remember you can do this anywhere! Just sit in a comfortable position and observe the breath. As long as you feel happier, calmer and more at peace at the end of your Pranayama (breath) practice, then you were successful!**

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Granny Smith Butternut Squash Soup- makes about 15 cups 

Ingredients:

-1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped finely

-2 Granny Smith apples, chopped and de-cored

-1 red onion, chopped

-1 large tomato, sliced

-6 sticks celery, chopped (SAVE THE GREENS for later!!!)

-juice and zest from one large orange

-2 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla but use whatever you’ve got)

-2 cups organic vegetable broth

-6 cloves of garlic

-1/2 tsp each of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and apple pie spice

-salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Chop up all of the veggies first, making sure to peel and deseed the butternut squash and chop it finely so it will cook faster.

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2. Zest the orange and place aside with the celery greens for the garnish later.

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3. Place everything in a large pot and add the milk, vegetable broth, spices, salt and pepper.

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4. Cover and set on high. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn down to low and keep covered for 45-60 minutes. Stir occasionally.

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5. When the butternut squash is cooked through, you’ll know it’s ready. Take off heat and let cool for 10 or so minutes. Then place the soup into the blender and liquify on low.

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6. Take the soup out of the blender and garnish with a sprig of celery green and some orange zest! It’s vegan, vegetarian, healthy and best of all… yummy!

 

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Pretty, eh?!

 

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Yesterday, I tossed the seats back in my SUV and lay down a Mexican blanket (that I got in Tijuana with my Ma years ago) and did a few twists before my class. See, you can do yoga everywhere! Next time, I’m trying my breath practice in here!