We Three . . . . my sister calls us, in her gripping poem of survivorship. My mom, sister and I are all survivors. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has, over the years, become a true celebration of life in our family . . . . and come October, we have found unique, fun, meaningful and tender ways to be joyful in our time together, as we celebrate strength, hope and survivors everywhere!!
Recently, I made this amazing soup that perfectly blends the flavors of the season. It’s rich and comforting and loaded with antioxidant beta-carotene, fibers and phytochemicals – all the anti-cancer good stuff! And I thought, well that’s a great way to kick-off the month.
But then the month got away from me. . . . . been busy connecting with friends, taking long walks (one even half way around Lake Geneva!), listening to stories, sharing some of my own and celebrating this colorful time of year. It is, after all, the gathering season!
About a week ago I had this incredibly blessed opportunity to join the ladies of my mom’s chuch for a bit of mindful eating discussion. I pulled a few recipes to share and brought all the goods to prepare for them a white bean salad with an herb and citrus vinaigrette. It was delightful. We ate. We prayed. We laughed. We sang . . . . . off key, together . . . . and it was the most beautiful thing. Many of these women have known me since I was born. There has never been a time when they haven’t been present in my life.
And as I was mixing the bean salad and we were all conversing . . . . it occured to me that it is the kind of strength that was gathered in this room that has carried women, everywhere, as they have faced breast cancer and so many other life challenges. We are all survivors of something. I think it’s important that we gather, and share our stories.
A number of years ago my step-daughter Courtney invited me to run a Half-marathon with her. I said no thank you! But she didn’t give up on me, she kept at it. “Come on it’ll be fun and it’s in Nashville!” She just kept nudging until finally I agreed. The reason I agreed? I figured a weekend away with my Courtney would be treasured time, so I signed up.
In the months that followed I added more time to my runs, and then more runs to my week. I mean really, I’m more of a jogger than a runner but little by little I kept at it and as I did, this I can do it voice in my head grew louder and louder. And after a few months of training I felt I was ready.
And the next thing I know I’m standing on a street in downtown Nashville in the middle of 30,000 people with Courtney next to me thinking, “how is this all going to turn out!” And with that, the gun went off . . . . and so did we. The birds were singing, the people were cheering and the bands were playing (it was the Country Music Marathon) and somewhere around the 8 mile marker someone yells out from the side of the road, “it’s a great day to be alive!” – and in that moment, with all my heart and with great clarity, I understood the meaning in those words. I was experiencing, fully, all that life has to offer.
I signed up to run the half-marathon because of treasured time with Courtney, but what I realized, is they are all treasured moments . . . . every one of them!
So I shared this story with the ladies at the church along with my bean salad . . . . and I’m thinking I’ll bring some soup to my mom and my sister . . . and I’m hoping we’ll have some time this month to paint pumpkins, a bright pink . . . and celebrate!
So here’s the ingredients . . . .
And here they are all roasted . . . .
And the soup!!
This recipe was given to me by my friend Jennifer Koide. Actually, Jen makes this soup without a recipe . . . . she’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu of London! Thank you Jen for putting the measurements into black and white so that we can enjoy this awesome soup . . . . I’m so grateful!
There’s a lot of steps in this recipe, but mostly it’s about getting the squash, sweet potatoes and apples cleaned and roasted. So don’t let that scare you! This recipe makes a lot of soup – plenty of extra for the freezer. . . . and I’m thinking the flavor will be different for everyone depending on the squash you choose or how sweet the potatoes are . . . . so absolutely, adjust seasonings accordingly. Bright Blessings!!
Squash, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
2 Acorn or Kabocha Squash – or you can use Butternut (including the pre cut butternut squash…look for about 1.5 pounds)
4 medium Sweet Potatoes
3 Granny Smith Apples
2 medium Yellow Onions
4 large Carrots
5 stalks of Celery
2 – 32oz boxes of Chicken Broth (regular or low sodium – I used one of each)
1 cup White Wine
½ cup Half and Half
1 TB ground Cumin
1 TB ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground Allspice
½ tsp ground Cloves
½ tsp ground Nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Cut squash in half and remove seeds / strings. Cut halves into quarters.
- Peel carrots and cut into large chunks.
- Peel onion and cut into quarters.
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks.
- Add squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and onion to large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil ensuring all sides are lightly coated.
- Roast veggies for about 45 minutes until well caramelized. Transfer onion and potatoes to bowl. Allow squash to cool.
- Using a spoon, remove squash flesh from skin. Spoon squash flesh into bowl with roasted onion and potatoes.
- Peel and quarter apple. Remove seeds and stem. Cut quarters in half again.
- Wash and chop celery into large chunks.
- Heat 2 TB of olive oil in large soup pot / dutch oven and saute celery and apple for about 2 minutes.
- Add roasted veggies and squash flesh into pan. Add wine. Allow wine to reduce by half.
- Add chicken stock and cream. Reserve about ½ of one of the boxes…you will need it when you get to the pureeing step. Add spices and stir well. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Puree in batches in blender (can use food processor but the texture will be chunkier) adding reserved chicken broth as needed to thin out the mixture. Strain through a fine sieve for a silky texture. Leave unstrained for a courser texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper
Recipe By Jennifer Koide