Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kitchen Magic: Spicy African Peanut & Veggie Soup

My husband and I have a tradition of homemade soup and 60 Minutes on Sunday evenings. In the four and a half years we've been married I've come up with some pretty good soups, but this one wins hands down. It was about 5:00 PM when I realized that it was Sunday and the soup wasn't on! I looked in the fridge and what did I find? A bit of a yam and a piece of broccoli we had with the Honey Dijon Pork Chops Friday night (There were no remnants of the pork chops.) Some limp celery. Half a bag of spinach in the early stages of sliminess. A zucchini and yellow squash that needed to be eaten or put in the garbage. "So what can I make out of these lovely ingredients?" I asked myself.

I got online and started looking for soups with yam as the main ingredient and came up with several versions of Spicy African Yam Soup. I pulled together various ingredients that I had in the house and magic did happen!!

Spicy African Peanut and Veggie Soup

In a big soup pot heat:
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 yam, chopped
Any other veggies you have hanging around. If they are already cooked, add them at the end with the spinach.

When onion is translucent add and cook for 1-2 minutes:
½ cup brown/wild rice mix
2 t. chopped garlic
1 t. cumin
2-3 t. curry powder
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1 t. salt
Stir in:
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes

Simmer until rice is cooked, about 30-40 minutes.

Stir in:
1 can lite coconut milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Cook until heated through and spinach is wilted.

Adjust seasonings and add a splash or two of lime juice and a bit of sugar, if desired, to give it a little more pizzazz. Serve with chopped peanuts as garnish.

Makes about 8 servings.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

my favorite things

I thought you might like to see some of my favorite things. I love these particular pieces of art because of the colors and texture and the mood they evoke. For me it's a mood of possibility and hope with a touch of mystery. What do they bring up for you?

Spirit of Autumn

Birds on a Wire

Change of Season

Where the Wind Blows


Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year's Inspiration

I’m not one to write out New Year’s resolutions. As far as I can see they are just an exercise in futility. I mean, how many New Year's resolutions have you kept? Me? Zero, zilch, nada! But this year I felt an urge to do something, so I was going to write out a list of goals. Now goals are different than resolutions, aren’t they? Goals are something you work toward . . . that you can break down into tasks . . . baby steps. Right? Resolutions, on the other hand, seem less forgiving. It’s ‘do or die.’ And if you don’t do it, you’ve failed.

So on January 1st I prepared myself to write out my goals. But, man, did it seem dry and way too much like work. Anyway, I thought, how inspiring will it be to read a bunch of words? Will that really keep me going throughout the year? Not likely!

It was then that I saw a reference online to a vision board. This is where
you cut out pictures and make a collage out of them. Before I knew it, I was
in my studio pulling out a big piece of matboard and a bunch of magazines.
I grabbed my scissors and started clipping. In flipping through the magazines (Sunset, Body and Soul, Martha Stewart and O to name a few) I found images
that inspired and moved me and that reminded me of what it is I want for my
life. On my Vision Board, all the many facets – health, relationship, work, play,
self-care, travel – revolve around an image of balance. Balance is supreme
this year.

I love my vision board and will be adding to it as the year progresses. It hangs in my bathroom so I see it everyday. Everyday I am inspired. Everyday I am reminded of what it is I want. Everyday I move closer to my ideal life.

Here are a couple of links to sites you might find inspiring.

This is an article about vision maps and how to create them.

This has got to be coolest site I’ve ever come across. You can build your own vision map video with music and affirmations and beautiful images. You can then download your creation to your desktop to view everyday. And best of all it’s all free!!

Something I found very useful in my Vision Map building is my Xyron machine. I just took all my cutout pictures and ran them through my Xyron which put permanent adhesive on them so I could just peel and stick (you can also get a repositionable adhesive.) For the best price on Xyrons and many other craft supplies go to