On my early morning walk today I listened to the SuperSoul Conversation Podcast in which Oprah and Agape International Spiritual Center Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith explore manisfesting the life of your dreams. This is such a popular topic now as new age and spiritual awakening guides determine that if we can just get out of our own way, we can then be open to the possibilities and potentials of our souls.

Is it really that simple? According to Dr. Beckwith, it is about having intentions that align with our personal purpose.  In requesting a tangible explanation  about his assumptions, Oprah, fittingly, brings it back to soup. Tomato soup actually. She was working in her garden and thinking about how she would love a bowl of fresh tomato soup. She let that thought go, and shortly after, her neighbor appeared with a pot of tomato soup! How many times have we thought about someone and they called or we ran into them unexpectedly? While these are fun examples of intuition and serendipity, Dr. Beckwith explains that stating intentions isn’t about asking for things, but about being open to the discovery and acceptance of our personal purpose.

So, with that to mull over on this gorgeous Sunday morning, I am re-visiting one of my favorite ‘fresh from the garden’ soup recipes. Tomato, of course!

Here’s to another slurpy spoonful of SuperSoul Sunday Conversations! Link to the podcast is below the tomato soup recipe.

GO TEAM!

Tomato Soupfor you or your neighbor to make! – Non-Dairy, Vegan

 

Ingredients

Fresh Tomatoes – vine ripened, any variety will do! – cut in half. I usually use at least 6.

Garlic – 2 cloves chopped (or more if you love garlic)

Salt, Pepper

Sugar – white sugar, just a touch, but not absolutely necessary

White Onion – 1, sliced

Celery – 4 stalks or more, cut in chunks

Vegetable Broth – 1 carton, more or less

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – as much as you need

There are two secrets to the success of this recipe – using fresh ingredients and then roasting the vegetables first!

Making the Soup

Step 1. Roast the tomatoes (sliced in half) the chopped celery, onion, and garlic, drizzled with EVOO, at a 425 degree oven, for 30 minutes.

Step 2. Let the vegetables cool slightly and, if you aren’t keen on the look/texture of tomato skins, remove some of them. They will separate easily from the tomato. I happen to like the char taste and in a later step, the skins are dealt with!

Step 3. Heat some EVOO in the bottom of a pot, over medium heat.

Step 4. Add the roasted vegetables with the juices from the roasting pan to the soup pot, along with just enough vegetable broth to cover. Salt and Pepper to taste, plus a light dusting of sugar if you choose.

Step 5. Heat until it boils. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. (The longer it simmers, the more delish it is!)

Step 6. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, then either put it in the blender or use your hand held blender/emusifier, and puree the soup. This will give it a lovely creamy texture, without adding dairy.

Step 7. Return to the pot, add more vegetable broth if it is too thick. At this point, you can also add dairy or almond milk/cream if you want a creamier, richer tasting version. Heat to delicious tasting temperature.

Step 8. Ladle a good portion of the soup into a container, and walk it over to your neighbor. You never know, you might be the answer to their prayers!

 

 

I’ve become kind of ‘known’ for my soup. If you’ve been invited to my home, attended a workshop, a dinner meeting, chances are as you walk through the door, you’ve had soup thrust upon you. In fact my soup has become so legendary that at one speaking engagement the wonderful woman who introduced me waxed poetically about my soup – which was perhaps the most flattering personal endorsement I have ever received.

This section of The Principal Collective website shares some musings on why I love making soup, as well as a look at some past productions (this is the Nuts part!). When I look back on some of the outlandish projects I have undertaken and participated in, it seems a bit, well, nutty! Alas, ask me today to be a part of something extraordinary and audacious, my response is likely to be – ‘What could possibly go wrong?’!

Let’s get back to the soup pot….

What is it about soup? Quite a bit of thought-full-ness goes into each bowl. I search through the cupboards and fridge to suss out ingredients, assemble a collection on the counter then mull over the soup possibilities. Next I wash, chop, dice and mix. Toss everything into a pot and begin to stir. Simmer, stir some more, taste, add herbs and spices, stir again, then serve.  The recipes are equal parts chance, luck and experience plus one secret ingredient – they are each made with LOVE. Trust me, it makes all the difference.

This is Julia Childs, not me, making soup - just in case there was any confusion...
This is Julia Childs, not me, making soup – just in case there was any confusion.

Preparing soup is as much an exercise in zen living for me as it is a gesture of welcome friendship for those I am making it. The best soup cannot be rushed. The flavours need time to mingle, the vegetables have to soften, the broth must come to a gentle boil. When I am making soup, time slows down. And when we sit to eat it the slurping and sipping, smacking of lips makes it a shared experience. You can’t gracefully eat soup on the run. In life, it’s true that nurturing takes time, with ourselves, our relationships as we mingle, soften and boil into the flavour-full people we are meant to be.

February 2006 my work  was featured in O, the Oprah Magazine. Once you have been introduced to the Oprah family you carry a kinship with their ongoing conversation on what it means to live a deep meaning-full life. Since then, I’ve been peeking over the fence of the OWN empire as they happily picnic the ‘it’s always summer at Oprah‘s’ days away, lounging elegantly in Oprah‘s backyard luxuriously tossing ideas around like balloons, wondering what can I bring to this conversation? I have realized that my unique weapon, full of my secret ingredient, is my soup.

As a big thank you to those who have enjoyed my soups and to those who continue to ask for my recipes,  this blog called ‘Soup for SuperSoulSunday‘ ran each Sunday in conjunction with OWN Network’s SuperSoulSunday programming and now I re-visit on occasion to add and refresh! A new soup recipe will appear, with heaps of love and hope that you will enjoy the meditation that comes with chopping, sauteing, and simmering. If you have soup recipes and soup stories, please share them with me on the Contact Form below, or message me through this website. It would be wonderful to share your soup inspiration over the coming months. The Soup recipes to date are found on my website by hovering over this page title in the tab and choosing from the drop down list. (Does that make sense?)

Check out Oprah’s website here, for more SuperSoulSunday information – it’s very inspiring.  http://www.oprah.com/app/super-soul-sunday.html

 

 

When I listen to the SuperSoulSunday conversations on creating meaningful, potential-filled lives, the candor of the high powered guests is continually unexpected. There is an ease in their manner, an openness and willingness to share what turns out to be the not so secret keys to their personal successes. I am a BIG fan of Def Jam Recordings and eagerly looked forward to Oprah‘s conversation with Co-Founder Russell Simmons knowing there would be revealing tidbits of insight into the revolutionary ways that Def Jam changed the recording industry.

So is it surprising to learn that meditation, stillness and actively ‘being present’ are what Russell Simmons considers his business/life touchstones? Simmons in particular adheres to a daily regimen of meditation and yoga, saying that it puts him ‘in the present’ and that ‘being present’ is where his most creative, rewarding work takes place.

In our electronic, fast paced world it is a challenge to carve out those times and places that allow for stillness.  My need for these quieter moments has become key to my creative work as well as my personal life. When I start my day with an early morning walk, my mind works through ideas that require quiet to cultivate. At the end of the day, swimming laps allows for a similar filtering as my busy mind focuses on each stroke which simultaneously (and wonderfully!) allows my imagination to wander.

We each find the activities that bring these much needed quiet moments to our lives – yoga, jogging, reading, cooking… Ah yes, cooking. Especially when your culinary creation needs to simmer, flavours mingling as you patiently stir, then stir again.  Lots of issues get worked out over the soup pot! And the good news is that, since good soup cannot be rushed, you have plenty of stirring and mulling opportunity.

The easy peasy soup perfect for stirring today is one of my mother’s recipes that in retrospect she likely created for our family of seven when times were a tad lean. Given its luxurious velvety texture and surprising full flavour,  we never realized it was anything other than delicious. Here is to your moments of stillness, presence and soup – and thank you Oprah and Russell Simmons for the meditative inspiration!

Celery Soup

Ingredients

1 onion chopped

Celery – I would use the whole package, chopped at least 4 cups

1 or 2 Potatoes peeled and chopped – for thickening

Vegetable or Chicken broth or Water

1/2 cup milk or cream (optional)

Olive Oil (to cover bottom of pot)

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

salt & pepper to taste

Meditation on Making It:

1. Heat Olive Oil & butter/margarine in soup pot

2. Saute onions and celery for 5 – 10 minutes

3. Add chopped potatoes and cover with enough broth or water to cover.

4. Add bay leaf, celery seed and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.

5. Once potatoes are cooked through, take off heat to cool.

6. Once cooled put in blender to make smooth or emulsify in pot.

7. Return blended soup to pot and add milk (optional), salt and pepper to taste, and heat through.

Serve warm in a bowl with chopped celery leaves on top. And as you slurp and slip meditate on the lovely moments that went into making this beautiful soup.

Celery001

 

SuperSoulSunday’s conversation today explores  ‘happiness’ with Oprah and Shawn Achor discussing the secrets of happy people. Are you a glass half full or glass have empty personality? Shawn Achor says that is not the question to be asked… Instead, we should embrace a new more optimistic approach: look at life as a pitcher that we have the ability to fill in any way we want, and then choose to fill it with joy!

The show offers some tangible, attainable and practical means of finding your own happiness. I like Shawn Achor’s idea of sending one message a day to a friend, colleague, contact, praising them in some way. After 21 days, according to Achor, your social connections will feel more meaningful, deeper and resonant.  This sounds promising!

My idea is a more introspective approach. Simply ask yourself, what makes you happy? Then make a list. Your ‘happiness’ list should be filled with thoughts that are positive and uplifting – long term happiness isn’t attainable at the expense of someone else. So, what makes me happy? Here is my very short list, in no particular order!

1. ‘Simple’  makes me happy. Complex is good, complicated is not.

2. Relationships that hold me up and allow me, in turn, to do the same. Through some trials and tribulations (we have all had them!), I have come to fully realize that the quality of my life is increased greatly when I surround myself with people who want the best for me, and who accept the same positive uplifting friendship in return.

3. Doing my best. Yes this can be a difficult road sometimes, but the personal satisfaction I get from working hard at what is important to me – my relationships, my career – truly does make me happy. The resulting stronger connections enhance the quality of my life immeasurably. I believe I end up getting far more then I had given!

4. Soup (no surprise there!). Not only consuming it, but making it. Especially when I make it for my family and friends.

Sometimes life is far more difficult than a random email or even a bowl of soup made with heaps of love, can make better. That is for sure. But a moment of happiness in a dark day can be just the balm needed. A reminder that being happy is still possible and that our pitcher of joy can endlessly fill our glass. I believe my pitcher is really a big pot from which I can ladle endless bowls of soup.  The soup recipe for today’s Soup for SuperSoulSunday is a  delicious and easy soup to make – comfort food at its best!

Roasted Cauliflower & Parmesan Soup

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower (or 1 bag frozen although fresh is best)

Vegetable or chicken broth

1 onion, chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Grated Parmesan Cheese (1 – 2 cups, depending on how much you LOVE parmesan)

1/4 cup of milk or cream

Salt & Pepper

How to Make It:

1. Break cauliflower into florets.

2. Put cauliflower onto baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on top.

3.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

4.  Roast in oven at 325 until tender. Approximately 15 – 20 minutes.

5. Pour enough olive oil into soup pot to cover bottom and add the onion.

6. Cook on medium until onion is translucent. Approximately 5 minutes.

7. Add roasted cauliflower and stir up.

8. Add enough broth to cover vegetables and simmer on medium until cauliflower is soft and easily breaks apart.

9. Add 1/4 cup of milk or cream and heat through.

10. Add more parmesan (as much as you would like!) and salt and pepper to taste.

11. Heat until the parmesan melts and then serve. If you like a creamier version, then you can blend the soup after it cools a bit.

ENJOY!

Jumping into Joy!
Jumping into Joy!

 

 

 

 

On this Mother’s Day, Oprah interviews media mogul Arianna Huffington on her extraordinary successes, revealing a personal realization on what it really is to be successful. Funny how these SuperSoulSunday moments  often come down to relationships. For Arianna, her renewed version of success surrounds her children, what it is to be a good mother to her daughters and ultimately the gifts her mother gave her that she will now pass along.

Regardless of the positive or negative relationships we  had with our mothers,  they left us with lessons. For some who feel abandoned and carry a life of heartbreak, the lesson is ‘I know what I will never do to my children’; for those of us fortunate enough to look back on our childhoods with fondness for the efforts made, we will try to carry some of that wisdom with us. Mother relationships are complicated and complex in an equally complex world.

What I know about mothering is that it has gotten easier as my children (and I!) have grown. Those early baby and toddler busy years led to young school aged lives outside the home – lots of driving and weekends filled with their extra-curricular activities! Teenage years were equally active as our home was the centre of sleep-overs, video game marathons and a fridge that could never hold enough food all with an extra emotional punch! But now as my son and daughter are into their early twenties working and going to school, our relationship has blossomed again. There is an ease to our conversations as I have transitioned from the ever watchful Mother keeping vigil for ‘teachable moments’ to a Mother that shares and relates on a more equitable, reciprocal level.

Because it is Mother’s Day, and because Arianna and Oprah inspired this personal reflection, I am going to share my Mother’s favourite soup recipe. This was one of her last minute, easy to make soups when making dinner for a family of seven (!!!) overwhelmed. And today I am christening it the Mother of All Soups!

The Mother of All Soups

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to cover bottom of soup pot)

1 Onion chopped

2 Celery stalks sliced

2 Potatoes cubed

2 Tomatoes diced

3 large Carrots sliced

Handful of pasta (macaroni, penne or rotini)

1 can tomato soup

Water

Bay leaf

celery salt, thyme, any other kind of seasoning you would like!

salt & pepper

The Details:

1. Add olive oil to soup pot and turn on medium

2. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent ( 5 minutes)

3. Add celery, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and stir

4. Add the tomato soup, bay leaf, any other seasonings you have chosen and enough water to cover the vegetables. Stir.

5. Cook on medium-high heat until vegetables are tender – could take 15 minutes.

6. Let simmer and add the pasta.

7. Continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked. This will also thicken the soup.

8. Salt & pepper to taste.

Enjoy! This Mother of All Soups is hearty enough to be a meal. Don’t take my word for it, just ask my Father – he loves when my Mother makes this recipe!

Grandma and the Grown kids!
Grandma and the Grown kids!

 Check out all the SuperSoulSunday inspired Soup Recipes https://louisefagan.wordpress.com/soup-for-supersoulsunday/

See Oprah & Arianna here: http://www.oprah.com/app/super-soul-sunday.html