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

 

 

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

This hot hot hot July weather has insisted a slowing down of the pace of the past busy months. Leaps of Faith require rejuvenation! And I have found it with some dear old friends – namely  Emerson, Whitman and, today’s favourite, Thoreau. Truly, there is something quite meaningful about sitting in the cool shade of a tree, pondering ‘what the heck does it all mean’ and reading this excerpt, almost as if for the first time:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

This is the point, isn’t it? This is what keeps us searching, looking, testing, trying, because to leave it un-turned or untried, means that we didn’t rout all that was not life. Digging deep to find the truth, the core, ‘its’ and therefore, ‘our’ reason for living. The idea of ‘sucking out all the marrow of life’ resonates with me – I’m the kind of girl that gnaws on the bone of a particularly delicious steak or pork chop, to be sure to get every last bit of yummyness. Don’t be offended, I do the same with a salad. I love my salad. See what I mean? It’s all delicious!

From these marrow-sucking experiences we learn what we like, what we don’t, where we succeed best and what makes us the happiest. We learn to live sturdily, and  Spartan-like as Thoreau states. This resonates with my love of beautiful things – both in nature and man-made, like art in all its forms. I no longer have a lot of ‘stuff’ but what I do have seems excessive in its abundance because of its meaningfulness to me! ‘Less is truly more’ if there is meaning in the ‘less’.

Hot summer days spent in the shade of a tree or with my feet in the cooling edge of the beach seem like the most sublime way to enjoy the marrow. Especially when shared with a sturdy stalwart friend. Thanks Thoreau for once again being there. You’re the best!