Too busy to cook? Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Last Friday I had the right half of my thyroid removed at Massachusetts General Hospital. The procedure went well and the nurses took very good care of me. I stayed one night and have been home recuperating since and feeling better every day. 

It’s a bit of a discipline for me to be at home this much and “doing nothing.” Not exactly — but almost! I’ve been watching a ton of documentaries and movies about India, occasionally peeking at email and taking lots of naps.

The other thing I started doing yesterday was cooking. 

It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I’m usually too busy to cook on a regular basis.   Running a yoga studio is much like running any business, except that I get to work in comfortable clothes, and go barefoot and take a yoga break in the afternoon. 

Not having enough time to cook on a regular basis is a deplorable state of affairs that I’d bet many people find themselves in. It’s not healthy to  neglect this basic part of self and family care, so I decided that while I “have the time” I’ll try cooking a bit more. Home-cooked whole foods are way more nourishing and may have healing properties that processed foods do not.

I’ve been especially motivated since my throat is sore outside and in. The incision at the base of my neck, just above my collar bones and one that goes straight up the inside over my Adam’s apple are tender. My throat inside felt like some one had taken a rasp to it. 

Consequently it has been a bit painful to swallow anything that wasn’t super soft. And, one person can only eat so much ice cream and frozen fruit juice. Yes, you may challenge that assumption and confess to the world how much ice cream you can eat. I will listen. 

To be fair, I’ve also been eating cream of quinoa, soft boiled eggs, cooked salmon, yogurt and bananas. Food that requires chewing must be chewed at length and still goes down like a lump and requires a spoon full of ice cream to soothe the throat aftewards.

Therefore I’ve cooked some soup. My first soup comes from “The Longevity Kitchen” by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

It’s butternut squash season and you can get some lower priced organic butternut squash at the markets these days. It’s super simple. This soup, with the spices has anti-inflammatory properties, boosts immunity and fights high blood pressure and reduce blood sugar. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and cinnamon are notable and is what attracted me to making this soup. 

To keep your mental pressure low, I suggest getting out and prepping all your ingredients ahead of time. You’ll need a blender, better yet an immersion blender.

Saute over medium heat for 3 minutes:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2  teaspoons ground cumin 
  • A pinch of sea salt
Add and sauté for 30 seconds:
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Add and deglaze the pot (stir the stuck stuff off the bottom and sides). Reduce to 1/2 cup.
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
Add and bring to a boil:
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 stick cinnamon
Reduce heat to a simmer and add:
  • 1 can coconut milk
Simmer for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. 

Remove cinnamon stick.

Add: 
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Let it cool a bit and then use an immersion blender to make it smooth. If using a counter top blender, do not fill more than 1/2 full and put a towel over the lid and hold the lid down securely so it doesn’t pop off. This will require blending the soup in batches, which may make you run out and buy an immersion blender.

You can make a “drizzle” of parsley, mint, lemon juice, olive oil and a tiny amount of maple syrup the same way you would make a pesto in a  blender.

I was very happy to go to my back yard and pick the parsley and mint from my garden.

Once you make this soup you will likely want to make it again, so just go ahead and stock coconut milk in your pantry, along with the spices and vegetable broth. Yes, I know home made vegetable broth is superior — but I’m just getting started with cooking again and think the store-bought Whole Foods 360 brand is just fine and a real energy saver. 


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