On Squash and Self-Belief

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mondays can be murderous, Tuesday turbulent, Wednesdays warped and winding, Thursdays thick with thwarting thorns, Fridays freaking fearsome, Saturdays sickening, but Sundays... Sundays are serene. After a long week of projects, presentations, confusion, frustration, thwarted plans, lost money, failed job opportunities, and the general wear-and-tear that accompanies any sort of big-girl decision making, having a day to reflect and ponder can be some of the best balm.
Yesterday, I sat down with my mom on the phone, going over the finances for my upcoming trip abroad. After reviewing every avenue of possible funding, taking into account the failures of the week, I saw this big, gaping hole of invisible money staring back at me. I had no idea where it was going to come from, and neither did my mom.
"Mom!" I said, beginning to freak out in true Morgan fashion. "How could you put down hundreds of non-refundable dollars down on this trip when you don't even know if it's going to work out? I don't know how I can get this chunk of money!"
"Me either," she replied, infinitely calmer than she should be when so much of the green stuff is involved. "But, what I do know is that you prayed about this trip and you felt like it was important in your life for you to go. That's good enough for me. I have all the faith in the world that, if you feel like you need to do this, you will absolutely make it happen. These hundreds of dollars we've already spent are nothing if it teaches you how much confidence I have in you. Don't doubt yourself."
I was absolutely floored. I couldn't tell if my mom was crazy or the absolute best mom in the entire world. Today, I've had time to reflect on the importance of what she taught me. I thought of a quote I saw the other day:
"If it's important to you, you'll find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse."
In our world today, there are so many amazing success stories of people overcoming insurmountable odds... people who accomplish things that no one ever thought possible. I believe that the one thing that divides the winners from the losers is the belief that they can win. Really realizing that today has been so healing. So good. It made the trials and the doubts and the frustrations absolutely worth it. I believed that we are allowed to be totally thrashed by life in order for us to be smoothed over with new, fresh perspectives and confidence in ourselves.
Confession: I love squash. That stuff is medicine to a battered belly. So, to go along with that bit of soul-healing, here's my recipe for a soup that softens a rough week and fills the stomach with warm, buttery goodness.
Vegan, Low-Cal Butternut-Squash Soup
For the vegetable broth, you'll need:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped into large chunks
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • a couple pinches/sprigs of thyme
  • 1.5 teaspons of fine-grain sea salt
  • 8 cups of water
For the soup, you'll need:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • .5 cup chopped onion
  • sage
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 medium to large butternut-squash
First, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Saute the vegetables and thyme until soft and browned, then add salt and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for around 45 minutes. Strain. All you need for this recipe is 3 cups, so put in a bowl and freeze for later use!
During the last fifteen minutes of letting your broth simmer, take your butternut-squash and puncture it all over with a knife. There are many ways to get it soft (like boiling, broiling, roasting, etc.). I like my food to be made as quickly as possible, so I just throw the squash in the microwave for 7-15 minutes. Be careful... it comes out very hot! Peel and cut into large chunks. Your broth should be ready, so as the three cups of vegetable broth are still simmering, dump your chunks of soft squash into the pot.
Puree the broth and squash together with a hand-held emulsion blender, leaving soft chunks if you prefer a little texture, or blending it all the way if you like it creamy. If you don't have an emulsion blender, you can use a food processor before you put the squash in the broth. Add thyme, black pepper, and salt to your taste. I like to start out with a teaspoon of each, but I always end up dumping in quite a lot, so I just keep adding and tasting until I'm satisfied.
    My favorite side to go with this delicious soup are chopped and sauteed Brussels sprouts and portabello mushrooms with black pepper and a little garlic.
    This meal is perfect for chilly nights or when you need a pick me up. It's delectably guiltless, so it's okay to eat your feelings. Best part about it? Somehow, it's even more scrumptious the next day.
Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. Morgan! I LOVE your blog. You're an outstanding writer, and I'm loving your recipes. I have to say I have never once felt tempted to even come within 10 meters of brussels sprouts. Until now. After reading this recipe and seeing that photo of the brussels sprouts makes my mouth water!

    You are awesome! Keep up the great writing and have a GRAND TIME on your trip 'across the pond'. :) Sending you big hugs!


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