Roasted Red Pepper Goodness

I have a cold. The kind of cold that makes your sinuses throb, your head feel too heavy for your shoulders, and your eyes feel heavy and sore. I don’t often get colds, so I’m kind of a whiny wuss about them when I do. Chef Husband and Mr Man had it last week whilst on vacation. This week, my turn. As long as Miss A doesn’t get it we’ll be all good (though she’s probably the best in the house at handling colds truth be told).

Anyway, yesterday I wanted soup. I looked up some recipes and decided I was going to make my own. It turned out amazing. It was the perfect combination of roasty and spicy and soothing. You should probably all make it.

This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and soy free. At the end (as you can see in the picture) I added a dollop of sour cream, but when I eat leftovers today, I full plan on not adding said dollop making it vegan once again.

Without further ado, I give you soup.

And here’s how to make it:

1 jar of roasted red peppers (or you can make your own)
1 large yellow onion
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 very small celeriac (enough for about 1/4 cup when chopped) or you can use celery
2 cups vegetable broth
5 cloves of garlic

Chop up the celeriac, onion and garlic. You don’t need to make this pretty. It’ll be blended at the end anyway.

In a pot, add a bit of olive oil then saute celeriac, onion and garlic over medium heat until a) the garlic smells good and b) the onion is clear-ish.

Roughly cut the red pepper and add to the pot.

Add the vegetable broth, and stir. Add in all the herbs and stir again. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and remove the soup. You then want to blend it. I used a hand blender, but if you want it more smooth, you might want to use a blender. The hand blender leaves it a little more textured than smooth but it’s still awesome.

And voila. I added a dollop of sour cream which you can do if you want at serving, and I served it (to myself) with some sweet potato chips for dipping. I have this love of dipping into soup and give I live in a saltine-free world now, sweet potato chips solved that dilemma for me.

This is a really quick and easy soup to make – perfect for this house! It made me feel warm and lovely inside too and for a moment, I even forgot I had a cold. Then I breathed.


Aligning life

Yesterday I attended a yoga workshop at a studio I’ve never been to before. Outside my comfort zone point #1. I’ve gone to a few workshops over the last number of months. Some have been better than others but yesterday’s rates up there in the top 2 (I’ve yet to decide if it’s in first, second, or tied for first).

The workshop was called Grow Your Roots. I had wanted to take it a couple of months ago but I was feeling awful that day and ended up sleeping for 3 hours instead. Priorities you know..

Anyway, after getting to take it yesterday, this workshop got me thinking. A lot. It was such an eye opening experience that it made me start thinking outside of realm of yoga and into my own life.

The premise of the workshop was to strip down to the root of where you were and to start building again from scratch. Kind of like what I feel I’ve been doing for the last few months within myself.

Have I mentioned before that yoga is seriously like therapy?

Sean was the instructor. I’ve known him for a few months now and truth be told, I wasn’t sold on Sean after the first class I took from him. I hadn’t felt blown away by his class (though it was in that class that I learned to appreciate humor during yoga when we were holding boat pose for what felt like forever and he stated that “grumpy boats don’t float”. I distinctly remember that I burst out laughing and a co-worker and I made that our quote of the day. Anyway, I think on retrospect I just didn’t like the class and it had nothing to do with Sean personally, but with where I was that day.

So I gave Sean’s class another try. And I realized that I could seriously learn a lot from him. I have learned a lot so far and have learned to trust a select few yoga teachers implicitly in great part because of him.

So when Sean told me he was teaching the workshop again, I was excited. And then I started reacting to my medications, and feeling terrible in every way. By the time we returned from our Ottawa vacation, the workshop was 4 days away and I wasn’t sure I could do it.

After talking with Sean about my fears (outside comfort zone moment #2) I decided to sign up. The morning of the workshop I was feeling pretty confident in myself despite a very sore throat and stuffy head. I set out for the workshop and man alive it did not disappoint.

The workshop was mainly partner work (outside comfort zone moment #3) and although I really had a hard time with my partner, I still got so much out of this class.

We did 4 poses or variations thereof: Sphinx,cobra, bow, downward facing dog, plank. Sean broke them down for us and then through partner work and Sean walking around correcting us, we learned to do these poses properly.

I thought that I knew these poses and did them well. Based on the fact that today, every single muscle in my body hurts, I’d say that wasn’t the case.

We worked a lot on heart opening which seriously helped my (slightly injured) shoulder, but also helped my confidence. Sean mentioned (and this is not a direct quote) that when we hold our shoulders forward we are protecting our heart.

Well, I think I’m strong enough now that maybe I don’t need to hide my heart all the time. Maybe I can put myself out there for who I am and see what happens. I am who I am and I’m only going to keep growing. Given that going to this workshop took me out of my comfort zone 3 times and yet I still did it, I feel like I can do so much more.

I can’t wait to try my new alignment in these poses in my next class. I also can’t wait to learn more. As I go farther into this journey of yoga, I’m learning more about me than I ever expected. It’s pretty awesome.

Note: if you live in the Edmonton area and want to take Grow Your Roots let me know. It will be offered again sometime before Christmas.

I’m not perfect but..

I’m not even close to perfect, although sometimes Chef Husband does call me Mary Poppins.. he says I’m practically perfect in every way. Although he’s quite biased, I will take it.

I’m sensitive, quick tempered, sensitive, a rash decision maker,  and did I mention sensitive?

Here’s the thing though. Over the last year I have learned to embrace what I formally believed were my shortcomings. It’s all part of this amazing journey I’m on where I am learning to appreciate and love every bit of me.

It’s hard work.

And it’s a work in progress.

And then I think to myself, I had to learn to read, to write, to walk, to talk, to trust, to live. It starts at birth this learning journey and goes on forever.

In recent years I have learned:
I’m capable of patience.
I’m a really good mom.
I love my children more than I thought it was possible to love anyone or anything.
I’m actually pretty smart.
I’m worth a lot more than I often give myself credit for.
I’m pretty creative when I want to be.
I’m capable of adopting a whole new diet and following it faithfully.

I have a lot to be proud of. Some days it’s hard to remember the positives when I’m having an anxious day or an exhausted day, but I’m trying.

It’s all part of life learning.

Reactionary lady..

I react to everything.

Seriously. I’m hardly kidding.

As a kid I had allergies. Just seasonal stuff. Then it progressed into my shellfish allergy. Then more severe seasonal allergies where I would get hives putting up the (live) Christmas tree or playing soccer in the grass. Even last summer I went to a family fun day put on by my community league and by the end of the night my back was covered in hives.

My infant years provided my first reaction to medication. Again, I would break out in hives, this time when I had pencillin. My mid teens resulted in more reactions. Severe pain that required Demerol when I had to swallow barium for a stomach xray ; increased heart rate that bordered on dangerous when I had a strong anti inflammatory drug.

I react easily and often.

Take Gluten. One bite and I’m done for. Soy? A little bit can cause me, in the words of Sheldon Cooper, “digestive distress”. And dairy can do the same.

Right now I’m reacting again. This time it’s not to Gluten, soy or dairy, but to medication again. I’m getting electrocuted from the inside of my brain frequently, I’m having stomach discomfort and am more exhausted than I can describe. It’s horrible and its wreaking havoc with my summer vacation.

But like all reactions before this and hopefully any I have in the future, I will get through it, thanks in large part to having the best husband on the planet and the most understanding, wise-beyond-their-years children.

But man. I hope it stops soon.

At least I have views like this to help..