20 April 2012

Change of Scenery

A few weeks ago, K. and I escaped to the beach...

We went to Rockaway Beach, a funny little place on the Northern Oregon Coast.  I have gone there for years at different times.  My family used to rent a condo there in the Winter when I was home from college for Christmas break.  We would ring in the New Year watching storms and burning presto logs.

The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places to be and to go.  K. and I were headed there this particular weekend to brainstorm.  We are developing a new direction in our work together, or an extension of the direction we have.  

This new movement has begun with a simple talk we gave last week about the work we do together, that's part of what we were planning. And especially about what K. has to offer in terms of ideas, perspective, and solutions in dealing with emotional and mental struggles from a Chinese Medicine perspective.  

We gave the talk to a small group of therapists that I know, and it went really well.  I wasn't surprised that everyone there was very very interested in what K. had to say, because it is beautiful stuff.  And because he is an amazing doctor and human being.

K. and I spend a lot of time together.  A lot.  And we talk quite a bit about many things.  But to create this new thing we needed to get away.  Away from familiar scenes, away from dishes; we needed a new view.  And we found it at a sweet old family cabin in Rockaway.

We spent the weekend talking and making food, walking on the beach and watching the rain come down sideways.  And we headed for home on Sunday feeling refreshed and excited about this new direction, this new sharing.  It feels like it is time.

02 April 2012

Sunny Day Sweet Potato Soup

Hello.  It's been a while since I've written, and I blame the rain.  The rain has kept me inside, and from the long walks that inspire me to write and share.  But those are just excuses, and excuses are boring.

Taking better care of myself is what has really kept me away, and I think that is a good thing.  I sit all day long, so I have been focusing on the act of not-sitting, when I can.  And this very non-action has kept me away from blogging.

But tonight it is beautiful in Portland, and light at 7:35.  I looked out of my office window at evening clouds drifting to the West and thought, I'd like to write about that.

The clouds are purple and thin and puffy, and the light outside is dimming with every word I write, turning the sky lavender and blue blue blue.  It is lovely.  (Imagine perfect photo here.)

I went to a new yoga studio today and emerged from class relaxed and energized.  The teacher taught in a way I remembered and liked, and it felt very much like home.

I also made soup today, before my yoga class, that K. and I are about to enjoy, as soon as I stop sitting.   I often make soup on Monday mornings, cleaning out the fridge and potato drawer.  Today's felt like a bridge between winter and spring and went something like this:

Get out a good-sized pot.  One that is too big for a long handle.  Better to go big than small.

  • Heat up about 4 cups of broth or water over mediumish heat.
  • Chop & add stuff while the liquid is warming, like...
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into nutish-sized pieces.
  • Other stuff.  I added two carrots, a last bit of fennel, and a leek, all chopped.  
  • More stuff.  I added a stalk of lemongrass that had been beaten a few times and a few slices of ginger.  You could add fresh herbs, or dried ones.
  • Add salt.  Don't be afraid.  I added about 1.5 tbsp. of fine sea salt from France.  
  • If you're lucky enough to have it in the cupboard, add a can of coconut milk.  Yes, the whole can, the fatty lusciousness, too.

Stir and sigh and wonder if there's anything else you'd like to add.  Open your mind. Then, add it.

(Make sure everything can swim a bit, you don't want it to be too stuffy in there.  If you can't make a figure 8 with your wooden spoon comfortably, add a bit of water.)

  • Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.  (Electric stove read Hi then Med-Low) 
  • Cook about 20 minutes, till the sweet potatoes and carrots are tender.  Can you put a fork through it?
  • Take out lemongrass, ginger, and anything else that won't blend well with the others, i.e. you wouldn't be able to chomp it raw without getting something in your teeth.

Blend.  Use an immersion blender or do it in batches in the cuisinart.

Season.  Add more salt (if desired), some pepper.  Maybe some Thai chili paste, butter, fish sauce, or cream.  Whatever you have that sounds good.

Stir more.  Taste, add more things or not.


I recommend adding stuff on top when you eat it.  I added some chopped hazelnuts, mint leaves, and feta.

Tonight, I'll add some yogurt and olive oil, I think; and more mint and nuts.  Maybe olives...

mmmm.....  have a delicious evening.
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