Butternut Squash Soup YUM!

I make a mean Butternut squash soup and I have tried to write down my “so-called” recipe. But when you write the way you cook it sounds like this…..

Peel and chop up squash, roast it , oh wait toss it with EVOO  and a little salt, then roast it. Oh and along with the squash roast a small sweet onion, a couple of smallish carrots, a sweet potato and a couple of apples. No garlic, yes I know your thinking WHAT! She puts garlic in everything. But really, it just doesnt work in this soup, the garlic over powers the squash. Maybe some day I will try it will a mild, roasted, sweet elephant garlic but until then leave it out. Trust me. So the stuff roasts until, well …when it’s done. When the veggies are golden brown and have rendered some sweet veggie sugars into the bottom of the pan. OH WAIT, go back. Before you put the veggies in the oven, line your roasting pan with foil. As I was saying, when the veggies are fork tender put them into a soup pot with just enough veggie broth to barely cover the top of the squash. Use a little of the broth to deglaze the roasting pan of all the veggie goodness. Set your stove on medium heat and get out your immersion blender. Blend to your little hearts content. Sometimes I like my soup creamy and sometimes I like it with more texture, it is all up to you and your taste buds.  You have an immersion blender right? Well if you don’t you can just put the veggies in a blender, in batches, and wrrrrrrr away until they are smooth adding just enough broth to make it easier to blend, add it all back to the soup pot. Voila! Soup! Add salt and white pepper to taste. To serve it sprinkle the top with a little curry powder or cayenne pepper. Maybe swirl in some sour cream, Creme fraiche or greek yogurt. You can also top it with fresh herbs.

This goes great with a side salad of autumn greens top with slivered almonds and garlic cheese toast on the side. You know I had to bring garlic to the table somehow. What kind of cheese toast you ask? Well how about a nice mild camembert or creamy goat cheese, lightly browned under the broiler.

There you go, a great vegetarian (vegan if you leave out the cheese and wrrrr some garbanzo beans into the soup, but thats another post) dinner or lunch, heck I’d eat it anytime YUM.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

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Yoga in the Park, July 2011

We had a great class!

So I have decided to post some things here that I wrote & posted elsewhere. So if the dates seem a little off just bear with me as I get caught up moving things around.
This past July I taught a Yoga class at the Enterprise South Nature Park, for those who don’t know, it’s the park next to the new VW plant on the old Volunteer Ammunition plant site. It was a great class, this is what I wrote and posted to FB the next day………

Wow! What a great day for Yoga in the park! After an endless summer of scorching heat and humbling humidity, we woke up to 80′ temps and the lowest humidity in weeks. I got to the park about 20 minutes early, pulled into the parking area, grabbed my yoga bag and headed over to the picnic area, but someone had gotten there ahead of me. 2 beautiful Doe’s! There are deer everywhere in the park and they’re almost tame, since, with the exception of a few draw hunts, that area hasnt been hunted in decades. They stood there about 10 feet away from me just looking at me with those big brown eyes; it was as if they were giving us their blessing. For several moments I looked back at them and as I smiled they turned and walked back into the forest. What an amazing start to a great day. The sky was slightly overcast, so the sun wasn’t too hot. There was just enough of a breeze to cool the sweat on our brows but not enough to cool us down. An asana practice builds heat in the body, creating tapas which burns away impurities and opens up the blocked energy in the body, so we want to be warm but no one wants to be miserable. This Goldilocks thinks it was juuusst right.

The picnic area was wide open with a few tables nestled in the trees leaving an open grassy oasis surrounded by the forest. The grassy area was large enough to have had 40 people there with their mats. There were only a few sticks on the ground mingling with the leaves and dirt and I am willing to bet that a few of the students will bring a blanket with them next time to keep their arms and legs from getting dirty.

And as we came to standing on our mats I found that making the connection to the earth was easier than ever.

What was truly amazing, beyond the deer and dear friends old and new, was that there weren’t any bugs, no ants, no bees, sweat flies or mosquitoes and no ‘no-see-ums’.

Unlike being in a studio or gym, I choose not to play music, allowing instead, the sounds of nature and our breath to accompany our practice.

And so we did yoga, as a moving meditation, amongst the birds, butterflies and trees.
A heartfelt thanks to all who came

Namaste

Soulful Body

The Spiritual Body relates to your concept of God yes, but really it simply means to open oneself to Infinite Possibilities, to be a spiritual body, Ultimately becoming the creator of your own universe. To exist outside time and space – To understand your divinity – To know God – For isnt God Infinite? With infinite possibilities. Isnt God the ultimate Creator, existing outside time and space. So knowing your spiritual self is to know God, in whatever form is presented to you. Namaste

Foundations

 

Build all your poses from the ground up.
This is what I tell my students. Always start with the foundation.
It’s in the foundations of the poses that we find strength, balance, stability and freedom. Only with a strong foundation, firmly rooted into the earth will we ever learn to fly.

There should be joy in each asana and a sense of pleasure in each part of the pose. An asana practice is a journey we take, traveling through each point of the pose giving us the opportunity to Move beyond just the process of “gettinginto” the pose.

Each pose is an onion with many layers and as you peel away each layer you reveal new depths to the pose but you also reveal your own hidden qualities of being. Accept and embrace each layer of the pose, take time for the foundation at each layer to express it’s self to you, allow it to resonate within you on a personal level, then deepening your practice, begin to peel away more layers.

So what is the difference between peeling the layers and learning the process, or “gettinginto” the pose? Let’s look at Downward facing Dog. The “process” for Down Dog begins with moving from plank, cobra or on hand & knees, into the action of lifting through the hips, and pressing the chest towards the toes, creating length in the spine. Firming the thighs & keep the knees soft, let the heels melt towards the floor. Simply “doing” the mechanics of the posture. That’s the basic pose we all learn when begin to practice.

Once you get the process, the foundation of the pose, you then begin to peel away the layers. We learn more about lengthening the spine, drawing the shoulders away from the ears. Pressing into the earth through the hands activating Hasta Bandha, creating the lifting action of the torso; turning the sit bones toward the ceiling; then learning to find the Bandhas in Down Dog, then feeling strong enough we take the pose to a 3 legged Down Dog, then opening the hip of the lifted leg and dropping the heel back behind you, then allowing the energy to carry you into Flip dog….Then Then Then…. There is always more we can do, farther we can go, “then soften…” “then lift..” “then move…” there really isn’t an end to the process we just begin to think of it differently. At each point in the pose that speaks to you instead of ‘doing’ just “be” in the pose. Once there we change from a process to a deepening. Its about letting yoga challenge us, teaching us about our limits and then changing them, on & off the mat. The layers in a pose are like the layers in our life we peel back the layers in life revealing freshness & vitality and a new way to Just Be.