Thursday, December 1, 2011

When self-care goes to hell

I feel semi-human again. At lunch, I took time to cook homemade tomato soup, make myself some coffee, fix tuna with avocado mayo.

I feel most like myself when I am in the kitchen by myself, cooking good food, listening to public radio, maybe with some snow on the ground outside the window but warm inside. It reminds me of being a ski bum, when I cooked from scratch all the time out of financial necessity. As a child, it was in the kitchen that I felt closest to my mother, working alongside her. In college, when I became stressed, I’d start cooking something... anything. No recipe required.

There are times in life when self-care goes out the window, and the last couple of months have been one of them. I knew it would happen. I knew I had too many classes on my plate and that it would be a slog toward the end.

It’s time now to get back to center. Soup is a good start. With that, here’s the recipe:

Quick no-sugar tomato soup:

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 shallot, or ½ onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 cups water
1 bouillon cube
1 sweet potato
3 large tomatoes, or 1 can no-salt chopped tomatoes
¼ - ½ tsp each basil, thyme, rosemary
salt/pepper to taste

Saute shallot or onion in oil over medium-low heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add water and bouillon and turn heat to high. In the meantime, cook sweet potato in the microwave until soft, peel and chop. Also, if using fresh tomatoes, peel and chop. (The skin slips right off if you dunk them in boiling water for a minute.) Toss sweet potatoes, tomatoes and herbs in the pot. Cook on medium-high for a little bit -- 10 to 15 minutes ought to do it. Mash it up with a potato masher for a chunkier soup or blend until as smooth as you want.

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