16 February 2012

Southwest Soup

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Yesterday, the sun shined briefly in the Pacific Northwest, and I celebrated it with a little winter yoga and some spicey soup.

I found a gorgeous recipe for a Southwest Soup at The Edible Perspective and knew I had to adapt it for my kitchen. 

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I am trying to become more conscious of what I put into my body.  The idea that in order to really nurture it, I need to be more focused on whole foods, and not as many preprocessed items.

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The Shopping List:
  •  1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal, or polenta
  • 2 - 14 oz cans diced, fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 - 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cups corn (frozen, or drained from can)
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • 2 cups potato, diced
  • 3 cups bean
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
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The Method:

Put a large pot on medium heat.  While it warms, chop the green bell pepper and onion.  Add olive oil to the bottom of the pot and add in the bell pepper and onion, cooking for about five minutes until they are softened.

Add in the garlic, cornmeal, and spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander, oregano, and cayenne pepper) to the pot and give it a quick stir.

Mix in the fire roasted tomatoes, tomatoes with chilies, and corn.  Pour in the veggie broth, give it another quick stir before covering the pot and allowing the soup to come to a boil.  Once the soup begins to boil, bring down the heat to a simmer and let it sit for about five minutes.

While the soup is boiling, peal and cube the potato.  I used a russet potato, but as the original recipe suggests, this can whatever you prefer.  Add the potato to the soup and allow them to cook through and soften.  

Finally, add in the beans and allow to cook for an additional five to ten minutes.  Any bean can be used, I chose red kidney beans for my soup.  {Note: I prefer to use dry beans instead of canned.  These need to be prepped ahead of time.  The ratio is one cup of beans to 3 cups of water in a pot, soaking for approximately 6 hours.  They then need to be cooked on low heat for an hour and a half before being pulled from the heat and drained of excess water}

Before serving, consider using a garnish on top, such as a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, avocado, or cheese.

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Part of getting out of the winter funk -- even though the weather has be amazing -- for me is my time in the yoga studio.  Thanks to my part-time job, I have the opportunity to try out different studios to find the teachers and classes that really work for me.

I forgot to grab a good photo of the studio I went to, so this is my clumsy camera phone shot as I drove by waiting at the stoplight of 8 Limbs Yoga in Wedgwood.

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Melina Meza teaches a few classes a week there, and what I really like about her is how she emphases posture and position.  A lot of the yoga flow classes get you moving so quickly, that I often times forget the importance of examining the positions I am in to favor the movement.  By doing that, I am often concerned about injuring myself by overextending muscles and joints.

She really took the time to examine each of us and make sure we were getting the most of each position and doing them correctly.  During our class we focused a lot on the internal organs that excrete the toxins from our bodies, especially during the winter season when our bodies naturally want to store and hibernate.

Another reason to want to eat cleaner.

Finally, for no particular reason, then I really enjoy this band, and the message of the song lends itself a bit to the idea of overcoming the winter blues, enjoy the music styling of Danish rock band Carpark North, and their song, "Save me from myself".  Seriously though, their whole album is phenomenal.