Sunday, December 23, 2012

One Word and Soup For One

Someone asked me recently if I could describe myself in one word.

One word.

What would you say? What would be the one word that would totally encapsulate your essence? Could you do it? Can you imagine it? Would you have the courage to share it? Could you own it?

I had to think very hard about my one word. It took me a long time and I could not for the life of me come up with one word. I came up with three words that fit my life right now. These three simple words took me by surprise.


Are you, my long time readers, as surprised as me at the words I chose?

Trying to get to the word that best describes you or your life right at this moment is a good exercise. It makes you think. Hard. It made me concentrate on what I am feeling at this very point in time. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but right now. Today. Re-evaluating my feelings shook me up a bit. I was so sad for so long it was hard to think about not being sad.

I realized that I AM joyful. I laugh, everyday. I sing along to the radio. Sometimes I dance along - in the kitchen. By myself.

I am finding happiness. I am happy. Are joyful and happy the same thing? I think joyful is the celebration part of happy. I am meeting new people, doing new things. I'm reaching out of my comfort zone and exploring this new phase of my life. Is it perfect? Nothing ever is but I'm finding happiness in discovering me. This new version of me. A bit older, a bit wiser (I hope) a bit more compassionate. A slightly newer version of me. It makes me feel brave this happiness thing.

Centered. Now there's a word! What does that mean? For me it is finding the balance between what was, what will never be and what is possible now. I have begun the work of tucking the past away in a safe, secure place in my heart and learning to cherish it while honoring the gift of my life. All of the parts - the old, the new and the maybe.

Now tell me, what is your one word for you?

Soup For One: Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound broccoli (about 2 cups) - chopped
1/2 pound cauliflower (about 2 cups) - chopped
1/2 cup milk (feel free to use fat free, 1% or other)
2 ounces cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup) shredded
salt and pepper to taste
a few grinds of nutmeg

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, add onion and cook until translucent and soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (about a minute). Add broth, broccoli and cauliflower and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Be careful with this next part. Transfer soup to a blender. Place a kitchen towel over the lid and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, add milk, check seasonings. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Ladle into soup bowl and grate some fresh nutmeg over. Sprinkle with croutons if desired.

This recipe makes about 4 cups of soup and freezes beautifully.

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