Can you tell from my post title that I’m just a bit stressed out at the moment? I have had a really, really trying week so far; hope your week has been better than mine! As I’ve been really stressed, I’ve actually taken the advice of everyone around me and decided to start doing yoga. It really is good stuff! I am admittedly NOT flexible at all. In fact, when I was a youngster (yikes – old) taking gymnastics, my coaches used to make me spend 20 minutes minimum a day with my toes pointed under the sofa base whilst stretching my hip flexors and hamstrings. I realized that while I was doing this that it was actually helping – so I guess it really makes sense for me to start emphasizing a stretching regimen.
I haven’t taken a yoga class in literal years. I have to say, and as a fitness instructor I really shouldn’t, I think I much prefer doing yoga in the comfort of my home. A friend of mine recommended Erin Motz’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge.
I’ve only done a couple days so far, but I love it – Erin is super cute and explains things wonderfully! As a fellow Erin, this awesomeness is understandable - just kidding, I’m not that full of myself. Actually, right now I am full of coffee. Anyhoo.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably made excuses about yoga and listed off reasons why you won’t make it a priority. Yoga is really good for your mind, body, and soul – here’s some of the wonderful things yoga can do for you!
- Flexibility – better flexibility = more energy and less stiffness.
- Improved muscle tone and strength – for example, the downward dog works the shoulders, arms, core, hip flexors, and calves. Also awesome, by lowering the head below the heart, this move helps to boost metabolism and fight fatigue.
- Better posture – when you’re stronger and more flexible, your posture automatically improves.
- Breathing techniques – learning how to breathe for relaxation.
- Less stress through practiced meditation.
- Heart health – yoga helps to reduce blood pressure by slowing the heart rate. This is especially beneficial to individuals suffering with high blood pressure.
I encourage you to also register for the 30 Day Yoga Challenge and see what a little bit of stretching and spirituality can do for you! Also, it’s FREE. Who doesn’t love something free?
It’s autumn or fall or however you wanna call –(hey, that rhymes!) Actually, I think technically in ‘merica it’s only autumn if it’s the autumn equinox, but whatevs. I love all four seasons for each of their beauty and greatness, but I have to say I absolutely LOVE fall! I love to bust out my boots, sweaters, cute jackets, and mostly I LOVE AUTUMN SOUPS! Pumpkins and squashes of ALL kinds make wonderful soups, that are bound to please a wide variety of folks. I love a traditional, simple, and super healthy butternut squash soup, myself. I made some the other day and I am probably going to make a boatload of it for the freezer, it’s that good! This soup recipe is so simple, really, especially if you can find cubed butternut squash (or dare I say it – even frozen) at your local grocery store. What I absolutely love about this recipe is you can take this soup any direction you want. Like garlic? Add more. Like coconut? Add it. Like curry? Throw it in.
I like to roast my squash with Highland Farms Garlic Maple Pepper (this stuff = the bomb, btw!) So all you need to make this soup is right here:
1 large butternut squash (cut into cubes, you can also do frozen – but fresh is best!)
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
24 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Any spices you like – I suggest seasoning your squash with it for the roasting portion of prep and a little extra in each bowl you serve.
Butternut squash can be a thorn in some people’s sides. I get it, they are tough to cut, then there’s the whole scooping the guts out and dealing with the seeds. However, Miss Nigela Lawson taught me that you can roast your squash whole and then cut the insides out. This works really well. I will roast a squash for about 60 minutes at 425 F (ovens vary as do sizes of squash) and then scoop out the remaining squash and roast an additional 10 minutes in salt, pepper, and whatever spices I’m going with. It’s much less complicated this way, and you’re getting a fresh squash out of the deal!
Once you have decided how you’re going to prep your butternut squash you can move forward. If you’re baking whole, follow the directions above. If you’re gonna be a hero and chop and seed the squash yourself you’re going to roast it at 425 F for about 40 minutes on a cookie sheet (turn over bits about half way through.)
Once your squash is nearly cooked, in a dutch oven, or pot of your choice, turn to medium heat and add in the olive oil. Place the chopped onion in the pot and saute until translucent. Add in the chopped cloves of garlic and saute another 3 minutes. Add in three cups of stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in your roasted butternut squash and let the soup simmer on low for about 8 minutes. Grab your immersion blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth. Season to taste and add a couple of tablespoons of milk if you desire. Get your eat on!
What’s your favorite autumn soup?