a bowl of comfort

Comfort comes in many shapes and sizes.

A warm hug.  A friendly hello.  A new book on a rainy day.  A phone call from a close friend.  A smile, a laugh, an ‘I love you.’

On the health front, the idea of comfort food has quickly gone out of style.  Replaced with the idea that food should not carry such emotion.  It should not have feeling.

Food and comfort do not belong in the same sentence.  So they say.

But you know what?  I say piddly wish-wash to all of that!!  I find the idea of sitting down to dinner with my parents every night, comforting.  I find the idea of eating lunch with friends, comforting.  And, obviously, the holidays are filled with warmth, good food, and comfort.

And—absolutely!—I find that sitting down to a warm bowl of summer squash and white bean saute to be absolutely comforting.

It’s okay to enjoy your food.  To enjoy your friends and family.  To enjoy the process from kitchen to table.  To find comfort in the simple preparation of a meal and to find comfort in eating until…well…comfortably full.

(It’s also okay to find comfort in downward dogs and tree poses. )

Yes.  Comfort comes in many shapes and sizes.

Summer Squash and White Bean Saute—courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

I like to serve this saute over brown rice, letting it soak up all of the delicious sauce.  But it also tastes delicious served in a wrap, if you don’t mind getting a little messy.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 15- or 19-ounce can cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed (see Tip)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, summer squash, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes and vinegar; increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in Parmesan.

QUESTION: What does the word “comfort” mean to you?

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hug a bowl of soup

I am cold, and all I want is soup.

Most of my favorite soups are the ones that will never win a beauty contest. 

Split pea soup.  Lentil soup.  Brazilian Black Bean Soup.  Creamy Mushroom Soup.  They leave me feeling more and more comforted with each delightful bight.  Happy with life in general, no matter what kind of crazy day I may have had.  Soups that are filled to the absolute brim with bright and beautiful personalities.  Warm and friendly and totally indulgent.

This creamy mushroom soup—from the latest Eating Well magazines—is one of my current favorite soups.  It’s rich, smooth and full of body.  Come to think of it, it’s a little like warming up to a bowl of savory mushroom gravy and realizing that such a guilty indulgence is actually okay.  More than okay.  That it’s actually healthy for both your mind and your body.  Really, it’s enough to make a girl sing.

Side Dish: Salad

Side Dish: Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
(made with blackstrap molasses)

There is nothing quite like hugging a bowl of creamy mushroom soup after a chilly January run. 

Life is so delicious.

Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup—as seen in Eating Well Magazine

I recommend doubling this recipe and serving it out on the chilliest of winter nights.  It pairs lovely with a rich, dark bread and a simple side salad. 

Each bowlful of this creamy soup offers you more than just flavor.  You’ll also get a healthy dose of calcium, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, fiber and protein.   Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 4 cups mushroom broth or reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are very soft, about 3 minutes more. Add flour, paprika and dill and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add broth, milk and potatoes; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream and salt. 

Question: What are some of your favorite soups?