Friday, December 09, 2005

Slowing Down

It's been a while since I hauled out my trusty slow cooker, but I decided that yesterday was the time to use it along with some of the vegetable stock I made last weekend.

I found a recipe for a Santa Fe Sweet Potato Soup in my book of vegetarian slow cooker recipes, and since I had all the ingredients on hand -- and I love sweet potatoes -- I thought I'd give it a try and have something warm and comforting waiting for me after work.

Before work, I minced the garlic and onions (both local and organic, from the farmers' market... I love how long this stuff lasts!) and sauteed them in olive oil with some dried oregano and salt. Those went into the cooker along with peeled and chopped sweet potatoes (also local and organic), a dried chile pepper (courtesy of my folks from last winter's sojourn in Arizona), and the vegetable stock. I set the cooker to low and headed off to work in the bitter cold.

When I returned home, I was greeted by the fragrant aroma of cooked sweet potatoes and onions... so satisfying! My handy immersion blender did the trick of pureeing the soup into a thick, creamy consistency before I added some thawed corn kernels (local and organic again!) and a splash of lime juice and let it simmer some more.

As the soup finished cooking, I made half a batch of millet pancakes and steamed the last of the kale to go with dinner. The array of colors and textures turned out to be very pleasing, and the fall flavors all came together perfectly.

Later, as the snow started to fall steadily, I needed only a couple of sunshine cookies and a cup of sweet dreams tea to lull me into a state of blissful satiety and contentment.

As the semester winds down and we draw closer to the end of the year, I find I'm resisting the frenzied pull of holiday preparations and activities. I just want to slow down, take my time, and appreciate life as it comes. And along with that, I want to have (and to take the time to make) nourishing meals loaded with good fall vegetables and hearty grains to keep me healthy and happy.

I suspect my slow cooker is going to get a workout this winter, and I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes with it. I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, give yourself a break, too... slow down... and enjoy!

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