Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup & Help Is Just Four Letters

Rick has been doing the grocery shopping, “four weeks in a row” he just said. Along with running to the store, he’s gotten in the habit of cleaning the crisper and throwing everything in a pot and making vegetable broth. So when he came in with a gargantuan bag of carrots, the minute I saw them, I thought something I can use the broth with; carrot ginger soup; kitchen synergy 🙂

Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup Ingredients

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 30 min

  • 2 tbs garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbs Miyoko’s dairy-free butter
  • 1 leek
  • 3 tbs ginger
  • 7 large carrots
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (for garnish)

Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe

  1. Wash the leek, cut off the root end, the white part and throw away the really tough outer leaves. Make lengthwise slices down through the leek until you have some slender strips. Cut crossways dicing down the length.
  2. Seat aside a tablespoon of the leeks and a couple strips to garnish with.
  3. Heat oil and dairy-free butter over medium heat in a pot.
  4. Peel carrots and chop.
  5. Peel around a thumb-size piece of fresh garlic
  6. Add leeks and saute for 3-5 minutes
  7. Add the carrots and grate the ginger into the pot.
  8. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, but don’t brown.
  9. Add the broth, bay leaf, cinnamon and salt to the pot. Bring to boil, then cover and turn down heat to low for a gentle simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until carrots are soft when pierced with a fork.
  10. While soup is simmering, in a small frying pan, at medium high heat in 2 tablespoon olive oil saute the leftover leeks and strips: 1-3 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Set aside.
  11. Turn off heat and remove bay leaf.
  12. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or transfer by halves to a high-powered blender. Blend the soup until it’s pureed and smooth.
  13. Divide each portion of soup into a bowl, garnish with leeks and leek strips and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

[slide through the photos below]

I served it with a simple toss green salad dressed with just balsamic vinegar. Tonight, it will go perfectly as a side to salmon patties and tossed green with fennel. Yum!!

Isn’t wonderful when you realize you’ve learned a life lesson after going through an ordeal. Well, I have. And what I’ve learned is basically people want to help, are honored when they’re asked and love being a part of a solution (I know this is a food blog, so relax, food will be mentioned).

Case #1: My Mom. 

I’ve written about the dilemma regarding my 90 year old mother. Along with congestive heart failure, losing a son and husband in a week’s time, and followed by a year of shut-in isolation, needless to say; short of a bomb going off in her living room; it’s taken an immeasurable toll. And she’s alone. So there’s that. She lives 150 miles from us, and 3 hours from my sister and brother.

There have been hours of hand wringing, sleep lost and long conversations with my siblings. Along with a foreboding sense it was just a matter of time before something happened. And hopefully that something wouldn’t be catastrophic; she still drives.

We talk so much these days about “letting go”, do what you can but ultimately you have no control. But, in the face of seeing this little powerhouse of a woman decline, though, holding onto what was left of her power by not letting us help her. She told me, I couldn’t say the word, ‘help’. After driving up to relieve my sister Kelli after Mom’s second trip to ER (she had driven herself there in the pouring rain when she felt like she couldn’t breath). She insisted she didn’t need any. Even though she was not remembering to take her medicine, or eating the tons of food she was buying at the store.

So, after a few days getting her settled in, we drove back home with my stomach clinched in a knot with worry and fear I haven’t felt since having teenagers 🙂 I’ve gotten proficient with those two in the morning meditations and prayers in order to get myself back to sleep. But morning light comes shining on the reality of the scary situation she was living in.

I offered Mom to come home with us, she wasn’t interested. Nor go home with my sister. I didn’t blame her. I’d want to be in my own bed if I wasn’t feeling well. In one of our many conversations she told me her greatest fear was dying alone. She told me she absolutely would not go to an assisted living facility and told me some of her funeral requests.

After we got home drained, and feeling unable to turn off the loop running in my head of all the possible scenarios that hadn’t happened but I felt each and every one of them profoundly. What if she drives and hits someone? What if she falls and can’t get up. What if she dies and isn’t found. Finally, Rick said you can’t do this to yourself. And you’re not going to do this to us. You have to let this go. So, we prayed.

Went to bed and fell into a glorious sleep and didn’t wake up until 9:15 in the morning. I woke up feeling refreshed and as I sat watching Rick at the kitchen sink, I closed my eyes and let go. I told myself you can’t force someone to accept your help. It only took three deep breaths, it was that easy; for the first time in months I felt some peace and full of hope, removed but aware. Not a second later staring into my coffee a name popped into my head.

Joan. Joan and my mom go way back, 30 years ago they worked together. Joan is a manager at an assisted living facility where my mother had placed clients. Ironically, Mom was the county conservator/public legal guardian. I hadn’t thought nor seen Joan in at least two decades. I didn’t even know if she was around. I texted Kelli, asked her if she had Joan’s contact (they were good friends a million years ago).

Within minutes Joan texted back and said she knew the perfect woman to assist Mom. Later Joan told me she had run into Mom at the store and uncharacteristically Mom looked disheveled and her cart was filled to overflowing.

We headed back up for the weekend. With a plan. Joan was going to pop in for a visit and before she hung up, she said “Clio, don’t say anything, just follow my lead.” She’s a real pro. She just hung it all out there succinctly without any reservations and told my mom the plan. I couldn’t even look at mom, she just sat there taking it all in.”You’re on oxygen, you can’t cook, you can’t drive. You have congestive heart failure and pneumonia. With help (Oh God she said the word, my stomach clinched) with help, we can get you over the pneumonia and that will help your heart. But you’re not going to get better sitting here by yourself.” And she added , “you are being irresponsible to your family by insisting you don’t need help, because you do.”

I had to leave the room and breath. After Joan left, Mom told Kelli she was so happy there wouldn’t be strangers helping her. I can report we hired two women that Mom knows really well, and she has improved. She was dying of grief and loneliness and now is back to her fun life of going out to lunch and taking walks in this spectacular spring.

Case #2: Me. Through all this I’ve learned I have a problem with asking for help. I get paralyzed just thinking about getting on the phone and asking for anything. Paralyzed.

It’s been such a revelation what we just went through with Rick, losing Andrew and now what’s happening with my Mom. People want to help. The minute word got out regarding what was going on with Mom, casseroles started showing up, a basket of homemade jam and the most delectable soothing custard.

I have been sick with strep throat that just wasn’t going away. I had one friend drop off a delicious throat soothing raspberry sorbet, and another, magazines and oatly oatmeal cookie ice cream. I told myself, get over it, grow up and let yourself receive a nice gesture.

Last week, I got on the phone and called my cousin to see if he could come up and spend the weekend with Mom so her helpers could have a break. He was delighted to be asked and offered to come for 5 days. Since then, I’ve got a list of people I can call when we need a hand. And I will.

In O, The Oprah Magazine my sweet friend dropped off, I found another tool for living even more healthily in an article that readers of the magazine shared; The Rites that Bind. I’ll share an interesting ‘rite’ from Hope Gaston, San Diego.

“It’s exhausting to carry other people’s emotions around with you, so I take energy breaks regularly. I’m a biomechanics specialist, a type of joint and muscle therapist. After I see a client, I energy-break from them by rubbing my hands together and saying, “What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine.” I push one hand out, place my other hand over my stomach, and say, “I lovingly return you to you and me to me.” You can energy-break from anyone or anything—coworkers, friends, families and husbands.”

I like how the act of rubbing your hands together brings you into the now and creates a physicality to the discipline of letting go. Brilliant! And I was going to write about carrots…

My new mantra; I USED to have a hard time asking for help. I love giving it, and totally enjoy getting it, especially if it’s food, preferably dessert.

Ciao for now 🙂

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