So a couple of weeks ago I went on my first daylong meditation retreat. I have been meditating seriously ( very serious, man) for about 8 months now. I tried a few different schools and techniques, including Zen Buddhist meditation before stumbling upon Perfectly Here Mindfulness Center in the SFV, CA. What I liked about it was it seemed like a science-based approach to meditation and I am all about science. Science is cool. I wanted to learn exactly WHY the brain benefits from meditation, not just left alone to stare at a wall for 45 minutes when I had no idea what I was doing. I started with the level 1 class and I have just wrapped up the level 2. I have definitely picked up some positive habits taking these two courses and noticed that I have been handling STRESSFUL SITUATIONS…a lot better. So I figured the next step was to attend a daylong.
I had ZERO idea what to expect but I knew it would involve a lot of meditating, for a long time…like all day…hence, daylong. I was really worried that it would be too much for me, that I would run out screaming, interrupting everyone else’s journey to serenity. Luckily that totally didn’t happen. The time flew by and we changed up the meditation styles so frequently I never got bored. And I found the group meditation environment actually helped me meditate better, which is weird, right?
My favorite part was lunch. Obviously, yeah, cause food. But this wasn’t just regular eating this was MINDFUL eating. Everyone prepared and set up for lunch in complete silence, and we all sat together in complete silence. It was a little weird at first (especially hearing everyone chew) but it was also strangely intimate. We were served a vegetable stew that was so comforting and belly warming in it’s simplicity. Especially on a chilly, dark day. And keeping with the mindful teachings I thought about the journey of the vegetables…growing in the dirt, being picked by farm workers, riding in the truck, being displayed in the stores. I thought about another woman at the retreat who I knew had been given the task of chopping the vegetables for the soup. How we were all eating the outcome of her labor. And suddenly the moment became beautiful and exciting. Not to mention the soup was fabulous.
I decided then that I was going to make a veggie soup too! I wanted it to be colorful and comforting and belly warming and encourage the same thoughts of gratitude the retreat soup had given me. The perfect soup for the crisp December weather.
I knew I wanted to have sweet potatoes in the soup because that was my favorite part about the retreat soup. When I went to church (aka Whole Foods Market) to buy supplies I came across these gorgeous Japanese PURPLE sweet potatoes. I fell in love with the vibrant color and felt like it radiated the vibes I wanted my soup to have. So I picked up some purple baby reg potatoes too, you know, to double the purple power. Two kinds of purple potatoes and kale provide the OOMF for this hearty soup. I hope you love is as much as we did in my home. We served it with some dark, crusty rustic bread.
2 cups Japanese purple sweet potatoes, cut
1 1/2 cup purple baby potatoes
2 bunches kale, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can white beans (or kidney beans), drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons organic miso
6 cups veggie broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon turmeric
salt, pepper to taste
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour
In a large pot, combine veggies, water and broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat.
Add spices and let cook on low about 45 minutes or until potatoes are begin to get tender. Add the miso and beans and cook for 15 more minutes.
Serve alone or with crusty bread. Keeps excellent in the fridge for leftovers. Grub down!