not just about yourself, but about the world and people around you and how you feel in your body – isn’t that the big goal?
That’s why I love to cook, especially for other people, and that’s why I’ve been studying positive psychology.
It’s all about what helps us flourish – not just feel “fine.”
What I’ve learned so far may not seem totally earth shaking to you, but it has made me think hard about what I do with my time, and why.
And it’s all coming down to one thing:
Other People Matter.
Happiness and contentment aren’t about how much money you make. In fact, after our basic needs are covered (in the USofA, that’s about $50-60K a year), we don’t feel a lot happier when we make more money. We just think more money, more stuff, or having the right stuff will make us feel better about ourselves.
The one thing that makes us happy, if you’re rich or poor?
Having strong, connected relationships. Having people you can share your wins and your troubles with.
In short: we crave connection. We crave being with other people who love us. It’s a basic human need.
Well, one of my favorite things to do with other people is share good, delicious, healthy food. Making it together, talking while we cook, planning the meal, and savoring the delicious aromas and flavors – that is jus what life is all about.
So I want to share my new favorite recipe with you – a pumpkin soup, baked right in the pumpkin.
Pumpkins are wonderfully round, sweet, and immediately make me feel cozy.
They’re also super healthy! The health benefits of pumpkins or winter squash are long:
Considered an energetic tonic and a warming food, pumpkins and winter squash are medicinal for the spleen, stomach, large intestines and lungs. It improves energy and blood circulation, and is high in beta-carotene, which is good for eye health. Rich in vitamins A, C and potassium + magnesium, pumpkins are high in carotenoids and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
So this recipe is healthy, easy, fun to make, and really fun to eat with someone you love. Go be happy, love.
Pumpkin Soup Baked In A Pumpkin
For this pumpkin soup recipe, you’ll need:
1 pumpkin (edible and sweet)
2-3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion
2-3 cups stock or broth (vegan, chicken, etc)
The pumpkin I was growing in my back yard was carried off by what I can only assume was a whole gang of New York City squirrels – so I had to buy one from the local farmers’ market.
I chose a 3 lb. “Sugar Pie,” which is sweeter than the standard carving pumpkin you see around Halloween. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Carve the top of the pumpkin just like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, and save the seeds to salt and bake later.
Do not leave the pumpkin seeds baking for too long while you talk on the phone to a friend like I did. Please set a timer.
Use 1-2 Tablespoons real butter, ghee, or coconut oil to coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin. Scatter a couple pinches of salt around the inside, and don’t forget the bottom of the pumpkin lid!
Chop a yellow onion into large dice.
You could do this step first, and carve the pumpkin while the onions are cooking to save time.
Brown the onions over medium heat for 8-10 minutes with 1 Tablespoon butter, ghee or coconut oil.
Fill the pumpkin with cooked onions.
Pour home made vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) over the onions, filling up the pumpkin to about 1-inch from the top.
If the broth is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.
Place the pumpkin lid back on, and place the entire pumpkin into the oven.
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, checking to test for doneness. You’ll want the inside of the pumpkin to be spoon-ably soft.
Remove from the oven and gently remove the top.
Use a towel to grasp the stem, as the pumpkin will emit hot steam when you open it. Have your spoons at the ready…
Eat that soup straight from the pumpkin!
I like placing it on the table amongst the family and allowing everyone to take a spoonful from the pumpkin before scooping servings out to individual bowls.
There’s just something really fun about eating soup directly from a pumpkin.
Make sure that everyone gets a bowl-full of stock, onions and cooked chunks of sweet pumpkin.