Shelter-From-The-Storm Soup: ‘a Matter of Life or Paralysis’

Last week, Catherine Woodiwiss wrote a great article for Sojourners Magazine entitled “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma.” (H/t to Brit for passing this along!) After having experienced multiple traumas, Woodiwiss explains that “trauma upends everything we took for granted, including things we didn’t know we took for granted.”  Not all of us have dealt with trauma or grief, but we all can relate to the fact that, sometimes it’s all you can do to make a pot of soup and fuel yourself for today.

Well, luckily, there are some soups that are super simple yet super nourishing. (See a recipe for one below!) And simple acts like cooking for yourself, meeting with friends, and telling your story can be restorative.

Woodiwiss’ fifth point was particularly profound, as it described the mission of PeaceMeals perfectly:

Grieving is social, and so is healing.

“For as private a pain as trauma is, for all the healing that time and self-work will bring, we are wired for contact” She writes. “Just as relationships can hurt us most deeply, it is only through relationship that we can be most fully healed.”

Do you find that the wintertime makes you more sluggish and low? I definitely know that I would prefer to hunker down from the cold and not make an effort to be social. Limited sunlight means less vitamin D, which means less energy and potentially more depression. However, I do love to cook and bake in this season, not only because I am stuck indoors more often, but also because of the added warmth in the kitchen.

So, I figure, why not counteract my winter blues with my love for cooking? Winter is THE perfect time to whip up a batch of your favorite soup, light a candle on the table, and invite a friend over, impromptu-style. It’s a way of seeking shelter from the cold with someone else. And as Catherine Woodiwiss writes, “Seeking out shelter in one another requires tremendous courage, but it is a matter of life or paralysis. One way to start is to practice giving shelter to others.”

I love making roasted, blended soups, because most of the work is done for me in the oven. This soup begins with roasting butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic, then basically blending it as it simmers. Couldn’t be easier and – oh my! The color! The flavors!

There’s a bonus to this soup:  turmeric.  Turmeric is a spice that comes from a root with a bright yellow color (be careful not to splash on white clothing!) According to natural chef Sarah Britton,Curcumin, the primary ingredient in turmeric that is responsible for its golden colour, has important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. It protects the liver from toxins and congestion, lowers cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain, and even helps soothe an upset tummy by aiding digestion and ridding the system of gas and distention.” In fact, I’ve read that a teaspoon of turmeric every morning in a glass of warm lemon water is great for reducing inflammation from, for example, arthritis, allergies, and food intolerances.



Shelter Soup: Roasted Butternut and Sweet Potato

Serves 4

Hot soup on cold days: a feast for the senses


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. ghee/coconut/olive oil
  • 1 tsp. both sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups / 1000ml vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh turmeric or 2 tsp. ground turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp. each fresh / 1 tsp dried rosemary and thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down in a baking pan and add just a little bit of water to the pan.
  3. Peel and cut onions into quarters, and place on a baking sheet. Peel whole cloves of garlic and add to baking sheet. Wash and chop sweet potato, leaving the skin on, and add to sheet too.
  4. Drizzle veggies with melted ghee or oil and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Place in oven and roast for approximately 40 minutes until the squash is tender and the garlic is golden, tossing the veggies after 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot heat the vegetable broth, turmeric (fresh or dried) and add the finely chopped rosemary and thyme. When veggies are tender, scoop out the squash flesh and carefully add with the veggies to the pot.  CAREFULLY Blend with a hand blender until completely smooth. [Alternatively, CAREFULLY add cups of broth and roasted veggies/squash to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth.]
  7. If the soup is too thick, add more water to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste.
  8. Pour soup into bowls and serve with goat cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or olive oil, or roasted pumpkin seeds. Add a chunk of crusty bread and that’s a legit meal!

Note: this soup freezes very well and can be stretched by serving over brown rice.


Recipe adapted from:
Photo credits: Magnified Joy Photography 



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