De-Stressing To Cook For Others and Curried Carrot Soup

Hello everyone. I just returned from cooking with Alison Bermack, founder of, and we cooked a delicious curried carrot soup for the “Souper Bowl”, a yearly event run by Alison where our community makes soup to donate to a local food Pantry. The soup was deeeeeeeelicious and pretty darn easy to make. It was one of my mother’s recipes and it made me happy to feel she was a part of this donation in spirit.

I get such emotional rewards from cooking for others and I know a lot of non-cooks struggle with wishing they could do the same. As I have said before, we need to explore where we get discouraged in the process and try to take small steps to overcome those stressed out moments.

An example of pinpointing a common shopping stress comes from a client I worked with a while back who desperately wanted to provide homemade meals for her family. I gave her a shopping list of items to buy for a recipe she wanted to make. One of the ingredients was shallots which exist in pretty much any supermarket. She had never heard of a shallot and panicked when she saw it on the list. When we spoke about the list a few days later, before the session, she explained that she had not gone shopping because she did not know what this was! In any other situation, this competent woman would have asked someone at the store (if it were an electronics store, for example)where to direct her and it would not have stressed her out.

Because she has a perception of herself as helpless in the kitchen, her brain did not allow her to take that simple step and simply ask. A self-defeating behavior caused by negative thinking. This is a form of learned helplessness where we keep ourselves in a helpless state. Instead of simply asking, she became frozen, and, in turn, delayed her trip to the store, thus prolonging her stressful state, keeping her in her Non-Cook status.

We discussed how she could simply ask when she has questions and to accept this phase of her life as a beginner who is working hard to learn a new skill like anything else. It is challenging but we shall overcome!

Here is Grandma Lorraine’s Curried Carrot Soup:

2 tsp butter
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1-2 minced cloves of garlic (minced means chpped very small!)
2 tsp flour
2 cups chicken or veg. broth (can be from boullion or a can)
1 lb sliced carrots, thinly sliced
2 tsp curry powder
1 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste.

Heat butter in a large sauce pan until bubbly. Add scallions and garlic. Saute until soft. Sprinkle with flour and stir quickly. Cook for one minute.
While stirring, add broth gradually, then carrots, then curry. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until carrots are soft. Cool slightly. blend with a blender or cuisinart until smooth. Stir in milk, salt and pepper and heat slowly. MMMMMMMMMM! Enjoy with some friends for lunch or dinner….Bye bye!


4 Responses

  1. Alma! I love your blog. Yeah, babe! I am guilty of loving to cook for others (once every three months) but lacking inspiration for my nearest and dearest hubby and two kids. So I’ve decided to turn that on it’s head and now I google for a recipe that fits whatever is expiring in my fridge, and make something new. Two things I want to share to self-flagellating moms like me: 1) change your mindset by CONGRATULATING yourself at the top of your lungs for whatever you make. Any effort counts. 2) I boil macaroni or penne or any pasta really to have with meatsauce one night, and then two days later I fry up the leftover noodles with cut up ham (sandwich meat is fine) eggs and preshredded cheese, mix and mush together. It is comfort food at it’s finest and my hubby loves it and it has a fair amount of protein (can use eggbeaters too, and low-fat cheese). Even when I feel crappy I feel good about making that!
    Keep it comin’ girlfriend!

  2. I find the biggest struggles in wanting to cook are on days when I am feeling anxious, distracted and/or discontent because of something that is bothering me from work (or other). I can’t handle both dealing with the kids and trying to be creative in the kitchen during those times. It’s a mindset thing.

    Last night was one of those nights, I said, screw it, let’s go out to dinner, but the boys didn’t want to so I said, fine then tonight it’s leftover split pea and kielbasa soup and mac and cheese! Got some food in our bellies, mom got to stew in her mood and the kids were thrilled with the unusual dinner out of a box. I really needed that crappy food last night! Sometimes I just need/want to be waited on and don’t have the capacity to give more than my presense.

    When I’m at my best in the kitchen my whole life is operating smoothly and I have lots to choose from. The best plans involve “dual” dinners that make excellent use of leftovers:
    Steak (or grilled chicken) one night and steak fajitas the next; Roasted Turkey breast one night and later use the leftovers to make everyone’s favorite Turkey Broccoli Bake. Left over pork roast or chops is great chunked up for spagetti sauce or chili.

    Also seems like everyone loves a basic but satisfying no frills dinner: nicely seasoned baked or grilled meat/fish, steamed veggies-fresh is best- always boil green beans in salty water though (butter of course!), a starch and a salad or fruit. Maybe a scoop of ice cream for dessert. We save the gourmet dishes for days I have the time or weekends.

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