I have learned to appreciate an earlier, lighter dinner, as part of my own journey of self-improvement. It is not enough for people in my vocation to advise and recommend and rely just on ourselves to make sure we are "balanced".  It may seem strange that I had to learn through Yoga-related practices that having an earlier, lighter dinner will help me sleep earlier and easier, but strange or no, it has worked for me!!

Does this mean that I will urge all of you to immediately stop having a heavy and/or late dinner? It is not always that easy. Right now, I am the only one in my small family of three, who has just soup and/or salad/cooked vegetables/maybe a dinner roll for dinner. Dinner for me is 6AM, sometimes even 5:30PM (which I did not think I would survive!!). My husband, who comes home a little later in the evening, will still have a heavier dinner than me, and my son, being the 4 y.o. that he is, will thankfully eat whatever it is he will eat. I am hoping that in time, my little man will appreciate my home-made soups; My husband thankfully does, but he is not ready to embark on having a lighter dinner.

I am thankful for the support of my yoga health coach, friend and colleague Emmalyn Gaertner, who introduced me to many practices that I myself include in my yoga-based plans for clients who want to restore balance in their lives. You dont have to commit now to changing your meal patterns to enjoy my own version of a nurturing soup. This recipe is so suitable for the cooler weather we are having here in Texas, and can be customized to include whatever you want to try (e.g. carrots, parsnips etc).  A high speed blender works wonders, but if you have an immersion blender that would work wonderfully too!

Squash-Sweet Potato-Bell Pepper Soup

4-5 red/orange/yellow bell peppers, cored
1 medium to large sweet potato, diced
1 acorn squash, halved
olive oil, salt and pepper
1 small onion or shallot, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic (or more!). minced
4-6 cups of stock (vegetable/beef/chicken, or just plain water, its your choice!!)
herbs of preference ( like tarragon and or rosemary)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Saute onion, garlic and herbs in olive oil. Allow onions to wilt, set aside.
3. Lightly oil the bell peppers. bell peppers, sweet potato and squash on a non-stick pan (or two!). Place the open surface of the bell peppers down, and the cut surface of the squash down.
5. Check every 20minutes. It usually doesnt take more than 30 minutes. The squash should be tender when tested with a fork, the sweet potatotes lightly roasted, the bell peppers lightly scorched.
6. Separate the bell peppers from the sweet potatoes and squash, and cover with a pan lid/plate so that the peppers can "sweat". This will help make it easier to peel the skins off (its not that hard to do!).
7. Place all vegetables (sauteed onion ,garlic, herbs, etc)  in blender (if you need to do this in batches, then do it in batches) and blend with broth till smooth.

With a high speed blender, the puree will be hot enough and ready to be served. But if you are old school and would like all the flavors to marry with low heat, by all means allow the puree to simmer on the stovetop. It will be delightful any which way!!