for days like these

Every now and then, it’s good to be reminded of one’s relative unimportance, I think. To say to yourself: I am just one of the many __________, for heaven’s sake! (Insert your title there, be it waitress or lawyer or salesperson or, well, you know, copywriter.) In the grand scheme of things, life will go on without me, and everyone will be fine. What seems so important in the light of a few angry exchanges today won’t matter a bit in a few years (Or months! Or days!) from now. In fact, some time all too soon, I probably won’t even remember it.

Do you ever have days like that? Days where you are repeating to yourself handy little sayings like, “You aren’t a brain surgeon, you know?” (Unless, of course, you are a brain surgeon, in which case I don’t know what you say to yourself when having such a day. But, on second thought, you probably don’t even get that luxury, and you’re definitely not reading my little blog. My outlook is improving already.)

Well, here’s what I suggest next time it happens to those of you who understand, right after you tell your best friend or closest family member the whole story and listen to them tell you they still like you even if you do make mistakes once in a while: go to the kitchen.

pumpkin soup

I know, I know, this is sort of my end-all solution for things, and that can seem a little false. But don’t knock it until you try it. Pick something you want to make—something delicious and sugary and with a wow factor if possible—and see if there’s a way to have the kitchen to yourself. Then, with nothing but some music or even total quiet if you’d like, focus on nothing—nothing!—else but putting ingredients together and watching the outcome.

I did this the other night with pumpkin soup, the recipe for which I got out of my friend Alicia, after her Facebook status referenced it, and I said I had to have it. That Alicia, she’s a nice one. In college, when she was a professor and my brother and I were students, she had us over for spinach-artichoke dip, and I knew I liked her.

Her soup, as easy as it is perfectly delicious, is a warm, creamy mixture of pumpkin, spices, onions, garlic and milk and cream. It feels comforting on your throat, with the kick of curry and coriander, and is so tasty, you’ll be saying things like, That Alicia! She’s really something! too.

Alicia’s Pumpkin Soup
Halved Recipe

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 teaspoons minced garlic
1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1.5 (each 15-ounce size) cans of 100 percent pumpkin, or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
2.5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

Add pumpkin and chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.


  1. says

    first, i know exactly what you’re talking about. next, creating something in the kitchen, alone with music is a great balm for a troubled soul. especially if it’s bread and you can knead the hell out of it.
    3rd, this recipe looks great and i would substitute using butternut squash. :)

    last, is that bowl from Blue Rose Polish Pottery? i love it. i love them.

    have a great weekend!

  2. Jennifer says

    Thank you for the recipe! I was actually *just* about to google a pumpkin soup recipe, but I’d much rather use one that has your recommendation. I’ve just been in the mood to make pumpkin soup recently. Thank you for being used to fulfill my wish! :)

    Ironically, what had gotten me so much in the mood for it was also something that a friend referenced in her facebook status. (not Alicia, though.)

    What a coincidence.

  3. Kelley says

    Just my two cents: You need a stick blender! We used to transfer stuff, one drippy portion at a time, into the blender, try not to burst the lid from the steam, dump back in, etc., etc. A stick blender ($10-$15 this time of year, I bet) is soooo much easier. We got a cheapie years ago and have put it to much good use! :)

  4. Shannalee says

    Lan: Yeah, I bet squash would be awesome in this! I’ll have to check the bowl later… I know it’s something Polish. Isn’t it a fun pattern?

    Jennifer: LOL about the Alicias and their soups. :) Let me know how you like this recipe!

    Kelley: I have never heard of that before, if you can believe it. Sounds like something I have to have! :)

  5. says

    this soup sounds delicious. yes, I certainly have had those days. those days when I say “it’s not like I’m curing cancer….” although, I wish someone would. Even though we are small, we make a contribution in our own way. :)

  6. says

    I just love the vibrant color of the soup. Keeps me stuck in Fall (even though we only had about two weeks of actal Fall-like weather :(). OH– And I think Becky, of all people, needs to try this. LOL!

  7. Nancy says

    I sure hope you make this one again as I loved it!!! The flavor was quite delicious and so
    comforting! Yum !!! Love and hugs, Mom

  8. Shannalee says

    Agreed, Chessa. :) And for real about the cancer.

    Carrie: She’s gone and tried pumpkin–did you hear? She liked it!

    And OH MY GOSH: MOM!? You left a comment on my blog… and with your full name? That’s awesome; you crack me up. Love ya!

  9. Jennifer says

    I made it and loved it! I didn’t have curry powder but put a dash of turmeric in. (Mom doesn’t like curry anyway; so it worked out.)

    It was just what I had wanted. I love pumpkin but can’t eat pumpking pie nonstop! Well, I can, but I shouldn’t.) It satisfied my craving for pumpkin. Also, it was really easy!

    I will definitely make this again. Thank you very much! I love it that I can count on your blog for a quality recipe.

  10. Jennifer says

    P.S. I put a picture of it on my fb page, which you have access to. (This is Jennifer L. that you grew up with.) It seemed appropriate since fb is where the insipiration came from! If you mind, let me know. I did give you credit. :)


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