On Walking and Heart-Warming Soup

I like to walk. A lot. If I’m not pressed for time, I’ll stroll for miles at a time, covering nearly half the city on foot. Sometimes the skies are clear and blue, but more often than not it’s cold, gray, and drizzling. Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I’m on the phone. Most of the time, though, I just walk. This is the closest thing to meditation I’ve ever experienced: my mind empties, and my feet carry me to my destination. I don’t worry about being bored or how long it’ll take me to get somewhere, I just… go.

This type of walking has only become a habit (hobby, passion) in the past few months, but my feet have already covered some serious ground. My feet were never too gnarly while I was running a lot, but now I’ve got callouses on my heels and toes. When I get home, the balls of my feet ache and my arches yearn for a good stretch. It’s silly, but I’m more proud of these feet- these badass feet- now than I was when I was training for races. They’re not demanding I push myself to exhaustion and misery. Instead, they’re helping me relax and focus on the present.   (Most of my foot pain has gone away, by the way; I probably just have a little tendonitis rather than a full-blown stress fracture.)

On Saturday, B and I took one such walk, picking a subway line and taking it to the very last stop. When we got out- in Flatbush, Brooklyn- it was raining and we were a little out of our element. But we walked. And walked and walked and walked. Finally, wet and shivering, we ended up in Prospect Heights.
brooklyn museum.JPG
Despite a few wrong turns and subway delays, we still had time for sushi and a movie.   veggie sushi.JPG Pickled vegetable sushi (just to see what it was like… pickly!) and sweet potato roll

My friend Joe was in town yesterday, so I met up with him and Ryan and piggybacked on their walk around the city. From West to East to West, we walked through the cold wind, ending up at a hot dog vendor outside of Grand Central Station. hot dogs.JPG
Refreshed but chilled to the bone, a hot lunch was in order. Specifically, soup. Creamy, fragrant soup that will make your kitchen smell sweet, spicy, and what you want your future grandkids to imagine when they think about weekends at your house.
Coconut Split Pea Soup.JPG

  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 T coconut oil (can substitute olive oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 15-oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (can substitute butternut, acorn or kabocha squash)
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • toppings (optional): currants/ raisins + coconut, avocado, banana (B’s genius- and tasty!- suggestion), lime juice + more cayenne, etc.

Soak peas in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes; rinse and drain.

Heat oil in a heavy soup pot and swirl to coat bottom. Add onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly golden and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add peas and toast 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in coconut milk, water, pumpkin, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cayenne and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 1 hour.

Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender.

Adjust salt and pepper if needed and sprinkle each bowl with a pinch of cayenne . Serve with thick crusty bread or this super easy skillet cornbread.

Coconut Split Pea Soup.JPG

Reading list:

Psst… You In Aisle 5. We Know What You Want. How your shopping habits reveal even the most personal information. Target shoppers beware!

Egg Whites vs. Egg Yolks. Health science is evolving their understanding of cholesterol, and it starts with your breakfast plate.

Snickers On A Diet? By the end of next year, the company will stop producing 250+ calorie candy bars.

Have you formed any new habits lately? Do you like to take long walks?

18 comments to On Walking and Heart-Warming Soup

  • aj

    I am so with you on the walking thing. As much as I love to “train” for running races, triathlons, etc. most of the time, I like to just stretch my legs with a good friend or even by myself with a stroll. It’s the best way to enjoy my neighborhood/city and its free!

    I heard about the Snickers thing! Probably a good idea, but I still think people should be responsible for their own choices. I try my best to read serving sizes and if its a biggie, I’ll just find a friend to share! Its more social that way, anyways.

  • A long day of walking followed by a big bowl of split pea soup is my ideal kind of day – two of my very favorite things :)

  • Walking everywhere is one of the best things about being a New Yorker :) Let’s go for a stroll sometime soon! Preferably one that ends with delicious food and/or drinking…

  • Sooooo…is B your boyfriend? Did you explain this :) . I’ve seen his initial mentioned twice and was a bit confused ;) . That soup sounds ridiculous awesome. And I couldn’t agree more- walking is fabulous- I take daily strolls with K!

  • Mmmm, coconut and peas…sounds incredible! :) Hope you are well lady.

  • Long walks through the city is one of my favorite ways to spend time, whether alone or in good company. I totally agree with you about it being meditative.

  • i wish i had known you were in my hood on saturday! i was shamefully hungover until about 6 pm, but i still would’ve loved to see you. :)

    i am with you on the city walking – i adore it as well and find it wonderfully meditative when i have the time. i took a stroll from the uws to union square while mulling over big decisions yesterday, and it was the perfect medicine. be careful with the feet though! i know we don’t always wear the most practical footwear…

  • Leah

    i have always loved to walk!… if you ever need a strolling buddy let me know.

  • ahhhh you were in my neighborhood! next time you venture on over to bk heights you better let me know girl! i’m at st. francis college now :)

  • I love to walk, and it’s one of the biggest parts of living in a city that I really miss right now. it’s free, a great way to get exercise, and to really see your surroundings.

  • I love long walks and i love the look of your soup!!

  • i love walking too! though i gotta say i really like to walk when the weather doesn’t suck! that soup looks so thick and hearty! i’ll have to give it a try :)

  • I miss my college days if for nothing else the amount of walking I did! I loved walking across campus in the spring time and admiring my surroundings in the sunshine. I hope someday I’ll have time to do that again!

  • i wish i lived in a more walker-friendly place, for sure. i miss that about college where i could basically walk anywhere.

  • Bess

    Long walks in my neighborhood of Saint Paul are absolutely wonderful, but one of my favorite things to do when I have a Saturday free (these days are rarer and rarer since Freshman year…) is to hop on a bus going in any old direction, ride it until I don’t recognize anything, and meander about. I’ve had some awesome adventures doing this, and it’s the best way (IMHO) to explore the cities!

  • I walk everywhere in the city, including to and from work in Midtown every day. It’s just the greatest mode of transportation in New York – despite how crowded the streets can be, it feels like the best form of alone time. And you know exactly how long it’s going to take you to get where you’re going.

  • I love walking! There is something therapeutic about it. I hope that someday I get to explore NYC by foot but so far I’ve explored DC a lot and I’ve only been there twice! I also hope that sooner or later I’ll live somewhere a bit more urban and walker friendly!

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