St. Johns Boosters Wellness

Fall Recipe: Ginger Squash Soup

Fall is officially here. The cooler weather means it’s finally time to turn on our ovens and start cooking again. It also means SOUPS! Not just any soup though, Ginger Squash Soup. This recipe is one of my favorites because it is so easy and delicious. I am honestly the laziest cook, so the easier the better. Plus this recipe makes a big batch, which means you can freeze some for later. Roasting the squash gives this soup a delicious flavor, the apples add a touch of sweetness, the ginger gets things spicy and the coconut milk mellows it all out with some creamy goodness. Happy cooking! I hope you love this soup as much as I do.


An image of a bowl of squash soup
Sweet and spicy!

4 Acorn or butternut Squash (or any other variety)

1-2 Apples

2-4 T Fresh grated ginger ( The more you use, the spicier your soup!)

1 Large onion, diced

1-2 Cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 C Chicken bone broth or vegetable broth

2 C Coconut milk (I prefer this brand because it is just coconut)

2 T Coconut oil or avocado oil

Fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash and apples in half and remove seeds. Place face down on  a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until soft, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Trust me these babies get HOT! Remove skins after cool and dice into small pieces. Set this aside. (This can be done a day before if you are short on time. Just refrigerate until ready to cook.)

Saute onion in a few tablespoons of avocado oil or coconut oil until almost soft. Add garlic, saute for a few moments and then add the squash, apples, ginger, broth and coconut milk. Let this all simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes to let all the flavors meld together. After 30 minutes, remove from heat and carefully use an emersion blender or regular blender to puree into a creamy consistency. Add water or more broth if it gets too thick. Add your salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Garnish with a sprig of parsley or cilantro and another squeeze of lemon juice. Then eat and enjoy!

Art Education Wellness

Add Some Clay To Your Health Regimen

st. johns clay studio practice ceramics for well being
Healthy clay: getting your hands dirty is good for you!


So we’re two months into the new year.  You’ve held true to your healthy resolutions; whirled up and consumed gallons of kale and acai berry smoothies, done hours of meditation, started crossfit to shake things up, but you’re still feeling slightly flat.

Maybe it’s time to incorporate some clay into your routine? Not into your diet (that’s another article) but between your hands!

Use ceramics for well-being. You can pound clay, shape it, throw it on a wheel let it slip through your hands, then shift it into something that didn’t exist before.  Its meditation, stress relief, and neuron building. It’s magic!

Creative Arts Impact Well Being

Evidence strongly points out that participating in creative arts can positively impact our health to the same degree as nutrition or exercise.

We’ve been doing art as long as we’ve been human. It’s an intrinsic component of what we are. We’re driven to create; to express ourselves. Children do it intuitively, but unfortunately, our culture holds the misconception that doing art is a luxury allowed to only the young. As adults we run from one responsibility to another, leaving no time for our own personal creative enrichment. Many of us don’t even realize that we are missing it.

Being in the Moment

We all need quiet moments when we can transcend into the act of making. Really, any material, medium or venue, are good, but the all-consuming tactile experience you get from playing with clay is incredibly powerful. There is a deeply primal satisfaction in the act of creating something  from what is literally earth and water; pushing it, pulling it and getting dirty. Asking the clay to go where we want it to go while compromising with the clay body’s limits. It’s an exercise in patience, but also profoundly rewarding.

St.Johns Clay handbuilding and using ceramics for well being
“Doing clay has helped me feel more grounded in my life.” – SJCC Student

Building Brains

We now know that we can continue to create new neurons well into our eighties. Brain research shows that making new brain cells, neurogenesis, happens by doing something new, exciting and energizing. The cement that holds these new neurons into permanence is physical activity.  That makes clay arts a perfect brain builder; concentration, exploration with lots of full body muscle engagement. Furthermore, art enrichment programs demonstrate that active participation in the arts delays aging disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s, and can improve brain function and mood in those already impacted by neuropsychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety.

Go for Process, Not Product

Sometimes in the process of neuron-building we might simultaneously build a cup, or a bowl, or even a ceremonial teapot, but the true health value is in the process of making, long before the vessel comes off the wheel. If a bowl materializes from your pinch-pot or a cup does come off the wheel, it’s a secondary bonus to all that you’ve already gained. This act of doing is specifically about each of us as a do-er, and not as a consumer of someone else’s doing. Yes, by all means attend the concert, museum, and be a patron of the arts. Artists of every level need our support, but take time for self-care and create some creativity-time for yourself.

St. Johns Clay Collective

Come by the studio in North Portland’s Cathedral Park Place and put your hands to work. We offer classes, lessons, and private events. [button link=””]St. Johns Clay Collective[/button]

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