Healthy “Quarantine Hug” Soup for the Soul

As if going to the grocery store right now isn’t stressful enough–We work up the courage to go, then as we play human checkers, we seem to be on a scavenger hunt to find what we went there for. I’m sure everyone who is overly “stocking up” has their own reasons, but it certainly is making grocery shopping even more challenging during such an already challenging time.

I love to get in my greens and fresh veggies of all types but I’ve been feeling a little nervous about eating uncooked fresh produce right now. With 5 of us trying to work out of the house, lunch time can sometimes last for hours by the time each person frees up time in their schedule, comes to the kitchen and pulls out their choices, etc. It’s a lot of different ingredients to keep an inventory of when you’re trying to eliminate some trips to the grocery store. It also creates a lot of different messes, so I decided making a giant pot of healthy soup here and there might help with some of that.

I have a couple of go-to healthy vegetable soup recipes I like to make, but this last shop at my local market had me scratching my head for usual ingredients. Many things were cleaned out so I found myself substituting quite a bit for recipes. With some of our favorites gone, I bought the produce that was left unloved. I’ll admit it: fennel and rainbow chard aren’t regulars on my list, but they sure will be now.

I couldn’t find cannellini beans or canned tomato paste either, so I subbed in garbanzo beans and tubed tomato paste for the soup I was trying to make. The unexpected substitutes made a soup so delicious, it deserves to be in my regular repertoire. Since many of us are finding ourselves in similar positions, I thought I’d share my make shift recipe with you. It’s very forgiving so you can also substitute where needed.

As terrible as Coronavirus and quarantine time is, I really feel it’s telling us so much if our hearts are open. I don’t mind life teaching me to be more flexible, creative, patient, healthy, generous…and loving among many other things. It’s funny, shortly after I worked so hard to “score” my items, I was asked to donate to a local group collecting food for people in need. Of course I did because we need to help take care of each other. Everywhere I’m turning, I’m seeing opportunities for spiritual renewal and growth. That’s what’s bringing me comfort through this whole experience.

I hope you enjoy this soup, my family loved it. It felt especially meaningful to eat a warm and healthy bowl of soup all together, at the same time today in our kitchen. With busy schedules and locations we haven’t been able to do that too often in recent years. I think I’ll call this recipe: Healthy “Quarantine Hug”-Soup for the Soul.



Healthy “Quarantine Hug” Soup for the Soul

A healthy pot of veggie soup!

  • Author: sharonpeddie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Total Time: Approx. 40-45 minute


2/3 cup of olive oil

1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped

1 chopped leek 

2 cloves of finely chopped garlic

4 peeled carrots or 2 ish cups of baby carrots

3 celery stalks chopped

a generous handful of fresh roughly chopped parsley

1 fennel bulb, cut out the core at the bottom and use all white parts, chopped

A stalk (bunch) of washed and chopped rainbow chard

A stalk (bunch) of washed and chopped Tuscan kale (you can use any kind, I like the deep green if available)

2 handfuls of spinach

Half of a tube of tomato paste or small can

810 Cups of chicken broth

2 cans of garbanzo beans

oregano, thyme, rosemary, pinches of each  (dried or fresh)

pinches of kosher salt and pepper to taste

Italian blend cheese for garnish

half of a squeezed fresh lemon


Heat oil and saute onions, leek, carrots, garlic, celery, fennel and parsley about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and herbs and stir well

Add chicken broth, beans, chard, kale and spinach

Cook for about 5-10 minutes on low…don’t cook too long so that your veggies still have texture and don’t turn to mush. 

Garnish with Cheese


Share a warm bowl with your quarantine crew. Stay safe and healthy. XO

Keywords: soup, quarantine soup, greens, kale, rainbow chard, spinach, healthy soups, warm soups,

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Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit or or https://sharonpeddieblog.com

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

The Craze of the Graze! Grazing Table, why not?

If you’re not aware of one of the latest crazes in entertaining, “The Grazing Table”, then I’m excited I get to be the one to introduce it to you! I love entertaining and I’m always looking for ways to be a relaxed hostess so I can enjoy my friends. The Grazing Table is easy, fun, festive and a delicious way to feed everyone!

For the last 22 years, my daughters and I have hosted a Mother & Daughter Cookie Exchange. It’s more like a Soirée! Sure, we all “swap” homemade cookies but it’s also a festive party and celebration of Christmas, friendships and the bond between Mothers and Daughters.

For our party food this year, we decided to take on the Grazing Table! I’ve been seeing them in wedding & event photos and everywhere on Pinterest! My daughters and I feel like appetizers are one of the most fun parts of a festive dinner anyway, so why not turn it into the meal?! We also enjoy creating beautiful charcuteries so why wouldn’t we make a giant one? It was really fun to create our party’s Grazing Table and it turned out pretty cute for being our first one. They’re awesome and you can go so many different directions with them. We had everything from Sushi to shrimp, from chicken tenders to grilled chicken, baked brie to other assorted cheeses , veggies, olives and nuts. Our party guests were all ages, so the Grazing Table allowed us to have something for everyone! Hope you get to create one or at least enjoy one soon. Come follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration!

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Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit or or https://sharonpeddieblog.com

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal. My photographs are my personal property. They may only be used in the sharing of my blog posts but cannot be used or reproduced independently.

2020 Resolutions–Knowing what I don’t want always leads me to what I do!

It’s been hard finding the time to write lately. It settles me to put my heart into words. Tonight, it feels especially important to put my 2020 hopes and “resolutions” into my new planner and out into the universe.

The rest of my family is out tonight, all doing fun things. That feels really nice so I put my perfect date night with “myself” into motion. I know I want to write but I want it to be inspired and not forced. So, I take a quiet bubble bath, something I haven’t slowed down to do since my achy last half marathon a couple of years ago! Next, I make my favorite dinner of salmon, enough for my 14 year old lab because I feel worried she hasn’t been eating enough. It’s dark, cold and raining so I pour a glass of an elegant Oregon Pinot Noir to give it a cozy feel. After, I grab my computer. I light a fire in the fireplace. I sit on the floor with my furry best friend all snuggled up next to me. Together, we peacefully coexist. She’s happy to have me still and next to her. I feel the same so I’m inspired to begin.

 Rather than a whole list of resolutions (that are often too enthusiastic and unrealistic anyway), it has always helped me to just choose 5 words to grow by. This year, I’ve chosen Faith, Love, Health, Discipline and Growth. I believe keeping those words close to me will lead me to make good decisions within my 2020 days and year.

Reflecting is helpful. I’m older now. My mature heart longs to be less selfish and have more substance. I want to make sure my “resolutions”/goals are all in line with that desire. My mature heart is what drove me to write my book. But my heart still wants to do more. I know my ability to write is a gift from God and it feels purposeful. I have always felt there is power and magic in the written word. In the last few years, I feel guided to write. So I’m listening, I’m writing. I’m hoping it touches the right hearts.

Whenever I try to figure out my direction, sometimes I find it easier to listen to what I don’t want. It always seems to guide me to what I do. I have goals in all areas of my life but as I said, my mature heart longs to have a life filled with real meaning. The world pushes “superficial” on us and it leaves us feeling stressed, anxious and some depressed. Accomplishments, possessions, perfection, etc. etc. In my opinion, that’s not what fills us up or calms us down. It’s being a loving person and being surrounded by loving people that is the key to our joy. I will make my decisions for all parts of my life with this in mind and heart. This leads me to writing about what I don’t want in 2020 so that it steers me to what I do want to be and what I want my life to mean.

I don’t want to lead a busy, busy life doing things that don’t bring me joy. I don’t want to be someone who isn’t grateful for my blessings. I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t understand that our struggles are also blessings, filled with lessons for our journey. I don’t want struggles to make me bitter.

I don’t want to be a wife who doesn’t take time to really look at my husband and hear his dreams and his struggles. I don’t want to be a family member that is removed from needs of my whole family. I don’t want to be a mom who doesn’t help my kids dream, or that drops the ball or misses a cry for help.

I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t answer your text or can’t keep our plans. I don’t want to be the friend that doesn’t lift you up or make your dreams important to me too. I don’t want to be too busy or self involved to ask you if you’re ok. I don’t want to be too busy to ask if your loved ones are ok too.

 I don’t want to spend my life “online” and always be plugged in.  I also don’t want to be totally disconnected from the world and people I care about.  I don’t want to be the person on social media that spreads negativity, ignores your pain or resents your joy.

I don’t want to be a writer that writes inspiration-I want to be an inspired person who writes and shares. I don’t want to spend my days trying to be an “influencer” or following them…but I hope to always be a good influence. I don’t want to be a person who wants to have a big “following” and never values people enough to follow them back.

 I don’t want to be the neighbor that doesn’t see you outside or that you can’t ask for help. I don’t want to be the one who lets everyone else always pick up the tab. I don’t want to be the person that never volunteers. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t take time help people in need.

 I don’t want to be the one who pushes my political views on you or makes you feel bad for yours. I don’t want to claim to be a good Christian but then judge you or make you feel bad. I don’t want to talk about my friends behind their back.

I don’t want to spend time with people who don’t make me feel good. I don’t want to ignore my physical, spiritual or mental health. I don’t want to have unhealthy habits as a way of life. I don’t want to have bad manners. I don’t want to treat people in my life in bad ways that affect their health or mental health.

I don’t want my year to be about just what I want. I don’t want to be shallow. I don’t want you to be shallow with me. I don’t want to be ignored. I don’t want to ignore you. I don’t want us to forget that we’re connected. I don’t want us to not include each other in our resolutions and goals. 

Happy New Year! I’m wishing you don’t have a lot of things you don’t want. I hope this helps inspire clarity to what we do want and need in 2020.

Sharon Caldwell Peddie is also the Author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy”. For more information on her book visit or or https://sharonpeddieblog.com

Anything contained in my blog that is written or shared by me is just my personal view. If you find inspiration in any of my content, please be responsible, safe and legal.

Pacific Book Review –

Grow Yourself Beautiful

Title: Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy
Author: Sharon Caldwell Peddie
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 9781532057342
Pages: 154
Genre: Young adult non-fiction
Reviewed by: Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Read Book Review

Grow Yourself Beautiful: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Following Her Heart and Focusing on Her Inner Joy is an impassioned narrative written by a lovingly concerned mother looking not only to encourage and influence her own daughters’ positive growth, but also seeks to encourage all young ladies through the hectic maze of this largely depthless, one-dimensional world, where society gives sanction to unreasonable standards of beauty and behavior for women. Author Sharon Caldwell Peddie’s debut narrative Grow Yourself Beautiful works. Powered not only by the experiences of being a mother to three daughters, but also her over twenty years of experience of working with young women through multiple arenas including leadership development, community service, as well as cultural awareness.

Instantly, author Peddie solidifies a heartwarming connecting with readers with her encouraging poem entitled the same as the book, Grow Yourself Beautiful. Both reassuring and inspirational this poem addresses the considerable angst that young ladies will encounter in today’s world and very much set the tone for the whole narrative which is one of practical guidance and supportive encouragement.

Moreover, the book is comprised like an acrostic poem, with each of the letters in the word-beautiful broken down letter by letter into chapters which artfully expands on developing inner fortitude and growing the beauty inside instead of focusing on the superficial exterior. Each chapter focuses on pertinent conventional notions that are simple but highly effective when duly employed; such as kindness, gratitude, thankfulness, education, being authentic, resilience and more. My personal favorite is chapter four; U is for Unplugging where she encourages leaving the electronics alone and taking an introspective journey into yourself in order to get to know yourself and foment the most important relationship you will ever experience in life – and that is with yourself. In particular, this is very important advice for this technologically submerged world, and not only do young females need to do this, as well, there are many adults that should heed this advice as well, as society would be a lot better off.

Author Sharon Caldwell Peddie’s passion for the development of healthy young women shines through her work in this book. Entirely an enjoyable and beneficial read, I found this book to be an invaluable guide, both empowering and encouraging for female readers of all ages. Also, as a mother of four girls myself, I could easily relate to the necessity for a book like this in a world full of sexist paradigms that barrage young ladies and discourage female independence while battering self-esteem. Our daughters need to know that they are great and have phenomenal potential, of which Grow Yourself Beautiful accomplishes with an endearing quality and comes across as more than just a guide to growing up female, it is a lovingly earnest tribute to all daughters and the devoted mother-daughter bond. An additional perk to the book is the inclusion of ten journaling pages and links to websites with more information.

Falling in Love with Change

For many years of my life, I was terrified of change. The fear of the unknown. The loss that might come from it. Would I have the ability to handle it?

However, I’ve always been someone who bores easily with robotic routine. I love the comfort of my normal routines but having new experiences out of my comfort zone feeds my soul. I like the security to keep repeating what I’m good at but I crave learning something new. It electrifies me and recharges my life. While I hold on tight to my oldest and dearest friends, I also love the magic in meeting new people and making new friends. I feel grounding roots in revisiting my favorite places, but experiencing a new piece of earth invigorates and excitingly educates me. This is why I have learned to love and embrace change rather than be afraid of it.

Change is really the only “constant” we have in life. Unless we learn to embrace it, we will always feel unsettled. Resisting it causes us anxiety and exhaustion. Embracing it brings inner peace and tremendous growth. The difference between resisting or embracing is either a negative life or a positive one.

Right now, my life is full of change. I wanted to write about my philosophy of positively embracing change as a therapeutic reminder to myself and to also help anyone else needing it too. I have a lot of personal change just with myself as individual–but also with my family unit who has been the center of my life. My oldest daughter moved out on her own. My middle is graduating college and she will live where she finds her job. My youngest is graduating high school and she’ll leave for college in less than 4 months. My husband and I will soon be empty nesters asking ourselves what we want the rest of our lives to look like. My step-dad for 41 years just passed away this week. All of this on top of each other could have made a younger me buckle, but change has shown me it’s all a sign of a full, well-loved, well-lived life!

Reasons to Fall in Love with Change:

  • Change closes the doors to bad situations and black spots in life. Change causes it to finally end. It moves us forward.
  • Change opens new exciting chapters to our story. It provides a chance for fresh new words and pages!
  • Change keeps life from being boring. The same routines make us feel stale and like sleepy robots.
  • Change adds mystery to our life. When we aren’t sure what lies ahead in the dark, we are forced to be more alert. It causes us to be more open, seeing and hearing things like we didn’t before.
  • Change opens new doors. There are new people to love and to love us. There are new opportunities to make our life more exciting!
  • Change brings valuable lessons and better perspective. Every time we go through a change, we learn so much about life and ourselves. It makes us look at everything through a fresher, sharper, wiser lens. 
  • Change makes us more loving and more compassionate. With every new change comes an experience that helps us see what walking in someone else’s shoes feels like. 
  • Change makes us more flexible. There are many things every single day we can’t control. When we learn flexibility, we get to have inner peace when things don’t go as we planned. When we learn how to be flexible, we become less afraid we’ll break.
  • Change builds strength and resilience. I devoted a whole chapter to resilience in my book because I believe resilience is our most important life skill. Resilience is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it gets. Every time we go through a tough or challenging change, it builds our resilience. It shows us, we will be ok. We will be just fine.

Spring is the perfect time to plant our intentions to grow a more positive mindset about change. There are so many signs in Spring from God, the Universe and Nature that assure us change brings us faith, light, hope, joy and love. Change helps us grow stronger and more beautiful.

Sharon is the author of “Grow Yourself Beautiful”. For more information on her book, visit,

I took the cover photo of this blog post at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. It’s one of my favorite places to celebrate Spring and the changes of my year.