Butternut Squash Soup

Oh, this soup.

5 ingredients + spices + water.

1 hour, 15 minutes.

That’s it. And it’s thick and tasty and even enjoyed by a squash-hater (Dad). And it’s healthy and inexpensive and stretches. And you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (You might think I’m talking pancakes, but I’m not!) Gluten-free, vegan and very awesome. Let’s make this magical concoction.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy, piping hot, and full of flavor, this healthy soup provides your body with fiber, potassium, carotenoids and antioxidants. This means a healthier heart, cancer fighters, and healthy nervous and immune systems. It’s a power food with the consistency of buttery happiness and the color of a sunset. It’s all good. And super easy to make and eat this awesome soup. Don’t focus on the healthy and be mesmerized by the awesomity of this power house meal. Serve with crusty bread, a salad or even a potato on the side for the ultimate warmth on a winter day.

8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 butternut squash (4 pounds total-ish)
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 4 cups water (or 2 cups stock and 2 cups water)
  • 2 cups milk (I used almond)
  • Spices: 2 TB olive oil, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, few dashes pepper, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of each: ginger & cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of each: nutmeg, cloves.

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with a nonstick baking mat, parchment, foil or just spray. Peel and chop squash into 1-inch chunks (-ish). Chop apple, onion and carrots into bite-sized chunks, too.
  • In a large bowl, toss veggies/fruit chunks into olive oil and spices until coated. (I had to do this in 2 batches.) Then, spread the chunks out on the baking sheets as one layer (evenly roasts this way). Roast for 35 minutes, or until cooked through and browning on edges.
  • In a large pot, add water and all roasted veggies. Heat on high until bubbling. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Option 1: If you have an immersion blender: blend mixture together until desired consistency. Garnish with cinnamon and toasted seeds and enjoy!
  • Option 2: If you have a regular blender: Add half of liquid and half of veggies to your blender and blend until desired consistency. Transfer blended mixture to a large bowl. Repeat blending with remaining ingredients and transfer to the bowl or pot. Garnish with toasted seeds and cinnamon and enjoy!
  • Note: If you prefer a “runny” soup, add more water or milk and let simmer longer. Also, rinse and roast the seeds with a little olive oil and salt for 15 minutes, for a fun topping.
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Chopped.

Roasted.

Roasted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will definitely make this again. Definitely. Now to convert my husband to loving squash…and thanks to you all reading my 300th blog post. Wow, that’s crazy.

-Laurel

 

 

 

Oh, snap! Ginger

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The Bend and Snap.

Don’t seem too cool and act like you never saw Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon. Come on, Beverly Hills sorority girls becoming Harvard-educated attorneys is completely legit…it’s a colliding of the stereotypes. And yet I love that movie. Mostly because my mom and I giggle when we watch it. It’s a flashback to my Gidget phase(s). And I digress…oh, yes, the Bend and Snap!

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Yes, my MIL gave us Gingerbread People Plates for Xmas. Had to use them, even if it IS March! 🙂

The Bend and Snap, that silly dance Reese used to get some boy’s attention…well, it’s kind of like these GINGERBREAD COOKIES. The soft (thicker) ones bend, and the crunchy (thin) ones snap when you bite into them! I used Tartine’s recipe (that fabulous bakery in San Fran…someday I’ll visit), and made a half batch…which still make 55 tiny little flower gingersnaps! Heaven, I must say. Here goes:

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Gingerbread Cookies

Almost completely straight from Tartine Bakery

Dough:

  • 1 5/6 cups All-purpose flour (9.25 oz)
  • 1/2 TB cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (8 TB or 4 oz.), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap or other dark molasses
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar (4 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons water


1: Dough and Go:: Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and set aside. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or your bulging biceps by hand), beat the butter on medium-high speed until it gets creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar on medium speed until mixture is smooth and soft. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and add the egg. Mix well.

2: Make it Creamy:: Add the molasses and corn syrup to the mixture and beat until all mixed together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the flour mixture. Beat on a low speed until a dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the dough becomes, well, dough! Remove the dough from the bowl and flatten it out on a large piece of plastic wrap into a rectangle-ish about an inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (I know, I know, who is that patient? But you need to let this magic dough rest for at least 8 hours; trust me, waiting is SOOOOO worth it!!)

3: And for Bfast the Next Day, Hee:: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the dough, place it on a floured surface (don’t forget flour!), and roll out the dough between 1/4 and 1/3 of an inch thick. (Thick=Soft, Bend=Snap) Cut out the shapes with a cookie cutter or fancy plaque with a fun design or, hey, use an upside-down drinking glass if we’re getting real here. Place your doughy shapes on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. (Give them a little space in between…they do spread a bit in the oven.) Bake for 7 to 15 minutes. (I know, that a BIG range, but for little 1-inch cookies like mine, 7 minutes was plenty; for bigger, “playing card” size, 15 minutes is needed.) Bake until they are lightly golden along the sides but still soft to the touch in the center.

4: Glaze and Go:: While you’re waiting for the magic dough to bake, make your simple glaze with the confectioners’ sugar and water. Remove the cookies from the oven, let cool in their pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then, brush on the glaze (right on top) when the cookies are still warm. Mmm, yum. You can keep them in an air-tight container at room temp for up to 2 weeks! Makes a great gift. Goes well with coffee or warm milk or wine…not gonna lie.

Hope you enjoy one of the top 3 cookies I’ve ever made! Thanks to Tartine Bakery (& Elisabeth and Chad) for such an awesome approach to beautiful baked goods with out any snobbery at all. 🙂

Cinnamon Candy Apples

Who doesn’t love a nice caramel apple sometimes?

Halloween has come and gone, but the apples are still plentiful. And Christmas season is coming to an end (tell that to every retailer, heh), but does cinnamon ever really go out of season? I think not.
Granted, the three most used words on this blog are “easy,” “banana,” and one more…you guessed it…CINNAMON. Ah, cinnamon. I find any excuse to sneak it into a recipe. Mostly in breakfast dishes and baked goods, but sometimes an entree or hearty sauce, too! And why not just out there, in plain sight, coating an apple?
Cinnamon Candy Apples

Using cinnamon hard candies makes this treat a snap to make, plus the cinnamon soaks into the top layer of the apple flesh. Yum.

You’ll need:

Parchment paper or a silicone baking liner
4 apples
4 skewers or Popsicle sticks

1 1/3 cup cinnamon hard candies (unwrapped!)
2 TB light corn syrup
Cooking spray
Spoon

Prep: Lay out a sheet of parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray or a baking liner on the counter. Carefully insert a skewer or popsicle stick into each apple. 

Step 1: Spray a small pot with cooking spray and toss in the cinnamon hard candies. Stir in the light corn syrup.

Step 2: Heat over low-medium heat until mixture is bubbly and the candies are melted.

Step 3: Quickly dip each apple into the cinnamon mixture to coat. Use a spoon to coat each apple entirely. Immediately place the apples on the wax paper and let cool for 30 minutes. The coating will turn back to its hard candy form…take care not to break a tooth while devouring the spices-y awesomity!

~Laurel~

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