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

 

 

 

Day 7: Smokin’ Tofu

I know, I know, it’s tofu…but would a bbq-raised Texan bring you a bland, eggy substance and call it SMOKIN’? I think not. Let’s get busy.

Tofu is a blank canvas for so much…I actually love smoked tofu in stuff but it’s often hard to find at the store or more pricey than the reg tofu. Get organic tofu if you can…it’s the real stuff. This is quick, easy, and sure to satisfy even the carnivore grizzly bears in your home.

Smokin’ Tofu
Block of extra firm tofu (14 oz or so)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 TB sesame oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco chipotle, for example)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

Supplies: towel, heavy book(s), bowl + brush, rimmed baking sheet, cooling rack (see photo)

Step one: Drain the tofu. It sounds gross, but tofu is a sponge–the more water you drain out means the more flavor/smoke liquid you can inject in. We want the tofu as dry as possible, so wrap the tofu in an absorbent kitchen towel. Place your heaviest cookbook or textbook on top of the tofu and let the towel absorb the liquid, about 20 minutes.

Step two: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (This is the universal temp for cornbread, french fries, roasted veggies and all things hearty and awesome. FYI.) Slice the tofu into “finger-sized” strips, about 14 will come out of a 14 oz block of tofu. In a small bowl, combine all of the seasoning ingredients (sauce, oil, smoke, salt, hot sauce and pepper).

Step three: Place the cooking rack on top of the baking sheet. Line the tofu onto the rack and brush the bbq sauce mixture onto BOTH sides of the tofu. (OPTION: If you have a little time, put the tofu into a gallon zipper bag with the sauce and let marinade for an hour or two. Then, use the excess sauce to brush on the tofu.)

Step four: Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through and brush with the rest of the sauce. Serve piping hot with a baked potato, fries and some beautiful steamed broccoli.





Happy eating!
Laurel

~Laurel~

Banana bread muffins

One of my favorite things to do is take a healthy, flavorful bread recipe and turn it into a muffin…especially a mini muffin!

With the semester back in full swing, I’ve started baking a “batch” of mini muffins (about 24) and storing the cooled muffins in sandwich bags with 3 in each. Then I freeze them and can grab them on the go. I’ll keep them frozen in my lunchbag but, for breakfast and immediate eating, I microwave them for 30 seconds…perfection! It’s way better tasting than frozen waffles, as well as much better for you.

Like most people who like to spend time in the kitchen, I’ve made more than a few different banana bread recipes but this is probably a combo of several because-today-I walked into the kitchen and threw a few things together. (Sorry, not sure who to give credit to…mom? Michael Jackson? My agent? 🙂 ) Hope this is tasty and fun to make.

Banana Bread Muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins or 10-12 regular sized muffies

DRY:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
Dash of salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg (optional)

WET:
2 TB agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 ripe, soft bananas–peeled and “smooshed” with the back of a spoon
1/4 cup orange juice

TOPPING:
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TB margarine/butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans/walnuts (whichever you like)
1/4 cup of raspberries, slightly frozen (put in freezer for 30 min) 

WHIP IT UP:
1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Put topping ingredients in a small bowl, stir together, and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside.
3. Pour dry into wet ingredients and gently fold with a wooden spoon, until all is moistened and gooey. (Don’t over stir.)
4. Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray (or whatever your routine is) and gently pour 1 to 1 1/2 TB of batter in each tin. Top with either 1) half a raspberry or 2) 1 t. drizzle of topping mix.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes, or until they’ve risen and browned a bit.

Voila! Baby bits of happiness. Leave them in the pan for 2 minutes before putting them on a plate/cooling rack to get to room temp. Try not to eat all of them while they’re cooling. HAPPY TUESDAY!

~Laurel~

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