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

 

 

 

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~

22 degrees

It’s a sunny 22, according to Weather.com. I’m sitting in my gray leggings, gray wool dress, and leather jacket, ready to take on the world. But alas, I don’t have a desk right now at my internship site. There have been a HOARD of interns coming in this week, so we have to share and make it work. For now, our lovely tan couch in the den will do.

So, how has life been lately, you might ask?

Well, the holiday season was special and difficult, too. There were some I did not get to see enough of (quick 5-minute visits) and others that I felt I couldn’t be around too much. I’m being vague, I realize, but God certainly humbled me this holiday season to open my eyes to His love and His mercy and not dwell on the problems and injustices around me. I’m talking mostly about things here in Waco and things in my own circle of friends and family. I’ve been given an IV of peace in the last couple of weeks, and I am so grateful for that. I hope you have had a WONDERFUL holiday season with friends and family and that you found peace and joy amidst the hustle and bustle.

Just off the plane in Honolulu. Is it a sin to wear a scarf in Hawaii?

Here is a recap of my holidays:

Working at the pharmacy
Wrapping up my grant project at Baylor
Baking cookies

A fun little “The Cluthes” sign for our home

Finding out there is extra grant money, so I’m back on the project at Baylor
Christmas Eve singing in the choir at church (with Dad!)
Christmas Day at Mom and Dad’s &
Missing the Kansas family
The Day after Christmas in Hawaii!

Matt & I mostly enjoyed being with family and RE-LAX-ING, something I forgot how to do last semester. I didn’t realize how hard the last 5 months have been until I was able to step back and see the pitiful state I was in by December. Self-care is something we ALWAYS talk about in class but SO DIFFICULT to actually do! Who has time? Well, I think I’m going to have to do more self-care or I will be no help to others.

Oh, Hawaii was GOR-GEOUS! The people, the food, the sites…amazing. I wondered why my parents would pick one of the touristy places in the country on the busiest week in their whole year of tourism…and then I saw the beach and the house we stayed in…then I understood.

Dinner cruise at sunset

It was beautiful, simply beautiful. And when I looked past the Prada and Dolce stores and behind them toward Waikiki Beach, I knew why we were here. God was there, and it was really easy to see His beautiful creation on those crystal blue waters and the soft, tan sand between my toes.

A beach near Hanauma Bay…it’s not fake, I promise, but a lil windy

We stayed right by Waikiki, and the house sat by a large city park. People of all ages were running and walking and picnicing in the park, so it was quite encouraging. I even took a couple of long walks that week and felt so alive among the Banyans and the cool waters. I know, I know, it was a touristy place, but I actually had a wonderful time. We’re ready to go back…for maybe a month…after I sell my right arm and kidney for the trip expenses. If you have a chance, go! If you’ve been already, go again! It’s marvelous. I thank my Mom and Dad for such a memorable trip…their generosity never ceases to amaze me, whether or not I’m on the receiving end. Matt & I got closer on the trip, and it was wonderful to have my cousin Jeremy there to bring the humor. 🙂

Homemade beverages

My idea of heaven…beautiful beach, amazing people to be around and no makeup!

A ship at Pearl Harbor. (AKA the only time I’ll ever touch a gun)

My cousin Jeremy and I being Texas dorks

The Duke
Dorks at the Honolulu Cookie Company
Delirium at the airport

Happy January, as you start school again or just try to stay warm! Love to you all.

~Laurel~

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