Tag Archives: Soup

Curried Pumpkin-Cauliflower Soup

 

IMG_9048

That’s right. Another pumpkin recipe. But it’s only September, and with our first real cold front coming through tomorrow, I believe it’s high time for soup to hit the household menu.

Soups are perhaps my favorite cool-weather food to prepare. They’re incredibly simple, and they’re a fantastic way to consume a variety of vegetables without having to force another forkful of cold, bitter greens into your mouth. Pumpkin, in particular, as well as plenty of other winter squashes, bring a particular savory sweetness to this soup that plays against the tingly warmth of the curry spices. The coconut milk and  cauliflower, being a common ingredients in Indian fare, tie the flavors all together with velvety richness.

 

Curried Pumpkin-Cauliflower Soup
{paleo, gluten free, vegan-optional}

2 tbsp ghee, butter, or coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated (about a thumb-sized knob)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups cauliflower florets
1-14 oz can pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
1-14 oz can full-fat coconut milk (about 2 cups)

In a large saucepan, melt the ghee, butter, or coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until mostly translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, coriander and salt, and stir for a minute or two until highly fragrant.

Add the stock, cauliflower, and pumpkin puree. Bring to a boil, then lower to a steady simmer, and cook until cauliflower is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat, add the coconut milk. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, or by (carefully!) blending in batches in either a blender or a food processor.

 

Winter Squash & Chestnut Soup

untitled-8106

 

Today, on the very first day of October, I turned off my air conditioner and opened my windows. There’s a slight chill in the air and I’m breathing it all in deep.

It’s really starting to feel like fall here. I spotted several yellow spots on varying trees. I can probably wear long sleeves without (too much) problem. At night, I wear sweatshirts when I go outside, and we even had a fire in our fireplace a few nights ago. My Netflix movie came in today. Sleepy Hollow.

I’m so ready for this.

untitled-8071

I’ve been eating a lot of soup lately. It makes for a really fun fall lunch, and it makes sure that I consume more homemade bone broth. Some people can drink the stuff like water. I can’t. But in soup (or pot roast), flavorful stock is the secret to umami-filled meal.

The (other) secret to this soup is the presence of chestnuts. Chestnuts aren’t (quite) in season here yet. Plainview won’t see them until December, but my hometown of Fort Worth will probably have them by Thanksgiving. I just happened to stock up on some last Christmas, peel them, and freeze them for recipes this year. Today I decided to fish them out and use them is this delicious autumnal soup. You can use jarred chestnuts. I’ve seen those year-round in several higher-end grocery stores (Market Street, Sprouts, Central Market, etc.).

I also used acorn squash for this, but other winter squash varieties like pumpkin, butternut, or kabocha would work perfectly as well!

 

untitled-8114

Winter Squash & Chestnut Soup
Serves 2-4

1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 tsp salt (if using storebought broth, stick with one teaspoon and go up from there)
1 cup peeled chestnuts
3/4-1 lb winter squash flesh, cubed
3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp fresh thyme
Yogurt, sour cream, or heavy cream for topping (optional)
Salted, toasted squash seeds for topping (optional)

Over medium-low heat, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add onion and salt and allow onion to soften, stirring occasionally.

Add chestnuts, winter squash, and garlic to the saucepan. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broth, water, black pepper, coriander, and allspice together in the pot. Stir and cover with a lid. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Turn off heat and add in fresh thyme. Carefully transfer contents of the saucepan to a blender or food processor. On low-speed, blend until smooth, approximately 3 minutes.

Pour or ladle into bowls and serve as is or topped with yogurt/sour cream/heavy cream and squash seeds.

untitled-8124

Fall Bucket List

Have you ever made a fall bucket list? I feel like I make one every year, whether I write it down or not. Fall is, of course, my favorite season. I am so obsessed with fall that I have an organized section on my video shelf that I understand to be “fall mood movies.” I eat pumpkin year-round, and I daydream about what to do the coming fall once January hits every year.

Last year, my bucket list consisted of things like, visit a corn maze (check), drink pumpkin ale (check—but still don’t like beer), and read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Legend of Rip Van Winkle (started but didn’t finish. Is it just me or is Washington Irving painfully wordy?!). Some things, though, did not get finished and were moved to this year’s list. In this case, apple picking!

This past weekend, John and I visited our local apple orchard (Apple Country Orchards) for their annual Apple Butter Festival (sadly, Edgar had to work and could not join us). It was really just a small arts and crafts festival, but the real fun was walking through the orchards, bag or bucket in hand, picking your own apples (which can be done any day, really).

 

untitled-7704

The weather was perfect! We had a small cool front move through the panhandle that day, which provided a lovely, breezy snap in the air that truly invites feelings of early fall.

 

One of the things I learned on this trip was to not be so hard on myself that we have apple tree in our back yard, and even though many apples grew from them, bugs and/or birds got to them the MOMENT they were ripe, so a good percentage of them aren’t any good. Walking through the orchard made me realize that this is completely normal!

untitled-7768

untitled-7718

untitled-7720

We tried to make sure we got a good variety of apples. Apple Country Orchards raises a variety of trees so that at any given time of the year, SOMETHING is in season.

 

untitled-7735untitled-7740

untitled-7743

 

untitled-7744

 

 

untitled-7771

 

In the end, we came home with ten pounds of apples between us, plus some raw apple cider (which I may or may not attempt to ferment into hard cider. It’s on my fall bucket list for this year!), and apple butter. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of apples we obtained, John and I spend yesterday evening baking up apple chips, baked stuffed apples, and Martha Stewart’s Apple-Butternut Squash soup.

This soup is pretty fantastic. It has a little spiciness that warms the back of your throat in the most comforting way possible. I won’t type out the recipe here since I followed the original pretty much to the letter, so I’ll just refer you to this link. I highly recommend you try it this fall.

 

untitled-095

 

All these recipes and we still have 45 apples left! Do you have any suggestions for apple recipes? Also, what is on your fall bucket list?

Fresh Summer Gazpacho

I tell you what.

It is HOT.

I’m going delirious.

I’m making brash decisions like buying produce I don’t like at the farmers market.

I don’t like cucumbers.

Or raw tomatoes.

Or raw onions.

But the other day as I was stuffing kleenex under my armpits and daydreaming about ice baths, I realized there could be nothing better than chilled, summery, vegetable soup.

I imagined myself on some beach on the Mediterranean coast. I’m wearing a flowy sundress, sunglasses, and my hair is in a knot on the top of my head, but unlike my normal do, this one actually looks cute instead of sloppy.

I’m also eating gazpacho with some rustic white bread baked lovingly that morning by some lady with a buttery European accent. I spoon some of the soup onto the bread before biting into it, which I never do.

IMG_2254-1

I tell you, the heat is making me delirious!

What really happened is that I walked into the door of my house, cranked my thermostat to 70 degrees, stripped off half my clothes, threw my hair in a sloppy knot and started tossing fresh veggies in a food processor.

24 hours later I changed my mind about cucumbers. This soup hit the spot like no other summer dish could.

IMG_2245-1

Fresh Summer Gazpacho
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
About 4 healthy servings

1 large cucumber, seeded and diced, but not peeled
2 large FRESH tomatoes, diced
1 large yellow pepper, diced
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree, in a jar or homemade (not canned!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used a combo of regular and this “Orange-Saffron” flavored one I had on hand!)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Roughly chop cucumber, tomatoes, yellow pepper, shallot, and garlic in a food processor. Process until chunky but not smooth. Pour processed veggies into a large glass bowl. Stir in tomato puree, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Flavors will develop more the longer it stays in the fridge, so I highly recommend overnight!

Serve with a hunk of rustic bread. I used the recipe for No-Knead Bread from the NY Times, but used 2/3 white bread flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour.

IMG_2255-1

 

Keep in mind that since this is not cooked at all, you should NOT used canned ingredients! It will leave a nasty metallic taste in the soup and ruin the whole thing. Use fresh or jarred without salt or preservatives wherever possible.

Out of Season

It is late-February and I’m already in the mood for fall.

Actually, being in the mood for fall is something that happens to me approximately 10-11 months out of the year.

With the weather becoming more temperate with the approach of spring, I can imagine the fall season more easily, but I have to pretend not to notice that there are no orange leaves scattered about or that the apple tree in our backyard is 100% bare.

But of course, nothing keeps me from eating fall-seasoned food year-round! (Well, with the possible exception of another canned pumpkin shortage, but I’m still to this day hoarding cans in my pantry to get me through the summer!) I pulled out two oldies-but-goodies (plus a newie?)for dinner and curled up in my sweats on the couch to watch Casper, because, well…a girl’s got to cope with her weird moods somehow.

 

 

IMG_8961-2

Tuscan Pumpkin-White Bean Soup.

I’ve showcased this recipe before her e on the blog. It’s a Weight Watchers recipe I fell in love with about a year ago. It’s so quick and easy that I don’t even bother looking at the recipe anymore, and the ingredients are things you could easily have on hand already. So good, and the heat feels so good on my sore throat!

IMG_8962-1

Harvest Salad.

Another recipe I’ve pulled up twice already on the blog. I skipped the squash, even though I do have some, because I was already heavy-dosing on the vitamin A with the soup. Also, the ingredients are mostly based on whatever I had on hand. No artisan blend greens? I used arugula. No pepitas? I used pistachios. No blue cheese? I used goat cheese. I did have apples, though, so that remained the same.

IMG_8963-2

No Knead Bread.

Now this is a recipe I haven’t discussed here on the blog. Even though I was getting plenty of carbohydrates from the beans, I couldn’t shake the idea of a chunk of fresh, whole grain bread served alongside to round out my harvest-time daydream. I used the recipe from the NY Times as a starting point, but I used all whole wheat flour, plus added 4 tsp of vital wheat gluten to make sure it rose better. And instead of cornmeal on the outside, I used oat bran! It turned out WONDERFUL!

 

IMG_8948-1

IMG_8964-1

 

What’s your favorite season?

Quinoa-Lentil-Kale Soup

During my visit to Sun Harvest this past weekend, I picked up a can of black lentils. I wanted to do something simple with them, so I thought up a soup using the quinoa and red kale I had also just bought. I scoured the internet for a recipe to work from. This recipe is light on the calories and heavy-handed with the nutrients. Plus, it’s FILLING!

While I enjoyed the recipe I used, I do suggest using cumin, curry powder, and cinnamon as the spices to warm up the dish, since the basil and oregano sort of hid in the background. And now that I think about it, I forgot the tomato paste. Ah well. 

Enjoy!

IMG_8912-1

Quinoa, Black Lentil, and Kale Soup
(Adapted from this recipe)
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, unpeeled, chopped
1 large stalk (or two small stalks) celery, chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can black lentils
3/4 cup dry quinoa
1-2 cup kale, chopped or torn into small pieces
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil ( again, I suggest subbing the oregano and basil out with 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, then stir in the onion, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle with some salt and allow to cook until onions art translucent.

Raise heat to high and add the broth. Bring to a boil, then drop the heat to simmer (at about medium head). Add the quinoa. Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy. Stir in lentils, kale, the 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and the herbs/spices. Cook for another 15 minutes or until kale is tender.

Check out the nutrition facts!!!:

Calories: 326
Total Fat: 6g
Saturated fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Total Carbohydrates: 52g
Dietary Fiber: 13g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 18g

 

This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Iron and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.

 

———–

30 Day Challenge
Day 6: 30 Facts about yourself

1. I strongly dislike roller coasters. I hate them. No, I abhor them. I vehemently abhor them. I’m such a buzz kill at amusement parks.

2. It’s February and I’m already in the mood for fall.

3. I don’t like bananas when they’re under ripe, which means I don’t like them until they’re speckled with brown.

4. I’m not the biggest fan of hot oatmeal. It’s the texture.

5. I honk for minor chords. Or something…

6. I’m a mezzo-soprano. I sing alto (A1) in choir because I can sing the entire alto range and entire mezzo-range, but not the entire soprano range, which stinks when there isn’t an S2 part written in the music.

7. I’ve been with Edgar for over four years and he has yet to hear me sing all by myself.

8. All I know about reading music has come from seven semesters’ worth of choir experience plus a vague memory of elementary school music class and a year of recorder class in 5th grade. I’m basically learning very slowly over many years what most music majors learn their first semester.

9. I have the most random taste in music. It makes absolutely no sense. There’s no rhyme (pun not intended) or reason. I currently have six songs playing on repeat on my iTunes right now, and they consist of: one bluegrass song, one rock-song-turned-acoustic-and-bluegrassy, “Love the Way you Lie” by Eminem, “Samson” by Regina Spektor, “Sally’s Song” sung by Fiona Apple, and “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry.

10. I do not enjoy country music, but I love bluegrass a great deal. It also reminds me of fall and road trips.

11. I have a condition called uterine didelphys. Wait what?? Long story short, I have two uteri. And to answer your question, double-pregnancy at two different gestational periods is technically possible but extremely unlikely.

12. I’m allergic to cats. My mom is also allergic and I became so half-way through high school. Both my sisters became allergic to cats during high school as well.

13. I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

14. I love climbing trees

15. I love hiking. It’s cardio and strength training in one! If I had my way, I’d hike every weekend.

16. I love pilates/power yoga. It reminds me of ballet!

17. I was homeschooled from 5th grade through graduation and my social life didn’t suffer even the slightest. In fact, it greatly improved once I started homeschooling.

18. A lot of people are scared of hospitals. I’m not. Some of my earliest memories were of visiting the hospital when my mom was working there as a medical transcriptionist. It also helps that my grandfather was a doctor and my aunt is a nurse.  Medicine is a familiar field in my family.

19.  5 years of Spanish and all I got was this rusty Spanglish. Actually, when I hear people speak Spanish (and here in Texas, it’s almost more common than English), I can always understand some of what they’re saying, and I can usually read what’s written in Spanish. I’m not that confident in my ability to speak it, though.

20. I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I decide to take first semester Old Testament History with the hardest religion professor on campus, but I didn’t pick up on her teaching and testing style until half-way through second semester New Testament History. I got a C in Old Testament as a result, and if I had actually gotten an A in that one class, I would have graduated Summa Cum Laude. Humbug.

21. My minor was in psychology, I have 12 graduate level hours in counseling, and I’m a member of the Psi Chi National Honors Society for psychology.

22. I think my body requires 9-10 hours of sleep every night to feel rested. This means I never feel rested.

23. I have been blogging regularly since 2003. I was 14 and a sophomore in high school when I started my first blog.

24. I don’t swear. And as far as I can remember, I’ve never knowingly cussed. It’s not a habit I ever picked up, nor one I desire to have. I like to think I have a more creative vocabulary.

25. I eat hamburgers upside down. The burger, not myself. This is probably why my burger innards are all assembled backwards.

26. Those Larabars I was saving for my trip…I just ate ‘em. Both of them. Meh, I’ll buy more later.

27. I’ve been able to do a back-bend from a standing position since I was a single-digit age.

28. I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. I just finished the Sorcerers Stone.

29. I’m a bit of a bread snob!

30. Tamales are my very favorite Mexican food!

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On Twitter