Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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“Worries go down better with soup.” ~Jewish Proverb

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the changing of the leaves, the crisp coolness in the air, and all the glorious food that is harvested and celebrated this time of year. I go to a local farmer’s market year round and I have to say that this time of year is the best for fresh produce. This soup celebrates everything that is fall- the earthiness of the squash combined with the warmth of the spices- even the golden color! Have a bowl of liquid Autumn!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4-6)

Ingredients

1 (3 lb.) butternut squash, quartered and seeded

1 3/4 c. yellow onion, finely chopped

4 c. homemade chicken stock

1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/2 c. heavy cream

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash quarters cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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2. Roast squash for about 45 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool.

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3. While the squash is roasting, sauté the onions in a large skillet until translucent, then add to crock pot.

4. Peel skin off of squash, and cut into small cubes. Add squash, stock, applesauce, and spices into crock pot.

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5. Cover crock pot and simmer on low for 2-4 hours.

6. Puree soup with immersion blender or in a blender, until very smooth. Stir in heavy cream and blend more if needed.

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Enjoy!

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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“True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but not in heart.” ~Unknown

Every time I make these muffins I think of my best friend, Brett. Last March, I went to visit her during my spring break and I brought some VERY overripe bananas with me because I was determined to attempt vegan baking. I had heard that bananas could substitute eggs as a binder, so I thought we should try it out. I was there for 5 days and each day was packed with all the things that we do best…eating, talking, shopping, wine tasting, eating, talking….it was so great…and so us. One of our other favorite things to do together is bake. On my last night there we still hadn’t used my bananas…so despite it being 11 o’clock at night, we baked. And it was so worth it! We made these vegan banana muffins and they were moist and delicious. Since then, I’ve been adding non-dairy chocolate chips to them to make them even more delicious! They also freeze well. I’ll often make a batch, and then after they cool, put them into a freezer bag in the freezer. For a quick breakfast on the go, I just take them out of the freezer and microwave them for about 30 seconds and they’re perfect! Great with coffee, almond milk or if you are not a vegan- then maybe you’ll go for the cow’s milk! Oh yeah, and feel free to lick the bowl- no eggs!! :)

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (yields 12 muffins)

Ingredients

3 very ripe bananas

1/4 c. vegetable oil

3/4 c. organic cane sugar

2 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1/3 c. vegan mini chocolate chips (optional)

Method


1. Preheat oven to 375. Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a medium sized bowl and add oil and sugar, stir to combine.

2. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Grease or line muffin pan. Fill each cup 3/4 full.

4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350. *Lower the temperature to 350 degrees after about 2 minutes of baking time. Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine are usually done right at 20 mins)

5. Allow muffins to cool for 1 minute in the pan and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

(This tip of spiking the oven temperature in the beginning and then lowering it actually helps prevent the muffins from sticking!)

Enjoy!