Butternut Squash Soup

Yep. You read that title right. I’m making butternut squash soup just as winter turns to spring on this lovely 50 degree day. Now normally I would be celebrating all things spring right now, but it occurred to me this week that I hadn’t bought one butternut squash all season long. Crazy right? So I bought one. I asked Paul how and he wanted it and he said soup, so who am I to disappoint? I suppose this will be (hopefully) a farewell dinner to winter. Yea, that makes sense.

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IMG_1768Chop it.

IMG_1769Roast it.

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IMG_1772Simmer it.

IMG_1773Puree it.

Butternut Squash Soup

For the squash:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 1/2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • pinch of salt and pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (or one small onion); chopped
  • 2 celery stalks; chopped
  • 1 cup carrots; chopped
  • 1 garlic clove; minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 cups chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • salt & pepper

To Roast Squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place chopped butternut squash onto a tin-foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary over squash. Toss with tongs or your hands so all pieces are evenly covered.

Put in oven and toss with tongs intermittently. About every 10 minutes

Cook for 35 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside.

For the Soup: 

Heat olive oil in soup pot or dutch oven over a medium heat.

Add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté until onions have softened; about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, rosemary and thyme. Sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add broth to deglaze the pot. Add butternut squash and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 40 minutes.

Puree soup with immersion blender or a regular blender.

Add cinnamon and milk to soup. Add salt & pepper as needed.

IMG_1774Eat it!

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Trail Mix Protein Cookie

SPRING BREAK! Woo! The reason I’m so happy…and potentially the reason I just ate three cookies.

If you couldn’t tell already I am on my spring break from school and field placement and I am super excited about it! It’s been a very very hectic last couple of weeks and this break came at the perfect time.

I was so excited today to do all the fun things I’ve been wanting to do for weeks. And when I use the word ‘fun’ I use it lightly for all you folks out there, because what I was really doing was cleaning my apartment, running long lost errands and going grocery shopping. It’s the little things that make me smile I suppose.

Anywho, I’ve had this idea to make healthy oatmeal cookies for ages now. I had my mom send me her delicious oatmeal cookie recipe and I totally messed with it to create a healthier version. She would be appalled. But that’s okay.

So I must confess, these cookies did not spread. I assume from lack of oil/butter. That being said, although I was hesitant about their quality I was pleasantly surprised after tasting. So don’t let your eyes deceive you and give them a shot for a healthy dessert or on the go snack!

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Trail Mix Protein Cookie

  • 1/4 cup unseweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup agave
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (I used Sunwarrior Classic)
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cups chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 35o degrees.

Cream together applesauce, peanut butter, agave, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Mix in separate bowl salt, baking soda, protein powder, and brown rice flour. Gently incorporate into wet mixture.

While mixing add oats into mixture.

At this time add in whatever “extras” you’d like. I added cranberries, chocolate chips, peanuts, and raisins. Mix until everything is distributed evenly.

Roll small balls of the dough and place on ungreased baking sheet. These did not spread so don’t worry about spacing them. Give them a small squish to give them a more “cookie-like” shape.

Cook for 10-12 minutes. (Mine needed 12) Enjoy!

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Spicy Chorizo Bean Soup

I’m headed into the final days of my winter break and boy has it gone fast! Unfortunately for me…and my body I haven’t been the most productive or healthy person these last couple of weeks. I blame the holidays! (Because I need to blame someone right…?) Even with my best intentions its been hard not to oversleep a smidge, go light on the workouts and forget some of my usual eating habits. That being sad, I’m still feeling in pretty good shape, I’m just sad to say I’m in need of a good ole dose of my regular routine *sigh.*

Today we have a winter storm headed our way, “Hercules” if you will. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get up early, workout, clean and cook! A few things I have been slacking on for sure….

I cozied up in our broiling apartment and made some Chorizo Bean Soup and Southwestern Quinoa Casserole. Woop! Healthy New Year here we come!

Spicy Chorizo Bean Soup

  • 2 tbl coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic: diced
  • 1 tbl dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15.5oz can kidney beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can garbanzo beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5oz can cannellini beans: drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale; washed and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups broth (i used chicken)
  • 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 links chorizo; cut into rounds
  • salt

Heat oil in dutch oven (or soup pot). Add onions and saute on medium for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add basil, oregano and rosemary and saute until fragrant. Add all beans, kale, tomatoes and broth to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling add rice wine vinegar and red wine vinegar.

My kale is overflowing! Next time I'd recommend adding this to the pot first.

My kale is overflowing! Next time I’d recommend adding this to the pot first.

Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes add chorizo and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

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Optional: Once soup has simmered use immersion blender to lightly blend some of the soup. This step is optional. I like it somewhat blended to make it a thicker soup, but with some texture. Taste the soup and add salt as needed.

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 Have a happy and healthy new year!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

It’s pumpkin season people! September! The very very very cusp of fall and I plan to take full advantage….even if it was 80 degrees out today. Whatever. I LOVE fall, as do many New Englanders. It is my favorite season without a doubt, and I love how it subtly leads us into the winter holiday season. Although, I do NOT love Winter…like most New Englanders.

Anywho, I eat pumpkin all year round because it’s absolutely fantastic for you. I’ve been on a forced pumpkin hiatus as Whole Foods, my go-to pumpkin haven, has temporarily (or permanently?!) stopped carrying their 365 Canned Pure Pumpkin. I’m super annoyed by this situation, and I’ll tell you why. I JUST discovered this beauty long enough to buy just 2 sad cans before it disappeared! Get it somewhere else? No. Whole Foods 365 is the cheapest I’ve ever been able to find it, I think about $1.69/can? So I boycotted it from other stores.

That is until….TODAY! Woo. I strolled into Shaws today…I never stroll into Shaws, I hate Shaws. But that’s a rant for another day…. Anyways, I strolled in looking for a particular item (which they didn’t have) and stumbled into the baking aisle and what did I see?! Shaw’s brand canned pure pumpkin. Could it be! And marked down to $1.29/can. Yes! I bought 4 cans. I may have to go back.

Rant Over. Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. ButterLESS, OilLESS, GuiltLESS. Check it out.
WARNING FOR COOKIE SNOBS: This cookie will not have your “average” cookie texture. It’s a bit denser but the flavor is great. Definitely a great guiltless dessert you won’t find yourself regretting.

IMG_1431Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1/2 cup & 2 tbl canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup Agave (or honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbl flax meal (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts; chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

Combine pumpkin, egg, agave and vanilla well. Set bowl asideIMG_1427

In a separate bowl combine flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, flax, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Lightly mix.IMG_1426

Slowly incorporate the dry mix into the wet mix. Once nearly mixed add in chocolate chip and walnuts. Finish incorporating. Taste test and add more spice as desired.IMG_1428

Scoop even spoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet. Press dough down and form into a cookie shape.
*Because there is no oil/butter the cookies will not spread naturally. It is very important to form the cookies prior to baking.IMG_1429

Bake cookies for 14 minutes or until they are no longer smooshy on the tops. Remove from tray and cool on cooling rack.IMG_1433

Celery Soup

Hello everyone! It seems like forever since I’ve posted. Paul and I just got back from our 7-day Bermuda cruise and it was fabulous! I had meant to give a proper send off last Thursday evening with a cauliflower pizza crust I was working on, however that turned out to be somewhat of a kitchen disaster. Not quite post-worthy if you know what I mean.

Anywho, as I’ve mentioned before I absolutely HATE wasting food. I did my best to plan our perishable shopping accordingly  before we left. I would call it a success, because while we were gone we had only one refrigerator causality; a half eaten english cucumber. Fair enough. However, the next thing on its way out was almost an entire package of celery. Gasp! I opened up our (useless) crisper to find that most of the bunch had become somewhat wiggly and wilty, a sure sign it had to be eaten and it had to be eaten now. Well, rather than eating an entire bunch of raw celery I decided to make a batch of Celery Soup! This was new to me, but definitely a great way to use up leftover celery. Next time I would maybe add some carrots to the mix too.

Celery Soup

  • 4 tbl margarine
  • 1 batch celery (about 6 cups); chopped
  • 1 medium onion; chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 2 medium potatoes; peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbl flour
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • Pepper & Salt

Heat a soup pot to medium heat. Melt butter and add onions, garlic and celery. Saute for a few minutes then lower heat and cover pot with top. Allow veggies to steam for about 10 minutes. Continually check and stir.IMG_1147

After 10 minutes, add potatoes, celery salt, and pepper and incorporate. Continue to cook and cover with top. Cook for another 10 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally.IMG_1148

Add chicken broth to pot (I used 2 cubes bouillon to 6 cups water). Add bay leaf. Bring pot to a boil. When it reaches a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.IMG_1150

Take the soup of the heat and remove bay leaf. Use an impulsion blender, or work in small batches pureeing the mixture in a regular blender. Pour pureed soup back into pot. Bring soup to a medium heat.

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In a separate measuring cup, whisk together flour, milk and a 1/2 cup of pureed soup. Whisk well. Pour this mixture back into the soup and incorporate well. Allow soup to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add thyme and season with salt and pepper too taste.

Eat without guilt, because this is creamy without cheese or cream and a great way to get your veggies! Enjoy!IMG_1425

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

As I’m sure most people with gardens know, zucchini grows like a weed. Summer months consist of everything zucchini!. I obviously do not have a garden of my own as living in the city doesn’t often allow for that. However, when I visited my parents house this past weekend I reaped the benefits of their hard work…again! They gave me a humongous zucchini that I am sure I will be using for days!

Today I shredded it up and beefed up (metaphorically) some turkey burgers with this lovely vegetable. We ended up using the same amount of meat we normally would, but adding vegetables to your meat is a great way to stretch the amount the recipe makes. It also adds the wonderful nutritional element of more vegetables without anyone really realizing it. I imagine this recipe would be great for picky eaters…although we don’t know anything about that here! 🙂

Zucchini Turkey Burgers

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp worcestershire
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Shred zucchini and squeeze excess water out.IMG_1377

Incorporate all ingredients together. Form 4-6 patties (depending on how big you want them). Press your thumb into the center of each patty. This keeps the meat from puffing up when cooking.IMG_1379

We cooked ours in a skillet. If you choose to do the same, spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Cook patties slowly, when about halfway cooked through, flip patty over. Cook until the meat is firm to the touch and beginning to brown on the outsides.IMG_1380

Dress it up with cheese, avocado, onions, or condiments.IMG_1381

Vegetarian Enchiladas

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I was visiting home this past weekend and was presented with a dinner challenge! Sounds exciting right? I mean it’s not that exciting….But I offered to make dinner for my family, however the catch was that my meal needed to consist of a can of black beans that has been sitting, untouched, in the pantry for weeks. Black Beans?! Easy. I eat them almost every day. The dilemma you ask? How do I get EVERYONE else to not only eat them, but enjoy them in a somewhat healthy meal.

I make a lot of black bean, vegetable extravaganzas as I like to refer to them, but I didn’t want to totally shock my families systems with the weird stuff I consistently make Paul eat. That’s love right? So what to do…Mexican! And what’s better on Meatless Monday than rice, bean and veggie packed enchiladas? Give these a try, you won’t even miss the meat!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups rice; cooked
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 medium onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper; diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 can black beans; rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1- 1/2 cups shredded chedder cheese; divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth salsa (or chunky salsa or enchilada sauce)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook rice according to directions and set aside.

Heat olive oil to medium heat. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper. Saute on medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.IMG_1038

Add tomatoes with sauce to the onion mixture. Mix in chili powder, salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.IMG_1039

Add beans, corn and rice to mixture. Incorporate well. Add 1/2 cup cheese and mix thoroughly.
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Spoon about two large scoops of rice mixture into each tortilla. Make sure you have enough of the mixture to feel each one equally. Roll the tortilla up and place crease-side down in baking dish. You may need to squish them over a bit to fit all 8, buy they should fit!
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Pour 1/2 cup salsa over enchiladas. Feel free to use more if you prefer it. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 to 1 cup cheese over the top of the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

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Serve with sour cream, salsa or guacamole….or all of it!IMG_1051

Cold Red Potatoes

Looking for an easy side dish? Well, I’m looking for an easy post today!  My mom used to make red potatoes for dinner, but I always asked for mine cold. I’m not really sure how that started, but it feels like a nice mix between a baked potato and potato salad to me. Give it a try! Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Cold Red Potatoes

3 large red potatoes
2 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
5 basil leaves, chopped (more or less is fine)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Fill a large pot with salted water. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. My potatoes were HUGE so it took me more than 25 minutes to cook them. Cook yours until fork tender.IMG_1364

Drain and allow to cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hours.

Cut potatoes into cubes. Incorporate olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and basil into potatoes. Return to refrigerator until ready to eat or enjoy as is!

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Lemon Pepper Tilapia

I freeze everything. I mean EVERYTHING. It’s hard to shop on a budget, for two people and not max out your freezer space….at least I think so. So when I went to Stop & Shop and saw frozen Tilapia was buy one get one free obviously I pounced on it. Now our freezer is a sliding avalanche of frozen fruit, veggies, meals, meats, bread and more. It’s out of control. In fact, it’s actually scary opening up the door because you never know what’s going to come sliding out at you. Gotta have quick reflexes in this kitchen!

With all this Tilapia stock piled I figured it was time to cook some up. I decided to make a Lemon Pepper baked Tilapia from some of the ingredients I had laying around. Give it a try and see what you think!

Lemon Pepper Tilapia

2 tilapia fillets
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl lemon juice
4 garlic cloves; minced
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp parsley (I used dried and fresh)
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a glass baking dish and place fillets in it. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.IMG_1365

In a pan heat olive oil to medium heat and add garlic. Cook garlic until soft. Lower heat and add lemon juice. Continue to cook for about a minute.IMG_1366

Pour olive oil-lemon mixture over fillets. Sprinkle fillets with lemon pepper seasoning and parsley. Cook in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.   IMG_1367

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