‘Tis the season for warm and delicious soups! This recipe was inspired by the roasted butternut squash soup I recently gobbled up at Heirloom, a restaurant located in Beaver, PA. I think my interpretation came out pretty good. I couldn’t resist adding sweet potatoes and carrots for some natural sweetness. Enjoy!
1 medium large butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
32 oz vegetable stock
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
couple dashes of cinnamon
extra virgin olive oil
a dash or two of kosher salt
a dash or two of ground black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
few sprigs of fresh sage
Coat an aluminum foil pan with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle some nutmeg, salt, and pepper into the ban. Toss in two small cinnamon sticks and a few sprigs of fresh sage. Cut squash in half or in fourths. Cut sweet potatoes in half. Cut carrots into large medallions. Lie squash seed side down into pan. Lie sweet potatoes flat side down and toss in carrots. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake (or grill in covered aluminum foil pan) squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots until done. You should be able to easily slide a toothpick or knife into squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Remove skin, seeds, and pulp from cooked squash. Remove skin from sweet potatoes. Blend squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and vegetable stock until smooth and creamy. Poor into crock pot set on low heat. Add a dash or two of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I also added about a teaspoon of brown sugar to add a little extra love and sweetness! Toss in the same cinnamon sticks you used to bake or grill the squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Stir. Let simmer for a few minutes. While this is simmering in the crock pot….
Throw your pumpkin seeds into a skillet on medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp of olive oil and 1//4 tsp of coconut oil. Stir in pan to allow oil to coat seeds. Add 1 tsp of brown sugar. Occasionally stir and seeds to brown. Turn off heat. Pour seeds in heat proof container and allow to sit for a minute or two.
Back to the crock pot! Give your soup one last stir and wah-lah! It’s ready! Serve in your favorite soup bowl and add a few roasted pumpkin seeds on top. Grab a spoon and enjoy!
Let me know what you think about the recipe!
What are the best things to readily have on hand in the kitchen and pantry to make some of the tastiest protein shakes? Over the years I’ve learned I can throw just about anything into the blender and drink it. Well, fruits and vegetables, that is. All it takes is some basic knowledge about assembling a flavorful shake. Admittedly, I like my shakes a little sweet and creamy. Here are some of my favorite protein shake ingredients. By no means is this list exhaustive, but it includes several foods I often incorporate into my pre- and post-workout shakes.
Five Shake Makin’ Tips
1. BALANCE THE BITTER. If you want to blend a bitter veggie, such as arugula, and you don’t like bitter shakes, make sure you compensate for the bitterness and add something sweet (i.e., banana, pineapple, etc.).
2. DON’T OVERDO IT ON THE FRUIT. Fruit naturally has a high sugar content. There’s no need to put a whole banana or an entire mango into a shake. Take it easy. For example, in one of my go-to shakes, I tend to use ¼ of banana, a small handful of blueberries, and a couple blackberries. Bonus tip: slice your banana with the peel on. Place unused banana in fridge (I like to place mine in the little plastic compartment in the door with the flip up lid) and slice another piece off later for your next shake!
3. WASH, TOSS, AND FREEZE. If you think your fruit is about to go bad, freeze it! Cut ripe bananas into small 1” – 2” slices, toss in a container, and freeze them! Keep in mind they tend to get stuck together when frozen. It’s nothing a little tap with a dull knife won’t solve!
4. BUY LOCAL AND IN BULK. If possible, buy fruit and veggies local and/or in bulk. Support your local farmers’ market. Divide everything up into plastic storage bags and freeze what you don’t need immediately. This saves you money and time. Plus, it feels good to support local farmers.
5. FANCY BLENDERS NOT REQUIRED. There’s no need to purchase a super fancy expensive blender unless you can afford it and insist on having VERY smooth shakes. I have found the “lower end” models work very well; however, you may occasionally get a tiny piece of spinach stuck in your teeth!
Coming soon…my favorite protein shake recipes.