Fall warmth

All of the leaves have fallen off my trees out back, my lawn is covered and crunches as I walk across to my garden. Fall is definitely here and I need soup!

I realized that the three dishes I made last week was just too much. I got sick of them by yesterday and ending up tossing some of the stuff out. I even brought the butternut squash soup to a dinner at my friend’s house! So, I’ve learned that I need to keep myself to a one or two dish minimum. This week I’ve made one soup for myself. I have a dinner party tomorrow night, tutoring Tuesday and my boyfriend comes back into town toward the end of the week, so really this will be lunches and maybe one or two dinners at home.

Fall Harvest Minestrone!

1 container of vegetable stock, organic

2 small zucchini, halved and thickly sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

4 small carrots (from my garden) sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

a handful of asparagus sprigs, chopped

a handful of tuscan kale (from my garden)

a few mushrooms, quartered

1 red potato (cause I needed to use it up)

2 cans of stewed tomatoes

1 can black eyed peas

1 can garbanzo beans

4 cloves garlic, minced

“parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme”

*I threw everything into my crockpot and let it cook down for 4 hours.

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So fresh and yummy! I look forward to warming up this week with this delicious soup!

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Regaining my motivation!

Well, I fell of the wagon there for a few weeks. I cooked every Sunday still but nothing new and exciting, and nothing worth blogging about. Thanks to my wonderful friends at dunch yesterday, I’ve regained my motivation and love for cooking new dishes for myself each Sunday for the school week!

One of the dishes from dunch yesterday, made by my dear friends, was a sweet potato and turkey chili. It was amazingly addicting and inspired me to make my own today. What was so great about it you ask? Cocoa. I’ve heard of this in recipes before, to add cocoa powder to your chili, but I had never done it. Woah, is it good.

So, here’s my rendition of a fall comfort chili…

1 pound ground lean turkey, pan fried and crumbled

1 large sweet potato, peeled and coarsely cubed & roasted

1 delicata squash, coarsely cubed & roasted

1 large can crushed tomatoes

1 can pureed pumpkin

1 can kidney beans

1 can black beans

1/2 red onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp sage

2 tbs Siracha hot sauce

*All ingredients went into my brand new slow cooker/ pressure cooker duo that my best mommy in the whole world bought me for my birthday! Check this baby out…

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*3 hours on slow cooker later, bam! Delicious! I have to say my chili doesn’t even come close to my friends’ chili from yesterday, but its still pretty damn good.

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Rain and 50 degree weather all week, I’ll be snuggled up with a big bowl of this yummy goodness when I get home from work.

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Fall is my favorite season, for many reasons. Reason number 1 is my birthday, obviously. All other reasons are because of the weather. Yeah, I complain about the cold a lot, but I love the leaves changing and the crispness in the air. The sunshine peeking through the trees and glistening on the wet pavement sidewalks and roads around the city. I love the variety fresh squash at the public market and the apple cider warmed and topped with cinnamon.

My friends have inspired me. Fall has inspired me. It’s time for some new squash recipes! So, I vacationed from lesson planning for a few minutes and perused Pinterest for some ideas. With a large butternut squash, I wanted to make two different dishes for lunches this week as well as the wonderful chili. So, I roasted it!

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First up, a soup. Of course.

Maple Apple Butternut Squash Soup!

I combined some different ideas from Pinterest and thought of my own palate and the flavors I’ve been craving to come up with this beauty…

1 honeycrisp apple, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, cubed & roasted with olive oil

I sauteed the apple with onion and maple syrup on medium low heat with the cover on the pan to soften the apples and get a golden maple syrup flavor mixed in. I tossed this into my food processor with the cooled roasted squash and pureed with some freshly ground black pepper and unsweetened almond milk (about 1/2 cup).

The finished product: a simple, not to sweet, delectable soup. I think this will be best warmed, but would also be good cold for breakfast in the morning! Oh, mix a little into my oatmeal. Yes, re-inspired for sure!

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Lastly, a salad. My body craves greens on an hourly basis, so not making a salad for the week would be devastating. A roasted butternut squash & quinoa salad!

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, cubed & roasted with olive oil

1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked in a cup of water

6-8 sprigs of asparagus, cut & sauteed with red onion and minced garlic

2 cups wild arugula

*Toss all of the ingredients together and top with some fresh goat cheese. Oh wow, this is a keeper too!

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So happy to be back at my cooking again. Inspired to create new dishes with my pressure cooker for next weekend, stay tuned!