Confession: I use canned pumpkin like it’s going out of style, and I never, ever roast any kind of squash besides the occasional zucchini. I realize that goes against the whole purpose of this blog, but I am terribly intimidated by most squash. It’s pretty! It’s hard to cut! It takes a long time to cook! Trader Joe’s has bags of cubed squash that are super easy to cook (and yummy to eat), but that triples the cost of any squash dish. Thankfully I was expecting company last week and thought it’d be pretty to decorate with some acorn squash. Plus, it was a buck a pop! I really couldn’t argue with that, so decorate I did. And tonight, I honored it once more by cooking with it. It was AWESOME. I’ve recently jumped on the sweet (squash) and spicy (seasoning) bandwagon, and this soup didn’t disappoint. It did take a while so we ate a late dinner, but my kid loved it and ate two bowls. I recommend making croutons for an extra crunch. A recipe for ho’made croutons can be found here.
3 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2-2 quarts boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash cut-side-down in shallow baking dish and bake 35-40 minutes or until mostly tender. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, curry powder, and a generous scoop (~1 tsp) of salt. Saute 3-4 minutes, or until onion is tender. Add garlic and saute 30-60 seconds; remove pan from heat and set aside. When squash is done, remove from oven and cool slightly. Put the water on to boil. Scoop flesh out of each squash half* and add to onion mixture. Return to heat and add water and another generous scoop (~1-2 tsp) of salt, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get the flavoring into the soup. Simmer until squash is super soft, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender, working in batches), puree soup until smooth. Taste; adjust seasoning. Serve hot.
*I used a paring knife to cut the cooked squash into pieces along their ridges, and then I cut the skin off.
I have a problem. A banana problem.
I buy way toomany bananas at atime. I honestly don’t know what comes over me when I see them at the store. I just keep picking out the ones that look good and putting them into my cart, and before I know it, I’m buying 15 lbs. Not joking. Bulk bananas are handy in recipes when your kid doesn’t eat dairy, buta family of 3+ can’t possibly eat that many bananas and still be regular. So we usually have a bunch of bananas turn brown that my husband sticks in the freezer before they melt into my countertop. Then, without thinking, I buy 15 lbs more. It’s ridiculous. This afternoon, I was staring at the bananas that were getting a tan in my kitchen and started Googling what to do with ripe bananas, just to see what I found, and I found these. A cross between a dessert and a breakfast, they take just a few minutes, make the house smell awesome, and taste amazing. Who can resist crunchy edges?!We’re in love. Eat up!
5 ripe bananas
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Mash bananas, honey, and spices. Stir in flour until incorporated. Heat oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Scoop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil and cook until edges are lightly browned. Flip and cook until set. Serve warm or hot.
My sister makes some amazing pumpkin bread. I like to eat the one she makes because a) she’s good at baking it, and why mess with that? and b) I “don’t know what’s in it.” What I do know is it’s dairy-free, so we consider it a-ok for my son to partake in the occasional slice at family functions. I won’t, however, bake it at my house, because when there’s a vegetable involved in baking, my brain gives it a gold star. Then I eat way too much under the pretense that it’s healthy. Even though that pumpkin “bread” is a dessert, not a health food, the nom-nom-nom in me goes nuts! Also, my kid would whine about wanting to eat it until it was gone, and all that sugar would undo him.
Ahem. So enter this recipe. Not being a particular fall fanatic, I haven’t been consuming every bit of pumpkin spice fill-in-the-blank since September 1, but my craving for a wholesome pumpkin-inspired breakfast has skyrocketed (shocker). I wanted to have a recipe that used honey as the sweetener and coconut oil as the fat, and this recipe fit those parameters. I also wanted something that used a whole can of pumpkin (I am so demanding!) so in comes the tweaking (not to be confused with twerking!). I have 100daysofrealfood.com to thank for the basis of the recipe, as well as a zealous pursuit of more ways to eat baked goods for breakfast.
1 1/2 c whole grain white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1/2 c ground flax
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
1/2 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and flax. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and dump the pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, and honey. Stir until mostly combine and add vanilla; stir just until no flour remains. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes; turn off oven and leave in hot oven for 10 more minutes. (NOTE: this makes a little more than a regular-sized loaf. You can either risk over-filling one loaf pan or make 2 thin loaves or a loaf + a couple of muffins OR you can use an oversized loaf pan like I did.)
My grandma was the matriarch of bean soups. Paired with buttered bread, bean soup was the pinnacle of comforting food on a cold day. I have a vivid memory of a gray and blustery afternoon when I came inside from playing and found the most delicious bean soup I had ever tasted, made by the matriarch herself. It warmed my bones and filled me up in more ways than one. It’s a sweet memory, and one I treasure more than ever now that my grandma’s gone. One of the yummiest parts of her soup was how colorful it was, with all the different beans and vegetables speckling the pot. Because of that, I made sure to load this soup with vegetables, especially since I only had white beans. This recipe takes ages, but it makes enough to feed about a billion people, unless you’re my husband, in which case it only feeds 1-2 for the week (“not really hungry” = 2 bowls of soup for that fella). I can handle a big batch with a chilly fall and winter stretching before us, plus a newborn constantly squawking for my attention. Freezer meals!
2 lbs dry white beans, rinsed, sorted, and soaked 24 hours
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 stalks celery, chopped
8 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 c soy sauce
Bunch of kale, roughly chopped
Sea salt & pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
In a very large stock pot, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and a generous pinch of salt and saute until onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and a pinch of salt, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Crank heat to high. Add carrots and celery and a teaspoon of salt; toss to coat veggies with onion and garlic and cook until vegetables start to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and another pinch of salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Toss soaked beans in with vegetables and add 4 quarts hot or boiling water. Add soy sauce and 1/2 tsp pepper and taste; adjust seasoning if necessary. Bring to a boil and lower temperature to medium, simmering 1-1 1/2 hours or until beans are soft. Stir in kale and simmer until slightly tender. Turn off heat. Serve hot.
Some recipes should just be ingrained, things you can whip up without even thinking about them. For me, those things are chocolate chip cookies and pie. I like being able to make something yummy even while I’m distracted by company, and those things never fail to please. This pie crust is pretty basic, so you can use it for literally anything you might load into a pie. Chicken, gravy, and peas? Pie crust! Egg casserole? Pie crust! Apples? Pie! Peaches and blueberries? Pie. Crust! This recipe makes one thick crust or a very thin top and bottom crust. Have at it! Throw everything in pie crust starting…now!
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c very cold butter, cubed (I often use butter just out of the freezer)
1/4 c ice water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Place 2-3 ice cubes in a pitcher measuring cup; fill to the 1/4 c line with water. Splash in vinegar; set pitcher aside. In a food processor, pulse together flour and salt once or twice. Drop butter in a few cubes at a time, pulsing occasionally to coat each piece with flour. Continue to pulse butter and flour until it resembles very small gravel. Drizzle in ice water, pulsing repeatedly, until dough just starts to pull apart from the sides of the food processor. Remove lid from food processor and pinch a piece of dough together; if it sticks to itself, it’s ready. If it falls apart, it needs a little bit more water. When dough is wet enough, dump dough out onto a very large piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form it into a disc. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day. Remove from refrigerator 10 minutes before using. Roll out onto a well-floured surface using a rolling pin before placing it in a pie dish. Fill with desired filling, top with pie crust (if using), and bake on a hot pizza stone at 350 degrees (baking times vary with filling).
You were expecting this, weren’t you? Well, to be quite frank, my kid wasn’t a huge fan of the Crock Pot sweet potatoes. He prefers them totally pulverized, and those potatoes were still in (delicious) chunks. Abomination! I tried mashing them, and it kind of worked, but I decided to pitch the rest of them into something warm & freshly baked instead of fight my kid anymore. Direct quotation from my husband: “I think you’ve just discovered my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes.” So, here I am, putting this one on the books so I can get him to eat some more SP in the future. Done and done!
1 c flour
1 c yellow cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c cooked sweet potato
1/3 c + 1 tbsp milk (I used almond)
3 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a larger bowl, mash sweet potatoes with a fork. It’s okay if there are still some small chunks. Add eggs, milk, and oil and stir until combined. Dump in dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 10″ cast iron skillet OR a greased muffin tin. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. When top is browned and cornbread is almost set, leave in oven with the heat off for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Serve hot.
I don’t get to use the Crock Pot that often because we mostly eat vegetarian, and veggies cook fast enough to be able to skip the slow cooker. I guess I was feeling neglectful toward my Crock Pot and got excited when I saw this recipe as a “reason” to fire it up. My kid is getting friendlier toward vegetables as a whole, but he would take sweet potatoes out to dinner any day of the week. He LOVES those things, and I’m not gonna argue with a fan of a superfood!
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 tbsp frozen apple juice concentrate
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 c water
Load peeled & cut sweet potatoes into slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine frozen apple juice concentrate, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Stir in water. Pour apple juice mixture over sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Cook for 2 1/2 hours on high or until potatoes are tender. Serve hot or puree for future uses in pancakes or muffins.