Friday, September 26, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup

You know by now that I don't love the cooler temps that come with fall, but I do love the fall foods. Soups, stews, breads, etc... are just warm and comforting. My aunt gave me a few butternut squash from her garden and I knew just what I was going to do with them. I love to roast them with sweet potatoes and red skin potatoes, but I really enjoy butternut squash Soup.

I found a recipe in a magazine a year or so ago for butternut squash soup and I sort of followed it. There were ingredients in the recipe that I don't normally use or have on hand. I decided to create my own similar recipe and I love how it turned out.   There are apples and a potato hiding inside and I topped it off with bacon  pieces. You can never go wrong with bacon!  I served the soup with gluten free cheese garlic bread and a simple salad of greens, cucumber, strawberries,  and fresh from the mountains apples and pears.

These are three small squash that yielded exactly 4 full cups diced. I used half of this potato.

 I love the smell of onions cooking. Sadly, this was my last Vidalia.

4 full cups of peeled and diced butternut squash.

All the veggies, fruit, and spices added to the pot.

After the soup cooks for about 30 minutes, it is time to puree.  I LOVE my immersion blender.

Ready for the full recipe? You will enjoy it!

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cups butternut squash--peeled, seeded, and diced (I used 3 small squash, but you might find that one large one is sufficient.)
  • 2 medium apples-- a sweeter variety (I used an old fashioned Grimes Golden. Golden Delicious will work well, too.), peeled and diced
  • 1 medium russet potato--peeled and diced
  • 1 quart of chicken broth--homemade is best!
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Rosemary sprigs and bacon crumbles for garnishing
In a large pot, heat olive oil and cook onion until tender.  Add in the squash, apples, potato, chicken broth, apple juice, pepper, salt, and chopped rosemary.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Remove from heat, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth and no lumps remain.  Serve warm and top with bacon crumbles and a sprig of fresh rosemary.  

*Note:  If you do not have an immersion blender, try an electric hand mixer.  This would blend wonderfully in a VitaMix.  Too bad I don't have one of those!

Perfect Fall meal!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Well, fall has arrived in southeastern Virginia.  That means all things pumpkin, sweet potato, apples, and hot apple cider.  I decided I would make some pumpkin bread last weekend after I had been challenged to participate in #BeTheGood.  Be the Good is all about random acts of kindness and showing love to others. We have new neighbors in the area so we decided to fix them up a gift basket of homemade goodies. For more information on this project, visit Cents of Style . 
The pumpkin bread turned out to be very delicious. My oldest daughter cannot get enough of it!  It is also very good toasted with pumpkin pie spice cream cheese spread on top.  Another plus is that it is easy to make and the house smells divine while it is baking.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour 
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice 
  • dash of ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 2 regular size loaf pans or about 6 mini loaf pans.

Mix sugars and oil together in a stand mixer.  Add applesauce and mix well. Add eggs.  Mix well. Then add the pumpkin and water.  While that combines thoroughly, mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in mixer.  Mix well.  Pour into the prepared pans 3/4 full.  Bake one hour or until golden brown and a tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans for about 5 minutes then flip onto a cooling rack to cool completely. (If you can be that patient.)

Pumpkin Pie Spice Cream Cheese Spread

  • 4 oz Greek yogurt/cream cheese, softened (if you cannot find this, low fat cream cheese will work)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
With a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese until softened. Add the agave nectar and spice. Mix well.  Enjoy on toasted pumpkin bread. :)