Blend!

Posted on July 18, 2017. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

So, my parents got me a Nutribullet for my birthday. And because of the time crunch and the fact that it’s warm out, the only things I’ve made with it were my smoothies and one batch of salad dressing. Since I had some time between doing paperwork and chores (yay bill day), I decided to make…something.

Butternut squash popped into my head; there’s a lot of different sauces and soups you can make out of that wonderful gourd. Now, I’m still doing the low carb thing, but I kinda wanted pasta. Luckily Whole Paycheck ( I mean Whole Foods) has pasta made without any grains, so I picked up some red lentil pasta. It’s higher protein, higher fiber, lower carb. That being said, it did get a little mushy while cooking, but it was still pretty good.

While looking for the squash, I decided to add some yellow beets into the dish. I do realize the last few dishes I’ve made have been very yellow, but it’s summer and that’s a bright color.

This dish is very easy (made easier by the Nutribullet, you can still do it without) very healthy, and could in fact be a soup if you don’t want to add the pasta. And, if you wanted it to be vegan, like  a lot of my recipes, just leave off the goat cheese.

Lentil Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, Tofu and Yellow Beets

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut Squash
Shallot
Tomato
Vegetable Broth
Yellow Beet
Tofu
Lentil Pasta

Butternut Squash Sauce with Yellow Beets and Tofu

1 butternut squash, halved
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 yellow beet, sliced
1/4 block tofu, cubed
Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, red pepper flake
Lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar

  1. Coat the squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool.
  2. Once it is cooled, scoop the squash out. Add it to your blender along with 1/2 of the shallots, 1/2 of the garlic, the tomato, the broth, lemon juice, balsamic and seasonings. Blend. If you have the Nutribullet, put it on it’s heating system so it warms.
  3. In a saute pan, saute the rest of the garlic and onion until fragrant. Add the beets and tofu. Saute until almost cooked through, then add about 1/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar and let reduce. Taste to adjust seasoning.
  4. Once your pasta is almost cooked, add some of the sauce to a pan, then add the pasta, stir to coat. Top with the tofu and beet mixture, and goat cheese if you would like.

I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to post next, I have no days off in the foreseeable future. Honestly I’m impressed that I’ve been getting up before work to exercise.  I’m the opposite of a morning person, so that’s really hard for me.

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Soupy!

Posted on September 27, 2016. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

I can’t come up with puns right now, no idea why.

My posting has become a little erratic and I apologize for that. I’ve decided I don’t want to post the recipe the same day I make it, but then what happens is that I forget to post for over a week. I’m going to have to go back to posting the day I make the food.

Last time I talked about wanting to make soup but it was still a little to warm for that. Fall is officially here, and it’s started to cool down. (Granted, when I made this, it was still a little on the warm side). I had some sort of squash soup running around my head, and when I went to Aldi they finally had squash, and I settled on butternut. Who doesn’t like butternut squash? It’s delicious.

I wanted to make something creamy and vegan, which is actually really easy in soup if you do it right. Butternut squash adds a creamy element to any dish and the flavor can be amped up if you use a little bit of coconut milk. This recipe was exactly that, it was easy to make, very creamy, had great flavor and was vegan. My only issue is that I had made too much, didn’t have anyone to share it with and couldn’t fit it in my fridge. So I ended up having to waste it, which was depressing, it was awesome.

Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato
Jalapenos
Vegetable Broth
Sweet Vadalia Onion
Coconut Milk

Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, halved
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
2 jalepenos
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, diced
32 oz vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
Salt, pepper, paprika, sriracha, tumeric, garam masala, fresh basil

  1. Cover the squash and potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until soft. Let cool slightly and scrape the squash out of it’s peel.
  2. While the squash and potato are in the oven, scorch the outside of the jalapenos with your stove. Let cool then peel and chop them.
  3. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the peppers then the vegetable broth, squash and potato. Stir while smashing down the lumps.
  4. Using an emersion blender or a normal blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season and taste. Let simmer for a bit before adding the coconut milk. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve topped with fresh basil and crusty bread.

I had to skip yoga about 4 days the past week. I’m really glad that now I’m in shape it isn’t a huge thing if I do have to skip. Sure, I gained  a few pounds, but then again, people go up and down about 5 pounds a week, so it’s not that big of a deal either. I still feel strong, and that’s amazing.

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You Butter-not be lying

Posted on November 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I got a new tattoo the other day, and while he was working on it, we talked about a bunch of things (I’m friends with my tattoo artist, but even if you’re not, it makes the time go by faster to talk to your artist). One of the things he said as that he needed another creative outlet, since his job is centered around drawing and painting. I said that’s why I cook, and he said one of the deepest things I think I have ever heard. “Art doesn’t have to go on a wall”. And he’s right; art is more than just painting, it’s molding, cooking, singing, acting, designing. Art is everywhere, even if you don’t think it’s involved. That’s why you need the arts in school, people.

Ok, time to get off my soap box (I really should use the thing more anyway).

You ever wake up and think “What am I going to do with the extra butternut squash I bought?” Anyone? No? Just me? That’s fine. I got the idea during the day to make a butternut squash chia pudding, but that would only take up half off the squash. What to do with the other? In the middle of driving around (had to recharge my car battery) I came up with a butternut squash risotto, cause, why not? Add some asparagus and you’ve got heaven.

The chia pudding is easy, super easy. The risotto is also easy, just takes patience. It’s one of those stick-to-your-ribs meals, considering the weather dropped 40 degrees in 12 hours…(stupid Midwest falls)

Butternut squash and asparagus Risotto Butternut squash Chia Pudding

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut squash
Asparagus
Arborio Rice
Vegetable Broth
Feta Cheese
Spinach
Almond Milk
Chia Seeds

Butternut Squash and Asparagus Risotto

1/2 butternut squash, cubed
1 shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
Feta cheese
Salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder

  1. Coat the squash in olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger and garlic powder. Roast in a 400 degree oven until fork tender.
  2. Blanche the asparagus in boiling water until bright green; drain and put aside.
  3. Saute the shallots in a large pot with olive oil until fragrant. Add the garlic and saute a little more.
  4. Add the rice and wine, and stir. Add half the broth and cover. Let simmer until the broth is cooked out.
  5. Slowly add the rest of the broth in small batches, stirring each time until the broth is absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes; the rice will look creamy.
  6. Remove from heat and add the asparagus, squash and cheese. Stir to incorporate. Serve topped with fresh spinach and more feta cheese.

Butternut squash Chia Pudding

1/2 butternut squash
3 cups almond milk
3/4 cup chia seeds
Cinnamon, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

  1. Cover the squash in cinnamon, salt, pepper and cayenne. Roast in a 400 degree oven until fork tender.
  2. Scrape the squash from the skin and put in your blender. Add the almond milk and blend until smooth. If you want, you can add honey to sweeten, but the squash is pretty sweet.
  3. Place in jars, and add the chia seeds. Shake to mix. Let sit overnight.

Yoga is one of those practices that you can be perfect one day, then fall out of a pose you’ve never fallen out of the next. But, if you keep with it, stretch a little deeper, add one more sequence, you’ll be surprised at what your body can do. After practicing for 9 months, my muscles have become longer, leaner, and more stretchy. People tell me all the time it looks like I’ve lost a bunch of weight, but in reality, I’ve been the same weight for a few months now; I’ve just become more lean. I’ve also become stronger; the things I can do amaze me. I pushed myself further than I normally do yesterday, and while my legs were shaking by the end, I felt so powerful at the end. Granted, today was one of those days where I fell out of most of my poses. Still felt amazing though.

Bottom line, find whatever exercise makes you feel like that. It could be anything, from walking, to weight lifting, to Zumba; as long as it makes you feel strong and powerful.

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Squash the soup!

Posted on October 30, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Ok, that one wasn’t to great, but it’s hard with squash soup?

So, as I said yesterday, I got the day off. I literally laid around and did a bunch of nothing, added to some cooking. It was great. I left the apartment once, and that was because my Cartwheel app had 40% off boots and…well I had to get new snow boots.

I had been wanting to make a butternut squash soup ever since I had a version at work. It was good, but too thin and WAY to sweet. Yes, I know butternut squash is sweet, but this was almost dessert soup. I started my plan to just to regular soup, then I decided to add cauliflower and sweet potato, because, why not? And good soup needs good bread, so I found a recipe for a no knead bread online. And then I decided I wanted to make some bread pudding out of the banana bread I had in my freezer. This is what happens when I have time to cook. I invited Shawn over because I know she likes a lot of the same flavors I do..and I still have a lot. I’ll be bringing some in to trade for some chili with some of my regulars.

The bread recipe is beyond easy (I actually woke up in the middle of the night wondering what the yeast would eat because there’s no sugar), the soup is just slightly time consuming, and the bread pudding is also super easy.

Butternut Squash Soup with No Knead Bread Banana Bread Pudding

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato
Cauliflower
Vegetable Stock
Yeast
Milk
Walnuts
Banana Bread (Homemade is the best though)

No Knead Crusty Bread
(From Jo Cooks)

3 cups all purpose flour
1¾ tsp salt
½ tsp active dry yeast
1½ cups water (room temperature)

  1. In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it’s all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it’s at 450 F degrees.
  3. Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
  4. Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cauliflower

1 Butternut squash, halved
1 sweet potato, cubed
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp chopped onion
Salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon
Red Curry Paste
Olive Oil
Cauliflower
1 quart Vegetable Broth

  1. Coat the potato, garlic and squash in olive oil and spices. Roast in a 350 degree oven until soft. Pull from the oven and scoop out the squash from the skin. Separate the garlic cloves.
  2. In a large pot, saute the onions until fragrant. Add the garlic and smash a little.
  3. Add the squash and potato mixture with the vegetable broth. Use an immersion blender to blend smooth. Add spices and simmer.
  4. While the soup is simmering, roast the cauliflower in a 350 degree oven covered in olive oil and the same spices as the other. Add to the soup.
  5. Taste the soup, and add more seasonings if needed. Serve with some crusty bread.

Banana Bread Pudding

1 loaf banana bread, cubbed
2 cups milk
4 eggs
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

  1. Whisk the eggs, milk and seasonings together. Add the cubbed bread and walnuts and mix to coat. Let soak for about 20 minutes.
  2. Spoon into large, greased cupcake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm.

Not taking time for myself for the past few months made me go a little crazy. Sure, I had a few hours here and there for myself, but they weren’t enough. I was always doing work, or helping other people, or talking about work; I couldn’t get a break. It’s ok to be selfish every once in a while, in fact, it’s healthy. Don’t get too caught up in the other things to forget about yourself. Be sure to work on yourself before you start giving it away to other people.

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