That’s right: I’m baaack!
Thanks to everyone who reached out and said, “What happened? Are you alright? I didn’t see a new blog post last week!”
Yeah, I’m alright. My site was hacked last week, and I was channeling Snoopy shaking his fist at the Red Baron as I realized that the hackers had broken my streak of blogging weekly, which was going on two full years.
To be completely fair to myself, I did blog last week … I just couldn’t post it!
Anyway, a big shoutout to and blessings on John C., Elvis (yes—Elvis, like the singer, as he is surely tired of explaining), and AJ at GoDaddy for not only figuring out how to recover everything on my sadly hacked site but also speaking English in addition to computerese.
It was more than a bit stunning to learn that I might not actually recover 5+ years of blog posts—yes, Universe, I hear you. I was just looking at pricing for website backup and security and wondering whether it was time to commit.
Oddly enough, I was also just hearing a little whisper that said, “Ooooo. Maybe it’s a sign that it’s time to completely renovate your site—how about a new theme? how about an update?—and hey, you could just start creating all new content….”
Down, Procrastination, bad dog. This is not the time to go down the rabbit hole of endless website tweaks!
As I mentioned to those on my email list, I’d written a delicious blog post for you last week … and then my site exploded.
The upside? I can remember most of it, so I didn’t have to ask myself what to write today!
I’ve always been a cold person; in fact, the times I was pregnant were the only times I remember my hands and feet really feeling warm at all times. Hot flashes? Yes, please, bring them on.
Ironically, I love cold weather, and my favorite season is fall despite the fact that even colder weather follows.
Why do I love this season?
Because autumn vegetables are my favorite.: it’s no mistake that my brand colors are dark green (think: kale) and deep orange (like pumpkins)—they are the two colors of vegetables most lacking in the Standard American Diet, for which the acronym is, yes, SAD.
And because soup.
When I taught cooking, one of my favorite classes to teach was on the topic of soup, partly because once you understand the principles—the formula behind making soup—you realize that with a very few ingredients (even leftovers) and some water, you can make a meal, sometimes in minutes.
If you want to learn how to do that, tune into the free health coaching webinar on kitchen formulas that I’m doing this coming Wednesday, November 7. (When you register, you’ll get access to the rest of the webinars from all the previous months, too. And yes, they do get better over time—2018 was the year I challenged myself to get more comfortable with this medium.)
butternut squash soup
One of the simplest soups to make—and one of my favorites—is this one using butternut squash.
Butternut squash—like many of the hard winter squashes—can be intimidating: it’s so hard to peel and cut when raw! Two workarounds if you are nervous about it: buy it pre-prepped (it’s available in peeled, cubed form at many grocery stores, and this sort of processing is minimal—it still counts as a whole food unless it’s doused with some sort of preservative) or bake it before cutting (see below).
- 1 butternut squash (look for the longest neck rather than the biggest bulb)
- 1 T butter (or ghee or coconut or olive oil)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled (optional) and chopped
- 1 T curry powder (optional)
- ¼ c white rice
- 4 c stock, chicken or vegetable
- salt + pepper to taste
- If you are baking the squash, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the squash (whole or cut in half) on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until a knife passes through it easily, usually 45–60 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature, then scoop the flesh away from the skin, removing the seeds as you go. Set the flesh aside until step 8.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, carrots, and—if you’re starting with peeled, cubed squash—add the squash now. If you roasted a whole squash, don’t add it yet!
- Turn down the heat, cover, and sweat the vegetables until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat back up to medium high, stir in the curry powder (optional), and cook just until fragrant—less than a minute.
- Add the rice and stock, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots and squash cubes are completely cooked through, approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and use a blender or food processor to purée until smooth. If you are using roasted squash, add it to the blender/food processor now.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and reheat to a simmer.
- 1. Add a chopped red bell pepper with the onion for extra color and flavor.
- You can substitute any pumpkin or winter squash or sweet potatoes or yams for the butternut squash. You’ll want approximately 2 lbs or 2–3 cups raw.
- For extra richness, add a splash of cream or some Béchamel before puréeing.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
- The squash can be roasted up to 3 days before making into soup. Scoop out the flesh, let it cool to room temperature, and refrigerate it in a tightly-covered container. Want to freeze it? Refrigerate it overnight, then store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- The raw squash can be peeled and cubed up to 3 days before making into soup. Store it in a tightly-covered container with a damp paper towel inside. You can pre-prep the onions and carrots and toss them in the same container as well.
- The soup can be made up to 5 days before serving. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in a tightly-covered container.
- The soup can be frozen up to 3 months in a tightly-covered container after properly cooling and refrigerating overnight.
Download this recipe and try it out! Then join me for the webinar on Wednesday to learn more about soup and other kitchen formulas. If you’ve already registered in a previous month, no need to register again: you’ll get the usual reminder.
In the meantime, let me know in the comments, what’s your favorite soup?