Healthy & Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

Every year, for many years, I have broke a promise to myself and it all has to do with soup.  Yes, I said it all has to do with soup.

You see, each year I have told myself that this is the year I’m going to make Homemade Butternut Squash Soup.  But then I never do make the soup and there has never been a good reason for it either.  Just lame excuses.

This year, I finally kept my word to myself and made the most delicious and healthy soup imaginable.  I now realize that all that procrastination was crazy.  The most time consuming part of making this soup is the peeling and cubing of the squash – which I enlisted my hubby to help me with.  If you want to speed this soup making process up a bit then I suggest purchasing the squash already peeled and cubed from the vegetable section of your favorite supermarket.

This soup recipe fits my tastes and expectations perfectly.  There was no disappointments and I’m adding it to my tried-and-true recipes in hopes that I’ll make it for many more years to come.  If you try this recipe please let me know what you think of it.

Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. butter (or margarine)

1 small onion, diced

1/2 c. diced carrot

4 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash

4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable)

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. skim milk

1/4 c. half & half

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and oil on low heat.  Add onions and cook until tender.  Once onions are cooked, add carrots, squash, and broth.  Cover; bring to a boil until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and puree the mixture.  Return to low heat and stir in milk, half & half, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt & pepper to taste.  Do not bring to a boil.

This soup makes a great appetizer or entrée.  I served it as an entrée with a salad and homemade Almost Texas Road House Rolls that I’ll be sharing with you in a future post.

Although the ingredients are different, this soup reminds me of Panera’s Vegetarian Autumn Squash Soup – yum!

What is your favorite soup recipe?

Simple Sunday Morning Breakfast–Fill Your Bellies; Warm Your House

 

I suppose it was to be expected.  Cold temperatures and snow flurries have intruded upon those of us that live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.  I’ve switched to wearing boots and a warmer jacket when I venture out.

But what about inside?  This morning our house was cooler than it has been and I was eager to get a fresh pot of coffee brewing.  And while the coffee warmed my soul and awakened me, it didn’t help warm the house.   Yes, I could have turned up the heat, but I had a much better idea like making breakfast in the oven.

With a plan in mind, I turned on the oven and started by raiding the fridge.  I came up with lot’s of healthy veggies, my favorite cheese -Jarlsberg Lite, low-fat ham, and of course our farm fresh eggs.  You can see where this is going can’t you?  All the fixings for a delicious frittata!

Making a frittata does not require a recipe or an exact science.  It’s more about adding a variety of your favorite ingredients. or those ingredients that you happen to have on hand at the time.

Here is how simple it is:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Grease a pie pan with non-stick cooking spray
  • Beat (4) large eggs in a large mixing bowl
  • Add 1 cup of milk to the eggs (I used skim)
  • Add diced veggies, grated cheese, and cooked meat to the egg and milk mixture (I added onion, red pepper, spinach, ham, mushrooms, and Jarlsberg to mine frittata)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Top with a little more grated cheese
  • Bake until the frittata is firm and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting

I opted to go for a crust less quiche for a couple simple reasons.  Less calories and  less fat.

This is a perfect dish to prepare in advance if you are having overnight guests. Think about the holidays that are fast approaching.  

What ingredients would go in your favorite frittata?

Planning For A Long Cold Winter–Let’s Start With These Muffins

Our garden was pretty much a big wash out this summer. I’m thankful that our harvest, or lack thereof, doesn’t mean we will have to go without this winter.  It just means we will be buying more canned goods and frozen veggies from the grocery store which never taste as good as those you preserve or freeze yourself.

Because of this, I have started stocking up on many of the canned goods I anticipate we will need to get us through a long cold winter.  Fortunately, I did get around to freezing some delicious sweet corn that our good neighbors gave us, and I have made several containers of homemade applesauce that went directly into the freezer too.   Today, I decided to add to my freezer stockpile by making a batch of these ever so tasty breakfast muffins (Banana Oat Mini Chocolate Chip) that should help make any morning just a little warmer and brighter – no matter the temperature. 

If you’ve got some brown bananas sitting around that you just aren’t sure what to do with, you MUST make a batch of these muffins!   These muffins are a bit heartier than my mom’s banana bread recipe. They also have mini chocolate chips in them which helps capture your taste buds attention.  I’m also thinking that a quarter of a cup of chopped walnuts would really send these muffins over the moon but I didn’t add any to this batch.  Maybe next time!

Banana Oat Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 stick of margarine (or butter), sliced

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. sour milk

1 c. old-fashioned oats

2 c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place baking papers in muffin tins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put mashed bananas in a large bowl and cover with both brown and granulated sugar; let sit for a few minutes.  Add sliced butter and eggs; mix thoroughly.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Mix in flour and oats until combined.  Fold in mini chocolate chips. 

Fill baking papers about 2/3 full.  Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.  Allow to cool before removing from the tins.

There is nothing sweeter smelling than ripe bananas covered in brown sugar.  Is there?

How do you prepare for long cold winters?  Does it involve preserving or freezing?

A New Recipe for Soft Peanut Butter Cookies–Brownie Style?

It seems like I always have 101 things on my list of “want to do’s”,  but today that list has been whittled down to just 100 things.   You see, I made a new peanut butter cookie recipe that I promised myself I would get around to trying sooner than later. 

Ah, to describe this cookie…  A soft interior encased in a crispy exterior.  Much like my homemade Triple Chocolate Brownies

Are you ready to see what I’m talking about?

No, I cannot take credit for this recipe.  I found it on Pinterest and immediately pinned it to my Cookies, Bars, and Mini’s board.   Thank you  Juliasalbum.com for sharing this yummy recipe.

When I made these cookies I followed the instructions to the letter and came out with very similar results.  I think her cookies look a little more gooey in the center than mine, but I baked mine for 13 minutes.  The recipe suggests  baking them for just 12 minutes.  I was using an oven that I’m not really use to and I wanted to make sure the cookies were done in the center. 

This recipe is a keeper.  I will make them again, and again!

I’m all for trying new recipes – how about you?  Have you made any recipes that you’ve found on Pinterest?  If so, were you happy with the results?

Sour Cream Pumpkin Spiced Doughnut Holes

While fall hasn’t officially arrived, that doesn’t stop me from diving into the delicious apple and pumpkin treats that are typically associated with it.   I can’t wait to make  Crockpot Apple Crisp, Country Apple Caramel Sauce, and Homemade Pumpkin Spice Cake.

But it wouldn’t be right to make all those scrumptious desserts without making these small, but mighty, Sour Cream Pumpkin Spiced Doughnut Holes first. 

I am a big fan of baked doughnut holes.  And as I may have mentioned a time or two before, I always use my babycakes maker when I’m making doughnut holes – less fat involved. 

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve made Pumpkins Spice Doughnut Holes.  But this recipe is slightly different from the first recipe I shared here.  These doughnut holes are made with sour cream, less oil, and less flour.  I also kicked up the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice a wee bit too.  I honestly have to say that I like both versions of the recipe and I don’t think one is better than the other either.  I think the pumpkin flavor is the star of the show and if you pair them with a cold glass of apple cider or a fresh cup of coffee there is no going wrong.

Sour Cream Pumpkin Spiced Doughnut Holes

1 egg, room temperature

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. canned pumpkin

1/4 c. sour cream

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour

Cinnamon & sugar mixture

In a large bowl, add egg, oil, sugars, sour cream, and pumpkin; mix thoroughly.  Mix in pumpkin salt, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla.  Add flour; mix until all ingredients are completely blended.

Bake according to babycakes maker.  Cool slightly before coating with cinnamon & sugar mixture.  * I put the mixture in a plastic bag, drop a few doughnut holes in at a time, and shake until the holes are completely coated.

Store in a paper bag.

So, have you had or made a fall treat yet?  If so, what was it? 

Brightening a Cloudy Day

Yesterday was a fairly dreary day here in the Finger Lakes. Clouds and rain filled the sky.  However, plans had been made.  My daughter and her husband were going apple picking (rain or shine) and they promised to bring us a taste of their harvest.  In return, I offered to make Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese for dinner.  A fair trade in both our opinions.  We always like to fill our family’s bellies when we have them for dinner, and considering that most of our family doesn’t like to cook, it’s a fairly easy task for us to accomplish. 

When my daughter walked in the door her hands were full with a bright and colorful bouquet of flowers.  Apples were not the only thing she had been picking.  What a perfect way to brighten an otherwise cloudy day. 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of these flowers to share here on my blog.  As for the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, the recipe will be forthcoming one of these days.  And the apples?  I’m going to make a batch of homemade applesauce.

Hope these help color your day bright!

Easy & Irresistible M&M Cookies

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve made cookies of any kind.  You see, I had this lame theory that if I didn’t make cookies then I wouldn’t eat so many.  A few packages of Nutter Butter’s later and one disproved theory…

I’m sure you don’t mind my lack of willpower.  Especially when I’m sharing pictures and recipes of cookies that you too may decide to make one day soon.

These M&M cookies are very good.  Trust me!

Easy Irresistible M&M Cookies

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. shortening

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c. M&M candies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, eggs, vanilla, and butter.  Add baking soda, salt, and flour; mix well.  Fold in M&M candies.

Drop by the teaspoon full onto prepared cookie sheets giving them enough space so they won’t bake together.  Bake for 9-10 minutes, don’t over bake.  Cool before transferring from cookie sheet to a baking rack.

Store in airtight container, or freeze in Ziplock bags and pull them from the freezer as needed.

What’s the last cookie you made?  Or bought?