Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Here I am as Tacky the Penguin from the story by Helen Lester.

If you have young kids and are looking for tips to keep down the Halloween candy consumption, check out my post from last year about The Halloween Fairy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soup that's a meal

Here's an easy soup that makes a great hearty meal for these cold fall nights (with leftovers for lunch!).

Get a 16-ounce bag of Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Mix. (If you don't have a TJ's near you, I bet your grocery or natural food stores has something similar, maybe even in the bulk bin. This mixture has baby limas, black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzos, pinto, kidney, navy beans, etc. I put them to soak in the morning before I left for work. When I got home, I drained the bean mixture. Then I chopped an onion and in a large pot sauteed it in olive oil over low heat. Then I added the beans plus 1 1/2 quarts of water (you could also use stock). Cover, bring to a boil, and cooked for about 20 minutes. Then I added 4 carrots and 2 potatoes, diced. Cooked for about half an hour more, or until beans were tender. Then I added a large can of diced tomatoes with the juice, a cup of corn, salt, pepper, dried basil and thyme to taste. We have enough soup for a couple of meals and best of all, my family LOVED it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More butternut squash ideas

I just love winter squash . . . tonight we had butternut squash baked and then mashed with butter (or nonhydrogenated margarine for those of us dairy-free) and cinnamon. We also had baked beans, steamed peas, and the last of the tomatoes from our garden sprinkled with fresh herbs. A great fall meal that left everyone smiling.

Baked Winter Squash
This is an easy way to cook squash – no peeling or dicing is involved. It works for acorn, butternut, hubbard--whatever.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly oil a baking dish or jelly roll pan. Cut the squash(es) in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place cut side down on prepared pan. Add 1/8 - 1/4 inch of water to pan. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until squash is tender. Let cool slightly and scoop squash out of peel into a bowl. Season with butter or olive oil, sea salt, and spice to taste.

1 pound squash yields about 1 cup mashed squash

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Squash and White Bean Soup

This is one of my favorite recipes from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. I made a triple batch for our staff lunch for October.

Squash and White Bean Soup

1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 butternut, kabucha, or hubbard squash, peeled and cut into cubes (about 7 cups)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon tahini
2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley or watercress
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In large soup pot over medium-low heat, add onion and oil. Stir gently to spread and then cook about 15 minutes without stirring until onions are brown and caramelized. Stir in garlic. Add water or stock and squash. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes until squash is tender. Puree squash mixture in blender or food processor with spices, miso, and tahini. Add water if soup is too thick. Return to pot and stir in beans and parsley or watercress over low heat. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Garnish with roasted pumpkin or squash seeds if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings