roasted butternut squash soup

i love fall/winter and the veggies that come with the season.  it is the perfect weather for enjoying a cup of warm creamy soup.

this soup is so fall to me and super creamy but does not require any cream at all...

-2 medium/large butternut squash
-1 onion
-2 carrots
-2 celery stalks
-28 ounces of organic chicken or veggie stock (1 box - you may need a bit more than that but you can always add a touch of water)
-3 tablespoons of olive oil
-kosher salt and pepper to taste
-a splash of apple cider vinegar
-2 cookie sheets, 1 soup pot, a sharp chef's knife and cutting board, a blender, kitchen tongs, a spatula, a metal soup spoon, measuring spoons, and an oven

-pre-heat oven to 420 with 2 cooking racks in the top positions
-wash the 2 squash and then cut the tip and tail off - leaving 2 flat surfaces (i only cut the tip off as my tail was very flat of both of mine)
-stand the squash on its tail and slowly press your chef's knife from the middle of the tip to the tail cutting the squash in 1/2...repeat with the 2nd squash

-with a soup spoon, scoop out seeds of all 4 pieces and discard
-place the squash on cookie sheets
-pour 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil on each piece (skin side and flesh side) and sprinkle with salt

-wash, peel,  and chop carrots, celery and onion into similarly sized pieced

-place the 2 cookie sheets with the seasoned squash in the oven and cook for about 20 mins (or until one side is roasted), then turn the squash and roast for another 20-30 mins or until soft
-place chopped carrots, celery,  and onion in a pan over medium-low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil

-cook veggies until the onions start to turn a bit translucent

-take the skin off of the squash with kitchen tongs and add to the veggies (it comes off so easily that you could do it with a fork if you don't have tongs)

-cover the veggies with stock and bring to a simmer for about 10-15 mins to blend the flavors

-blend to your desired may need to add a bit of water or stock to get the right balance creaminess
-add salt and pepper to taste
-at the very end add a splash of apple cider vinegar and stir  

to spice it up...i served this in a little mug with a touch of creme fraiche (just for color really as the soup totally does not need any dairy at all), a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and some chives...cayenne is super nice in the creamy, buttery, roasted soup and a bit of spice is always nice...


roasted garlic

i love garlic and when it is cold season, it is the best.  it is loaded with vitamin b6 and c.  i feel garlic has a bad rap for it's smell and, if you eat enough of it, you will smell like garlic.  i, personally, enjoy the scent and i think it tastes delish plus all the good it does the body health wise...all of the positive outweigh the smell factor for me.

it is so heavenly roasted...roasted garlic spreads on bread like butter. it can be paired with a nice cheese or eat it smeared on toasted french bread with a side of warm soup...which is the perfect meal when you are feeling a cold coming on.

-1 (or as many as you like) head(s) of garlic
-1 tablespoon of olive oil
-a pinch of kosher salt and pepper
-a knife, some foil, and an oven

-heat oven to 425
-chop the root end of the bulb off carefully as to leave as much of the garlic as you can in tact

-tear a piece of foil large enough to cover garlic and drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper
-place garlic cut side down in the seasoning and create a pouch

-place in the pouch on the middle rack of your oven and cook for about 35-45 may have to check the garlic to make sure it is soft and buttery...if it is not...just rap it back up and cook it for another 15-20 mins.

i made this for a friend so i did not open the pouch when it was done cooking as i wanted it to stay intact so i don't have a photo of the final product, but i promise that it is sure to be roasted golden brown and so yummy!


anne's citrus cranberry relish

whenever i try a family member's or friend's recipe that i love (no matter if they were the creator of the recipe), it immediately becomes their dish, their creation because they are the ones who the recipe spoke to enough to make it for me :).

my sister-in-law, anne, is an amazing cook and baker...everything she makes is yummy and this citrus cranberry relish she made one year is a-amazing!!

(note: i double this recipe when i make it because it is that good so don't let the photos fool you as i prepared enough for 20. the recipe below can serve 8-10 people.)

-1 1/2 cups of sugar
-3/4 cup water
-12 oz of fresh cranberries (1 bag)
-1/2 cup orange marmalade
-juice of 1 lemon
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
-a measuring cup, a cutting board, a knife, a sauce pan

-wash cranberries
-measure sugar and marmalade
-juice the lemon
-measure and chop walnuts
-measure water and place in sauce pan

-add the sugar to the water in the sauce pan and make a simple syrup by brining it to a boil, then simmering for 5 minutes.
-add cranberries
-stir over medium heat for about 20 mins, or until all berries burst
-remove from heat and add marmalade, lemon juice, and walnuts
-stir to combine
-cool the sauce and transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill thoroughly
-serve chilled

have a happy thanksgiving!!


vegan coconut oatmeal cookies

i have been trying to limit dairy and eggs which can be tricky when baking.  all i wanted was to bake a successful vegan oatmeal cookie that actually tasted good...i tried many recipes that i found on the web and was super unimpressed so i decided to just go for it and improvise on the recipe found on the back of the lid of good ole quaker oats and i am pleased with the result...

-1/2 cup of coconut oil
-3/4 cup molasses
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 cup oat flower (can use white flower or any flower you would like to try)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3 cups oats
-1 cup shredded coconut
-an oven, 2 mixing bowls: one small and one large, a whisk, a mixing spoon, 2 cookie sheets, 2 slitpats (if you have them-if not, just use the ungreased cookie sheet), a cooling rack

-pre-heat oven to 350
-with the 2 mixing bowls, measure and mix the following in the small bowl: 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 3/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla,  and the remaining ingredients excluding the coconut in the large bowl: 1 1/2 cup oat flower, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 cups oats.
-measure the coconut and set aside
-slowly mix the ingredients from the small bowl into the larger bowl
-once all the ingredients are combined, add the coconut

-make small cookie pancakes with the dough and place on the cookie sheets
-bake for about 8-10 mins or until golden brown and place on the cooling rack to cool


kiwi berry

one of the joys of receiving a farm box every week is that i can always count on having seasonal fruits and veggies.  the other joy is that i get to find out about new produce that i had no idea existed: a kiwi berry?

i have always been a fan of the kiwi.  i think that that peeling them is less than fun but the reward is delicious and they are high in fiber and good for you so those are all pluses that made peeling them worth while...until...i discovered the kiwi berry in my farm box.  i was curious as i had never heard of such a berry.  i decided to go for it and just bite it and it was amazing how it was a cross between a kiwi and a grape.  who knew?  i am a fan.


flowers: mixed to many

i love having flowers all over the house and try to find affordable ways to keep the house full of fresh flowers.  the cheapest way that i have found to do so is to buy the well priced but terrible looking mixed arrangement and break them up into groups of the same flowers.  by doing so 1 bouquet become 5 or more, which is amazing when your desire is to fill multiple rooms or areas of your home with arrangements.  i love this trick for entertaining as the whole house is filled with color and joy by just one inexpensive purchase.

i was able to get 7 little arrangements out of the bunch above...


bean salad

my friend, rebecca, made this salad for us over the summer and i loved it.  i forgot to ask her for the recipe but i improvised my version from a recipe i found at and i am super happy with the result.  this salad is packed with protein and makes a great side dish, main course, or snack...

-5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
-3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
-1/3 cup fresh cilantro
-2 limes
-1 teaspoon agave (or sugar)
-1 small red onion
-4 green onions
-1 or 2 jalapenos
-1 pound shelled edamame (i used frozen and it was 1 package)
-3 cups frozen corn (again, i used frozen for ease- 2 packages)
-2 handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes
-salt to taste
-15 ounces of black beans (1 can if you are using canned)
-measuring cups and spoons, a strainer, a large mixing bowl, a large spoon, a knife and a cutting board

-thaw the edamame and corn (i just left it out for 2 hours and it thawed but if you want to speed up the process, just throw them in a pot of barely salted boiling water for about 3 minutes and sure to cool them after)
-drain, rinse, and strain the beans
-wash and dry the jalapeno and green onion

-chop the onions (green and red), jalapenos (i diced mine without the seeds or veins), and half or quarter the tomatoes

-chop the cilantro at the last minute, right before adding to the dressing mixture explained below

-in a small bowl mix the 5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, the juice of 2 limes, 1 teaspoon of agave, and a pinch of salt
-add the red onions, green onions, jalapenos, and cilantro to the dressing

-in a large bowl mix the corn and the edamame and pour the dressing over and mix

-add the black beans and the tomatoes give a careful, final mix so that tomatoes and beans do not fall apart

-salt to taste

it is good right when you make it but it is excellent after chillin in the frig overnight...