Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Hello All!

It looks as though fall is well underway (at least here in Calgary, where some day’s it’s apparently even winter), and when the cool weather hits I can’t help but want to make delicious, homemade soups! There’s just something about a nice, hot bowl of healthy soup on a cold day that brings my spirits up. Can anyone relate?

Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada, and it was also the first time in 30 years that I have not been home for the holidays. It was admittedly a little tough to be away from my friends and family back home. However, some new friends here in Calgary were kind enough to invite me to my first Friendsgiving, which was wonderful! The food was absolutely delicious, and the company a true delight as well!

Fav things
All of my favorite things: Muskoka Howling Wolf coffee, a Butternut Squash from Mom’s Garden, and pumpkin spice cookies 😉

My family was sweet enough to send me a care package though with some of my favorite things, and of course my winter coat and mittens for the colder days. My mom decided to grow butternut squash – a favorite of mine – in her garden this year, and I was surprised to receive one of her beautiful squash’s, all the way from Ontario, included in my care package.

Although I occasionally mix it up, there is one thing that I truly love to make with butternut squash: SOUP! My Creamy Butternut Squash Soup recipe is one of my all time favorites, and I feel a little bad for not sharing this delicious, healthy recipe with all of you sooner. Oops! Alas, the time has come for me to divulge the secrets of my infamous butternut squash soup! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup drizzled with real maple syrup and garnished with pecans!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled cut into approx.1” cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled & diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • ¼ cup olive or coconut oil
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut (or cashew) milk
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey or real maple syrup (optional)

Method:

  • Heat olive or coconut oil in a large soup pan over medium high heat. Add in onions and sauté about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Reduce heat to medium, add in minced garlic and ginger; continue to sauté about 3 minutes more, stirring often.
  • Add carrots, sweet potato, cinnamon, and nutmeg into pot, stirring to combine and sauté about 2 more minutes. Add in butternut squash, apple, and vegetable broth so that vegetables are covered to the top with liquid (add a little water if need be) and season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium high.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until all veggies are soft. Turn off stove. Using an immersion blender, puree soup in pot until thick and smooth in consistency.
  • Gently stir in coconut milk, and honey or maple syrup, if desired, for a little more sweetness. Season with extra salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste and if needed.

Notes:

  • Special equipment: Immersion blender. Alternatively, soup can also be transferred to a regular blender to puree and then poured back into pot. However, allow soup to cool a bit first if doing this for safety as it will be very hot.
  • This recipe is gluten and dairy free, and vegan.

 

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Beet Apple n’ Ginger Soup

Happy Sunday!

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as I have a very special birthday party to prepare for and attend tonight. Who’s birthday party you may be wondering? Why it’s my lovely little pup Oscar’s 9th birthday! And yes, we celebrate with dinner, “cake”, and gifts each and every year hehe.

Handsome Oscy
Oscy sporting the latest fashions hehe

Not to worry, I will be documenting the occasion in a later blog post complete with photos! Oscy gets SO excited about his birthday and I honestly think that I look more forward to his birthday than my own. He’s just so adorable when he gets all excited about the festivities and you can’t help but laugh and feel happy watching his enjoyment.

Anyhow, back to this wonderful Beet Apple n’ Ginger Soup I want to tell you about. I had some beets and a few other ingredients kicking around in my fridge that I wanted to make use of before they went bad, so I decided to make one of my favorite items: soup.

I think one of the things I love about making soup is that I can throw a bunch of items into a pot, add some spices as I go, and see what happens. I feel it really give me the opportunity to experiment and be creative in the kitchen, which I love! Sometimes I’m not so fortunate and my cooking experiments turn out not-so-tasty. Fortunately on this particular occasion though this one turned out great!

This delicious soup is packed with nutritious vegetables, plus a bit of heat from the ginger, which has terrific and scientifically validated health benefits, and apple to complement the earthy flavour of the root veggies with a bit of sweetness. I finished the soup off with coconut milk to give it a creamy texture. Boy, doesn’t that look tasty?! I just love the bright colour of it!

Beet Apple Ginger soup 1
Nutrient packed Beet Apple n’ Ginger Soup

Want the scoop on how I made this one? As always, use fresh, local, organic ingredients when possible to ensure the best and most nutritious food. Now, here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets, peeled and chopped (approx. 1″ cubes)
  • 8 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3″ ginger, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 L carton vegetable broth
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp. raw, unpasteurized honey (or real maple syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  • Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add in onion and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to soften and brown slightly. Reduce heat to medium, add in garlic and ginger; saute about 3 to 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.
  • Add in carrots, beets, and apple, then cinnamon and turmeric (note: I like a lot of cinnamon so if you’re not a huge fan of the flavour start with 1 tsp. then add to taste). Stir to coat and combine. Pour in veggie broth.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes. The beets can take a while to soften so be patient. Once the veggies are soft, remove pot from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree soup.
  • Slowly add in coconut milk (2 cups was an approximation; use more for a thinner consistency and less if you’d like your soup more thick), then honey, salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine
  • Serve hot and enjoy! 🙂
Beet apple ginger soup 2
Creamy Beet Apple n’ Ginger Soup

This soup makes for a delicious and healthy pick-me-up on chilly days. Plus, if you’re having tummy issues the ginger in this one will help to soothe the ache and get you back to feeling well again. Alrighty folks, I’m off to celebrate a special little pups birthday!

Wishing you much health and happiness!

xo Julie

 

Rutabaga Pear Soup

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I’m really big on soup! Not going to lie, I do love soup. Nothing makes a cold winter day better quite like a creamy, hot, flavorful soup. But I promise I do make and will share more than soup on here haha! However, this particular soup is just so tasty and in light of the current cold winter weather here in Canada, I couldn’t help but share it with you.

Rutabega Pear Soup 2
Yummy Rutabaga Pear Soup in my Adorable Owl Bowl

I like a good challenge and one of my favorite things to do is look around the kitchen to see what I have, pull out some ingredients, and come up with something new! I’ve been staying with my mom the past little while as she recently had major surgery on her spine to correct lumbar scoliosis and vertebral disc degeneration. Fortunately her recovery is going well, but to help facilitate her healing I’ve been trying to cook nutritious, wholesome meals.

Mom and I
My Beautiful Mom and I at my Undergraduate Graduation

While poking around her place I came across a rutabaga she’d recently picked up but hadn’t had the time to cook before going into surgery. I dug around a little more and found some ingredients I figured might make a decent soup. I’m used to cooking with squash and pumpkin, but haven’t had a ton of experience with rutabaga so this was going to be a fun experiment! My dear mama, bless her soul, always tries all of my kitchen creations – good and bad. Though fortunately most of them are usually good, I think she may have been a tad skeptical on this one though haha.

I put on one of my trusty aprons – this one is green and reads “great dam cook” with a picture of a cooking beaver on it (how witty, I know hehe) that I got years ago while on a family vacation in Alberta, Canada – and got to work. I guess I’ve done this (ie. make soup) a time or two because everything came together perfectly! In fact, my mom LOVED the soup and thought it was delicious! And I have to agree… it absolutely is 🙂

Rutabega pear soup 3
Rutabaga Pear Soup

Want the scoop on what I did? Silly question, of course you do! Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 pears, peeled and diced
  • 5 -6 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2″ ginger, finely diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 L low sodium vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp raw honey or real maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil

Method

  • In a large soup pot heat oil over medium high heat. Add in onions. Saute about 5 to 8 minutes, until they begin to soften and become translucent. Add in the garlic and ginger. Saute about 3 to 5 minutes more.
  • Add rutabaga, carrots, and pears to pot along with cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Add in vegetable broth stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and puree with immersion blender (note: a hand mixer might do the job too if an immersion blender is not available).
  • Slowly pour in coconut milk, then raw honey or maple syrup, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Then add more cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, if necessary.
  • Serve hot with a garnish of walnuts or pecans.
  • Close your eyes, inhale slowly, smile, then enjoy 🙂
Rutabega Pear Soup 1
Silky, delicious rutabaga pear soup

This soup has a creamy texture and the pear adds a hint of sweetness which complements the earthy flavor of the rutabaga and carrots. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

Until next time wishing you health, happiness, and love!

xo Julie

Creamy Walnut Avocado Soup (without the cream!)

It seems as though winter has finally arrived here in Ontario and with the cold weather I find myself wanting something warm and comforting to eat more often. I was short on time and craving something creamy and tasty for lunch that wouldn’t take up much time to make. I had some avocados in the fridge that I assumed would spoil shortly if I didn’t eat them (they can be so temperamental!) – and one can only have so many avocado smoothies!

Putting my creative hat on, or rather apron I should say  (it’s a delightful thing with cats all over it hah), and searched around my tiny kitchen to see what I had that I could make a soup out of. Fortunately I had enough to whip something tasty up! And so the Creamy Walnut Avocado Soup became.

This is a quick and easy to make soup with a lovely, creamy texture and rich taste. But best of all is the health benefits it packs between the walnuts and avocado providing healthy fats, vitamins and nutrients. For those who like cream based soups but are trying to avoid the dairy, this is an excellent alternative.

The photo doesn’t do this soup justice – I am still trying to learn how to use my snazzy new camera. Being that I am a tad technologically challenged, this is  no easy feat. One of my many new years goals is to learn how to work that thing!

Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy this delicious healthy soup! It pairs well with a good book and a cold winter day  🙂

Creamy Walnut Avocado Soup

walnut soup

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts, crushed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • pinch of thyme

Method

  • In a medium size pot, combine veggie stock with avocados and mash them a bit with a fork. Add in coconut milk. Combine using an immersion blender (or hand mixer), over medium heat.
  • Add in nuts. Use the blender to puree or simply stir in for more texture.
  • Add in spices and stir to combine. Once thoroughly heated, serve.
  • Enjoy!
  • Approx. 2 servings
  • 10 – 15 minutes to make