Thursday, September 24, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

I am a fall food fanatic. I admit it. When that hint of chill in the air hits my senses in late August or beginning of September, I immediately begin thinking of food. Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, kale, squash. Before summer is even over, I get itchy just thinking about apple and pumpkin picking at our favorite orchard. I get the urge to make huge vats of soup and hearty stew and stash it in the freezer for my family. I guess it's another form of nesting for me.

So the other day I had Tim pick up a few good whole butternut squash on his way home from work. I was craving this soup, and since we had snow on Monday and Tuesday, I felt entitled to some warm fall food simmering on the stove. This soup is easy and delicious and healthy and delicious. In fact it might be my favorite soup ever. Here's how you make it.

Split open 2 butternut squash (about 2 lbs each). Scrape out the seeds and place cut side down on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil to prevent sticking. Quarter 2 onions and peel, core and slice 2 good firm apples and also place on said sheet pan. Roast these vegetables in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until the squash is easily pierced with a knife. While it's roasting, add 4 cans of chicken stock to a large stock pot and add 3 bay leaves and 1/2 tsp thyme. Keep it warm until the squash, apples, and onions are ready. When they come out of the oven, add the onions and apples to the stock. Peel the squash skin away and also add the squash to the pot in small sections. Boil on the stove for 30-40 minutes. Let the soup cool for a little while, and remove the bay leaves, then process in your favorite food processor in batches until it is smooth, velvety and delicious.

There you have it. An abundance of gorgeous, easy, seasonal, and very healthy soup with no sugar, butter, oil or preservatives. Go put a pair of socks on and enjoy!

Growing Boy

"Daddy stuck me in the swing while you were gone..."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Excused Absesnce

I’m back!

Ok, so I took a little vacation from the blog, but I’m glad to be posting again. Things have been a whirlwind around here lately. I told a friend yesterday that we’re creating a new normal, and that’s exactly how I feel. We’re settling into a groove with our new bundle of smiley sweetness. Speaking of little Adam, he’s growing bigger by the minute. Babies don’t keep, that’s for sure. He’s sleeping like a champ and recently started sucking his thumb or fist, although he’s not crazy about pacifiers. He’s my constant shadow and his huge grin lights up my day.

We’ve also begun kindergarten in earnest in the past few weeks. Although Dabney and David love their schoolwork, I still have to “encourage” them to focus and pay attention. Dabney is halfway through Math-U-See Primer, beginning her Writing Road to Reading notebook (she’s mastered her phonograms and loves to read Bob Books), and we are slowly beginning Shurley English 1. The English is a pretty rigorous course (which I like) so we’re easing into it. We’re continuing with Drawing for Children (I need to be more consistent with structured art this year ~ my children are addicted to what David calls ‘projecks’.) We also found a good Colorado state history book with a fabulous teacher manual that will make state history for kindergarten through 3rd grade a breeze. I’ve got quite a few more great books on their way and boy do I love to get books in the mail. I’ve mastered a great system using to get wonderful books for way cheap. I wish I could buy books all day long.

Another reason I’ve been so delinquent with the blog, is that I’ve been successfully working off the baby weight during the kids’ naptime. In fact with diet and exercise, I’ve lost 46 lbs since little guy was born. Not bad considering I gained about 27 lbs with Adam. I’m not usually a huge fan of exercise, but I’ve been enjoying my time alone while the house is quiet, with my iPod cranked up loud. Ironically, I can think freely with my earbuds in and I feel so much better after I go for my run. Actually, I’ve gotten quite a bit faster in my few months of running~ I’ve gained a whole mph.! (I’m not going to tell you exactly how fast I run because I know a few of you ladies out there could wipe the floor with me and my weak pace!) By taking the very few spare minutes of my day, I know I’m doing something good for myself and for my family.

I think we really are getting more comfortable in our routines and I think the fall has something to do with that. Life is becoming slightly more predictable and structured. I think the kids have security in their routines, not to mention myself.

Autumn is starting to show itself here in Colorado. There’s a crisp in the air in the evenings and when the kids wake us in the mornings. Our largest tree out front has hints of yellow around the edges of its leaves and almost all of our mums are ready to burst forth in bloom. We all enjoyed dinner al fresco a few nights ago, but I think that will be the last of the season. I’m looking forward to sock weather.
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