Butternut Squash Soup

I’m back!

It has been a while since I last posted but sometimes life is busy and recently I just haven’t had time to blog. However, I have not stopped cooking and I have plenty of recipes up my sleeve to share with you all!

To start off, I wanted to bring you a seasonal recipe, butternut squash soup! This is a lighter take on the beloved classic that it super easy to make and something all will enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
1/3 large white onion
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced/diced
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable broth
1/2-1 cup non dairy milk (I used cashew)
1 tablespoon butter or olive/coconut oil

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Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your butternut squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds.

Spray each side of the butternut squash with olive or coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place your the squash face side down on your lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until brown and caramelized. Remove squash from the oven and allow to cool, still keeping it face side down.

While the butternut cools, place a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil in a sauté pan and heat to medium heat. Dice 1/3 medium white onion and place into the sauté pan. Once onion softens, place the minced garlic cloves in the pan and allow to sauté with onions for an additional minute. Turn off heat and once slightly cooled, place this onion garlic mixture into your blender.

Now that the butternut is cooled, using a spoon scrape the insides into the blender as well. Begin by adding 2 cups of vegetable stock and a half cup of milk of choice in the blender along with all the spices, maple syrup and tablespoon of butter/oil. Puree the mixture until smooth. To achieve desired thick/thinness optionally add more vegetable broth and or milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy on its own or sprinkle with breadcrumbs or toasted nuts for a heartier dish.

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Garlic Balsamic Mushrooms

One of my favorite items at the Whole Foods salad bar is the balsamic mushrooms. The simple flavor combo gave me the inspiration to make my own super quick mushroom side dish. What’s great about this recipe is it only takes minutes to make but has rich flavor without all the added oil.

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Ingredients:
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ tablespoon Vegetable broth/water
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Spray a pan with coconut or olive oil and place minced garlic in the pan. Stir around for a minute to lightly sauté the garlic.
Add in the sliced mushrooms.
Stir the mushrooms around frequently and add in your veggie broth/water so mushrooms begin to sizzle. Allow mushrooms to cook for an additional minute and then drizzle on the balsamic vinegar along with the onion powder and black pepper. Mix around mushrooms thoroughly so they are evenly coated by the balsamic vinegar.
Once mushrooms achieve a browned color with golden edges, they are complete.

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Grain-less Pumpkin Cake Muffins

With Halloween tomorrow, I thought I would step up my pumpkin game and create some yummy muffins. Nothing screams this holiday’s signature flavors more than pumpkin, and fortunately for all of us, pumpkin is actually good for you! Low in calories and high in vitamin A and fiber, it can be added to a variety of both savory and sweet dishes.
The muffins turned out even better than I thought they would! However, if you are looking for a dense muffin, these won’t be it. They have more of a cake-like consistency, hence “cake muffins.” I’m thinking of coining the term “cuffin” right now…

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You could even use this recipe to create a loaf or a cake. Just adjust baking time accordingly.
Oh and each muffin is only 100 calories but packs 5 grams of protein with only 11 carbs, three of which are fiber, making this muffin perfect for any time of the day.
Have it for breakfast, a snack, dessert, or even served with lunch/dinner in place of cornbread in your meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I ended up just using 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cardamom)
2 tablespoons granulated stevia (or honey/agave/maple syrup)
2 tablespoons honey/agave/maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
⅓ cup light canned coconut milk
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, stevia, and salt.
Add in each of the wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated
Pour the batter into a muffin tin to create 12 individual muffins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Once removing muffins from the oven, let it sit until cool before removing from pan and slicing.

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To create a delicious yet healthy protein frosting, combine a tablespoon of plain/vanilla Greek yogurt with a touch of honey and a dash of cinnamon. This will create enough frosting for 1 muffin so multiply accordingly!

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Garlic Kale Chips

Happy Friday before Labor Day people!
Early tomorrow morning I am leaving for the weekend to go South to the beach, so for my road trip I wanted to be sure to pack some snacks. I hate having to stop at some gas station when I’m hungry only to find hostess cakes and Cheetos.
To prevent these occurrences, I rarely ever leave the house without a snack, This gets especially interesting when I’m swapping out my purses and bags. While most are elated to find an extra 20 dollar bill in some pocket, I frequently come across packs of seaweed and nuts.

Kale chips are a perfectly portable snack. You get the benefits of a dark leafy grain with the texture of a chip- what could be better??
For these l like to use a combo of olive oil and coconut oil. The slight sweetness of the coconut oil mixed with the great savory taste of the olive oil is a unique and tasty pairing. Feel free to experiment with your oils and spices to make your own unique creation!

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Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
Coconut oil (spray)
Olive oil (spray)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoons pink himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions:
If using an oven, preheat yours to 375F.
Rinse and pat dry kale leaves. Next, rip kale leaves from steam and tear up into pieces about 2 inches wide.
Place teared leaves into a large bowl. I don’t care about your politics, either way spray the leaves liberally with both the coconut oil and olive oil sprays. If not using spray, use about 1 teaspoon each of olive oil and melted coconut oil and massage leaves to coat.
DSCN4445Now it’s time to add your spices. Add all spices to the bowl and again toss to thoroughly coat the leaves and feel free to add more spices.
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If you are using your oven, place kale chips on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until leaves are crisp and chip like.

Alternatively, you may use a dehydrator. Place kale, without overlapping, on your dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135F for about 3 hours.

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Once chips have been baked/dehydrated, place in a bowl and mix in the fresh parsley.

For a quick fix you can even microwave the chips on full power for 2 to 3 minutes. Results will not be as crisp but will still taste yummy!