Friday, September 27, 2013

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Hey, I warned you to be prepared for an overload of squash now that fall is upon us, so you can't say you didn't see this one coming!

I used up another butternut squash that I bought at Whole Foods last weekend (they were 50 cents a pound!) in this super velvety, spicy, and comforting soup. I'd been day-dreaming up this soup during class all week, and I'm happy to say that it exceeded my expectations for a filling fall meal. I added red lentils to the soup to bump up the protein and fiber content so that it stuck with me a little longer without changing the gorgeous color of the butternut squash. I garnished the soup with plain greek yogurt, green onions, and butternut squash seeds that I tossed in curry powder, cumin, salt, and pepper, and roasted at 400 F until golden brown.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup


Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (you can usually find pre-peeled and diced butternut squash in the produce section this time of year)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy alternative)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt and pepper


Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, curry powder, and cumin. Cook for a minute or so, until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Stir in the lentils and vegetable broth. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils and squash are tender.
  5. Blend the soup until smooth in a blender, in batches if needed. Stir in the milk and lime juice, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

As for news these days, I've got some pretty exciting stuff to share. I've just been accepted into the Bachelor's of Science Degree program in Culinary Nutrition! That means that I will be awarded with my Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts at the end of November and will start work towards my Bachelor's in December. I'm super excited! My first classes for next term:
Lifespan Nutrition
Intro to General and Organic Chemistry
Medical Food Service Management
Vegetarian Cuisine (culinary lab)

It should be a difficult course load, but fun to finally study what I'm really here for; I'm definitely up for the challenge!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Autumn!

Writing this post has been kind of like when you are talking to someone for a while but still don't know their name. The longer you wait to ask them their name, the more awkward it is...yet you still really want to know their name. The longer I waited to write a new post, the more awkward I felt it would be to just post a recipe out of the blue; but at the same time, I really wanted to get back at it. In solution, I'm just going to pretend like it hasn't been 3 months since I posted anything and get on with welcoming you to my new and improved blog!

Notice the new design? I like it a lot better, and hopefully you do too! I love sharing recipes, but I also want to start talking a little more about running, since it's my other real passion. Hopefully now that I've ripped off that band-aid and just written a darn post already, I'll be more inclined to keep it up. So once again, I'm asking for requests! I seriously love requests...want a gluten free cake recipe? weeknight dinner ideas? something to do with all those apples you picked? Let me know! I've added a "Contact Me" form on the sidebar, feel free to send me an email there or comment below and tell me what you want to see.

Anyways, now that it's officially Autumn (yay!) I assume the right to post recipes for anything and everything made with pumpkin and butternut squash. Starting.....NOW.

Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus
 

This dip is great with whole wheat pita bread. It's rich, flavorful, smooth, and slightly sweet with a spicy fall kick. I topped mine with olive oil and toasted butternut squash seeds (rinse them and toss with the same spices that are in the hummus, roast at 400 F for 5-10 minutes) and it was awesome.

Ingredients:
  • about 3 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash (~1/2 a medium squash, although it's easy to find pre-cubed or peeled butternut squash in the produce section these days)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • juice from 1 lemon
Directions:
  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Toss the cubed butternut squash with the olive oil, cumin, paprika, red pepper, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and pepper on the baking sheet, then roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the roasted butternut squash to a blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients, blend until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste, then serve!
 
 
And in terms of running news...
 
I'm currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) on October 27th! I'm super excited to run another marathon in DC, and with a new flatter course, this should be a good one. Since starting school again, I've been running with the Team in Training (TNT) Rhode Island group on Sundays for my long runs. It's such a huge motivator to have running company and coaches who spend their entire Sunday morning driving in 3-mile intervals to give you water stops along the way. Major thanks to the awesomeness that is TNT.
 
This weekend I did 20 miles with my new running friend, who's training for the Chicago Marathon in a few weeks! Man, it was brutal...but I made it through with some (long) water breaks and lots of positivity and encouragement. I know it would have been even rougher without a buddy; 20 miles is just a really long way to go. Next week I'm stepping down to 12 miles, then it's back up to 20 miles again the following week before I taper my mileage in preparation for the race. This is the first time I've done two 20 milers before a race (in the past I've done a single 20 mile run 3 weeks before the marathon), so I'm curious to see how well I do at MCM.
 
After MCM, I'm continuing my training in preparation for the Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January. The Dopey Challenge involves completing a 5k race on Thursday, 10k on Friday, half marathon on Saturday, and full marathon on Sunday, totaling 48.6 miles over 4 days. Ouch. I guess that's why they call it Dopey, huh? Once again, I am raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) through TNT, and would greatly appreciate anything you can give! LLS has been key in funding research and development of new treatments for blood cancers, as well as providing resources to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families (like mine). If you'd like to donate, you can visit my fundraising page, http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/wdw14/jackiep. Thank you for your support (and for hanging in with me through that dry spell of blog posts)!