Easy Peasy Butternut Squash Soup

Aaaaah Fall – that weird time of year where one day you’re convinced it’s still Summer and the next day you can’t leave the house without gloves and a scarf.

Temperatures dropped rapidly yesterday and we hit a record low of 26 F last night. My boyfriend Phil and I are trying to cut down on our carbs, so our usual go-to Ramen wasn’t an option for dinner tonight. We quickly decided to try to make some butternut squash soup and, boy, was that the right decision.

This recipe is super easy, only requires six ingredients and only a minimal amount of chopping since everything will be cooked down anyways. All in all, it took a little bit over an hour to make – an hour that included each of us taking a shower. Plus you can make some super tasty roasted squash seeds that are great to snack on. And you’ll have enough soup to feed you for several days for only about 10 dollars!

Ingredients:

  • 6 carrots, cubed
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/2 of a large, sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger (if you like ginger, add more! I was careful because Phil isn’t the biggest ginger fan)
  • 1 gallon stock (we used beef stock but any kind will work!)
  • oil, salt, pepper to taste

Recipe:

Heat up the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook on low for about 10 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic, plus some salt and pepper to taste. Let cook for another 5 minutes. Add the squash and carrots and fill up the pot with your stock. Bring to a boil while covered, then let simmer for about 30 minutes.

After the soup has simmered, check if the carrots can be poked with a fork. If yes, add your soup in small portions to a food processor or blender and pulse it to the desired consistency (if not, continue to simmer for a few more minutes). And that’s all you need to do! Your soup is ready to serve. Some recipes I got my inspiration from added coconut milk to the soup, but honestly, I think it was creamy enough without anything else.

As an added bonus, I put some pumpkin seed oil and roasted seeds on top of my soup. My boyfriend didn’t like the extra crunchiness and just ate the soup as was. Either way, this was a super easy, tasty, cheap and healthy dinner!

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Super Easy Pumpkin Brownies

Halloween weekend is finally here! These past two months have been so stressful and although I still have quite a few things to do before the end of the year, this weekend I have a quick breather. Perfect timing for one of my favorite holidays!

I have two halloween gatherings to go to today and was asked to bring something to one of them. Easiest thing would be a six pack of beer, but I am not drinking until after the NYC marathon next weekend. Luckily there’s a super easy, tasty, quick recipe that is perfect for this season: two-ingredient pumpkin brownies! It is a bit of a cheat since all you need is brownie mix and a can of pumpkin, but it’s so easy and tasty. To make it even more halloween-appropriate, I added some candy corn on top and mixed in some cinnamon, but worry not, this recipe works out really well with just the two base ingredients.

Recipe:

Preheat your oven to the recommended temperature according to the brownie mix. Combine the dry brownie mix with a 15 oz can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix!). Bake for approx. 5 minutes longer than the brownie mix calls for, let cool and eat to your content!

Happy halloween everyone!!

Spinach Mushroom Pasta Sauce

The weather sure has turned in New York. I can still feel the summer heat of a few days ago, when I constantly had my A/C on and couldn’t step outside without breaking into a sweat. And now here I am, cuddled up in bed with a few blankets, listening to the rain fall, and craving some comfort food! Well, ok, to be exact, I was craving my comfort food earlier this evening which then in turn inspired my dinner, i.e. the recipe I am about to post. I think what really made this comfort food for me was the vast amount of mushrooms I used – but it was so worth it. This sauce works best with any type of thicker pasta (so penne, fusilli, bowties… pretty much anything that isn’t long and thing). It’s low effort, fairly healthy and just a great weeknight recipe (if I may say so myself)!

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 hand-full (or more!) of spinach (remember, it cooks down like crazy)
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • optional: red pepper flakes, basil


 

Recipe:

Heat up some olive oil (ca. 1 tsp) in a large pan (in the meantime, start boiling your pasta water). Once hot (you can test it by sprinkling water into the oil), add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Remove the mushrooms, store in a bowl and, if the pan is dry, add more olive oil to it. Once hot again, add the red onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Pour in the white wine, add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and reintroduce the mushrooms. Turn the heat to low, add the spinach and cover for about 5 minutes (during this time, it would be good to start cooking your pasta). Remove lid, stir and let simmer until the sauce has reached its desired consistency. If desired, add in some basil. Once your pasta has cooked, mix everything together and serve right away!!

I hope this quick and easy recipe inspired a few of my readers – I for one am so glad it’s finally cooling down enough that I can start cooking and baking on the regular again!

 

Tahini Chocolate Bundt Cake

Before I even start… wow. This cake – so moist, so decadent. Not too sweet, not too heavy. SO YUMMY!

Ok, now that I got this out of the way, let’s  begin. Originally, I was going to make some roasted veggies with an avocado tahini dressing for dinner last night. However, after eating something that didn’t quite agree with me for lunch, I had to rethink my dinner strategy (which ended up being ordering delivery… Yes, I am ashamed. Just a little). I had already bought most of the ingredients and had this jar of tahini sitting around. I also knew I had to bring breakfast to my Thursday morning meeting, so I started googling things I could bake with tahini. And that’s when I stumbled across this fantastic recipe. I tweaked it a bit to make it dairy free (and also based on what else I had in my pantry), but I have no regrets. In fact, I will be baking this cake again this weekend for a friend’s birthday!

 

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of light brown sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 medium eggs (see here for vegan flax seed eggs)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, topped off with a little less than 1 cup of coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 package vanilla sugar (can substitute with another tsp vanilla extract)

Tahini Coating:

  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 package vanilla sugar (can substitute with 1 tsp vanilla extract)

 

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large bundt pan with some of the coconut oil and lightly dust with a small amount of cocoa powder. Prepare the vegan buttermilk by combining the apple cider vinegar with coconut milk and let sit for approximately 5 minutes.

Mix the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla sugar in a large bowl. Combine well, avoiding any clumps. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vegan buttermilk, coffee, coconut oil, tahini and vanilla extract. Mix well. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth. Pour into bundt pan and bake for about 45 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean).

Once the cake is baked, take it out of the oven and leave it in the pan for at least 10 minutes before cooling it on a cooling rack (without the pan). Wait at least half an hour before glazing the cake. Mix the tahini coating ingredients and slowly pour over the cooled cake.

I served the cake the next day and it tasted AMAZING. However, I am sure it will taste just as good (actually, probably even better) fresh out of the oven. It’s a pretty big cake and can easily feed 15 people!

Cardamom Cold Brew Coffee

Oh boy, I have so much catching up to do. But to prove that I’m still alive, I wanted to post a quick cold brew idea. I made it last night and had a cup this morning, and it sure changes my morning coffee game!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground coffee
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • Maple syrup (optional)
  • Coconut milk (optional)

Mix the coffee with the cardamom in a large container (e.g. a glass pitcher). Pour cold water and mix well. Cover pitcher, put it in the refrigerator, and let it sit over night. Before serving, remove the coffee grounds by pouring it over a fine strainer. You can either drink it as is or sweeten it with some coconut milk and maple syrup (or your sweetener of choice, but I found this combo to taste really great).

Turkey Bolognese over Zucchini Noodles

Hello everyone!

I just got back from a college reunion and my diet did not do well. Back in New York, I am now starting a month-long no added-sugar diet and it’s really bringing out my creative cooking side. Well, at least I like to tell myself that.

One of the recipes I will be cooking for sure is my turkey bolognese. I made it with Phil and he immediately fell in love with the recipe! We cheated a bit with the no-dairy part and added sheep’s feta cheese before serving it, but this is in no way required. It still tastes absolutely amazing, with the key ingredient being carrots (yes! carrots! they actually take away the acidity usually found in tomato sauces, so no sugar is necessary). If you want a cheesy flavor, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top and it will be almost like you’re eating spaghetti with Parmesan!

 

Ingredients (serves two hungry people):

  • 1 lbs of ground turkey
  • ~10 cheery tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • t tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can (16 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 large zucchini


Recipe:

  1. Heat up the oil in a large pan (I used a wok).
  2. Fry the onions for about a minute, then add the garlic and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes at medium heat.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Remove the veggies from the pan, add the spices.
  5. Add the turkey to the pan. Sprinkle salt on the meat. Cook until no longer pink.
  6. Add the veggies to the turkey in the pan.
  7. Add the canned tomatoes and bay leaf and let simmer on low heat until desired consistency is reached.
  8. While the sauce is thickening, wash the zucchini and spiralize it (alternatively, you can buy pre-packaged zoodles). You can either eat the zucchini noodles raw or quickly heat them up in a pan.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and pour the sauce over the noodles. Serve with any extras you want!

 

Slow Cooker Rum Apple Butter

Wow, I think I’m on a slow cooker role! Last week the Slow Cooker Lime Pulled Pork, now this apple butter recipe… But it’s so easy and versatile!

I was invited to a bunch of pot-luck style things this weekend – a housewarming, a picnic, and then I hosted my own Eurovision Party (to which though nobody showed up… But that’s a different story!) – so I had to come up with something I could bring to all of these events. And thus the idea of making apple butter was born (fyi, I plan to make a crepe cake with apple butter layers soon. No idea how it’s going to turn out, but we shall see).

The only ~difficult~ part of this recipe was peeling and cutting all the apples. Everything else was just wait and stir!

 

Ingredients:

  • ~4.5 lbs apples (I used granny smith and… another kind that I don’t remember)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 packs of vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum

Recipe:

  1. Peel and cut the apples into cubes
  2. Mix with sugar, cinnamon, clove, salt and vanilla sugar in slow cooker
  3. Cover and cook for approx. 6 hours on high, stirring every hour or so
  4. Uncover the slow cooker, add the rum, stir, and cook for another hour uncovered while high
  5. Turn slow cooker off, let cool down some and store in refrigerator

I put my apple butter in little mason jars that are an AMAZING gift! The rum cooks off but adds to the flavor. So far, I’ve eaten the apple butter with bananas and toast, but I’m sure it would work great in a smoothie, oatmeal… you name it!


Hope you enjoy it and let me know how you used it 🙂