Cranberry Butternut Squash Soup

butter

O, the excitement of my new kitchen continues…I’ve been busy whipping up hearty harvest recipes this week and last night I created a savory butternut squash soup with an extra kick of fresh cranberries from the local market.

This tasty winter squash is quite similar to a pumpkin, yet it has more of a nutty, sweet bite.  Not only is butternut squash deliciously hearty, it’s a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, calcium, niacin and three hefty grams of fiber per cup.

My butternut squash soup is quick and easy to whip up; simply seed and cube the squash, add it to the spices, cranberries, flax seeds and harvest root veggies,; simmer, then transfer into your handy-dandy blender and puree until smooth.  As in this recipe, I often choose incorporate ground flax seeds, which add an additional nutty flavor and are a great thickener for my soups and stews.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2 large parsnips, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. rosemary, finely crushed
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • Sea salt and crushed white pepper, to taste
  • Toppings: Greek plain yogurt and fresh basil leaves

Directions

  • Seed and cube the butternut squash.
  • In a large pot, combine chicken broth along with cranberries and root veggies: onion, carrots, parsnips and garlic.   Add cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, ground flax seeds and sea salt and crushed white pepper; cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender.
  • Lower heat to a simmer; cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer soup mixture to a blender; puree until smooth.
  • Serve warm with a dollop of Greek yogurt and freshly chopped basil leaves.
  • Enjoy.

Here are a few news clips in the Nutrition/Health field that I’ve come across within the last week and thought I’d share with all of you:

Food Cos. Dropping Smart Choices Labeling

Loose Weight By Eating More

Are Artificial Sweeteners Really That Bad For You?

Tighter Belts Mean Thicker Waists

Healthy Coconut ‘Fried’ Rice

Here is a delicious gluten and dairy free recipe that I cooked up last night for myself.  The powerful flavors of the saffron and coconut make this a tasty meal for any season.

rice

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free milk (soy, hemp, rice, nut)
  • 1 large tomato, finely diced
  • Dash of Nu-Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Dash of saffron
  • Dash of curry powder
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 4 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 5 scallions, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained

Directions

  • In a medium bowl, combine eggs and egg white; beat with a fork until blended.
  • Coat a large pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Pour in egg mixture and scramble.  Remove eggs and set aside.
  • To the same pan, add oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onions; stir fry until golden brown.  Add Nu-Salt, pepper, vinegar and diced tomato; continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the non-dairy milk, cinnamon, agave nectar, nutritional yeast, saffron, curry, coconut flakes, coconut extract.
  • Add brown rice, tofu and continue to stir fry for another few minutes.
  • Add in the cooked eggs.  Stir fry for another minute to ensure even cooking.
  • Remove from heat and serve.  Top with scallions, a dollop of Greek yogurt and cilantro.
  • Enjoy!