Sunday, November 27, 2011

Squash Bisque

 I wanted to make this soup but my Thanksgiving menu was already full. Today we roasted a squash (a HUGE one) that we had gotten at the farmer's market this fall. I have probably 24 cups of puree now in the fridge! So, I threw together this bisque tonight for lunch tomorrow. Of course we tasted it, and it's delicious! spicy and flavorful! Even better, it's from the inspiring Kris Carr ( This recipe was a contribution to the NYTimes. I've adapted it for squash instead of pumpkin, used white wine instead of sherry and yellow onions instead of white (it's what I had). I also used regular garlic and sauteed it with the onions, I'm sure roasted garlic would add even more depth to the flavor.

Squash Bisque
makes 6 cups
  • 2 cups squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup yellow onions, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
  • Pumpkin seed oil for garnish (optional)

1. Steam or boil the pumpkin or squash until tender.
2. Sauté onions over medium heat in olive oil until translucent. Add minced garlic and sautee 1 more minute.
3. Using a high-speed blender, combine pumpkin, onions, stock, garlic, wine, maple syrup and spices and blend until smooth.
4. Warm soup in saucepan. Serve hot, garnished with pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, November 25, 2011


We had a really nice day yesterday! So much cooking was done in advance and in the morning that there was plenty of time to watch the parades on TV, watch Miracle on 34th Street (one of my favorite movies!) and even start reading a new book. Thad and I were happy to have Vern and her mom join us for dinner. They arrived with gravy and rolls from Rocky's (still warm!). It was strange to have a holiday without my parents and aunt here, but we still had a great day and I was happy to know they were enjoying themselves in Florida with my brother's extended family.

My plan for dinner turned out really well - the only thing I didn't make was the healthy mashed potatoes. With 5lbs of the PW ones, I felt like I should eat those instead of potentially wasting food - and I was kinda sick of all the cooking and dishes! I would actually say that the Alton Brown green bean casserole was loved more than the Pioneer Woman recipe I made last year - so it's the new keeper! And this recipe from Whole Foods for stuffing turned out to be the best I'd ever had.

One thing that really made the day go smoothly was using the 3 crockpot server my parents bought us last year.  The potatoes heated up and stayed warm, and the stuffing and green bean casserole went into the other two as soon as they were made. All were kept warm until dinner which meant as soon as the turkey was ready, all the food was still hot!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes

I've been sharing a few of my favorite recipes with friends over the past few days. We've been hosting Thanksgiving for many years now and have several tried and true favorites. I always like to try something new each year too. This year will be a small Thanksgiving for us - now that my parents are in Florida, it's just Thad and me, and we're having Vern and her mom over as well. I don't really know how to cook a 'small' Thanksgiving, so we will have a lot of leftovers (I don't think I'll hear any complaints!). We did get a small Turkey this year though, and luckily Thad is the one that cooks it! I probably won't be eating any of it since I don't eat meat anymore, but I have tons of delicious sides to enjoy!

Thanksgiving Recipes:

  • Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus by Giada De Laurentiis - in years past we've tried brining with Williams Sonoma's mix, and while excellent, this recipe by Giada got more rave reviews AND was easier too! Amazing aroma with the fresh herbs and citrus.
  • Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes by Pioneer Woman - full of creamy high fat deliciousness, these are worthy of a once a year holiday - and trust me, make them the day before, put in a casserole and just reheat the big day with some more butter on top - heaven!
  • Best Ever Green Bean Casserole by Alton Brown - I made this one a couple years ago and everyone loved it. It's pretty quick to make yet no soup is involved. I do sub French's fried onions for the panko bread crumbs in the topping though because everyone expects them. My favorite recipe ever for green bean casserole though would actually be Pioneer Woman's Green Bean Casserole - but it takes a bit more work, and uses bacon which I'm no longer eating. If you have the time and want to go all out, definitely give it a try, you won't regret it!
  • Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce by Pioneer Woman - I'm using her recipe as a base, but adding in 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8tsp ground cloves and 1/8tsp ground allspice and a pinch of kosher salt, from a recipe I used last year from
  • Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Kale by Two Peas and Their Pod - this is a NEW recipe I'm trying this year and I have high hopes for it - it has all my favorites - quinoa, sweet potatoes, kale - so it has to be delicious! It's also a healthy recipe which I feel good about having on the table. I'm a savory sweet potato fan and never liked the overly sweetened versions of sweet potato recipes.
  • Mushroom Stuffing with Shallots and Fresh Herbs by Whole Foods Market - this is another new recipe I'm trying, but Whole Foods hasn't failed me yet! I wanted something vegetarian that didn't use bacon or sausage, and I love mushrooms and hearty bread. I'm using some fresh whole grain bread cube/croutons I bought at Whole Foods along with some sourdough bread I got at a local bakery (Blue Apron).
  • Healthy Mashed Potatoes by fANNEtastic food - I wanted to have a healthier alternative, even if I'm the only one that eats them! I have not been a fan of cauliflower in the past, so this is a 'new' thing for me, I'm willing to try!
  • Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie by Martha Stewart - I've been making this recipe for a few years now and  it is absolutely delicious - and super easy too! I shortcut and buy whole wheat frozen pie crust shells at Whole Foods, but have also made the crust from scratch before too. 
  • Pecan Pie aka The Pie That'll Make You Cry by Pioneer Woman - truly, it's so good it might bring tears to your eyes. This pie is the reason for healthy mashed potatoes being on my menu!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let your light shine!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  - Marianne Williamson

I ran across this quote this evening and just had to share. 

Let your light shine!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stuffing Stuffed Squash

One of my favorite recipes last fall was a stuffed Moroccan Acorn Squash - however it used ground beef and I'm no longer eating meat. I ran across this recipe on and decided to make it tonight for dinner. Verdict = yummy! I don't think I've met a squash I didn't like. And now I may even experiment with that Moroccan acorn squash substituting some quinoa in for the ground beef. Well that will be for another day. Today I want to share with you the cranberry orange quinoa stuffed squash I made tonight. I used another kind of squash (not acorn, but shaped similarly) that I had gotten at the farmer's market last month. So, feel free to substitute almost any squash for this recipe!

Stuffing Stuffed Squash
serves 2


  • 1 small acorn squash or similar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery (or 4 ribs celery hearts), sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cubed dried bread/croutons (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, remove seeds. Drizzle and coat with a little olive oil Place in a greased baking dish and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Put in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter and 1 TB olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Next stir in the orange zest, poultry seasoning, dry mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Turn off heat and add the bread cubes and cooked quinoa. Stir in the orange juice and then add the broth starting with 1/2 cup. The amount you need will depend on the type of bread you use. You want the stuffing to absorb all the liquid but be moist enough so that you can firmly stuff it into the squash. It should be able to hold its shape when pressed together.
  4. Once broth is added and absorbed, stir in the pecans and cranberries. 
  5. Once the squash has cooked for 25 minutes, remove and use a spoon to transfer the stuffing into each half and pat down. Bake for another 10-15 minutes (depending on size/type of squash - you want to be sure it gets cooked thoroughly and isnt hard, but you don't want the stuffing to burn). 
  6. Let it cool at least 5 minutes before serving, squash will be very hot! 
This would be a great recipe to serve to company too, it's so pretty. I know, where was my camera? 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Amazing Weekend!

Thad and I with Clara, who Thad met at Level 1 training last month
We got home yesterday from an amazing weekend spent in Chicago. Although really it's not the location that made it amazing - while Chicago is a great city and we enjoyed spending time in such a vibrant place, it was amazing because of the people and community we shared it with at the Baptiste yoga immersion. I was nervous for weeks!! seriously, weeks! As in, debating in my mind (and okay, with Thad, too) if I should really be going, nervous! So much self doubt and worrying about whether I was good enough. Yes, Thad and my teachers told me that's not what it's about and I had nothing to be nervous about - but call me stubborn or perhaps just human - I needed to experience it for myself to really understand that. The day turned out to be absolutely awesome! Baron was so incredibly insightful and inspiring and I came away from the event with so much to think about and feeling so great - and feeling that energy from the inside out! I am also thankful to have been able to share the day with Thad and about a dozen people from our yoga studio. I really enjoyed getting to know them on a deeper level and sharing with them.

The morning started with some discussion, then moved to about 4 1/2 hours of yoga practice. There were pauses in between as he stopped to demonstrate or talk about certain poses, so it was not as daunting as it sounds. I learned a great deal and only wish I was one of those people who has a photographic memory so I could rewind and see what I missed while I was thinking about one thing or another. For my practice, I came away with the concept of True North in every pose, and the awareness that it really is true that the last wheel can be your best - even after about 8 of them, that last one felt the most open! But so much of what Baron talks about is really personal development. Finding the blocks in our lives and what we can do to make transformations. I took away a real appreciation for the concept of living in the now, that the past is gone and the future hasn't happened yet. While I do think that is something I have moved towards over the past two years as our lives have gone through so much change, believing that at heart in everything you do is a step further. It was empowering to learn that so many others came there with feelings in their lives around not being good enough. It is something I have really struggled with and I think it holds me back in many ways. We talked about giving up those things that limit us - such as the concept of not being good enough. Making those statements to the world, putting it out there, helps to make you live it.

So, I went into the weekend nervous and not feeling good enough - and came away inspired, energized, lighter inside and wanting to spend a week with Baron at bootcamp sometime next year! Yoga is so much more than the physical practice and while I 'knew' that in my mind, I now truly 'believe' it too in my heart. I also know that I wouldn't be in that place now if it weren't for my supportive and loving husband and my supportive and inspiring teachers. I would love to give the gift of this feeling to everyone I know!