let’s make soup, shall we? butternut squash soup with coconut cream & a hint of nutmeg

butternut squash soupthere’s nothing like a good bowl of delicious piping hot {home made} soup to make you feel  like you’re right where you’re supposed to be. it warms you as it fills you up, rounds out the edges, and makes you feel balanced somehow. content. at home. or is it just me? i miss my grandma more and more each day. i yearn for her voice, her gentle touch, her quiet presence, and her warm embrace. it’s impossible for me to make a pot of soup or stew (or food of any kind, really), without feeling her warm presence around me. guiding me. making me feel  safe and whole. at home. that’s what it is-the connection i feel with soup{making}…it’s that kind of food. one of the main reasons why i make it as often as i do. The other (rather important) reason is  that i’m trying, yet again, to cut out the processed grains and things i’m told (repeatedly) do not like me or my joints as much as i seem to enjoy them. soooo, moving reluctantly towards more vegetable based soups, proteins, salads, and less grains: rice, wheat, {flour} pasta, sugar. waaaahhhhhhh! do i have to?  yesidoyesidoyesido. if this butternut squash soup is any indication, things will be just fine-it was deeeeeliciouuuussss: slightly sweet, satisfyingly creamy, and perfectly rounded with  the touch of nutmeg and coconut cream. smiling wide as i remember something important-we have leftovers!

minette’s butternut squash soup for 4-6:

  • cooking minette's butternut squash soup1 small/medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed (about 1.5 to 2 cups)
  • 3-4 stalks of organic celery, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, cubed (or 2 leeks cleaned carefully and chopped)
  • 4 cups good quality (preferably homemade) chicken broth (or broth of choice)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or substitute with ground cumin if you prefer)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coconut cream (or cream)
  • 2 tsp virgin unrefined coconut oil (or olive oil)
  1. heat the oil in a heavy soup pot, then add the onions and celery, sauté for two minutes before adding butternut squash, salt, & pepper to taste. sauté on med/high until softened (while stirring frequently), about 5-7 minutes.
  2. add broth (a very important component-a good home made one will make the soup so much better), bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until squash pieces can be mashed with a fork. add nutmeg (or cumin) and simmer another 5-10 minutes (your liquid should have reduced quite a bit by now).taste and adjust seasoning. blend with an immersion blender or by pouring carefully into a blender.
  3. serve with a drizzle of coconut cream.
  4. enjoy the deliciouscreamywarmth  you are about to experience.

 

nminette's soup

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how to make a silky & delicious cream of broccoli soup in a matter of minutes

cooking minette's broccoli soupwhat do you do when you are feeling completely overwhelmed with the {cooking} work and preparation you have ahead of you (yes, thanksgiving, with all it’s glor{y}ous food, lovely visiting family and many gatherings is moving in fast and furious), but you still have to feed your family (and your hungry self) before you can tackle the beast? you make a quick, easy, creamy, and super comforting soup that not only gives you a good dose of nutrients and energy, but reminds you of how much fun you’ll be having preparing and enjoying the grand feast (rhymes with beast, but more appropriate) you look forward to every year! now that’s the attitude (change i was looking for)-thanks to the most satisfying bowl of soup i’ve had in a while. time to pull up my sleeves and prepare for giving thanks. what a beautiful thing. a happy thanksgiving to you and yours!

cream of broccoli & leek soup for 4-6:

easiest broccoli soup

  • 2 cups organic broccoli, rough chopped (stems peeled and cut in small pieces)
  • 1 large or 2 small organic leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced and washed by soaking in water (in a colander within a larger bowl of cold water works well)
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil (or virgin unrefined coconut oil)
  • 3-4 cups good quality (preferably homemade) chicken broth (or vegetarian)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon (adjust amount to your taste)
  • optional: 2 tbs cream or coconut milk
  1. heat the oil in a deep soup pot or dutch oven, then add the washed & drained leeks and broccoli with a touch of sea salt and sauté on medium heat allowing the vegetables to reduce while stirring for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. add chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (up to 30 minutes)
  3. add freshly ground pepper and lemon juice. blend carefully with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender or food processor and blend, then return to pot and bring the heat back up before serving).
  4. serve with a touch of cream or coconut milk (thicker is better).

cooking minette soups

 

 

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another must have (make) soup: crimini mushrooms, zucchini, and pearl barley soup with fresh rosemary

when i was growing up our meals reflected the availability of the seasonal produce in our local “baghalis” or neighborhood markets. today some of us are moving back towards embracing that same traditional approach to cooking and eating as we realize how important the quality (and  origin) of the food we eat is to our health and well being. no matter the season, my childhood meals were always accompanied by an abundance of home made pickles, preserves, jams, and syrups-all varieties of condiments that preserved the life of the produce well past its seasonal prime.  i vividly remember the pungent smell of large vats of crushed grapes turning into vinegar at the end of my grandmother’s garden (the smell almost made you woozy), and waking up to the sweet smell of jam being made with the last of the sour cherries towards the end of summer. partly in an attempt to keep some of these old(new) traditions alive, i’m making a serious effort these days to buy and use local and seasonal produce (often from farmers markets), and to “make do” with what i have available rather than go out for specific ingredients geared towards a particular recipe. that is how (and why) the following soup came to be-i had made a vegetarian chili with crimini mushrooms and zucchini and had some of both left over. in thinking about how these two ingredients could work together, soup (love soups) came to mind. simple as that-crimini mushrooms, zucchini, a couple of potatoes….then some (good for you) coconut milk and fresh rosemary from the garden-still in need of some substance: in came the pearl barley…and a new soup was born. we had it for dinner…it was a big hit.
chopped vegetables being sauteed in oil with rosemary
ingredients:           
  • 2 medium zucchini-cubed
  • 15-20 crimini mushrooms-cubed
  • 1 medium or 1/2 large yellow or white onion
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1.5-2 cups coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsps organic coconut oil
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 cup barley (i used pearl)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 large lime or 1/2 lemon
pearl barley

cooking directions:

cube the onion, dice the mushrooms & zucchini, and sautee in oil (in a deep heavy pot) for about 5-7 minutes until tender. coarsly chop the rosemary, then add to the vegetables with sea salt and pepper to taste. add cubed potatoes (you could also leave these out), broth (chicken or vegetarian), and coconut milk, and simmer for about 20 minutes. add the rinsed barley to the soup and cook for another 30-40 minutes. add the freshly squeezed lemon juice about five minutes before serving. simple as that. enjoy!
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