Herbed Squash and Sweet Potato Soup (Vegetarian)

Herbed Squash and Sweet Potato Soup (vegetarian)

Fall is coming. The morning air is crisper. The leaves are taking on bright new colors. It’s all apples and pumpkins until further notice, people. The days may be warm yet, but the night air dipping down into the 50’s (even the 40’s) is becoming harder to deny.

Experiencing some mixed feelings? Me, too.

I adore summer. The summer sun, bluebells, garden-fresh veggies, poplar trees, waves on the lake, singing chickadees–*nostalgic smile*. Even though, I love all those things, there is something so cozy and comforting about a Midwest fall. Wouldn’t you agree?

Still, I can’t say goodbye to summer all at once. I need to ease into it, and this delicious soup is helping me welcome the transition.

Print Recipe
Herbed Squash and Sweet Potato Soup (Vegetarian)
Perfect for welcoming fall.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
cups
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cube the squash and sweet potato. Slice and half the onion. Unpeel and slice the garlic.
  3. Place everything from step 2 on a baking sheet and evenly drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over top.
  4. Roast for 35 minutes.
  5. Once the ingredients are finished roasting, place in a large stockpot on the stove top.
  6. Prepare the vegetable broth and add to the large stockpot.
  7. Boil for 20 minutes.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes
  9. Transfer the contents of the stockpot to a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
  10. Return to the stockpot and stir in kefir or non-dairy yogurt, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
  11. Heat for another 5 minutes until warm enough to serve.
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Sweet Potato Cakes

This recipe is an old favorite. It is well balanced, combining carbohydrates, a bit of protein, some vegetables, and healthy fats. You can easily make substitutions, too. Exchange spices, leafy greens, onions or eggs with ease.

I have received some great feedback from people who have tried these sweet potato cakes. That is why I am reformatting the recipe. It just needed a little facelift. Check out what one reader has to say about these sweet potato cakes:

“WOW! These were DELICIOUS! I made half the recipe to try for the first time, and I wish I would have made the full recipe. They were gone so fast. Mark’s coworkers were jealous when he brought them to work the next day for lunch. I was out of red onions, so I substituted white onions, and it was delicious. Hayley has prepared easy step-by-step instructions to follow, which makes it so quick! I can’t wait to go get more sweet potatoes to make these again! I think these will be a great hit for a dinner party!”      Rebekah Anderson

Print Recipe
Sweet Potato Cakes
Delicious. Simple. Flavorful. These sweet potato cakes are sure to be a hit!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
4-inch cakes
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
4-inch cakes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Rinse the sweet potatoes, cut in the half lengthwise, and cook them in the microwave for 8-10 minutes or until very tender and falling apart.
  2. Cut potatoes into cubes and place into medium mixing bowl. The skins may need to be taken off and finely chopped separately. (Do include the skins in the cakes because that is where you will find the fiber and a many of the vitamins and minerals!)
  3. Add the onion, garlic, seasoning, flour, egg whites, chia seeds, and kale to the bowl.
  4. Mash everything together with a fork until well incorporated.
  5. By hand, form 3-inch diameter flat mounds/cakes .
  6. In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium/high heat.
  7. Cook each sweet potato cake for 2-4 minutes per side.
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Lavender-Infused Honey & Orange-Infused Honey

Say, “Good-bye” to boring honey. For real. Go ahead– I’ll wait.

Honey by itself is good, but why shouldn’t it be irresistible? I can’t think of a reason. Lavender and orange, can’t go wrong with those flavors. Both are tasty in lattes, baked goods, and anywhere else you routinely use honey.

Not only will you be doing cartwheels over how delicious your morning coffee is, you will congratulate yourself on being a master chef, *applause and cheering* because each honey flavor requires only two ingredients and you can make them both in 10 minutes. *dorky smirk and eyebrow raising*

I do have to say that honey is still sugar and I know that lavender and orange are you favorite flavors, but don’t go sticking a straw in the jar and sippin’ the day away. You will have a stomach ache and your dentist will be sending me an angry email. Just try to control yourself, okay. *she says to herself*

Ok, enough babbling. Let’s get to those recipes.

   

Print Recipe
Lavender Honey & Orange Honey
Extremely easy, 2 ingredient lavender-infused and orange-infused honey recipes.
Prep Time 5-10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minutes
Servings
cup of each flavor
Ingredients
Lavendar Honey
Orange Honey
Prep Time 5-10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minutes
Servings
cup of each flavor
Ingredients
Lavendar Honey
Orange Honey
Instructions
Lavendar Honey
  1. Heat the honey in a glass container for 1 minute.
  2. Pour into a jar.
  3. Hold the lavender sprigs so the flower side is facing down and push into the hot honey.
  4. Let sit for 5-7 days, gently turning and flipping the jar every day to ensure that the flavor disperses.
  5. Once you are satisfied with the flavor, remove the lavender sprigs and discard.
Orange Honey
  1. Heat the honey in a glass contained for 1 minute.
  2. Mix in the grated orange peel.
  3. Let sit for 5-7 days, gently turning and flipping the jar every day to ensure that the flavor disperses. You can try to fish out the orange peel pieces when you are satisfied with the flavor if you prefer. I like to leave mine in the honey.
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Preserving Pears

We have tons of pears. I mean almost an actual TON OF PEARS. What’s a girl to do? Preserve them, of course! So, my lovely mom-in-law and I decided to do just that. Here are two ways to stay we stayed on top of our bumper crop: canning and making sauce.

     

CANNING PEARS

I am not formatting this as a recipe because it’s really up to you how many pears you can. Using the water bath method, we canned our pears in water and a few jars with mulling spices. (Keep scrolling if you need to see that pear-sauce recipe now!!!)

WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. Pears
  2. Jars with lids and rims
  3. Baking sheet
  4. Medium saucepan
  5. Large bowl for lemon soak
  6. Large stock pot
  7. Extra-large stock pot with lid-something your jars can be submerged in
  8. Cutting board(s)
  9. A knife or two
  10. Hot pads
  11. Stirring spoons
  12. Tongs designed for grasping hot jars
  13. Lemon juice
  14. Lots of water!
  15. Spices (optional)

TO PREPARE:

  1. Place your jars on a baking sheet and put them the oven at 200 degrees F. This ensures you won’t shock your jars when you add the boiling water.
  2. In the medium saucepan, pace the lids and rims in the water and heat on medium. This is also to keep these pieces warm and make sure that the rubber is hot enough to seal properly.
  3. Fill the large stock pot with water, heat to a boil and hold there. This is the water that will be added to the jars to cover the pears.
  4. Fill the extra-large stock pot with water, heat to a boil and hold there. The jars will go in once they are filled and ready to be sealed.
  5. Fill a large bowl with water and about a ½ cup of lemon juice. This is to keep the cut pears from browning before placing them in jars.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and quarter all the pears, removing the inside core, stem and seeds, and let them sit in the lemon water until you are ready to put them into jars.                                                         
  2. Pull the jars out of the oven and fill them with pear quarters until they are ¾ full. Add a drop of lemon juice to each jar. Add spices during this step (optional).     
  3. Fill the jars with boiling water, leaving a ½ inch of air space at the top.                                              
  4. Submerge the jars in the extra-large stock pot and boil for 20-25 minutes—22 minutes was perfect for us.                                                                                                                             
  5. Once time is up, carefully remove the jars from the boiling water and tighten the caps (with hot pads!)                                                                                                                                      
  6. Place them back on the baking sheet to cool completely. It is important not to move, shake, or in any way disturb the jars too much as it may disrupt the sealing process. Listen for the pop of the seal—a canner’s dream!
  7. Let them sit for a few weeks before digging in—they are good for quite some time if they are canned properly, but you will always get the best flavor during that first year.

AND NOW FOR THE SPICED PEAR-SAUCE RECIPE– so delicious!!!

Print Recipe
SPICED PEAR-SAUCE
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25-35 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25-35 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash, core, and dice pears. Leave the peels on—that’s where the fiber is!
  2. Put all ingredients in the large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Run the cooled pears through a food processor or blender until they reach your preferred consistency.
  6. Store in jars or freezer bags and keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
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Sun-dried Tomato Spread

So excited about this one, people!

(Less than) 10 minute, vegan, protein & healthy fat-based tomato spread– if that doesn’t make you happy… uh, it better make you happy because its simple and so darn delicious. 🙂 It is perfect for parties. It is great for dinner, lunch, or snack. Hey, I’ve even eaten it for breakfast. What can I say, I’m obsessed.

THIS IS SO GOOD. I’m serious. I’ve actually, truly, never tasted a spread I like more. Believe me, I could go on and on (for an entire paragraph–don’t tempt me) about how tasty it is, but I won’t. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. sundried tomatoes, chopped

15 oz. canned great northern or cannellini beans, drained

4 TB. olive oil (I used a basil garlic infused olive oil—regular is fine)

¼ cup fresh basil chopped

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. salt

3 TB. water

sdts2

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse all ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes until well incorporated.
  2. Serve on your favorite toasted bread, with crackers, over pasta, over rice or as a sandwich spread.

Cilantro Taco Topping

tacotopping2 (1 of 1).jpg

This mind-blowing taco topping is so simple you’ll be wondering why you didn’t think of it before… at least I sure was. It will add a surprising amount of flavor and freshness to you tacos.

Makes: 6 cups

Time: 10 minutes


INGREDIENTS:

1 lb any kind of tomatoes, chopped

3 cups (about 1 bunch) of cilantro, chopped

1 small white onion, minced

¼ lb. mini bell peppers, chopped

½ – 1 tsp. garlic or plain olive oil

sprinkle of salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut all ingredients
  2. Mix in a large bowl
  3. Serve on tacos!

*The pictured tofu was baked and mixed with low sodium taco seasoning.

*The pictured corn tortillas were toasted in the oven.


Pesto Pasta

pestopasta2

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. whole grain pasta

1 medium onion, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups frozen spinach

1 TB. olive oil

4 TB. red pesto

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 cup Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 cup fresh basil, chopped to top

walnuts

parmesan

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta per package instructions and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the spinach to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the pesto and black pepper.
  5. Plate pasta and portion the skillet mixture over the pasta.
  6. Serve topped with Roma tomatoes, basil, walnuts, and parmesan.

pestopasta

 

Salted Molasses Granola

saltmolgran3

More granola. Yum! Granola is a great way to start your day or pick yourself up in the afternoon. You’ll find lots of energy and protein here. Enjoy a tango of sweet and savory from this granola.

Makes ~30 oz.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups old fashion oats

1 cup peanuts

½ cup dry roasted almonds

1 cup cashews

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup craisins

¼ pumpkin seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

¼ cup molasses

¼ cup maple syrup

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Combine the oats, nuts, golden raisins, craisins, seeds, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  3. Mix together the molasses, maple syrup in a separate bowl and pour over the other ingredients.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread onto 2 large, parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes, stirring at the halfway point.
  7. Store in airtight containers.

saltmolgran2

 

 

Picture1

Makes 4 servings

Tofu, a soybean product, is easy to use, packed with 7-9 grams of protein (depending on the brand and type). It is low in both saturated fat and sodium, and contains no cholesterol. When it comes to protein alternatives, it is a winner in my book! Tofu is also very versatile. It will soak up whatever flavors and ingredients it is being cooked with. If you are looking for a vegan recipe or just wanting to try a plant-based alternative to meat, I encourage you test out this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
14 oz. extra firm tofu

16 oz frozen assorted vegetables (I used a Northwest Blend)

2 cups of frozen spinach

5 loves of garlic, minced

1 medium white onion, minced

3 TB. peanut oil- for frying

2 cups cooked brown or assorted rice blend

 

Sauce:

2 TB. soy sauce

2 TB. peanut butter

2 TB. brown sugar

1 TB. peanut oil

½ tsp. garlic powder

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Cut the tofu in ¼ inch cubes and place on a baking sheet, cooking for 25-30 minutes. (set aside when finished)
  3. Prepare sauce by adding all ingredient to bowl, heating in microwave for 30 seconds and mixing well. (set aside when finished)
  4. Place frozen veggies and spinach in a microwave safe container and heat until half cooked per package instructions.
  5. Once half way cooked, chop the veggies into bite size pieces.
  6. In a large skillet or wok, with 1 TB. peanut oil, brown the tofu pieces for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove tofu and add brown garlic and onion in 1 TB. peanut oil for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the veggies and spinach and add 1 TB. of peanut oil and brown for another 5 minutes.
  9. In a large serving dish, combine the ingredients in the large skillet, the tofu and the rice.
  10. Pour the sauce over the ingredients and mix well.

 

Yogurt Curry with Tofu

Picture1

Indian food is just incredible, right? All of the unique flavors and the ways they are combined is intriguing. Yogurt curry is one of my favorites. It is so alive with flavors and spices that you cannot help but be delighted. I have fashioned my very own take on it. This recipe is very low in salt, but don’t let that fool you. The flavors are balanced, yet lively and distinctive. Give it a try!

 

INGREDIENTS:

14 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into ½” by ½”cubes

2 TB. sunflower oil of other high heat oil

8 garlic cloves, quartered

2 cups yellow onion, coarsely chopped

4 oz. Bella mushrooms, chopped

1 cup kale, cut into thin strips/pieces

2 cups whole milk plain yogurt

2 ½ TB. yellow curry powder

2 TB. red curry paste

½ TB. onion powder

½ TB. garlic powder

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ TB. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground coriander

1-8oz can tomato sauce with no added salt

1 bunch of cilantro

sprinkle of salt

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut tofu and place in large skillet with 1 TB oil.
  2. Over medium/high heat, cook the tofu until all sides are golden brown and have toughened a bit.
  3. Remove tofu and set aside.
  4. Sauté garlic cloves, onion, mushrooms, and kale with the other 1 TB. of oil.
  5. Combine the yogurt in a medium bowl with all the spices, curry paste and tomato sauce.
  6. Place all ingredients into the skillet and heat through, about 15 minutes.

Serve over your favorite rice and top with fresh cilantro!