Monday, October 20, 2014

Curried Pumpkin Bean Soup with Kale

Curried Pumpkin Bean Soup with Kale


Usually when people cook with pumpkin in the fall it is to make a dessert, such as pumpkin pie, muffins or cookies.  But there are plenty of savory uses for the beloved pumpkin as well.  I was hoping to have a few home grown sugar pumpkins to cook with this year since I planted about a dozen seeds back in the spring, but unfortunately despite many flowering vines, our garden only produced one pumpkin, that is currently helping to decorate the front step.  So for this recipe, and most of the recipes in which I use pumpkin, the canned variety is a fantastic substitute.  I got the inspiration for this soup from a couple of bags of dried beans that I bought from my local organic farm that were so pretty, like little works of art, I had to try them. The best way to cook dried beans, in my opinion, is low and slow in a nice soup, and nothing is easier than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a crock pot.  I had never made a pumpkin soup before, despite my mom telling me all about different creamy squash soups she has made and seeing recipes online and on TV.  I just wanted to make sure it didn't taste too much like pie, or too much like plain squash, but hit a balance right in the middle.  So in addition to the curry powder, I still added in some traditional pumpkin pie spices along with a decent amount of onion and garlic.  The house started to smell amazing within a couple of hours and when I finally opened up the lid to add in the kale, fresh from my garden, I couldn't wait to taste the soup.  The combination of sweet and savory flavors, the hint of spice from the cayenne, combined to make a truly satisfying vegan dish that my husband, son and I all enjoyed.  And every one of the ingredients are their own nutritional superstar, so it is a meal that your body will truly thank you for. I guarantee it will give you energy, boost your immunity and give you that little extra something you need to get through whatever this autumn day may throw your way.

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Whole Wheat Beer Bread


On a cold fall day, nothing smells better than bread baking in the oven.  But usually there is a lot of prep work involved in making a decent loaf of bread: hours waiting while the dough rises, kneading it until your forearms ache... etc... but not with this recipe.  Honestly you could prep this bread in under 5 minutes, or in the amount of time it takes your oven to heat up. And if you bake at all, and drink beer, I am pretty sure you have the ingredients in your kitchen right now.  I remember seeing gift sets and fundraiser deals for "Beer Bread Kits" that cost anywhere from $5 - 10. But once you know how simple it is to make your own dry mix for beer bread, you will never feel the need to buy one of those again.  This bread is so flavorful, hearty and easy to make that there is really no reason not to.  Pair it with a delicious homemade soup or simply serve it with some butter, jam and a side of cheese and fruit.  It is best warm from the oven, so get going and make some tonight!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Harvest Turkey Salad

Harvest Turkey Salad
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!  I made this recipe back in the summer when I was craving a taste of fall.  I love that my local grocery store sells rotisserie turkey breasts, so the hard part of the meal prep is done for me.  Of course a real home cooked turkey would be even better which is why I have been waiting to post this recipe until Thanksgiving time.  By combining some of my favorite flavors from a Holiday meal, I turned a traditional chicken salad recipe into something completely unexpected.  The crunch of the apples and pecans, the tart sweetness of the cranberries, the spice from the horseradish and the aromatic herbs and spices make an ordinary piece of turkey turn into an awesome taste experience.  I made a sandwich out of it on local whole wheat bread for my husband, but my portion never made it out of the bowl because it tasted so good I gobbled it up with the spoon I used to mix it.  So if by any chance you have any turkey left after your feast up there in Canada today, I highly recommend trying this recipe out in the days to come for a unique twist on leftovers.  I know I will be making it again in November after my family's big turkey meal!!