Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Butternuts: A Healthy Cooking Explosion

As promised, I've got a healthy recipe- Butternut Squash Soup. Yes, I done just had butternut squash last night but what can I say? I love orange food and don't need glasses yet for that reason (maybe some genes too).

Can't take all the credit on finding the recipe though ...that would be my blog buddies: Miss Scarlett of I'll Never Go Hungry Again and Susie/Chels of We Are Not Martha. My Boston counterpart and fellow orange foodie, the lovely Susie, and her partner-in-crime just started We Are Not Martha and even after just a few weeks, it is a very nice translation of all "good things" for the twentysomething. I'm loving it so far!! Miss Scarlett is just a revelation of health and had no small part in my getting back into the gym- no small deed after that much time away.

I used to make a version with Light Coconut Milk and curry and freeze it for the college boyfriend but this was even easier as a weeknight meal after a long workout and a long day. Abby was over (always game for a healthy night in) and while I didn't heed Sues' advice to get pre-cut and peeled squash, we chatted as I made a total mess in the 2.5 ft circumference of my trashcan and then nuked it for 5 min in the microwave.

I have a half moon scar on my left thumb from failing to do that second step in college and with a college-grade knife, no less. Vivid memories of blood in a dish towel, yelling up the Sugar Shack stairs to CVD(J), " CCCCC....Can you drive me to the hospital please?" Stitches by way of butternut squash. Sheesh. No such terror this time and I am officially coming back to my point. Recipe below with TKTC notes at the very bottom:

Butternut Squash Soup


Serves 4 to 6.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion. Season with salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add squash, broth, and enough water (4 to 5 cups) to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree broth and vegetables until smooth. If using a blender, work in batches and fill only halfway, allowing heat to escape: Remove cap from hole in lid, cover lid firmly with a dish towel, and blend. Transfer to a clean pot as you work. Adjust soups consistency with a little water if necessary. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

TKTC Notes: Original recipe is from Martha Stewart. You can watch the video version here.
  • There is not a lot of salt in this. To add flavor without the sel, add about two shakes each of curry powder, ground cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and one shake of cayenne. Top it off with fresh ground pepper.
  • Makes a lot. Have tupperware ready.
  • Ok, maybe an extra pinch of sea salt wont' kill you...
You can see in the top picture that we didn't JUST eat soup. We had a baby romaine salad with walnuts, low fat feta, craisins, sliced pork tenderloin and hard-boiled egg as well. Dressing? Well Paul Newman Light Balsamic of course. I love that dressing so much that I decided to wear and decorate my kitchen with it. False.

I forgot that I had already shaken the dressing and loosened the top before serving our soup. So when I went to shake-n-toss, it exploded all. over. everything. There was a lot of salad dressing scented laughter and I still have some crusted to my neck I think. Yum- fresh from the gym and covered in dressing. The picture doesn't even do it justice. Thank God Abs was there to witness the ridiculousness.

Bottom line? Delicious and easy Wednesday meal with all kinds of health going on.

Also, today (Wed) marked Day 1 of a 4 day training blitz. I've been going 3-4 times a week in January but this week I'm looking at 5 and I'm excited. Mostly I'm excited that it doesn't hurt to sit down to pee anymore (curse that extra X chromosone) but I'm also ecstatic that I feel like I've finally stopped spinning my wheels and can (just ever so barely) see a difference. This is a very important day because now I'm trying to see how far I can take this. After the early days of straight up dragging my sore, shaking legs out of bed, I'm starting to compete.

And I lost tonight.

CarrieAnne- 4-5 inches shorter than me and petite all-around- 100% burned me in wind sprints tonight. No gazelle stride was going to get me out of that. I bang out lunges at 6x her rate but she's still doing more work because I rely on my inseam to go the distance. Hence why her little legs are so good at getting around so damn fast. Matt was laughing at me because he could see it: I hate to lose. Not in a bad way but man alive. They say that playing a sport with someone a little better than you is the best thing you can do for yourself. You play up. This definitely applies outside of sports as well and I'm always looking for the challenge (and trying to be one).

I'll be in at 6am tomorrow to take another crack at it. For CarrieAnne's sake, of course ;)


Susie said...

Isn't butternut squash amazing?!

Eeek to the salad dressing disaster :)

ToKissTheCook said...

It really is and per the salad...I'm just a mess. It was so f*ing funny though.

You're coming TODAY!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm totally blushing. Did I tell you I found a NEW BETTER squash soup recipe?! I know - as if that's even possible. I have three big containers of it the fridge right now. If you lived closer, I'd give ya' one! Thanks ever so much for your sweet remarks:)