There comes a time for everyone to face their fears. Mine is cutting squash and getting things out of the sink drain/garbage disposal. Apparently I’m the only one who does the latter, because it’s obviously not a foolproof plan.
But people everywhere are somehow cutting butternut squash, and living to tell the tale with all ten fingers. It’s inspiring. I make spaghetti squash in a crock pot to avoid this, but buying frozen butternut squash wasn’t cutting it.
So after the advice of many brave souls, I bought butternut squash (with no plan or recipe) and put it in the oven (whole) at 400 for 10 minutes before attempting any chopping. Magic.
That brought me to this what-do-I-have-in-my-cabinet soup. It was completely random but filling and delicious. Hope you enjoy!
-1 butternut squash, chopped
-1 sweet potato, chopped
-1 1/2- 2 cups of (cooked) quinoa, I used tricolor from Trader Joe’s. You’ll need just 1 cup uncooked
-4 cups vegetable stock
-1 can diced tomatoes
-1 tbsp curry paste
-1 can coconut milk
-5 shakes curry powder
-3 shakes cumin
-1 tsp ginger garlic paste
-1 tsp sesame oil
1. Bake whole squash at 400 for 10 minutes to soften (option to do this with sweet potato as well)
2. Chop squash and sweet potato as shown above
3. Place veggies in soup pot and add broth. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Make 1/2 to 1 cup (dry) quinoa in separate pot in the meantime
5. Add curry paste, tomatoes, coconut milk to soup pot and start to mash potatoes and squash. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Mash squash and sweet potatoes again to desired consistency, or remove from pot and blend if you want it super creamy. I prefer some texture.
7. Add curry powder, cumin, ginger garlic paste, and sesame oil.
8. Stir and serve!
Yields ~8 servings
My approach to cooking is very much rooted in over-confidence.
That’s why committing to 6 weeks of clean eating (and drinking) for the Alchemy 365 Challenge was the perfect motivator in discovering how many dishes I am capable of making. I have always believed recipes are up for interpretation, and now I have taken this farther and started making them up completely.
That’s why when my boyfriend, Brandon, asked where we could go for a 365-approved birthday dinner, I insisted on a completely homemade meal.
I think it’s a rule of thumb to not serve people something you make for the first time. But if you can’t tell, I really don’t like rules.
Zucchini fries -3 to 4 zucchinis, I used 4 on the small side and that made a full pan of fries
– 1/3 to 1/2 cup flax seed (enough to cover fries)
-Spices or salt & pep
Cut zucchinis the long way and then chop to be the size of fries. Coconut/Olive oil on a cookie sheet and lay down fries. Brush with the beaten egg; sprinkle flax seed and any other desired seasoning. Bake at 375 for 15-20 mins.
Crab cakes -1 pound lump crab, this can be super expensive so if you end up opting for a more imitation crab route, whatever.
-1 sweet potato
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1/4 cup parsley
-1.5 tbsp garlic
-2 tbsp flax seed
-Sea salt and ground pepper as you please
Cook the sweet potato in a pot with water for ~20 mins. In the meantime shred up and chop the crab into thin pieces. Add the eggs, oil, garlic, flax seed, salt, parsley, and any other seasoning you want, and mix. When the sweet potato is done, mash it separately and mix it in to the bowl.
From here, roll them into balls a little bit bit bigger than a golf ball; then flatten into small patties. The cakes can be cooked right away, or saved in the fridge. When ready to cook. use coconut oil (or oil of choice) in a pan, and cook patties until brown on each side, and flipping them like tiny burgers. I served with lemon and it was AMAZING.
This was Brandon’s time to shine. From my understanding, here’s what we had going on.
Cajun salmon filets:
Cooked to PERFECTION in a cast-iron skillet on the stove. We used this amazing Southwest salt mixture from Arizona for seasoning.
Basically any combination of spice and salt will do. Served with lemon.
Spicy green beans:
Steamed in the rice cooker for 15 minutes. Place in pan and stir in olive oil, red pepper flakes, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce.
DESSERT– Aka Why We’re All Here
Paleo pumpkin pie:
-1 can of pumpkin
-Two egg whites
-Can of light coconut milk
-Half cup almond milk
1 Tsp cinnamon
-1/2 Tsp nutmeg
-1/2 Tsp ginger
-2 Tsp vanilla
Mix until it’s all well blended and pour into pie plate then bake for 35 min at 350 degrees. My pan was on the smaller side so it turned out a little odd. It won’t look like a ton of mix, but go for a bigger pan anyway so it cooks all the way through.
1 Ingredient Ice Cream:
-Cinnamon to taste (for me, like 15 shakes)
-3 tbsp peanut butter
Peel and chop 2 ripe bananas and freeze for at least 2 hours, I did overnight. Place bananas in blender and blend for about 2o minutes.
At first, it will seem like the bananas are not making much progress- do not worry. I walked away so that I wouldn’t be tempted to add water.
When it starts to have a creamier consistency, add your flavors (I did PB and cinnamon) and continue blending until it looks like a shake. From there, pour into a tuperware and freeze, again for at least 2 hours.
This is the new cure to my sweet tooth!
There you have it, the absolute tastiest food, all guilt free. I am a big believer in eating what you want and how much you want, but knowing exactly what you are eating. When you start focusing on ingredients and where your food comes from, your taste buds change with your perspective.
In my opinion (and in Brandon’s), this meal wasn’t about restriction, or what wasn’t on the table. While nutritious, it was all filling, delicious, and fun. That’s how food should be-especially a birthday dinner. If healthy food doesn’t taste good, it makes skipping the donuts and pizza an uphill battle.
Can’t wait for you to try these recipes (and make up your own) and hear what you think!