Going ‘Nuts’ for Butternut Squash!

Roasted Butternut Squash SoupYesterday I was all about Nutella, but today I’m all about ButterNut…I must be going Nuts!

All joking aside, this soup is simple and to the point, and was tonight’s dinner.

Up until about a year ago, I had never even purchased a butternut squash, let alone attempted to make a soup from it.  That all changed when my sister-in-law’s hubby (who also happens to be a chef) made me butternut squash for my birthday.  I loved the sweet taste and creaminess of the soup and the color was just fantastic.  I went back for seconds.  And thirds.  And…hey no judging, it was my birthday!  At home, I attempted my own version of that recipe (without the cream; don’t get me wrong, it was tasty, but I was going for as healthy as possible) and its been a staple in our house ever since.

I try to keep my recipes simple and I thought that apple would complement the sweetness of the squash.  Thus, this recipe was born.

RECIPE: BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium butternut squash (this one weighed ~2.5 lb)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 Medium Granny Smith apples
  • 4 C. chicken broth or veggie broth (vegetarian)
  • 1/4 C. sliced baby carrots
  • S & P to taste (I used ~ 1/2 Tsp. kosher salt)

Directions

1.  Split squash lengthwise, remove seeds and seed pulp and place skin-side up on a cookie sheet.  Poke back of squash with fork several times to release water while roasting.  Roast squash in 400°F oven for 45 min.  I usually do this a day ahead of time.

2.  Scoop cooled squash from skin and put aside.

3.  Rough chop onion and apples

4.  Place 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, apple, garlic and saute until onions are translucent.  Don’t worry if the bottom of the pan gets a little brown;  You can get those tasty bits up when you add the broth. If the onions start to burn, add another Tbsp. of oil.

5.  Add broth, scooped squash and sliced baby carrots.  You could leave out the carrots if you like, but I like how they brighten the color of this soup.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 10-15 min.

6.  Puree in blender or food processor until smooth.  Based on how thin you like your soup, you could add more broth at this point (I’ve also added almond milk in the past).  Sometimes I like my soup very thick, so I didn’t add any additional liquid this time around.

Now, if you’re feeling fancy, you could toast up some croutons.  I had some leftover bread laying around from the bakery, so I cubed a bit of this, drizzled it with olive oil and placed it over medium heat in a frying pan.  Turn croutons, so as to brown, but not burn.  I like to sprinkle these with a little salt and smoked paprika.

7.  S & P to taste and enjoy!  And seeing as this recipe makes 4 large ~200 calorie servings (based on 1 Tbsp. oil & without croutons), enjoy a lot of it!

Earlier in the day I enjoyed my typical breakfast of
oatmeal with sliced bananas and coffee and my go-to salad for lunch.  Today’s salad featured romaine lettuce, sliced bell pepper, baby carrots, Boar’s Head Virginia ham and balsamic dressing.  For snacks, I had about 1 1/4 cups of red grapes, some chocolate roasted almonds and another Valentine’s day chocolate.  After dinner I enjoyed a sugar-free Jello cup.

 

Worst Flight Ever

So I’m late on yesterday’s post, because I had the flight from hell last night.   As I mentioned, I was going Charleston, South Carolina to visit my sister for President’s Day weekend. Luckily for me (or so I thought), Delta has a direct flight from LaGuardia that takes about 2 hours.  So, last night, I arrive at the airport around 7:30 pm for my 8:25 flight, get quickly through security without problems and am sitting at my gate by 7:45.  Given that I had some time, I ran to a nearby store to grab a bottle of water…and another snack might have jumped into my bag as well ;) (Swedish Fish = guilty pleasure #2).

Back at the gate, I realize that my flight was delayed; no problem, its LaGuardia – everythingis delayed.  Apparently, there was an instrument light that needed to be ‘reset’.  Around 10 pm we were off.  On our approach into Charleston airport (11:30 pm; me made some time up in the air), I noticed that there were some pretty dense clouds, and although the airplane was obviously descending, I couldn’t see the ground.  I could hear the wheels coming down and the pilots notified the crew that we were landing.  Suddenly, we were out of the clouds and the ground was right there.  Right. There.  But, the thing was, the runway wasn’t.  The pilot gunned it and pulled the plane up.  Obviously, we weren’t landing in Charleston.  Turns out that there was thick fog on the ground and the pilots attempted  an instrument-guided approach, but failed to successfully locate the runway.  Great.  So, we were diverted to Myrtle Beach.  Funny thing was, Myrtle Beach airport was closed for the night.  So although we made a successful landing, there was no crew to get us a jetway or take the luggage off the plane.  Someone had to be called in.  At 1:30 pm, we were de-planed and were provided taxis to Charleston airport, which is 2 hours away.  At the airport we are further divided up to take us to various destinations in Charleston.  I arrive at my sister’s front door at 4:15 am.  Worst. Flight. Ever.  My night day did get slightly better when I saw this cute little face waiting for me though.

Earlier in the day, I had an oats breakfast with sliced bananas and coffee and leftover butternut squash soup for lunch.  For a snack, I had an apple.

The Hubs drove me to the airport, which was really nice of him and we decided to try a hyped-up Italian restaurant in Queens on the way.  Trattoria L’incontro has the best reviews of any restaurant outside of Manhattan and also boasts a Michelin star.  They have ~30-40 specials a night (no, I’m not kidding) that the waiter recites by memory.  I had a wonderful special of some flaky white fish that I can’t pronounce, in lemon and almond sauce, with green beans and potatoes.  It was light and tasty, and was just the right size.

I think we’ll have to go back again when we have more time to enjoy appetizers and desserts too.  There was an arugula salad with shaved parmigiana on the menu that looked right up my alley, and we didn’t even have time to look at the dessert menu.

Current Shabbott’s Habit: Drink More Water
Today’s water report: a water molecule is made of three atoms (H-O-H)

At work: 46 oz (measured/water bottle)

With dinner: 10 oz (approximated from size of glass and # of refills)

On the plane ride from hell: 20 oz (measured/smart water bottle)

Total: 76 oz