the best curried pumpkin soup (gf, df, v)

It’s fall in Texas! Which means it’s in the high 80s instead of the 100s! And we have rain! And it’s October! The best month of the year!

I’ve made this curried pumpkin soup (or curried butternut squash soup, or curried kabocha squash soup) every fall for… eight years now? Something like that. It came about when I wanted to make something with a kabocha squash and wanted to give my new immersion blender a whirl, and here we are.

Blue cheese crumbles on top add umami, and if you have some stale bread lying around, buzz it a few times in a food processor, drizzle with olive oil and mix with minced garlic, salt, and pepper, then bake at 350 until crispy for a crunchy breadcrumb topping.

You’ll need:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1T ghee (use olive oil to make it vegan)
  • 32 ounces chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make it vegan)
  • 2 cans pumpkin (or chopped, roasted butternut squash, kabocha, acorn squash, or pumpkin)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 small can coconut cream
  • Honey, agave nectar, or brown sugar
  • Curry powder
  • Turmeric (I used Gaia Golden Milk blend because a) it has a smidge of vanilla and date and b) I had it)
  • Cardamom powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Blue cheese crumbles (optional but seriously good)
  • Immersion blender (optional but seriously useful)

Directions:

  1. Heat your oil on medium heat, then add the diced onion. Cook until the onions are just soft, then add the garlic and cook everything for 2-3 minutes (don’t burn your garlic).
  2. Add your squash, broth, and spices, stir together, and turn up the heat to medium-high for 5-10 minutes. A note on spices: I never measure them, I do it all by taste. Start with 1t each of curry powder, turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon, 1/2t salt, and 1/4t cayenne and adjust accordingly. I usually end up needing more of the first four, and a smidge more salt and cayenne. You want this warming, but not super hot, taste-wise.
  3. Reduce heat to low, then stir in coconut milk, coconut cream, and your sweetener of choice. I usually do brown sugar and like, 1/3 of a cup of it, BUT since I’m trying to be even a little bit healthier, I used 2T raw honey. Less sweet, still delicious.
  4. Let this all simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Grab your immersion blender and blend it up in the pot. Mine was around $30 on Amazon and I use it all the time; this is the updated model and it’s $26.

6. Serve warm with blue cheese crumbles and toasted breadcrumbs on top.

the endless summer

Summer isn’t my favorite season; it’s actually my least favorite season. Sun is the worst. THE WORST. Give me a cold, grey, rainy day over sunshine any day. (I may be a native Texan, but my blood is half-Yankee.)

That being said, Katie Lee’s Endless Summer Cookbook is one of the most beloved cookbooks in my kitchen. As soon as it gets warm (which is like, ten months out of the year here in Austin), our weekly menu is dominated by a perky West Virginian with impossibly glossy hair. The cookbook is inspired by the flavors of the Hamptons, where Katie’s made her home; it reminds me of living in New York, hanging out by the water, and my Connecticut dad’s cooking.

Tonight, we whipped up a riff on her Salmon Salad with Lemon Dijon Caper Vinaigrette, one of our staples. We were out of capers and chives (argh) and plentiful with avocados (eh, alright), so we put the salmon over butter lettuce as the recipe calls for, then added cherry tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and diced avocado. Super good and filled with healthy fats, but the lemon-Dijon caper vinaigrette really drives it home.

Also on the menu this week: Grilled Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Shaved Pecorino and Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce and Pico de Gallo.

Seriously, everything in here is phenomenal, but my other faves include:

  • Grilled Doughnuts with Ricotta and Honey
  • Triple Coconut Waffles (try with whipped coconut cream and bananas)
  • Kale Caesar Salad
  • Lentil Salad (spicy and served with baguette!)
  • Lobster Reubens
  • Italian Sausage and Pepper Burgers
  • Grilled Pizza
  • Frozen Blueberry Daiquiris
  • Watermelon-Rum Punch
  • Black Bean and Peach Salsa Scoops
  • Fresh Pineapple-Coconut Martinis
  • Corn Fritters
  • Tuna with Romesco Sauce
  • Middle Eastern Spiced Spatchcocked Chicken with Harissa Yogurt
  • Zucchini and Squash Bake
  • Great-Grandmother Pearl’s Angel Food Cake with Peaches and Cream
  • Corn Ice Pops

Seriously, get this book, cook every recipe in it, be happier.

Fin.

homemade karlie’s kookies (made even healthier)

Hello hello! I recently remembered that not only does Karlie kode, but Karlie kooks… kookies. (Work with me here.)

Karlie Kloss kollaborated (not sorry) with Milk Bar back in 2015 on Karlie’s Kookies, now known as Milk Bar Perfect 10 cookies.

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These vegan, gluten-free cookies are filled with healthy ingredients – and a shit ton of olive oil. Perfectly fine when you’re a gorgeous, lanky 6’2″ supermodel, less fine when you’re a chubby 5’7″ suburban office-working mom.

The recipe for these came courtesy of an American Express promotion a while back – check out the original Karlie’s Kookies recipe here. While I could order these from Milk Bar directly, I wanted to see if I could make these bad boys a little healthier, and hallelujah, it worked!

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These healthier Karlie’s Kookies are an excellent little finisher when you just want a little something sweet for a snack, for breakfast, or after dinner. Keep in mind: These are just slightly sweet, thanks to the agave nectar. I’m trying to cut way back on refined sugar, and these hit the spot perfectly.

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I can’t promise they’ll make you look like a supermodel, but they’ll make you feel pretty great.

Homemade Healthier Milk Bar Perfect 10 Cookies
I got 43 cookies out of these; I purposely made them slightly bigger than a silver dollar, and they’re 73 calories each. If you hate raisins (rude), sub 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.

You’ll need:

  • 16 ounces Bob’s Red Mill finely milled almond flour (one bag)
  • 13 ounces unsweetened applesauce (I used four of the little squeezy pouches my kid takes for lunch
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1.5 t cornstarch (I only had potato starch and that worked fine)
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1T vanilla (you could do 1.5 t. I like my baked good vanilla-y.)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a second bowl, mix your wet ingredients.
  3. Make a well in your dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients there. Mix with your Kitchen Aid paddle, a wooden spoon, or your (clean) hands. If you find that this is a little too dry, add two more tablespoons of applesauce, but this will be a thick dough.
  4. Scoop onto a baking sheet and press down on each cookie lightly; they don’t spread, so you’ll want to make sure to press them down so they bake.
  5. Bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown on the edges, and hard but not crumbling. Let cool on a wire rack before stuffing into your face.

salmon with chili-lime butter

Hello, and welcome back to the blog that I’ll apparently update once every four weeks or so. Let’s also forget about that whole keto thing for a bit because I just. cannot. with it for the time being.

Here’s a sampling of what I did today:

  1. Stabbed myself in the eye with eyeliner
  2. Stabbed myself in the eye with mascara
  3. Fell in front of my office and twisted my ankle and now it’s like I’m nine months pregnant all over again with the swollen ankle
  4. …okay, I worked too, but that was all good stuff.

I didn’t exactly feel like dealing with a complicated meal today, so I improvised, and hey! It was super delish. You’ll need… maybe 15 minutes? for this easy Salmon with Chili-Lime Butter. I served it with green beans that were tossed in the butter after the salmon was finished.

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You’ll need:

  • Salmon. Duh. (Sorry. I bought a 1lb filet and cut it into a 10 ounce piece and a 6 ounce piece. Get the kind with the skin on, not skinless.)
  • 2T butter or ghee
  • 2t chili pepper flakes
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Add salt and pepper to taste to both sides of the salmon; you could also dust the skin side with a little flour for extra crispiness.
  2. Over medium heat, melt the butter or ghee. Add the chili pepper; zest the lime, add the zest to the pan, and then squeeze the juice from the lime into the pan. Stir, and let cook for two minutes.
  3. Add the salmon to the pan skin side down; cook for 4-6 minutes or until the skin is crispy and light pink is creeping up the side of the salmon.
  4. Flip, and cook for another two minutes. I prefer my salmon on the medium-rare side, but if you like it more done, cook for a total of four minutes on the skinless side.
  5. Plate the salmon and drizzle the chili-lime butter over the top.

So easy! So good! And now I’m going to take some Advil and pout over not being able to fully work out for another couple of days.

KCBO (keep calm and bitch on), or, here’s a salad lyonnaise (keto, dairy-free, gluten-free)

After throwing a tantrum about an apple, I ate the apple. And then I ate everything else. And then I gained back the five pounds and stomach problems and appetite I lost during my four days on keto. So now I’m reluctantly back on keto, and we’ll see how long this lasts until I shank someone for a Cutie.

cuties
my precioooooouuuuusssssss

Some of you are probably thinking, “why not just eat in moderation?”

Mocking-Spongebob
wHy NoT eAt iN mOdErAtIoN?

Because I haven’t found a way to eat in moderation that ends up with me actually eating in moderation and making better choices (and by that, I mean not sugar-free, fat-free chemical shitstorms). My ideal diet is close to a typical wellness-loving Instagrammer, all matcha and bee pollen and Buddha bowls and oatmeal and salmon and avocado toast and fruit and yet, I haven’t found a way to lose weight eating like this, which drives me insane.

Anyway.

I needed something quick and easy for dinner, so I threw together this Salad Lyonnaisse, which is a prettier way of describing an egg and bacon salad. This could not be easier:

  1. Put some arugula in a bowl. I don’t limit greens because I love them and they’re leafy greens. Not concerned about carbs in leaves. Anyway.
  2. Bake or fry some bacon. Chop into lardons and sprinkle over the arugula.
  3. Poach two eggs. Make sure they’re kinda ugly and not Instagram-perfect. Call them rustic. Place them on the salad.
  4. Whizz together some dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup dijon or spicy brown mustard, 3T lemon juice, salt, pepper, minced garlic (I used five cloves because we love garlic). If it doesn’t have enough bite, add another 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Drizzle over everything.

Et voila! It’s filling and not too heavy, which is perfect for days when I can’t look at a burger or steak without wanting to hurl.

merry christmas, dumbass.

M and I went to the gym, an hour’s drive from my parents’ house, today and I lifted weights for the first time in approximately four months. On the way home, I bragged about how I hadn’t lost much strength during this time of rapid calorie consumption.

A few hours later, I noticed that my forearms and elbows were weak, and that my pinky fingertips were a little numb. Thanks to WebMD, I diagnosed myself with lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and proceeded to relay all of this to M.

My husband, bless his heart, gently reminded me that I had lifted more weight in the past day than I had in literal months, and my muscles were fatigued, and kissed me on the forehead before leaving to pour himself a drink.

Considering how frequently this happens, I’m honestly surprised that most of his responses don’t end with him saying “…dumbass.”

Merry Christmas, y’all.

bacon is overrated

It’s my fourth day on keto, and I hate everything.

I hate cheese. I hate eggs. I hate red meat. I hate cream. I hate bacon. I hate the puny number of net carbs I can eat. I am this close to grabbing an apple out of my coworker’s hand.

Last night, my husband found me gazing lovingly at a shiny, plump Red Delicious apple on our counter. It called to me, just begging to be sliced and eaten with a scoop of peanut butter. And did I eat it? NO. Am I angry about this? YES.

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Look at how glorious this is. LOOK AT IT.

IT’S AN APPLE. IT’S FROM A TREE. IT HAS TO BE HEALTHIER THAN NOT EATING AN APPLE. I DON’T WANT CANDY OR COOKIES OR DONUTS, I WANT A DAMN APPLE.

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🎶 Late at night when all the world is sleeping / I stay up and think of you 🎶

That’s all I’ve got. I’m angry and hungry and I want a damn piece of fruit and yes I KNOW I’m choosing to try this and I should just stop whining but I really need to lose weight and keto is amazing for so many people but I just want a damn apple from a damn tree like God intended.

I’m gonna go angrily chew on a piece of cheese.