Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roasted Carrot Soup

Happy Halloween everyone!

Do you have big plans for the evening?  Dressing up?  Going to a party?  Cuddling up on the couch for some scary movies?  Making food from my Meal Plan Monday roundup of Halloween recipes?  Tell me about it!

I'm still on the fence about this evening.  I don't have a costume...Not sure if I want to go out on the town on a Wednesday... It's starting to sound like a night of food and scary movies is in my future.  I would do some homework but that's getting a little too ambitious for Halloween don't you think?

Speaking of ambitious...

If I was a really ambitious blogger I would have been posting "Halloween" recipes for you over the last week.  If I was a remotely ambitious blogger I would at least have a Halloween recipe for you today.  But guess what...I don't.  What a let down right?  I don't even have an excuse.  Psh.

At least the soup is somewhat orange/reddish?  I could get creative and call it roasted witch finger soup or something like that.  But see...I just made that up on the spot.  And that was really lame.  So we are going to stick with roasted carrot soup and just be happy that it's a fall color and even happier that it's stinking delicious.  Roasted vegetables win every time.  We've talked about that.

Vegetable Soup = Eh.  Okay.  Roasted Vegetable Soup = YES. NOW.

roasted carrot soup

Adapted from Five and Spice 

Makes: 4-6 servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 50 minutes 
Total Time: 1 hour

{Printable Recipe}

2 lbs. carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
6 whole cloves garlic, peel on and one end sliced off
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 two-inch knob of ginger, grated
1 piece of orange peel, about 4 inches long
several sprigs of mint
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed from the same orange you acquired the peel from)
2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled feta (for serving)
thinly sliced green onions (for serving)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots, onions, and garlic cloves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread them out in a single layer and roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven.
  2. Add a small dash of olive oil to a large soup pot and heat over medium heat for about a minute.  Stir in the carrots and onions and peel the garlic out of it's clove and add to the pot along with the piece of orange zest and the mint sprigs.  Turn the heat to medium-low.
  3. Take the grated ginger and squeeze all the juice out of it and into the pot.  Stir well and add the vegetable stock.  Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down the heat to let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft.
  4. Remove from heat and take out the orange peel and mint sprig.
  5. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, until smooth.  You can choose to do the entire pot for a completely smooth soup or leave some of the vegetables for a fuller bodied soup.  Return the soup pot to the stove and place over low heat.  Stir in orange juice and cumin.  Then salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Dish the soup into bowls and top with feta cheese and green onions.  Serve immediately with a big yummy piece of bread.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: Halloween Roundup

In honor of this week's upcoming holiday, as well as the incoming storm that has been deemed "Frankenstorm", I thought today's Meal Plan Monday recipes needed to be a bit spookier than usual.  So I gathered a bajillion Halloween breakfast, snack, dinner, drink, and dessert recipes to share with you!  Would it be too much to try and make half of these on Halloween?  Probably.  Ugh. the way...have you heard about this Frankenstorm thing?  Listen, I'm from Missouri.  We don't do hurricanes.  We do tornadoes, where you have 20 minutes warning if you're lucky.  So the whole days of preparation, school being cancelled yesterday, and everyone hunkering down and avoiding the outdoors thing is really freaking me out.

Don't worry though.  Our apartment is stocked full of water, candles, and wine.  The three necessities.  I've heard you can last for weeks, maybe even months on those three things.

I'm also thinking I should prepare some food and maybe take a shower before the power possibly (the weather channel is saying it's likely...) goes out.  I've adapted to this preparation thing quite nicely don't you think?  So I think I'll leave you with these yummy recipes and go prep the fort.

If you are in the path of the storm please stay safe and if not please stay safe and have fun on Halloween!

boo-worthy breakfast

1. Pumpkin Raspberry Pop Tarts -from Sea Salt with Food
2. Pumpkin Pancakes -from I Am Baker
3. Spiderweb Eggs -from Martha Stewart
4. Snack-o-Lantern Fruit Cups -from Pink Parsley
5. Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed French Toast -from Family Fresh Cooking
6. Mummy Bagel with Cream Cheese and Blueberries -from Eighteen 25

spooky snacks

1. Baked Witch Fingers -from Macheesmo
2. Pumpkin Cheese Ball -from Lol Foodie
3. Homemade Cheesy Ghost Crackers -from Sassy Radish
4. Mushroom filled Won Ton Appetizer -from Hungry Happenings
5. Mummy Dogs -from Our Best Bites
6. Spooky Black Bean Hummus -from Fat Free Vegan

dreadful drinks

1. Halloween Milk Shooters for the Little Ghosts -from The Family Kitchen
2. Blood Red Punch -from Noble Pig
3. Green Goblin Smoothie -from The Gourmet Mama
4. White Chocolate Ghost Cocktail Shooter -from The Slow Roasted Italian
5. Vampire Punch with Lime Sherbert -from Cookin' Canuck
6. Shrunken Heads in Cider -from Martha Stewart

morbid main dishes

1. Tentacle Pot Pies -from Not Martha via. The Family Kitchen
2. Mummus Melts -from Scarborough FoodFair
3. Mummy Pizza -from Cooking by Moonlight
4. Frankenstein Pizza -from Munchkin Munchies
5. Macaroni and Cheese Bake in Coffin Toast -from Almost Bourdain
6. Stuffed Jack-o'-Lanterns -from Healthful Pursuit

spine-chilling sweets

1. Frank and Willy Pops -from Fork and Beans
2. Halloween M&M Cookies -from Scarborough FoodFair
3. Leftover Halloween Candy Bark -from Brown Eyed Baker
4. Cake Ball Brains Oozing Cherry Blood -from Hungry Happenings
5. Halloween Dirt Cups -from The Hungry Housewife
6. Mummy Head Rice Krispies -from Recipe Girl
7. Black Velvet Spider Cupcakes -from Pastry Affair
8. Boo-tiful Halloween Cake -from I Am Baker

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween M&M Cookies


It's that time of year again.  Halloween is upon us and that means costumes are being created, parties are being planned and of course candy is everywhere.

But here's the thing.  I don't really like candy.

Don't get me wrong.  I have a sweet tooth.  And it's not a small one.  But that monstrous sweet tooth of mine has this bizarre animosity towards candy.  It really shouldn't discriminate.  But it does.

If someone were to offer me a bag full of M&M's or a handful of candy corn right at this very moment (or at any moment for that matter) I would decline without a second thought.  *Gasp* I know, it's just not my thing.  But...there's always an exception...and that exception comes in the form of White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M's.

Uh, what?

These things are like crack dipped in white chocolate.  I really don't understand it.  The part of me that dislikes candy is saying "Nooooooooooooo" but my taste buds are saying "YES".

Have I made my point that you should probably go grab a bag and try them?  Yes?  Okay, good.

But please don't eat the whole bag.  You'll need them for the cookies!

But...if you're a smart'll get two bags.  One for you, one for the cookies!

halloween m&m cookies

Makes: 2-3 dozen cookies (depending on size)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 8-12 minutes 
Total Time: 20 minutes 

{Printable Recipe}

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup M&Ms (preferably the Halloween M&M's!)

Preheat oven to 325°.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk the butter and sugars until they are combined and look like the first picture below.  Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Slowly incorporate flour until a dough forms.  Mix until all flour is added and then stir in M&M's.
Scoop out about 2 tablespoons worth of dough for each cookie and drop onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 8-12 minutes at 325° then remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

P.S. - Please tell me you're proud that I took some process pictures?  It's been far too long.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Oh, Monday.  You've swamped my brain.  Again.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

The to-do lists are spinning around in my head.

Deadlines are looming.

Papers need writing.

And I just really want some time for napping.

But...only 30 days until Thanksgiving break...

Totally doable, right?  Right.

I hope you have a few seconds to sit back and relax while looking through this week's Meal Plan.  Enjoy!


Pumpkin Soup with Chanterelles
-from Sweet Paul


Korean Rice Bowl


Butternut Squash Ravioli with Caramelized Onions


Wintery Spring Rolls


Butternut Squash Caprese Salad with Avocado

a few goodies for the weekend...

Roasted Tomato and Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Salmon en Croute

because halloween is just around the corner...

Pumpkin Almond Cookies

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

Corpse Reviver Cocktail

Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip with Cinnamon Chips

Bloody Caramel Apples

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Rustic Mini Pumpkin Cakes
-from Boulder Locavore

P.S. - Sorry about the lack of commentary this week.  I'm hoping that my brain will be back to full operating capacity next week.  Cross your fingers!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

It's about time I join the pumpkin bandwagon.  Don't you think?

Pumpkin is everywhere right now.  Pumpkin lattes.  Seasonal pumpkin beer.  Pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin butter.  Spiced pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin soup.  You get the picture.  Pumpkin season is here.  And I'm loving every second of it.

I should warn you that sometime within the next week (fingers crossed) you will be seeing a tutorial on how to roast a sugar pumpkin in order to make homemade pumpkin puree.  Process pictures included and all.  Remember when I used to be a good little blogger and include process picture on every recipe?  Ugh.  That good little blogger got replaced by a two job working, in the last year of college blogger.  Blogger #1 was way more fun and way less lazy.  Darn her.

The cheesecake.

The cheesecake came as a request from my roommate Nick for his birthday.  Cheesecake is his go-to birthday cake.  In fact he has never requested anything else.  However, the pumpkin shocked me a bit.  "You want a pumpkin cheesecake?"  Huh.  Usually he's an oreo/some sort of chocolate kind of guy.  But hey, ask and you shall receive birthday boy.

The bourbon was not requested but given his love of bourbon (in an unproblematic sort of way) I figured it would be a nice touch.  And I was right.  So right.

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake...

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes: 12-14 servings   Prep Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chill time   Bake Time: 50-60 minutes   Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

for the crust-
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

for the filling-
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

for the topping-
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon

candied pecans (optional)

  1. For the crust- Butter a 9-inch springform pan and then stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until well combined.  Press crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan and 1/2 inch up the side.  Then chill crust for 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling- Preheat oven to 350°.  In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat cream cheese and sugars until well combined.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the eggs (pumpkin, cream, vanilla, bourbon, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt) and mix until everything is incorporated.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Pour filling into the crust, smoothing the top with a knife, and then bake until the center is set, 50-60 minutes.
  4. For the topping- While the cheesecake is baking, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and bourbon in a small bowl.  When the middle of the cheesecake is set, spread mixture over the top and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on a wire rack, about 3 hours.  Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours.  Serve chilled or at room temperature and garnish with candied pecans.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moroccan Stuffed Squash

Bad news folks.

No Meal Plan Monday today.

I have a pretty crazy week ahead of me.  One that's going to consist of...babysitting before class in the morning, going to classes in the afternoon, babysitting after class and through dinner, going home, going to bed, repeat.

Whew.  I'm already tired just thinking about it.

Since I won't be all...I thought it would be silly to make a meal plan.  Right?

So, I'm presenting you with a recipe instead!

Fair?  I think so...

This recipe came out of my newly purchased Sprouted Kitchen cookbook.  Which I absolutely adore.  And when I say adore I mean I'm mildly obsessed with it.  So don't be alarmed when I go on a Sprouted Kitchen recipe frenzy.  The book is only so long...

moroccan stuffed squash... 
with feta and toasted pistachios.

Makes: 4-6 servings   Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 30-40 minutes   Total Time: 50 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

2 medium acorn squash
3 tablespoons coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grain (I used the harvest grain mix but quinoa, cous cous, etc will do)
1 (13.5 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup feta cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.  Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Rub 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil on the cut sides of the squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and pierce the skin a few times with a fork.  Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. While the squash is cooking, rinse your grain in a fine mesh strainer.  Bring the coconut milk to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add the grain, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover.  Cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and let the quinoa steam in the pot for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil, paprika, coriander, cumin to the quinoa and toss to combine.  Add lemon zest, mint, cilantro, orange juice, pomegranate seeds, and feta and toss together.  Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. (This step can be done up to two days ahead, mixing everything together except the feta.)
  4. Take the squash from the oven and flip them over.  Divide the quinoa evenly between the 4 squash quarters.  Place back in the oven for 10-20 minutes or until the squash is tender and the quinoa mixture is heated through.
  5. Garnish with additional feta and toasted pistachios.

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