Fall brings two thumbs up and one try again!
As much as I hate to let go of Summer, Fall is a nice season! Cool, crisp days, the different way the sun shines on you, thoughts of family and holidays, and best of all time to start making soup! I love soup, such a wonderful thing to come home to, when the days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder. A nice hot bowl of soup at the end of the day makes everything better.
We are going to make two favorite recipes of mine:
Tortellini Florentine Soup courtesy of: www.bhg.com
And Butternut Squash Soup courtesy of: www.ninjakitchen.com/recipes/
And a new one…
We are also going to try a new dessert:
Vegan Dark chocolate avocado beet cake courtesy of: Yoga Journal
Let’s start with the Butternut squash soup
Garlic(not in the original recipe but gives a nice zing)
In a large saucepan,heat up the olive oil, then sauté onions and garlic until the onions are browned. Add cashews and sauté, add squash, carrots, apples and just sauté lightly careful not to burn the squash.
Add vegetable stock, fresh thyme, and bay leaves and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Allow mixture to cool and then in 4 parts (I always make a double batch) ladle mixture into a Ninja blender or equivalent and puree. After all 4 parts are pureed rejoin in one pan and reheat. Serve with a garnish of parsley.
I made this for a family lunch this weekend and we served it with fresh sour dough bread. It was scrumptious, even my 7 year old nephew Merrick could not stop saying “This soup is really good!!!” Definitely great in a cup as an appetizer or in a bowl as a meal. A must try!
Ease of recipe – I give it a 4, just because it does involve a lot of chopping, peeling, and does require a high powered blender to properly puree. The puree process immediately gives the soup that powerful “second day” taste as it instantly allows all the flavors to mesh into wholesome goodness!
Taste – 5+ the taste is incredible, the cashews add so much flavor to what might otherwise be more bland vegetables, and the thyme is the perfect complimentary spice. Very, very tasty!
Presentation – 4, not super attractive but a little bit of garnish helps, and it does have a beautiful rich orange color, perfect for fall.
This has been a favorite of mine for a while. I make a huge crockpot of it and eat it all week for lunch, it is a flavor you don’t get tired of quickly! I’ve also have made it for parties and it has been very well received.
Boneless chicken breasts
Fresh baby spinach
Low sodium chicken broth
Tarragon(not in the original recipe but I think tarragon makes everything taste better!!)
Spinach and cheese ravioli ( the original recipe calls for tortellini, but the spinach and cheese ravioli are a nice touch, if you can’t find them use whole wheat ravioli)
Warm crock pot and add diced chicken breasts, olive oil, garlic and let simmer for a half an hour. Add chicken broth, baby spinach, sun-dried tomatoes (I use kitchen scissors to cut them up into smaller pieces) and tarragon. Let simmer for about 2 hours and then add ravioli and simmer on low for another 2 hours.
Ease of recipe – 5, doesn’t get easier, just a little chopping, a little timing, but everything goes in the crockpot and then you can forget you are cooking!
Taste – 5, this is a really tasty, hearty meal, a little too hearty to serve as an appetizer but definitely a tasty main course, a little whole wheat garlic bread on the side would serve it well.
Presentation – 5, looks really pretty in the bowl, just a sprig of a fresh herb or a little fresh grated cheese dresses it up!
And now to my try again!!
Vegan Dark Chocolate Avocado Beet Cake
Sounds wonderful and it sort of was wonderful, but made a few mistakes substituting ingredients which is why it is a try again!
Coconut or vegetable oil cooking spray
1 3/4 cups gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour (e.g., Bob’s Red Mill)(couldn’t find this at my local store so substituted coconut flour)
3/4 cup unsweetened dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond meal/flour( found this in my local store, but was very expensive so went cheap and substituted coconut flour)
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 fully ripe avocado, finely mashed
3/4 cup granulated coconut sugar
1/2 cup finely grated beets (loosely packed)
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar
2 tbsp powdered sugar
I began by mixing the dry ingredients with my Kitchen Aide and substituted the gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour and the almond meal flour with coconut flour which I know was my downfall!!
Boiled fresh beets and then shredded them in my little 1 cup shredder, this is a great and inexpensive cooking tool when the shredding job is small and you don’t want to have to clean your large food processor. Added the mashed avocados and blended with my Kitchen Aide then added the coconut sugar, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and water
Began combining the dry ingredients with the beet mixture, and this is when I knew I had gone wrong substituting the flour. The mixture was not really a batter but lumpy and solid like a cookie dough, so I added another half cup of water but still had a cookie dough like texture.
In a measuring cup combined the vinegar and baking soda, and that is kind of a fun thing to do. Gave me a flashback to when my sister Elena, long before she had children of her own, thought it would be great fun to buy MY children a volcano kit for Christmas….the little eruption I had in my measuring cup was nothing like the grand eruption my children created on my dining room table so many years ago with their treasured volcano kit! Elena has three young boys now, wonder what is on my Christmas list for them this year!!!!!!
Added my mini eruption, the consistency remained like cookie dough, but placed it in the pan and cooked it anyway.
It came out of the pan easily and did look pretty with the powdered sugar on top, which turned out to be as crumbly as the cake was itself! Served it with ice cream and everyone seemed to enjoy, but have to try again with all the correct ingredients.
Ease of recipe – 3, it does involve several steps and searching for all the correct ingredients
Taste of recipe – 4, and maybe would have been a 5 if done correctly, everyone ate it!!
Presentation – 3, even if it had come out perfectly, not the prettiest presentation
Next time maybe a little Fall and a little pumpkin and a little seafood…