Squash, squash, and more squash (and pumpkin too)

SNACKS

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies  – Wow, these were a big hit this week. A slightly chewy, slightly dense, and super moist cookie makes for a great breakfast. I wish I had doubled this recipe. I’m also thinking about adding  ¼ c. pumpkin to these babies – well, because I can. 

DINNERS

Oat Soaked Pumpkin Pancakes – It begins…pumpkin madness. We love pumpkin recipes. Maybe I should more accurately say my daughter and I love pumpkin recipes. The hubby tolerates them.  He was traveling this week, so we took full advantage of the opportunity to start “pumpkin season” in his absence. We eat these pancakes almost once a week from now until our skin begins to turn orange (approximately midway through February). I kid you not!! These.are.awesome!!

Creamy Squash Soup – Truth: I’m working on overcoming soup intimidation. Not sure where or why this “issue” originated, but I find soup recipes overwhelming. What I’m learning is that the work is in the preparation. Instead of chopping each item before adding them to the pot, one should chop everything ahead of time.  Then, everything is ready when it’s time. I know, I know…one should always do the prep. work ahead of time. Truth is, I don’t always prep. properly. This is what ultimately makes soup stressful for me.  When things start cooking too fast or get too hot, I’m busy chopping the next item.  As a result, I inevitably “overcook” (a.k.a. burn) something. Admitting my faults is step one, right?  Anyhoo, this squash soup is pretty simple and straight forward. It’s a great place to start if you share my fear of soup making. Essentially, cook the veggies in a stockpot, add some stock, and then throw it all in a blender.

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Marinara – Avoiding carbs, here’s your answer. Trying to find ways to use multiple CSA ingredients in one recipe, here’s your answer. Looking for another way to prepare spaghetti squash that isn’t the old faithful butter, salt/pepper, and Parmesan cheese routine, here’s your answer. If spaghetti squash isn’t your thing, this veggie marinara could easily top any traditional pasta.

I had full intentions of making this Spiced Lentil Soup, but it just didn’t happen this week. Consider it a preview of what is to come.  I plan to throw in some turnips in addition to the beets and squash. If anyone feels inspired and gets to this recipe before me, let me know how it goes.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Weelicious  

1T. organic butter, room temperature
1/2 c. organic, unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 large organic, free range egg
2 t. organic vanilla extract
1 c. whole white wheat flour
2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. organic raisins (alternative: dried, unsweetened cranberries or cherries)
1/2 c. flax seeds, optional
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, apple sauce, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, stir the oats, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir until almost combined. Add the raisins and flax seeds and give it one last stir. Use a scooper to make cookie mounds. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack, especially if you want to retain a chewy texture.


Oat Soaked Pumpkin Pancakes

Adapted from Better Bodies  

Wet Ingredients
3 T. coconut palm sugar
1.5 c. organic milk of your choosing  (alternative: 1 c. organic milk + ½ c. organic applesauce)
1 c. organic canned pumpkin
1 organic, free range egg
1 t. organic vanilla extract
.5 c. old fashioned oats (NOT steel cut)
Dry Ingredients
1 ½ c. whole wheat white flour (alternative: 1 c. whole wheat white flour + ½ c. almond meal or flour)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 T. pumpkin spice
½ t. sea salt
Directions: Whisk the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the oats to the wet ingredients. Allow to soak at least 5 minutes. While the oats soak, prepare the dry ingredients in another bowl. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined (do NOT over mix). It will be a thick mousse-like consistency. Prepare the batter as you would any other pancake, adding a small amount of your preferred oil to the pan (i.e., coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc.). Get adventurous and top with applesauce instead of syrup.

Tip: This recipe doubles beautifully.  I often make a double batch and freeze one-half (after cooled) for school lunches.


Creamy Squash Soup

Adapted from Super Healthy Kids  

1 T. organic butter
3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 organic yellow summer squash, cut into rounds (no need to peel or remove seeds)
1 small winter squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
¼ t. each sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
1 large organic potato, cut into cubes (alternative, several small potatoes)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 c. organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk (homemade buttermilk: 1/2 c. milk + good squeeze from a lemon)
Fresh herbs, finely chopped, for garnish (chives, rosemary, basil, etc.)
Organic Greek yogurt (alternative, organic sour cream), optional
Directions: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil followed by the onions, squash, and salt/pepper. Give it a good stir and allow the veggies to cook until softened (about five minutes). In the meantime, microwave the cut potatoes for 3-4 minutes to soften them just a bit. Stir in the garlic to the stock pot and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about a minute). Add the potatoes to the stock pot, followed by the broth/stock. Bring it to a boil and then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender to liquefy. If you have a superb quality blender, this will be your final step (other than to stir in the buttermilk right before serving). If your blender is so-so, you may need to pour the soup over a strainer to create a smooth, creamy texture. If the latter is your method, stir in the buttermilk, after straining. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Drop in a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Tip: Microwave hearty winter squash for 1-2 minutes prior to peeling. Use a shark knife to easily remove the outer skin.


Spaghetti Squash and Vegetable Marinara  

1 spaghetti squash
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 organic bell pepper, chopped
¼ t. each, sea/salt pepper
1 small eggplant, skinned and chopped into cubes
2 organic yellow summer squash, cut into ¼ inch rounds
2-3 organic tomatoes, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of organic swiss chard and kale, destemmed and roughly chopped.
1 jar, organic marinara (check ingredients for processed ingredients like soybean oil, sugar, etc.)
Handful of fresh basil, chopped, optional
Directions: Microwave the spaghetti squash (whole) for two minutes. Cut in half length wise and scrape out the seeds and stringy “guts.” Place each side of the spaghetti squash face down on a plate with a small lip. Add roughly 1 tablespoon of water to the plate and cover with plastic wrap (poke two holes in the plastic wrap to allow steam to escape). Microwave for 10-12 minutes or until super soft when the skin is pressed. In the meantime, heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions, bell peppers, and salt/pepper. Stir and then allow the to cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Next, stir in the yellow summer squash and eggplant. Again, allow to cook until softened (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Stir in the tomatoes, swiss chard, and kale. Continue to stir until the greens have wilted. Pour in the marinara and reduce heat to simmer. Before serving, stir in the fresh basil. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Scrape the interior of the spaghetti squash with a fork to achieve “spaghetti” strands. Plate the squash, top with  marina, and finish with Parmesan cheese.

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