Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon

Yup, you know you want this recipe because I added the “with bacon” tagline….

I made this soup for two weeks in a row now and deemed it “the best soup I’ve ever made.” I get on a kick with what I make for my lunch and pretty much make it until I get so sick of it I can’t stand it anymore. That pretty much already happened for chicken soup with kale at the beginning of the year. So I’ve switched it up a bit. Now that we got our bacon from our pigs I’ve been pretty much throwing it in everything.

This week I’m linking up with Jenn from Peas and Crayons to share what I ate..which is this soup. I don’t have too many pictures from what I ate for the week because this weekend we went camping. Here are a few beautiful pictures of the scenery:

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ASP #2

ASP #3

I love fall!

Actually I did take a pic of some of our food camping:

camp eggs

baconnn

We stayed in a cabin with a food stove and gas oven. Can’t beat eggs fried in bacon fat. Those were our last eggs from our chickens :(

I also made homemade pulled BBQ pork last week. OMG.

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Ate it alongside an acorn squash with pecans and butter and roasted broccoli. This was ridiculous.

And speaking of squash: now for the recipe!

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon
Serves 4
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 large white onion, chopped
  3. 4-6 cups of stock (pork or chicken stock works best)
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  8. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  9. 1/2 lb bacon, cut up into 1 " strips
Instructions
  1. Fill a large stockpot with chicken/pork stock. Add your cubed butternut squash, onion and garlic.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until soft, about 20-25 minutes.**
  3. Take off the stove and let cool. Meanwhile, throw your bacon in a saute pan and cook until done. Set aside on a paper towel.
  4. When soup is cool, working in batches, place the mixture into a food processor. Be careful not to fill the food processor too full so it doesn't overflow.
  5. Place the soup back in the pot and add spices. Be sure to season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until warmed again.
  6. Add bacon and some of the remaining fat from the pan (I mean why not).
  7. Serve warm.
Notes
  1. **Alternatively, you can do this in a pressure cooker for half the time. Once it starts boiling and reaching high pressure, lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
Do you like camping? What foods do you typically bring?

What’s your favorite thing to pair bacon with?

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What I ate Wednesday- Trip to BJ’s

Happy Wednesday! This week is moving along since I had Monday off…. Be jealous!  Hope you didn’t miss my post for Paleo Chicken Riggies yesterday and my announcement about the cookbook. Very exciting

I am linking up with Jenn for What I ate Wednesday.  Anyways, I don’t really have a full day of eats but do have some yummy things to share from last week. A highlight of my week was my trip to BJs. It’s kind of like a CostCo for those that don’t know. I was able to get a cheap subscription through my school. My friend and I stopped by before going to the movies (Gone Girl….how disturbing) and I was basically like a kid in a candy store. You have to watch carefully because some things will not be a better deal but I did make some good finds:

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Figs….my favorite

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Definitely needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This was a double pack for 7.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pecans 6.99 lb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great finds! I wanted to buy more but we were about to go to the movies so the huge thing of talents gelato couldn’t come :(.

The other night I made chicken pot pies from the 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook. 

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They were ridiculous. I don’t know why I haven’t made them sooner. Also, pumpkin chili from Gather. 

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Also, so sad…. We got rid of our chickens on Saturday and although I was happy that I don’t have to take care of them anymore it was sad to get our last egg. 

 

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It will be nice however to be able to leave the house for a weekend! 

What are your favorite finds at BJs or Costco? 

 

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Paleo Chicken “Riggies”

Guess what!?!? I’ve finished my cookbook! So excited to share it with everyone, however it’s not 100% ready to put up for sale yet so instead I’m teasing you with a recipe from it. I’ve put a lot of hard work into this and although it’s just an e-book I hope to use it to inspire people to make real food!

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 The recipe I am going to share with you guys is Paleo Chicken Riggies. Okay so I didn’t somehow manufacture paleo friendly rigatoni pasta if that’s what you thought. But I did come up with a tangy, spicy chicken “riggies” sauce that I served over spaghetti squash.

If you don’t know what chicken riggies are, it’s a dish native to Central New York and specifically Utica, NY that usually includes a spicy, cream based tomato sauce with chicken and hot peppers served over rigatoni. I had a couple of great, famous chicken riggies dishes when I worked in Utica and I won’t pretend that this is as good as the real thing, but I think I came really close.

Coconut milk gives it the rich, creamy texture you want and pickled and fresh peppers give it a kick!

paleo chicken riggies

 

Paleo Chicken Riggies
Serves 2
A spicy, healthy twist on a regional favorite
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Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ cups homemade spaghetti sauce
  2. ¼ cup coconut milk
  3. 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  4. 1 large white onion, sliced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. Pickled cherry peppers or jalapeños
  7. 1 cooked, chopped chicken breast
  8. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  9. *optional- can add olives
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep spaghetti squash- carefully cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the spaghetti squash for approx. 40-60 minutes (depending on size). When the squash is soft and you can press your finger into it, it means it’s done. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Put a deep skillet over medium heat. Put in the coconut oil and wait until heated.
  4. Place garlic, peppers and onions in the pan and cook until the onions are translucent. (About 5 minutes).
  5. Pour in your spaghetti sauce and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Put in your cooked, diced chicken and cherry/jalepeño peppers (as many as you would like for your preferred hotness). Cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  7. Scrape the flesh out of your spaghetti squash. Serve sauce over squash.
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/

 

Enjoy! Let me know how it is!

 

What’s your favorite spot to get chicken riggies (if you’re local)?

What are some regional favorites from your part of the country (or world!)??

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WIAW- Bacon!!!

I’m back with WIAW (Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting!) because I feel like I wanna share some of my eats from the past week. Most importantly…guess who’s back?!?!

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Yup! We got our bacon. I had no idea it was going to be so much. We barely fit it in two freezers. I’m not weirded out by eating something I raised for 6 months. I am freaking overjoyed that I am eating something I know exactly about and don’t have to buy meat from the grocery store.

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Bacon!!!!!!

So naturally it’s finding it’s way into everything this week. I make out my meal plans on Sundays when I go grocery shopping and they called me Monday to tell me the pork was ready, so I didn’t have it in the plans, but that didn’t stop it from making it’s way into dinner Monday night:

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Baked flounder, butternut squash noodles with spaghetti sauce and cauliflower rice with bacon.

The recipe was a fish recipe from the The 21-Day Sugar Detox <<affiliate link
It looked pretty but the fish were basically paper thin. Thank god for bacon.

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For breakfasts this week, I made the butternut squash breakfast pie again. Tis the season. Those apples behind it are from our backyard!!!

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Lunches…. I don’t have a picture. It was sardines, avocado and soup. Woo hoo, same old.

For a snack all week I made these Paleo chocolate chip cookie dough balls. Yum. Love eating these right when I get home.

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Austin was out of town last night so I made breakfast for dinner. Can you guess what was involved?

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Soft boiled eggs, plantain fries and kale with BACON. This meal was epic and really confused me. Whenever I eat a meal, I always go from worst to best, to save the best for last. But everything was so good on this plate my mind got really confused. I’m really sorry about my nail polish.

Dessert for the week was Paleo Parent’s baked apples with butter and pecans. I used the apples from our backyard! Picture doesn’t really do it justice. Check out the recipe!

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{Free Download} Mix up your veggie routine + I’m writing a book!

I guess I’ll come out and just say it- I’ve been working on an e-cookbook all year. I’m almost ready to publish it! I’ll give you a couple of sneak peaks but I wanted to also give away another project I worked on- a free guide to mixing up your veggie routine. Hopefully if you like the content of this guide you’ll come back for more when I release the cookbook!

The cookbook will contain mostly (there are 2-3 favorites from the blog) new recipes that adhere to a whole foods and (mostly) paleo, gluten free, grain free lifestyle. I will also include a guide to must-have products, and tips for healthy living! I am so excited and have been working hard on the e-book. The technology side is really the hard part so once I figure it out I should have the ebook available.

Just SOME of the recipes included are:

buffalo chicken pasta

– Buffalo Chicken Pasta

blackberry rhubarb

-Blackberry-Rhubarb crumble

cookie dough

– Cookie Dough Truffles

And many more! While you wait on the edge of your seat in anticipation (lol) I’m offering this free download for absolutely nothing! Enjoy!

 Click here to get your free download!

Have you ever tried writing an e-book?

Tips would be appreciated!

 

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10 easy whole food swaps to eat healthier

 

So I figured out my daily eats week after week are kind of boring………I basically eat the same thing for lunch every day and my breakfasts have stayed the same so today for WIAW (thanks to Jenn for hosting! I love looking through the link up!) I’m doing something a little different….

real food

Sometimes, since people know that I am into eating healthy, they randomly ask me “how can I start eating better” or “what should I eat to be healthy”. Kind of a loaded question…..I don’t really know where to start. But I do know that some of the stuff I’ve been doing for awhile sometimes peaks interest from people. There is so much diet nonsense out there, no wonder no ones knows where to start. Here’s 10 simple swaps you can make now to clean up your diet:

1) Use coconut oil instead of butter, spray and seed oils.

coconut oil

I use coconut oil for literally EVERYTHING. I used to be one that would use Pam spray for cooking…but now I melt it to roast veggies, throw a dollop in to saute, or just use it in place of anything that needs a fat or butter. I think the #1 thing you should STOP eating right now if you want to be healthier is vegetable and seed oils. GAHHH so gross, toxic and bad for you. No reason to have them in your life. Coconut oil can be used for everything. It’s super healthy and there are brands that don’t taste coconutty. I prefer the coconut taste, however and I use this Swanson vitamins brand.

 

2) Ditch white potatoes for plantains or sweet potatoes.

Plantain Chips

White potatoes hardly have any flavor..not to mention they’re lacking in nutrients. Not saying they’re the devil or anything but I am obsessed with plantains as my go-to carb. There’s nothing wrong with carbs especially if you’re active. I prefer ones that are delicious, since I love food. Not to mention packed with vitamins. Try plantain fries!

 

4) Cauliflower “rice” for regular rice.

Dirty Cauliflower rice

Again, white rice isn’t the devil or anything, but it’s like a gateway food for me. I could house an entire boil in a bag packet myself when I was younger. So cauliflower gives the same texture, and is mostly tasteless, without the “no brakes” mentality for me.

Try my curried cauliflower “dirty” rice.

 

5) Snack on nuts instead of chips.

This is  no brainer…nuts are great for you. It’s easy to go overboard though so make sure you watch your portions.

6) Carrot or Parsnip fries instead of regular French fries

Curry Roasted Parsnip Fries 2

I’m more or less obsessed with making carrot fries or parsnip fries. I make them at least once a week. Again, more nutrients and tastier than a regular white potato fry!

Curry Parsnip fries

Spicy Carrot Fries

7) Eggs for breakfast instead of cereal

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Cereal= crack that makes you more hungry 7 minutes after you’ve finished eating. Man up and have some protein for breakfast if you’re serious about becoming healthier and cutting back on snacking.

8) Coconut Milk for regular milk

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There’s no need for dairy milk in my life……anytime I need something of a milk-like consistency I use coconut milk. I buy it online in bulk to save money. Coconut is great for you. I buy the BPA organic brand and I use it in my coffee in the morning, in smoothies, curry recipes, egg casseroles, and pretty  much any recipe that might need a milk-like substance.

9) Zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash instead of pasta

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Yes, we all love pasta. No, it has absolutely nothing to offer me that vegetables and fruit do not. Another gateway food for me. I eat zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. To be honest I think that pasta used to be my favorite food but I don’t miss it at all.

10) Flavored oil and vinegar instead of pre-made salad dressing

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Not only do you save money by buying straight up oil and vinegar instead of sugar-laden processed varieties, but it’s a lot healthier. I sometimes use cheap, bulk vinegar or if I’m lucky enough to have some Olive a Sudden flavored olive oils I use those.

There you have it! Making all or even some of these swaps could lead you on a path to a healthier lifestyle. None of these are groundbreaking for those of us who have been eating well for a long time, but if you’re just starting out don’t be afraid to try these things.

What one thing do you think you could swap out ASAP!?!?

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Stereotypical Pumpkin Blog Post

Making fun of the fact that people are obsessed with pumpkin-ized things as soon as September hits is almost a bigger craze than actually liking pumpkin-ized things now. I feel kind of hipster-ish about the whole thing. I liked pumpkin things before it became cool.

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I thought I was gong to wait until October but last weekend I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up a couple of pie pumpkins to begin the baking bonanza. No canned pumpkin here!!! Roast fresh is so much tastier.

Wednesday I shared what I made {and ate} with the pumpkin I roasted…but I also wanted to share some of my favorites and some recent finds from around the web!! As if there was a shortage….

Sugar Detox Pumpkin Cookies by What’s that Smell

Pumpkin Coffee Cake by Hold the Grain

Pumpkin Bars by Crave the Good

Paleo Pumpkin Bars by Elena’s Pantry <<<Made those this week

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bars by Running with Spoons

How to Make Pumpkin Puree by Skinny Taste

Two ingredient pumpkin spice cookies by Peanut Butter Fingers

Paleo Pumpkin Granola by PaleOMG

Pumpkin and Coconut Soup by the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen

Pumpkin Spice Mousse by Primalist

Pumpkin Spice Mini-Donuts by Primal Palate

Pumpkin pie Breakfast Bake by me!

Enjoy the pumpkin goodness.

Let me know your favorite pumpkin recipes!

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WIAW: Pumpkin Cauli-Mash

Hello and welcome to my second straight WIAW! I love reading other people’s WIAW so I figured I would keep up the routine.

It seems like pumpkin season gets earlier and earlier every year. I couldn’t wait…I roasted one up this weekend and now have a bunch to use up. So lots of my eats yesterday included pumpkin, go figure.

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Breakfast was a smoothie with the new protein powder I’m trying out. I bought it at Wegmans.

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A new hemp protein powder. I’ve tried hemp powders before but I finally think I’ve found the one I’ll stick to. I mix up a banana,1/4 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup water, ice cubes,  3 tablespoons of protein powder, one tablespoon of almond butter, a tablespoon of cocoa and a little bit of maca powder.

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I hate having protein shakes for breakfast because it really doesn’t keep me that full. I’m fine for lunch but when I get home I’m a hangry monster. All I have time for is the shake because I have been working out in the mornings and can’t fathom getting up any earlier (5:30 am). I love working out in the morning but I love breakfast. So this has been a dilemma. I haven’t quite decided on a routine since school started. We’ll see if I continue to get up to workout through the winter….

Lunch-

Can of Wild Planet Sardines and Soup (just like last week)

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(I started eating lunch with people instead of alone and it was too awkward taking a picture, lol)

Anyways, when I got home from work it was beautiful out so I took the dog for a run. When I got back I inhaled two carrot pumpkin muffins (turned cookies) from the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

 

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I can never make muffins because they ALWAYS stick. Please let me know if you know of a muffin tin that doesn’t stick!!! When I use papers they stick to the papers……usually it’s the coconut flour.

For dinner we ACTUALLY DIDN’T HAVE CHICKEN. Meatloaf made with beef and beef liver, green beans from the summer and a pumpkin-cauliflower mash was on the menu. How do you make pumpkin cauliflower mash!?!?!? Glad you asked!

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pumpkin cauliflower mash

 

Pumpkin Cauli-Mash
Serves 2
A great, savory way to enjoy the seasonal favorite.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups fresh roasted pureed pumpkin (or canned...but taste will probably be blander so add more spices!)
  2. Half a head of cauliflower
  3. 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Prep cauliflower by breaking it into florets. Place it in a saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Let the cauliflower come to a boil and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the cauliflower and place it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Process until creamy and enjoy!
Notes
  1. I roasted and pureed my pumpkin before hand. It's quite easy if you find some instructions online. If you use canned pumpkin for this recipe I would add more spice because I envision canned pumpkin being a lot more bland.
Pencils and Pancakes http://pencilsandpancakes.com/
Can’t forget dessert (like I did last week). Another pumpkin treat…..pumpkin bars from Elena’s Pantry. Soooooo good. I can foresee these being made again next week.

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Lots of pumpkin, lots of deliciousness.

Do you know of any  muffin tins that are good to use with coconut flour?

Do you take pictures of your food in front of people??

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Gardening Mistakes

As the gardening season comes to an end, I’m left with relentless squash plants, amounts of canned pickles that we’ll never get through, and big plans for what NOT to do next year.

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I’m not saying that my garden was a failure or anything, but this year I had an approach like “plant as much as possible and see what happens”. I dug it all by hand. I planted things way too closely. And I planted too much of things. Live and learn! And that’s what I’m doing….every year will get better and now I know next year not to make these mistakes:

 

1. Planting too closely. I planted nearly my 25 tomato plants all in about a 3X5 area of the garden. Looked good initially, but once they grew to full size they just suffocated each other and the neighboring pepper plants.

tomato plants 

2. Less peppers. I will do the hot peppers again because those are fairly abundant, however I got a whopping total of 3 (or 4?) bell peppers from the many I planted and had growing since March. They’re just not good for our climate.

3. LESS SQUASH. Probably two-three plants would suffice. I had about 8-10. It wasn’t enough to start a roadside stand, yet it was way too much for us.

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4. Need to plant winter veggies like butternut squash, spaghetti squash, more potatoes, carrots and possibly beets. This year I was all about tomatoes and peppers and never really thought that maybe I should do some crops that would store easier.

5. Plant lettuce in the spring. Lettuce is something I buy organic so it can get really pricey. Why not plant my own? The reason I didn’t this year was because I thought it would be too hard to do organically with all the bugs. But my kale plants this year were one of the biggest producers and Austin doesn’t even eat kale.

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6. Rent or get a roto-tiller. I need a bigger garden. I can’t dig it all by myself again!

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I really enjoyed being able to grow my own food and preserve it by canning or freezing. If I go into next year with a better plan and actually figure out how much of each thing I will need and have sufficient space, I can really maximize the food savings once the growing season ends.

What gardening mistakes have you made?

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Thinking Out Loud: Animals!

I’m linking up with Amanda this week to share my thoughts in her Thinking Out Loud link up….

This week I am having mixed emotions about our last week with the pigs! 

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This Saturday they go to become bacon. They’ve been with us since March, and I understand meat is what we got them for but it doesn’t make it any easier! I remember when they were just tiny little guys. 

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 It’s hard coming to terms with the fact an animal has to die for me to eat, however I think it’s important to face up to this fact. Many people respond with ‘I’d rather not know about it.’ I don’t agree with that. I really don’t feel that I ought to be eating meat if I’m not ready to face this fact. And when it comes to stuff I’m eating ‘not knowing about it’ doesn’t jive very well for me. 

The chickens were one thing….  we only had them for 8 weeks. The pigs are a bigger deal because I’ve been caring for them since March. Before we did the chickens a farmer that I get food from told me that you’re giving the animal the best life possible and you know you cared for it the best you could and gave it a good life while it was with you. Every time I had to get up early to care for them proves that I did give them the best life. I think anyone who wouldn’t have at least a little uneasiness about sending something you’ve cared for for 6 mos away to die wouldn’t be normal. 

Anyways…. Expect some pork recipes! 

In other news, school started and for the first week I did a fun project where the kids had to write three statements to tell the world (got the idea from Olive to Run). I snapped a picture of each of them and then made them into the movie. I can’t add the movie because it has kids’ faces, but here are some good ones. 

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I pretty much squealed when I opened the mailbox the other day to find my free samples of AMRAP bars!!

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I had been waiting patiently for my samples and they finally came. I cannot wait to try these, they look delicious…especially the fig flavor. I’m obsessed with figs.

This week I finished doggy obedience classes with our new dog, Anna. They were mildly helpful. The key is you have to practice a lot at home which I haven’t been the best at but we will work on it! You think these two are friends yet?

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If ‘friends’ means incessantly bothering one another 100% of the time, then they’re definitely best friends.

I found this picture of Frank when he was little and my heart melted a little bit.

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Just a wittle baby!!!

That’s all for today- trying to post more often now that I’m back in a routine!

Have you ever taken your dog to obedience classes??

Have you tried AMRAP bars??

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