Bites of My Life

A good friend of mine posted on social media how she is trying to be more intentional with friendships. Not just sending a text message to check in, but finding ways to spend quality time to keep the friendship strong. I have incredible friends. Close friends, distant friends, work friends, blog friends, family friends etc. Regardless I am adopting her act to be more intentional with those friendships. A coffee and lunch date last week, a wedding this weekend, another lunch date this week, and two workout dates. I'm already feeling more filled!  I used to find it easier to not take the time to spend quality time and just let time with friends happen naturally, but in hindsight that is just time wasted. 

Okay friendship talk aside. I did my best to stay busy last week and succeeded. Work took me all around Oklahoma, free time was spent with friends, at yoga or celebrating birthdays, marriage and everyday life. 

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-Chocolate chips three ways...stay tuned.
-The seasonal turmeric latte at Clarity Coffee. Run don't walk, I highly recommend. 
-Bought the largest spaghetti squash I have ever laid eyes on last week. Instead of eating it right away, I stored the roasted and shredded squash in the fridge to make this cold spaghetti squash salad for lunches. Cherry tomatoes, roasted red pepper, red onion, parsley, capers, drizzle of olive oil, s&p and some pumpkin seeds for crunch!
-The best part of mom and dad's is having a homemade latte accessible at my finger tips. *Cough* I'd love a Nespresso for Christmas, *Cough*
-Wigging out seeing The Jones on the cover of Edible OKC. Pick up a copy today and see our cocktail feature.
-Maranatha with the hook up. How great is their new packaging?
-The maple and the coconut are for sure my favorite Maranatha flavor they sent me. Added a tropical twist to my standard banana and AB breakfast. 
-Work is so tasty sometimes! 
-HBD MK! Love you more than you love country concerts!
-I LOVE my Pumpkin Green Smoothie, but I was out of spinach yesterday morning so I had to switch up my usual recipe. The results may have been better than the original. Recipe --> almond milk, pumpkin puree, avocado, lots of pumpkin pie spice, frozen mango, Nutvia High Fiber hemp protein, and 4 walnuts (KEY ingredient).
-Rainy Sunday and signs of fall called for a batch of my Whole 30 Butternut Squash Soup. This is a personal top 5 recipe of mine!


Easy Butternut Squash Soup

I'd say I'm a soup person, but I've kind of taken it to the next level recently. Soup for dinner, soup for lunch, soup out to eat, making soup, buying soup, pinning soup recipes, give me ALL THE SOUP! Sausage Tortellini soup-duh, I just tried Trader Joe's veggie chili-highly recommend, and today I give you this butternut squash soup. 

I've made butternut squash soup before and I highly recommend the recipe. I called it velvet soup in my post, because it was just that. But this new recipe is the easiest darn thing to make and has about 4 main ingredients in it. It's also Whole30, vegan and dairy free for those who take note of those things. 

The most important part of the recipe in my opinion is the fresh rosemary. There are so few ingredients, I urge you to spring for the fresh rosemary. I roast the squash with it and garnish the finish product too. It give it serous flavor. Keep reading to get the recipe for this gem of a soup.

Pour yourself a bowl and top it with a hefty sprinkle of savory granola. The best accoutrement!! 

Butternut Squash Soup
yields about 4 cups, adapted from Emily Eats Real Food

1 large butternut squash
2-2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
*½ cup coconut cream (the thick stuff from the top of the coconut milk can-do not shake!)
fresh rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil
Savory Granola, optional

Preheat your oven to 450ºF. *Refrigerate your coconut cream while your prep the squash. Peel your butternut squash and slice in half. Place on a roasting sheet. Generously drizzle with olive oil, season with lots of salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Roast for 1 hour. 

Let the squash cool until you can handle it. Scoop out the seeds if you haven't already then cube into big chunks. Carefully add the cooked squash, almond milk and coconut cream to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Into a large soup pot add the blended mixture and heat over medium heat. If you have an immersion blender you can skip the previous step and add the squash and creams straight to the pot and blend over the heat. Salt and pepper to taste, don't be shy!

Serve with chopped rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil and a garnish of savory granola!

*Grocery stores sell "coconut cream," DON'T buy that. Buy regular coconut milk. Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open with a can opener and scoop out the thick cream from the top. Discard the rest. 


Velvet Soup

Velvet, literal velvet. That's the best way I can describe this soup. Creamy, not too rich, butternut squash goodness that tops all squash soups I've ever had. This velvety amazingness comes from the cookbook A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorissan. I'm killing two birds with one stone in this post by accomplishing the first month of my new years resolution and reviewing my current Blogging for Books cookbook. I have now cooked two cookbook meals in January (pat on back)! Look forward to February's cookbook recipes!

I got this cookbook back in November, but just hadn't gotten around to cooking from it. Not that everything doesn't sound amazing but it was the holidays which meant eating out often and cooking lots of traditional family recipes. 

The original recipe from A Kitchen in France actually calls for pumpkin. After all the pumpkin craziness in the fall, I'm kind of over it by now so I subbed it for butternut squash. The recipe made this soup turn out better than I expected. Cooking from cookbooks has re-established that some of the best and definitely most trustworthy recipes come from books not the internet, sorry Pinterest. I made it Sunday night for friends while we watched Miss Universe and it was slurped up by all.

Butternut Squash Soup adapted from A Kitchen in France
yields 4-6 servings

2 Tbsps. olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups milk of choice, I used skim
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
chopped parsley and granola for garnish* optional

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add the squash and parsnips, season with salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes. 

Pour in the milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes. 

Puree the soup in batches in a blender. If the soup is too thick you can add some milk. Once completed pureed, taste and see if any additional seasoning is needed. Mine was perfect, you don't want over season and take away from the butternut squash taste. 

*Mimi from AKIF tops hers with a spoonful of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of chives. I recently had some acorn squash that was topped with granola and I loved the crunch it added! My honey almond granola from last week was the perfect crunchy topping on this butternut squash soup. I also like a little green so I added some parsley because it's what I had on had. You can keep it plain or get creative with your toppings!

I love Mimi's seasonal recipes and the way she talks about her family and cooking for them in France. After all the Ina Garten episodes filmed in Paris and watching her cook French food, as well as being inspired by my friend who studied abroad in Paris, and seeing blogger bestie Molly's pictures from her summer in Europe and trying french food for the first time this summer, and my parents traveling there in the fall and with my sister going on her honeymoon to the south of France this summer (woah okay that was a lot) I've really become infatuated with French food. 

AKIF is a beautiful and big book. It feels like a real cookbook, ya know what I mean? Big, sturdy, and filled with authentic recipes. Some of the recipes seem more challenging than my simple cooking aesthetic, but I want to challenge myself to try more, especially after the soup success! 

You can read more about A Kitchen in France in my review on B4B!


I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. If you are a also a blogger make sure to check out their site on how you too can start Blogging for Books!