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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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. 

Annie

Savory Granola

Granola, my favorite snack. If you know me well or have ever read this blog you know this about me. I've posted a handful of granola recipes over the years, but this one takes the cake. 

Kathleen is the one who really got me on the homemade granola bandwagon and it's her recipe that helped me finally perfect it. Last spring or so, one of our friends said she had used Kathleen's recipe to make savory granola. Baaaack up, savory granola? Yes, please, and thank you. 

You take a lot of the same components, but add fun things like Worcestershire sauce and chili powder. This savory recipe really taps into the snacking part of granola. Skeptical? Let me give you some uses.

Currently between the handfuls going straight to my mouth, I'm topping creamy butternut squash soup (coming next week) with this mix. It's great sprinkled in plain or honey yogurt. I think it could be an amazing addition to a salad or even subbed in for the cornbread croutons in my Fall Panzanella Salad. But simply, I love packing a snack bag to take to work.

Savory Granola

Ingredients:
2½ cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line a roasting sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean up), and set aside. 

In a large bowl combine all ingredients stirring well until everything is evenly coated. Spread out on your rimmed roasting sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Stir after the first 20 minutes. Bake for 15 more minutes, check on it to see if it needs to go longer, being careful not to burn it. The mixture may still seem a bit wet and soft, but once you let it sit it will harden up. Let cool then break into chunks. Store in an airtight container or mason jar. 

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A few months ago I picked up these wasabi sesame seeds from the local Asian market. I love spicy and I love wasabi. I've been using them as a topping on salads or sprinkled over fried rice. I tossed some in my jar of granola and love the little kick it gave the granola. 

Are you a savory or sweet granola person? Give this recipe a try then tell me!

Annie

Bites of My Life

I'm not a birthday brat, but it's birthday week!! Ok, maybe I am...This Friday is my 23rd birthday. Despite a year older, 23 sounds so young to me. Nothing cool happens when you are 23, that I know of. It's that sandwich age between 21 and 25, where you sort of just feel like an awkward 20 something still trying to figure ish out and get people to take you seriously in the real world. This is all relative though. I'm not complaining. I'd rather turn 23 year after year than slip into my 40s.

With a fun week ahead, I love looking back at last week. A pretty simple work week, but a productive one at that. Got my stuff done to head to Dallas for the weekend for golf, friends and too much fun! Nothing beats a great weekend high! I don't even have the Sunday scaries it was so good!

-Polenta huevos rancheros is my go-to when I have no food in the house. Sprucing up the recipe so I can post it soon!
-Pocky and RHONY make for an ulti night plopped on the couch!
-Made the bold statement last week that granola is my favorite food when I posted my basic granola recipe. Not coming down on that statement. 
-Seriously so stinking fun to see people trying my perfect CCC recipe!! My favorite gals from Vim+Vigor killed it with their cookies.
-I came to Dallas bearing banana bread as a way to say thank you to my favorite host!
-Any right trip down I-35 deserves a stop at Robertson's for roadie ham sammies!
-Only slightly Spieth obsessed. Thankful the Bryon Nelson fed my obsession.
-Free Spieth bobbleheads? I'd take 10 if I could. 
-Can't golf to save our lives, but we are great at drinking beer and making heart eyes at Jordan.
-Breakfast at EatZi's. Not pictured-our breakfast here from the day before. We couldn't stay away!
-Happiest human when I get the chance to go to Trader Joe's. Loaded up before exiting Dallas.
-Started my weekend detox Sunday night with a version of Georgie's Green Goodness Salad, threw a fried egg on it for good measure! 

Annie

Basic Granola

Granola could possibly be my favorite food. Actually I'm going to go as far and say it is. Probably not what you would expect to be a food obsessed's favorite food, but sorry it is. I eat it day and night, any time of day. My sister got me hooked on granola a while ago when she started making her own. I've been an addict ever since. 

I love granola so much I'm that lame-o that will order the granola and milk or yogurt and granola on brunch menus. Typically the menu item everyone skips over. I love trying out new brands of granola and picking up a bag at local bakeries while I'm on vacations. I eat it by the handful, bagful, on top of smoothies, in yogurt, with almond milk and frozen berries, sprinkled in salads, I even eat it with cooked sweet potatoes. I'm actually planning on having that for dinner tonight. 

Some of my favorite granolas include Purely Elizabeth, Michele's Granola (lemon pistachio flavor), and Hippie Crack from Baked and Wired. There are some great brands out there, but nothing beats making your own. I've waited forever to post this recipe because in all honesty I used to be the worst granola maker ever. I would burn it every time.

After a few years of practice I have finally mastered it. It's important to use the right measurement of every ingredient and make sure and stir your granola throughout baking. This isn't something you can put in the oven and walk away from. Granola is sacred in my world and burnt granola doesn't belong. Keep reading to see how to make your own!

Basic Granola adapted from A Peony For Your Thoughts

Ingredients:
3 cups of oats
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg white

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the first six ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the extract, olive oil and maple syrup. In a small bowl whisk the egg white until frothy. Pour into the granola and mix until combined. 

Spread the granola into an even layer on a parchment lined roasting pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stopping halfway through to stir the granola. Be very careful not to burn your granola. Mine cooks perfectly for 35 minutes. Stopping to stir after the first 20 minutes then baking the additional 15. 

Feel free to use any nuts or seeds you want! Coconut and lavender are great additions. If you like dried fruit in your granola feel free to add it! Just make sure you stir it in once the granola is done baking. 

I hope you love this recipe as much as me. Nothing beats the smell of homemade granola! If you make your own batch make sure and show me by tagging @_annietucker on instagram and using the hashtag #takeabite!

Annie

Grown Up Cereal and Milk

Kudos to mother for giving me this breakfast idea. With an easy combo of almond milk, your favorite granola and frozen fruit, It's the grown up version of cereal and milk. Cooking for one, frozen fruit and vegetables have become my best friends. I always have frozen fruit in the fridge for smoothies, but this is such a good change of pace. 

My favorite part of this breakfast is how the almond milk slightly freezes around the cold berries. I can't quit describe it but it's kind of incredible. If you want to pump it up a bit add a super boost with flax or chia seeds or almond butter. This breakfast is too easy to throw together. I even take it on the go by putting all ingredients in a mason jar and eating it in the car or when I first step into work. 

Grown Up Cereal and Milk

Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen fruit (blueberries and raspberries)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup granola of your choice
*Optional add ins can be almond butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon

Directions:
I think you can guess, but put all ingredients in a bowl and slurp up every last bit. 

Annie