A full day of heavy rain is in the forecast for Toronto tomorrow so a warm bottle of soup is on menu for school. I made a pot of vegan curried butternut squash and pear soup for our dinner and will warm it up in the morning for the girls. Butternut squash soups are so delicious and so easy to make delicious. I sautéed some carrots, onions and celery in some olive oil and once the onions started to take on some colour, added some curry powder and cooked it until it was fragrant. I added a couple of litres of vegetable stock, a diced squash and half a dozen very ripe pears that I had roughly chopped. This simmered away for about 45 minutes until the squash was tender. I pulled out my immersion blender and pureed the soup until it was smooth. I gave it a quick taste, it needed some acidity so gave it a big squeeze of lime and it was ready for dinner. A perfect fall soup!
Back to lunch – I packed some little spinach, roasted corn (froze a bunch of it at the end of the summer) and egg frittatas for some protein. These are so fast and easy to make – just beat up some eggs (I used 3) and add some veggies (I used about 1 cup of vegetables in total, the spinach was previously frozen and I gave it a good squeeze to remove excess water). Pour the mixture into well greased (I cannot emphasize this enough!! I spent ages trying to clean off the baked on egg from my muffin pan) mini muffin cups – 1 got 6 muffin cups worth – and bake in a 400F oven for 10 mins or until the eggs are set. They will puff up and then sink down as they cool. Easy, economical and kid-friendly. I added some colourful fruit and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the dragonfruit was bright pink and not white!
Fall arrived today! Yesterday it was sunny in Toronto and today it has rained all day, it is much cooler and the leaves on the trees have started to change colour. The good news is that this sweater weather ushers in soup weather. I love to make soup in the fall and winter because it warms you up from the inside and practically speaking, is a great use of the odds and ends that end up in the fridge. My mother is a particularly spectacular soup maker and is famous for making “clean out the fridge” soup that is consistently delicious and nourishing. We have made pots of soup side by side, with identical ingredients (unless she hides things in her apron), and hers are always so much better! Clearly a magical touch.
I made a pot of vegan chickpea, butternut squash and kale soup in a smoky broth that should warm the girls up tomorrow at lunch time. I packed them some crispy veggies to toss into their soup for texture and a few rosemary focaccia breadsticks that I made from some multigrain (w oats, millet and other good stuff) dough that I picked up at the supermarket. Finally, I added a little apple and a wedge of pomegranate that came in our #csa box this week to round out this meal for a chilly day.
I have had a delicata squash sitting on my counter since last week. I was going to roast it and throw it into a kale salad but my menu plans changed and it didn’t get used. Delicata squash have sweet and richly flavoured flesh and best of all, they have completely edible skin so that you can roast slices of them in the oven and then immediately plate them up for a meal. Unlike many other winter squash, they are easy to slice and are also relatively small so that you aren’t obligating yourself to days of squash consumption. It turns out that the flesh of a single delicata makes just enough filling for a dozen tortellini – perfect for two hungry girls’ lunches.
I sliced the delicata squash lengthwise, scraped out the seeds and popped it into a hot oven to roast while I was busy making dinner. After about 30 mins, it had started to brown and soften so I pulled it out of the oven to cool. While it cooled, I sautéed some finely diced red onion, sage and garlic until the onions were soft. The squash was cool enough to handle at this point so I scraped out the flesh and mixed it with the onion mixture. I had a package of wonton wrappers in the fridge so opened it up and put about a 2 teaspoons of the filling into the centre of a dozen wrappers and sealed them up with some water. Finally, I cooked them in a pot of boiling water until they floated – this only took a couple of minutes – and then tossed them in a pan with some olive oil and sage. Relatively quick and a nice autumn lunch.
The pasta bundles are served up with some carrot coins, sliced pear, grapes, crackers and a few chocolate/beet/orange and oat cookies that I picked up on a cross-border shopping trip. The cookies are delicious and while I am usually reluctant to buy cookies, these ones appear to be made with ingredients I have at home so seem fine for the odd lunch.
FIT TIP OF THE DAY 1-minute plank (on elbows, lift legs off floor, only toes touch ground, legs straight, pull abs in tight toward back). Questions/comments or concerns about the FIT TIP? Email personal trainer and fitness expert Barb Rosenberg – email@example.com