Healing Ginger Squash Soup

Don’t you just love it when you cook something from whatever random ingredients you happen to have in the fridge and it actually turns out delicious? That happened to me this week when I created this squash soup. Can you tell I’m loving me some winter squash right now? Anyways, I threw this soup together using some leftover roasted kabocha squash (halved and roasted with a little oil & water at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes).  If you’ve never used kabocha squash before I highly recommend it! It’s great just roasted or in soups and stir fry’s. Here’s what they look like:

http://www.tainongseeds.com/kabocha-squash/

I’ve been lucky enough to not get sick yet with the changing seasons but my sister is and I thought of her as soon as I tasted the soup. The squash is creamy and hearty and the ginger & cayenne spice clear the sinuses 🙂 I brought her some and will definitely make this again next time I get sick! You could use any type of winter squash and broth for this but I really liked the kabocha squash and the miso ginger broth from Trader Joe’s (it’s vegetarian!).  I also think this would be delicious with a can of coconut milk added to it for a creamy touch!

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Healing Ginger Squash Soup

Ingredients:
1-2 T coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled & chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 roasted kabocha squash
1T rice vinegar (optional)
4 c ginger miso broth (or any broth of your choice)
cayenne to taste
salt & pepper to taste
coconut milk, for garnish (optional)
cilantro, for garnish

Using a medium sized pot, cook onion and garlic in oil over medium heat. Stir & cook 5 min. Add ginger and carrots, cook a few minutes longer.

Add squash and broth, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add spices to taste and blend the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or regular blender (in batches).

Garnish with cilantro & coconut milk (which I forgot to add before taking the pic below)

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Enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Basil Pesto

Hi Friends!

Phew. Since starting school I feel like I have been all over the place. Working, driving back and forth from home to class each week, studying, and training for my third half marathon which is only a week away now! My cat, Pyro can sum up how I’ve been feeling lately:

Pyro

I am also loving the start of fall here in Northern Cali. The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, and I’m starting to crave everything and anything pumpkin. I’m not a super crafty person so I’m pretty proud of my latest accomplishment, a fall-themed wreath! I simply bought a plain wreath and hot glue-gunned on some pretty orange and yellow flowers and leaves:

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I thought I’d post a simple recipe this week for homemade basil pesto. I make this yummy sauce often and is definitely a family favorite. We love it on pasta, veggies, quinoa salad, and in tortellini soup. This week I made it with my sister and we used a farm-fresh spaghetti squash as our excuse to eat lots of the pesto. Enjoy! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Pesto

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Ingredients:
1 medium spaghetti squash
1  large bunch fresh basil
1/4 c good quality olive oil
1/3 c raw or toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (dairy-free/vegan), to taste
sea salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°

Split spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Be careful not to take off a finger in the process, winter squash are dangerous but delicious!

Place each half cut side down in a baking dish with about an inch of water. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the squash is baking make your pesto sauce.

Using a blender or food processor blend all of the ingredients together, adding a little water if needed to blend smooth.

When the squash is done baking let it cool for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle take a fork and scrape the squash out of each half. Voila, spaghetti de squash.

Top with pesto sauce and maybe a bit more parmesan cheese. We had our squash with a salad of spinach, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, and a homemade orange champagne vinaigrette. Yum!

Health Benefits*:

Winter Squash- Great source of carotenes, vitamins C, B1, and B6, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, and dietary fiber. The darker varieties of squash contain higher levels of carotenes, which are full of antioxidants and boost the immune system.

Basil- Aids digestion, helps with headaches, and helps with both kidney and circulation problems.

Olive Oil- Good source of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, also contains vitamin E.

Pine Nuts- Contain potassium, magnesium, monounsaturated fat, and helps to lower blood pressure and improves circulation.

Garlic- Source of phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, and vitamins C and B6. Garlic is a highly medicinal food and is very useful for detoxification and enhancing the immune system.

*Source: Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books