September 30, 2010

curried SQUASH soup

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I love squash. I am not particularly in love with it's name though, SquwASH. Maybe it's my Midwestern accent, when I say it out loud it sounds so, so, um squwAshy and harsh. Like I am hitting a bug or something. Maybe I should become part of the "new word" movement and think of a better word for squash. Got any good ideas?

I always roast squash. Then I puree it, which is a favorite side dish at Thanksgiving time for our family or sometimes I just eat it smack dab off the pan. For lunch. It never even makes it to my family. Lots of butter, and salt and pepper. MMMmmm heavenly. This is how I roast squash.

First preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then cut it in half, scoop out the in the above photo.

Then I chop it in to big chunks.

and I cut or peel the skin off. Cut it into smaller chunks and drizzle with olive oil.

Salt and pepper.

Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Voila! Roasted squash, you can do this a few days ahead of time, store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Now if you want to make Curried Squash Soup out of those delicious roasted morsels you can proceed to the second half of this post. But if you just lost control and ate all that squash...well have two choices 1. start over with your squash roasting or 2. go take a nap and sleep it off.

Curried Squash Soup
printable recipe
1 large butternut squash roasted
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and cut in chunks, roast with squash
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
pinch allspice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter and saute onion and garlic in it. When onions are translucent then add 1 heaping teaspoon of curry powder and whisk, let bubble in pan for a few seconds. Take a deep breath...mmmm I love the smell of curry.

I discovered a great little store in Holland (Mi) this summer, The Seasoned Home. They carry all sorts of spices and spice blends and they will even grind them fresh right there while you wait. Plus they carry an assortment of other fantastic items for your kitchen and home. It's my new favorite store in Holland.

Now, my friend, you will need to get out your blender or food processor and scrape your roasted squash and apple into it. Scrape it all in there.

Add 1 cup of chicken stock and the sauteed onion curry mixture.

-Blend until smooth. Pour back in to the pan that you sauteed the onions in.

-Take a cup of the chicken stock and pour it in the blender, give blender a whirl...this will help you get all of the squash puree out to of the blender, you don't want to be washing any of that wonderful goodness down the drain.

-Pour that in pan. Now add the remaining stock. It really depend on how thick you want the soup.

-Add salt and pepper to taste.

-Let simmer for aproximately 5 minutes and serve.

Once every three months my husband has a board meeting at our home and I fix the members lunch. This is what I served to them this time, along with my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
a crusty baguette, and my Pumpkin Donut Muffins. I made both soups the night before, stored them in the refrigerator and reheated them in crock pots the next day. The Squash Soup was gone...gone, all gone. I did scrap some out of the bottom of the crock pot for a few bites....I think they liked it.

Have a great weekend!

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Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dishsponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers


My family loves Thai food. We have our favorite mom and pop place that we go to every now and then, and we pretty much get the same thing every time. They have this soup on their menu, that we always start our meal with. After eating the soup from
Bangkok Taste 100 times, and attempting it at home 25 times, I think I finally got it right. Theirs is still better, but this is a close second. It will warm you up from the inside out on a chilly Fall day.

Spicy Thai Soup
2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shallot sliced thin
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 cup mini bella mushrooms sliced thin
1 cup oyster mushrooms trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1 red pepper sliced
2 Roma tomatoes diced chunky
1/4 cup cilantro leaves rough chopped
2 limes juiced (1/2 cup lime juice)
3 cups chicken broth

This soup can be made very quickly if you first prep all your veggies and chicken. 10-15 minutes prep time and 10-15 minutes cook time. If you are quick you could have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. We like to eat our soup over white rice. So if you do too, then you might want to get your rice going, then start in on the soup and your dinner will be done all at the same time!

I apologize for the picture of sliced chicken that looks like brains....just wanted you to see how I cut it up. Thin strips, you want it to cook fast. If you prefer vegetables only well, then no problem leave the chicken out, or if my picture just totally grossed you out and now you never want to eat chicken again, I understand and I am very sorry.

1. melt butter in pan, add shallots, saute for 2 minutes
2. whisk in the red curry paste, cook for a minute longer
3. whisk in coconut milk
4. add chicken strips, bring to a low boil and cook until chicken is white and cooked through. Add 1 cup of broth at this time.

5. now add mushrooms, carrots, and pepper, bring to low boil, cover pot and let cook/steam for 2-3 minutes.

6. Remove cover and add remaining 2 cups of broth and whisk in the hot chili sauce...if you don't like spicy, then you may omit this sauce. WIMP.

Let your soup simmer for a few minutes.

7. Add tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice. Turn off heat. Cover pan.

Set your table and serve! It really is that easy. Just takes a little chopping. And if you despise julienning vegetables, you can buy carrots already julienned in a bag at the grocery story!

Guten Appetit! (I speak a little German, but not Thai, sorry)

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September 29, 2010


This is the windowsill over my kitchen sink. These are some of my home grown tomatoes. This is what I look at for a good chunk of time everyday. I thought I would share it with you.

This is me. The Lego rendition of me anyway. My second son/third child made it for me about three years ago. I think it will be in that same place in thirty years from now, if we are still here. I love it. It looks just like me....a jaundiced me, but me none the less. Dark hair, brown eyes and red lips...he nailed it!

What do you look at when you stand at your kitchen sink. What do you have that your kids have made you that you can't bear to part with? I would love to hear about it.

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Wednesdays food for thought....have you been to ArtPrize? Have you heard of ArtPrize? If you are not an artist or from Michigan, then most likely you haven't. ArtPrize is an international art competition. It is held right here in Grand Rapids, Mi!!! It is an open art competition that is giving away the world's largest prize for art. One quarter of a million dollars! Yup, you heard me, a quarter of a million bucks! Prizes totaling over $400,000. That's a nice prize.

Last year was the first year of ArtPrize. No one knew what the heck was going on in this town. It was crazy. Why would people come all over the world to Grand Rapids, Mi to display their art. Who's going to do that? Well come they did. And they were from all over the globe. It was incredible. In the depressed economy of Michigan, we needed something to prize around here let me tell ya. If you are curious and want to know more about ArtPrize you can go here, because I don't want to talk to much...I want to show you.

Monday, I was able to go with my youngest daughter on a field trip to ArtPrize. They are calling these field trips for kids, Artification. It was awesome! Many if not all of the artists were beside their piece of art, available to the kids for questions. And some gave demonstrations also.

I did not do a very good job at getting all the artists names and information. So you will just have to enjoy the pictures. This was the Ice Sculpture guy. Carving a seahorse live for my daughters class.

This man was in the Grand Rapids Public Museum. My brain cannot grasp how someone can create a drawing like this with only a pencil. Well, to be honest my brain cannot grasp alot of things...but that's a whole "nother" post.

And look at the creativity in this. Wheelbarrows that have been cut like paper with beautiful flower impressions, and then the dirt on the floor mirrors the design in the wheelbarrow. Simply beautiful.

This is a scene of Grand Rapids at night. The Grand River with the JW Marriott and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in the background with the "blue bridge" in the foreground. All made out of paintballs. PAINTBALLS! I do not know how many paintballs they used, but his was a giant wall mural. Very cool, and the kiddos could touch it too. Bonus points for that.

Giant penny, made out of pennys. A kid favorite.

Now some might question the artistic ability in this piece. But I found it hilariously ingenious!

This artist was at ArtPrize last year with the Moose, which was a favorite. This year he did a whole pride of lions. All out of railroad tie nails.

The human statue. He is from the Grand Rapids area. He has won international acclaim for his art of being a human statue. Another kid favorite.

This is one of my favorites. The picture on the left, of a womans face, is made up of bottle caps, and the bottle caps have all different pictures of her children on them. The title was something like "parts of me", I think....needed a notebook. Love this one! It was in the B.O.B. .

This was also in the B.O.B.. It was made out of hundreds of wine corks. It is titled "Grace", it's the portrait of a Rwandan woman that was separated from her family druing the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Amazing story...amazing art.

This picture only shows a portion of the mural, made completely out of crayon pieces. It smelled like a giant box of crayons in the lobby of the JW Marriott.

This little guy was in the B.O.B. so cute, carved out of wood. Reminded me of the skunk in Bambi.

This is not real. It looks creapily real. Like this monk is going to jump off the table real. Hair in the ears, not a mole is missed. Really wild.

I had four little girls with me all day. We were pooped so we sat down to enjoy this one man band. It was a much needed rest and he was very fun to watch. I only touched the tip of the iceberg as far as entries. There is so much more to see. I am going back to ArtPrize tomorrow with a girlfriend. Would you like to see more ArtPrize art? If so I would love to share..let me know.

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