Creamy Curried Butternut Squash Soup

When the temperature drops I start craving soup. Combine that with the abundance of squash at the grocery store and it means squash soup at our house!

I saw this on Kira's blog and immediately wanted to make it. The relatively small amount of cream makes makes the texture really creamy without adding tons of fat, and the beans add some protein.

This soup freezes well and made a great lunch for me to take to school. Of course, my fear of our old crock pot (it lacks a safety shut off feature) meant that we made it in the dutch oven on the stove top. It took a little longer to do it that way, but only because we had to roast the squash first. And bonus - I figured out how to use the immersion blender without creating a fierce suction that sent a gentle spray of soup all over the kitchen.

Creamy Curried Butternut Squash Soup
from Cook Pray Love


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into cubes
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 4 cups navy beans (or 3 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream*

Combine everything but cream in a large crockpot. Set to low and simmer for 6 hours. Then stir in cream and blend with an immersion blender in the crockpot until smooth.

You can also spoon it into a regular blender to blend it, but be careful that it doesn’t explode all over your kitchen.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and yogurt to top, if desired.

*Do they make a decent non-dairy cream? If so, these easily could be made vegan.

Springbank Park in the Fall

I don't think I've ever posted pictures on the blog about Springbank Park, but it's where John and I go to run most of the time.

In addition to the paved parkway that snakes all over town, they also have some wooded gravel and dirt trails that run along side it.

I went with John while he did a short run and took some pictures. My hope was to get good end-of-day light on the gorgeous fall colors there.

The sun went down a little sooner than I expected, so I didn't get as many leafy pictures as I hoped.

But I am pleased with some of the pictures I got of the sky as the sun was going down.

John and I are running a 5K and 10K respectively there this weekend, and I hope to have some more festive, Halloween photos after the race.

Crash Hot Potatoes

After one failed attempt at this recipe a few months ago, John and I decided to try it again, and I'm SO glad we did.

First, you boil potatoes until they're fork tender, then put them on a foil-lined sheet.

Then you mash 'em, but only until they're almost mashed completely.

Then you sprinkle them with salt and a little chopped rosemary, and bake them until they're brown on the edges. These were so good. They were crispy on the outside and still soft on the inside. John and I both love rosemary, so these really hit the spot, but you could use whatever herb strikes your fancy (dill would probably be very good, too). They're sort of like a cross between a cookie and a potato. I seriously can't wait to make them again.

Crash Hot Potatoes

from Pioneer Woman

  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes) (we only made 6, but it would be easy to make as many or as few as you need)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Waldorf Salad

Like I've mentioned before, John recently went through a big Good Eats phase where he watched a couple episodes a day. I'm not as completely in love with the show as he is, but I do enjoy how it inspires him to come up with dinner ideas. Last week, before we went to Fort Wayne, we had a couple of days to plan dinner for and we didn't want to have a lot of leftovers spoiling in the fridge while we were gone. John suggested this waldorf salad, and it seemed like the right amount of food to fill that gap.

We ate ours with a big pile of spinach underneath. How could apples and mayonnaise be a bad thing??? Actually that combination didn't really grab me at first, but then I realized that Alton Brown's suggestions for additional ingredients are the same ones I would put in chicken salad: grapes/raisins, apples, walnuts, etc. The curry powder is really the ingredient that takes this from good to great.

Alton Brown's Waldorf Salad


  • 2 Ginger Gold apples (Fuji will substitute)
  • 1 Red Delicious Apple
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup prepared mayonnaise
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, crushed
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 red onion, julienned
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, heart only (we each had a big serving of spinach instead)


Cut apples in half and remove the core with a melon baller or spoon. Chop apples into medium-sized pieces, leaving skin on.

In a bowl, toss apples with the cider vinegar. Fold in mayonnaise thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in walnuts, raisins, curry powder, celery, mint and red onion. Adjust seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to incorporate. To serve, arrange 2 leaves of romaine lettuce (or a small pile of spinach) per plate and spoon salad on top.


Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck, 2010

The week before Thanksgiving, our friend Anthony invited people in our department over for a pre-Thanksgiving holiday potluck. John and I naturally decided to bring two foods that we love, but that we wouldn't want just hanging around the house for us to finish off ourselves.

John made Alton Brown's recipe for green bean casserole. You can see (above) him putting the dredged onions in the oven for browning. No funyuns here! Also, side note, it turns out you can't get funyuns in Canada. Some of our classmates knew what we meant by funyuns, but others had never seen them. Weird.

This recipe was labor intensive, and I'd like to publicly give John credit for doing the whole thing himself. I know I write the blog posts pretty much all the time, but he cooks a fair amount of what we make. We normally work as a team, but he wanted to make this all himself to show people that he knows how to cook - it's not just me giving him directions.

This casserole tasted amazing. It's like I'd never had green bean casserole. It's made from fresh ingredients, so you don't ingest all the chemicals in funyuns or in canned cream of mushroom soup that would be in the traditional version (not that there's anything wrong with that version!). But that means there's heavy cream and a lot of it in this recipe. I'm glad we could take it somewhere that everyone could have some without us having tons leftover.

The same pretty much goes for the bread pudding that I brought. This is from a recipe that John's mom, Julie, sent me last year. She made it once when I first spent Christmas at their house and I was blown away! Anything almond flavored like this really knocks my socks off. The good thing is, it's not really that hard to make and it's a real crowd pleaser. It was completely eaten by the time we left the party (and I consumed a not-so-small portion of it myself, of course).

One of the best parts of the recipe is the sauce, which is basically made of a stick of butter, lots of sugar, and amaretto. We had a bunch of it leftover, so I froze it and hope to bring it back out as the topping for something else someday.

Mmm butter, 1/2 and 1/2, and sugar, boiling together at last.

Julie's Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce

3 large eggs
4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup melted butter
1 loaf French bread (ideally, stale)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Tear bread into small pieces. Butter a 9x13 pan.
Mix all ingredients and pour over bread, pushing bread into the liquid gently so bread can absorb it.

Bake until golden brown, approx. 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Check and add more time, depending on your oven.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup amaretto

Cook first three ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Add amaretto, stir to combine.

Serve in small dishes over warm bread pudding.


Happy Thanksgiving, Canada! (2010)

This year for "Thanksgiving" John and I headed to Fort Wayne. My mom recently had a knee replacement surgery and we went home to hang out with her and take care of the dogs while my dad went away for part of the weekend.

Note how the US is bathed in light, while Canada is shrouded in darkness.

Somehow I managed to not take a picture of any of the fall colors we saw on the way down, or of any of the food we made, or of the dogs (most shocking of all!), but we really had a nice time! Here are some highlights.

Compression socks and I get along. I bought some CEP compression sleeves for my calves. I'll have to write a separate post on those later, but they seem to really help! They basically help push blood out of my calves and improve my circulation after a run. Since I just wanted to wear them after a run, the good people at Three Rivers Running Company recommended a sleeve instead of a full sock. This way I can also wear them inconspicuously under pants (although I really want a green pair of the full socks, now that I know I like them).

I made a couple of freezable meals for my parents to eat after we left, both great fall recipes:

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

Julie Schap's Famous Taco Soup
(with a few small changes, since my folks don't eat much spicy food).

A couple of books I ordered from Amazon were waiting for me in Fort Wayne:
Wheelock's Latin, and Music in Renaissance Magic, by Gary Tomlinson. Just to nerd out for a minute and explain them, my research has taken a turn for the Renaissance this semester, and it's become clear that I need to be more familiar with Latin (hence the textbook). The other is something I'm reading for the same project and it's amazing. Gary Tomlinson, you have no idea what a great framework you're giving me for my project. If you're interested in the ways we construct a linear view of the past that privileges white, scientific objectivism, this is the book for you!

But seriously, it's changing my life and it's pretty readable.

Still to come: recipes John and I tried out for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck. Mine involved bread pudding and a sauce made mostly of butter. For now, it's back to the grind.