Butternut Apple Soup

As someone who is beginning to embrace a vegetarian diet, I am beginning to find a special joy in cooking various vegetable dishes.  Whether it is my Caprese Pasta dish or a good Panzanella salad featuring kalamata olives, it is quite an interesting adventure cooking with certain vegetables.

Since last weekend was cold, rainy, and dreary, I had a soup craving.  I poured through various websites in search of a perfect soup that incorporated butternut squash and apples, since Trader Joe’s discontinued their butternut apple soup that I loved so much.   First, I wanted something simple, and allowed for some slight modifications (like adding my special secret weapon that I use in mostly every dessert dish). 

The recipe I stumbled across came from Food Network, and while it was quite tasty, I found the recipe to be slightly messy. It was messy due to the fact that I do not have a food processor, so I improvised and used a blender instead. Another downside is that your kitchen and surrounding rooms will smell like curry. Since curry powder is a big ingredient in this recipe, it is my suggestion to light some candles (Yankee candles are the best. A personal favorite for the kitchen is Macintosh or Home Sweet Home.)

Overall, I rate this 5.5 out of 10. Next time, I am using my secret weapon spice in place of curry. It was a tad spicy for my liking.

Butternut Apple Soup

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 c. chopped onions
2 tbsp. curry powder
2 large butternut squash (peeled, cut in half, removed the seeds, and chunked)
4 Macintosh Apples (peeled, cored, quartered, and chunked)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 c. water
2 c. apple cider

Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15-20 mins. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.

Add the peeled, cubed squash and apples, along with salt, pepper, 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30-40 mins., until the squash and apples are very soft. Puree the soup in a food processor. Pour the soup back into the pot, and add the apple cider to make the soup the right consistency. Serve hot.

Semi-Homemade Treats

This weekend was fairly busy, but I did spend a good deal of time in the kitchen.  On Friday night, I had a craving for apple pie.  Since my kitchen has been under some slight renovations, I decided not to make the homemade pie crust and opted for the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts.   Pillsbury pie crusts taste like they are the closest thing to homemade, and they are great when you are short on time.  However, this was not your typical apple pie recipe, as it incorporated caramel (think…caramel apples), and a homemade apple pie filling.  Overall, this recipe works a lot better if you melt the caramels for the pie.

Caramel Apple Pie

1 package Pillsbury Pie Crusts

6 Jonathan (or another apple suitable for baking) apples

1 package of Kraft Caramel Bits (they are ready for melting, so no need to unwrap each caramel)

3 tbsp. Cinnamon

1/2 cup of Sugar
First, peel and core the apples.  Then, slice the apples.  In a bowl, mix the apples with cinnamon and sugar.  Also, add a sprinkle of flour to help with the thickening of the apple filling.

In a pie pan, roll out one of the pie crusts.  Spread a nice layer of caramel on the pie crust.  Then add the apples to the crust and pour some more caramel on top of the apples.  Place the other pie crust on top of the apples, crimp the edges of the crust with a fork, and cut a slit on the top of the pie.  Bake according to pie crust directions (450 degrees for 40-45 minutes).
Serve warm with additional melted caramel.

Today, I was pretty busy prepping food for this coming week.  This is to help curb eating out and focusing on eating healthy.  However, I wanted to make some goodies for my colleagues tomorrow, so I fixed my infamous Candy Bar Brownies.  These brownies are so easy to make, as they involve a brownie mix and two Symphony bars (you want the ones with Almonds and Toffee).

Candy Bar Brownies

2 Symphony Bars with Almonds and Toffee

1 box of Brownies (Chewy Fudge)

Fix brownie mix according to package directions.   In a 8 x 8 pan, spread half of the brownie mixture.  Then place two unwrapped Symphony bars on top of the brownie mixture, and on top, layer the remaining brownie mixture.

Bake the brownies according to package directions.  They are so good and rich.  People won’t even know they were made with a brownie mix. 🙂

You see, I have a non-political side

For those who do not know me, I run a political website called Crystal Clear Conservative. While it seems things are politics as usual, I do have a non-political side, and this will be on display here. I am a foodie, who loves buying from small businesses, farmers markets, and spending a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. It is my goal to feature recipes, in addition to food reviews and featuring local small businesses that sell food products and kitchen supplies. I hope you enjoy the contributions.