Buttercup Squash Zucchini Coconut Curry Soup

Alright, another recipe here.  As a preface, I will warn you that this blog is will be adapting a bit according to my life and what I am doing at the time.  Right now I’m throwing on a few recipes, but come November, or end of October, this will probably be more of an observational travel journal as I won’t be doing any  more cooking and will be on the road!  I hope to bring some photos of food, markets and meals that I am having as well as still keep up some of my philosophical/spiritual observations/growth, but we will just have to see! In the meantime, I am trying to do as much cooking as possible given that I’m not in my very own kitchen and even though we are still getting a lot of the summer heat here, the end of August has meant the arrival of some of those fall type veggies at the Farmers Market.  Enter-the humble Buttercup Squash.  In truth, I have made this soup in various incarnations many times over the years, but this is my first time to  use a Buttercup Squash.  I was just drawn to it at the market and decided to try it.  They really are quite pretty and look like a kabocha or an acorn squash but with an added bellybutton bump on the bottom.  The taste is even sweeter and creamier than a butternut squash making it a perfect soup squash but you can really use whatever squash you want in this and I’m sure it will turn out great.  Zucchini are also in abundance at this time of year so it’s a good opportunity to get an extra veggie in your diet.  You can leave out the zucchini or do squash/carrot as well!

Recipe:

  • 1 medium-sized buttercup squash (cooked and cubed)
  • 1-1/2 c. peeled and cubed zucchini (I used yellow)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 c. H2O
  • 2 instant bouillon cubes (I’ve mentioned what kind I use in previous posts-look for an all natural yeast free bouillon with no additives or MSG)
  • 3 heaping tbsp. Santan Instant Coconut Powder
  • 1 heaping tsp. ginger powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • extra water to thin
  • olive oil

Directions:

Cook squash either on the BBQ or in the oven.  I cooked mine on the BBQ this time because it’s hot here and we were using the BBQ anyway.  Cut in half, take out the seeds and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Throw on a dash of olive oil and put it face down on a cookie sheet or pyrex oven dish with a bit of water on the bottom.  Cook at 375F for about 30-40 minutes or until squash is very tender and soft. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, add a generous glug of olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until golden.  Add cubed cooked squash and raw zucchini.  Continue to stir occasionally until zucchini is cooked through (about ten minutes).

Add water to pot and bouillon cubes.  Stir until cubes are dissolved and remove pot from heat.  After soup cools down a bit, transfer in batches to a food processor and blend till smooth.  Transfer back to pot and put on low to medium heat.  Add curry and ginger powder and finally the coconut cream powder.  If you don’t have coconut cream powder, you can easily use tinned coconut milk and then you probably won’t need as much water to thin out the soup (if yours is too thick).  I like coconut cream powder sometimes because if I don’t need a whole can of coconut milk, it is more convenient to store the powder.  That being said, if you have leftover tinned coconut milk, it freezes very well in a ziplock bag and you can add it to soups and curries as you need it.  Add any additional water you need to thin it out to the consistency you wish.  Add salt and pepper to taste and that’s it! Enjoy!!

Planet Organic’s Cosmic Cookies

DSCN4873 by jennpeters

Here is another one from Planet Organic.  I was attracted to this recipe because the cookbook said the Edmonton location sells over 1500 a week! I don’t know if mine turned out as good as theirs do in the store (I’ve never had ’em), but I do know that they were a great cookie to take camping, they were gone very quickly and my friend is now asking for the recipe to take back with her to NYC.  Plus, you feel like you are eating some healthy and therefore can justify eating maybe more than you should 🙂 Oh and I got to try spelt flour which seems to taste little different from using regular all-purpose flour but is apparently better for you or something.

Recipe:

  • 2- 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 2 c. spelt flour
  • 1 c. sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 c. flax seeds
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2-1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-3/4 c. dark chocolate chips (I used milk choc. cuz that’s what I had)
  • 1-1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. H2O
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 3/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 c. soy milk (I used almond breeze) 

Directions:

Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl all the way up to raisins.  Mix wet in another bowl.  Add wet to dry and mix until just mixed and don’t over mix! Bake at 350F for 24 minutes.  I believe the book tells you to measure out the cookies with a 1/3 c. measure.  I would suggest flattening them down a bit before you bake them so that they bake evenly.  Voila!  (I’m obviously summarizing the cookbook version a bit but cookies are pretty easy to make, no?) Anyway, I’ll definitely be making these again.  Love ’em.

New Items on Etsy

 

Hello all! Happy to say the end is in sight for this cough/sore throat thing.  I feel much better and it felt great to get back to the gym today after a one week hiatus. 

Just wanted to post a quick update to let y’all know that I have added some new vintage items to my etsy shop and will be hopefully sourcing new vintage items in Asia during my travels.  Vintage linen tablecloth? Don’t mind if I do! Good thing I don’t have a home or I’d be keeping this! I always regret passing by the many vintage kimono shops in Tokyo-there is so much I could do with that fabric now! Ahh well, anyway, enjoy!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Hanamaru

things i’m loving…

Loving the beautiful depression era photography by Dorthea Lange found here: http://flavorwire.com/198252/gallery-dorothea-langes-harrowing-depression-era-photography/11#post_body

I love this blog and I feel like I have been reading it for years.  My only regret is that I didn’t know about it until after I left Japan, meaning not only did I not get a chance to hang out with this gal (I am sure we would get along) but I didn’t have her advice when I was there to tell me I wasn’t going crazy half the time.  Her scathing wit and insights into life as a “gaijin” in the Japanese office world seriously make me laugh out loud at my computer.  Which is rare: http://greeneyedgeisha.blogspot.com/

This local gal has beautiful handmade necklaces and I’m happy to say I snagged one last night at the Fringe Festival.  Mine is pink and blue and I love it: http://www.etsy.com/shop/PrairieBlossoms?section_id=6980379

I have no idea what the eff a “seaberry” is but I’ve been eating these things like candy the past few days and they are the only thing stopping me from puking in my bed in the middle of the night. (Yes, I am that lovely).  Anyway, I picked em up cuz they are sugar free and I hate that fuzzy teeth feeling you get when you eat five hundred cough drops.  I’ve actually been falling asleep with them in my mouth these days (not good!) and I eventually wake up without the usual teeth sweaters that cough candies give me: http://www.ricola.com/en-ch/Products/Herb-drops/Sea-Berry/.  Why only 19 in a bag though? Why not 20? Anyway…

sitting with uncomfortability…

Well, I’m sick.  The first big sick I’ve had in a long time and definitely the strongest cold/illness I’ve had in the past two years.  It was kind of inevitable that I would catch it as the in-laws brought it back from Nova Scotia with them and let’s just say there was quite a bit of coughing without the covering of one’s mouth! What do you say when someone does that? Surely you can’t say anything when you are in someone else’s house!? Yet, now I wish I had. Har har.  Anyway, brutal sore throat, coughing which is keeping me up all night.  Can’t swallow, nothing working.  This is the first extended illness I’ve had in a while that has just made me want to stay in bed all day and I’m moving onto Day 5 of this now.  So since I’ve had a lot of time by myself (the husband is avoiding me like the plague seeing as he is the last man standing in the house), and because I can’t sleep due to the coughing and sore throat, I have been working at employing some mindfulness techniques to get me through the more “challenging” of evenings.  I have had some points in the night where I can’t stop coughing and can’t swallow and can’t sleep and more than any medicine, this is what has helped me the most and has even helped me to fall asleep: rather than try to evade the uncomfortability and the pain, I have been trying to sit with it, to get familiar with it and just become friends with it.  So often we are trying to escape bad feelings, pain etc.  We use many methods to distract ourselves from it or medicate ourselves so we don’t feel anything.  I have found what is working for me is to sit and really think about how it is feeling while I am trying to fall asleep.  To contemplate the nature of the pain in my throat and to practice some visualization and tonglen, breathing out the illness in the form of black smoke and breathing in refreshing health in the form of white light.  I guess this is kind of a self healing reverse tonglen.  Anyway, like I said, it seems to be the only thing that really makes me fall asleep or feel any better.  All I have is a simple cold/flu.  I know it will pass and this also makes me feel better.  I can imagine that using this technique gets a bit more difficult once you are a patient battling cancer or another terminal illness.  Yet still, people use it and it seems to have a lot of positive results.  You can read more about tonglen here: http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/tonglen1.php and a great article on sitting with uncomfortability can be found on this blog I just came across here: http://inthefootstepsofthebuddha.com/catching-a-cold-a-lesson-in-discovering-non-duality/.

In other news, I have just started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin as part of an online book club I have been loosely following over the past few months.  There are lots of tips in this book and as I get further into it and clear my current brain fog, I will write a bit more about them here.  If you are interested in the book club, you can find it on Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility Du Jour blog here: http://blog.kimberlywilson.com/2011/07/august-online-book-club-announcement.html.  There are always good recommendations for books here on a variety of topics and the comments are not always plentitful but usually insightful. 

Back to bed for me!

PS-Apparantly “uncomfortability” is not a word! Whatev’s!