Tag Archives: soup day book

Autumn Bounty: Roasted Acorn Squash and Seeds

Hope all you folks (who celebrate it) had a nice Thanksgiving!  We visited our family in Illinois for a week.  I also visited the children at Woodland Primary School in Gages  Lake where my sister-in-law works on Monday. We had fun pretending to make soup!

From the Daily Herald -- my sister-in-law is in the back in the striped sweater!

While I was in Illinois, I received a really touching email from a woman whose adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter, Addison, enjoys my book, Soup Day.  She did a blog post about them spending the day recreating the story that is so perfect I just have to share it.  Check it out here!

Before, during, and after the Thanksgiving festivities, we all indulged in comfort foods and desserts.  My mom made our favorite enchiladas.

My nephew made amazing grilled chicken sushi.  Unfortunately I have no photos!  Major fail on my part.  He basically grilled some chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil.  Then he cut it into strips and rolled it with cucumber, green onion and wasabi on seasoned rice and seaweed.  See the maki method here.  We also made crazy kimchee and jalapeno versions with smoked salmon and avocado that were so good.

My nephew’s girlfriend made these decadent, addicting Oreo Truffles with milk and white chocolate.

Photo credit: Run For Your Life on Food.com

My cousin made her own inventive creation of Coconut Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes filled with Haupia (Hawaiian Coconut Pudding).   She’s from Hawaii and had the brilliant idea of combining Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Cupcake recipe (sans Maple Frosting) with this Haupia and Frosting recipe  (sans cupcake).  They were to die for!!

Since my brother’s house was overflowing with decadent food, I focused on making a lot of vegetables!  One of dishes I made was my favorite fall veggie that is also readily available throughout the winter months—acorn squash.  You can steam cook and even microwave them, but my favorite way to prepare them is to roast them at high heat.  It really brings out the natural sugars, and you can do double duty and roast the seeds at the same time.

To serve, I mash the cooked acorn squash halves in their skins a bit and add butter and brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.  I cut the halves into wedges and serve them in their skins.  If you don’t eat the skins, it’s easy to scoop out the sweet flesh and eat with a spoon.  It tastes like dessert.

We like to eat the savory roasted squash seeds as is or tossed on our salads for added crunch.

For about $1.49 per acorn squash, this is a fantastic deal I love to take advantage of this time of year.  🙂

Roasted Acorn Squash

non-stick spray

1 medium acorn squash

butter to taste

brown sugar or maple syrup to taste

cinnamon to taste

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

Seeds from an acorn squash

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Kosher salt to taste (or other spices — cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic salt might be good!)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.  Spray with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

2.  Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh.  Separate seeds from flesh and rinse in a colander.  Spread seeds out on a paper towel to dry a bit.

3.  Place acorn squash halves cut side down (I do this to get them caramelized on top) on parchment or foil lined baking sheet.  Roast for 30 minutes.

4.  While squash is roasting, scrape seeds off paper towel into a medium bowl.  Toss seeds with oil and seasonings.  Set aside.

5.  When squash has roasted for 30 minutes, flip halves over so cut side is up.  Set timer for 20 more minutes and continue roasting.

6.  When timer goes off, move acorn halves to one side of the the baking sheet and spread prepared seeds on other side of pan in one layer.  Set timer for 10 minutes.

7.  When timer goes off, stir seeds and continue to check every five minutes or so once or twice.  Remove seeds to a plate when they are golden.  They will crisp up more as they cool.  Test acorn squash flesh to see if they are done.  If they are soft like a cooked sweet potato, they are ready.

8.  Season acorn halves with butter, brown sugar or maple syrup, and cinnamon to taste.  Cut into wedges and serve.
9.  Serve seeds as is in a bowl or tossed on salads as a healthy, crunchy condiment.

Mmmmm!

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Filed under Children, Desserts, Dinner, Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Snowy Day Vegetable Soup

Winter.  Frigid mornings.  Snow piled up.  Dry skin.  It takes about ten minutes minimum for the three of us to get bundled up, don our jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, and finally step outside.  We are still in the thick of it too — the Weather Channel says it feels like 17 degrees outside right now.

My son was home all last week with a nasty ear infection.  To comfort him and get some nourishing goodness into his system, I made Snowy Day Vegetable Soup from my book, Soup Day.

This is the last page of the book -- the recipe.

It’s the perfect remedy for a cold, icky day, and my son loves it.  I added a bit of cooked chicken at the end from some added protein.  He’s all better this week, thankfully!

There are several bloggers out there who’ve made it with their kids.  It’s very simple and a good way to get some vegetables in your family’s diet.

Sales of  Soup Day are going pretty well.  It sold out of its first printing about a month and and a half after its release.  I am about halfway to meeting the required sales amount to get my sequel!  Please help me out and buy a copy for the budding little chef/chefs in your life!    (If you’ve already done that, tell your friends! 🙂  )

Yesterday,  I braved the cold and visited the same two Kindergarten classes at P.S. 142 I mentioned in a previous post, and read it to them.  Afterward, we did a soup bowl collage craft together.  They loved coloring, cutting and gluing their paper pieces of vegetables and dried pasta to their bowls.

Hard at work coloring vegetables...

Making soup...

One of the finished soup collages!

If you’d like to do this craft with your child, feel free to download the activity sheet off my website.  There is also a related Hidden Pictures puzzle there as well.

Enjoy! 🙂

Snowy Day Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup diced onion

½ cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

kosher salt to taste

6 cups chicken, vegetable, or beef stock

2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

½ cup carrots, sliced into rounds

2 cups zucchini, sliced into rounds

1 cup sliced mushrooms

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3 oz. dried pasta of choice

¼ cup packed chopped parsley leaves

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, add diced onions, carrots, celery and pinch of salt to pot.  Saute until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add stock.  Increase to high and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, add potatoes, carrot rounds, zucchini and mushrooms to pot.  Add pepper, thyme, and salt to taste.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until vegetables are fork tender, about 15- 20 minutes.
  3. Bring water to boil in a medium sauce pan.  Add a pinch of salt to water.  When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook to an al dente doneness according to package instructions.  Drain and add to vegetable soup just before serving.
  4. Season to taste with salt and paper and garnish soup with chopped parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

Note:  Please take care to keep children at a distance from burners on the stove.

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Filed under Art Related, chicken, Children, Soup, Vegetables