Hey everyone! How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting?
Saturday morning, I went for a breakfast sandwich from Scott’s at the Public Market with loverboy. Best breakfast sandwich in Rochester, no joke (it may be white bread and bacon but when I get it once a month, it’s so worth it! I just make sure to eat before walking through the market for goodies) and, Macy Gray had butter lettuce! No, it’s not really her (I wish), but the lady at the market who sells the lettuce for Bolton Farms looks like Macy Gray… I’m thinking it’s because of her hair-do. Doesn’t matter, she’s so bubbly!
Also, I got a new Betta fish! One night several months ago, the cats decided to open the doors to this glass cabinet and they knocked out Berta and ate about 1/3 of it……
Meet, Chloe! She’s the little angel.
Meet Tobias Fünke! Toby for short, he’s the little devil.
I’m just glad I wasn’t the one who woke up to the mess and a dead fish! (Hahaha, sorry Alex!) I don’t know why I called the fish Berta, it was a male fish. I think my mom named it? I don’t really know what was going on, that fish was angry all the time for some reason, I never did anything to it. I’ll have to post a picture of my new betta, he’s beautiful! What should I name him? I’m thinking of a male name this time…
Lots of pumpkin this weekend; after all, it’s in season! I had found a healthy pumpkin cookie recipe recently because Alex says that he needs to bring in cookies for his Lens Design class on Thursday… I figured I could use this opportunity to promote bellissima! I wanted to do a test batch this weekend but I really didn’t feel like making them, so he made them and upon his request, only if I helped him. He did most of the work, I just changed the recipe. I omitted the applesauce, cut back on some of the sugar, and added a few other things, which include sugar-free chocolate chips BUT that’s next weekend. I’m going to try to make the batter sugar-free when I make them this week!
Lazy Sundays tend to equal a cooking day for me. I decided to use the sugar pumpkin I purchased from Old Henry’s a few weeks ago. I was going to save it for this pumpkin bread recipe but then I figured I should use it for something healthy. I wanted an all-in-one dinner and I wanted soup. I love soup so much, but I’ve already told you. I was craving a soup with pumpkin, roasted red peppers, red lentils and chickpeas (lentils+chickpeas=complete protein). I typed those ingredients in Google and I came up with pumpkin and pepper soup, lentil and pepper soup, chickpea and lentil soup, chickpea and pepper soup… etc. So, I pulled up these three recipes (one, two, three), mixed & matched, added & subtracted and came up with a roasted pumpkin, bell pepper, lentil and chickpea soup. That’s too long… maybe I should just call it roasted pumpkin soup.
Today was the first snowfall of the season for us and I wanted to make something warm and filling; soup is meant for cold snowy days. This soup is protein-vegetable packed with healthy carbohydrates and no added cream or butter; top the serving bowl with some Brie cheese and freshly chopped chives and you’ve got yourself a meal in a bowl! This recipe is very versatile, you can easily make it vegan! One important thing – you need an immersion blender for this recipe. I will warn you – sugar pumpkins are a pain in the butt to cut! I thought it would cut just like any other pumpkin but it was kind of hard, I definitely needed a bigger saw of a knife, or maybe an electric saw… I should have just gone outside and smashed it open on the driveway like I do with a coconut, haha!
Hehehe… I love Halloween!
- 1 sugar pumpkin, gutted & sliced into chunks
- 1 small-medium sweet onion, peeled & quartered
- 2 large baby bella (crimini) mushrooms
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 2 pinches crushed red pepper
- 1/2 C. red lentils, cooked (ratio water to lentils, 2:1)
- 1-15.5oz. can Goya chickpeas, drained & rinsed well
- ~1/2-1 quart of chicken broth, low-sodium
- ~4 Tbs. whole milk (optional)
- 1 jarred roasted red pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- pinch of light brown sugar or 1 Tbs. honey (optional)
- 1/2 small lemon, juiced (fresh lemon, never use the bottled stuff!)
- 1-2 C. fresh baby spinach
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick foil. Add the pumpkin, onion, mushrooms, garlic, a drizzle of EVOO, sprinkle of salt, black pepper, 1/2 (tsp.) of all the dried seasonings, and the crushed red pepper. Put in the oven and roast until the pumpkin comes out fork tender, ~30-40 minutes. Take out to let it cool enough to touch.
- In a saucepan on medium heat, scoop out with a spoon and add the roasted pumpkin, onion, mushrooms and garlic. Add roasted red pepper, chickpeas, rest of the dried herbs, milk, brown sugar, and broth. Stir well.
- Using your hand immersion blender, blend everything until smooth-ish. This is where your own preference comes into play, if you like it a bit chunky, leave some chickpeas and lentils out before blending ( and add after step 6), don’t blend completely smooth.
- Stir well, making sure the temperature is increasing gradually without burning the bottom.
- Add the lemon juice, stir well
- Add baby spinach, stirring a bit to cover with the soup and then using the immersion blender, blend all the spinach into the soup.
- Pour ~1 C. soup into serving bowls and top with Brie cheese and chopped chives. Ready to serve!
This soup was really good and the cheese melted so beautifully. The rind of the cheese is a bit grassy, so I might add some freshly grated Parmesan if I want something salty or use plain Greek yogurt on top next time instead of the cheese. Alex thought this soup was so delicious, he didn’t even add salt to his bowl! He loves salt. I rarely add extra salt to my soups and always try to use as little as possible when cooking, always. Maybe he’s getting used to it? Hopefully!
Do you have a favorite squash soup recipe?
What did you change to make my recipe your own?
Let me know what you think! =)