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Month: October 2014

Quinoa Pumpkin Soup

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Happy Halloween everyone! Can’t wait to see all the creative costumes tonight. How many Princess Elisa’s do you think you’ll see? I’m betting on at least 20.  I, myself, will be going green and dressing up as a witch. I’ll post a picture of myself on my Instagram later tonight for all to see.

So I know it is the last day in October and I am sure that I am the very last person with a food blog to finally post a pumpkin recipe. This month has been insanely busy for my family and me. My daughter, husband, and my birthdays all fall in the month of October. I also had the honor of attending the four day Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) that was hosted in Atlanta this year. It was such an amazing experience. To be around so many people of like minds and not to mention all the free swag from over 250 vendors! I will be going through some of products that I got and will write a post sharing all of my favorites soon.

So, back to the pumpkin recipe. Fall is the time of the year where pumpkins take center stage. They are the most popular squash in my book and a stepping-stone to other varieties of squash. That includes kids. Most children will run for the hills if you try to feed them a dish that includes summer or acorn squash, but tell them there is pumpkin in it and you got their attention.  These bright orange fall staples are familiar to children. They see them craved as Jack-O-Lanterns, in pies and breads, and even eat the seed. Getting them to try pumpkin in another form shouldn’t be so hard. Just don’t tell them that the are part of the squash family just yet!

I picked up a pie pumpkin the other day and since the weather was getting cooler and the sky was a bit gloomy I decided that making a pumpkin soup would be fitting. This soup is not your typical smooth and creamy pumpkin soup. This soup is hearty, it is thick, and it has chunk! It also is very colorful, which makes it even more appealing to children. And did I mention that this soup is freezer friendly, gluten free, and packed with vitamins? Pumpkins, purple sweet potatoes, and kale are all packed with vitamin A, kale also contain vitamin K and C, and quinoa is a whole grain that is a good source of protein, fiber, and magnesium. This soup plays more on the side of savory with a little cinnamon spice. One of the reasons I love pumpkin so much is that you can go savory or sweet and still make a great dish.

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, roughly chopped

5 cups of vegetable stock

1 Small pie pumpkin, skinned, seeds and guts removed, and cut into cubes *

1 medium purple potato, skinned peeled and cut into cubes

2 handfuls of kale

1/2 cup of quinoa

1  teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salt to taste

* Notes: To make it easier to skin and cut the pumpkin you could cut it in half and roast it, cut sides down, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. You could also place halves, cut side down, in the microwave for 15-20 minutes.

Directions:

1. In a heavy bottom pot, heat oil on medium heat. Sautee onions, garlic, and carrots for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

2. Place all remaining ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Once pot has started to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until the carrots, pumpkin, and potatoes are done. You’ll be able to easily stick a fork through them.

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Cinnamon and Ginger Apple Chips

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Recently I posted about my family’s trip to Ellijay, GA for apple picking. We had a ton  of fun and came home with a bushel of apples.  Having all those apples sparked an array ideas for recipes, but as usual in my house, it was my kids’ ideas that won out. One of their ideas was for me to make chips. We are a family of snackers so making my own chips seemed like a great idea. I have made other types of chips at home, like kale chips, which is my munchkins’ favorite. You won’t believe how easy it is.

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Some think you must have a dehydrator in order for you to make homemade chips. Though it might make it easier it is not a must  have. What I do recommend is having a mandoline. A mandoline will save a lot of time and maybe a few fingers. Have you ever tried to thinly slice an apple by hand with merely a knife? It is not an easy task. I purchased my mandoline from Home Goods for about $15 and it is wonderful for slicing apples, potatoes, zucchini, and most other fruits and veggies. Make sure you purchase a mandoline that allows you adjust the thickness of your slices and includes a food holder to help you guide the food and protect your fingers. So, are you ready to make you homemade apple chips now?

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Ingredients:

2-3 apples, washed (I used Granny Smith for this recipe, but any variety will do)

1 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

Depending on the size of apples you have, you may need to use more seasoning.

Directions:

1. Heat oven at 200 degrees. You the mandoline to thinly slice apples. The thinner the slice the shorter the baking time will be and the crispier the chip. Don’t worry about coring the apples, the seeds will naturally fall out when you slice the apples.

2. Mix cinnamon and ginger together and thoroughly cover each slice with seasoning mix. I put the slices i a big bowl, sprinkled the seasoning in and rub the seasoning into the chips. This gave each chip and even coverage.

3. Place chips on a foil lined cooking sheet and bake for about 2 hours or till the chips are crispy. I check on the chips often to make sure they are not burning and I flip them about every half an hour. This process is just a tad bit easier if you have a dehydrator but it absolutely can be done in your oven.

These little crispy chips are addictive, but healthy so eat them guilt free!

 

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