Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome Fall!

Now, I am a Florida girl born and raised.  I adore sunbathing, bikinis and the sounds of the waves breaking on shore.  I also despise the cold.  I hate snow like most people hate spiders.  Can't stand it.  While flurries don't bother me, I was 'in' snow once and literally started dry heaving from feeling so claustrophobic in my own layers upon layers of clothing.  BUT...while the leaves don't change here and the seasons are far more blurred, I relish in the short time when we can start to feel the fall air, when walking outside requires a 10 minute walk before my pores start sweating something fierce and when the smell of pumpkin lattes fills the air and Halloween and fall decor start hitting the store shelves.  I love this time.  It's not too hot but it's not cold yet.  The air feels good, the kids can finally play outside without fear of heat stroke.

Fall is upon us which means so is the threat of having to buy pants one size larger come January.  Not me.  This is the one time of year I pay closER attention to what I shovel into my cake hole.  Unlike most people who indulge in super fattening foods, my diet remains the same.  Light on the meat factor (i.e. occasional seafood), no more than 1-2 eggs per week (even in baking!) and NO bovine breast milk whatsoever!

Eating healthy is not nearly as hard as it sounds when the abundance of seasonal veggies adorns the produce department at your local grocer beckoning to you through those thoughts of butter cookies and lard filled 'comfort food' dancing in your cranial sector.  During my most recent visit to Publix, I stopped in awe to gawk at the gorgeous display of fall fruit before me.  So many to choose from!  Pumpkins, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet dumpling squash!  Undecided on the dinner menu for the night, I grabbed 2 Sweet Dumpling Squash and started craving a fall curry soup.  And so it goes...

Harvest Curry Soup w/ Curried Roasted Seeds
makes enough soup for 4, but if you want squash 'bowls', you'll need one for each person.  

2 Sweet Dumpling Squash (choose 2 that will sit nicely upright stem-side down)
1 medium sweet onion, sliced or coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 can light coconut milk
2 Tbsp red curry paste
Curried Roasted Seeds for garnish (recipe below)

Curried Roasted Seeds
seeds from 2 sweet dumpling squash
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp curry powder
dash coriander

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the top 1/3 off of the squash so that the larger portion will sit as a bowl, stem side down.  Use a spoon to spoon the 'guts' and seeds out into a colander.  Place the squash in a casserole dish, cut-side down in about 1" of water.  Bake for 35min.

While this is baking you can prepare the seeds.  Wash seeds in a colander.  Transfer seeds to a bowl and fill with water.  The seeds will float and the guts will sink.  Use your hands to separate the seeds from the pulp that is still stuck.

When the seeds float and the majority of the pulp is removed, you can scoop the seeds out back into the colander for one more good rinse.  Then dump into a towel and lightly dry.  In a small bowl, place the seeds, coconut oil and seasonings.  Toss to coat.  I made mine in the toaster oven at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.  Likewise, you could wait until the squash is done and reduce heat to cook.  Set aside for garnish and snacking.

Toss the onion and garlic halves in a pan on medium-high heat coated with non-stick spray or a very small amount of oil.  Cook just a few minutes until the onions & garlic brown.  Remove from heat.

When the squash is done, scoop out the flesh into your blender or food processor.  Reserve the 'bowls'.  To the squash, add the onion & garlic, curry paste and coconut milk.  Blend until desired consistency   I wanted a smooth soup so I blended in my Vita-Mix for about 20 seconds or so.  This makes a thick soup.  If you want is runnier, add more coconut milk, water or a 'chicken' broth until desired consistency is reached.  Pour into your fancy schmancy bowls and eat up sista!


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