Butternut Heaven MASH•PUREE•SOUP

Preheat oven to 425° F. Parchment line a half sheet pan.

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2-3 firm apples, cored & cut into wedges (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled & cut into wedges (about 3 cups)
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled (think gentle garlic background flavor not strong in- your-face garlic)
  • Olive oil
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Good water*
  • Cooking steps follow below the cashew cream and garnish information.

Cashew cream:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3-4 cups good water*
  • 1 t orange juice (or lemon)
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • Dash (1/16 t) nutmeg

Soak cashews in 2 c water for 2 hours. Drain. Put cashews, 1 cup water and all other ingredients in Blentec. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adding more water if you’d like a bit thinner. I like it a thick cream consistency.

Garnish: Diced apple, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chose one spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, curry powder. Rebecca Katz’s Triple Triple Brittle is particularly delicious, alone or as a garnish. https://www.rebeccakatz.com/recipe-box/triple-triple-brittle (I revised the spices: 2 t cinnamon, 1 t ginger, 1/4 t allspice, 1/8 t cloves, 1/4 t cardamom.)

A grapefruit spoon works great to remove the seeds.

Smash the Garlic to easily peel and release antioxidants.

Keeping ingredients separate (so that when they bake you can remove any item that cooks faster), toss them with olive oil, sea salt and cayenne and place in dedicated sections on the baking sheet. Roast until they just start to caramelize. Start with 20 minutes. Depending on the moisture content, this may vary by quite a bit. The apples usually cook a bit faster, so remove them to a bowl and return the pan to the oven. The pumpkin really does need to brown a bit to have the best flavor.

Now you can make, a mash, a puree, or a soup. Blendtec everything, adding 2 cups of good water. (*Blog about what make good clean water coming soon. For now, nothing out of a plastic bottle and preferably filtered.)

The amount of liquid you add will, of course, determine if you want a mash, puree, or soup. BUT it also depends on the moisture content left in your unique squash, onions, and apples. I make a thick soup that can be used as a sauce for grains, chicken, fish, etc. It’s especially good with scallops.

Portion the soup, then stir in a bit (1T) of diced apple for interest. Then swirl cashew cream on top and sprinkle with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds.
Wow — It’s like a beautiful party!

Hot. Cold. Over. Under. As a base under or a sauce over for grains, scallops, green beans, chicken, eggs…

Freezes perfectly. So does the cashew cream. Use Ball Jars (straight-sided that say freeze proof), leave 1″ of space at top of jar (head room) to allow the expansion that happens when freezing. Stock up. Thaw in the refrigerator totally or under constant supervision to be sure it stays cold, thaw under warm water. For food safety, if you are using the warm water method, thaw just until it can pop out of the jar into a saucepan to heat.

PLAY! Here’s a bit of plate art…Butternut Heaven, Cashew Cream and Spinach Basil Soup. (Recipe coming soon.)

HUGS!

Winter Proof You!

Neti, Coconut oil, Astragalus, Sea Salt and…

NETI. DAILY. I imagine the ocean through my sinuses as I let the water trickle through. Use a ceramic neti pot. Use sterile water! (Boil water for 3 minutes and let cool to room temperature.) Sea Salt, a pinch is plenty for about 1/4 cup of water.

OIL. DAILY. Your favorite healthy oil will work but coconut helps soothe, protect and smells great.(Here’s that beach connection for me again.) Or you can get unscented. Sesame (untoasted) is also a great oil. Dab your little finger into the oil and oil your nostrils. Not only does this help with dryness so common when we turn on the heat but it also deters microbes. Oil everything on your body while you’re at it for super health!

Astragalus Root – just throw a few pieces into everything you cook! It’s a great immunity booster!

EAT. Alliums! Onions, garlic, leeks, ramps, scallions, shallots. Think about making a “fire cider.” RAW apple cider vinegar (Braggs or any unpasteurized organic, unfiltered, unheated 5% acidity type), 1 part each onions, ginger, horseradish, 1/2 part garlic & a dash of cayenne, cover with vinegar in a glass jar. Cover with clean parchment paper and then a lid (not metal) and let age for about 4 weeks. I like to use on my salads. There are a lot of recipes online so find one that gets your cells smiling.

AND EAT. Eat seasonal vegetables and fruits & good fats. This depends on where you live. Here in North Carolina that means cruciferous everything, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and pumpkins, pears, apples, pecans. Good fats (think little fatty fish like sardines and anchovies) avocado and coconut oil for heat cooking and olive oil (not heated).

SLUMBER. Last but MOST – get lots of sleep. There’s a lot more darkness this time of year which is a natural hint to cozy in. The latest in sleep research – at least 7.75 hours a night and be consistent with your bedtime and awakening. You might be able to have a bit less sleep if you are consistent.

Don’t forget all that other great stuff you do — meditating, exercising, loving time with your family & friends, time outdoors.

COZY Health!

Poo Perfect

Start here at your food’s end to improve your health. Everything digested? Is your poo brown or slightly green? Maybe red if you ate a lot of beets. And the winner is Type 4. A smooth snakelike poo reflects foods you easily digest, plenty of fiber, plenty of hydration, plenty of exercise, managed stress.

Two recommendations to add to your daily – 1/2 lemon (1 T) in warm water upon waking. You can add 1 teaspoon each of raw honey and fresh ginger plus a dash of cayenne if you like.

Eat breakfast within an hour after awakening. Think greens! Cooked or slightly wilted with a bit of good fat (ghee, coconut, olive oil, avocado oil). Add an egg or an avocado half and perhaps a bit of nutritional yeast and sesame seeds.

And a bit of my body’s wisdom. Yours may be different. Give up or limit dairy, wheat (gluten) , sugar and nightshades. I have found that when I eat a lot of any of these substances my body has a few nasty reactions – the shits (dairy), nerve and muscle pain (sugar/alcohol/gluten), incontinence (nightshades, especially tomatoes). I can eat any of the above now and then. Pizza is one of my happy foods as well as marinara. And a funny little thing I noticed, if I eat European dairy or wheat — no problems. Seed, peel and cook the nightshades (like I learned in chef school). I know all of the science behind all of this – from my nightly reading and nutrition podcast addiction.

One last comment is about lectins. I think Gundry’s book, THE PLANT PARADOX, is worth reading and it might just be exactly what your body needs. The wonderful thing I got from Gundry’s work is my Insta-pot and the best tasting, most easily digestible beans I’ve ever tasted.

Love your poo. Once or twice a day. Your doctor should ask you what your poo looks like. Tell him about the Bristol Stool Chart and that you’re a perfect Type 4!

EARTH LIFE!

Not just Earth Day! I love the earth and I hate feeling guilty shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s a conundrum. Here’s a few ideas. Just a teeny bit makes a difference. 

I helped launch the recycling program in Baltimore (decades ago). It was a huge undertaking but folks wanted to do the right thing and they’d drive up on their precious Saturday morning and fill the cargo containers. I am sure folks still want to help the earth BUT I believe the manufacturers really should step up. That means packaging changes. 

So ways you might consider and a bit of inspiration…

COMPOSTNOW https://compostnow.org/compostables/  My garbage goes out once a month now.  AND it doesn’t stink. My garden loves the compost – but you can donate it to a farmer too!

I love straight side ball jars. You can freeze in them! 

And take a real fork/spoon/knife and skip the plastic ones – why not? Straws – yeah that is a real convenience when you are driving.

BUT… maybe paper (compostable) ones or better yet reusable ones.  

Whole Foods has a terra cycling collection for potato chip bags etc etc. https://www.dwellsmart.com/pages/terracycle

Take the time to drop a note to your favorite organic company that packages their product in plastic or has a label that will last a million years.

Support the local farmers. Wrap your produce in a clean dish towel. https://farmtoforknc.comhttps://triangleonthecheap.com/farmers-markets/

Shrink your meat consumption. 

And buy bulk. Take your own container. 

Letter to Trader Joes today…I love them BUT…

Be inspired right here in Raleigh!

P.S. Raleigh …Master Gardeners help relaunch the NCSU composting “farm” Raleigh is a center for folks worldwide to study composting and “worm” composting. https://composting.ces.ncsu.edu/nc-state-compost-learning-lab/

Raleigh …Joann Burkholder https://cals.ncsu.edu/plant-and-microbial-biology/people/jburk/ Animal Waste and Environmental impacts EXPERT   Wikipedia “She was responsible for identifying the cause, a dinoflagellate Pfiesteria piscicida and its toxins, of mass deaths of fish that posed a public health hazard. Her studies also helped in improving legislation to control pollution and eutrophication.”

AND… Just heard a bit about how NSCU has developed a way to use cola ash for concrete, eliminating its toxic impact.

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