The best Butternut Squash Soup recipe…

Squash Soup

This butternut squash soup is rich tasting and has both a smooth and chunky consistency at the same time and it’s hearty enough for supper. It’s perfect for chasing away the chills on a cool day and it’s easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour (doesn’t matter what brand)
  • 4 cups canned tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 10 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½ cubes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a large 4 quart pot on medium heat for a few seconds, and then add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Add the ham, garlic, oregano and thyme and sauté for 2 more minutes.  Sprinkle flour over onion and ham mixture and continue to cook and stir for about a minute longer.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and let simmer for fifteen minutes.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients, cover pot, and heat to boiling. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.  Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving.
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Matrimonial Squares, an old favorite …

I tweaked this old family favorite recipe by switching out the wheat flour with a blend of quinoa, rice, tapioca & sorghum flours. I was pleased with the end result! It turned out tasting very similar to the original recipe. My daughter, who came home for reading week, and my hubby liked it so much they scarfed it down in a couple of days. (Well of course I must admit I sampled it a couple of times myself.)

Date Squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine quinoa flour
  • 1 cup gluten free flour mix
  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9″x9″ cake pan and set aside.

2.  Combine the dates, raisins, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, and boiling water in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Set aside.

3.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Add the quinoa flours, the gluten free flour mix, the oats and baking soda and mix together until crumbly.

4.  Press half of the mixture into the greased cake pan.  Spread date and raisin mixture on top and press remaining crumbs on top of the date mixture.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool for 1 hour before slicing into bars.  Enjoy!

 

 

Cioppino is a hearty seafood stew…

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Cioppino is a hearty seafood stew that originated in San Francisco. It is so delicious and very simple to make!  I like to make mine with cod, mussels and shrimp but you can add any seafood you are fond of to this soup such as clams, crab, halibut or scallops and the fish can be any white fish you prefer to use.

Happy New Year already?

April 2012

It’s hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone and 2014 is about to begin. I look forward to the new year yet I can’t help thinking that the past year has gone by so quickly. I haven’t even thought of any New Year’s resolutions yet. I guess the old standby – lose 20 pounds – is always fitting.

Cheers to a happy, healthy & wonderful year for all!

A cold day outside is a good day to bake inside…

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I love hubbard squash!  So sweet & creamy.  I grew lots of these fabulous winter squash in my garden this year so we shall be feasting on them all season long. This specimen is on the small side weighing out at a mere 10 pounds.

This is my favorite way to prepare hubbards. First, cut the hubbard squash in half. That is a feat in itself. You need to use a very large, sturdy and sharp knife for this job. I use my largest henckles for this. Place the squash on a large wooden cutting board. Grasp the stem with one hand and with your knife slice through one side of the squash then turn it over and slice through the other side. Pull it apart and scoop out the seeds and the fuzzy fibers. Then cut the squash into fairly large pieces and set them onto baking sheets. Mix together some softened butter, herbs and spices and spread over the tops of the squash. I like to prepare one tray that is sweet with sugar, cinnamon and butter and the other savory with finely minced fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Hubbard Squash

These baking trays with hubbard squash are ready to go into the oven. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. They are ready to eat and enjoy!  With the leftover pieces, I remove the skin from the squash with a knife and freeze the chunks of squash in bags labelled either sweet or savory. The squash is now ready to defrost and use in soups or in baking recipes that call for canned pumpkin.

I love the colors of autumn!

Mountain Ash in fallThe mountain ash is showing off its fall colors.  It’s brilliance stands out against the drab sky shrouded by low valley cloud.  This year the birds ate most of the mountain ash’s berries during the past couple of months, which is unusual.  Normally, the berries stay on the tree until springtime when swarms of cedar wax wings fly into the tree and clean off all the berries. If you happen to be standing close to the tree when they fly in you can hear the thunderous flapping of their wings. It’s quite a show!

Amazing apple pie!

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I just made the most wonderful apple pie.  The last pie I made was really awful so this is really exciting! The last pie I made was a sour cherry pie which should have been great as the cherries were so fresh and juicy, but the dough was really difficult to work with and the crust turned out both tough and crumbly at the same time if you can imagine. This time I tried a different method and I made a thin gluten free pie crust for the base and then I used my apple crisp topping as the top crust, more like a crumble pie. This turned out to be the perfect solution. Be sure to check out the complete recipe in the desserts section.

It’s apple season!

The fall arrived so quickly!  It was 32 degrees c. and then a week later it was 12 degrees. It’s taking me a long time to adjust to this suddenly cold weather.  But the apples are loving it! They need those cold and crisp nights to give them that nice red colour.  And they’re huge this year!

Gala 2013

This is a gala apple that weighed out at 1 pound.  It’s been a great year for growing!

It’s a great year for peaches!

mega peach

The peaches have been really sweet and very large this year. This peach weighs almost a pound and a quarter.

peach crisp

My daughter used my recipe for the apple crisp to make a peach crisp.  She substituted peaches for the apples of course and then stirred in 1/4 cup of tapioca and 1/4 cup of sugar to the peaches. She baked it at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes until it was bubbly.  It was absolutely delicious!

Peach season is in full swing…

canned peaches

There’s nothing like biting into a sweet and juicy red haven peach in the summer.  And a great way to enjoy the taste of summer year round is to preserve some fresh, ripe, juicy peaches.

I can peaches every year.  Yes it takes some time to do but it is so rewarding.  I like to can my peaches in apple juice rather than a sugar syrup.  This is possible to do but for the best flavour, you must start out with nice tree ripened fruit.