Curried Butternut Squash Soup

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I remember when I first tried butternut squash (in a high school home-ec class).  I couldn’t believe how this vegetable could taste so creamy and rich.  Since then, I’ve tried it in this soup, mashed, in casseroles and even in salads and no matter how I’ve cooked it – butternut squash always feels like a comfort food.

I love how this soup feels so much like fall – the curry spices, the indulgent taste of the squash and the creamy texture are everything that you want in a soup to warm you up when the weather starts to get cooler. The best thing?  This soup is Whole30 compliant and is easily modified into a vegan recipe by switching out two ingredients!

This recipe is a great take-along to a fall potluck or a great starter for your Thanksgiving dinner!

 

Here’s everything you’ll need:

3 lb. butternut squash, cubed

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 small onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, diced

3 pieces of compliant bacon, chopped

1 ripe pear, cubed

1 tablespoon curry seasoning

32 oz. of compliant chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup of compliant full-fat coconut milk

 

Start by roasting your squash: toss the cubed squash in the EVOO and salt and pepper (to taste).  Spread the pieces around on a lined cookie sheet in a single layer and roast it at 400 degrees for around 35 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.

While that is cooking begin by crisping your bacon pieces in a soup pot over medium heat.  Once it is cooked, remove the bacon using a slotted spoon but keep the bacon grease in the pot!  Reserve the bacon bits for a garnish. This will be your cooking fat (if you are vegan or don’t want to use the bacon, simply swap it out for 2 tablespoons of EVOO or ghee). Add the onion and garlic to the pot and saute until fragrant.

Then, add the broth to the pot and using your wooden spoon or spatula to scrape off all of the crispy bits from the bottom.  Add the cubed pear and boil until soft. When your butternut squash is fork-tender, remove it from the oven and carefully add it to your broth with the curry seasoning.  Boil all of the ingredients together for at least five minutes.

Turn down the temperature and allow the soup to cool slightly.  Then using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth and creamy.  Stir in your coconut milk and add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle a couple of scoops into your bowl or mug and garnish with the bacon bits or if you are vegan, a few pepitas (I used both because I’m crazy like that).

 

 

 

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Currently…

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I decided to start a blog series!  As part of my bullet journal, every Sunday I create my Weekly Spread and as a way of recording what’s going on in my life I always write down what I’m currently loving.  So, of course I thought that was the perfect idea to share!

 

Every Monday, I’ll post all of the things I’m currently doing and loving.  

 

Currently, I’m…

 

Reading…

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I just started reading Along the Infinite Sea (The Schuyler Sisters Novels) by Beatriz Williams. It follows the lives of two women, but in two different eras.  One, Annabelle Dommerich is married to a Nazi but has a Jewish lover during the 1930s and 40s. The other, Pepper Schuyler is unmarried and pregnant in the 1960s.  The two meet when Annabelle buys a car that Pepper has just restored and the author unravels their stories.

 

Like I said, I’m still reading it, but so far I love it! I’m a sucker for period novels and films so this book is right up my alley.  

 

Watching…

Last week I just started watching the latest season of The Goldberg’s.  My nine year old decided to watch it with me a couple of nights ago and now he’s hooked.  So together, we started watching it from the first season.

 

This show is to me what The Wonder Years was to my mother (and in the 80’s she and I watched that together, too).  It reminds me of all the things I loved and hated about my childhood – neon fashions, New Kids on the Block, big hair and trying to fit in at school. The parents make the show – the hilariously overbearing mother and loud pant-less father! It is laugh-out-loud funny.

 

Listening…

I have been enjoying listening to books in my car on my way to work.  Last year, I fell back in love with the library and one of the things I love about it is getting books on CD that I can turn on during my 20 minute drive to work.  I just finished Outlander: A Novel (Outlander, Book 1) by Diana Gabaldon which has been my favorite book on “tape” so far.  Now, I’m listening to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millenium Series Book 1) by Stieg Larsson.  The beginning was slightly confusing but now (on disk five) it has really captured my interest.  Also, mysteries and suspense books are my favorite to listen to since I have a hard time reading them.  I’m late to the game on this one since it has already been made into two different films, so I’m excited to find out what happens next.  

 

Planning…

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I started my latest round of Whole30 a week ago, so of course, last Sunday I wrote out what I thought was a pretty good meal plan in my bullet journal.  Monday came around and while I still ate Whole30 and what I ate was on the meal plan, it wasn’t my my planned meals for that day. And in true “me” form, the same happened the rest of the week.  I’m not giving up however. I tried it again yesterday and even meal prepped a little. Plus I found this article and I’m going to try a few of these tips to get better. My goal is for meal planning to help me stay on plan and on budget.

 

Eating…

Last week I ate a buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potato as one of my meals and I’m having it again tonight for dinner.  It is literally my favorite Whole30 meal and couldn’t be simpler: take some compliant cooked chicken (I roast my own, but you can get a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods to be quick) and shred it. Then toss it with some compliant buffalo sauce (TesseMae’s makes a good one, but this recipe from The Real Food Dietitians is my favorite) and stuff it in a baked sweet potato.

 

Drinking…

I finally tried Bubly sparkling water.  I love the strawberry flavor! It was so good with my GT’s cherry kombucha as a mocktail.

 

Loving…

Even after only seven days, I am loving my decision to do another round of Whole30.  I feel better already. A week ago, I was feeling bloated, foggy and just meh (what is that feeling?).

Today is day eight and my mind definitely seems clearer and I love how mapping out what I’ll be eating has gotten rid of that 5:00 pm anxious scramble of trying to figure out what’s for dinner.  I still have some time before my skin is clearer and my bloating completely subsides and let’s not forget about that Tiger Blood(!), but I can’t say enough good things about Whole30.

 

What are you currently loving?

 

A Wider Lens

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Photo by Markus Spiske freeforcommercialuse.net on Pexels.com

 

What do you do when things don’t feel right?  

 

I started this blog a while back to help me keep my Whole30, roller derby and fitness goals in check. But, I haven’t been as faithful to it as I could be and lately, I’ve been thinking about why that is:

 

I’m still keeping a Whole30 lifestyle and I post my meals over at my instagram page. However, a lot of times my meals aren’t really recipes, or my meals are from other bloggers’ recipes.  And I’m okay with that.

 

I blog in my free time.  I’m a working mother of two and finding time to create and test recipes is sometimes hard.  How should I be juggling the demands of being an [out of the home] working mother of two boys, my fitness goals, and my blog, not to mention all of my other interests?

 

Another idea that has been floating around in my head is that so many of the blogs I read are written my 20-somethings or 30-somethings.  Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places, but I don’t see a lot of lifestyle blogs by over 40, working mothers. (That’s my demographic by the way!)  Instead of trying to fit into a box that is already filled or pretend to be someone I can’t be, I need to write from where I am.

 

I’ve come to the conclusion to change the focus of this blog, or rather widen its lense.  So while I will still post recipes from time to time and I will definitely post more about Whole30, food will not be the primary topic . My interests are varied: besides food and everything Whole30, I love travelling, trying new fitness activities, fashion and experimenting with home decor.  I might just sprinkle in all of those topics.

 

The thing that I love best about my decision to try new things on here is that my blog name doesn’t have to change.  I came up with my blog title based on my love of Whole30 and my roller derby name (Time Bomb Bettie). Now, I will be sharing ALL of my interests and not just one aspect of my life, and therefore you won’t be getting just a part of my but you’ll really be getting The Whole Bettie.

Artichoke and Italian Sausage Quiche

An easy Whole30 compliant breakfast or brunch main made with a hash brown crust!

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This is the first quiche I ever made.  

I don’t know why, but for some reason a quiche always seemed too fancy to make at home.

It is something you eat at catered luncheons or at a fancy brunch restaurant on a Sunday.

But let me tell you: it’s easy.  

Seriously, besides adding a crust it is no harder than making your favorite breakfast skillet or scrambled eggs.  

This recipe is great because to make it Whole30 compliant, I’ve replaced the flour crust with one made from hash browns and omitted cheese.

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These ingredients are so flavorful, you won’t miss the cheese!  

Try this version with artichokes and italian sausage or change them out for you favorite…just make sure that if you are on a round of Whole30 that you don’t add cheese and check your ingredients!

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Ingredients:

For the Crust:

3 cups (frozen) hash browns thawed – just check your ingredients list! Most frozen hash browns have some sort of sugar added to them.

4 Tbl. Ghee melted

½ tsp. Salt

For the filling:

6 large eggs

1 14.1 can of artichoke hearts (drain well)

1 Cup of cooked compliant chicken Italian Sausage

¼ C Coconut milk (full fat)

1 tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, mixed your thawed hash browns (it is very important that the hashbrowns are thawed! If not, the ghee will solidify and won’t coat all of the potatoes) with your melted ghee and salt until it is evenly distributed.  Then dump it into a 9” pie plate and press it down to the bottom and up the sides as evenly as possible. Bake just the crust for about 30 minutes.

While your crust is baking, chop your artichoke hearts so that the pieces are small. Get rid of any leaves that seem tough.  Then whisk your eggs, coconut milk, salt and pepper in a medium bowl (around 2 minutes).

When your crust is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes so that it doesn’t cook your eggs.  Then on top of the crust, add your artichoke and cooked Italian sausage crumbles so that it is evenly distributed over the top of the crust.  Finally pour in your egg mixtures until it fills your crust.

Bake your quiche for 30 minutes (a clean knife inserted when cooked through will come out clean).  I like to let it sit for at least five minutes before serving.

I hope you like this quiche as much as I do!  Not only is it a crowd pleaser but it is a great make-ahead meal to have your breakfasts ready for the week!

Cajun Shrimp and “Grits”

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Welcome to my FIRST recipe post!!!

I love cajun food. And shrimp and grits has always been one of my favorite dishes. Shrimp is one of my favorite proteins because it is so light and fresh and when paired with some spice, garlic and butter it is delicious.

BUT…this is a Whole30 recipe so butter is out and so are cheesy grits. However, this dish is bright and full of flavor. Plus, it is easy and quick. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp (tail on for looks)
1/4 cup of melted ghee
2.5 tablespoons of coconut aminos
2.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning (it’s Whole30 compliant!)
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (Whole30 compliant or make your own)
1-2 teaspoons of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

4 cups of cauli rice
1/4 cup of unsweetened/unflavored almond milk
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

4 green onions sliced thin.

How to:

For the shrimp, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then, mix the ghee, coconut aminos, lemon juice, garlic, Old Bay, Cajun spices and Frank’s red hot in a small bowl. Toss the shrimp in the mixture and then arrange the shrimp (with all of the sauce) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

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While the shrimp is cooking, sauté the cauli rice in the olive oil and add salt and pepper. Add the almond milk and continue to cook the cauli rice for ten minutes and stir it frequently until the the liquid completely cooks down.

To serve, add a cup of cauli rice to a bowl and top it with shrimp. Make sure to save some of the juices from the pan and pour some over each serving.

Top the dish with green onion.

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I hope you enjoy!

Keeping Whole30 While Traveling

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Late December approached and two things were on my mind: January Whole30 and my upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for work.  Doing both at the same time seemed impossible. So I considered putting my fifth round of Whole30 off until after I returned from my trip. But a few things helped me make up my mind to go ahead and start the program on the first of January:

1. The Whole30 community.  If you follow other Whole30ers on Instagram, Facebook or some other social media platform like I do, you know.  I wanted to go day to day with everyone else on my follow list. This community always keeps me informed, inspires me with new ideas and encourages me to keep going.

2.  The realization that the trip would be like any other work week, just not at home. I could do this.

My trip is now over. I did it and stayed on program.  And….it was easy. Here are my tips that helped me be successful:

  • Research.  Before I even packed my bag, I went online and googled “Whole30 restaurants in Washington, D.C.”  Here is where our great community was yet another solution.  I found forums with tons of restaurant suggestions. Based on those, I went to a few of the restaurants’ websites and read over menus.  I knew what I was going to order at what restaurants before I even arrived in the city.
  • Pack emergency snacks.  Knowing that my trip was coming up, about a week before I went on a grocery trip to get some easy things that would help me stay on track.  My plan was not to just eat these things instead of actual meals, but simply not to go hungry.  I was going to be at a conference where they served lunch and I had a hunch the choices would be sandwiches (I was right) so I needed options.  I brought a couple of Larabars, Epic Bars and nuts with me.  I also planned on stopping by a store on my way into the city from the airport to pick up fruits and snackable vegetables.
  • Be that person. It’s okay. When you dine out, do not be afraid to ask questions about how your food is prepared or to ask for substitutions.  I ate breakfast every morning I was there at my hotel because of convenience. I asked what kinds of oils they used and ordered simple foods with simple ingredients like a veggie omelet and home fries. One night I ordered steak that typically came with whipped potatoes.  When I asked, I found out the potatoes had cream in them, so they were a no-no. Instead I asked for the chef to substitute a veggie, but asked that it not be cooked with butter or sugar of any kind.  My meals were delicious and I didn’t feel like I was missing out. Because I wasn’t. Whole30 is delicious.

Traveling and the Whole30 program can coexist.  It just takes a little creativity, a little flexibility and a little planning.

Do you have a plan for when you’re traveling on a round? I’d love to hear other ideas!