Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pumpkin Puree for Coconut-Pumpkin Soup

I may not be able to make a convincing case for this, but -- this is not exclusively a blog about winter squashes.

It maybe be about pumpkin today, but not forever. Eventually we will have to break down and start eating other kinds of foods (preferably squashes).

With the previously mentioned haul of garden goodness from my parents came along a "Winter Luxury" pumpkin, a fancy netted pie pumpkin with sweet, tender flesh and the coolest of all the pumpkin varietal names.

Liz found this recipe for coconut pumpkin soup, and I thought: yes. That is a good idea.

The recipe itself is pretty easy, so here's the scoop (LOL because of the seeds I am so clever) on making your own puree:

Start with your whole pumpkin. Give it a rinse and a dry, and cut it in half with a heavy knife.

Clean out the seeds and strings, maybe you will need a spoon, maybe you will need some scissors and a lot of patience. Anyway.

Roast this, face up, on a baking sheet at 450 degrees for like an hour. I just checked every 10-15 minutes, and when you could slide a knife in, I took it out to cool.

When it's all-the-way cool, scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. If you have a big "for realsies" food processor, one pie pumpkin is gonna be like one batch, but if you have only a MiniPrep, it will take like 2.3 batches.

That's it! It's creamy, and sweet, and delicate, and super-pumpkin-y. We took out most of this for delicious soup:

But we saved a little bit to swirl into our morning oatmeal with some cinnamon and maple syrup. This, too, was delicious.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Monday

One of the things I've learned over the past year and a half on weight watchers is that planning is key. If I don't plan ahead, I don't lose weight. I'm finding the same is true with budgeting. If we have a plan, I stay on plan and on budget. But if it's 6:30 and we haven't figured out what we're eating yet, that usually means we're having noodles, take-out, or something from the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe's. It's hard to make responsible decisions when you're hungry, so it's important to make those decisions before you get hungry.

So a new feature on this blog, to keep us both accountable, is going to be our weekly menu. So here it is!

  • Monday: Burritos Especiales - Matt's take on burritos - fat free refried beans and banana squash
  • Tuesday: Veganized Twice-baked Butternut Squash (a Pintrest recipe!)
  • Wednesday: Tofu Cutlets with Mushroom Gravy and Roasted Broccoli
  • Thursday: Tempeh Rice Bowls
  • Friday: Black Bean Burgers and Roasted Potatoes
  • Saturday: Airport food - Matt and I have a late afternoon flight, so I'll need to do some research on the Sacramento Airport options
  • Sunday: Christmas at my parents!
I'll end with a picture I found online, I think it sums up how important the mental part of weight loss is - and planning ahead is part of that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rampicante Squash Burritos

So we've been able to reap the bounty of my parents' nearby winter garden:

Behold, a king's ransom in hardy squashes!

The long skinny crazy-looking one is some techy heirloom nonsense my parents are into called a zucchetta rampicante, or perhaps a tromboncino.

It is a magical squash, that you harvest all the way from early summer to winter. It starts out as a summer squash, something like a supermarket zucchini, and just transforms into a legit winter squash with notes of butternut and delicata.

Like all squashes that enter my kitchen, it was destined to end up cubed and roasted. I cut off the necks and the bulb, peeled, seeded, diced, and then tossed it in a bowl with a splash of olive oil and some cracked pepper and coarse salt.

I like to roast vegetables at about 450 degrees, and these took about 35-45 minutes, with a couple of cursory shakes every 15 or so minutes.

To fill up my burritos, I also prepped some black beans in the pressure cooker and sliced up some green cabbage.

A little splash of tofu crema and some red pepper sauce, and these turned out perfectly.