Tag Archives: butternut squash

5 for Friday: 5 More Soups


It’s been a couple months, but I did try 5 more soups from The Soup Cleanse Cookbook. You can read about this cookbook here. It’s more about what you are putting into your body on a daily basis than any real type of crazy cleanse.

Here is what I learned and an account of what soups I’d make again (or not):

Recipes I’ve tried from each category:

  • Purees
    • Butternut Turmeric – This one called for roasting a whole butternut squash. To save time, I bought this big bag of frozen cubed butternut squash from Costco.
    • Turns out I didn’t quite need this much. 🙂  Just one package inside was enough:
    • This is nice warming soup to sip on a cold winter or early spring morning.
  • Beans & Lentils
    • Chickpea Stew Last post, when I didn’t remember the Lentil & Kale Stew, it was because I didn’t eat it yet! (I did this time around and it was good, though not great.) Instead, I had the Chickpea Stew Last time. I do remember that I didn’t like that we pureed some of the chickpeas and it gave it a gritty texture.
    • Here is a photo of the Lentil & Kale Stew, which could have been a bit more flavorful:
  • Sweeter Spoonfuls
    • Creamy Cocoa with Sweet Potatoes – Here is a recipe that illustrates how forgiving these recipes are. I had 4 recipes this week that called for either cubed butternut squash or sweet potato. When I was half-way through one of my soups, I realized I put in the wrong one! Oh well. So I don’t know what actually went into this one, I’m thinking butternut squash. But I loved it. This was always always a treat in the morning or after work. And the the black rice at the bottom was such a nice addition.
  • Stews
    • Winter Root Vegetable Stew – The author raves about this recipe and I have loved all the stews so far, but something about this one didn’t jive with me. It was a little… sweet? I could argue it was the sweet potato, because I really don’t like them very much because of their sweetness; but who knows if it was the butternut squash that went into this stew instead? The celeriac was much more difficult to find than I thought. I really thought I’ve bought this in the past without any trouble. It took me 4 tries and my final destination was Byerly’s.
    • BRIGHT SIDE – I didn’t use all of the collard greens that went into this dish. So instead, I used them as a bed in place of rice in this Saucy Moroccan Chicken dish. Greens FTW!
  • Restorative Broths
    • Pumpkin and Mushrooms with Star Anise Broth – If you remember, Centeno’s broths are not strained, so you get all of the nutritional goodness of the veggies used to simmer the broth. They also are filling and warming in the evening when you think you may need a snack. This soup recommended pumpkin, kabocha or butternut squash (probably because they are all hearty) and I believe this is the one (along with the Creamy Cocoa soup above) that I accidentally swapped the butternut and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes seemed to disintegrate a little bit… and while I absolutely love fresh mushrooms, they tended to get a rubbery texture on reheating. I found myself sipping this as a true broth and not chewing on or eating the vegetables.

All in all, some success… But I may hang my hat up on souping until the chill of the fall now that spring and summer is finally here!


Black Bean Pasta {A Review}


Last year, I participated in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and was really surprised that I was able to post every day in the month of November pretty easily. I’m really not sure how I did it, when over the past couple months I’ve been struggling. However, I’m going to give it a shot again because at least it’ll force me to try to get all of my memories on Australia in print!

That is why today, you are getting my Food & Fitness Link-Up post instead of on Monday!

But first, just a little recap on last week and what I finally tried: Black Bean “Pasta”.

I decided to try it in this recipe for Southwestern Black Bean Pasta with Skinny Avocado Crema.

This is what it looked like:


Then I added the avocado crema, which came out thicker than I expected and became more of a dollop than a drizzle.


I didn’t go crazy over these black bean “noodles” like the majority of people did who reviewed them on line. I did like them just fine. Still, the texture was a little weird. It made sense because that texture was more like black beans. It’s just not what you expect for pasta.

I think the black bean “spaghetti” would taste better with more of a sauce. I kept adding more of that avocado crema, despite the fact that it wasn’t exactly my favorite either. It was a little too tangy for me. That could be because of the yogurt or the lemon juice. I even added a bit more olive oil to mellow it out.

This recipe made a ton of food! I didn’t use fresh corn, but frozen and I loved getting that hint of sweetness every couple of bites. The mushrooms were a nice touch, too. To be honest, I’d probably make this dish with just regular black beans! I’d make my own Power Bowl by topping some black beans with the veggie mixture from the recipe above, then sprinkle a little cheddar and top with some sliced avocado instead of the crema.

Rob took a taste and he liked the texture of the noodles even less than I did. But we both believe that with some sort of sauce, they could be much better.

I’m still going to try it the Black Bean Spaghetti with Red Curry Sauce recipe. And I may create my own with a garlic cream sauce as well.

And now for this week:



Last week went really well with us eating on our own. I loved being able to eat chicken at home. I made chicken thighs for the first time! This Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas dish was absolutely delicious. However, between the thighs (of which I only made half of the recipe) and the Southwestern Black Bean Spaghetti with Skinny Avocado Crema, it was so much food! I didn’t even make the Crockpot Chicken with Brussels Sprouts I had planned because I had so many leftovers.

Here are my plans for this week!



  • Leftovers
  • Snacks – Honeycrisp apples, nuts or string cheese and dark chocolate



  • Monday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Tuesday Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Wednesday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Sunday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.

I’m looking for some recipe suggestions for next week! When I went to visit my friend Stacy, she had an overabundence of winter squash. I took a few off her hands. I have a small butternut squash, a buttercup squash and an acorn squash.

Here are a couple of recipes I’m considering trying:

What are your favorite winter squash recipes?