Creamed Butternut Squash Soup – Low-Calorie and Delicious

I feel like I have been absent from blogging quite a bit. I never truly forget about you (mythineaters) but I don’t seem to find the time to post new recipes. I keep my Instagram and mythineats Facebook page updated but for some reason actually taking the time that I should to post the recipe slips through the cracks.

It’s that time of year that I love! The trees start changing colors, the weather gets colder, the smells in the air are rustic and I love all things Autumn.
With that being said as soon as it got just chilly enough at night, I decided that I would attempt making something to keep us warm and cozy, but that didn’t have to take hours and that would be filling and a great way to welcome the colder weather.

So, my Husband and I stopped at our Farmer (where we buy most all of our fruits and vegetables from) to see what she had picked that day and what was new in season. I instantly saw a lovely butternut squash and knew that that was what we were having for dinner. My Husband especially loved the idea so we got the butternut squash and home we went.

Butternut squash has so many health benefits. 1 cup of butternut squash has more potassium than a banana. Is rich in vitamin A, C, E, B6, Magnesium and Folate just to name a few. So, let’s eat it up!

Now, I’ve seen plenty of recipes for this type of soup that call for heavy cream, coconut cream, milk, butter, etc.
I’m all about skipping that. I don’t think that it’s a necessary ingredient and I don’t miss it. I like to keep our meals with as little ingredients as possible. I must admit it turned out quite delicious and I’ve already made it about 3 times thus far and each time I change a few things.
The first time I added a couple potatoes. The second time I didn’t add any starch. And the third time I added a sweet potato. I have to admit the flavor was pretty much always the same so technically speaking you don’t need to add anything and it will taste delicious. You choose.

Making this off the top of my head I don’t have true measurements so I’ll try my best to give you some.
I hope you love just as much as we did!

Ingredients:

1 Butternut squash, medium sized
1-2 Shallots
Drizzle evoo
200 ml of Water**
2 Vegetable bullions, yeast free and organic**
1-2 tsp. Turmeric1 Sage branch (or 4-5 leaves), fresh
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a smaller pot put water and bullion to boil.
Now, clean you butternut squash by slicing in half remove the seeds with a spoon, and then peel. Be careful as it is tough, I generally cut mine in 3 parts and peel individually.
Once peeled, cube and set aside.

Peel and finely chop your shallot. Get a medium pot place over medium flame on the stove, add the evoo and then the shallot. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes.
Now add your butternut squash and mix thoroughly, mix in your turmeric and after about 5 minutes add the sage and your bullion water (vegetable stock). Place lid on top and allow to boil for about 20 minutes.

At this point you should be able to pierce the butternut squash with a fork. If you can then turn off the stove top if you can’t cook until you can.

Remove the sage, grab your immersion blender place all the way inside the pot and blend until pureed. (if you don’t have an immersion blender then simply grab your regular blender and carefully scoop the soup inside it and blend).

Serve with a drizzle of evoo.

Variations:
– Add potatoes or sweet potatoes to the soup, peeled and cubed, just add a little more water.
**
Instead of water and bullion you can heat vegetable stock already made.
– Top off at the end with toasted pumpkin seeds, or bacon bits, or croutons.

 

 

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Healthy Garbanzo and Spinach Soup

Garbanzo and Spinach SoupThere is one thing about Italians and there many soups that just taste so delicious and always comfort you. The ingredients are always simple but the soups have depths and are rich in flavor.
I found that most of them have one thing common and that is the rind of Parmigiano Reggiano. Italians waste nothing and this is a perfect example of that. Why throw way any part of the Parmigiano Reggiano? I mean it’s still cheese.
What we do is keep the rind of this amazing cheese and then when we make a soup we throw it in there, this will salt the food but also give your soup a richness of flavor that no other ingredient can give it.
I hope that you enjoy this dish. I’ve combined some of my favorite ingredients for one of those days that you need warmth, comfort, and deliciousness all in one, but here is the catch it’s really healthy too!

I find this recipe to be perfect for this time of year, when it’s cold and you need something heavy and filling that will keep you warm and fit as well; especially during this time of year with all the holidays happening it’s easy to forget what yummy healthiness you can be cooking. You don’t have to give up on anything delicious in order to be healthy. Trust me!

I hope you really Enjoy!

Ingredients
serves 6-8

  • 500 grams Garbanzo Beans, soaked overnight
  • 4 quarts Vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound Baby Spinach or Kale
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 1/4 pound Baby Potatoes
  • 3 Parmigiano Reggiano Rinds
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 6 Sage Leaves
  • 1 handful Parsley, chopped
  • 1 dash Tumeric
  1. In a medium pot over moderate flame add the Extra Virgin Olive oil & once hot add the shallot, carrot, celery and 2 sage leaves allow to cook until golden and then add your garbanzo beans mix thoroughly and then add stock.
  2. Make a Bouquet Garni with cooking string grab the Rosemary, Thyme and remaining Sage leaves tie them together with cooking string and drop it in the pot.
  3. Bring soup to a boil then lower flame to minimum and allow to boil for an hour. Add the potatoes and boil for another half hour; then add the parmigiano rinds and boil for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Add the Spinach and simmer for only 10 minutes. Turn off flame, remove the Bouquet Garni and allow soup to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

 

Day After Superbowl Cleansing Soup

We are all human and bound to get carried away at times. During festivities and/or especially after watching a Superbowl game with friends having one too many drinks and eating a little too much can leave your body feeling just a bit tired and heavy.
It’s nice to be able to get your body back on track especially because it’s Monday and we need a lot of energy for this week ahead. Catering to your body and giving it a nice nutritious, light, warm meal can do wonders.

Help jumpstart your body into getting rid of toxins that you’ve accumulated during this time by feeding it a light meal allows your body to focus more on your body than on the digestion of what you are eating, hence using the extra energy in keeping you awake, or completing that workout that you are so dreading because you feel exhausted. We don’t realize how much energy our body uses for digestion and when you eat heavily it really takes a toll on your already tired body.
This is a nice light recipe that will really give your body all the nutrients it is now lacking.

It’s so good for you and simple; but most of all delicious. I topped it off with some steamed mushrooms and chilies (recipe below). Feel free to top off with what you like. I hope that you enjoy!

Ingredients: For the Soup

1 lb. of Spinach*, washed

1 Scallion, finely chopped

5 cups of Vegetable broth**

Handful Parsley, chopped

2 tbsp. of Ginger, fresh & grated

A pinch of Cayenne *optional

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot add half a cup of broth, add your scallion and allow to get translucent. Add your ginger, then spinach, parsley then cayenne, salt and pepper mix and add remaining broth allow to cook for 15-20 min.
Turn heat off and with an immersion blender puree the soup. Serve warm.

*Spinach use whatever variety or array you like
**Make your own by boiling 5 cups of water and add a no MSG Veg bullion

Ingredients:  For Mushroom topping

2 cups of Porcini Mushrooms*, chopped

2 Chili Peppers *optional

Couple leaves of chopped parsley

1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan add the olive oil with the chili pepper and the parsley, allow to simmer lightly and then add your mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes add your salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes and then top your delicious soup with this. YUM!

*Whatever mushroom is completely fine.

Cleansing soup

Delicately Pureed Artichoke Soup topped off with to die for Lentils

It’s been a busy 4 days for all of us with Thanksgiving and all the additional get togethers. As much as I enjoy cooking and all the wonders that the Holidays bring, I inevitably need to be a little catered to after it’s all done. And by catered to, I mean I need to pamper myself!

For starters I always without fail need a date night alone with just my Husband; I’ll cook something that we both want, and he’ll light the candles, set the table, open a bottle of wine, set the tunes and the mood. We’ll sit and just talk about the passed events, what we want to do next and really just try to enjoy eachother as much as possible, afterall even though we were together it’s just not the same as being alone.

Then I like to get back to my routine of working out, getting the house back in order and cook a healthy delicious get back on track meal. It’s hard once you start eating sweets and this and that you crave it more, so I like cooking something that is not only healthy but looks amazing that you just want to gobble it up by looking at it. Obviously it also has to be kinda simple, after cooking such big gourmet meals for the Holidays you want something that doesn’t require so much time and effort.

I came up with this meal just because I had the ingredients and thought that I should try doing something with them that I had never done before. It’s so detoxifying, delicious and damn easy. Enjoy this feel good and amazing soup.

Ingredients:

For The Puree:

1 1/2lb. Bag of Frozen Artichokes, defrosted*

3qt. Stock Veggie of Chicken

2 drizzles of Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Lentils:

1 cup Dried lentils, your choice

1/2 small Onion

1/2 Carrot

1 celery stick

1 small Potato**

1/2 veggie bullion cube

Handful of Parsley, chopped

2-3 Sage leaves, Chopped

1 tbsp. Olive oil

2 1/2 cups of Water

 

In a medium pot add your Artichokes, Veggie stock, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set over medium flame cover and allow to boil.

In the meantime, chop up your onion, carrot and celery. Grab a small pot put over medium heat add the olive oil and once hot throw in the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Now, peel and cut your potato into small cubes, once the onions are translucent throw in your potatoes along with the bullion cube, stir until the bullion has dissolved, add your sage and then throw in the lentils along with the water followed by the parsley. Mix everything well; cover and allow to cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Lentil cooking time may vary so just keep an eye on them.

Now return to your Artichoke, should be ready and boiling. Turn heat of and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Now grab your Immersion blender and put in the pot and start blending until smooth.

Once your lentils are cooked turn off. Now start to serve first add your Artichoke puree and then in the center add your lentils. If you want you can top off with a drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil, or not it’s up to you. Now enjoy and congratulate yourself for being an amazing cook.

* Pull the Artichokes out a couple of hours before cooking time. If you have fresh, cooked ones use those instead.

** you can leave the potato out if you wish

 

Tuscany: Food, Wine and “Le Terme”…Need I say more!

Wine tasting in the Banfi Castle, a Fiorentina steak in Montalcino, a fountain/cascade bath in Saturnia and more typical things to discover about Tuscany.
Let me bring Tuscany to you and discover some of the most delicious food, recipes and of course; wine (if you’re a wino like myself you will truly appreciate), and a few other surprises I discovered and wanted to share with all mythineaters.

It all starts in Montalcino the home of “Brunello di Montalcino” a luscious, deep red wine that has to be aged at least 5 years (or 6 years if it’s a Riserva) by Italian law and only made with Sangiovese grapes from the Montalcino vineyards.  If you like it just a little younger there is “Rosso di Montalcino” also luscious and deep red but more subtle, it only has to be aged about a year, still made with Sangiovese grapes from the Montalcino vineyards. Both amazing. The process is quite long, so there are about 2 weeks a year to be exact when the grapes are picked, generally the last week in September and the 1st week in October, then they are selected carefully, placed in these huge tins for fermentation, then moved into wood barrels and for the remainder of the aging they get placed in the bottle and when ready labeled and off to be sold. There are about 300 “Cantine” that you could visit, with some of the most famous in the world known as Banfi, Biondi Santi Franco, Brunelli, Campana, Colombaiolo, Il Poggiolo, Belpoggio, Barbi and Poggio Antico just to name a few.

                                    

The wine is paired beautifully with the Bistecca Fiorentina which is a loin cut from the male cow raised only in the Tuscany-Umbria region called Chianina . The bone has a “T” shape know as a T-bone steak in the USA, the smallest you could order is about 1 lb and 9 oz. and 2.3 inches thick. They cook it rare about 3-5 minutes per side (and don’t try to ask well cooked or they will give you a dirty look).  You salt it only at the end when you serve it; we accompanied the steak with some stewed veggies. It really was delicious and melted in our mouth.

               

Another famous dish around here is the “Ribollita” which means re-boiled, because every time you re-heat it, it tastes better. It’s derived from back in the day when the farmers only cooked on Fridays, so they used to get vegetables and old bread, cook it in a huge pot and then reheat it the rest of the week. The two most important ingredients are black cabbage and beans. You top it off with some Extra virgin Olive oil and Bread.

Then you have a lot of boar, that’s the meat they use for their Ragu sauce served with Papardelle.  I had Bresaola made from the Chianina cow served with rucola; and of course I had a delicious fresh Porcini soup. Crostini with Pesto, Patè or Pecorino toscano. And something very simple yet amazing, Ricotta Balls with just a bit of olive oil and Parsley.

                       

After all this delicious food there is of course endless desserts, but myself not being a sweet tooth decided that I would opt for the more simple cookies, afterall this is what Tuscany is known for. You’ve all heard about the world-famous Cantucci aka Biscotti in the USA. Then there is one that I particularly love called Brutti ma Buoni which means ‘Ugly but Good’ (in this case Delicious). It’s simply made with ground Hazelnuts, egg whites, sugar and powdered sugar.

  

Yes, I ate and drank all of this and still managed to go to Saturnia a town about 60 km south-west of Montalcino known for their Terme, which is pretty much a natural Cascade of Sulfur water that is at a normal temp. of 99,5 degrees Farenheit. It’s extremely therapeutic and highly recommended for the skin, bones and any circulatory issues one could have not to mention the relaxing benefits you get from the water. It is the most unique waterfall cascade/spring that I have ever laid my eyes on, supposedly the sulfur causes coves and that is how all theses little pockets are created. I loved every second of it and needed some detox relax after all that drinking.

    

Ciao, Hope you enjoyed Tuscany as much as I did.
 

My Cleansing Vegetable Soup

So, as you all know I just finished a 10 day cleanse. I like to come off of it and introduce a nice vegetable soup with only seasonal, organic and fresh ingredients. I strongly believe that whenever you come off of any cleanse or detox you should slowly introduce food, now this soup is perfect for that, but it’s also perfect for when you are feeling sluggish or when you are detoxing but don’t want to do anything drastic have a day of this soup and you will feel fantastic the next day!

My husband loves to eat this soup whenever I make it. Although he’s not a big fan of the cleanse, he loves detoxing with this delicious vegetable soup. It’s packed with nutrients and it’s so beneficial to the body and digestive tract. You can really put anything that you find in season this time around I added pretty much only green vegetables because that is what I found in season. use what you find and like and make sure to add very little salt, you don’t want to retain too much water and besides too much salt isn’t good anyways. I hope that you enjoy it and that you give yourself an opportunity to occasionally eat only veggies……It’s GREAT and really beneficial!
You will notice that when you do introduce meat you feel way more sluggish and different, I am not a vegetarian by any means I love my Prosciutto Di Parma (or San Daniele), grilled chicken and fish. But I feel fantastic taking a break. And so will you!

Ingredients:

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

Handful Parsley, finely chopped

2 cubes Vegetable bullion, No MSG or Preservatives

5 Zucchini, chopped

1 bunch Asparagus, chopped

1 handful Green Beans, chopped

2 handful Baby Spinach

Salt and cayenne, to taste

 

Boil first 4 ingredients in a pot for about 30 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook to desired doness.  Add the salt and cayenne, if you want. Serve.

 

Low Fat and Low-Calorie: Zuppa alla Contadina (Farmers soup)

Vegetable soups are very popular here in Italy, it seems that anywhere you go you can order a delicious soup made with farm grown seasonal vegetables, light and just simple flavors cooked together and delicious. I love soups! But I do hate when they are more fattening than eating a piece of fried chicken.

Soups for me are something I choose to eat when I am trying to stay light, detox and stay warm, not for the opposite. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of soups out there that are just over the top and taste great, I don’t know like say chicken and dumplings, potato soup, tomato soup, etc… but one thing they all have in common is how heavy they are and how many calories are in them. I say if you really are craving it and that is all there is to eat then feel free (I’m no one to judge) but I just can’t justify eating it all the time; and for the amount of soups I eat and how I was raised in Italy with all these fresh low cal and delicious soups, the soups mentioned above just don’t even fase me, or exist in this country for that matter.

I am going to say that I have had them a couple of times while in the States and I do like them, but I definitely didn’t eat them if I was trying to be healthy or detox.
All this is to say that there are alternatives to soups not all of them are bad and heavy, they can be light, nutritious and perfect for a cold winter day. I hope that you enjoy this soup and lets all have a light and wonderful day!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup each of mixed dried Legumes, soaked over night (makes sure you have at least 5-7 different ones)*

½ cup Barley

1 Carrot

2 Celery stocks

1 Onion

1 Garlic clove

2 small Potatoes

1 sprig of fresh Thyme

1 sprig of fresh Rosemary

5 leaves of fresh Sage

2-3 Bay leaves

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil + ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop up your celery, carrot, onion, and potato into small cubes. Put a medium pot over medium flame and heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the cubed, celery, carrot, onion and potatoes as well as your garlic clove peeled but still whole. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then throw in your soaked legumes and barley, mix together and add water, you always want to make sure when cooking legumes you add double the water (so if you legumes arrive to 1/4 of the pot add 3/4 water.)

Add bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 2 – 3 hours.

In the meantime chop up finely your thyme, sage and rosemary. Put 1/2 the cup olive oil over heat in a small pot or pan and add your thyme, sage and rosemary, allow oil to get hot and then turn off heat and let sit.

Once your soup has boiled and the legumes are cooked remove the bay leaves and grab 3 ladles and blend smooth rejoin the blended soup to the pot and mix. You may begin to plate once all are served get the aroma olive oil and drizzle over the bowl of soup and enjoy!

* I used: Adzuki beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, soy beans, dried split peas, dried lentils.