Tag Archives: ginger

Coconut Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Starting Monday, Ben & I will be joining our gym’s call to partake in the “Lean & Green Challenge.”  Before I divulge into what it entails, let me say that I can already imagine the expression on your face as you continue reading.  And I’m actually looking forward to it (in some respects).  It is a Paleo eating style, which means we will be eating as Paleolithic people.  You got that? Okay, well, it means we only eat lean meats, vegetables, limited fruit, nuts & seeds and good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils, nut butters, etc).  That means we will not be eating any grains (containing gluten and gluten-free), dairy, sugars, or legumes (yes peanuts are a part of that).

I, of course, prefaced it with what we can eat, because most people upon hearing what we can’t eat automatically ask, “Well, what CAN you eat?”  The next question, “Kamille, why are you doing this?  What does this mean with baking?” Good question!  Ben and I have been looking at our Family Mission (reading this great book) and our top priority is getting our family healthy.  Ben joined Jogo in March, me in August, my mental health turned for the worse and we want more from life. Friends & co-Jogomates have testified the goodness of doing Paleo.  How aches, pains, intestinal problems, weight around the gut, etc went away after following a Paleo food lifestyle (Robb Wolf), along with regular cardio-exercise.  So really, I would have to ask myself, “Why wouldn’t I join the “L&G Challenge?”

And about baking…well, to be quite honest, I haven’t really wanted to bake much these days.  Maybe it’s a mixture of exercise, lack of time, demands of family?  And maybe I’m just burnt out.  What I am excited about is loving my family in these next 30 days by preparing & cooking food that will be good to their body, help me menu plan (for once anyway) and most likely have a tighter rein on the food budget.  Plus, we have a 1/2 a cow in our deep freezer, so here’s to using it.  One of my recipes is this soup, which puts a twist on an Autumn classic.  The coconut is subtle enough, which is why I didn’t use a whole can (but you certainly could) and plays on the creaminess known to the butternut squash.  The ginger adds bite & spice to make it come a bit alive.  Stay tuned as our family embarks on this adventure, and hopefully share a recipe or two:)

A Year Ago:  Simple MealsJuxtaposition

Coconut Ginger Butternut Squash Soup (printable recipe)

If you want to substitute the water for warm chicken broth, go right ahead, because it would add a greater depth of flavor to it.

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 small onion, roughly cut into large dice

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

3-5 cups water

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp finely grated ginger

Garnish options: olive oil, kosher salt, red pepper chili flakes, cilantro

Directions: Preheat oven to 425.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place butternut squash & onion on parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil, mix around with hands, sprinkle a bit of salt on top.  Roast for about 30-35 minutes, check the squash (a fork should pierce right through).

Add the roasted squash & onions in batches to the blender.  Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and about 1/2 cup of water.  Put a towel on top of the lid to avoid getting burnt by the steam.  Blend until completely pureed.  You most likely will need to add more water along the way.  Continue doing this, until all the squash/onion mixture is pureed; as well as, the coconut milk is gone.

Transfer the puree to a large pot and bring up to medium heat.  Add more water, 1/2 cup portion at a time, until you get the consistency you prefer.  Add ground ginger & freshly grated ginger (using a microplane zester).  Add salt to taste.  If you need a bit of acid, then squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lime–taste and if you think it needs the other 1/2–go ahead and add it.

Ladle into bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, along with red pepper chili flakes, some cilantro and a pinch of coarse salt.

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Daydreamer

In first grade I remember having to stay in from recess to finish my spelling words.  The funny thing is I have always been really good at spelling, but what got in my way as a six year old was my ‘head in the clouds’ syndrome.  I’ve always been that kid who daydreamed and it was (and still is) very easy to play through scenerios in my head, or relive a moment, or dream of what could be.  This dreaming defines me as an idealist.

It can be a wonderful gift, but it can also be debilitating at times when a dream you have isn’t played out the way you envisioned and you feel let down.  As I look at my oldest daughter I see this gift in her as well.  She has quite the imagination, dreaming of what could be with her head in the clouds.  I wonder, how can I encourage this, fan this flame inside of her?

At small group last night we were talking about our dreams, or for some of us, lack thereof.  There were some who asked, “what if you don’t really have any dreams?” While others were asking, “What if you have too many dreams?”  It was a good conversation that didn’t fit nicely into a package with a three point synopsis, a bit of irresolution is nice (more time to dream).

One of my reoccurring dreams is to see how we can open our home to people, either through spending the night or making them a home cooked meal.  And as I expand upon this dream it hit me.  Well, an easy way to accomplish this is through my baking (I love to bake more than cook).  Two doors down are a group of young adults who at times can be a bit loud in the wee hours of the night, but they need Jesus’ love just as much as my children do, so I think some cupcakes or cookies are in order.  Plus, what young person refuses fresh baked goods?  Here’s our family’s favorite ginger cookies (and I’ve been known to bake them if asked).

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Giant Ginger Cookies (printable recipe)

I had these cookies at a B&B and was thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy them, because I remember not liking Ginger cookies.  I fell in love.  So much so that I called them up 7 months later to get the recipe if they wouldn’t mind.  I also told them I was pregnant and had been craving them for 7 months (I was willing to play any card for my advantage).  I think you’ll agree with me that they are terrific.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shortening (I know I’m not a big fan of using shortening–but these cookies are worth the sacrifice–use butter flavored)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup coarse sugar or granulated (I’ve tried both and I personally prefer the granulated, b/c there’s less crunch from the sugar. If you like that crunch that comes from raw sugar or turbinado sugar–use it instead of the granulated)

1. In a medium mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients (flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt) and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.

3. Shape dough into 2-in balls using 1/4 cup dough (you can use a small ice cream scoop designated for cookies). Roll balls in the 3/4 cup sugar. Place about 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (invest in parchment paper).

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes (if frozen 14 minutes is fine–just check for doneness) or until cookies are light brown and puffed. (Do not overbake or cookies will not be chewy.) Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes 25- 4-in cookies.