Roasted squash soup.

It's fall, I love this season even if this year it's much colder than fall usually is at this time. Last year we had my parents and a friend of theirs over for dinner. He was kind enough to bring a dish and that dish happened to be squash soup. He's very aware of my families many allergies and made this dish very safe for all of us. No dairy, gluten, autolyzed yeast, citrus... there's more but you get the idea.

I'd never had squash soup so was leery to try, but I've trying to be more open to new food ideas. The soup was amazing and right away I knew I wanted to try doing it myself. So when I got an acorn squash from CSA a couple of weeks ago I had the perfect excuse. I already had onions and apples coming out of my ears, so I really just need to pick up some gluten free chicken broth which I did in short order and got to work.

This was a unique experience for me. Its not very often that I don't have any kind of recipe in front of me to work from as a base for inspiration. All I used to make this soup was the memory of what Carl's soup had tasted like from so long ago and the ingredients I had on hand. Every time I added to the pot I wrote it down at the same time, changing and scribbling until I got the amounts right. It was very fun. So I consider my little kitchen experiment (that's what it was before I found it was just what I'd wanted) was a success.

When was the first/most recent experiment you tried in the kitchen. Did it turn out? Share with me, I love hearing your stories. I hope you enjoy this soup and if you don't, that's ok too. :-)

Roasted Squash and Carrot Soup.

3 1/2 to 4 cups acorn or butternut squash peeled and cubed (about one inch)
1 cup carrots (sliced 1/4 inch or so)
2 pieces of bacon chopped
1 cup onion diced
1 cup apple diced and peeled/cored (I used a gala)
1 garlic clove rough chop
1 teaspoon thyme
dash of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt

For roasting veggies:
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Toss prepared squash and carrots in olive oil and place on a roasting pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Roast at 350 for 45 minutes or until tender. Turn/stir once during roasting.

While the carrots and squash roast you can prepare your other ingredients, slicing and dicing.

On medium-high heat in a large soup pot render the bacon 15 minutes or so from the roasting timer being done. Once rendered pull out the bacon pieces and put aside, leaving the goodness behind (I did mop up a little of the grease with a paper towel and replaced it with olive oil). Add onion and saute until it starts turning translucent then add the diced apple, garlic, thyme and a dash of cinnamon.

The roasted vegetables should be ready to come out of the oven at this time. Add them to the pot with the other ingredients as well as adding the bay leaf and teaspoon of salt. I sauteed this for another 3-5 minutes.

Add three cups of chicken broth and stir, the squash will start breaking up, let simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.

Pull out your immersion blender and go to town, adding the remaining broth a cup at a time until desired soup consistency is reached, it should be very creamy when you are done blending. Season with salt and pepper to taste (if needed).

Dish into bowls, top with bacon and/or sour cream and enjoy. Freezes very well, so don't waste those leftovers.

A trip in the making.

Hello friends, I have a mission for you. Next month I'm going to be driving from southeast Washington State to northern Minnesota in order to visit my husbands family. We'll be going mostly by way of I-90 and then I-94 and will be hitting I-29 at the last. I'd love to know of any great gluten free places to eat, or things to see (gluten free or otherwise) along the way. I would like to get as much out of this trip as I can. I can't wait to hear some suggestions!!

Blondies (from The Sensitive Pantry)

From Food - Wheat Free

So, last week I acted upon a craving. I'd seen some absolutely scrumptious looking blondies on Nancy's site, The Sensitive Pantry. Nancy always puts up the most delicious looking recipes. In this case I had all the ingredients on hand except the gluten free rolled oats which I picked up on a run to the local health foods store. Highland Health Food is where I do most of my specialty gluten free shopping here locally in town. I love it there and have been going since I was 7 or so. Very fond memories eating sorbet there. I digress however.

Much to my disappointment the first batch I cooked up did not turn out the way I hoped. They were cakey and easily fell apart, not the craving killer I was after, I could tell they had good flavor though so wanted to try again. After a few back and forths with Nancy, she was very helpful, I got the kinks ironed out and ended up with a yummy blondie that had the texture I was after, I would have liked them sweeter and probably could have increased the brown sugar a bit to get that. I ended up using an egg and no baking powder (rather than the egg replacer) and they turned out just fine (my first batch I did not omit the baking powder and we think this was the problem... you see, I'm not a baker.)

I think though that my search for the perfect blondie for me may not yet be over, as I really wanted a very rich, sweet, not good for me version. I completely recommend Nancy's version as they ARE good, and probably good for you (in comparison to my craving, haha.) Please try them, I know you'll like them.

Sausage and Black Bean Soup

Walking into the pantry the other day I spotted my trusty crock pot, I love this thing. It was my mothers (don't worry, she's still around) and you can tell by the color scheme that its seen many many years. Making meals in this crock pot is always special for me, I know that my mom made many a meal for me with it and that this particular cooking vessel has sustained me much of my life. We have a bond.

So I pulled it out, its fall and this is the time of year it gets to work overtime. What would I make with it this though? With a quick peruse of the pantry I noticed I had many cans of black beans, one of my adult faves and something as a child you couldn't get me to eat. In the freezer I found we had an abundance of gluten free bratwurst and in the refrigerator I had the sad and lonely remnants of a nice bunch of celery. The boys in the house have been a little under the weather, so I decided I could make soup with what I found.

I actually really liked the flavor of the soup when all is said and done, it was hearty and with a nice piece of gluten free toast on the side I was full. My husband would have liked a smoked or spicy sausage just to add a little kick. So if you decide to try this recipe use a sausage you like the flavor of, not only will you be happier with the results, you kind of make the dish your own that way.

Sausage and Black Bean Soup

1 can black beans rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced tomato
2 cloves minced garlic
2 bratwurst broken up (or 10 oz of your favorite sausage)
1 teaspoon coriander
a pinch of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and let it cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Enjoy, I know I did.