Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup

What I love most about fall are the clothes and delicious food. Fall is pretty much all about comfort foods, big-hearty, warm, filling meals. I love the amount of oversized, cable-knit sweaters everywhere. Boots! Oh my god, boots! Boots are everywhere too and none the with the fur. Uggs are pretty much no where in sight yet and instead us women get to appreciate each others boots. Uggs are great, but my feet over heat in them unless it’s freezing outside and close to snowing. How often during fall are you thinking “Damn girl! Where’d you get those boots?” or “I NEED those booties, and I need them now!”. Real, grown up, sexy boots. Sweaters and boots are a match made in heaven. Add some bomb pumpkin spice latte, or butternut squash soup or ravioli, hell even risotto and you’re living in my fall fantasy. And let’s be honest, yes its really cool when stores offer fall vegetables year round, but they don’t taste the same as they do in October and November…fact. Halloween and Thanksgiving are also just around the corner. It should also be noted that its little’s fourth birthday in November. Like I said, fall is the best.

My sister manages a great boutique in town called Perle. They sell a lot of Free People and other great brands such as Eternal Sunshine Creations, Sanctuary Clothing, Red Haute Clothing, Z Supply, Goddis Knits and many more. In fact, I’m practically drooling and obsessing over a sweater dress that Eternal Sunshine Creations made. Its stunning and my heart races just dreaming about it. I will own it and find multiple occasions to wear it too. I will also show it off on my Instagram every chance I get. I will admit, I am a Free People fanatic. They make these tank tops call LA Nite Tanks. It’s one of those staples that you need in any and every color, and guess what? I have six and found two more I want. They are so comfortable and only twenty dollars each, that’s a steal. And, also why I love Free People, they do all sorts of styles and have a great price arrange for all of their pieces. Try on a sweater and tell me you don’t love how it feels or looks. They mastered the oversized sweater. I have an obsession with sweaters, I know. But, how could you not? Even Target has been stepping up their sweater game. But, that’s another topic for another day because Target is just on point with everything lately.

Since fall has officially begun, I have been craving Butternut Squash soup. I always knew I wanted to create my own or throw my own spin on the classic and I finally did it. Sometimes, I use a little chicken broth or vegetable broth, other times I have used nothing but the squash and some mirepoix for a thicker soup. This time though, I went a little rogue. I love bell peppers, spicy, sweet, all of them. My taste testers for anything I cook is my family, who don’t necessarily appreciate peppers like I do. So, I went very basic and used green peppers. In my mind, the combination was beautiful. I sautéed the peppers with onions and garlic. later added coconut milk and some spices, scooped the roasted squash into the mixture and blended it all up. I topped it off with bacon and diced Serrano peppers to give me the heat that I enjoy. For my first time creating something of my own, I would say it went fairly well. I loved how it came out. If you’re interested in giving this recipe a try I have included the ingredients and instructions below. This is paleo friendly and dairy free as well.

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You will need

2 md-lrg Butternut Squash
3 Green Bell Peppers
1 Small Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
3-4 Cups Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
1 pinch Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Avocado, Bacon & 1 Serrano pepper for the topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in half and spread whichever oil you chose on the cut side of the squash. (You may sprinkle any spice or salt if you like, I used Paprika and loved the flavor it gave). Place on a baking sheet with cut side facing up. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, if it takes longer don’t stress. Depending on the cut and how big the squash is will vary the amount of time needed to roast.

Chop Bell Peppers, Onions and garlic and place in a large pot with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cook on medium to medium to low heat until the peppers are tender and the onions are translucent. Add two cups of coconut milk and simmer for 15 minutes. Some of the liquid will reduce, that’s fine.

Pull the squash from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. You may then start scooping the squash into your bell pepper and onion mixture. Once it is all added in, stir in another cup of coconut milk. Stir well and let that simmer again for 10 minutes. Add your salt and pepper as well. At this point you may start blending your mixture. I used my Ninja and just did a little at a time and would pour it back in the pot and continue the process until it was all smoothed out. You may need the remaining cup to help blend the squash and vegetables if the mixture is too thick. Because of the size of my two squash I definitely needed all four cups.

I baked about 6 pieces of bacon and chopped up one whole Serrano. For my own personal serving I used two pieces of bacon and a pinch or two of the chopped peppers. For my family, I used 2 pieces of bacon each and underneath that I placed two medium-sized slices of avocado.

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Health and Fitness

Cycling, breakfast & PSL’s

I tried something new. That shouldn’t necessarily be completely shocking though. I am pretty good about trying new things and being open minded, especially when it comes to working out. Last week, I was feeling good. My headaches weren’t that bad and I didn’t have a migraine, yet. I was cleaning my room and found a free class card for a spin studio we have in Sonoma called Sonoma Cycle Fit. It’s actually the first cycling studio in Sonoma, as far as I know. They also offer TRX classes and other strength training classes, it’s great and has been a huge hit in town. Sonoma may be a small town, but we have a ton of yoga studios, a pure barre studio, cycling studio, two CrossFit facilities and a handful of gyms. Also, one of the Zumba instructors teaches at school gymnasiums to give people an opportunity to experience her class outside of the gym. There’s really NO excuse to not work out if you live here. We are incredibly lucky and I had to state that before I go any further. So, there I was with my free class card, I looked up the schedule for the nights classes and there was going to be a 30/30 class. Spin first then TRX after. I prepared myself all day, making sure I had plenty of food and water in my system. During spin I was okay, it was my first time but easy to follow along with the workout. Of course, I kept my gears a little lower then everyone so I didn’t over-do it. When I do cardio that really gets my heart rate going I have to be careful, too much and I get light headed. Well, we finished spin and I felt good. We grab kettle balls and go into kettle ball swings and I’m still feeling okay. It was after we finished kettle ball swings that I started feeling light headed, then my vision was getting a little blurry. All I could think was “fuck, don’t faint. There’s a glass wall or a mirror, nowhere safe to land”. I was more concerned about being the bull in a china shop, then injuring myself. It was pretty embarrassing having to excuse myself to sit outside. I hate feeling like I can’t do something that I know I can do. I have the strength and mindset to do it, but my head can’t for whatever reason. I was pretty bummed the rest of the week. I went back to my gym and continued my workouts, but I was still so frustrated about not being to finish the class. Now, I am determined to get myself to finish a Spin class. Yesterday instead of running I jumped on a bike and did that for 20 minutes. I would increase the difficulty and decrease it like we did in class. I got a little lightheaded, but was fine to continue my workout and lift weights. So, hopefully soon I’ll be back in a cycling studio not almost fainting.

This past week I have also been really good at eating breakfast. Like, really good. Well, I’m actually good at eating breakfast, but I love it when someone else makes it for me. Like, one of my favorite restaurants in town. My go to place is EDK (Eldorado Kitchen). I know that menu better than myself. Mmm, now I want chipotle eggs benedict, damn. I always try to be good about starting my day off with a big meal. But, I’m really good at just having coffee or tea and feeling fine. I don’t make terrible food choices the rest of the day, but I definitely eat more when I do that. When I have breakfast first thing I feel so much fuller throughout the day and eat less. I love breakfast, it’s my favorite meal you can have, aside from sushi, tacos, pizza and burgers, ha-ha. Poached eggs have been a big thing for me this last week, no matter I chose to have I always made sure to have an egg as the main part of the meal or on the side. I discovered whole wheat pancakes, thanks to my dad. I enjoy and prefer them compared to regular pancakes. I’m one of those non-loving pancakes folk. Pancakes are too dense for my stomach, especially for my first meal. But, the whole wheat ones are light and much easier on my stomach. One day I was short on eggs and traded out the egg for applesauce and I always use almond milk in place of regular milk. They were so good! I highly suggest you go try it that way. If any of you have made anything paleo or vegan you’ll already be aware of this wonderful trick. The applesauce gives the pancake a nice sweetness and you really don’t need any kind of syrup on it. But, maple syrup was really good on one of them. Making time for my morning meal has really been one of the best things I have done for myself as of recent and I’m glad I’m doing it.

Oh – and I have found a Pumpkin Spice Latte that warms my heart…Dutch Brothers, who knew!? I tried it this weekend with some of my girls and it was delicious! October without Pumpkin Spice Lattes was leaving an empty place in my heart and soul. Seriously though, try Dutch Brothers PSL with soy or almond milk. I have had it blended, iced and hot and all were delicious.

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Get Healthy

Quick Update = Me Complaining

Going back to the gym after three weeks should not be difficult, right? But, damn, three weeks was way too long. I am literally trying any and all of my doctors recommendations to see if anything helps my headache or migraines. I backed off of coffee for a while and that did nothing, except make me realize how sweet coffee shops make their drinks. Not local coffee-houses, but their big brothers. Homemade is definitely best. I also went off of my birth control. TMI? Too Bad. PSA – I loathe my period, more than I did last year when I started taking birth control. My cramps literally need to crawl into a hole and die. Then, per my doctor, I lessened my workouts and time spent at the gym. And that is where I am now. I didn’t go for three weeks. Now, I wont just blame the headaches a large part was depression from not working. Not having a consistent routine has thrown me off, aside from when Aurora was born I have always worked. But moving on. My headaches have been off the charts and I have had 4 migraines. Its been terrible. Mix that with my cramps and I am just wanting to cry and vomit from the pain. I am so over these headaches. It sucks having to accept that I will have to deal with this for an unknown amount of time. But I am hoping they are over soon. If anything they remind me not to push myself too hard.

So, with all of that going on I decided to go back to the gym this week. I went easy, well semi-easy, on myself. I did some HIIT on the treadmill. That seriously is one of the only ways I can enjoy the treadmill. I dislike the treadmill and find it so boring. I put my playlist on shuffle and go from there. I don’t necessarily just run one song and walk the next. When I do walk, it’s always at an incline and depending on the beat or what part of the song is playing I’ll adjust the incline. Usually I begin at a 5% or 8% and work my way up to the chorus and walk anywhere from 12%-18% of an incline. I try to do the lower percentages at the beginning of my work out and increase the inclines at the end. I don’t do the same every time though, when the beat changes that’s when I change the incline. Same goes for when I’m running to a song. I go up and down through out the entire song. After twenty minutes I am drenched in sweat. That’s when I know I’ve busted my ass is when I am dripping sweat. I then did legs and all I will say about that is that I am still feeling the effects two days later. I feel like a zombie. It is always a satisfying feeling when your body is sore after a workout, you know your muscles are working.

God, how annoying do I sound when I talk about my headaches haha. I’m sorry, if it sounds like I am complaining and bitching.

And hey, it is officially October…so look out, because I will definitely be getting crafty!

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