The Wonderful Taste of Fall… Oh My!

I remember in my earlier years that fall was one of my most disliked season. As a child it meant the end of long summer days outside, days at the beach, endless board games and homemade dill pickles stolen from the fridge and the end of sleeping in until noon. As an adult, it meant the end of warm days, open windows, green grass, gardens and fresh produce from my own garden. It wasn’t my favorite season until a neighbor who lived across the street from our second home brought me a jar of soup. This soup was absolutely the most amazing soup I’d ever had. I asked her for the recipe and she gladly shared.

Fourteen years later, I am still making that soup, only now it’s my soup. I’ve altered it from it’s original recipe with ingredient changes as well as preparation alterations. This soup gets me giddy every time I think about fall. In fact, when someone mentions fall, it’s not the cold weather or brown trees and grass that come to my mind any longer, it’s that soup that I think of first. You know it’s good when you can taste it just thinking about it!

I suppose the protocol I’m on for my lymes disease must be working, since I can actually stay awake all day and actually get something done around the house while also making two soups. While my favorite soup is exactly that, “my favorite”, one of my families favorites’ is a Potato Leak Soup. Another favorite, and also very yummy, it’s one that I tend to forget about until my son looks at “my favorite” in the pot and salivates at the thought of the Potato Leak Soup. How can I resist making that too when I have all of the ingredients in my refrigerator just waiting for a purpose to be used. For now however, I am only going to share my favorite….. May your taste buds be stimulated….

Make a cup of tea, put on your apron, set aside an hour, grab your stock pot and enjoy the process as your work up to a moment of bliss… at least I hope!

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Butternut Squash, Apple and Nut Puree

    Approximately 1/4-1/2 C. Real butter
    1 medium yellow onion, outer brown layer only peeled away, then chopped
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

    Melt the butter in the large stock pot. Lightly saute the onion and garlic. Be careful not to brown them. Add:

    1 Medium to large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped in food processor
    4 Large or 5 Medium Honey Crisp Apples, chopped in food processor
    1 Cup of either pecans or walnuts, chopped in food processor
    3-4 Cups of apple cider, unfiltered and un-pasturized is best, alternately you could use apple juice
    1 quart of chicken broth, homemade is best and has less salt making it a healthier choice ** See below for chicken stock recipe
    3/4 tsp. Allspice
    1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ground cloves, if you don’t have ground then use a pinch of whole, just make sure you take them out before blending

    Let all ingredients cook together until the squash is tender. Do not boil. When all ingredients are tender, use a strainer and strain out chunky ingredients and blend smooth. Pour back into pot.

    Right before serving, add:

    1-2 Cups of whole milk or cream, or 1/2 C. coconut milk (remember that if you use coconut milk it will have a stronger coconut taste.)

    Let heat throughout and serve in bowls topped with shredded cheddar cheese, and a dash of cinnamon.

    Additional items that may be added and are complimentary: Shredded chicken, 2 TBS. brown sugar if not sweet enough, or diced roasted red peppers added just before serving.

    **To make your own chicken stock:

    Take an organic, free-range, whole, clean chicken and place it in a pot with peeled and sliced potatoes, carrots, parsley, onions, celery, garlic and 1 TBS. apple cider vinegar. From my experience and from other helpful experienced “mom chefs”, the apple cider vinegar will not change the taste of the stock, yet it draws out the nutritional enzymes from the bones. Cover the chicken and vegetables with purified water. Put the lid on the stock pot and place in the oven at 300 degrees for several hours so that the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the nutritional enzymes are drawn out of the bones into the stock. Strain out the vegetables and the chicken, reserving the meat for either soup or for chicken salad or even a chicken pot pie. Yum! This stock when chilled should be the consistency of a thick jelly. I like to put the stock into freezer bags or BPA free freezer containers and freeze until needed. Make sure to leave a one inch space between the stock and the lid.

    I have quite often used glass jars to avoid plastic products, however, with that may come the occasional broken jar that sticks itself to the freezer door and makes a mess. For some reason I find that some of my stock just doesn’t expand up, it expands out. Not to mention, bags leave more space in the freezer than the jars.

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