Healthy Breakfast Smoothie

Simply delicious.  Orange, Lettuce, Blueberries, Cranberries, and a little water.
Turn the Vitamix up to high, hold on tight…
And enjoy.  Drink to your health!

Roasted Pumpkin Peanut Curry Soup

I love pumpkins, peanuts, and curry, and, I think they combine perfectly for a hearty, healthy, flavorful soup.  I enjoy making a pumpkin peanut curry soup at least once each fall.  There is something about it that brings me back to a small cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I specifically recall tasting a pumpkin-peanut curry soup for the first time.  After the first spoonful I remember thinking I had stumbled upon a flavor gold-mine.  So, if you’re skeptical, give it a try.  Let me know what you think.
But, first things first- my recipe:
Ingredients:
  • one pie pumpkin
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • peanut oil
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 3-4 TB maple syrup
  • 1-2 TB Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry (a Savory Spice Shop blend)

Start by roasting a pie pumpkin.  I like to cut them in half and drizzle them with something good, like peanut oil for this recipe.  Put the pumpkin cut-side-down in a baking dish with the peeled and quartered onions and a little water.  Roast this at 400 for 30 minutes or so until you can pierce it easily with a fork or knife.
I roasted a cup of peanuts, so it might be a good idea to spread them on a baking tray and roast them for 5-10 minutes while the oven is heating up.  As long as you’re paying attention, this way of roasting peanuts will work just fine.  However, if you’re even the least bit scatter-brained in the kitchen, you just might forget about the peanuts and they’ll burn (I’m guilty of this!).  So, you decide if you’d prefer to roast the peanuts separately at 250 until golden brown.
Then, into the Vita-Mix go the peanuts to make fresh peanut butter.  I know what some people are thinking: “But wait.  Why can’t I just use peanut butter?”  That’s fine too.  I always like to do things the long way, and ever since buying my Vita-Mix, I don’t purchase nut butters since I easily make them at home.  So, the next step is to make peanut butter.
Then, add the cooked pumpkin flesh to the vita-mix with a couple cups of water, soy sauce, maple syrup, and blend, starting on low and slowly moving up to high, until it is a smooth puree.  Add a little more water if it is too thick.

Transfer the soup to a stock pot and cook until heated through.  Add the Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry from nowhere other than Savory Spice Shop.  Mix well.

I had some cooked kale ready to go, so I gave it a coarse chop and added it to my bowl.  De-li-cious.

Grilled Tomato Puree

I bought another 20 pounds of tomatoes. Last time I made some sauce, and this time I did too. But, I also made a simple tomato puree to use in soups, like my Fall Harvest Veggie Soup.

Just slice the tomatoes in half and drizzle them with olive oil. Put them on the grill. After the tomatoes are grilled for 5 minutes or so on each side, blend them in the Vita-Mix.
It’s really basic, but adds great flavor to soup.

Grape Juice

There is nothing better, nothing with a truer taste, in my opinion, than a concord grape. The flavor is so completely “grape” that they are my preferred grape- except for those seeds. Those pesky seeds prevent me from ever buying my favorite grape. Bummer.
As a teenager, I had the patience to sit and spit every single seed into a cup. Some of my fondest memories from high school involve sitting with friends, sharing a huge bowl of concord grapes, and spitting seeds into a cup (I know… doesn’t sound very exciting. I guess I would do anything for that grape flavor).
I had some locally grown concord grapes and was starting to get bummed-out on how long it took to eat the things. The seeds just get in the way. Let’s be honest.
But… Vita-Mix to the rescue!

It was so effortless- I threw grapes into the Vita-Mix (about half-full), added about half as much water (eyeing it) as grapes, turned it up to speed 10, then high.
All you have to do next is pour it through a fine metal sieve and use a spoon to help move the mashy mixture around. In the end, I was left with a little bit of chopped seeds and skin, and a lot of perfectly grapey grape juice.
I drank so much grape juice that day…
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