Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy and delicious, this butternut squash makes a delicious afternoon snack on its own  or,  combined with a salad for a Panera style lunch or dinner!

This butternut squash makes a delicious afternoon snack on its own  or,  combined with a salad for a Panera style lunch or dinner

January is a time to organize, take stock of the past year, plan new goals, and eat warm, comforting foods. I have been busy cleaning out closets (incuding my blog props cabinet), doing a nutrition checkup on myself, planning out projects to tackle through out the year, and making lots of soup. That said, today’s post is one of my favorite new, warm creations: butternut squash soup. It’s higher in fiber and lower in fat than traditional cream soups. The star in this recipe is roasted butternut squash. It gets a  boost of  flavor with sautéed onions, chopped apple, fragrant spices, and  maple syrup.  I level up the protein blending it all with silken tofu  in my  Vitamix . The result is smooth and creamy bowls of goodness! The nutrition profile is posted below (to back up the above claim on fiber and fat). Take note of the protein as well.

Those of you who follow me know I care about muscle maintenance, and my lifestyle reflects my  passion to enhance lean body mass and  prevent  sarcopenia (age related loss of muscle. )   While this may sound daunting , it’s really a simple  lifestyle based on scientific principles that correlate  with efforts to maximaze and maintain  lean  muscle mass. For example, I fuel my body with regular meals containing 20-30 grams of protein about every 4 hours.  Small frequent feeings of protein are good for muscle! They allow for maximal muscle protein synthesis.

So how does this relate to my soup?

It’s about timing.  Who says you can’t snack on soup? This soup is my afternoon pick-up on a cold winter day. The  protein and fiber in the soup help with satiety (keeping me feeling full and curbing my hunger until dinner). A big plus for weight maintenance or weight loss.

It’s about food pairing.  This soup is delicious when combined with a salad for a Panera style lunch or dinner.  Because I shoot for  three regular meals containing 20-30 grams of protein, I add some lean protein to the salad. This week I’ve added baked chicken, cheese and nuts. Other options include baked fish,  soy products, and / or whole grains.

This January, take stock of your past year.   Is living a healthy lifestyle and being active important to you?  If so, are you taking the steps necessary to improve your health and well being? What’s holding you back? Is it time for a nutrition check-up to see  how the foods you eat are really stacking up?

 

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Butternut Squash Soup

  • Author: Diane Boyd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: soup
Scale

Ingredients

• 1 large butternut sqash

• 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

• 1 cup chopped sweet onion

• 1 small Honeycrisp apple, peeled and chopped

• 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

•  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon

• 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root

• 14 ounce lower sodium vegetable broth

• 2 teaspoons maple syrup + some for garnish if desired

• 14.5 ounce package silken tofu

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Brush flesh with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon).
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and place squash flesh side down. Bake in oven for about 1 hour or until squash is soft and tender. Allow to cool and scoop fleshj out of skin. Discard skin and set roasted squash aside.
  4. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and apple;cook stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in broth, roasted squash and maple syrup.  Cook until smooth and heated through (about 5 minutes). Allow to cool (about 15 minutes).
  5.  Transfer mixture to Vitamix blender , add tofu and salt . Process until smooth .
  6. Divide evenly between 4 bowls.  Drizzle with maple syrup . Top with chopped pistachios.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 .5 cups
  • Calories: 290
  • Sugar: 13 grams
  • Sodium: 600 mg
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3.15
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 37 gram
  • Fiber: 9 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Minded Gal

holiday-gift-guide-for-the-fitness-minded-gal

Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Minded Gal
Disclosure: I received The 30 Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook and a Panache sports bra mentioned in this post. I was not financially compensated for writing this post . Opinions are my own. Some of the links may be affiliate links and I earn a small commision off the sale of these items, but the price you pay is not affected. 

The holidays are here! It’s time to knock out your shopping so you can enjoy the rest of the season at an effortless pace. It’s fun to give gifts, especially when you get it right and see the joy in your recipient.

How do you make gifts meaningful? I find  the best way, is to really know the person and pick something that suits their unique interests and personality.

Now I cannot promise I have the perfect gift for Aunt Suzi, but I can tell you I have some amazing picks for the gals on your list who are health enthusiasts  (or any gal pal who  is ready to make the commitment to the priceless endeavor of better health).

Let’s jump right in. Pick number one, The 30 Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook.  This cookbook is hot of the press, authored by Deanna Segrave Daly, RDN,   and Serena Ball, RDN. Both are colleagues of mine with over 20 years of  food, nutrition and communication experience (you might have seen their blog, teaspoon communications).

This isn’t just a cookbook with 101 Mediterranean recipes, it’s a lifestyle guide for a way of  living associated with lifelong health.  I love these inclusions:  how to stock a pantry, money savig tips (like substituting peanut butter for tahini ), and how to shop in the grocery store. While I haven’t tested every recipe just yet, the two I’ve made so far have been BIG hits at my house: Greek Antipasto Salad and  Paella Soup! You can order the book  here.

 

Pick number two, the Panache Sport Bra. I’ve been a BIG fan of this piece of sports apparel  since I  purcahsed my very first  three years ago. I was originally attracted toPanache Sport by their vibrant colors, edgy accents and prints. But it wasn’t until after wearing a Panache Sport bra through bouts of intense exercise, that I understoond why it’s  award winnning (besides style).  This bra gives my breasts support at the top , bottom and side without compressing them. During intense  exercise my focus is where it should be, on my technique and form.  I am told, this black with nude peeking through ( right image) is a new style for spring. 

But there’s more you should know! Here’s why I #lovepanache and why Panache Sport is matchless: their commitment to enableing women of all sizes to participate in any sport at all levels. That’s right, large women can find their fit with sizes B  to J! Do you know any women  avoiding exercise  because ‘the bounce’ hurts. Or any women frustrated by the lack of choice they have in sports bras  simply because of their size? A gift of Panache sport will be life changing and can be purchased here. Oh, btw, there is no shame in getting one for yourself too!

Pick Number 3, Nike Metcons. There was a time  I wore running shoes not only for running, but  for  all of my cross training activities. What made me change? Enter Nike Metcons. There are advantages to wearing this shoe  for metabolic conditioning , pylometrics,  functional fitness and  weigh training: hind foot stability for side to side movement;  flexibility in the forefoot for versatility;  minimal heel to toe pitch; flat platform and rubber heel  keeps you on the back of your foot with weight lifting  (minimizing the loads on the  patella femoral joint). This last point has been extremely helpful for me as I am challenging myself with heavier weights. If you know someone who combines strength training and/or functional fitness, this is the shoe for them!  It’s  also is a great looking shoe to wear with athleisure and casual attire because it fits snug around the ankle, more like a sock for a tapered look. You can get them here .

 

Pick number 4, Smith’s Minted Rose All Purpose Lip Balm. Do you have a friend who loves to exercise outdoors no matter how cold it gets? This all purpose lip balm is a lifesaver for those hard core sports enthusiasts. It’s not just  for your lips, it works  on chapped hands and cheeks . If you are like me and get dry skin under your nose from blowing to  frequently, you’ll love it!  Order the peoples choice lip balm here .

 

Pick Number 5 Instant Pot. It’s the appliance for the gal with a busy lifestyle. Not only does it help get meals made fast,  it combines seven appliances in one:  Pressure Cooker, Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer. Get it here.

 

 

 

 

Pick Number 6 TrailHeads running Gloves. Believe it or not, these lightweight gloves  have touchscreen fingers!  Yep, no need to take off gloves when using phone. Priceless, right?  Order here .

 

 

 

 

 

Pick number 7, the Beats over the Ear Headphones.  Do you know someone who goes to the gym to get a good lift in or an intense workout done? Of course you do, and  chances are, they’d love to lessen the distracting gym noise. These custom fitting headphones are the ticket, allowing wearers to listen to  their fav tunes without outside noise.    Help someone get a workout in with less interruption, order here.

BONUS PICK  an Umutima apron. Just before Thanksgiving I purchased one of these at Lillies and Lace, in Lumina Commons.   It’s  now my new uniform  in the kitchen. I am so happy to be able to get out of  tee shirts and sweat pants when I cook, and not soil my clothing.   The side thumbnail shows how I wore it for Thanksgiving. What a  pleasure it was to be the hostess wearing something more that ‘run ready’ clothing! This apron is reversible, so  I’ll will be wearing it on the solid purple side over a red Xirena dress for the Christmas holidays.

BTW, this is a gift that keeps on giving because purchasing Umutina products helps provide a brighter future for vulnerable women in Rwanda.  They also make everyday totebags, beach bags, travel bags  and clutches. A great way to embrace women helping women.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year,

Diane

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