Tag Archives: butternut squash

Breakfast Soup

It is perfectly fine to have soup for breakfast.  I am the (self-appointed) soup queen and I know these things.  Here is a picture of my butternut squash soup all ready to be pressure cooked.

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Here’s the list of ingredients:

One small chopped yellow onion, minced garlic, fresh minced ginger sautéed in olive oil;  one butternut squash, 2 carrots, 2 apples, 2 little old shrivelled up turnips you need to get rid of (optional), cinnamon, vegetable seasoning, about 4 cups vegetable broth, salt and pepper.

The reason I have listed these first is because usually you can tell from the ingredients whether you have a chance in hell of liking the results, and there is nothing more annoying than scrolling down a page chock full of photos of every conceivable step in the process until finally there’s a bar at the bottom that says click here to go directly to recipe.  Wow.  Too late, I hate you.

I know what a potato looks like before and after it’s peeled and chopped.  There is really no reason for you to chronicle its demise, thanks anyway.  The way to stay sane while researching a recipe is to click the link, copy the URL and then open up your Paprika ap.  There you download, save and create.  Poof, done.  Minimum amounts of grief and cursing.

My Instant Pot category on Paprika is growing daily with recipes I want to try.  There’s a lot of prep work involved and usually a big mess of peelings and seeds and cups and bowls before getting to the Instant part.  Some degree of kitchen chaos is normal for me no matter what I’m making, but with the Instant Pot,  how fast things cook and how tasty everything turns out is SO worth it.  Normally I would never attempt to prepare soup for breakfast but the instant pot makes it possible.  Also a touch of eccentricity helps.  Why does breakfast have to be all eggy and boring, hey?  Ever asked yourself that?  Me neither until just now.

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Voilà, the end result after 9 minutes on manual, normal pressure release for 25 minutes because I was doing something else and forgot about it (10 or 15 minutes is probably fine), quick pressure release and then everything smushed up with an immersion  blender.  I did some swirly things on the top so you can see how lovely and thick it is, and added some freshly ground pepper.  Because people are always adding stuff to the top of soup and that’s all I’ve got.  I suppose I could dig out some parsley, but come on, parsley for breakfast?  I don’t think so.  It’s important to draw the line somewhere.

I’m not a big fan of squash but this is delicious.

A Spot of Busy

I was so excited to buy this coconut almond butter! It's yummy! Jury still out on the butternut squash until we see what I might do to the poor thing.
I was so excited to buy this coconut almond butter! It’s yummy! Jury still out on the butternut squash until we see what I might do to the poor thing.

My November Day Twenty Seven

Before this month gets away on me completely I will squish in a few more posts.  Well, this one, anyway, let’s not get overly optimistic just yet.  Believe what you may, but I’m here to tell you I have been BUSY!

Yes, I am shouting.  I so rarely get to say that word.

W is three weeks and three days post hip replacement surgery and although he still likes to be waited on, he really has become quite independent again.  He is able to sit for short periods in normal chairs, goes up and down the basement stairs with his crutches, gets himself in and out of the shower without help.  Yesterday I drove him in his truck to the bank and the gas station and at both places he was all self-serve.  I changed vehicles to do the grocery shopping and was SO ready to give him complete hell for using the snowblower while I was gone, but it turns out a friend came over to blow the big snow bank I shovelled along the edge of the driveway into the back yard.  Yes we have snow, and yep, I shovelled the whole damned driveway.  Hard on the shoulders but good for the glucose readings.  I could learn to use the snowblower but I’m sure I’d never do it right according to the snow blower king I’m living with, so for now we will just let ignorance be bliss.

Speaking of those pesky worrisome little blood sugar reading numbers, did you know stress can make them higher?  I finally went to have my pelvic ultrasound done on Wednesday so the lab could see what this “mass” above the uterus might be.  The first ultrasound had to be done with me having a full bladder.  You don’t know the true meaning of discomfort until someone presses hard on your full bladder.  Or the true meaning of weird until you’ve had an internal ultrasound.  I don’t even want to talk about that part.  I started to tell W about it and he looked a little ill.

These lab tests were done at 3:00 in the afternoon.  The doctor’s office called me at 9:00 the next morning to come in and discuss the results. I love my doctor, but she also scares the hell out of me, sending me for tests and finding things out and wanting to discuss it all with me immediately.  She and the radiologist believe what I have is a fibroid of some sort, but now I need to have MRI testing to see it properly.  I believe fibroid issues are about the least alarming thing one can have going on down there.

I used to wonder why old people talked so much about medical conditions and tests and operations and health concerns, but it is a mystery no more.

One of my favourite former coworkers dropped by for coffee this week!  It was lovely of her to take the time on her day off to come and see me. Somehow we let six months slip away from us without even saying hello.  Lots of catching up to do in one short morning.  If there’s one thing I miss about work, it’s the great friendships that are forged.

That same day I was visited by a nice lady named Ping from the faculty of nursing because I agreed to participate in a U of A study called “A Client-Driven Intervention to Support Self-Management Among Community-Living Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes and Multiple Chronic Conditions”.  I don’t know yet if I will be in the control group which basically does nothing, or the intervention group which has to attend group wellness sessions.  Guess which group I would most like to end up in.

If nothing else, perhaps I will find out what my other multiple chronic conditions are, and get the promised $25.00 gift certificate for some as yet undisclosed grocery store.  Fun times.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been paid for doing something.  Or nothing.

The good habits I’ve been working on are not yet set in stone.  Notice the lack of daily November posts as an example.  It’s time to get back to the daily walks, since the weather is quite nice and the trampoline nonsense is proving to be a poor substitute.  My food journaling and blood sugar testing have also been hit and miss.

But we did manage to have our daughter and granddaughter over for a long promised fish dinner.  W brings back as much frozen fish (pickerel/walleye) from camp as he’s allowed.  It’s not as good as fresh, but still delicious.

Now that I’ve explained my busy-ness, it no longer sounds so busy in writing as it did in my head.  There was a lot of food prep and laundry in there.  And game playing and Netflix watching and sleeping.  And even a bit of house cleaning.  Okay, not a lot of that last one.

And now that yet another day in my life is half gone and there’s only about four hours of daylight left (I wish I was kidding, this time of year is so depressing when we hardly have time to notice the sun) I will now  attempt to make some sense of my cluttered disorganized multi tasking area formerly known as the art studio.  Or maybe I will walk first.  Or make W some lunch.  The possibilities, as usual, are not exactly endless even if I sometimes think otherwise.

To conclude this rambling mess of information, here are some comforting horoscope predictions.  I only ever record the good bits.

Material life will be without any concerns and even very comfortable, but risk of problems concerning inheritances and successions. (haha! Like we are royalty or something).

Don’t let your minor health problems worry you too much; take all the necessary precautions to put a halt to them, but don’t turn this issue into an obsession. You’ll be able to adapt yourself and make the most of the changes that will occur.

Be careful of overwork and its damaging consequences; certainly, you’ll want to do well, but your resistance will be declining, and you’d better slow down your pace temporarily; sleep more.

Your daily humdrum routine’s going to experience a small pleasant upheaval. 

May all your upheavals be small and pleasant ones.

Things You Can Say About Soup

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Yesterday was my two-week follow-up to learn the pathology results from my day surgery lumpectomy.  What can I say?  I’m just a mysteriously lumpy person.  Yet another young doctor poked and prodded my neck and jaw and performed my third ever exploratory scope up the nose and down the throat.  This one without any freezing.  I’d like to say I’m getting used to this procedure and that it hardly bothers me, but that would be a big fat lie.  My eyes tear and my nose runs for the rest of the day afterwards.  This handsome young doctor (yes, I’m not so ancient that I don’t notice and appreciate such things) wanted to give me a clean bill of health because this more thorough lymph node biopsy showed the same thing as the needle biopsy did.  Nothing more than inflammation.  From an infection.  But of what, and from where?  The ENT surgeon is still curious to figure it out and wants more pathology tests done.  He also wants me to take Prednisone for five days. And come back to see him in a month.

The wait in the office was over an hour, during which time we watched, on an overhead waiting room TV,  the latest updates on the situation in Ottawa from Wednesday.  Social media and news coverage seems to be centered on information about fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo and the heroic actions of Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, with very little about the perpetrator of this cowardly crime.  And that is as it should be.

I am happy to be alive and to once again be declared cancer free.  I never know how stressed I really am about something until it’s over and I suddenly feel lighter and able to breathe great refreshing deep breaths again.  A lone gunman in the nation’s capital will forever be associated with this little moment in my life.

After my appointment, W decided to look up a former co-worker from back in his government days who now works at the University Hospital doing bookings.  I met her once at a long ago Christmas party which I barely remember being dragged to, so she and I didn’t have a lot to talk about.  I mostly listened to her and W catch up on what happened to every person they ever knew.  She decided to give us a little tour of the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.  At the U of A hospital everything is connected to everything else.  I just wanted to go home and make soup.

Because this is exactly the kind of brilliant and exciting anti-social personality I have been nurturing these days.  I just want to stay at home, read books and blogs, watch movies and sneak Halloween candy from the cupboard.  All of this activity gives me so many topics to blog about (stop – you can’t see the computer screen when your eyes are rolling like that) I just can’t seem to make myself focus on any one thing.  Until – SOUP.  And the things that can be said about it.  In list form.  Why not.

1.  The process involved in making home-made soup is very therapeutic.  At the dinner table a much-loved uncle used to say, with the passing of every dish – “here, have some of this, it’s good for what ails you”.  Well the making of soup can be curative and good for what ails you.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, make some and find out for yourself.

2.  Butternut Squash will make soup orange.  I don’t like the taste of squash on its own, so I mixed in all of the following things – white onion, the last of the cabbage, a parsnip, one small white turnip, lots of celery, a zucchini, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, some red and green pepper, a can of chick peas.  All of this was added to vegetable broth, a couple of packages of chicken broth powder, vegetable seasoning, fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  So no ordinary salt and pepper in this house.  There could have been more things than this added, I can’t remember.  I put a yam back in the fridge because the pot was full.  Maybe I threw in a carrot.

3.  When everything is happily boiling away and you turn the heat down to simmer, the house fills with the best aroma ever.  Assuming you like the smell of stuff cooking.

4.  Creamed soups are more yummy than the ones in which you are able to pick out all the vegetables you don’t like.  I don’t like adding flour or cornstarch, so I don’t.  My little hand mixer turns this concoction into a smooth and creamy hot mess delight.  I throw in some butter, because the body absorbs vitamins from vegetables better when there’s fat involved.  Never mind how good it makes things taste.

5.  A piping hot bowl of orange soup on a windy fall day restores your faith in whatever you’ve lost conviction and confidence in.  It’s good for whatever needs rejuvenating.  It promises you that everything will once again be all right.  It’s damned near magical.

And now I’m hungry.