Curried Pumpkin Soup

CJ challenged me to try making some pumpkin recipes from fresh sugar pumpkins we picked up at the store this week, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. So tonight I made Curried Pumpkin Soup. This dish was so rich, with that perfect Indian hint of spice. I added some hot chicken sausage and it just took it over the top. The best part was blending it all up in the food processor (a kitchen nemesis of mine, but we are working on our relationship after one too many pulverized salsas). You can also substitute butternut squash for pumpkin if you have a ton left over (like me). 

I placed the whole pumpkins in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour and the shells were perfectly hard and deep orange. I took a serrated knife to the tops and scooped out the seeds for roasting. After that I was able to scoop out all the orange pumpkin goodness, two pumpkins made about five cups of filling! Bargain considering what a can of pumpkin is going for in the stores. Next time, I will lop off the tops and scoop out the seeds before cooking, because it got messy, I am not going to lie to you. But the shells were hard and perfect for serving the soup.

Here is the finished product with recipe below:

From, modified by me.

  • 2 hot chicken sausage links
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 (15-oz) cans solid-pack pumpkin (3 1/2 cups; not pie filling)
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk

Cook sausage and onions in a wide 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in salt, red pepper flakes, pumpkin, broth, and coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a large bowl, and return soup to pot. Keep soup warm over low heat.

Crispy Honey Chicken (or How I Exploded Our Microwave)

Last night I made Crispy Honey Chicken by How Sweet It Is.

This is what it should have looked like:

Instead, mine turned into a stage 5 DISASTER.

First off, I am not so skilled in dredging. By the time I was done dunking the chicken in egg white and dredging the pieces through the cornstarch, the kitchen looked like a crime scene involving paper mache.

Second, when a recipe calls for honey in the title, make sure you have enough. I was trying to stretch a my meager honey supply into 1/3 cup and needed every last drop from the bottle, so I did what my mom always did when she needed to liquefy honey, in put the bottle in the microwave. I pressed start just as CJ was walking through the front door, so I ran downstairs to say hi, completely forgetting the honey.

While we were downstairs we heard this giant "BOOM!" so loud that we both jumped. We ran to upstairs to check out the noise and before I even reached the kitchen, I knew what had happened. I had exploded the bottle of honey all over the inside of the microwave! Apparently, I accidentally pressed "add minute" on the control pad! I opened the microwave door, gasped and shut the door. The mess was unbelievable. Honey dripped in strings from globs all over the ceiling of the microwave and oozed into the corners.CJ asked if he could see the disaster and I said, "No way, you'll make me buy a new microwave. Some things are best left unseen."

CJ nodded, calmly walked to the pantry, reached in and pulled out a big vat of honey. Then he said, "This is almost as much fun as that time you and your mom nearly burnt my house down using pork chops."


I was cleaning honey out of that microwave for an hour.

Am I the only one with dinner disasters like this?

Squash Challenge

I have news.
Ever since I was a kid, I had a deep, unabiding loathing for squash of the orange ilk. 

Maybe because of the color or smell, but most definitely the taste. Sweet vegetables are not my thing. Sweet potatoes? Kill me now, just don't place them in front of me at Thanksgiving. 

But this season, I have been seeing all these great savory butternut squash recipes popping up on my favorite food blogs (especially Mrs. Sweet) and I decided maybe squashes won't be my culinary Achilles Heel (Flaked coconut and eel still bring me to my knees, no budging there). I decided to give non-sweet squash a go.

And with that, you will be shocked! Amazed! Flabbergasted!
I actually took on a squash challenge!
That is right!



And I make a different dish every night. The results are exceptional. I am a new woman, and it's easy to prep on Sunday night in addition to all the veggies I cut up for the week.

This year has seen some development in not only my palate, but also my diet. I learned to cook Indian and Thai recipes and to be a lot more conscious about what I put in my body. I learn the most from my friends. Hally Cooper taught me fish, Laurie taught me pizza, Malissa taught me guacamole, Emily taught me veggies, Cassie taught me passion, my Mom taught me timing and the Pioneer Woman and Jamie Oliver taught me everything else.

What are your new cooking challenges?


“Lately I feel like somebody made a big mess and I’ve got my mop and I’m mopping the floor and the folks who made the mess are there (saying) ‘You’re not mopping fast enough. You’re not mopping the right way. It’s a socialist mop.’”


Barack Obama