10 Week Pumpkin-Palooza: Week 1

Pumpkin, Apple, Bacon Soup

Pumpin Apple Bacon Soup

Welcome to the first week of pumpkin purée madness!  To me, there’s nothing that says fall more than the pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie is my favorite pie.  And, yes, I do like me a Pumpkin Spice Latte…I won’t pretend otherwise.  Don’t even get me started on pumpkin cheesecake!  After seeing a couple of recipes online and elsewhere regarding this humble gourd, I decided I would play around with it this fall.  This is leading up to Thanksgiving, and our pumpkin pie…if anyone has any pie recipes they recommend, I’m all for it!

I’m a big fan of vegetable soups.  I make one nearly every week.  My freezer is full of them.  In the summer I will make Vichyssoise, and Gazpacho.  So, it seemed like a no-brainer that my first pumpkin-themed recipe would be pumpkin soup.

*Disclaimer: I am not a cook, I don’t take credit for any of these recipes.  I’m only blogging to share the recipes I’ve found, and the experience I had in making them. *

Today’s recipe is modified from a Food Magazine insert, entitled, “50 Thing to Make with Canned Pumpkin”.  The modifications were small, really.  Mainly, substituting coconut milk for the cream, and using homemade pumpkin pie spice mix instead of a store-bought mixture, which I worried might have sugar in it. (I just found a simple mixture here at Stupid, Easy Paleo).  The recipe also used the apple as a topping along with the bacon, but I choose to incorporate mine into the soup directly; I also left in some of the bacon grease when I cooked my apple (I mean, if butter is better, then bacon and butter is best, right?).  The parsley is my own touch, as I like to add a pop of green to my soup, and I have parsley to use up.

The Ingredients:

  • 15oz Can of Pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie stuff, the actual pumpkin puree)
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Canned Coconut Milk (don’t use the drink stuff…blech!)
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 4 Strips of Bacon, diced (or, if you’re me, cut up with the scissors)
  • 1 Tbsp Butter – I like Kerrygold’s Irish Butter ( if you prefer ghee, knock yourself out, but it’s too rich for my system, so butter is better!)
  • 1 Apple, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (I prefer organic, but if not, make sure it’s actually maple syrup, and not the watered-down-breakfast-“carb-wheel” knock-off)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C Parsley, minced

Directions:

  1. Mix together your pumpkin pie spice if necessary
  2. Mix together pumpkin, broth, and coconut milk in a small stock pot.  Add spice mix.  Sir to combine, and set aside.
  3. Add diced bacon to a small pan, and cook until crispy – about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan, and drain on a paper towel.
  4. Drain off all but a tablespoon of the bacon grease, add the butter and melt .
  5. Add diced apple to the pan, and cook until soft and beginning to brown.  About 5 minutes.
  6. Add apple to the pumpkin mix in the stock pot..
  7. Bring the pot to a simmer, add the maple syrup, and whisk for 5 minutes until heated through.
  8. Add salt and pepper if you’d like – I just added a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor.
  9. Ladle into bowls.  Crumble bacon, and sprinkle parsley on top to garnish.

This was a simple recipe, that’s well worth the small amount of effort.  The soup has a mild sweet/tang to it.  It’s rich, but not too heavy.  I enjoyed mine with some cold chicken from earlier in the week and yummy zucchini bread that a neighbor brought over.  Tastes like fall to me!

Lynda

Sunday Morning Sit Down

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Fall seems like it might finally be showing up here in Washington.  It’s been an incredible warm, and rain-free, summer, which started in spring.  The humidity is hanging in here, though now that the rain is showing up.  I’m looking forward to those crisp sunny days that make this time of year my favorite.

A year ago May I went to a friend’s wedding in Nebraska, and it reignited my love of photography, but honed it in the direction of “travel photography”.  (Whatever that really truly means, but for me it’s photos and journaled thoughts of my personal excursions).  It inspired an aborted attempt at a 365 project – my work schedule wasn’t conducive to keeping up that pace.  It also bore in me a desire to travel the American Highway System, and see what there is to be seen.  July 9th-11th was my first step towards that adventure.

Thanks to a co-worker who shared her family’s beach house, and a friend who loaned me a camera without the sensor problems that my old Nikon D40 is facing, I set out to begin an exploration of Highway 101.

So, 101 in Washington makes a loop around the Olympic Mountain Range, known as the Olympic Peninsula.  My first day was a trip up to the Makah Indian Reservation with stops in Neah Bay, Cape Flattery, and Toos-Yess Beach.  Day two went south through the sloughs, and Willapa Bay, and over the Columbia River into Astoria.  On day three of the whirlwind drive, I headed north again, still on the western side of the Olympics to see Lake Quinault, Crescent Lake, and catch the sunset at Sequim Bay.  Looking forward to sharing this trip with everyone.

There are many other photos sitting in my To Process folder.  Including a Dill-Fisch shoot with ponies, and some older trips I never found the time to get out.  I missed posting my Long Beach trip over the 4th to the blog, but you can see the photos on my Facebook Page. I still have one more photo to clean up (see previously mentioned sensor problems *sigh*).

In non photo-related news, I’m going to begin another Whole30, in order to get back on track with a healthy eating plan.  I’m also going to explore cooking with pumpkin this fall, which I’m calling my 10 Weeks of Pumpkin Fun.  I’ve already found a few recipes I’m excited to try.  Finally, I plan on catching everyone up on The Grand Idiocy.

~Lynda