Nothing says fall to me like butternut squash. I’m so obsessed that my friend once told me if I had a word cloud for my life, butternut squash would be in big letters (“That’s what she said” would probably be in huge letters too…).

And leeks in soup? Such a delicious way to get a creamy texture without dairy. If you’re my friend, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about potato leek soup.

You could even play around with this soup by adding a potato for an even creamier texture. Or mix up the spices by subbing basil and oregano for the nutmeg.

Or just follow my recipe :)

Butternut Squash Soup!Photo credit

  • 1/2 large butternut squash (peeled, de-seeded, and chopped into bite-sized chunks)
  • 1 1/2 leeks (trimmed, cleaned, and sliced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove of garlic (diced)
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water or 4 cups of chicken broth or 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg

butternut squash soupPhoto credit

Prep vegetables. Combine broth and vegetables in Crockpot. Sprinkle 2-3 dashes each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg on top. Cook on low in Crockpot for 6-7 hours. Allow to cool for several minutes, then blend with an immersion blender (or leave chunky if desired). Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

P.S. Do your hands ever get itchy, red, and start peeling when you handle butternut squash? Mine do and I found out why: butternut squash dermatitis! The best solution is to wear gloves or buy pre-chopped butternut squash.

I recently had half a package of firm tofu left over from another recipe, so I decided to make an Indian meal with it. Luckily, I found a jar of Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce in the back of my pantry. After a quick Google search, I stumbled across a recipe for Quick Indian Soup from Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen.

The star of the show

Here is my adapted version:

  • Firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce (you can use another brand, but I prefer TJ’s!)
  • Onions, diced
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Rice (I used Cashew Basmati microwavable rice from Target)
  • Hot pepper, chopped (optional)
  • Canned tomatoes (I didn’t have any but I bet they’d be good!)

In a pot, cook onions and carrots in olive oil over medium until onions are translucent. Add simmer sauce and two cups of broth or two cups of water with two

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

Eggs over medium with sour cream & green tomatillo salsa at Flying Biscuit

Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Jambalaya Mix

Remember when I made

When I saw Fannetastic Food’s super easy and adaptable Mexican Chicken Lasagna, I decided to make it as a part of the four course Mexican-inspired meal I was planning to whip up.

I decided to make two different versions of the casserole- one vegetarian and one with chicken. Both had plenty of beans though!

On the big one:
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded chicken
  • Chopped red onion
  • Black olives
  • Yellow and green sauteed peppers
  • Salsa
  • Canned green chiles (on half)
  • Chopped jalapenos (on other half)
  • Cheddar cheese

On the smaller one:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped red onion
  • Refried beans
  • Black olives
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Salsa
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Corn (cut off the cob)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Enchilada sauce

I lined both pans with corn tortillas (6 in total)

Next up: refried beans for the smaller one; kidney and black beans for the bigger one

Corn and zucchini for the small one; sauteed yellow and green peppers for the large one

Ready for the oven!

Cover the casseroles with tin foil and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes {until the cheese is melted}. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better!

A sample of both versions served with spiced tomato & chickpea soup and watermelon & feta salad


If I had my choice, I would have used flour tortillas, but the corn tortillas ended up tasting great anyway- and they’re gluten-free.

Pepper jack cheese would be good in addition to or in place of cheddar cheese.

I made the big one with sour cream and the smaller one with plain Greek yogurt- in the future, I would just use Greek yogurt because it’s healthier and you can’t taste a difference!

The chopped jalapenos were a bit intense {even for me!} so I would stick to sauteed jalapenos or the canned green chiles next time.


This is a pre-scheduled post. I am writing it while sipping coffee in my comfy bed. By the time you see it, I will be out and about- buying new jeans, grocery shopping, watching football :)

  • Met a new friend for coffee at Starbucks {still on a quest to become the Foursquare Mayor while limiting the amount I spend on coffee. Tough choices}. We pondered what you call “extracurriculars” after you graduate…
  • Went to The Pit for the first time with Sara. I enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away. Definitely fun in terms of atmosphere though! After dinner I got to see Sara’s sick loft apartment.
  • Took a long walk with Maddie and a friend. I always feel productive combining socializing with exercise…even better when I’m getting my dog exercise too!
  • Made Mussel, Clam, & Shrimp Soup in Spicy Broth
  • Enjoyed a fun lunch at Gravy with all of the members of The Raleigh Forum. We’re a very male-dominated group, so I’m on a mission to bring in some estrogen :)
  • Hosted an open coworking day at The Forum- we saw tons of new faces! Things went smoothly except for the fire alarm going off mid-day. Whoops!
  • Got back into the gym with a long yoga class. My back has been hurting so I was itching for

Photo credit

My surrogate sister Lauren invited me to a recipe exchange, so I wanted to in turn invite you all! If you’re interested in being part of it, let me know. All you have to do is email one recipe and you receive 36 :)

This week was a delectable assortment of gluten-free meals. Yet another week of taking a proactive approach to my health!

  • Cracker Barrel leftovers {green beans and mashed potatoes}
  • Homemade

photo credit:

Or, as they would say on Friends, squatter nut bash.

The delicious recipes I’ve tried:

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+Cristina Roman