Smoothie // Nostalgia

I spent the holidays in Texas with my mom, who had recently moved into a new house. Packing up our old house unearthed many treasures along the way, fun and silly things from our childhood that had been filed away. I'm not sure where she found my smoothie recipe – and I wish I could take a better guess at how old I was when I wrote this down. 

About a year ago I posted a smoothie recipe very similar to this, without as many useful details, such as describing the tools you would need — a blender and "getting ready" — and for highlighting the whimsy of letting the ingredients "whirl away."

It reminds me that the smoothie hasn't changed much over the years; perhaps now we add more kale or spinach or almond milk. But one of the most enduring qualities of a smoothie is that it remains a delicious, healthy choice that kids can relate to. They love making it and eating it. As soon as I mention the word "smoothie" to my girls, they chirp and hop around the kitchen, excitedly gathering ingredients. 

As a kid, I clearly bonded with this recipe, and must have later penciled the "Do not throw away!" as a message to my mother, who sometimes could see a messy scrap of paper as something imminent for the trash can. Thanks to her for keeping it safe all these years, now tucked away in the same old recipe box, just new house. 

Winter Smoothie

At this time of year, when some of my favorite fresh fruits are hard to find, a smoothie is my go-to fruit fix. Super easy, super delicious, and pretty impossible to mess up. Keep your freezer stocked with bags of frozen blueberries and strawberries.  I like to use Greek yogurt because it has that extra protein kick. Toss in a banana, perhaps a dash of orange juice, add two dollops of yogurt and a handful of frozen berries. Blend until smooth. 

 

 

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Butternut Squash Soup

It's not innovative but it is delicious.  And at this time of year, a warm and soul-satisfying butternut squash soup will do. Below is my more wholesome variation of this recipe. Butternut squash is so velvety and savory sweet on its own - it is one of those vegetables that needs very little enhancement to take on a bit of decadence. Bonus: butternut squash, apples and onions store nicely for days, so they are great ingredients to stock up on next time you are at the grocery store or farmers market. This recipe is ridiculously easy to make, and almost impossible to mess up. For dinner tonight, I'll pair it with roasted Brussel sprouts and some crusty bread. 

INGREDIENTS
   1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    3/4 cup apple cider
    One large butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
    4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 apple, cut into slices 

DIRECTIONS
    1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the apple cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.
    2. Puree the soup. (I use an immersion blender.) Season with pepper and lightly with salt if needed. (This is one soup that really doesn't need salt to give it that flavor boost, so tread lightly with the salt shaker.)
    3. Heat a medium skillet. Add the butter and apple slices and cook over high heat until the apple is tender and golden around the edges, about 2 minutes.  
    4. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the sautéed apples.