goals + recipes for the week of 9/28

Happy Sunday, friends! It’s a busy day around here. I’m off to do a little tutoring this morning before church; then after the church service we’re having a Young Adult potluck; and then tonight we’re having family dinner at my aunt Annie’s house before my Uncle Frankie heads back down to L.A. in the morning. Lots of friend & family time, which makes my heart happy!

Speaking of happy hearts, my sweetie’s birthday is this Tuesday! Last night I was invited to celebrate with him and his sister, dad and stepmom at the beautiful Clairemont Country Club. I wore my navy and ivory chevron dress from this past Easter {thanks to Arianna for helping me decide on an outfit! My cousin is eleven years younger than I am but has waaaaay more style!} 😉

chevron dress

And my other stylish cousin, Bianca, helped me bake red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for the birthday boy!

cupcakes

Speaking of yummy desserts, I have to share a photo of this aaaaaamazing butternut squash bread pudding I ordered for dessert on Friday night. I’m gonna try to recreate it myself at some point, perhaps using this recipe? Oh and yeah, that’s salted caramel gelato on top. With chocolate caramel cups mixed in. Yuuuuummmmm. I want to eat this again, like, right now.

butternut squash bread pudding

Before I lose myself in drooling over this photo, let’s move onto goals…

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week: 
– complete new draft of my novel-in-progress {wrote two new chapters; one more to go!}
– finish editing work
– prepare for first week of teaching/new semester
do yoga twice & core exercises five times
– read 100 pages of Into the Night Sky by Caroline Finnerty

Here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– complete new draft of my novel-in-progress
– celebrate Allyn’s birthday! 🙂
– do yoga twice & core exercises five times
– finish reading Into the Night Sky by Caroline Finnerty

And here are some recipes I’m eying this week:
crockpot asian pulled chicken via The Pajama Chef
creamy spinach & cheese green chile enchiladas via Two Peas & Their Pod
pumpkin cinnamon cookies via Two Peas & Their Pod
6 healthy crockpot chicken freezer meals via New Leaf Wellness & Money-Saving Mom
– my own curried butternut squash & apple soup

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

curried butternut squash & apple soup

apple week

Oh my goodness you guys. This soup. My grandma pulled out the recipe the other day and I was thinking, “Are we really going to try to make this??” I was intimidated by the blender part of the process. But it really wasn’t difficult at all. The toughest part of the whole recipe was cutting up the butternut squash! Next time we are definitely going for the easy pre-cut packaged option … definitely worth the extra couple bucks, in my opinion.

Anyway … I highly recommend this soup! Healthy, hearty, creamy, the slight spice of the curry mingling with the sweetness of the apples and squash … YUM. This soup = autumn in a bowl. Enjoy!

butternut squash soup

curried butternut squash and apple soup

– 3 lbs butternut squash, cubed
– 2 apples, peeled and chopped {we used gala apples}
– 2 cups onions, diced
– 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
– 4 or 5 tbsp curry powder {depending on your taste for curry}
– 1 cup apple juice
– salt & pepper to taste
– green apple for garnish, if desired

1. Peel and chop your squash and apples. As mentioned previously, I would highly recommend using pre-packaged chopped butternut squash for this recipe, but if not I’d recommend baking the squash in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until soft. That will make it much easier to peel and chop!

2. Saute the diced onions in a little bit of butter or olive oil. Add curry powder and cook until onions are translucent.

3. Add the squash, apples and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

soup pre blend

4. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, half-covered, for approximately 25 minutes, until the squash and apples are soft.

5. Pour soup through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Blend the squash/apple/onion mixture in a blender or food processor until creamy.

6. Transfer blended soup back into the pot. Add the apple juice. Gradually stir in the reserved liquid until the soup reaches desired consistency.

soup creamy

7. Heat the soup on the stove until warmed through.

8. If desired, garnish with grated green apple. Serve warm.

I paired mine with a grilled cheese sandwich and it was the perfect dinner on a crisp autumn night!

grilled cheese

Question of the morning:

  • What are some of your favorite apple recipes? #appleweek

if you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
creamy blended potato & cauliflower soup
savory pumpkin & kale stew
shrimp & sausage stew

dairy-free butternut squash quinoa mock risotto

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you today! A few months ago, I had a delicious butternut squash risotto at a local Italian restaurant, and when I went to the grocery store last weekend the butternut squashes were calling to me. So I thought I would do a little experimenting in the kitchen and see if I could come up with a healthy, dairy-free, quinoa-based “risotto” … and I was super pleased with the results!

{My family was pleased, too … this dish makes great leftovers, which did not last very long in our house!}

butternut squash quinoa risotto

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
– 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 cups roasted butternut squash, mashed
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 cup baby spinach
– 1 cup arugula
– 2 tsp minced garlic

Optional toppings:
–  slivered almonds
–  dried cranberries
– feta cheese
– salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook the quinoa in the low-sodium chicken broth with the bay leaf for seasoning.

2. While quinoa is cooking, warm the garlic in a bit of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the mashed butternut squash and cook on medium-low.

3. After about 3 minutes, pour in the water and stir. The consistency of the squash will becoming more like a thick sauce.

4. Add the spinach and arugula and continue cooking on medium-low until the greens are fully cooked, stirring frequently.

5. Once the quinoa is fully cooked, remove the bay leaf. Pour the butternut squash mixture over the quinoa and mix well to form a “risotto.”

6. Top with slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese if desired. {To make this recipe dairy-free, simply skip the feta cheese.}

There you have it! An easy, healthy, filling and nutritious meal! This has been my go-to lunch of the week.

butternut squash quinoa

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy these recipes:
cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken
veggie-filled pasta bake
pumpkin pasta

MPM-Spring
This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!