For me: Day of Rest, For you: Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Uh oh…      ______________________________________________
(© Chet Haase 2006-2013, all rights reserved.)

They say that Sunday should be a day of rest, right? Well I’m happy to oblige. My day started off with sleeping in until 9am. Yeah, my baby slept from 7pm to 9am (he woke up for a snack at 5, but right back down again). Woot, woot! If feeding Little K puréed peas and oatmeal leads to me sleeping in until 9am, I’m all for it. Once I was up I spent the morning sipping coffee with E and playing with Little K. I didn’t even get out of my pjs until 11 or so.  When I finally was scrubbed up and put together it was nearly time for me to head over to the one and only to-do I had on my agenda for the day: an hour long massage.

Since Little K was born E has been demanding that I book a massage for myself. He was insistent, resilient, determined. I said I was relaxed enough, I didn’t need to spend the money, I didn’t want to miss time with Little K, I had the mumps… Nothing deterred this guy! Finally, I broke down and made the appointment. The horror! He badgered me so much, that I had to book an hour long massage for myself. Ugh.

Well the massage was this afternoon and it was lovely. I am nearly over my cold and the eucalyptus fragrance helped open my sinuses up even more. (I think I’m nearly ready to say my taste is fully restored!) I feel limber, calm, and collected. When I got home I shared a glass of wine with the hubster (who did great watching a mildly fussy Little K and two ridiculously naughty pups) and watched another episode of House of Cards. All-in-all a phenomenal day of rest.

So, in honor of the day of rest, I did nothing in the kitchen! We dined on leftovers and junk food. Instead, I put together this review on an oldie but goodie, one of my favorite soup recipes. (I know, I know, I must be soup obsessed. I made this weeks ago though and just got around to sharing it with you today.)


Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Overall: five-star

This recipe was originally in O, The Oprah Magazine, but I found it on SimplyRecipes.com. It’s one of my favorite soups though and has made it into my personal recipe box.

Ease to Prepare: four-star

This is really a quick soup to make, the only part that I find bothersome is transferring the soup from the pot to the blender and back to the pot again. (If you have an immersion blender, use it and love it.) I’ve made this soup several times and usually only blend half of the batch – partly for ease and partly because I like a little texture to my soup.

Also, I use puréed pumpkin rather than pumpkin from a can. This is totally preference though. I grew up freezing pumpkin, rhubarb, pears, and apples. And, for the most part, I still freeze all of this in my own home. If you’re so inclined, here is the method I use to prepare my pumpkins for freezing in the fall:

  1. Grow your own or buy cooking pumpkins from a local grower. (The larger jack o’lantern pumpkins are not cooking pumpkins, you’re looking for the smaller, darker orange pumpkins.)
  2. Break off the stem. Wash the outside of the pumpkin before cutting it in half and scooping the seeds out of the middle.
  3. Put the two halves on a cooking sheet, cut side up.
  4. Place in a 400 degree oven and pour a bit of water on the cooking sheet. This will help maintain a moist environment for the pumpkins and allow them to soften up faster. Replenish the water as the pumpkins cook.
  5. Bake until a fork can easily be inserted into the pumpkin. (An hour or so.)
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. Scoop pumpkin meat out into a bowl – being careful not to get any of the rind into the bowl.
  8. Blend or mash the pumpkin until smooth.
  9. Place in freezer bags and freeze. (I like to use a measuring cup and measure out 2 cups per bag.)

Granted, this is a lot more effort than just opening up a can of pumpkin, but I appreciate the flavor and tradition of preparing my own.

Instructions: five-star

The soup is fairly straightforward to prepare and I appreciate how easy the instruction make it to season according to your own preferences. Add more milk if you’d like it cooler, add more spice if you’d like to turn up the heat.

Food: five-star

This should absolutely, without a doubt, hands down, be on Oprah’s Favorite Things list. I love the spice, but you can definitely go easy if you don’t want to have as much heat. I once served this to my Aunt Yvonne. Aside from loving Pat Benatar and turning her farm into a zoo, Yvonne is an incredibly picky about food and doesn’t go outside the box very often. But even she liked this soup. (I once served guacamole to her and she thought I was insane. I had to work pretty hard to get her to try the “weird green dip,” but now it’s one of her favorites!) I’m pushing people to step outside their boxes every-damn-day around here. It’s shocking, really.

Clean up: three-star

The added step of blending or food processoring (it’s a word, trust me) slows down clean up some. There isn’t a whole lot of scrubbing or anything though, just a pain to take the blender apart and clean each part.

 Cost: one dollar

Really rich soup for very little investment. The dimension in the flavors gives the impression that this is a much pricier soup than it is.


So what about you, did you enjoy a day of rest or spend the day checking off a full to-do list? Have you ever put off doing something relaxing for yourself, simply because it stressed you out to think about finding the time to do it? Anyone watching House of Cards; what do you think of it? I’m hot and cold, but it’s definitely intriguing.

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