Cinnamon Bun Cashew & Pecan Butter (GF, DF, V, VF)

October 23, 2016

One Pan, 3 Ingredient Spicy Candied Pecans (GF, DF, V, VF, Refined Sugar Free)

October 23, 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash & Veggie Soup with Crispy Zaatar Chickpeas (GF, DF, V, VF)

October 23, 2016

Howdy folks!  As I type, it is 85 degrees outside with no sign of Fall in sight.  Despite this annoyance, I am persevering with Fall recipes and soup anyway! I will sweat while I eat if I have to!  We went to the pumpkin patch today and had a great time picking out our pumpkins for carving.  I could have easily come home with 20+ pumpkins. But since my husband was giving me the eyeroll while I plopped another pumpkin in the already heavy wheelbarrow, I decided to cut myself off.  I LOVE Halloween and this time of year in general.  It takes me back to my childhood, where I would wear my costume everyday, weeks before Halloween.  Since my mom was a preschool teacher, she always encouraged us to dress up and embrace our inner 5 year old.  I remember being a witch, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and a cat. I also remember coming home and stuffing myself with candy and fighting with my brother over who got the most Butterfingers. Speaking of Butterfingers, have you tried my healthy copy cat version? One candy, I can’t even have just one of is candy corn.  It’s so bad for you and I always feel nauseous after eating it.  Why is it so addicting? Also, speaking of candy corn, have you tried these cute candy corn inspired layered chia puddings from last year?

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For those of you that are all cozied up in your sweaters and blankets, while the rain falls peacefully on the streets, this recipe is dedicated to you.  Or if you like me and are rebelling against the heat somewhere, this recipe is also for you.  This soup is velvety, lush and rich without it making you feel like you’ve gained 500 pounds after you eat it. It is so flavorful from all of the roasted veggies and the crunchy chickpeas add the perfect crunchy texture to the smooth and creamy soup.  You can add butter (vegan or regular) just to give it a little more depth, but it really doesn’t need it.  Even my husband and son, who are not big soup eaters, loved it and asked for seconds!  I also love this recipe because it is pretty hands off once you’ve chopped the veggies and put them in the oven.  Best of all it uses real, whole food, and simple ingredients.  Simply chop, roast, blend.  I used my blender but you could also use a food processor.  The roasted chickpeas are totally optional, but add a nice crunch.  If you don’t have Zaatar spice, you could also make my Pizza Chickpeas or use whatever spices you like! Either way, you are going to love it! Stay warm my friends!

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Soup Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 large butternut squash.  You could buy pre chopped squash to make this easier as I did here from Trader Joe’s)

2 medium sized carrots roughly chopped

1/2 red pepper cut into strips

1/2 sliced onion

3 cloves of garlic (no need to peel or chop)

4 t fresh thyme leaves

4 T olive oil

3 cups vegetable stock (+ more in case you like a thinner soup)

2 T butter (optional)

Chickpeas

2 T zaatar (a middle eastern spice mix of sesame, sumac, thyme and a few other ingredients, I used Zesty Z)

2 T olive oil

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (Drained, rinsed and patted dry)

2 T nutritional yeast (optional but adds a cheesy flavor)

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss veggies with olive oil (I used 2 trays) and thyme. Roast veggies for 45-50 minutes. While the veggies are roasting, prepare the chickpeas with the zaatar, olive oil, and nutritional yeast (if using). When the veggies are 20 minutes away from being finished, put the chickpeas in the oven for 20 minutes or until crunchy.

Squeeze the garlic from its skin and place into food processor or blender. Place the roasted veggies in, along with the vegetable stock and blend until smooth.  Place in a pan over medium low heat and add butter if using.

Add about a couple of tablespoons of chickpeas per bowl. Enjoy!