The past few weeks have been so busy I'd almost forgotten about the fact that fall foods are upon us. 

More than pumpkin-spiced lattes and Halloween and decorating, fall to me is about the harvest.

A few years ago I got the opportunity to be an apprentice on an urban-farm in the heart of Kansas City. That experience gave me an appreciation and understanding for what it takes to grow food and the beautiful varieties of produce that each season offers. 

Tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers are making their way out as a bounty of orange and yellow-fleshed squashes and potatoes are making their way in for the cooler temperatures. 

As the cold months approach our bodies crave more warming and hearty foods to help insulate us from the harsh months of weather ahead. 

Fall is a time to remember the hard work of labor brought forth during the summer and slow down to enjoy it around the table with loved ones. 

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My kitchen was dirty as usual today as I set out to create this soup...but I made an intentional effort to let go of the mess around me and truly be present with the task at hand. 

Preparing food with your hands in your own kitchen has a way of grounding you and reminding you what it means to be human. 

I thought about the hands that had grown the big ole' squash I was now slicing in half and the fact that I often take for granted the work people put into growing and producing the food that I eat every day. 

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The time to cook peacefully these days is less and less with busy kiddos running around, but when the opportunity does present itself, I feel at rest using my hands to prepare a nourishing meal for myself and family. 

As our society has become so disconnected from our food sources and the art of cooking, my passion has only increased to help my clients get back to the basics when it comes to the food they eat. 

Counting calories and macros and drinking protein shakes and obsessing over six-pack abs are simply empty distractions from the thing that will truly bring us back to health: cooking real food. 

My hope is that you slow down and cherish the harvest this fall. Pick up some new vegetables at your local farmers' market or grocery store and learn how to cook them with your own hands.

Better yet, invite over some neighbors to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

You might just find that your best health is on the other side of a home-cooked meal. 

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Creamy Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup (GF, DF)

1 butternut squash, halved + oil for baking
1 cup cooked sweet potato
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 T butter or olive oil for dairy-free
1/4 cup shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
sprouted pumpkin seeds + fresh pepper to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 (or 425 for sea level). Cut a butternut squash lengthwise (halve), rub with avocado oil and then place face down on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Next, rub sweet potato with oil and fork. Place on the same cookie sheet. Bake butternut squash for 45-50 minute or until fork tender and sweet potato for 60+ minutes until fork tender. 

2. When squash is cooked through, remove from oven and scoop out seeds to discard. Then, scoop out the squash flesh and add to blender along with 1 cup of cooked sweet potato, coconut milk, chicken broth, nutmeg and salt. Blend until smooth. 

3. Finally, heat a small pot with butter or fat of choice. Saute shallot for 2-3 minutes until softened and garlic for 1 minutes (do not let this burn!). Add to blender with soup and blend one more time to puree everything together. 

4. Garnish soup with pumpkin seeds, fresh black pepper and a sprinkle of nutmeg! 

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