Hearty Pumpkin Soup

As nature slowly changes into fall colors, the days are getting shorter day by day just a few minutes and the nights are getting cooler. Soon the insects will take their well earned winter break and we long for heartier meals.

This is the time when I like to cook pumpkin soup from Hokkaido Pumpkins. I prefer the Hokkaido Pumpkins because I can cook them with the skin on and they are a good source of fiber and vitamins, just what we need when the colder seasons are around the corner.

The sweetness of the pumpkin harmonizes well with the spiciness of the spices and it is a real treat on cooler days.

Hearty Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

(serves 6-8)

1 Hokkaido Pumpkin 1,5 kg (about 1 kg when cleaned)

1 medium size Potato

1 medium size Onion

2 medium size Carrots

1 Garlic Clove

1.2 L Water

2 tsp Vegetable Broth

1 tsp Ginger Powder

2 tsp Curry Powder

1 1/2 tsp Salt

Pepper

a good pinch of Nutmeg

Hokkaido Pumpkin

How to cook the Hearty Pumpkin Soup

  • Wash and cut your Hokkaido Pumpkin into chunks. Roughly chop the onion, carrots and potato. Mince the garlic (I use a garlic crusher).
  • In a large pot sauté the onion and garlic in a little bit of oil.
  • Add the carrots and potato and roast for a few minutes.
  • Add the pumpkin, mix well and roast for another few minutes.
  • Add the curry, ginger and nutmeg, stir well and roast again for a few minutes.
  • Now it’s time to add the water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils add the vegetable broth powder, stir and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  • When the veggies are soft, blend the ingredients with the immersion blender until you have a smooth soup.
  • Add salt and pepper and let simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Serve with toppings.

There are many toppings you can use on pumpkin soup to add different colors and texture. Here are my families favorite toppings:

Sour Cream

Pumpkin Seeds

Parmesan Cheese

Bacon bits

Jalapeños

We also like to eat fresh bread with our soup.

Storing and to reheat

Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove top over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally so the soup won’t burn.

Comfy sweaters, warm drinks, pretty colors and hearty food!

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I also have this recipe on my YouTube channel Here


Iced Cherry Soup

Iced Cherry Soup is such a wonderful summer dish. It reminds me of my childhood, when my mom would prepare iced cherry soup on hot summer days and serve it with grits or vanilla pudding and sometimes even with vanilla ice cream. It was always a highlight and so delightful.

You can cook the soup with fresh or canned sour cherries. If you use fresh cherries, I would recommend to cook them with the stones still in for a better flavor. But be careful not to bite a cherry seed while eating.

Iced Cherry Soup with Vanilla Pudding and Banana

Ingredients

(serves 4)

700g canned sour cherries with juice

300 ml water

cinnamon stick (2-3 cm long)

2 cloves

lemon peel

2-3 Tbsp vanilla pudding powder

2-3 Tbsp honey

optional

lemon balm leaves to decorate

banana slices, vanilla pudding, ice cream, grits

How to cook the Iced Cherry Soup

  • Give the cherries with juice, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and a little bit of lemon peel to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the herbs and lemon.
  • Mix the pudding powder with a little bit of cold water and stir into the soup.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
  • Sweeten with honey and set aside to cool.

We love to eat the soup ice cold from the fridge but it is also delicious at room temperature. Serve it with vanilla pudding, grits or ice cream and decorate with banana slices and some lemon balm leaves.

Fresh Lemon Balm

Storing the soup

Store the cherry soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one day.

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

Julia Child

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Creamy Macaroni And Cheese

Once in a while our daughters ask for homemade Macaroni and Cheese and they actually say they taste even better the second day when reheated.

It’s so simple and quick to cook and truly a cheese explosion.

I like to serve our Macaroni and Cheese with a light salad since they are more on the heavy side and sprinkled with fresh parsley and a little bit of shredded cheddar.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

(serves 8)

500g pasta (I prefer elbow or shells)

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp salt

a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

How to cook the Macaroni and Cheese

  • Cook your pasta according to package directions.
  • In the meantime prepare the sauce in a medium size pot.
  • For the sauce melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Let cook on medium heat for about a minute.
  • Whisk in the milk, heavy cream, pepper and salt. Keep heat on medium and continue whisking until it begins to boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheddar until melted.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • In a large bowl combine pasta and sauce and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
  • Sprinkle with fresh parsley and some shredded cheddar and serve with a light salad as a side.
Cheese Explosion

Storing and to reheat

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

To reheat the Macaroni and Cheese, place in a skillet or sauce pan and add a little bit of milk. Reheat over low to medium heat, stir frequently and add more milk as needed to keep the dish moist.

Enjoy your Macaroni and Cheese

One Does Not Simply Resist Cheat Meals

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I also have this recipe on my YouTube channel here


Homemade Waffles

Waffles have been made for centuries and there are many variations or recipes throughout the world.

Soft or crunchy, fluffy or chewy, thick or thin we love them all.

I like to use spelt flour in my recipe since we try to incorporate more ancient grains in our diet for health benefits. The amount of waffles you can make with this recipe varies by the type of waffle iron you use.

Ingredients

2 cups spelt flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 eggs (medium size)

1 1/2 cups warm milk

6 Tbsp melted butter

How to make the batter and cook the waffles

  • You will need two large bowls.
  • In the first bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and vanilla sugar).
  • In the second bowl combine the warm milk, melted butter and eggs. I like to whisk in one ingredient at a time.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until everything is well blended and you have a smooth dough.
  • Preheat your waffle iron. Mine works perfect on medium heat but it always depends on the type of waffle iron you have.
  • Scoop the batter into your waffle iron and cook the waffles until they are golden brown.
  • Serve immediately plain or with your favorite toppings or cool on a cooling rack.
Homemade Waffles with Maple Syrup

Our favorite toppings

We love to eat our waffles with toppings. Some of our favorites are maple syrup or honey, hazelnut cream, powdered sugar, fresh or frozen berries.

Storing and to reheat

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or you can freeze them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.

To reheat and crisp use the toaster oven or toaster.

Update

While making waffles my daughter and I had the splendid idea of making chocolate waffles. To half of our dough we mixed in 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder before baking them and they turned out delicious.

Chocolate Waffles

Weekends are for Waffles

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I also have this recipe on my YouTube channel here


Strawberry Summer Drinks

As the weather gets warmer, the strawberries begin to bloom. Soon we’ll have fresh strawberries in the garden and think about all the scrumptious things we can create with this juicy, sweet, fresh and brightly red fruit.

Here are two summer drinks you can make with fresh or frozen strawberries.

Fizzy Strawberry Lemonade

200 g fresh or frozen strawberries

5 drops vanilla flavour

50 ml sparkling tableware

fresh basil or peppermint leaves to decorate

  • clean your strawberries
  • give strawberries and vanilla flavour to a blender and mix until you have a smooth puree
  • fill your glass with 200 ml strawberry puree and fill up with the sparkling table water, stir gently
  • decorate with fresh strawberries, basil or peppermint leaves
Fizzy Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry Iced Coffee

200 g fresh or frozen strawberries

100 ml regular milk or oat milk

5 drops vanilla flavour

1 small espresso

lots of ice

peppermint leaves to decorate

  • clean your strawberries
  • prepare your espresso and set aside to cool
  • give strawberries to a blender and mix until you have a smooth puree
  • fill your glass with ice and milk and mix in the vanilla drops
  • add 200 ml strawberry puree and stir
  • add the espresso and stir again
  • decorate with peppermint leaves and strawberries
Strawberry Iced Coffee

Happiness is a bowl of fresh berries

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I also have these recipes on my YouTube channel Here


Tuna Salad with Kidney Beans

This colorful summer salad is the perfect side dish for a grill out, to serve in taco shells or with fresh bread and pan-fried cheese. It’s fresh, juicy and crisp and once you try it you are hooked.

Loaded with protein, fiber and vitamins this salad is super healthy and a pescatarian’s dream.

Ingredients for 4 servings

500g Tomatoes

1 green or red bell pepper

1 yellow chili pepper

1 can (250g) kidney beans

juice of 2 limes

3-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper to taste

1 medium onion

1 clove of garlic

2 cans of tuna in its own juice

How to prepare the salad

  • Start by draining your tuna and drain and rinse your kidney beans.
  • Mince your onion and garlic. I like to use a garlic press to mince the garlic but you can also cut it into very small pieces with a knife.
  • Make a vinaigrette with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I start with 1/2 tsp of salt but might add a little more before serving the salad.
  • Add the minced onion and garlic to the vinaigrette and set aside.
  • With a knife, score a small “x” into the bottom of each tomato. Give the tomatoes to a large bowl and cover with boiling water, set aside. This will help to peel your tomatoes.
  • Slice the bell pepper into thin strips and mince the hot chili pepper.
  • You should now be able to easily peel the skin off the tomatoes. Remove the seeds and cut the tomatoes into small pieces. This part always gets a little messy.
  • After all the cutting, slicing and peeling you can now give the tuna, kidney beans, tomatoes, chili peppers and sliced bell peppers into a large bowl.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.
  • Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Season to taste.

How to store the salad

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Sunshine on my mind

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Rhubarb Dessert

This tart and slightly sweet vegetable has a short growing season and is available in early spring.

You can enjoy it in so many wonderful ways from dessert to cakes and pies, jams, juice, crumble, compotes, in salads and many more.

Rhubarb is low in calories and a good source of fiber, Vitamin K and C and antioxidants.

Cooking a rhubarb dessert is very simple and doesn’t take up much time.

Raw Rhubarb

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

1 kg Rhubarb

200g Sugar

How to cook the Rhubarb

  • wash the rhubarb stalks under cool water and peel off the stringy fibers with a small knife
  • trim the top and bottom of the stalks and cut the rhubarb into 2-3 cm thin slices
  • give the vegetable to a large pot and add water, just enough to cover the bottom of your pot
  • add sugar and bring to a boil
  • reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. If you like the rhubarb a little more firm, reduce the cooking time by 1-2 minutes

Rhubarb with vanilla sauce

How to serve the Rhubarb

Serve warm or cold with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream or on pudding.

How to store in the fridge

If you have raw rhubarb that you are not ready to cook yet, wrap it in a damp towel and store in the fridge for up to three days.

Store your cooked rhubarb in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

How to freeze

You can freeze the raw or cooked rhubarb in a freezer safe container for up to a year.

I would recommend to freeze the raw rhubarb clean, dry, peeled and cut into pieces.

Cooking with love provides food for the soul.

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I also have this recipe on my YouTube channel Here


White Asparagus

A traditional German meal

It’s (almost) asparagus season in Germany. The season goes from mid April to June 24th. During this time asparagus is served in soups, salads, as a side dish or the traditional German meal of Asparagus with potatoes and cured ham, served with melted butter or Hollandaise sauce.

The “white gold” makes the German heart beat faster. Asparagus is tasty and nutritious.

How much asparagus to serve per person?

It always depends on the dish you want to cook or how much everyone likes asparagus . If we eat asparagus with potatoes and cured ham, I always buy 1.5 kg fresh asparagus for the four of us (2 adults, 2 teenager).

Ingredients

1.5 kg fresh white asparagus

2 liters water (to boil)

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp oil (I use olive oil)

How to cook fresh asparagus

  • peel the fresh asparagus stalks with a vegetable peeler by placing it on a flat surface (this will keep the stalks from snapping) and run the peeler from just below the heads to the bottom
  • cut off the cut ends
  • in a large pot bring 2 liters of water, salt, sugar and oil to boil
  • add the fresh asparagus and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until soft
  • when the asparagus is soft take it carefully out of the water using a strainer spoon or tongs, be careful to not damage the delicate heads and serve with your favorite sides

While the asparagus is cooking on the stove, I prepare the side dishes. For the traditional meal I cook my potatoes, melt the butter to serve as a sauce and slice the cured ham in thick slices.

How to store the asparagus

If the asparagus is cooked, store in a airtight container in the fridge up to three days.

Store the fresh asparagus wrapped in a moist towel in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for up to 4 days.

The most indispensible ingredient of all good home cooking: love for those you are cooking for.

Sophia Loren

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Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

Potato Salad is a wonderful old-fashioned dish traditionally made with mayonnaise.

It’s the perfect side dish for cookouts or lunches/dinners. It’s also a good way to use leftover potatoes (I always cook to many potatoes for lunch) and make a quick little salad.

Since not everyone likes mayonnaise here is an alternative made with sour cream.

Ingredients

500 g potatoes, cooked

150 g sour cream

25 ml sweet cream

1 small onion

2 pickles

fresh parsley

salt, pepper, sugar and pickle juice to taste

optional radishes and/or a cooked egg

How to prepare potato salad

  • cook your potatoes with the skin on until they are easily pierced with a fork. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
  • in a large bowel whisk together the sour cream and the sweet cream until evenly combined
  • dice the onion and pickles into small pieces, add to the cream mix and season with pickle juice, sugar, salt and pepper
  • cut your potatoes into chunks or slices (feel free to peel the potatoes) and give to the sauce. Toss gently until evenly combined
  • garnish with fresh parsley
  • optional: add a hard boiled egg cut into pieces or sliced radishes
  • chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving

How to store the salad

You can store the salad in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

HAPPINESS is HOMEMADE

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How to plant garlic and why I like to do it in fall

Garlic has been know for thousands of years as both a traditional medicine and for food flavouring.

You can add garlic cloves to basically every food you like, raw or cooked. In spring when the first young leaves are out you can use the tips of the leaves to season soups, dips or salads.

It’s also good for your heart and stomach and known to boost the immune system.

When should I my plant garlic

I prefer to plant my garlic in September or October. When planting in fall it has time to grow a little before it takes a break during winter time. The first green leaves may die over winter but they’ll re-grow in spring. So in spring the garlic is already a little ahead and I can harvest and enjoy it in early to mid summer.

But you can also plant it in mid February to mid March. If it’s planted in spring you can harvest it about 4 weeks later, mid summer to late summer. The bulbs tend to be a little smaller since they have less time to grow.

What kind of garlic should I grow

It’s recommended to use native garlic from your climate zone to make sure it’ll grow properly. Choose healthy large cloves, free of diseases.

How to plant garlic

Garlic likes good soil in a sunny spot. Before planting garlic I like to prepare the dirt in my raised bed with some compost and loosen up the dirt so it’s easier for the cloves to build strong roots. Break up the bulbs into cloves and place them about 5 cm deep in the dirt with the tip up. The space between the rows and single cloves should be 10 cm.

Good neighbours

It always pays off to plant garlic with good neighbours like strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes or beets.

Harvesting garlic and storage

Once the leaves are brown and dry you can dig out the bulbs and hang them up to dry. It’s important to store the garlic in a dry and cool place. I like to make garlic braids, it’s a good and pretty way to store them.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn