Eat. Drink. Love.

Flashback Friday: Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup

With Halloween fast approaching, we decided to watch Are You Afraid of the Dark so that I could relive my childhood. That show totally rocked my world when I was little and there were some episodes that legitimately freaked me out. Watching some of them over 20 years later, I now obviously laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Like the one where the girl puts on the glasses and sees the mysterious black figures. Totally used to scare me and now I see it was people just dressed in some tight black spandex. So cheesy. But it’s still too much fun not to watch! Between binging on old shows and feeling so pregnant and exhausted, I am kind of losing my desire to spend much time in the kitchen. Anything that gets me in and out quickly and that I can make large quantities of is my kind of recipe right now!

This roasted butternut squash and pumpkin soup is so comforting to me. This is another soup that I think freezes pretty well so I wanted to make it to enjoy once the baby arrives. It’s filling without being packed with a lot of ingredients and calories. I always feel good after eating a bowl of this soup. It’s the perfect weeknight meal when served with some warm crusty bread. I like to sprinkle some toasted walnuts or pecans on top for added crunch and texture! You can give it a sweeter flavor by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, but you could also leave those spices out if you wanted. I also like to add some cayenne for a bit of heat!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup

Mushroom and Gruyère Flatbread

Mushroom Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

Is it just me or the month of October just flying by? I mean, I know I have this big life event coming up soon, but this month is already half over! I had a little freak out this past weekend over the fact that I am now in the final month of this pregnancy. This coupled with the fact that Baby Girl has been going a little crazy in there this weekend and I’ve watched my entire stomach move and contort in all sorts of positions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best feeling in the world, but it’s also a little jarring and a reminder that she is out of room in there because she is almost ready to come out! Ahhh!! I need carbs and Halloween candy to deal with this.

My friends at STAR Fine Foods recently sent me some of their Cara Mia Marinated Mushrooms to try out in a recipe. I don’t really know why, but my mind immediately went to flatbread and also to Gruyère cheese. Carbs and cheese are always a good pairing and the marinated mushrooms went so well with this flatbread! I loved the seasoning on them as it added extra flavor that plain mushrooms wouldn’t give me. The Gruyère cheese is just magical here because it gets all melty and buttery and oh so dreamy and wonderful. Oh, and I also added caramelized onions because well, why the heck not?!

While I could easily eat this as a meal with a salad, it also works well as an appetizer for parties. You can slice it up however you want to serve more people if desired. The flavors in this flatbread are actually perfect for this time of year and upcoming holiday parties!

Mushroom Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

Spicy Black Bean Dip

Spicy Black Bean Dip

Fall always has me thinking about two types of recipes: pumpkin (or apple) and football food! While I do enjoy watching college football, I’m kind of meh about the NFL. Maybe it’s because I’m from Cleveland and watching the Browns play is always painful, but my husband watches football all day every Sunday so I still feel the need to prepare some good snacks to munch on while we watch.

I love all dips, but they can get you into trouble sometimes as many can be packed with fat and calories from cream and/or cheese. Not that that’s bad, I mean, who doesn’t love those things?! But maybe sometimes you want something a little lighter. This spicy black bean dip is the answer! It takes less than 10 minutes to make and you literally just toss everything into a food processor. I like this dip because it has a nice light and fresh flavor, especially from the fresh lime juice. The jalapeno gives it a bit of a kick without being too much. You can serve it tortilla or pita chips, pretzels, or if you want to keep it lower in fat and carbs, with fresh cut veggies!

Spicy Black Bean Dip

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

It’s officially baking season for me in this house. I want to bake all of the things. Maybe it’s part of the nesting thing, but I’m all about making goodies right now, especially if they will make my house smell amazing.

I hope you guys aren’t sick of pumpkin yet because I’ve still got a handful of recipes to share with you. These pumpkin cheesecake bars are kind of heavenly if you love all things cheesecake and pumpkin like I do. They are actually pretty easy to make as well and I could see myself making these for parties all season long!

So the pictures for this post are completely random and you guys might think I’ve gone a little crazy, but I wanted to show you how this one dessert can take you all throughout the fall and holidays. For Halloween, you could do little whipped cream ghosts with dried currants or mini chocolate chip eyes and a mouth. Or you could do a dollop of whipped cream and top it with a piece of festive Halloween candy like candy corn or fall-themed M&M’s.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

POPtober Challenge ($500 OXO and Container Store Giveaway)

A funny thing happens when you reach the nesting phase of pregnancy. It’s not just the baby’s room that I want to get organized and perfect, it’s the entire house. It’s that bit of dust on the baseboards. It’s that disorganized closet.

Or, it’s my nightmare of a pantry. The pantry has been driving me crazy for months now. It’s a disaster. Everything is just tossed on the shelves and it’s no longer organized like I first set it up. Or, I should be saying, my pantry was a disaster because I finally got it organized thanks to my friends at OXO!

It’s POPtober and OXO and The Container Store challenged bloggers to reorganize our pantries. The timing was perfect for me as it’s been on my to-do list for so long. I talk a lot about OXO products on this blog because they are really one of my favorite brands. Everything is such good quality and they have so many neat tools. I was super excited to try out their POP Containers and they sent me the nicest package! I’m also a huge fan of The Container Store. If you have never been, it’s an neat freak’s dream come true. A whole store dedicated to being organized!

Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Bread

Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Bread

One of my most favorite things about fall are all of the apples! Especially honeycrisp apples. I started seeing them in my local store a few weeks ago and bought a gazillion of them and have been eating them like crazy. And well, I actually bought a few too many and needed to do something with them before they went bad. Baking them up in a nice little treat was the obvious choice!

I love baking with apples. I love the way they make the house smell while baking. It makes me feel all cozy! So I threw them in this sweet, cinnamon-y quick bread and then added a little cream cheese swirl on top because can you ever go wrong with cream cheese? Didn’t think so! This bread is wholesome and perfectly sweet. I love the big chunks of apples hidden throughout and the cream cheese makes it seem more decadent, much like cheesecake! This bread would be a great treat to bake up for house guests during the holidays or to bring to someone as a little gift. A warm slice of this bread with a big mug of coffee or tea and some comfy clothes and I am in total heaven!

Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Bread