Sweet Potato Bisque

My name is Lauren, and I have a problem. That problem is…the sweet potato.

I tell myself, “Self, it’s time to cut back on the SweePot or you’ll turn orange like Arnold on that episode of The Magic School Bus.” Never mind that it’s a cartoon or that he was actually eating some type of processed, carrot-based puff snack—regardless of the facts, Arnie was a warning to us all. But I digress…

Here’s the thing though, when you find that magic ingredient that everyone in your house loves, that is really great with a variety of different flavors, and that you understand the science of how to cook it and what its doing for you nutritionally inside and out… well its hard to make the switch.

I know I’m not alone in this. Do you go through phases with specific ingredients? What ingredient are you on a roll with right now?

Thankfully, we moved to the right state for my sweet potato obsession. North Carolina loves the sweet potato. Our first weekend here, we set out on a journey to find the Farmer’s Market to procure the necessary produce for the week. Approximately 5 minutes later we pulled up to the barn {we’re so close!} and collected our haul. Despite not being on my list, some how a few sweet potatoes ended up in my basket. I didn’t have a plan for potatoes per se, but I knew they’d get used and they were calling to me.

Sure enough, a few nights later after a crazy day of organizing and being on the phone with insurance for, I kid you not, 4 hours, I wanted something easy, something simple for dinner. Having a plan for dinner is great and usually we stick to it, but some days you just have to back up and punt. Anything that required thinking wasn’t happening that night. So with that mindset, this little soup was born. Thank God I had that sweet potato. It took less than 30 minutes, only one pot, and absolutely hit the spot.

Sweet Potato Bisque from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Bisque

{serves two}

To Boil
1 large {or two small} sweet potatoes
2 cups water

The Add-Ins
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of ginger

Peel and dice your sweet potato into 1/2in cubes. Toss them into a pot along with your water and on medium heat and let it cook away for 20 minutes.

When the potatoes are soft, remove the pot from the heat and mash them. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and return to the heat. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes just to combine those flavors and make sure everything in warm.

Last time I made this, in a fit of genius I decided to top it with goat cheese and crumbled bacon. Clearly it’s no longer vegetarian or dairy free at that point, but eh… it was freaking delicious. The earthy goat cheese and salty bacon were the perfect complements to the soup’s sweet and spicy. We’ve also been known to serve it with cornbread or a slice of toasted whole wheat sourdough.

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Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

In his book, Thanksgiving, Sam Sifton makes the case that salads have no business being a part of the Thanksgiving spread.

“A salad is a perfect accompaniment to many meals, a hit of astringency that can improve some dinners hugely. Not this one. You can have your salad tomorrow.” {Sam Sifton, via Cup of Jo}

Well folks, it’s tomorrow.

I hope that each and every one of you had the happiest of Thanksgivings full of family, football, and most importantly, lots of good food. Am I right or am I right that you kind of never want to look at food again?

I’m also wagering that you have lots of leftovers hanging out in your fridge.

I’ve been making this little salad at least once a week all fall, and I’ve been dying to share it with y’all. It dawned on me a couple days ago that many of these veggies were probably on your thanksgiving tables, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for those leftovers. They’re about to be a truly great salad.

In the directions, I walk you through roasting the veggies, but really you can throw your already cooked leftovers in there and it will be a winner. It’s completely adaptable, so go wild!

Roasted sweet potatoes or yams with candied pecans? Add it.

The always present brussels that the kids wouldn’t touch? Add them.

Cranberry sauce? Why not?

How are you using up your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

serves 2-4 depending on how hungry they are

{This genius recipe is from the lovely lady behind Naturally Ella, Erin. Very, very rarely do I follow recipes exactly. There are usually things I add or take away in order to improve or adapt the recipe to our tastes. I didn’t have to do any of that for this ingredient list. It’s pretty much perfection. I do have a few procedural short cuts to add though, so I thought I’d share it.}

1 loaf of Erin’s cornbread

To Roast
1 small sweet potato, cubed
about 15 brussels sprouts, quartered

To Toss
about 2 cups of spinach, {this is your salad base so adjust accordingly for how much you think you’ll eat}
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

The Dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sweet whole grain mustard {we use Handelmeier}

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.

Whip up a loaf of Erin’s cornbread and pop it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. {To keep dirty bowls to a minimum, I always combine my wet ingredients in a mixing bowl first and then place a sieve over the bowl and measure my dry ingredients into it.}

While the cornbread is cooking, wash and chop your veggies. Leaving the skin on, because there are tons of nutrients in that stuff, chop your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut off the base and quarter the brussels. Put them in your roasting pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a toss and put them in the oven to roast for around 45 minutes.

about 15 minutes before the veggies are done roasting, chop your cornbread into little squares, toss with olive oil and rosemary and add them to the roasting pan to toast them up.

While those finish, put your spinach in a large mixing bowl and crumble the cheese over it. Also go ahead and shake up your dressing. {I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar and give it a shake. Super easy and beats the heck out of the store bought stuff in terms of flavor.}

When the veggies and croutons come out of the oven, transfer them to the big bowl and pour the dressing over the whole thing. Give it a toss and serve.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Pumpkin Pudding Pie in a Spekulatius Crust

The Kiwi is a pie person. Seriously, the man loves pie. But sadly, since the person doing the baking {i.e. me} is more of a cake lover, he doesn’t get them very often. The only two occasions he can count on having pie is his birthday and Thanksgiving.

Case in point, last Thanksgiving, despite having the flu,  I went all out making bacon wrapped turkey, some disastrous stuffing, the very best cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, and, the crowning glory, a pumpkin pie… from scratch.

I’d love nothing more than to have a repeat of last year {with better dressing}, but it’s just not in the cards this year. Most of my precious kitchen tools have either been shipped or sold, and all we have left are the things that came with the apartment which includes, um, basically nothing useful. Plus, we deep cleaned for an inspection that was supposed to happen Monday but is now happening Saturday, so we have to keep the house spotless. No big Thanksgiving feast will be happening in that kitchen this year.

Now, I could wax poetic about gratitude and how it should be present in our lives everyday, not just Thanksgiving. It’s just a day after all. {A day followed, I might mention, by it’s antithesis, Black Friday, which in my opinion is one of the most atrocious American holiday traditions. Ever.}

But really, I do love this day of celebration: for thanks, for generosity, for family.

Don’t worry, we aren’t letting the day pass us by completely without a tiny bit of cheer. Besides, tomorrow also marks 2 years of living in Munich! Let’s face it, the Kiwi isn’t going to let me get away with not making pie

As a compromise between a messy and complicated, full-fledged, from scratch pie and the ‘I can’t be bothered,’ nonexistent pie, I whipped up this. Basically, I just stuck pumpkin pudding in a pie crust.

Will it fall apart when serving? Signs point to yes.

Will it be mind-blowingly delicious? Absolutely.

Whip it up tonight, stick it in the fridge, and forget about it. Dessert is done. Pull it out at lunch tomorrow and prepare for folk’s mouthful mumblings of “Oh my gah, it’s so good.” At least, that’s what I got from the Kiwi.

Pumpkin Pudding Pie in a Spekulatius Crust

{makes 1 pie}

Spekulatius Crust
20 spekulatius cookies, about 180 grams {ginger snaps, or ginger nuts for the Kiwis, will probably work perfectly, but if you can get spekulatius, do it.}
6 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Give the cookies a whiz in the food processor until they are just crumbs. In a small mixing bowl melt the butter then add the crumbs. Mix the crumbs and butter until the butter is completely incorporated.

Press into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let it cool completely before filling it with the pudding.

Pumpkin Pudding
1 cup milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree {canned will do also, just make sure it’s pumpkin puree not pie filling}
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger

In a medium pot on medium heat, bring the milk and maple syrup to a simmer.

In a bowl, cream together your egg yolk, sugar, and cornstarch. While stirring your egg yolks, add a spoonful of the warm milk. This will keep your eggs from curdling when you add the egg yolk mixture to the pot of milk. Go ahead and do that—add the creamy egg yolk mix to the milk and maple syrup. Then add the vanilla and give it a stir. Let it cook for about 5 minutes so it will thicken up.

While it’s cooking grab a mixing bowl and whisk together your pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and spices.

Once the milk/egg yolk/maple syrup mix has thickened enough to coat your spoon, slowly start adding the pumpkin mixture stirring as you go. Once it’s all combined pour it into your pie crust and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then pop it in the fridge until you are ready to serve!

Serve with whipped cream, or, in my case, whipped coconut cream. Yum!

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins

I’m pretty sure hell just froze over.

Pigs are flying.

I, eternal hater of the dreadful, ever-so-sneaky carrot, willingly bought, and cooked with…carrots.

They say that when you’re hosting a party, you should stick to your tried and true recipes and, as a rule, I tend to adhere to that. Except, every now and then, I get the occasional hare-brained, you’re-out-of-your-mind ideas. And then I dwell, and dwell, and dwell on them until I actually have to make them or I’ll go crazy.

You too?

No, just me? Oh well.

That happened last week with the party and those carrot cakes. I had seen a recipe for a whisky carrot cake on TheKitchn ages ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it. So what if I’d never bought a carrot in my life? So what if I had zero, zilch, nada experience making carrot cake? It was going to happen for this party.

So it did, and thank God, it was a smash hit.

Success.

I want to like carrots. I really do. They are so good for you! I try them every so often just to see if maybe my gag reflex when the after-taste hits has chilled out, but it never seems to work. This carrot cake though…it worked. Unfortunately pretty much all of the good nutritional aspects of the carrot were being wiped out by the fact that it was indeed still cake.

Hence the muffin was created. Less sugar, whole wheat, more nuts, more carrot, and a whole lot of yumminess! I wouldn’t go so far as to say healthy, but definitely healthier. I know what we will be having on Thanksgiving morning.

Are you trying anything brand new for Thanksgiving?

Here’s to willingness to take a risk and being open to new things.

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins from Kiwi and Peach

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins

{make 12 muffins}

Adapted from Sara Kate’s recipe for TheKitchn. Besides reducing the recipe, I substituted whole wheat for the all purpose flour and reduced the sugar to make it more of a muffin and less of a cake. I also upped the carrot and pecan amounts. I’m dying to try an all natural sugar version of this. I think it would be great with demerara sugar.

The Egg
3 eggs

The Dry
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of allspice

The Fold
1 large carrot, peeled then shredded {around 2 cups, maybe slightly less}
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbsp spiced rum

The Wet
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup olive oil

Crack your eggs into a small bowl, beat them, and set them to the side. {Wow, that sounds like a lot of egg violence.} Do this first so they have some time to get to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Grab three mixing bowls.

In the first, add your grated carrot, chopped pecans, coconut and rum. Give it all a stir and set it to the side for later.

In the second, sift together your dry ingredients.

In the third, the biggest of the three, combine the brown sugar with the olive oil well. As Sara Kate says in the original recipe, it should look like wet sand. Alternatively, add the flour and the egg and mix until they are just incorporated each time. Then fold in the carrot mix.

Set the batter to the side for a minute so the batter can rest while you line the muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spoon the batter in to the pan filling each cup 3/4 of the way full.

Pop it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Test the middles with a toothpick; if it comes out clean, you’re ready to go!

Enjoy.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

You made it to Friday, my friend! Go you!

Remember a couple months ago when I did Nicole’s Monogram Swap? Well, in addition to getting some super cute gear for my kitchen, I also met and cultivated relationships with a group of lovely and talented ladies. One of those ladies is Susan over at the lifestyle blog, Charming Lucy. As a self-professed non-cook {Susan} and a fashion struggler {that’d be me}, we’ve been great resources for each other.

Today I’m blogging over there sharing the recipe for my Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes made with our fresh pumpkin puree and sprinkled with those Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. Head on over for the recipe!

If you’ve ventured over here from Charming Lucy, welcome! I’m so glad you could stop by! I sure hope you’ll stick around for a bit, drop me a line and say hi. I’d love to get to know you! And, of course, let me know if you try the pancakes!

Here are some of the things I used to make these magical pancakes a smidge more delicious:

Our How-To for making your own pumpkin puree.

The recipe for our simple granola staple.

The easy, peasy topping: spiced pumpkin seeds.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

My soup repertoire is pretty limited. I’m not a fan of brothy soups and a while back, I sort of threw the baby out with the bath water. I just stopped making soup. Chili? Absolutely. But soup? Hardly ever.

Last year for our transition into an soup season, starting small I thought I’d try a new chili recipe I’d had my eye on for a while. Chili is a fall staple for us and I know we aren’t the only ones. In my completely biased opinion, I always thought my Mama’s chili was the best in the world. However, it’s magic comes in the form of a packet of seasoning that, apart from things like chili powder and cumin, also contains ingredients I can’t begin to pronounce and certainly don’t have in my kitchen.

Successfully making chili from scratch has been one of my proudest moments of this journey to eliminate processed foods.

And the fact that this delicious, healthy stew takes me back to curling up under a flannel blanket and watching football with my Daddy just like my Mama’s chili does makes it a winner. It’s a keeper y’all.

What about you? Is there a food that some of your favorite fall memories center around?

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

inspired by Milk Free Mom’s Vegan Chili
{I don’t make many changes because the recipe is a great one as is. Besides reducing the recipe to serve 2, I substituted chicken broth for the veggie broth because that’s what we usually have, and I used a batch of black beans I had soaked and cooked instead of using canned beans. The Kiwi prefers it served it with a dollop of sour cream and a grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely not dairy free or vegan at that point.}

olive oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups of broth {veggie, chicken, whatever you have}
1 1/2 cups black beans {canned or soaked and cooked}
1/2 of a sweet potato
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

Start heating a large pot on medium heat.

Adding your ingredients to the pot goes pretty quickly, so I find its best to have everything prepped beforehand. Dice the onions, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch-ish cubes, and go ahead and rinse the quinoa.

Once the pot is hot add just enough olive oil to cook the onions and toss in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and translucent then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the tomato paste, herbs, and spices and mix well. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and then add the broth. Give it all a stir and deglaze the bottom of the pan, then add the beans and sweet potatoes. Cook all of this for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the quinoa and let the whole thing stew away for 20 minutes.

We enjoy ours with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and maybe a grilled cheese if the Kiwi is good.

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola

If you’re thinking posting this week has been sporadic then you’d be right. Remember when I said that I thought we were on the mend? Well that only appears to have been half correct. I am much better. The Kiwi on the other hand got much, much worse. Between doctor’s appointments, pharmacy runs, working on the re-design that I really want to go live before Oktoberfest begins and trying to convince the Kiwi that he really must eat something, I’ve been on the struggle bus.

Something that makes all of this easier? Eggs. The Kiwi won’t eat much, but he’ll eat eggs. Needless to say, there have been a number of different egg combos whipped up in the kitchen this week, but the favorite has been this one.

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola | kiwi+peach

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola

olive oil
1 tomato, cubed
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
2 eggs
2 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
2 large crackers or a piece of toast
basil optional

Start heating your pan on medium high heat. When it’s starting to get hot, add your oil and wait a quick minute for it to heat up too. Cube your tomato and prep your clove of garlic to press. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and press your garlic. Give it all a stir and leave it to cook for a couple minutes.

Push the tomatoes to the side and crack your eggs into the pan. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper then let them cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes or until the whites are looking pretty firm. Very carefully {you don’t want to break the yolk!} flip them. I’m a runny yolk fan, so I tend to only leave it on this side for 45 seconds to a minute, but you be the judge.

Transfer the egg to the cracker then top with the sautéed tomato and garlic, gorgonzola crumbles, and, if you’re so inclined, a bit of basil.

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola | kiwi+peach