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Delicate Pumpkin Soup

This is a recipe that I came up with after trying many different recipes of pumpkin soup. It’s a lighter flavor due to the broth and cream mixed in.

Delicate Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 pounds of pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt (approx. 1 teaspoon)
  • pepper (approx. 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • a few cilantro or parsley leaves
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth (can be from bouillon)
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cups of light cream
  • OPTIONAL: handful of toasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onion, apples and potatoes for a couple of minutes, not enough to brown.  Add the pumpkin, salt, pepper, ginger, (red pepper), cilantro, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.

2. In parts, puree the soup mixture in a blender.  Fill the blender to the allowed level and after the mixture is pureed, pour it into a large mixing bowl. Continue until all the soup is blended, removing the small fragments in the bottom of the large pot.  At this point you can pour the soup back into the large pot or into a soup tureen.

3.  Add the cream and stir, garnishing with a few more cilantro leaves and/or chopped toasted pumpkin seeds and/or a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil

Tilapia with lime, cilantro and garlic

Okay, so I’m not really a big fish eater, but I discovered that I liked the mild flavor of Tilapia fish fillet.  I was trying to make a quick AND healthy dinner the other night and came up with this creation.  It doesn’t happen often that I just make something up, but lo and behold…it IS possible!

Tilapia with Lime, Cilantro and Garlic

  • Ingredients:
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tilapia fish fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, fresh squeezed (opt. 2nd lime for serving wedges with meal)
  • 2 Tbl. fresh chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a wok or non-stick skillet.  Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and sautee for about a minute.
  2. Salt and pepper the fillets on both sides generously.  Add them to the wok or skillet and brown briefly on both sides.  Add the lime juice and let simmer for another 3 minutes on each side…use your own judgment as to how long you need to sautee them according to your stove…but don’t overcook.
  3. Just before removing, sprinkle the cilantro over the fillets.  Put them on a plate with all the green onions, garlic and cilantro piled on them.  I like to have an extra lime wedge to eat them with, as well.

Fluffy Pancakes

This recipe is adapted from one I found on www.allrecipes.com and it’s my favorite pancake recipe to date.  We usually add fresh blueberries one at a time right after we pour the batter on the griddle.  I have also added 1/4 cup chopped pecans to the batter which turned out really yummy!

** Note:  NOT a health-nut recipe! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of milk
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil (never olive oil!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Combine the egg, milk, oil and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture just until moistened.

2. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle.  Turn when bubbles form on top of pancake.  Cook until second side is golden brown.

As a fun alternative, try these pancakes with Blueberry Topping!

Salsa (roasted)

This stuff tastes YUMMY!  I like it even more than the “fresh”salsa recipe, though it requires more time.  This recipe is also good to freeze in baggies once it has cooled off.

Salsa (roasted)

Serving size:  makes a large bowl…not sure if that will feed 1 person or 8 at your household :-)

Ingredients:

  • 10 tomatoes, nice and ripe–no unripe tomatoes!
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 bunch fresh cut cilantro
  • juice of half a lime
  • 3-4 fresh hot peppers of your choice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • salt to taste (I use about 3/4 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to broiling.  Take the “eye” out of the tomatoes and make a small “x” on the the bottoms.  Put them in a large, shallow casserole dish.  Broil the tomatoes until the skin is starting to peel back  and small black spots start to appear on the outside of the tomatoes.
  2. While the tomatoes are broiling, put the peppers (I like to use chili peppers (red and green) for mild to medium or jalapeno and habaneros for hot) and garlic (unpeeled) into a hot ungreased skillet on the stove.  A non-stick skillet works best for this.  Cook the peppers and garlic in their skins on medium high until they are 3/4 of the way black on the outsides.
  3. Remove the peppers and garlic and carefully peel them, being careful especially with the peppers to preserve the soft “flesh” inside.  Remove seeds from peppers and mince.  Mince the softened, peeled garlic as well.
  4. When the tomatoes are done, bring them out of the oven to cool enough to peel of the skins.  I do this when they are still kind of hot because it seems easier to do at that temperature.  Chop the tomatoes and put into a large glass bowl.  If you are picky about the seeds, you can remove them at this time.  I usually let some of the seeds naturally fall out of the tomatoes as I chop them, but I don’t mind a few remaining if they sneak into the bowl.
  5. Mince the onion and rinse in a strainer with cold water.  This keeps the salsa from tasting “oniony.”  Wash the cilantro well and press out the extra water between two paper towels.  Cut off the bottom part of the stems that don’t have leaves, then finely chop the rest of the cilantro.  Add the onion, peppers, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder and salt to the tomatoes.  Add more of something as needed–you’ve got a good reason to taste this recipe a lot while you’re making it to make sure it’s just right 🙂

Salsa (fresh)

My friend, Kristi, taught me how to make salsa from scratch.  Salsa is easily adapted to your own specific tastes.  Here is the way I like to make what I call “fresh” salsa.  It means, nothing’s cooked.  You can freeze it right after you make it in freezer ziploc baggies, so if you have a lot of tomatoes on hand, make a huge batch and bring it out when you need it! I prefer “cluster tomatoes on the vine.” They’re medium sized…not cherry and not huge. Nothing tastes better than homemade salsa!

Salsa (fresh)

Serving size:  makes a large bowl…not sure if that will feed 1 person or 8 at your household 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 8 tomatoes, nice and ripe–no unripe tomatoes!
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 bunch fresh cut cilantro
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1-2 fresh hot peppers of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt to taste (I use about 3/4 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a large glass bowl or plastic bowl.  Mince the onion and rinse it in a strainer under cold water.  This will keep your salsa from tasting real “oniony.” 🙂 Add to the tomatoes. Wash the cilantro well and press out the extra water between two paper towels.  Cut off the bottom part of the stems that don’t have leaves, then finely chop the rest of the cilantro.  Add the onion and lime juice to the salsa.
  2. Seed and finely chop the peppers.  I like to use chili peppers (red and green) for mild to medium or jalapeno and habaneros for hot.  Just make sure you use gloves while you’re handling the peppers–and for goodness’ sake, don’t rub your eyes!  Add to the salsa along with the chili powder and salt.

Sour Cream Cheesecake

Sour Cream Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (or, if you’re in Germany, a whole package of Vollkorn Leibniz Kekse)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 8-ounce cartons sour cream
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (optional)
  • 1 recipe Blueberry Topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For crust, in a bowl combine crushed graham crackers, pecans, the 1 tablespoon sugar, and, if desired, the cinnamon. Stir in melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan; set aside. (*Note:  If you have a food processor, I processed the crackers and nuts to get them finely ground, then added the sugar and butter and processed again briefly to speed up the crust making process.)
  2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, the 1 cup sugar, the flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in sour cream until smooth. Stir in eggs and, if desired, lemon peel.
  3. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place the pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes for the 8-inch pan, 40 to 45 minutes for the 9-inch pan, or until a 2-1/2-inch area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen the crust from sides of pan; cool for 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving. If desired, serve with Blueberry Topping.  I spoon it on each individual piece.

Blueberry Topping

This goes great on Sour Cream Cheesecake!  You can also use it to turn plain vanilla ice cream into a dessert fit for guests or use it on pancakes instead of syrup.

Blueberry Topping

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups blueberries (if using frozen, thaw first)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Put 2 cups of the blueberries in a saucepan on the stove with the water, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the sugar.  Bring to boiling and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the other 1 cup blueberries and simmer for about 1 minute more.
  2. Mix the other 1/4 cup of sugar and the cornstarch together.  Add the mixture to the blueberries and simmer for another minute while stirring.  Remove from heat and cool in the refrigerator until ready to serve.