Showing posts with label savory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label savory. Show all posts
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup


This coconut curry butternut squash soup is healthy, delicious and perfect for cold days! It's super easy to make, naturally healthy, gluten-free and easily vegan. Usually butternut squash soup is a fall staple, but I love it year-round. Especially with what feels like a hundred feet of snow on the ground outside and frigid temps, we're all about the warming soups!


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I looooove Thai food, especially curries! My mom and I always love to order pumpkin curry, which is what inspired this new twist on the traditional butternut squash soup recipe. I love the red curry flavor, and that it's not overly spicy. Try serving this with Cheesy Pesto Rolls and a Winter Salad!




Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2-3 lb butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 (14 oz) can full-fat coconut milk

Directions: 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and translucent - about 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash through red curry paste. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce temperature to low, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork-tender. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut milk.

Move half the mixture into your Vitamix blender, select the hot soup setting, and start your machine. Continue with the other half of the soup, and serve with a squeeze of fresh lime!

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Kirsten Bell
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Fresh and Healthy Winter Salad

Fresh and Healthy Winter Salad


In the summer, I'm obsessed with salads. They're so light and fresh - perfect for warm evenings on the patio. During the winter I definitely crave more comfort foods like macaroni and cheese or cheesy pesto rolls haha! But we've been making an effort to up our veggie intake, which has meant a lot more salads!

I've been trying to keep our salads new and exciting, experimenting with different ingredients and flavors. I love everything about this salad! The juicy pear is delicious with the tart cranberries, and toasted pecans are delicious with a hint of salty feta cheese. Topped with homemade shallot and basil vinaigrette, this is a winter salad that we'll be enjoying all year long!  

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Side note: I recently got these to-go dishes from Villeroy & Boch, and I am obsessed. Aren't they so pretty?? The dishes work perfectly for my salads, and I love that they're not plastic. We've been purging our plastic storage containers, so I really like that these are porcelain. Also eating off of a real bowl is just so much more enjoyable, don't you think? I use the small dish for my dressing, but it would also be perfect for dips and sauces!


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Makes one salad, and about 1/2 cup dressing

Salad Ingredients:

2 cups romaine lettuce
1/2 pear, sliced
1/4 dried cranberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons pecans
Optional additions: boiled egg slices, bacon, sliced onion or avocado

Basil Shallot Vinaigrette Ingredients:

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons dijion mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Vinaigrette Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix). Blend until smooth, and add any additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve!





If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@thiscelebratedlife)! I love to see and share your creations!

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Kirsten Bell
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Quick, Easy and Flavorful Cilantro Pesto Flatbread

Quick, Easy and Flavorful Cilantro Pesto Flatbread


Do you ever get caught in a recipe or flavor rut? I do, all the time! Especially when it comes to dinner, we seem to repeat the same meals. I mean - we're all busy, and coming up with new dinner ideas takes time and energy! One week when Jordan and I were just married, I made grilled cheese and tomato soup so many times that we haven't had it again since...and that was almost 3 years ago haha! Oops!

So if you need a new, easy weeknight meal idea - this Cilantro Pesto Flatbread is it! Packed with flavor, and done start to finish in under 30 minutes. With protein from the black beans and cheese, this can easily be a vegetarian meal, or add some cooked chicken or pulled pork.

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Over the last few weeks I've been sharing some of my favorite recipes to make with our Vitamix machine, including our Clean Green Smoothie and Raspberry Sorbet with Mango Coulis. For this pizza sauce I wanted to break out from the traditional red pizza sauce recipe, and use a cilantro pesto instead.

Did you know: the word pesto likely comes from the Italian verb pestare, which means to pound or crush. While we usually think of pesto made with basil, really any herb can be used! Pesto is incredibly easy to make in the Vitamix - I told Jordan I'm never going to buy it again haha! This cilantro pesto is light and fresh with an almost citrus taste. A perfect companion for the black beans, tomatoes and corn that we throw on top.

For the sake of time, I used a pre-made refrigerated pizza crust and canned beans and corn so the only thing I needed to prep was the sauce (which can be made ahead of time) and cutting tomatoes. Pretty darn easy, right?


Cilantro Pesto Flatbread Ingredients: 

1 pizza crust (pre-made or homemade)
1 recipe cilantro pesto (recipe below)
2-3 cups italian blend cheese
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup canned whole corn kernels
1 tomato, diced
Cooked chicken, if using

Cilantro Pesto Directions: 

Preheat the oven to the temperature specified by your chosen pizza crust. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the crust on the baking sheet and spread the cilantro pesto sauce evenly over the crust, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges. Sprinkle cheese on top of the sauce - I like a lot of melty cheese haha! Top with the beans, corn, tomato and chicken. Bake per crust directions, and enjoy!

Want to add even more? How about some sliced onions and chopped green bell pepper?

Cilantro Pesto Ingredients: 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves
2 cups cilantro leaves, stems discarded
2 tablespoons walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cilantro Pesto Directions: 

Load all the ingredients into your Vitamix machine. Select Variable 1, and start your machine. Slowly increase to Variable 7, and blend for 1-2 minutes or until your desired consistency is met. I personally like a really smooth pesto. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

If making ahead of time, cover and refrigerate for up to 5-7 days or freeze 3-4 months.


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Kirsten Bell
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Clean Green Smoothie

Clean Green Smoothie


I hope everyone has been having a great week so far! Our little corner of the world is seeing way below freezing temps, along with a fresh dusting of snow! It's crazy to look outside my window right now and think that yesterday I took an hour-long walk with Charlotte and our dogs!

When the temps get low like this, it's even more important to be sure we're getting as many fruits and veggies as possible. Give me all the immune system support, please! So today I'm sharing our every day, clean green smoothie with you! It's full of leafy greens, fresh fruits and a few extra healthy surprises you wouldn't even know were in there!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably been seeing my Vitamix allll over my stories. Jordan and I have wanted a Vitamix for years. Years, people! Our old blender was in a pretty sad state, and after doing a lot of research (and testing out some of my friends' Vitamix machines), I decided it was time to take the plunge. My only regret is that we didn't get a Vitamix sooner. I am seriously in love, and we have used it every. single. day. We're making soups, sorbet, pestos - and of course smoothies!

What I love most about our Vitamix is that it makes such smooth drinks. I mentioned above that there's some secret ingredients in these smoothies, and those are flax seeds and chia seeds! Both are full of healthy omega-3 fats, fiber and protein, but I'll be honest. I'm not a big fan of seeds in my drinks. When we make these smoothies with the Vitamix, you wouldn't even know they were there, because they get completely ground up. Seriously amazing!




Makes about 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
2 cups spinach
1 cup kale
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 cup frozen peaches or mango

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients to your Vitamix machine in the order listed above. Select Variable 1, start your machine, and increase to the highest speed. Blend for 50 seconds. If your machine has the frozen drinks setting, select this setting, start your machine and let it run through the cycle. Serve immediately!


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Thank you Vitamix for sponsoring this post. As always, opinions are my own.
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Kirsten Bell
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Homemade Garlic Pretzel Bites

Homemade Garlic Pretzel Bites


Warm pretzel bites, fresh from the oven. Is there really anything better? I always thought that pretzels would be hard to make, and I'm not sure where I got that idea from because they're actually pretty easy! These are so delicious fresh and warm, served with some honey mustard or my favorite beer cheese dip.


Makes about 32 pretzel bites

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package yeast
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted (divided)
5 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
Sea salt

Directions: 

Whisk together the flour and garlic powder in a mixing bowl, and set aside.

Combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to foam. Add the flour mixture and 1 tablespoon butter to the yeast mixture, and mix on low using the hook attachment until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium, and knead until the dough is smooth and isn't sticking at all to the sides of the bowl - about 5 minutes.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining butter (you may not need to use all of it), and move dough to the greased bowl. Cover with plastic, and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. I like to put mine into the oven, preheat the oven to 170, and then immediately turn the oven off once temperature has been reached.

Once the hour of rising is up, remove the dough from the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large saucepan.

While the water heats, lightly grease a large work surface. Divide the dough into 8 approximately equal chunks, and divide each of those chunks into 4 smaller (approximately equal) bite-sized pieces. (So you'll end up with about 32 pretzel bites.)

Drop about 5 pretzel bites at a time into the boiling water, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove the bites using a large slotted spoon or spatula, and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Brush the top of each bite with some of the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle generously with sea salt.

Bake the bites until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes.


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Kirsten Bell
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Beer Cheese Dip

Beer Cheese Dip


A few weekends ago, Jordan and I made fresh soft pretzel bites. One of my favorite restaurants in town serves their pretzels with beer cheese dip, and I am obsessed! The smooth, melted cheese with just a hint of tangy yeast from the beer pairs so amazingly with soft pretzels. So I just had to make some of my own!

We loved these with my pretzel bites, and you can also serve this beer cheese dip with a fresh baguette or even raw veggies for a lower carb option.

Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup beer
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: 

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in the flour. Melt in the cream cheese. Stir in the beer, garlic powder, salt and cayenne, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick and bubbling, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the cheese, and stir until smooth.  Serve hot!

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Kirsten Bell
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Quick & Easy Homemade Tomato Basil Soup

Quick & Easy Homemade Tomato Basil Soup


We've been having really cold, foggy days for the last week! Cold, crawling fog that seeps straight into your bones. Perfect dementor and/or white walker weather. AND, it's also perfect warm soup weather! Whenever I really feel chilled and cold, soup is my go-to dinner. I love that this homemade tomato soup recipe is so quick and easy, I can have it on the table, start to finish, within 30 minutes! And the best part is that it tastes like you worked on it all day. One spoonful of this homemade tomato basil soup, and you will never buy canned tomato soup again!


What I love most about this soup is that there are so many different flavors. Tomato, obviously, but also peppery basil and aromatic rosemary, all tied together with the sweet onion and caramelized garlic. In other words: savory flavor explosion! It's also really easy to make this into a vegan/vegetarian tomato basil soup - just swap out chicken stock for vegetable stock and you're good to go!





Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock for vegetarian version)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

Drizzle olive oil into a large stockpot or dutch oven, and add onions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until the onion is cooked and translucent. Add the tomatoes (including juices) and chicken stock. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are all soft. Add the basil leaves. Puree with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender and blend in batches. Serve hot with grilled cheese, cheesy pesto rolls or alongside a big green salad! Enjoy!

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Kirsten Bell
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Cheesy Pesto Rolls

Cheesy Pesto Rolls


Your average dinner rolls just got a major facelift! This cheesy pesto roll recipe may take a little time, but the payoff is more than worth it! Full of delicious cheese and rich pesto, these rolls are sure to be the talk of your dinner table. The best part? They freeze easily, so you can make a batch over the weekend and pull a few rolls out whenever you need! These are perfect served with a big salad, or my Tomato Basil Soup.


I'd recommend reading through the directions before getting started on these. They actually are really easy, but it helps to familiarize yourself with the steps before jumping in. I secretly love making bread, because of all the different pauses to let it rise! In college I used to bake homemade bread while studying, and found it really calming and therapeutic.




These days I use the time between each stage to clean the kitchen, do a load of laundry, feed Charlotte lunch - the list goes on haha! And with the hands on time so spread out, these delicious  pesto rolls end up feeling like they were no work at all! Added bonus: your house smells like freshly baked bread. Pretty sure there's not a candle in this world that smells better than that!



Ingredients: 

3 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 packet dry yeast (I use Red Star)
1 teaspoon cane sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (115-117 degrees)
1/2-1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (7 oz) container of fresh basil pesto
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

Directions: 

Combine the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Measure the water into a microwave safe measuring cup, and microwave for about 1 minute. It should be warm, almost hot to the touch. Pour the water over the flour mixture, and mix on medium speed until the dough clumps together into one mound. If the dough seems dry, add more water a teaspoon at a time.

After the dough has formed together, knead for about 5 minutes in the stand mixer, or 10 minutes by hand on a floured surface. The dough is ready when it's soft and almost feels bouncy. Drizzle the olive oil into a large bowl, coating the sides of the bowl as well. Lay the dough into the bowl, turning it a few times to cover all the dough with olive oil. Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour. I put the covered bowl into my oven, and then preheat the oven to 170. The minute it reaches 170, I turn it off. Don't forget to turn it off - I did that once and it kind of weirdly cooked the dough. Oops!

Lightly grease a 9x9 casserole dish. Remove the dough from the oven, uncover it, and punch the dough down a few times to pop any air bubbles that may have formed. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with a little flour too. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 12 inches by 15 inches. Remember that it doesn't have to be perfect, just as close to a rectangle as you can get. Add extra flour to the work surface as needed to the dough doesn't stick!

Spread the pesto evenly over the dough, and then top with both the shredded mozzarella and parmesan. Carefully roll the dough, with the longer side facing you. Cut the log into 12 even pieces using a serrated and/or sharp knife, and lay each piece into the 9x9 casserole.

Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap or foil again, and place into the oven. Again, I like to then preheat the oven to 170, and turn it off immediately when it reaches temperature. Allow to rise for about 45-60 minutes, or until the rolls are roughly doubled in size.

Uncover the bread, leaving it in the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 f. Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the tops off the rolls are just beginning to brown, and the centers don't look doughy anymore. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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Kirsten Bell
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