Recipes: Cherry Granola and Pumpkin Soup


You guys. This has been the most boring weekend, ever. Yesterday, I almost wrote a post about how bored I was, but I realized it would be rude to inflict my boredom on you. I was so bored it took me 4 1/2 hours to drink two beers and then I was so bored I gave up on having another beer and figured I’d just sit around and wait until it was a reasonable time to go to bed. I spent the evening sitting on the couch, watching a college football game about which I did not care in the slightest, and putting dresses I’m not going to buy (spending fast!) in my Nordstrom cart (seriously OMG I need this and the color being my child’s middle name is only part of the reason have you ever seen anything so gorgeous I could wear it to beer fest and my kid’s second birthday party and holy crap that’s the most awesome dress, ever ever ever).

Today I’m being more productive and cooking some stuff. First up is granola. Do you know how ridiculously easy it is to make granola? It’s one of the easiest things in the world to make and homemade granola is way better than anything you’ll buy, which, by the way while we’re being honest, is probably totally overpriced. Second is pumpkin soup. If you read any healthy-living bloggers (I sometimes do this for snark value), you’re probably already sick of pumpkin. Don’t be! Pumpkin is delicious, and this soup is a fresh way of serving it that doesn’t rely on the usual suspects like cinnamon and allspice. Seriously, this soup is so good I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. I’m not even kidding. It’s one of my favorite things, ever.

For what it’s worth, the granola and the soup earned the Soren Seal of Approval. And yes, a toddler eating soup is just as terrifying as you might imagine.

Recipe: Cherry Granola

Ingredients

  • 8 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 to 10 ounces dried cherries

Directions

Put oatmeal, almonds, sunflower seeds, and Grape Nuts in a giant bowl and mix well. Put oil, honey, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well and microwave for 1 minute. Mix again. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread on the biggest cookie pan you have and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring well after 10 minutes. Remove from pan right away (this prevents the granola from sticking to the pan, which it will if you leave it there) — I just scrape and pour the granola into the big Tupperware container I’ll use to store it. Allow to cool, then add cherries and mix well.

Lightly adapted from Mary’s Cherry Granola, White Lace Inn, Door County, Wisconsin.

Recipe: Vegetarian Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (just plain pumpkin — not pie pumpkin with spices added)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2-6 ounces (guesstimate is fine; the original calls for less and I like more — I’d start on the 2-3 ounce end if you’re not sure) thin whole wheat spaghetti, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup good Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

First, grate the Parmesan cheese the lazy-people way — cut several chunks off your piece of cheese, throw them in the food processor with the default blade attachment, and process until the cheese is in uniform, small pieces. Remove from food processor and set aside. Put the coarsely chopped onion in the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want to make sure there are no big onion chunks. It’ll look like a wet, slushy mess.

In a stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and vegetable broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for two more minutes. Decrease the heat slightly, to medium-medium-high heat. Stir in the milk and nutmeg. Bring the soup to a boil and then add the spaghetti. Cook until the noodles are done (for me, this took 7 minutes at medium-medium-high heat; keep in mind I’m at high altitude, so you might need a little less time). Turn off the burner and stir in the Parmesan cheese plus salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, preferably with some delicious, crusty bread.

pumpkin soupAdapted from Vegetarian: The Best-Ever Recipe Collection by Linda Fraser (not an affiliate link). The original recipe calls for fresh (not canned) pumpkin. I’m sure this is even more delicious than my version, but I’m nothing if not lazy. Plus I have approximately 90 cans of pumpkin I hoarded last fall when I thought I wouldn’t be able to find pumpkin in the pumpkin off season, which proved to be false and I didn’t make that many pumpkin loaves, anyway.

Enjoy!

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