Tag Archives: holiday

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that as we grow older, eating becomes more tiring?  First world problems I know but whew!  After this past weekend I still feel like I’m in a food coma.  In general, I eat pretty healthy throughout the year so I think my body just shuts down when affronted with so much fat and sugar.  I love pigging out over the holidays, but I was really craving something healthy.  This Japanese-inspired Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup was just what I needed after an overly indulgent weekend.

Over the years I’ve made every variation of sweet potato and squash: roasted, mashed, baked.   This holiday season, I really wanted to try something new.  Butternut squash soup is popular, but I decided to add sweet potato, to bring out the sweetness of the squash.  I had to keep this soup dairy free, so I used a bit of miso instead of cream for a richer taste.  Building on this Asian-inspired flavour, I included some mirin (sweet cooking wine) to add acidity to the dish.  For the garnish I topped with toasted sesame seeds and nori (dried seaweed) for a bit of salty crunch.

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Festive and easy to prepare, I loved this healthy, hearty soup on a cold, winter’s night.  The nori, mirin and miso can be found in the Asian aisle of a big chain supermarket, or at any Asian grocery store.  If you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of mirin, you can substitute for sake and keep on drinking this holiday season!

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 tbsp light miso paste
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 6 snack size sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
  • 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large pot or saute pan on medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger until softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash and sweet potato and sauté 1 minute longer.
  2. Whisk together mirin and miso paste. Add to vegetables along with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  3. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. Return to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a toaster oven or in a small pan on the stove top over low heat.
  5. Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and pieces of nori.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/11/14/asian-sesame-sweet-potato-squash-soup/

Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup

What is your favourite holiday soup?  Let me know if you enjoyed the Asian flavours in this Sweet Potato Squash Soup!

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

With the holidays season in full swing, these Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins are a healthy breakfast or dessert in between all the wine, cheese and other treats we indulge in this time of year.  After a weekend of stuffing my face, I crave fruit and fiber – an apology to my body for having no will power when I see a cheese platter.  I’ve fully accepted that as I get older, I can no longer eat with total reckless abondon, and need to be kind to my stomach even during the holidays.

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

This past fall, my girlfriends and I spent the day apple picking at Puddicombe Estate Farms, an annual tradition. With a bushel of fruit in my fridge the possibilities were endless! Over the past month I made lots of cider, apple crisp, apple butter and for my last five precious apples I decided to bake these muffins.  Easy to make and a quick, portable breakfast or snack, my boyfriend and I are big muffin fans and when we bake together, we like to throw in all kinds of different ingredients and try out new flavour combinations.

One of my staple dishes I like to make during the holidays is a cornmeal and apple stuffing, such a tasty pairing!  This inspired me to include some cornmeal to add some natural sweetness and density.  While I added a bit of brown sugar, they are mainly sweetened with honey and the apples.  To add to the heartiness, I also threw in some ground flax seeds for extra fiber. Packed full of apples with some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for that holiday spice, these muffins are a healthy sweet treat.

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup fine cornmeal
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking power
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, cubed McIntosh apples
  • 1 apple peeled, cored, cubed, halved and thinly sliced for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with muffin cups.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine being careful not to overmix. Fold in the apples.
  5. Evenly spoon the batter among the muffin cups. Top with a slice of apple.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the middle rack, rotating the pan halfway until the muffins are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when tested.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  8. Best serve warm or at room temperature and will keep in a cookie tin for up to 5 days.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/10/24/apple-cornmeal-flax-muffins/

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

My Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins were inspired by my favourite holiday dish, what are your favourite flavours?