Foliage and Butternut Squash

#instasoup

I never truly appreciated New England Fall until I spent my first semester of college at High Point University in North Carolina. I expected the leaves to do their gussied up business of turning all orange and rougey, but they kind of just fell off the tree in a zero climax death. Now I see why people travel up north to stop—dangerously—on the side of the road and take snap shots of our calendar worthy foliage, which is still hauntingly beautiful every single year.

I like fall for many reasons. For one I can pull out my arsenal of cowl neck scarves that sit, unloved, in the closet during the humid months. I can eat a few more sweet treats because all the layers of clothing hide my stomach which had to be at attention for days at the beach. And I can also fill said tummy with a variety of soups. I love soups because they give you artistic leeway in the kitchen, they are generally cheap and easy to make, and slurps are inevitable. Who doesn’t love slurping? So, behold the first soup of the season! It’s a homemade butternut squash recipe from the Whole Foods website.

I’ve never really been a huge squash fan or foe—I don’t really eat it much except during Thanksgiving when it takes on an applesauce form—so I was hesitant. Much to my surprise, the soup turned out superb.

It has a wholesome simplicity to it. It’s not filled with a myriad of flavors, but it isn’t bland either. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and you have yourself a warm, soothing bowl that can be a main dish or paired with half a sandwich or even chicken. Tip: if you have the self-control to hold off, make it during the evening and don’t eat it until the following afternoon. Just like you shouldn’t immediately cut into meat that’s hot out of the oven, soup also needs time to settle, which allows the flavors to mingle.

Whole Food’s Classic Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced [I used 2 carrots and omitted the celery; I detest celery]
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen [I got more than 4 cups worth for $3.00]
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth [Since this soup doesn’t need lots of expensive ingredients, look for the best broth you can find!]
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method:

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender [the best gadget you could possibly buy] to purée soup. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and carefully purée in batches in a traditional blender.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

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Lazy Saturdays

Life has been uneventful, though very healthy. The chia seeds have been doing great things for my insides (think flax seed but even better) and the weather has cooled off a little bit. This, of course, is a great thing. Believe it or not, northern New England is quite the humid place. We very rarely have dry heat. If you ever go to the beach on an 80+ day, you’ll probably find yourself pooling lots of sweat wherever your skin touches (i.e: back of knees, inner thighs, under arms, boobies.) It isn’t always a sexy scene. With the more bearable temps and bouts of shadiness, I was compelled to clean the house instead of desperately trying to make my way to the beach. This day turned into quite the adventure. There was fashion, food, and decorating all mixed into one.

Fashion

Pink is kind of a great color. I realized that a few months back when I did a post on a pink dress I wore to class. I haven’t always been the pink loving type. In fact, I think a lot of women shun the color, thinking it to be weak, childish, etc, etc. I now think pink is pretty cool (in small doses) and has the ability to perk you up. Recently I bought some pink sheets, which was quite the change up from the tan tones I was sleeping on for the past year. I love the way they contrast with my dark blue walls, and I cannot help but feel like a princess when I snuggle on in (or wake up in my glorious splendor.) Not only is the color great, but I’ve also realized the sheets are an excellent make-the-eggs-make-the-smoothie-walk-around-the-apartment look. The light weight fabric creates great movement—movement in clothing is so important—and I get to cover myself without resorting to gym shorts and crew neck sweaters. Am I a Grecian goddess? Am I a princess? Either way, I feel pretty good. I tried to take some pictures and I got this  really awesome effect. I’m not sure how it happened, but it needs to be immortalized somewhere, and WordPress seems to be the right venue. What do you wear when you traipse around your apartment?

80’s Movie sci-fi cover? I think so!

 

Gastro-Nonsense

After some passive cleaning, I dragged Chris down to the Asian market in the Old North End. I was listening to a raw foodie video the other day, which said Asian markets are great places to look for new fruits and vegetables—and I was bound to find a great supply of rice noodles. While Googling the best place to go to, I came across Asian 99, a store renowned in the area for a great banh mi sandwich.  Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette (there was a lot of French colonialism in Indochina) with shredded pickled carrots, onion , cilantro (I took that stuff off later), pate, pork salami Vietnamese style, and a spicy spread. The woman was quite understanding when I explained my gluten issue and that I would like the contents of the sandwich layered in a to-go box, which I would then assemble at home with some Udis. I also took a fat mango to go; the noodles would have to wait another day. Let me say: one has not lived until they’ve eaten a Banh Mi (and at $3.50 a sandwich I may have to live many lives!)

Humble looking, yet amazing.

Take. No. Prisoners.

Flowers and Rings: My Favorite Things

Before going out to meet a friend, I realized the apartment needed one final touch to spruce things up. My fake flowers have been a fuss-free godsend, but the other day I noticed some pink flowers growing right outside the apartment. With a water filled Mason jar and kitchen scissors, I stole away and clipped some branches off the bush. I added a few drops of bleach to help preserve them, and, voila, I was able to bring my mood enhancing pink motif into the kitchen. Let’s start making bets on how long I can keep them alive. Ps: Peep the awesome ring!

My Martha S. is shining through!

 

My days have been less hectic, but I’ve been finding ways to make the most of them!

Peel away ❤

Jocellyn

Beat the Bloat

Today we’re going to focus on healthy drinks.

So you have coconut water, water kefir, dairy kefir, kombucha, pure acai juice, fresh pressed vegetable juice, green smoothies, etcetera, etc. I’m not going to lie, I love the occasional kombucha, and I’m having a love affair with my juicer (sorry blender), but the real “super drink” you should be swallowing is much cheaper and easier to find. Yup, it’s good old water.

Water is absolutely amazing. It detoxes the body, makes your hair, nails and skin look fabulous, and nourishes cells. I mean, there is a reason you can go without food for weeks, but you cannot go without water for more than a few days. But, allow me to get off my soap box.  I admit drinking water can take some getting used to. Compared to all the fun flavored drinks we are surrounded by, water can seem a little ho-hum. So, I’m going to give everyone—ladies and gents—a purely vanity based reason to start chugging the clear stuff, because sometimes it’s the fear of looking bad that lights said fire under one’s cheekies.

Sick and tired of feeling bloated and paunchy? Ladies, want to see a defined waist that you are proud to swivel around at the beach in your itty-bitty, insanely overpriced bikini? Drink. Your. Water!

Okay, so bloating sucks, and before I started eating healthier I feel like I was in a constant state of bloat, carrying around a food baby that never seemed to go away. True, I think some of it had to do with the inflammation from eating all that wheat my body so greatly detested, but a lot of it had to do with eating really salty foods. Your body loves to retain salt. When you eat too much salt and not enough water you throw off a crucial balance. So, if you don’t drink enough water, when you do your body is going to grab onto it and not let it go! To counter that, despite seeming counterintuitive, drink more water! You’ll start flushing out toxins and sodium (hit the road bloat!) and your body won’t be so fearful (source).

Want proof? Okay, I have no photo evidence, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it: these past three days I’ve been drinking a lot of water and have slowly noticed my waist line moving in to create a mini-hour glass shape. This is good, because I have an insane aversion to sit-ups! Isn’t it amazing how simply drinking a little more water can cause such immediate effects?! The way you treat your insides will reflect on your outside. Lemme be blunt: eat like crap and you’re going to look like crap.

A refreshing morning pick-me-up

How does one take drinking water from being a healthy chore to a delicious, healthy chore? Easy, add some flavor! And I’m not taking about Crystal Light flavoring or that Mio junk. Think citrus. Go out and buy some lemons. Make four slices and pop it into a mason jar. The one I use is 24 ounces, so adjust accordingly. Add some filtered water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. By then you’ll have some lightly infused water that tastes great. Sip mindfully throughout the day. (I also know people who use limes or cucumbers, so try out different things!)

Check out this link for the amazing benefits of lemon water; I was truly shocked!

Things to watch out for:

Lemon water is acidic and can soften the enamel on your teeth. If this is something you think you’ll be doing on a regular basis, plunk down $2 on 100 straws and save your pearly whites. Also, don’t brush your teeth immediately afterward, because your teeth haven’t harden again. I think the benefits of drinking water this way far outweigh the cons, so just take the cheap, preventative measures.

It can be really tempting to jump on the food-rage bandwagon, and a lot of the drinks mentioned above do have great benefits. But sometimes we need to look for simplicity as we strive towards a healthier lifestyle!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn