Food

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

We had been waiting and waiting for our “kitchen appliances” box to arrive in San Diego (as well as my car… cookbooks… cookie trays… mixing bowls… oh and clothing) when it arrived!!! In this box was what Charlie refers to as “The Game Changer” – my 30-year-old Cuisinart mixer. “But Amanda!” you say, “How is that possible, when you are just a spritely 25-years-old?” It was a wedding gift to my parents, and just like their marriage, it is still magical and extremely productive.

I had never made soup before, so I wanted to make something easier for my intro lesson. I have always loved Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it!

When I went to the grocer I found two butternut squash options – a $1.69 full butternut squash or a $2.99/bag of pre-cut butternut squash. Well, I would have needed to buy three pre-cut bags, and the guy at Trader Joe’s told me that cutting butternut squash was impossible… so naturally I bought the full butternut squash. I love a challenge. Well, he was right… it was awful. But I’m glad I did it because; 1) I proved him wrong and 2) I saved five dollars!

Butternut-Pear Soup and Grilled Cheese

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced
  • 1 small butternut squash (2 pounds) – peeled seeded and diced large
  • 2 pears – peeled and diced large
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup low fat plain greek yogurt
  • chopped fresh chives (if you want – for serving)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until translucent (I really don’t know what that means – I cooked it for eight minutes).
  2. Add squash, pears, and 4 cups of water. (Note on this: I didn’t think 4 cups seemed like enough but Charlie told me to follow the recipe and it would be fine – he was right! No need to add more water).
  3. Season roast with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until squash is soft – 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. In batches, fill a blender half way (don’t get too enthusiastic and fill it more) with soup and puree with yogurt until smooth.
  6. Transfer to a clean pot as you work.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve with chives if desired.

Things I will try next time!

  • Nothing different! I loved the texture and the balance of butternut squash and pear. It is definitely delicious with a grilled cheese!

 

Life, Travel

[mommy] therapy

I love my mom.

A few months ago we got a Living Social voucher for a facial and massage at The Spa on Oak in Gold Coast. When we went we had a really good experience (warning: rooms are TINY) and they were having a special for five hours of services + a cranberry facial for $150! So my mom being the best mom ever bought it and I have had a massage almost every week leading up to the Bar exam. We also scheduled two massages for Sunday so that I could have a “Mommy Therapy Day” before the Bar Exam. I needed it.

I had a massage with Daniel (who was great!) my favorites at Spa on Oak are Andre (I very openly love him) and Logan as well. Andre’s Hot Stone will cure any ailments you may ever have. Ever. I have had a lot of massages in my life (my Aunt is a masseuse – I am not spoiled – well actually, I guess that makes me spoiled) – and Andre is Top 5 for sure!!!

She came in on the train from Michigan… (is that a song title??) and we met at Trader Joe’s (which I suspect may have been her other main reason for coming down) and stocked up on some groceries! We then set out on a Boot Adventure (more on that later). We stopped by Nordstrom Rack – where we didn’t find any boots – but we DID find two delicious pairs of ballet flats. (Sparkles and Purple – two of my favorite things!)

We then went to one of my favorite places in the world THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY! Okay judgment done? Did you know that they have a Skinny menu now? And by “skinny” I mean under 600 calories. Anyway after munching on delicious noms we headed over to Water Tower where my Boot Adventure concluded! YES. We skedaddled over to the Spa (it is right off of Michigan Ave.) and  began our relaxation. My only complaint about Spa on Oak – is that my massage ended like ten minutes early! I understand that they have to get the room ready for the next person – but my massage ended up only being about 40 minutes because I didn’t get into the room until 3:10. Regardless, Daniel was wonderful and my mom had a good massage too! After our massage we took a cab (luxury) to Union Station where I let her leave. Barely.

She left me with a bag of goodies including Butterscotch Rice Krispies and Applets!! I will try and make both of these in the future – but for now I’m giving you the recipe for the Krispies via another site. She also left me with the biggest container of Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee you have EVER SEEN as well as lots of hugs and motivation and love – which is what I need more than anything right now. I then went home and well, I did work. Because the Bar Exam is never-ending (Just kidding! 5 days! Heart attack!)

Sometimes the only thing you need in life is 5 hours off – and I got that with my Mom!! To all of the Bar Examiners out there (or just busy people in general) remember that the most important thing is to take care of yourself!

Amanda

P.S. That picture is of my grandma (Nancy), my mom, and me… yes, we all look alike, and we also make the exact same facial expressions. When Charlie first met Nancy he said it was like meeting an 80-some version of me. If that’s what I’m like when I’m a grandma – I am a-okay!