Easy Butternut Squash Soup

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe for butternut squash soup is so EASY and I’ll tell you why! Normally I buy a butternut squash, cut it in half, clean out the seeds and broil it in the oven (with some olive oil so it won’t stick to the pan) until it is tender.

So I went to the store to pick up some butternut squash to make the soup. When I saw the price of the 4 lb squash I said out loud, “No way am I paying that much! There’s got to be a canned version of this” So this is where the genius comes in. I head over to the frozen section to get something else and guess what…

they make butternut squash frozen! And the best part is it’s already peeled for you! All I had to do is boil some water, dump it into the pot and wait 5-10 mins until tender. Here’s the recipe.

Do you have a shortcut that you use for making a favorite recipe?

Butternut Squash Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium-Easy!
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Butternut Squash Soup
20 oz bag of frozen butternut squash
3 cups chicken broth (I use Knorr)
1 pat of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp chili powder (if you like it spicy)
1/2 cup of Half and Half (I use light cream and almond milk)
Squirt of Sweetleaf Sweetdrops (trust me this ingredient makes ALL the difference!)
Dash of Sea Salt
Add butter olive oil and garlic to a saucepan on medium heat until browned. Add the chicken broth and frozen squash and cook on stovetop until simmering. Add chili powder, nutmeg and take off the heat. Blend mixture together with an immersion blender until smoothe. Add the half and half and stir in the liquid stevia. Enjoy!

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A feast!

Today I came home famished from running errands all day! I wanted a lot of food but food that was healthy and satisfying. Thankfully I had on hand all of the ingredients to make my Favorite Ayurveda Side Salad (btw, I added feta cheese after I took the picture). I quickly defrosted a hamburger that was already prepared, fried it in a pan (medium, well-done), added cheddar cheese, guacamole and red onion. Then I poured myself a bowl of EASY Butternut Squash Soup and added a Strawberry Icepop with Dark Chocolate Cacao chips for dessert. This meal was SO satisfying and really SO EASY because most of the work was done before!

What do you usually eat when you come home hungry?

Preparation is Key!

With back to school right around the corner I need to make sure that I am stocked up with my main staples so I will be ready with all the ingredients I use when dinnertime comes around. When I’m down to the last of my frozen cilantro, chicken cubes or garlic, I buy another batch of cilantro, chicken breasts or a fresh 5 sleeve of garlic to make on the weekend so I am prepared to make meals for our busy weeks ahead.

crack layers of skin for easier peeling by pounding the side end of a kitchen knife with the bottom of your fist

For garlic, I break the cloves apart and cut the ends off both sides to loosen and peel off the layers of papery skin encased around them. Then I drop them in the food processor chute, add a little olive oil in it, use the shredder blade that sits on top, shred, put in quart sized bag and freeze!

Use top shredding blade

For cilantro, I buy a bunch, cut off the stems saving only the leaves, cut them into pieces as best I can and freeze!

I do this with meatballs and chicken cubes, too. For chicken cubes, I defrost chicken breast, cut them into cubes, pan fry with a little olive oil until all juice is absorbed and freeze! For meatballs, I bake them or fry them, wait until they’re cooled and freeze! You will be ready for any meal in a pinch.

What ingredients do you prepare ahead of time and freeze for future use to make mealtimes EASY?

Soup and Bread for Breakfast?

All Natural Artisan Panella
Ingredients: wheat flour, purified water, salt, and yeast-that’s it!

I woke up this morning, had my coffee, sent a few texts, and waited to figure out what I felt like having for breakfast; it was around 10:00 am. Hmmm, last night I made Broccoli & Cheddar Soup …BINGO! That’s what I wanted! With a buttered piece of bread! I bought an All Natural Artisan Panella loaf at ShopRite last week and froze it for moments like this. One slice is all you need.

Let me tell you this was satisfying! Not only does it have enough fat and calories to get me through the rest of my morning but it was what my body was craving. I’m not thinking about food anymore. I think I’ll go walk my dog!

What satisfying yet unconventional meal do you like to eat for breakfast?

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Soup season is here! With back to school coming next week along with the cooler temperatures, I felt like having something warm, filling and comforting with the rotisserie chicken I had picked up for dinner the day before. So I dug up my immersion blender and began putting together ingredients to make broccoli and cheddar soup.

What’s your go to healthy comfort food?

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: Med-Easy!
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2 cups chicken broth (I use Knorr cubes)
2 cups chopped frozen broccoli
1 tbsp chopped carrots
1/2 cup half & half (I use light cream and unsweetened almond milk)
1/3 pkg of 8 oz cheddar cheese block (or any cheese)
1 tbsp fresh garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp corn starch

In a sauce pan brown the garlic and mix the carrots in the butter. Add cornstarch to make a rue. Stir in the half & half and continue mixing until it thickens. Add the chicken broth and stir in the broccoli until heated. Use immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Finally add pieces of cheese and stir until melted. Enjoy!

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Favorite “Ayurveda” Side Salad

This salad is a favorite of mine when I’ve eaten something but I’m still feeling unsatisfied afterwards.

Deepak Chopra, founder of the Chopra Center, states there are six tastes in our mouths; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Figuring out your personal balance of each of these tastes and incorporating them into your meals will help to maintain balanced nutrition, good health and overall satisfaction after a meal. (Eisler)

I think the reason I love this salad so much is because it does include all of the tastes. The sweet comes from the cranberries (only use a pinch), the sour comes from the Italian dressing, the sunflower seeds are salty, feta cheese is pungent, the bitter and astringent comes from the spring mix salad that includes red and green romaine, green, tango, oak, spinach, radicchio, arugula, chard, and mizuna lettuces. (Note: I don’t make this spring mix, it comes in a big container already combined at my local Acme market.)

By the way, according to Ayurveda, I’m a Pitta dosha, what dosha are you?

Spring Mix Salad with Feta, Walnuts, Cranberries and Sesame Seeds

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Organic Spring Mix Salad
Red Onion, Sliced thin
1/4 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled
Handful of Walnuts, halves
Pinch of Sesame Seeds
Pinch of Ocean Spray Low Sugar Dried Cranberries
Italian Dressing to taste

Combine the red onion with the spring mix lettuces. Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the lettuce. Top off with the Italian dressing. Oh, so satisfying!

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Strawberry Ice Pops with Dark Chocolate Cacao Chips

Did you know that strawberries are not only low in natural sugar but they contain fiber? Cacao helps with depression, stress, blood pressure, and heart health according to Natures Path Organic. And what goes together better than strawberries and chocolate? These ice pops are a hit with kids and have only 3 ingredients. They are sugar free and are as healthy as can be! Here’s the recipe…

Strawberry Ice Pops with Dark Cacao Chips

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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16 oz fresh strawberries
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Swerve Confectioners Sugar
Lily’s Dark Chocolate Cacao Chips

Wash the strawberries, cut the stems off and put in a blender. Add 1/3 cup water and 1/4 cup Swerve Confectioners Sugar. Blend until smooth. Pour into 3 oz plastic cups. Cut craft sticks in half with kitchen scissors to make enough for each pop. Add a craft stick and drop about 8 cacao chips into each cup. Place cups in freezer until frozen. When frozen, roll frozen cup in the palm of your hands to loosen the pop from the cup. Enjoy!

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An Easy Yoke

I named my blog “Sugar Free, Easy!” because once I started listening to my body’s hunger signals I could then figure out what I really felt like eating at any given meal.

Do I feel like having chicken? whole grains? brown rice and beans? rye bread with butter? vegetables? low sugar fruit tart with walnuts and yogurt? There is so much freedom! It’s really so EASY! The key is making sure you have the ingredients to make these foods on hand and prepared for when hunger strikes.

In Matthew 11:18-20 (NIV) it says,“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is EASY and my burden is light.”

Wow! Have you ever felt weary and burdened after going on and off a diet or by making the wrong food choices time and time again? I have! Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

When two oxen are made to carry a load, a yoke is fitted around their necks in order to ease the load of the weaker ox. In this example, I am the weaker ox and Jesus is the stronger one. My plowing will be much EASIER with him beside me. If he is the stronger ox it would be wise for me to follow him and let him guide me.

The same could be said about letting him guide me in every area of my life including making healthy food choices. Even when I stumble in this area his grace covers me and I know the way back up. Thank you, Lord!

In what area of your life do you need to yoke yourself to Jesus?

Perfect Brown Rice and Beans

This recipe is tried and true and is an absolute favorite in my household! Especially with my boys. I used to make it with white rice and this year I switched over to brown rice because it’s whole grain and has so many health benefits. And you know what? They didn’t even notice. I love it so much better, too! So without further ado here it is…

Perfect Brown Rice and Beans

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Medium Easy!
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1 overflowing cup of brown rice
2 cups water
¼ cup canned black beans
1 packet of Goya Sazon con Culantro y Achiote
1 pat butter
1 tbsp chopped garlic
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste

In one saucepan, boil 2 cups of water, add the rice to the boiling water and pat of butter, stir, lower heat and cover until all the water is absorbed (about 30 minutes). In another saucepan brown the garlic in the olive oil and set aside. When rice is fully cooked, add it to the garlic and olive oil. Add the packet of Sazon and stir until the rice is fully coated. Add the black beans in last and combine. Voila! You have Perfect Brown Rice and Beans!

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Where to Start? Coffee!

My sugar-free journey started after many attempts at trying to create a healthy lifestyle for myself. I would try diet after diet only to lose my health and regain the weight I had lost because it either wasn’t satisfying or I couldn’t maintain it long term. I have no regrets because through each attempt I learned something new about what worked or didn’t work for me. And isn’t that what life is about? Figuring out how to live your best YOU.

So let’s start by telling you about my most favorite “meal” of the day; my hot cup of morning coffee. Now I know what some of you are thinking. Coffee is not a meal. But I beg to differ. It satisfies me until I have my first meal sometime in the morning or early afternoon when I get hungry. Intermittent fasting anyone? It’s really supposed to be good for you. I find I need to eat about 12 hours after I go to bed at night. How about you?

My husband and I LOVE Dunkin’ Donuts’ French Vanilla ground coffee. But it is SO expensive. So one day I was shopping at Walmart and found a package of their Great Value French Vanilla ground coffee, and guess what? We both loved it even better than Dunkin’ Donuts’ brand. And at $3.78/12 oz bag, it fits right into our budget.

As for what I add to my coffee: it’s about a 1/4 cup of almond milk and light cream combined in equal measures and 1/2 tsp of Sweetleaf Stevia. And I always prepare a second cup in a Rubbermaid water bottle and keep it cold so I can have it after lunch. Pure Heaven!

Morning Coffee

  • Servings: 2 large cups
  • Difficulty: Easy!
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Ingredients

6 cups water
French Vanilla Ground Coffee to taste
Light Cream
Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 tsp Sweetleaf Stevia for each large cup of coffee

Directions

Add 6 cups of water to coffee maker. Put enough French Vanilla ground coffee into filter for your desired strength. When finished brewing, pour equal amounts of unsweetened almond milk and light cream into coffee. Add 1/2 tsp Sweetleaf Stevia to each cup. Stir and Enjoy!

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How do you take your coffee?