Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tex is Back (With a Cover Reveal!)

Boy, does it feel good to be back in the cafe. Even though I still can't eat most of what we're fixin' (I'm up to a wonderful soft-foods diet), I'll sneak what I can.

First, I have something I can't wait to share with you.

My September release!!!!!

I can't tell you how in love I am with this cover. 
The way Love Inspired's artists did the lights in the town add almost a Kincaid-esque feel.
As someone said, makes you want to curl up with a blanket.

Which can mean only one thing. We need soup!

Now y'all know that I've had more soup in the last month than I had all last winter. Cream soup, to be exact. And after a while, that canned stuff just got old. So as soon as I was feeling well enough to cook, I determined to make my own soup. Something creamy, with no chunks.

Then I remembered having this amazing butternut squash soup at an ACFW Conference. Thus began my quest for a recipe, ending with a lovely Roasted Butternut Squash recipe. I mean, if there's one thing we've learned here at the cafe, it's how yummy those roasted vegetables are.

Here's what you're going to need:
  • 4 lbs (about 2 medium) butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 8 fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 tsp rubbed sage)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (yes, Kav, this is a recipe for you!)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 heavy cream
Heat oven to 425 degrees and arrange rack in middle of oven.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the squash halves cut side up. 

Brush with one tablespoon melted butter and season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast until tender, about 50-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, core and cut the apple into a medium dice. Dice the onion. Melt remaining butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, sage, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and set aside.

When the squash is ready...
Set baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash in cool enough to handle. 

Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the Dutch oven with the sauteed apples and onions. Discard skins.

Add the broth, water and measured salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, breaking up any large pieces of squash.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the cream.

Using a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth.
You can also use an immersion blender.

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Y'all, this was the most flavorful meal I'd had in weeks. And because of the fiber in the squash, the most filling. Which mean I was able to eat about a half a cup.

But think of how yummy this would be on a cold autumn night. Which is why I froze half of what I made. 

I'm avoiding soup for a while now. Opting instead for things like oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt and, of course, my Trim Healthy Mama smoothies. I've even been able to have some dark meat chicken, so long as it's chopped very fine. That'll carry me to the end of June, but I'm just grateful to be able to chew again. It really is those little things in life that make us happy. :)

But every cloud has a silver lining, right?

My silver lining is that I've lost 15 pounds. However, I don't recommend the liquid diet plan.


  1. Mindy, I didn't realize you hadn't been feeling well. Praying for a speedy recovery!

    Absolutely LOVE your cover. Beautiful enough to frame and hang on the wall. It just begs me to rush into town. I want to live there!!!!!!!! Will be looking forward to read it.

    And thanks for this soup recipe. Definitely something I'll try in the fall. Too hot (did I actually say that out loud?) for soup now. I'm into the salads and yoghurt phase for the summer.

  2. Too hot? This from the land of perpetual winter? Does this mean your snow has finally melted, Kav?

    I had surgery on May 5th to repair a hiatal hernia. That was followed by 4 days of clear liquids, 2 weeks of full liquids and I've finally graduated to "soft" foods. But I am feeling much better. :)

  3. I was looking at this half asleep early this morning and thought the pic of the squash were cute wooden measuring spoons! sigh...I've tried pumpkin soup and some kind of squash soup before - unimpressed - but maybe my tstes have changed and this is homemade and not in box...but I think I'd be tempted to eat the roasted butternut squash bfore it could be soup-ified!
    hope you can eat soon - was wondering how you'd been doing.

    1. Wanna know something funny, Susanna? I've never eaten butternut squash. We always had acorn squash. So if you like the squash, you might like the soup. Or you can just start roasting your squash. :)

    2. I ate butternut squash thanks to the salad bar at Sweet Tomatoes- they have it shredded and I decided to try it one time. It was good by itself. A friend did a roasted squash with stuf added like rosemary I think but I think it was acorn - is that the greenish colored one?

    3. Yes, acorn is the one that green outside, maybe with a little bit of orange/gold thrown in. I have yet to roast that one, but need to give it a whirl this fall.

  4. This is my favorite soup ever. Thanks for the recipe. Hope you are feeling better and on the road to recovery.

  5. I already peeked at your cover!! LOVE IT-release month buddy.

    1. I think we both have pretty great covers. Both snowy and beautiful.

  6. That is a beautiful cover, Mindy!!!

    And I'm so glad your recovery is progressing well. THM smoothies have so many varieties, I hope you aren't getting tired of them yet!

    And I'm saving this soup recipe. Although it sounds good for today - we're cloudy and 58° this morning!

    1. Thanks, Jan. You know, I haven't had that many varieties. Mostly strawberry, mixed berry or peach. Only had the cake batter one a time or two. If you have more, send them my way. When I need a chocolate fix I go for one of the frappas.

      58 isn't bad for morning. What's you're high temp supposed to be? I'm sad to say that we're climbing into the 90's and will probably be stuck there for the next 3-4 months. Of course, it could be worse. Right, Tina? :P

    2. 68 is the high for today - storms are in the area. I'm not complaining, though! After living in southerly areas for fifteen or so years, I celebrate every summer day we don't have to turn on the AC!

  7. I am jealous of the cover and the weight loss. You are really having to be creative, arent' you? The soup will be great here when it is hot outside and the AC freezes me up.

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who freezes in the AC. :)

  8. Mindy, I LOVE your cover! You're right--looks like Thomas Kincaid!

    Love the soup recipe, too. Sounds amazing.

    1. Thanks, Missy! Harlequin's art department has really been coming up with some great covers.

  9. Oh, I missed you so much, TEX!!!!!!! This cover is GORGEOUS. Just simply GORGEOUS!!!!! I love it so much that it's almost ridiculous how much I love it!!!!! Hooray for you and snow and September! You know, I've had squash soup and loved it but never tried making it. This is incentive right here because A. I'm hungry and B. It looks great and C. Did I mention I'm hungry???? :) We have a small field (800 plants) of butternut squash coming to sell at the roadside so I'll have a field day with butternut squash recipes. A part of me is looking forward to it, another part is not wishing our summer away! Welcome back, Mindy!!!! ♥♥♥♥♥

    1. Hunger is a powerful thing, isn't it, Ruthy? Oh, I would love to stop into your roadside stand. I bet you have all kinds of wonderful stuff.

      And now you have something new to do with your squash. Hopefully you and yours will find it as flavorful as I did.

      Like I told Missy, they're doing some great covers lately. Of course, it's hard to top those with a cowboy on 'em. :)

  10. Reading this post late, but had to tell you that your cover is BEAUTIFUL! And I'm glad you are feeling better! I love soup, so will serve it in any season, and your recipe sounds yummy! Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Sherida. And you know what they say... Better late than never. :)

      Hope you enjoy the soup!