Tag Archives: omega-3s

Salmon with Lemon, Dijon and Dill

marinade salmon

Salmon is one of my favorite go-to weeknight mains – it doesn’t take long to marinate, it cooks quickly and as a bonus I can save a dose of my Omega-3 supplements… The main reason I cook it during the week though is it’s not something I usually order out. I’m going to try to say this without sounding like a giant food snob, but most salmon served in restaurants is farm-raised, which means it ate GMO corn and soy, was injected with dye to make it pink and doesn’t have near the Omega-3s it should. It can also be higher in mercury. I sound horrible, don’t I? But you know, when you start connecting the dots between what you put in your mouth and how you feel in your body you take this stuff a lot more seriously! I always say, eat like your life depends on it… because it does! What’s scarier is GMO corn and soy and food dye could one day be the least of our worries if frankenfish become a real thing. Yikes!

So then you can imagine how excited I was to see wild Pacific-caught salmon on just about every menu I opened on our California road trip last month. I must have had salmon four times that week. And holy… was it good. I swear, looking at the ocean while I ate it made it taste even better. When I shop for salmon, Pacific is what I look for because it’s less exposed to mercury so has lower concentrations of the toxic metal that can be a concern in larger fish. I can usually find it at the store either fresh or frozen. Wild is a bit pricer so to help offset the cost you can always opt for frozen which is usually less expensive. That’s typically how I buy my fish anyway. It’s easy enough to thaw and, hello, we live in Texas; most of the fish behind that glass was frozen not to long ago too….

Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acid, an essential nutrient our body needs to regulate inflammation. Omega-3 is something to be conscious about adding to your diet if you have any sort of pain, stiffness or swelling. People who suffer from joint pain report great results and relief (myself included) from supplementing with fish oil and other Omega-3 supplement sources like cod liver oil and krill oil. It’s also been shown to help reduce the risk  of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Of course it’s always best to get your nutrients from your food, that’s why I try to have salmon at least once or twice per week. And this recipe is one of my all time favorites. I love the combination of dill and mustard. I know it sounds like dressings for a hamburger but I suppose there’s a reason those condiments just work so dang well together.

This is great with sautéed vegetables like dark leafy greens, squash, zucchini and onion. Or for something a bit lighter you could serve on top of a spinach salad with fresh raw, thinly sliced veggies like carrot, celery and radish. Enjoy!

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ingredients

saute salmon

Salmon with Lemon, Dijon and Dill

Ingredients

2 wild Sockeye salmon filets
1 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
a couple sprigs of dill, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
sea salt
black pepper

Directions

To marinate salmon, place salmon filets in a glass container or gallon-sized plastic bag. Combine lemon, olive oil, dill, dijon, salt and pepper and then pour marinade over salmon. Mix well to coat the salmon filets and then set aside in fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour salmon and marinade into skillet and cook salmon 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with sautéed spring vegetables like zucchini, squash, asparagus, peas, etc.

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The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

anti-inflammatory smoothie

Last week I mentioned how I use food as medicine to help relieve pain and heal. When you approach food from this perspective, food is more than just calories or something to silence a growling tummy. It is information that tells our cells what to do and how to react. Imagine your body is like a computer and everything you put into it is a command on the keyboard. With the right combination of key strokes the computer will perform a given function. In a similar way our bodies’ output directly depends on the input.

Just like any other chemical substance you might put into your body – pharmaceuticals, over the counter drugs, other drugs, alcohol, etc. – the foods we eat create a chemical reaction just the same. And believe it or not, certain foods can have an effect that is just as strong, if not stronger, than one you can get from a bottle.

Take turmeric for example. I talk a lot about this root here because it has incredible healing properties. And several studies have shown it to be as effective as Ibuprofen at relieving pain. So I add it to a variety of foods and dishes when I cook to give myself a regular does of its healing benefits.

Super Power Spices 
Turmeric, along with ginger and cinnamon in this smoothie help to reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it. Here are a few more specific benefits of each:

Turmeric: One of the most powerful medicinal herbs that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine to treat a variety of ailments including arthritis, bruises and wounds. It also aids protein digestion, decongests the liver, acts as an antioxidant and can reduce menstrual pain.

Ginger: In addition to it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, ginger is used to ease an upset stomach, reduce nausea, improve digestion, clear congestion and warm up the body.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon can reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects and fight bacteria. It’s been shown to help regulate blood sugar, reduce LDL cholesterol, and help with hormonal balance that can improve fertility. It’s also high in calcium, iron and manganese.

pre-blend smoothie

Oh-Mega Dose
Another way to bring down inflammation is to make sure you’re getting plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids daily. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and work to balance the abundance of the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids we tend to get so much more of in our diet. When the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 gets out of proportion and skews to the pro-inflammatory side, it lays the ground work for all sorts of problems from allergies to aches and pains to the more serious stuff. The key is to get plenty of Omega-3s from food and even supplements to maintain a proper balance. The hemp and flaxseed in this smoothie are two of the best plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get Omega-3s from salmon, walnuts and dark leafy greens.

So there you have it, five (count ’em – five!) superfood inflammation fighters crammed into one glass. That’s a mega dose of anti-inflammatories to help kick your pain to the curb and boost your immunity.

The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp vanilla hemp protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash black pepper*
1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
handful ice cubes

Directions

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

 *black pepper is added to enhance the potency of turmeric and help it get into the bloodstream. A dash a black pepper enhances the benefits of turmeric 2,000 times. 

You Can Feel Better with Food
If the idea of using food as medicine intrigues you or if you’re curious about how you can start using food to feel better, I’d love to help.

Last week I introduced my new program, No Pain, Everything to Gain: 90 Days to the Real You. This program is about making shifts so you naturally crave and want to eat good-for-you foods. We’ll work together to identify problem foods and replace those with ones that make it easy to make the necessary changes for you to feel your absolute best. We’ll look at the complete picture to help you manage all the areas of your life that can affect your well being including stress, physical activity and emotional health to give you a sturdy foundation for long-term health and healing.

I’m offering five free 30 minute strategy sessions this week. If you’re interested in learning more about how small changes can make a big difference when it comes to dealing with chronic pain, email me at megan@meganadamsbrown.com.

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Oh-Mega Apple Muffins

oh-mega apple muffins

We finally got the rest of our kitchen unpacked this weekend (woo hoo!). And I realized something; it’s amazing what you find you don’t need after your things have been in boxes for three weeks. In that short time I managed to get bitten by the minimalist bug. Yes, me the same person who spent the better part of last year on One Kings Lane shopping for bookshelf accessories. Times change and we change with them I suppose…

Anyway, the thought of having to pack a kitchen twice in a year inspired us to edit our gear to the bare essentials. And we managed to keep six boxes packed up in the garage – stored away and ready to go to our next stop in a year. That was, until I got the itch to make muffins… In my ruthlessness the baking accessories didn’t make the cut. But now they were essential. It was raining. We were cozy. And we just needed muffins. So back to the garage we went (I say we but let’s be honest, it was all Ross – he saved the day again!).

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While he hunted pans I took to the pantry to see what I could possibly turn into a muffin worth eating. Our pantry staples are in need of replenishment but with a little creativity I was a able to scrounge up a pretty ingenious combo if I do say so myself.

Oh-Mega Dose of Omega-3s
Crammed into these muffins are the three top plant-based sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids – flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. What are Omega-3s you ask? They help regulate inflammation in the body and they’re called “essential” because we must get them from our diet – our bodies cannot make them on their own. The challenge with Omega-3s is that they’re sort of scarce in our food supply – you have to know where to look to find them and then make sure you’re eating those foods, like the ingredients mentioned here, plus salmon, sardines and dark leafy greens regularly.

To make matters even more complicated, Omega-3 has an essential fatty acid cousin, Omega-6. The two work together like two sides of a coin. While Omega-3 works to decrease inflammation, Omega 6 promotes it. In the body they perform a sort of balancing act to protect our cells; we need both in the right ratio. But the problem is most of us are getting loads more Omega-6 in our diet than Omega-3 (some 14-25x more) so we’re skewed toward the inflammatory side, which over the long term is not good. Omega-6s are abundant in things like nuts, seeds, grains, cooking oils and out of the box snacks.

You can keep your Omega-6 intake in check by cutting back on the processed foods and opting for olive oil over oils like soy, corn and vegetable. Grass fed meats are also less inflammatory because the animals are getting more Omega-3s from the grass rather than more Omega-6s from grains and seeds. And of course you can get your fill the vegetarian way with the flax, chia and walnuts in these muffins. Wild salmon is a sure bet source as well.

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The Sweetest Thing
You know what else causes inflammation? Sugar. So it would be silly to cancel out all the great inflammation fighting benefits we’ve got going on here by adding something that’s going to take away from that, am I right? Not to worry, the only thing sweetening the sauce here is fruit – no refined sugar, or unrefined for that matter either. Just apples. And you know what they say about apples….

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Oh-Mega Apple Muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup apple sauce (2 individual packs)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 small apple, diced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 315 degrees. In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda and salt and whisk until evenly distributed. Add applesauce, melted coconut oil and water and stir to mix. Stir in walnuts, coconut, chia seeds and apple. If batter seems dry or too flaky, add a bit more water and stir/mash until batter holds together.

Spoon batter into lined muffin pan and bake at 315 for 40-45 minutes. Cool before serving.

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Carrot Ginger Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

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OK, I’ll admit, cookie may be a stretch here. This is entirely too good for you to be a cookie. But just go with me on this one…

Imagine… It’s 7:45 a.m. and you’re going to be late for your 8 a.m. meeting if you don’t get yourself out the door in the next minute. Breakfast isn’t happening, but you can grab an apple? some nuts? maybe a Larabar? or how about a homemade even-better-for-you breakfast treat? Way better option, right?! Sure, you have to make them ahead of time, but the pay off in satisfaction, energy, and starting off on the right foot is totally worth the investment if you ask me.

It’s tough to get convenience and healthy in the same package. I find it’s a combo that in most cases is just too good to be true. But, I’ve learned that with some preparation and investment on the front end, it can be done. You just have to suck it up and spend a little time in the kitchen.

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If you’re still with me after that one, hear me out… I truly believe that the healthiest food possible comes from your kitchen or the one of someone who loves you. Anywhere else, and your health and wellbeing is just too far down on the priority list. Sure there are some great food products out there. And options for gluten-free, dairy-free prepared foods are beyond what were in our wildest dreams five years ago. But gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, etc. is not the same as good for you. I’m totally guilty of letting my guard down in the presence of the allergen-free label. When shopping, please, for the love of God, keep reading those labels. And watch for sugars and refined flours. OK, I’m done.

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So, I originally got this recipe from Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows (love her blog!) then changed it up a bit – using less maple syrup and more applesauce to cut the sugar content even more (it is breakfast afterall). I think every time I’ve made these I’ve changed something… like using ghee (or butter for those that can take it) instead of coconut oil. Or trying it with buckwheat flour. Subbing the oats for quinoa flakes. Lots of options here so by all means, save a trip to the store and use what you have on hand.

The real stars here are the flax, carrots and ginger. I mean, talk about a killer way to start your morning with these three! From the flax, you get a healthy does of Omega-3s right off the bat. Omega-3s are one of those nutrients you really have to pay attention to make sure you’re getting it in your diet because our bodies don’t make it – we have to get it from food. Omega-3 (inflammation cutter) is a duo with Omega-6 (inflammation builder) and they’re constantly performing a balancing act. The ideal ratio between the two is 1:2. But in today’s world this is pretty tough to achieve. The problem is it’s so much easier to get Omega-6 (nuts, seeds, cereals, out-of-the-box snacks…) than the not quite as easy to find Omega-3 (flax, salmon, walnuts…) so we end up out of balance with way too much inflammation than our bodies really need to stay healthy. Too much inflammation leads to all sorts of problems from alleriges to Alzheimers. So, to that I say, have another cookie!

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When making treats like these, I like to make a big batch and then freeze half. It saves half the time (and mess). In just about an hour, you can get countless breakfasts (and snacks) taken care of. And save yourself from shelling out $1.50+ a pop for a not-quite-as-good-for-you store bought bar. Plus when you make them yourself, you get to lick the bowl (or your fingers) when you’re done. Have fun!

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Carrot Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

(recipe adapted from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup ground flax seed
½ cup almond meal
½ cup coconut flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes (or gf rolled oats)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup currants
1 cup lightly packed shredded carrots
3 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
¼ cup pure maple syrup (or another liquid sweetener)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated ginger

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the flax, almond meal, coconut flour, quinoa flakes, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and currants. Grate the carrots and ginger (I fed them through the grater in the food processor) and set aside. Melt the coconut oil over medium-low heat until liquid. Pour oil in a bowl and then add the applesauce, maple syrup, carrots, ginger and vanilla. Stir well to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well (the dough will be very sticky). Using a spoon and your hands scoop out dough and form into 12 cookies. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 14-15 minutes.

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Simple Slaw Salad with Salmon

simple slaw with salmon

Meet my new favorite meal for spring. This plate has so much good stuff going on I’m not even sure where to begin. You’ve got your omega-3s in the salmon, and an extra anti-inflammatory boost from covering the fish in curry powder. Pair that with a slaw of raw veggies in all their glory, pure and unwilted delivering enzymes, nutrients and a delicious crunch. Oh, that crunch…

simple slaw

Raw foods can be so refreshing this time of year and adding them to your meals adds a whole list of health benefits including improved digestion. Foods that are raw come with enzymes which help to get the whole digestion thing started. That means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break the food down all on its own. And you know what that means? More energy for you!

Healthnuttiness aside, what I love about this is you can make the slaw salad ahead of time (it’s actually even better the next day) and, if you plan it right, have dinner and lunch (or lunches) covered. Cook once, eat twice!

salmon

As for the salmon, it doesn’t get any easier than sprinkling on a little curry powder and sticking it under the broiler. I said this is my new favorite meal for spring for a reason… no cooking. no clean up. no reason not to be outside playing!

Simple Slaw Salad and Salmon

Ingredients

1/2 head of Napa cabbage, grated
6 carrots, grated
1 bunch basil, thinly sliced
3 limes, juiced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 salmon filets
curry powder
salt and pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, basil, then toss with lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To start the salmon, heat the broiler. Place filets on a foil-lined baking sheet skin side down and dust the tops of the fish with curry powder to just cover the filets and sprinke with salt and pepper. Broil salmon 6-8 minutes.

Serve slaw topped with salmon and enjoy!

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Banana, Peach & Peanut Butter Smoothie

It may not sound like your traditional fruit smoothie combo, but just trust me on this one… You’ll take one sip and think “OMG, this is breakfast?!” Banana and peanut butter – there’s no surprise there. And when the classic combo is frozen and blended it’s creamy, rich deliciousness. For breakfast.

As for the peaches, they’re just too good right now to not put them in everything. I’m slicing them up and adding them to salads, salsas and, like here, smoothies. Buy some peaches on sale, slice them up and put them in the freezer to blend up with your other favorite fruits. I like: blueberry + peach…. mango + peach… or peach + peach.

I usually blend in a tablespoon of ground flax seed to add fiber along with antioxidants and a dose of omega-3 fatty acid, which helps to reduce inflammation in the body. The ground flax blends in easily to where I don’t even notice it. All I taste is the next best thing to ice cream… for breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 banana, sliced and frozen
3 slices of frozen peaches
1 tbsp organic peanut butter*
1tbsp ground flaxseed
1½ cup almond milk

*look for organic, fresh-ground peanut butter that’s made just using peanuts – no sugar.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in blender (I use the magic bullet) and blend until smooth. Add almond milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

I promised the other day that I’d be back with the recipe for those roasted Brussels sprouts that went on the side of my acorn squash. So here goes… First though, I feel we must address their reputation. Of all the vegetables out there, I can’t think of another that is as despised as Brussels sprouts. But these bite-sized crucifers have undergone a sort-of image refresh, if you will. They seem to be on every restaurant’s list of sides these days. Still, I can’t help but associate them with TV sitcoms and kids at the dinner table hiding their Brussels sprouts in napkins, plants, dog bowls, even their own cheeks until they could escape and spit them out. Brussels sprouts for dinner was pure torture in TV land. But perhaps June and the other TV moms were going about it all wrong…

There is a right and wrong way to prepare Brussels sprouts and other leafy greens. Boiling and steaming can cook and literally drain the life right out of them. With this method though, you just might turn a hater into a lover. Roasting Brussels sprouts brings out a sweetness in them, especially when combined with another complimentary sweet flavor, like the red onion here. And the walnuts add a little extra nuttiness and crunch, plus a healthy dose of omega-3s. Brussels sprouts alone are veggie superstars. A relative of broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower, all of these vegetables are known for being cancer fighters. And when they’re combined with onions, not only do you up the flavor, but you also up the ante. The two work together to detoxify, clean the system, and remove toxins from the body. Try getting more of the combo into your diet, and then if you really want to get crazy, throw in some mushrooms too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

What you need:

1 bunch Brussels sprouts, halved
1 small red onion, cut into crescents
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

What you do:

Preheat oven to 400. Combine Brussels sprouts, red onion, walnuts in a bowl and mix in olive oil until evenly distributed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread mixture out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until slightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.

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10 Foods That Make Your Skin Glow

There are bookoos of products out there to exfoliate, slough, moisturize, lift, revitalize, invigorate … your skin. You could spend a mortgage plus lots of precious time in pursuit of perfection from a bottle. They’ve got one thing right – we do have a lot of control over the way skin looks and feels. But there’s a simpler fix than a chemical peel. Before you go spend a fortune on products, evaluate your grocery list. Good skin starts with diet. Skin cells are constantly dying, shedding and making new ones. The foods you eat provide the building materials for healthy skin cells. So each day is sort of like a fresh start for better looking skin. Give your body what it needs and it will return the favor. With these good for your skin foods you’re on your way to glowing…

1. Green tea – antioxidents in green tea eliminate cancer-causing free radicals, it reduces inflammation which makes skin look puffy and red, and reactivates dying cells

2. Salmon – essential fatty acids in salmon make up our cell membranes and keep them strong and functioning properly to keep out harmful substances, allow nutrients in and move waste out of our cells. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation

3. Blueberries – antioxidents and phytochemicals eliminate inflammation and free radicals

4. Carrots – vitamin A is required for building new, healthy skin cells

5. Avocado – good fat, with essential oils that soothe red skin

6. Almonds – vitamin E moisturizes skin and protects against premature aging

7. Mango – vitamin A repairs damaged skin cells and helps build new ones

8. Spinach (or anything else green and leafy) – vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to oxygenate skin cells and improve circulation

9. Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids counter act inflammation to keep skin from looking red and puffy

10. Water – keep cells hydrated and move out toxins

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The Green Smoothie

I know how it sounds.

But really I am not a crazy with a juicer. I’ve never even juiced anything. And I hate V8. I do realize a green smoothie sounds questionable, but if it wasn’t good I can tell you I would not have one everyday for breakfast. And I do! It’s delicious and such a good start to the day.

A few weeks ago I posted about leafy greens and how crazy good they are for you. Green = vitamins, minerals and all that good stuff. I’d heard of people who made green juice drinks as a way to squeeze in extra fruit/veggie servings. It can be part of a healing or a cleansing diet, or just a way to start the day off right. We all have those days when it’s just easier to pick up a sandwich. But when I have this smoothie in the morning I know that no matter what the day might bring (read: Chick Fil A lunch), I’ve already had my green.

I make it in the Magic Bullet. I’m sure you’ve seen the infomercial. It’s perfect for smoothies because you can just throw all your ingredients in one of the single serving cups, blend it and go.

Yes, it looks like it glows in the dark. But I swear all you taste is the mango. It’s sneaky like that. I used mangos here, but you can mix up whatever fruit you want. I like it with strawberries and blueberries too (and the darker fruit hides the green). I always use a banana because it gives it a soft, creamy texture. Frozen fruit makes a thicker smoothie too. Also, I add flaxseed for a serving of Omega-3s with its anti-inflammatory benefits.

What you need:

1 banana
a handful of frozen mango chunks
orange juice
1 tsp flaxseed (grounded or flax seed oil)
2-3 leaves kale, torn

What you do:
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend, adding more orange juice as needed to facilitate blending.

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Healthy Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

I know what you’re thinking … Healthy AND creamy? Liar.

No, really. This soup is rich, smooth and delicious. And it has only 3 grams of fat per serving, plus a solid dose vitamins A and C. How, you ask? There’s no cream. No butter. Just squash, potatoes, stock and seasoning. And it tastes just as decadent. On a cool, rainy day (read: forecast for this week), it’s fall-in-a-bowl perfection.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups chicken stock

Here’s what you do:

Peel and chop up all the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Heat oil in a big soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add  the ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir together until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add the diced vegetables and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are tender.

Transfer the soup to a blender (you’ll have to do this in 2-3 batches) and puree. Hold the lid with a towel to keep from splashing and burning yourself. Return soup to pot and stir to even out texture. Continue heating if necessary and adjust seasoning with salt pepper.

Serve and top with chopped walnuts (omega-3s), pecans, raisins, or a dollop of cream if you like.

Sip, slurp, watch the leaves change colors. It’s fall.

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