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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Friday
Oct162009

Curried Butternut Squash Soup And Crock Pot Giveaway!

**note: this is NOT some sort of sponsored giveaway. Boring, long story short: I have an extra, unopened, still-in-the-box crock pot that I want to give to you for always being so kind as to visit me here!

I've not yet waxed poetic about my new love affair with my crock pot. Perhaps it's my very Mormon background. Crock potting seems but one step removed from casserole baking. Whatever the reason, oh my, but it's a thing of beauty. Especially for the working mother or the family on a budget. Seriously, people. I work full-time and can also cook up a fantastic meal and it's no extra hassle! I'm whipping up chicken & dumplings, roast & potatoes, two different varieties of curry, a sausage, tomato and green pepper dinner and my personal favorite; curried butternut squash soup.

I've loved butternut squash soup ever since my college boyfriend took me to a work dinner at some ritzy joint and I had the soup as an appetizer. Fancy doins. It's just so goddamn autumnal, what with the squash harvest, hot soup. There's nothing better than soup when fall tap dances into season and the nights turn on you and begin to nip at your toes or any other bareskinned item that braves the cooler air outside your bed covers.

The following recipe is something I've culled from several recipes and then added a few of my own touches. It takes about fifteen minutes to slap everything into the crock pot and five to six hours later you're good to go. Most crock pot meals are that way. Chop up a few veggies, throw in some broth or stock or Campbells Cream of Chicken/Mushroom/Celery and a few hours later you're eatin' fancy. I generally whip everything together right before I leave for work and by six o'clock Serge is eating a hot, tasty meal while he reads fly fishing porn. The slimy fish moved heavily over his tense hand. Skin to skin, man and fish rubbed...

Listen folks, if I can manage this it should be a walk in the park for y'all. And! Because I want to spread the love I've decided to take you along as I whip up my latest batch of Curried Butternut Squash Soup. And then? It's free crock pot time! Join me, won't you?



CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

2 pounds butternut squash, rinsed, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 firm crisp apples, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 cups chicken stock/broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped dried cranberries (unless your husband decides to eat the entire bag in one sitting and then? You're hosed on cranberry garnish. But, onward!)


Cut skins off two average-sized butternut squash, cut seeds out and chop and into cubes then throw in crock pot.






Peel and dice one medium-sized yellow onion and add to crock pot.



Peel apples, chop into small cubes and add to crock pot. I've been using Fuji but I think experimenting with different kinds of apples could change this soup in interesting, tasty ways.



In separate bowl pour 5 cups of chicken broth or stock (I've yet to figure out the major difference) add spices then pour over crock pot ingredients.



**Note: Spices can be expensive. You probably already have cinnamon and nutmeg. Curry powder is fairly cheap. As far as cloves go, shop around. If you live near a Wal-Mart (and I mean, really, who doesn't?) the ethnic foods aisle (particularly the Mexican aisle) often sells packets of many different spices for less than a dollar. I bought my cloves there for something like 99 cents and crushed them myself. Otherwise I'd pick one spice a week to buy and before you know it you'll be stocked up for a while.





Pour the liquid mixture into the crock pot and turn it on low.


Cook on low for around five hours, until vegetables are soft.


At this point I smash the ingredients a bit with a potato masher, you don't have to, but I do. Just stick it right in the crock pot and mash around. Just to get things started. Then you pour as much as you can into a blender or food processor and puree for maybe ten seconds or so. There's quite a lot in the crock pot so you may have to puree three different batches.

If your husband didn't eat them all LIKE MINE DID garnish each bowl of soup with dried cranberries and the tiniest pinch of cinnamon and you're good to go! This time around I made do with a cinnamon stick and whole cloves for garnish.


DeLISH! This recipe makes tons so you can freeze some or put some in tupperware for fridgerator leftovers. It usually lasts me almost a week. It's good for lunch with a sandwich or dinner with garlic bread and sometimes I even heat some up in the morning in lieu of tea or coffee. Forget your Pumpkin Starbucks Latte or whatever in hell puts you in the pre-winter spirit. This is one of the best, spicy autumnal soups for minimal effort and cost! Depending on which spices you already have this warm, flavorful meal can cost around five bucks and last several days!

Now, if you'd like the free crock pot, one just like mine, go ahead and leave a comment about your favorite Halloween costume you ever wore. You've got all weekend. On Monday I'll have Serge draw a number out of a hat and that commenter gets the crock pot!

Reader Comments (74)

I was a Disney princess for 99% of my life when it comes to Halloween. I still wear a Belle costume every year I can. :)

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I think my favorite costume was the year I dressed up like Dolly Parron. Big curly blond wig, western cloths...and a big ass bra stuffed with giant balls of yarn, lol. The guy who sat next to me at work looked like his eyes were gonna pop right out of his head, it was hilarious :)

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWendi

Thanks for sharing your recipe!- I love the colorful pictures of this (and the ones from your taco night).

So Halloween costume... when I was three or four my mother dressed me up as Orco (He-Man's sidekick). I watched this show every day before my nap growing up, and it still cracks me up that this is what I wanted to be for Halloween. http://seemedlikeagoodideathetime.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/wtf1.jpg

I was always super small for my age- and I had fuzzy blonde curls- and she put me in this big red dress with a hula hoop at the bottom, white gloves, and a big felt O on my chest. The clincher was the big pointy hat. I wish I had a picture to share.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Forgot to mention the best costume my mom ever made me -- I was Raggedy Ann...she made this curly yarn red wig and put together a blue dress with a white apron....white knee high socks and black mary jane shoes. Very cute!

I think it would Violet would be a very cute Raggedy Ann one day :)

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Oh Monica, no wonder you moved back to Utah... LOVE it, step by step photos an' all :-)
ps I am with you on the cheap herbs in the ethnic foods aisle - I get my bay leaves there for a fraction of the cost of the posh spice section (and now hark at me, I've been living here far too long...)

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

My favourite halloween costume wasn't a costume at all. I was in high school handing out the candy when a teenager came to the door and asked what I was supposed to be. "Um, myself?!?," I answered...you see, I used to dress in what can only be described as alternatively back then (it was the early 90s), and was just wearing my favourite outfit. I just like how I used to experiment and be creative with my outfits on a daily basis - something I've unfortunately grown out of as an adult. (Although I am never mistaken nowadays for wearing a costume, I suppose)...

And thanks so much for the soup recipe - sounds great! I sometimes add coconut milk to mine but like the addition of apples.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchristine

I LOVE fall, I LOVE Halloween!! It may have something to do with the fact that my birthday is 3 days before the beloved holiday...who knows!?

I was never into dressing up in sexy outfits for Halloween, I liked to make people laugh, so I always went for something funny. (No offense to anyone who dresses up in sexy stuff for Halloween, if you can pull it off, more power to ya!)
Anyway, one year, I found this awesome, tall, BLUE wig and thought it looked just like Marge Simpson's hair. So, I bought it.
Then I bought 8 styrofoam (sp?) balls and painted them red and tied them together with fishing line for my neckalce. I found this perfect bright green dress that looks just like hers and some flat, red house shoes.
Needless to say, the costume was a hit and I went around making that growl she always gives to Homer. It was a great costume (in my opinion) and I have yet to find one as great as that one!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKylie

No halloween costume - just a money saving tip. I noticed you used boxed chicken stock for the recipe. There is a product out called better than bouillan. It's a paste that you can use to make chicken stock by just adding a TBSP or two to boiling water. A little jar makes gallons of chicken stock and is much cheaper than buying it pre-made and lasts longer. Just a thought.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I moved to Utah last year. It's definitely...different.
Anyway, my favorite costume was the year I went as a Madonna Wannabe. I was nine or ten and got ready after swim practice by myself. I say it was my fav only because I remember feeling so awesome putting on make-up and wearing fishnet gloves.lol Looking back now I cringe in horror that I was actually in the presence of other human beings and I totally thought I was the shit!!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenifer

Love your blog. Love reading about your life. Also becoming a fan of your husband's blog. When is Violet going to start her blog?

I remember being a nurse one year when I was in high school. My mom was a nurse so I just wore her stuff and in those days it consisted of a white dress, starched, silly hat, white nylons, and ugly white shoes. That may have influenced my decision to not go into nursing. I had fun playing nurse at the party though.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

My favorite Halloween must have been in junior high. I dressed up as Minnie Mouse, makeup and all! My mother was always great at making costumes and so made this one as well. It was really cute and because it was cold out, I wore a leotard underneath it to keep me warmer. I wore my Mickie ears that I got in Disney World, and painted bright red lips and black whiskers on my face. I got so much candy that year!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGina

My favorite Halloween costume was a Hershey Kiss, at about age eight. The base was a printer paper box, so my stride radius was about 8 inches, and there was a lot of shiny tin foil involved, but I remained very "kiss-like" through the very last trick-or-treat stop!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNoBiggie

I was a frog prince 2 years ago! The head on the costume was huge & it had frog feet to wear over my shoes. It was hilarious & nice and warm! I love Halloween!!

I'm definitely going to have to try that recipe! I can't drink/eat much dairy anymore so its hard for me to find yummy recipes my boyfriend and I both enjoy - thank you!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I dressed up as Cyndi Lauper in 2nd-5th grades. I was such a huge fan! Now I look back and can't believe that my mother, who was so strict about so many weird things, allowed me to rat out my hair and spray it orange every year. Wish i still had the outfit, though!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril

In Vail with family and friends. Just put the soup contents in the crock pot. We can NOT wait! Mmmmmm.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie P

Love your blog. I was actually searching for a butternut squash crockpot recipe and here is a perfect one!! I have 2 recipes that I usually combine for a stovetop soup, but tomorrow I will be far to busy to make it. This recipe will be perfect!!!
Thank you

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary M

Thank you for this recipe! We just got back from a weekend in 3 Rivers, CA and stopped at a produce stand, and I bought a couple of butternut squash for soup. Came home to look for a recipe and found yours! I'm going to make a traditional one and yours.

My favorite Halloween costume was one I made for a college party. I took a sturdy piece of cardboard and covered if with a plastic tablecloth. Then I cut a hole for my head. Then I put two plastic wine glasses on it that looked like they once had wine, a pack of cigs and matches, an open condom wrapper....I was a one night stand!

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYolanda

Aww, fun! I've been wanting to get a crockpot because I'm trying to cook at home more. Ok, my favorite costume ever was when my partner and I went as anatomically correct robots. His had a shiny wang and 2 silver painted tennis balls. Mine had these lamp covers spray painted silver for boobs. They were hilarious! :D

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlaise

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I am 56 and have never missed a year of dressing up. Sometimes I am the only at work who does, but I say if you don't make your own fun who will make it for you. I do digress. My favorite costume has to be...One year many years ago I decieded to be a punk rocker. I have a very cute figure and was very pleased with what I had created...sprayed, punked up hair, leggins, short skirt...you get the picture. Well at one house with my 2 little children in tow, a neighborhood man asked if I took credit cards. At first I didn't get it. I am still not sure if I should have been complimented or not. If you didn't get it, I guess I looked like a hooker not a rocker.

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValerie Schrader

Monica,

Made your recipe last night for one of the doc's birthday. Everyone loved it and one of the docs asked me for the recipe for his Thanksgiving dinner. Cool! Thanks for sharing! Next time I'm going to roast the squash first and then scoop it out. I garnished with a dollop of sour cream!

Loving your money saving/debt reduction posts!

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertab

I have been reading your posts lately, just want to say thanks for all informative stuff i have found here, helped me learn alot lately.

Much Regards, Mark

November 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSpyware Blockers

This site sounds amazing and appeals to it addict in me. Best of luck!By gucci handbags

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergucci handbags

So you posted this over a year ago and I'm bummed about the crock pot giveaway that I missed. Anyhow, I did try your recipe for the butternut squash soup. It's on right now and should be done in about 3 hrs. I just wanted to give you a shout out that your recipe is still goin' on dinner tables one year later. Be blessed.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarble Eyez

Soup was a hit! So tasty. Froze some.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarble Eyez

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