|These kids so need a vacation after their vacation.|
Here in our house we just finished two weeks of nonstop activity with visiting family. We have loved every bit of the food, conversations, and adventures with our 20 East Coast relatives whom we see every year or two. We did a bit of traveling together and a whole lot of eating and <sigh of relief> the kids fared well despite several meals out (we mostly packed our own food) and plenty of cooks in the shared kitchen. My husband and I have been grateful for the lengths that our extended family has gone to accommodate the kids milk, peanut, and various tree nut allergies. They get it. It's been magical!
|Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe|
We shared a huge rental house for a few days in South Lake Tahoe after my brother-in-law's wedding. With a group of about 25 people and many who love to cook, we all helped out with various meals throughout the week. I've come to realize that prepping in the kitchen and feeding the masses is now relaxing and therapeutic for me. In my younger years when I was less experienced and less confident, cooking for other people was really stressful.
Our pantry at home has been getting cluttered so I vowed to use up as many of our stockpiled goods as possible on this trip, a task I jokingly referred to as my personal "Iron Chef" challenge. For one dinner, I made some vegan tacos and nachos with Daiya Vegan Shreds, Trader Joe's shells, beefless ground beef and dairy-free taco seasoning, and canned beans. Box of shells and 5 cans of beans used -- YES! And for one of the lunches, I freed up a lot of space in the pantry with a curried pumpkin (2 cans of pumpkin, vegetable broth, and 2 cans of coconut milk).
It was my first time making the pumpkin soup. With just a couple of simple substitutions and the addition of minced ginger, it became a more allergy-friendly, delicious meal. If you aren't a fan of ginger, start out with just 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and add more to taste. You can completely omit the ginger, too, but I really do think it adds great flavor to the soup.
Curry powder is actually a mix of spices that may include coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon, red pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, mustard, and ginger. If you know of or suspect any spice allergies, it's best to avoid pre-mixed curry and make your own safe curry mix. There are variations here.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from Kimberly Knepper's recipe at Taste of Home.com
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
10 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp cornstarch or 2 Tbsp flour or 2 1/2 tsp arrowroot
1 to 2 tsp curry powder
3 cups vegetable broth
15-oz can of pumpkin puree
14-oz can of coconut milk (full-fat coconut milk yields the smoothest, richest flavor)
1 Tbsp agave syrup or honey, or 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (brown or white)
1 Tbsp fresh, minced ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste
pepper to taste
- Heat cooking oil in pot over medium heat.
- Add onions. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add mushrooms.
- Saute onions and mushrooms until onions become translucent.
- Next, add thickening agent (cornstarch, flour, or arrowroot), curry powder to the pot. Mix constantly until both are completely dissolved.
- Add broth. Bring to a boil, stirring often to thicken the soup.
- Add in pumpkin, coconut milk, syrup/sugar/sweetener, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir thoroughly to break up any pumpkin chunks.
- Simmer on low for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
I doubled the recipe and served it as a part of lunch (pineapple curry fried rice plus soup) for 15 people. The soup was a big winner among the family. I was thrilled by how easy this soup was to make and how smooth and fragrant it was despite a fairly short list of ingredients. With Trader Joe's canned organic pumpkin making its way back onto shelves in the fall, this will definitely make it on to my holiday season meals list!