Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!]

Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser

Last year about this time, a few friends hosted a shower to celebrate the birth of our third. I gave birth to him in July, but with summer schedules and newborn exhaustion, we decided to wait until the fall for a baby shower—and I loved it!

Celebrating three months into his life forced me to stop and practice gratitude in a way I couldn’t necessarily do during pregnancy. It allowed me to step away from the diapers and spit-up and appointments. It created space to gather with friends and family and look back on what God gave us in this sweet, little boy—while still looking forward to his life ahead.

My friends know me well, too, because that evening, they made it a point to serve home-cooked food and sit around the table together. We passed baskets of bread, poured glasses of wine, and savored spoonfuls of soup. We chatted and laughed, talked about birth stories, and commiserated with each other about sleepless nights. I remember thinking how grateful I was for my new son and the loved ones who took the time to celebrate him with me. What a gift.

Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser
Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser
Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser
Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser
Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser
Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon [Paleo and Whole30!] - Sarah J. Hauser

My friend who hosted my baby shower ladled soups into small glass jars. I thought it was a great idea, and it made it easy for people to try both soups she offered that night. Not only do jars work well for serving smaller portions to a group, but it makes it easy to snag a cup for lunch to go alongside a salad or sandwich.

This Butternut Squash Soup is dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30, so it works for all kinds of diets! You can also omit or serve the bacon on the side for a vegan option. Enjoy!


Butternut Squash Soup with Rosemary + Bacon
Yields about 10 cups

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 ½-4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
⅓ cup full fat coconut milk (from a can, not a coconut milk beverage)
8-12 ounces bacon
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and apples, and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 4-6 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add the white wine vinegar, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 1 more minute. (Add about ¼ cup of stock if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.)

Pour in the broth and add the squash. Turn the heat to medium-high, cover, and bring to a boil. The reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered) until the squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

While the soup cooks, fry the bacon until crisp, and chop into small pieces.

Turn the heat off the soup. Stir in the coconut milk. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, allow soup to cool for a bit and then transfer to a regular blender in batches to puree.

Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowls for serving. Top with crisp bacon pieces and chopped rosemary. Enjoy!

Note: This pairs really well with Crostini with Caramelized Apples, Fontina + Rosemary!


Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings [Whole30 compliant!]

Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser

While I generally feel my best eating a mostly paleo diet, I don't have any intense sensitivities or allergies myself. I can indulge in a warm piece of bread alongside my soup or a few slices of cheese every once in awhile. When I eat the entire loaf of bread or block of cheese then yeah, I definitely have problems. Otherwise, I'm generally an omnivore and love learning about, cooking, and eating all kinds of foods (which is why you'll find everything from vegan to Whole30 to dairy-full recipes on this site!). 

That being said, after a few weeks of trial and error, I realized my nursing son was having issues when I ate wheat and dairy. To try to keep him feeling as good as possible, I'm back to cutting down on the bread and cheese. Unfortunately, that's just in time for the Super Bowl, then March Madness, and eventually baseball season in a couple months. Sporting events are not exactly the first place I look for wheat-free and dairy-free dishes. 

The more I learn, though, the more I'm able to find and create recipes for incredible game-day food that doesn't hijack my digestive system (and my son's). Wings have become a recent favorite. They're relatively easy to make, and you can create a million variations on the same theme. 

It's citrus season, so these wings get a sweet and sticky sauce made with fresh orange juice and naturally sweetened with dates. The sesame seeds may seem like a superfluous add-on, but trust me, they're not. They add the perfect amount of toasty flavor and crunchy texture. Don't skip them! 

Last night, I made the final test batch before posting this recipe. My husband and I stood in the kitchen and polished off every last bite. Our sauce-covered hands and faces were hardly picturesque, but I can confidently say these are literally finger-licking good. 

Enjoy!

Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings | Sarah J. Hauser

Orange + Toasted Sesame Chicken Wings
Yields about 4 servings

Wings

3/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 Tablespooons clarified butter (or regular, unsalted butter)
2 pounds chicken wings, split at joints and tips removed if necessary
2-3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Orange sauce (see recipe below)
Green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a shallow dish, mix together the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and pepper.

Add the clarified butter to a rimmed baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the oven until the butter melts. Remove from the oven.

Dip the chicken wings in the almond flour mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. Place on the butter-coated baking sheet. Repeat until all the wings are dredged and on the baking sheet, being careful not to crowd the pan. (Use two baking sheets if necessary.)

Bake for 40-50 minutes, flipping the wings halfway through. The wings are done when they’re browned, cooked through, and crisp (internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees).

While the wings cook, add the sesame seeds to a small sauté pan set over low to medium heat. Stir the seeds constantly until they’re browned and toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside. Make the orange sauce (see recipe below).

When the wings are done cooking, toss them together in a large bowl with ¾ of the orange sauce. Reserve ¼ of the sauce for serving.

Transfer the wings to a serving bowl or platter. Top with the toasted sesame seeds, and garnish with a few chopped green onions. Serve with the reserved sauce.

Dig in and enjoy!

Orange Sauce

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 4 oranges)
1/4 cup coconut aminos
2 dates, pits removed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

Add all the ingredients except the arrowroot powder together in a small bowl. Set aside, and allow the dates to soak for 5-10 minutes. This will hydrate the dates and make them easier to blend.

Using a food processor or blender, blend the ingredients together until smooth. Add to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Turn off the heat. Whisk in the teaspoon of arrowroot powder. Season with additional salt, pepper, or cayenne to taste. Set the sauce aside until the wings are done cooking.  

Notes: If you are not avoiding grains or soy, you can try using all-purpose flour instead of almond flour and arrowroot powder, and sub in soy sauce for the coconut aminos. Soy sauce, in my opinion, tastes saltier than coconut aminos, so you may want to reduce the salt in the recipe. 

In my opinion, these wings taste best when served immediately. If you want to prep in advance, you can make the sauce a few days ahead of time, and store it in a jar in the refrigerator.


[healthy-ish] Cinnamon + Sweet Potato Muffins

Whole Wheat, Oat + Sweet Potato Muffins

On days when my eyes start drooping by 10am and dark clouds keep us indoors, I pile everyone in the minivan and we get out of the house. I usually don’t know where we’re headed until we get there. Some days, we make an impromptu trip to Aldi, and other times, we stop by FreshGround to pick up coffee and visit my brother.

And other days, we don’t even get out of the car. We head to the Panera drive-thru. I pick up a muffin for the kids and a sandwich or drink for myself, and we sit in the car for a few minutes of precious peace and quiet. I get to listen to a podcast (The Next Right Thing is my latest obsession), and the kids get a treat. Glamorous, right? But you do what you gotta do.

Blueberry muffins from Panera have saved my sanity over the last few months, but our drive-thru routine will lose its luster if I resort to it too often. I need to save that getaway plan for when we really need it - like when the twins had croup last week and we were holed up at home for way too long.

Plus, I really don’t want to be paying $3 for a muffin when I could make them for a fraction of the cost myself (although I guess I consider it paying for my sanity, which is more than worth it).  But when I can, I try to do things the homemade route – and these Cinnamon + Sweet Potato Muffins are perfect for when we don’t need to utilize our Panera escape plan.

They’re made with pureed sweet potatoes, oats, and whole-wheat flour - healthy enough that I feel good about giving them to my kids, but tasty enough to be toddler-approved. 

Whole Wheat, Oat + Sweet Potato Muffins
Whole Wheat, Oat + Sweet Potato Muffins
Whole Wheat, Oat + Sweet Potato Muffins
Whole Wheat, Oat + Sweet Potato Muffins
Whole Wheat, Oat + Sweet Potato Muffins

Cinnamon + Sweet Potato Muffins
Yields 12 regular-sized muffins

1 cup white whole wheat flour*
½ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups pureed sweet potatoes
½ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, or use liners. Set the prepared pan aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and brown sugar. On medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together, mixing for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the sweet potato puree, applesauce, and vanilla extract, mixing after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, just until combined (don’t overmix!).

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin (I like using an ice cream scoop for this). Top with turbinado sugar if you’d like.

Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes before putting it in the oven. Do not skip this step! (Read why.)

Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for about 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for a few minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

*Note: ”White” whole-wheat flour is still 100% whole wheat – it’s simply one particular type of wheat. It’s milder in flavor and lighter in color than some other whole-wheat flours. You can easily find it at many grocery stores (I most recently purchased a bag at Trader Joe’s). 


This recipe was originally featured at Lark + Linen.