The days are getting shorter, and time spent in the kitchen seems to be getting comparably longer. Take silky squash soup up a notch with an amazing relish. Make the easiest applesauce ever by tossing peeled, chopped apples in your slow cooker while you work on some soup. Start your weekend with the scent of sizzling butter and cinnamon in the air. You can even top your whole wheat-yogurt-cinnamon pancakes with the applesauce.
It’s the time of year where leaves are crunching underfoot, the evening air is deliciously chilly and the colors are changing to crimson and gold.
Or, perhaps you’d like it to feel like autumn, but it’s still 90 degrees out and the season is not yet turning near you. Either way, you can still make it feel like fall inside by getting aromas of cinnamon, apple and squash floating throughout your home.
Whether grabbing a cozy sweater on your way to the market feels perfectly appropriate or you’re still heading for the beach, these eats add a desirable warmth to your home. They make your place smell exactly the way you want it to when someone stops by. Share this food over leisurely conversation with company you hold dear. These recipes aren’t challenging, but you may feel like an inspired domestic goddess after experiencing this deliciousness at your own table.
Butternut Squash Soup
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 TBSP garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 (2 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 6 cups)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable broth
1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 TBSP pure maple syrup
Heat coconut oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add carrots, squash, cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups of broth. You should cover the veggies, but not completely. If veggies aren’t covered, add a little more. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat. Let simmer for about 25 minutes. The squash should be tender at this point.
Add your grated ginger and stir. Next, you’ll want to use an immersion blender to blend your soup to a smooth texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just use a regular blender and puree the soup in batches.
Return soup to the pot. Stir in the cream and maple syrup and taste. If needed, add a little more salt and pepper.
Apple-Nut-Chive Relish for Butternut Squash Soup
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and toasted
1/3 cup chives, minced
1 small Honeycrisp (or other crisp apple), cored and diced
1 TBSP jalapeno, minced
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice
1 TBSP pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Toast your walnuts or pecans in a 350 degree oven, or in a skillet. Watch closely so they do not burn.
Meanwhile, dice your apple and mince chives and jalapeño. Put those three ingredients in a bowl and add lime juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Add nuts last and give a good stir to combine. Use to generously top your butternut squash soup.
Whole Wheat-Yogurt-Cinnamon Pancakes
3 TBSP butter + more for skillet
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP + 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
Cinnamon to top
Melt 2 TBSP of your butter in a small saucepan or in microwave. Add 1 TBSP of butter to the bowl and let it melt into the already melted butter to lower the temperature. Set aside.
Whisk eggs, yogurt, milk and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Add whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir just to combine, then add butter and stir once more.
At this point, you should have a batter that is pourable, but not too thin. If your batter is too thick, add a splash of milk and stir again.
Melt butter in a skillet. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop batter out and pour in pan. Using a spice shaker, lightly coat the batter facing you with cinnamon. Cook for about three minutes, then flip. The side with the cinnamon will now be face-down in the pan. Cook until pancakes are done, about 2 minutes. Repeat.
If you are making the entire batch before serving, keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven.
Easy Slow-Cooker Applesauce
10 cups apples, diced large (7 – 8 apples)
2/3 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
My personal rule with any apple baking is to mix varieties. In this applesauce, I used Honeycrisp, Gala, Cortland and Golden Supreme apples. Use whatever varieties you have on hand, but try to use 2 – 4 different kinds if possible.
Peel and core all apples, then dice into large pieces. You should have about 10 cups of diced apples. Add them to your slow cooker and pour water on top. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top, then add your lemon juice. Give everything a good stir and set to high.
Check your slow cooker, stirring every 30 minutes or so. At about two hours, your apples should be soft enough that stirring turns them into a mush. Lower heat to warm, or your lowest setting and stir until you have a chunky applesauce. If you’d like it smooth, use an immersion blender or regular blender in batches.
This applesauce is delicious warm, cold and on top of those whole wheat-yogurt-cinnamon pancakes!
What are your favorite fall smells and recipes?
Image via Penelope Rose