Thursday, November 3, 2011

Harvest Soup and A Tad Bit Obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder

I just finished The First Four Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder which completes the entire set of Little House books. I was in the middle of The Long Winter when I was making chili a few weeks back. This last book reads quite differently as it was published after both Laura and her daughter Rose died. This book (which really was a draft of a story) was found written in some notebooks. 

While I was sad to see the end of these wonderful stories, I still have a little more Laura Ingalls Wilder reading to do because I picked up some biographies from the library and I can't wait to read the "behind-the-scenes." I'm such a nerd.

My husband and I also started watching Little House on the Prairie reruns on the Hallmark channel. The episodes are played during the afternoon, so I DVR them and we watch them at night after the kids go to sleep. Yep, I'm obsessed.

What's really funny though is my husband has a strange fixation on Michael Landon (who plays Pa Ingalls). He's always making strange comments about his, "long flowing curly hair and his broad shoulders." I actually think he might be the slightest bit jealous of Pa Ingalls. (My husband is also probably the only person in the world who thinks Laura Ingalls Wilder was a bully.)

During each show, we like to point how how some aspects of the Hollywoodized version of the stories are not really pioneer-like at all (such as the airplane lines in the sky up above or the two-story modern house in the background.) We have also begun to translate our evening tv watching into our regular lives. For instance, if I am driving and I yell at someone for cutting me off, he tells me that's not very Ingalls-like of me.

Since I have been completely and absolutely engrossed in farming and the pioneer life, it was only natural I name this soup Harvest Soup. I've been making this for a few years. I actually ripped the recipe out of a magazine a few years ago in a doctor's office and it has evolved in our house to this creamy and rich concoction that gets its ooomph from butternut squash and a slight sweetness from a few apples.

I began calling it Harvest Soup because we went apple picking a few weeks back and picked the butternut squash from the fields. 

Ironically enough, there were no apples left to pick, so in true Laura Ingalls Wilder fashion, we decided to pick the other vegetables. (Okay, so we sort of had to since we planned the day around the baby's nap and it would have been a wasted trip otherwise.)

This particular farm had a store inside and picking available outside in the back. The storefront was beautifully decorated to welcome Harvest Season, so of course, we stopped for a photo shoot.

Even though you see a water thermometer ducky in the picture, we did not take a bath there.

They had plenty of squashes and mums for sale. But we decided to load up on other veggies that were in season.

As were were digging, I came across a curly-q of a snake. Dead, of course.

My daughter and niece had fun squirreling around in the pumpkin patch.

We spent the afternoon picking vegetables and walking around.

It was a gorgeous day with completely out-of-the-ordinary warm weather. And even though we came home apple-less, we had an awesome time.

Very pioneer of us, wouldn't you say?  (Except of course, it wasn't our farm and we drove there in our car.) But nonetheless...

I came home and knew just what I was going to do with that big 'ol butternut squash.

Harvest Soup

Makes about 6 cups


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 medium onion chopped
3 1/2 cups butternut squash, seeded and cubed
2 apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock


Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion. Season with salt and allow to cook until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and cut the butternut squash. I lob off the top and bottom so it can stand on its own and then I peel it.

I then cut off the "circle" on the bottom (the part that contains the seeds). This way I have three pieces to work with. I then cut each of those pieces in half.

When the vegetables are soft, add the butternut squash, apples and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the apples and squash are tender. Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a blender.

Season with salt and purée soup in blender until smooth. Ladle in bowls and serve.  A tasty soup using seasonal ingredients perfect for fall and the Thanksgiving holiday. You can make this ahead and reheat before serving.

Nutrition Information Per 1.5 Cups: Calories 245; Total Fat 7g; Total Carb 42g; Fiber 9g; Sugars 13g; Protein 8g
*Nutrition information has been calculated using an online recipe calculator tool.
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  1. This looks delicious!

  2. Great combo! Can't wait to try!

  3. This looks absolutely delicious. So flavorful. I bet the butternut squash makes the texture creamier and the apples add a tad of sweetness to the dish. Can't wait to try, Gina...
    I love the identical HelloKitty shirts too ;)
    Thanks for the post. Love your blog!

  4. You had me laughing about your un-Ingalls like driving, I am the same way! I too am a big fan of the Little House Series, such great stories. You should check out the Little House Cookbook, something grea for all Little House and cooking fans! :)

  5. You know, I was so obsessed that I bought that cookbook before I even finished the series again! I haven't made anything from it though because most seems a tad bit unhealthy -- I mean as much as I would like to, we just don't plow fields everyday like the Ingalls did. I think that would effectively work off the salt pork! I do want to try and make some lighter more modern versions of some of these delicious treats!


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