Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup - Rebekah and her Ramblings.  A delicious butternut squash soup loaded with roasted bacon and onions!So you know how my post yesterday was all happy and you do you and cheerful and stuff? YEA none of that today.  Today I am going to rant. And I am going to rant about the weather.  That’s right, you have stepped into a blog of a 75 year old man so GET EXCITED.  On Saturday I went to the mall (which was a horrible idea, even though I got there by 10:30) and wore shorts and was LITERALLY sweating.  I parked miles away from the door because Christmas and was drenched in perspiration by the time I made it to the mall. And I wasn’t even buying stuff – I was returning it! WHAT THE HECK – my sweat wasn’t even good for anything except sadness that I don’t get to gift/keep any of that stuff. THEN I went to some other stores and sweat some more.  I was sweating so much that I didn’t get coffee. And I love treating myself to coffee on Saturday. THEN Sunday, I woke up and it was literally 35* outside.    I went to bed hot and woke up cold because the weather is stupid.  Then I was cold a lot of the day yesterday so I went to bed in my favorite cozy hoodie and woke up in the middle of the night dying of heatstroke.  I recognize that I sound dramatic and MAYBE I AM OKAY.  But like why can’t the weather just be cold so I can wear my cute fall clothes? That’s all I want.  AND this butternut squash soup because this soup is uh-may-zing.  When I came back from the gym this morning, my apartment still smelled like roasted bacon and onions and I started salivating right there wanting to gobble up this soup again.  If you’ve never had a butternut squash soup, I assure you this will not disappoint! GLUTEN FREE and oh so comfort food-y.  So make this and complain about the weather, or embrace it – it is the Christmas season after all.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Yield: about 6 cups (serves about 3)
Prep Time: 20 minutes                  Total Cook Time: about 45 minutes

What you need:

  • 3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 8 slices bacon, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400* and spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray
  • Place butternut squash, onion, pepper and 4 slices of raw, chopped bacon on the cookie sheet -drizzle with olive oil, minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pan and cook for 15 more
  • Cook remaining bacon until crispy; crumble and set aside
  • In a large pot, combine the squash mixture with the thyme and chicken broth -blend with an immersion blender (or food processor) until smooth
  • Bring the soup to a boil and the reduce to a low simmer for about 10 minutes or the soup is smooth, combined, and warm
  • Remove soup from heat and garnish with cheese and crumbled bacon

This recipe is adapted from MY FAVE Damn Delicious.

Peppermint Cupcakes

Peppermint Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A refreshing minty cake and frosting perfect for Christmas!Got a unique intro for you guys today – one that does not include a rant, but super deep insight and enlightenment.  GET READY.  I was also looking for an old recipe earlier and saw how many delightful gems I have. #HumbleBrag  Just as a refresher, here are some of my faves: Oreo Blondies, Pasta CarbonaraMilky Way Stuffed CookiesBacon Fried Rice, Cowboy Casserole, and S’mores Stuff.  One of the hardest things about caring so deeply about my blog is the constant need to find and perfect new recipes.  I have some really delicious things that I adore, but often forget about because I am constantly looking for new recipes – the things I do for my loyal readers (cheers to all four of you).  When I was looking over these recipes and salivating at an embarrassing rate, I saw a common theme about what I love in a recipe, and believe me, it’s more than just being packed with chocolate or cheese (but never together, that would be DISGUSTING).  I love a recipe that takes time or requires me to learn a new skill.  Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies and it helps clear my mind because it takes time and forces me to get better at something.  I’ve mentioned it before, but I burned and ruined an entire pot of pasta the first time I tried to make it.  Cooking is therapeutic and THE BEST because you get to eat something really good as a result!  I hope you all have the chance to slow down over the next few weeks and take your time cooking something amazing (from my blog of course) and enjoying the time it takes.  Embrace the small and slow things for the rest of the year because so much of our everyday life is fast and hectic.  Cooking is my slow and soothing, I hope you can do yours sometime soon! And if it’s making these beautiful PEPPERMINT cupcakes,then that’s even better 🙂

Peppermint Cupcakes
Peppermint Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A refreshing minty cake and frosting perfect for Christmas!Yield: 2 dozen            Total Time: about 75 minutes

Peppermint Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A refreshing minty cake and frosting perfect for Christmas!What you need:

  • For the cupcakes:
    • 1 box French Vanilla cake mix (shhh)
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 tablespoon (not a typo) peppermint extract
    • 1 cup water
  • For the frosting:
    • 1 cup shortening
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
    • 6 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 6 drops red food coloring
    • crushed candy cane, to garnish

Peppermint Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A refreshing minty cake and frosting perfect for Christmas!Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350* and line a cupcake pan with liners
  • Combine all of the cake ingridients in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth
  • Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake tin and bake for 16-20 minutes or the cupcakes are set
  • Remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely
  • Combine the shortening, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract together in a large bowl and beat until fully combined and fluffy
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time to the bowl, briefly mixing after each addition to combine
  • After you have added all of the powdered sugar (frosting may seem very dry), add the cream and mix until smooth and creamy
  • Add the red food coloring and mix until the frosting is a rosy pink
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes (there is plenty) and garnish with crushed candy cane

This recipe is adapted from Tidy Mom.

Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes

Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes - Rebekah her Ramblings. A pumpkin-y and fun shaped mini dessert!Guys I have written and rewritten an intro for this recipe like three times now.  You would think the hardest part of the blog is perfecting a recipe, but that’s definitely the easiest.  I have decided that my blog is at its best when I’m ripping and ranting something and decided today’s topic is back seat drivers.  This week, I will be driving two of my best amigos around so this topic is heavy on my mind.  I used to be a very cautious and good driver.  However, in the last 18 months or so, I have gotten very aggressive and impatient – I am fully aware and in touch with this side of me.  When I was living in Waco, I had a lot of internal frustration with a lot of things and I let it out in my driving.  Unfortunately, with a move to Houston, my aggression has not lessened.  See guys, I am fully aware of my flaws.  If I had to do a SWOT analysis, I would totes crush that whole W section.  HOWEVER.  I do not need people commenting and telling me that I need to calm down, need to hit my brakes because there’s a car hitting their brakes 800 yards away, or them tapping that imaginary brake pedal on their side of the car.  Stop.  Just stop.  I have never been pulled over, I have never gotten in a wreck, and I have managed to survive every trip I have taken.  So people, when you’re riding with somebody – keep your mouth shut, look our the window, or go to sleep.  Cuz ain’t nobody got time for people telling them how to drive #IDoWhatIWant OKAY so I have some mini bundt cakes for you today that are semi-healthy (although I’m not sure they’re THAT healthy) that are perfect for this time of year because they’re pumpkin flavored.  Now I could probs go on another rant about finding a mini bundt cake pan, but I got mine at Marshall’s because Marshall’s is the best – it’s the first store I thought of and lo and behold, they had the pan.  However, APPARENTLY Bed, Bath, and Beyond is the GO TO place for a pan if you need one.  So go safely drive to a store to buy a pan and the ingredients and then share these mini cakes with your friends on a diet.  Or just eat all of them yourself.  No judgement because, again, #IDoWhatIWant

Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes
Yield: 18
Prep Time: 10 minutes                        Cook Time: 15-18 minutes

What you need:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (I used fat free)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350* and spray a mini bundt cake pan with cooking spray
  • Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl – gently stir with a spoon
  • Combine greek yogurt, pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a separate bowl and stir until fully combined
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir until fully combined
  • Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine
  • Scoop just under a 1/4 cup of batter into each mold and bake for 15-18 minutes, or the cakes are set in the middle
  • Remove the cakes from the pan and let them sit for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely

This recipe is adapted from Yummly.

 

One Pan Ground Meat Fall Skillet

One Pan Ground Meat Fall Skillet - Rebekah and her Ramblings.  A cozy and healthy dinner perfect for a cool fall night!I like to think that I’m a relatively even person – I generally go with the flow, am pretty easy going,  have very few problems taking a joke, and try to let things roll of my back.  One thing that I often let get to me is football.  I’m not necessarily proud of how invested I am when my Ags (or Michigan) are involved, but I like to think that it’s an adorable quirk that makes me the amazing person that I am.  And everybody has quirks, right? ANYWAY, Texas A&M had another extremely disappointing end to their season and I was there Thursday night to witness the worst defeat of the year.  Then today, Michigan lost a stupid game in double overtime to that stupid team from Ohio.  Needless to say, I wanted to eat my feelings away after these two terrible games.  I have always connected football with food because my mom always provided an amazing spread every Saturday while I sat on the couch like a fat child and attempted to watch three games at once.  Unfortunately, most of the food I associate with football is incredibly tasty and super unhealthy.  I am a big fan of GOOD FOOD and I know that healthy doesn’t have to mean it doesn’t taste good.  Recently, I had a super chill Monday where I just wanted to watch Monday Night Football and eat a good meal.  I decided to whip up this skillet dinner – easily cooked in one pan, packed with vegetables to fill you up, and really pretty to look at because of all the fun colors #adorbs  Asparagus is a fall staple as is squash so be sure to make this soon (healthy AND gluten free!!).  And if you get to watch your team win while you’re eating, well LUCKY YOU.

One Pan Ground Meat Fall Skillet
One Pan Ground Meat Fall Skillet - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A cozy and healthy dinner perfect for a cool fall night!Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes                       Total Cook Time: 20 minutes

What you need:

  • 1/2 pound ground meat (I used sausage, but you could use turkey, beef, venison, etc)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced and halved (to make half moons)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus – cut the tough ends off and then quarter (you can always use green beans)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  • Begin to brown the ground meat in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • After about 5 minutes, add the onions
  • After about 3 minutes, add the squash, asparagus, and tomatoes to the skillet and season with garlic salt and pepper
  • Cook until the meat is cooked through, the onions are soft, and the other vegetables are sauteed to perfection
  • Remove from heat and top with cheese if desired

This recipe is adapted from Tone and Tighten.

Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes

Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A zesty and moist cupcake topped with a sweet and creamy buttercream frosting! Guys I heard Christmas music on the radio this week.  I am not a big fan of the commercialization of Christmas, but I loathe it before Thanksgiving.  While it is a bit cooler outside and Starbucks has officially switched to their non-controversial red cups, that is no reason to bring that Christmas music riff raff around a full 6 weeks before Christmas.  If you want to overplay the same 5 Christmas songs, can you at least let me be full of stuffing and green bean casserole before you make me suffer?  But I digress.  This is a time for being thankful and eating good food.  Today I am thankful that I live in a major city that has multiple radio stations so I’m not stuck listening to 12 different versions of White Christmas.  And I’m always thankful for good food.  I made these cupcakes for Andrew’s birthday a few months ago after I discovered that his favorite cake is LEMON.  I felt like a horrible friend for not knowing this, but also judged myself for my friend choices that one of my best friend’s has a favorite cake flavor of LEMON.  There is nothing wrong with LEMON, it’s just so… hipster.  Now Andrew reads and cooks from the blog so SHOUT OUT to my boy, but come on man, LEMON?  Probably not selling you guys on the recipe, am I?  Well, I made these bad boys and suddenly understood young Andrew’s infatuation with the little yellow fruit.  These bad boys are zesty and light and incredibly refreshing.  And this buttercream is TO DIE FOR.  Go make these, play music that is NOT Christmas-y, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday :)

Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A zesty and moist cupcake topped with a sweet and creamy buttercream frosting!Yield: 2 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes                Total Cook Time: 16-19 minutes

What you need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A zesty and moist cupcake topped with a sweet and creamy buttercream frosting!Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375* and line a cupcake tin with liners
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition
  • Stir the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into the mixture until fully combined
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt – stir well
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix
  • Add half of the milk and mix well
  • Add the remaining flour mixture, mix; add the rest of the milk, mix
  • Using 1/4 cup of batter, fill the cupcake tin and bake for 16-19 minutes or the cupcakes are set
  • Remove to cool completely
  • To make the frosting, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat until fluffy
  • There is not enough frosting to pipe a large amount of frosting onto each cupcake – I recommend using a large dollop and spreading with a knife

This cake recipe is adapted from Taste and Tell, the frosting is my own.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Cookie Dough Cheesecake - Rebekah and her Ramblings.  A homemade cheesecake packed with tons of cookie dough!Guys it finally feels like fall outside.  When I went outside for the first time yesterday, I actually felt cold and it was AMAZING.  Then today, I woke up feeling a little bit cold.  And then I took a nap snuggled in a fuzzy blanket because it was warm and fuzzy and I just want it to be less hot outside.  Fall is my favorite time of year because it’s full of football and cozy sweaters and hot chocolate.  Can we talk about hot chocolate for a second?  It’s a severely underrated drink.  Chocolate is amazing.  Warm drinks are amazing. A drink that is warm AND full of chocolate unhealthiness is basically heaven in a cup.  So anyways, it feel amazing outside and cooler weather makes me want to bake.  When it’s not super hot outside, I don’t mind using my oven because I don’t have a heat stroke when I turn it on for 5 minutes.  And let’s be real – food reheated or cooked in the oven is way better than anything you can do with a microwave.  A coworker of mine is getting married soon and is having a cheesecake bar for her wedding instead of a cake.  She asked me to make a cookie dough cheesecake for the big day and I decided today was as good a day as any to experiment with a new recipe.  I love cookie dough and I enjoy good cheesecake.  Anytime that you can use cookie dough as the base of a recipe, I am ALL IN.  I am also committed to using A LOT of cookie dough because cookie dough is basically the hot chocolate of desserts. So turn on some football, grab some cookie dough and a cozy sweater and whip this bad boy up with a side of hot chocolate NOW.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake
Cookie Dough Cheesecake - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A homemade cheesecake packed with tons of cookie dough!
Serves: 12                   Total Time: about 5 hours

What you need:
For the Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

  • 3 packages full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cup cookie dough, divided (I used store bought – shhhhh)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350*
  • Stir the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together in a small bowl
  • Spray a 9″ spring-form pan with cooking spray and press the crust into the pan and slightly up the edges
  • Cook for 8 minutes and allow to cool completely
  • In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and beat until the sugar is fully incorporated
  • Add the eggs and beat until combined
  • Take 1 cup of cookie dough and drop heaping tablespoons of dough into the bowl, stir well with a spoon
  • Pour the mixture onto the cooled crust.
  • Take the remaining 1/2 cup of cookie dough and drop tablespoons of dough onto the top of the cheesecake
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes (I did 37) and then remove to cool completely
  • Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least three hours before serving.  I always let it refrigerate overnight if I can

This recipe is heavily adapted from A Thought Chronicle.

One Pan Diet Chicken Saute

One Pan Diet Chicken Saute - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A healthy and protein packed one pan saute dinner!Guys I hate the time change.  It’s dark at like 5:00 and I feel like I need to go to bed, but then I realize that it’s not even dinner time yet and then I feel really confused and then I get annoyed because I’m hungry, but also really tired and I don’t know if I should eat dinner or if I should just go to bed because it’s so late and the darkness makes me really tired and then I feel like I’m stuck in an infinite loop of having to decide whether I want food or sleep more but then I think that I should probably eat before I go to bed at 5:30 and then I have to make dinner but it’s still really dark outside but the time is still early and then I start having a panic attack because these are really difficult choices so I check the score of my fantasy football team and find out that I’m losing and the friend I’m playing is talking smack to me and then I just feel sad but I’m still hungry and tired and nowhere closer to deciding if I should eat or go to bed.  It’s exhausting.  BUT ANYWAY.  I have a recipe tonight for you that is perfect for dinner (especially if you’re on a stupid diet) and is really healthy and easy to whip up.  It’s also gluten free and can easily be manipulated to feed a larger crowd.  I don’t know what more you could want in a recipe from your fave blog…

One Pan Diet Chicken Saute
One Pan Diet Chicken Saute - Rebekah and her Ramblings. A healthy and protein packed one pan saute dinner!Serves: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes                   Cook Time: 15 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large chicken breast, butterflied and pounded flat with your chicken hammer (also called a meat tenderizer.  But chicken hammer is WAY better) – if you want to feed more people, I suggest 1 chicken breast per person, but chop it up
  • Lawry’s seasoning salt, to taste
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced and halved (to make semi circles)
  • 1/2 squash, sliced and halved (to make semi circles)
  • garlic salt, to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (remember, if you cook protein over high heat, it gets tough) until warm
  • Season the chicken breast on each side with Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Add the zucchini and squash to the skillet and sprinkle with garlic salt
  • Stir the zucchini and squash and flip the chicken after another 2 minutes
  • Continue to cook everything in the pan until the chicken is longer pink on the inside and the veggies are soft and slightly blackened.  Try not to flip the chicken more than 3 total times – really let it cook on each side before turning

I made this recipe up all by myself because I’m an amazing chef GUYS.