Yesterday I arrived home from my overnight trip.  My intent was to have coffee and an early visit with my parents and then head straight home to complete my blog and then work on finishing a knitting project.  I knew we were going out to a Dickens reading in the evening so I was trying to get home early so that I could be productive but along the journey I got side-tracked.

I headed out of the fog of the valley and when I got to the top of the mountain highway pass I realized it was actually quite a nice day.  I listened to CBC and was enjoyed the scenic drive.  As I neared my turn off to head up island I thought perhaps I would take the old route along the ocean so I headed straight, instead of turning right.

Within minutes I was in the quaint village of Qualicum Beach and I couldn’t resist having a little walk around the town.  First, I went into the thrift store to see if there was a treasure in the form of a beautiful old wool coat or riding jacket. Although there were a couple of gems none of them was what I was looking for.

I headed out the door toward my car, mindful of the time but as I looked across the street a window display caught my attention.  I quickly  crossed over for a peek.  The store was 15 minutes short of opening so I spied a shop two doors down that looked intriguing.Needless to say, I pulled out in my car an hour later and headed to the highway with a quart of chalk paint, some hemp oil, and a christmas wish list complete with photos on my iPhone.

nature inspired earrings from one of the shops

nature inspired earrings from one of the shops

I wanted to feel guilty about not getting home sooner and about buying something but I stopped myself.  If I hadn’t stopped I would not have had the great chat with the young owner of the paint shop.  I got to hear her story of relocating her family without a job based solely on the fact that her and her husband had decided that they wanted out of the rat race of the big city.  It inspired me to hear that young people are willing to examine their lives and shape their priorities based on lifestyle and finanaces.  I also got to meet two other young entrepreneurs who have a passion for clothing and accessories but are making conscious buying decisions to support local (Vancouver) designers and manufacturers.

I must be getting old because the two owners didn’t look old enough to have graduated from high school.  Their enthusiasm and knowledge of the business energized me.

When I returned home I promptly got to my blog but knowing that we were heading out for the evening wondered what we should have for dinner.  I thought I would make shot ribs but then remembered the pumpkin I had left sitting out on the porch.  I decided that a vegetarian meal was more in order and that soup would satisfy the need to prepare ahead and eat quickly.  So, after my blog post I made up a pumpkin soup recipe based on what I had in the cupboards, fridge and freezer. The result was quite delicious.

Pumpkin Nut Soup

sliced pumpkin

sliced pumpkin

 

Ingredients

1 medium size pumpkin, cleaned, peeled and chopped

cleaned pumpkin

cleaned pumpkin

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 Tbsp. curry paste

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. Salish salt

1 tsp. coriander

salt, pepper

saute pumpkin

saute chopped pumpkin

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

pumpkin, garlic, spices and stock

pumpkin, garlic, spices and stock

1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped mixed nuts

1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk

 ½ cup asiago cheese, grated for garnish
Pumpkin Nut Soup

Pumpkin Nut Soup

 

Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Slice, peel and chop roughly.

Place the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the chopped pumpkin, garlic and carrots and sauté until coated with oil and slightly browned.

Add chicken or vegetable stock, curry paste and spices.

Simmer until pumpkin is well cooked and soft.

Place cooked soup in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Return to the pot and add the toasted mixed nuts and cream.  Stir until incorporated.

Top single servings of soup with grated asiago cheese.

 

 

 

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