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Fall is such a motivating, inspiring season.  The leaves transform into vibrant, bright colors, the air becomes fresh and crisp, and the cool days make way for fun activities with family and friends like watching football, apple picking, and (my personal favorite) time for creating new, savory, healthy alternative recipes with farm fresh foods.

I love making my way through all of the farmers markets and well stocked corner stores (the finest little hidden gems if you live in any city) in the area throughout the season, collecting the freshest produce to go home and experiment with.  In the last week, I have made today’s recipe twice, with enough to have substantial leftovers for days to come!

In the chilly weather, soups, stews, and chowders are a must have.  Everyone prefers their own style of ‘souping,’ as I like to call it ~ some enjoy water based, thinner soups, others gravitate towards hardy, chunky stews, and many like thick chowders with little bits and bites of different flavors found throughout each bite.  Me, personally?  I looooove me some chowder any time of year!

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Now, the bad news about most chowders is that they are typically made with lots of butter and salt and heavy cream, which doesn’t bode well for a healthy lifestyle filled with natural, unprocessed ingredients consisting primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables.  This also makes many chowders EXTREMELY high in sodium, unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and jam packed with dairy.  Being lactose intolerant, the ladder has caused a major cramp in my chowder loving style.

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I must work on a recipe for the sake of healthy and clean eating, warm winter dinners, and all of my fellow lactose intolerant foodies.

I am thrilled to report back with this new dairy free, [optionally] gluten free, low fatlean, clean, and insanely delicious recipe with an optional meat addition. . .

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Fit Soul and Spice’s Butternut Squash Chowder

Makes 6-8 Servings

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthways (be careful cutting!)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 medium sized apple, peeled and diced

1/2 cup small-medium sized mushrooms of your choice, halved (I love the meaty flavor of oyster mushrooms!)

2 sprigs fresh sage (leave whole)

1 sprig fresh rosemary (leave whole)

4 tablespoons lite coconut milk

2 cups regular soy milk

1 cup water

sea salt and black pepper [to taste]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425

1.  Please butternut squash, inner sides up, on a cookie sheet greased with coconut oil spray.  Using a brush or spoon, brush or drizzle each inner half of the butternut squash with 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive, sea salt, and ground black pepper.

2.  Once oven is preheated, put your squash in the oven for about an hour, or until a fork easily inserts fully through.

3.  In a large sauce pot, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil on medium heat.

4.  Once oil is heated, add garlic, onion, apple, and mushrooms.  Stir to coat and sautee for about 5 minutes, until onion and apple high slightly softened.

5.  Add sage, rosemary, rosemary, and coconut milk to sautee pan.

6.  Continue to combine all ingredients and flavors on medium, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Turn down to low, cover, and let sit to marry flavors.  Continue to stir occasionally.

(If you’re adding FSS Herbed Turkey Bites, this is the perfect time to make them.  See this simple recipe below…)

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Find FSS’s Herbed Turkey Bite Recipe Below!

7.  In a blender or food processor, add soy milk and water.

8.  Once squash is soft and completely cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool until manageable. Once cool enough, scoop all of the meat out of each half into a large bowl.  Transfer all of the squash to your blender with soy milk and water.

9.  Blend on low-medium until combined, smooth, and creamy.

10.  Add chowder base to large sauce pot, and with a large spoon, slowly stir to combine with previously sautéed ingredients.  Add sea salt and ground black pepper to taste (a little bite really kicks up all of the flavors in this chowder).  Keep temperature low, cover pot, and allow flavors to marry.  Stir occasionally.

11.  Before serving, strain sage and rosemary sprigs from the pot.  Their flavors will have strongly marinated into the chowder and can become overbearing if left permanently.

12.  Serve in bowls, and enjoy, and check out this additional meat option to add to your Butternut Squash Chowder

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Herbed Turkey Bites

***(Make while your squash cooks, and add as soon as they are made to continue marrying flavors)***

Ingredients:

1 lb lean turkey meat, room temperature

1 sprig rosemary, very finely chopped

1 clove garlic, very finely chopped

1 egg

1 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1/4 cup regular soy milk

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.  Mix and squish using your hands.

Heat a large grill pan to medium-high and grease with coconut oil spray.

Using your hands, form small patties from meat mixture (a little bit bigger then a quarter).

Grill for about 2 minutes on each side, flipping by hand, with tongs, or using a fork.

As each batch is complete, add to large sauce pot with sautéed ingredients and very gently mix with a large spoon.

Continue as Butternut Squash Chowder recipe describes above…

Butternut Squash Chowder with Herbed Turkey Bites

Butternut Squash Chowder with Herbed Turkey Bites

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