Every morning when you came down the stairs, Sadie would roll over on to her back and demand that you rub her belly. We always obliged. It was a morning ritual that I enjoyed when I was at my parent’s home and that they continued after I left.
After the belly rub, she would sit right beside you (and I mean as closely as possible) for breakfast. She was an expert beggar and there would always be a huge paw (with a nail strategically placed) or a chin on your chair or your leg – sometimes if she was really desperate she would hit you right on the arm with which you were eating. And she would look at you with these eyes that said, ‘you know I never get anything (lies) and I survived cancer (fair point)’. Again, we always obliged, and she knew she was the boss, as I mentioned in my story, ‘Big Paws, Bigger Heart’.
She ate nearly everything, but she loved bread, eggs, peanut butter and ice cream the best – so breakfast was always her favorite meal of the day (especially when I had ice cream for breakfast). She also had a very cute habit of booping fruits and vegetables that you put in front of her – especially large ones like pumpkins. She would sniff them, then push them forcibly with her nose, then lay her paw on them and then forget about the whole affair and lay down.
I’ve made a simple lunch that she very much would have enjoyed watching me prepare and sneaking bites from. It’s a good one for fall. The soup takes a bit of time, but is on the whole very easy. The sun toast is one of my favorites and you’ll want to make it over and over again for yourself (and your dogs). I hope you snuggle up with your pup and enjoy.
Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup with Sun Toast
- The soup is very versatile. You can use a bit more sweet potato if you like, you can use any type of squash, you can add herbs if you wish, etc. Play around to get the soup you want.
- The soup toppings can be differed as well. I used amaretti cookies, chili flakes and olive oil as I love that combination, but you can top with croutons and fried sage or just leave it natural and enjoy as is.
- I recommend using a very good bread for the sun toast – like a large piece of sourdough from a good bakery. It just holds up better and tastes better. If you want to top your sun toast with cheese, I won’t stop you.
- You’ll need either an immersion blender or a regular blender for the soup. Be careful blending while the soup is hot. I definitely recommend keeping an immersion blender on hand. They are relatively inexpensive, small and easy to store and you can use them for a lot of different things, like smoothies.
- The soup is not suitable for dogs, due to the onion and garlic – but you can always make them a bit of extra sweet potato on the side. It’s a good treat. I think they’ll be pretty happy with the bread and egg anyway.
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 small or one medium yellow onions, chopped
2 small or one medium carrots, peeled if not organic and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 small chili peppers, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp. chili flakes (optional, but recommended)
1 2 lb. (1 kg.) squash (choose one that you like, such as butternut, acorn or kabocha (my favorite), peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) cubes
1 lb (500 grams) sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) cubes
4 cups (1 liter) water or vegetable stock
1 vegetable bouillon cube, if using water and not stock (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Apple cider vinegar (optional)
Good extra-virgin olive oil, crumbled amaretti cookies and chili flakes, for topping (optional, or top as you wish!)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 1-inch (2.5 cm) large sized slices of excellent quality bread
1 garlic clove, peeled (optional)
Salt & Pepper
- First, prepare the soup. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized deep soup pot (one that will hold all of the veggies and the water, but still allow you to blend later).
- When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and chili pepper (if using). Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, but try not to let them brown. This should take about 10 minutes, maybe a bit more.
- Add the chopped sweet potato and squash. Season generously with salt and pepper and let cook for another 10-15 minutes, until these vegetables begin to soften as well.
- Add the water and (optional) bouillon cube or stock and turn up the heat to bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and let cook gently for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash and sweet potato are completely tender.
- Turn off the heat and let the soup cool for about 5 minutes, then blend it until smooth using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches (be careful when blending, the soup is still hot).
- Taste the soup for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Also, I recommend adding a small splash of apple cider vinegar at this point as well to balance out the flavors of the soup. Give the soup a stir and keep warm on low heat while you make the toast.
- To make the toast, use a cookie cutter or a juice glass to cut 2.5 inch (8 cm) circles out to the center of each piece of bread (keep these).
- Heat 1 T. oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Once warm, add two slices of bread and their center circles, turning to both sides to coat with oil. Let toast on each side for approximately 3 minutes.
- Once the bread is lightly toasted, crack an egg into the hold in each piece of bread. Let cook until nearly set, then turn over (carefully) to let the other side cook as well. Repeat with remaining two bread slices.
- Rub garlic clove on surface of bread, if desired (and if not sharing with a pup – they can’t have garlic). Season egg with salt and pepper.
- Place soup into bowls and top as desired, or with a crumbled amaretti cookie, a drizzle of good olive oil and a bit of chili flake. Eat with the toast on the side. Then get cozy and take a nap with your pup.
Serves four hungry humans and maybe a dog or two.