A little bit all over the place (FFwD: Spiced Squash, Pear & Fennel Soup)

It has been a week.  My thoughts are running all over the place and I can't seem to pull them together in a cohesive string... So hold on, my friends. Or run away. 

We'll get to the soup.  But not quite yet.  Here's a picture as proof. 

First brain dump, this week's FFwD lines up with Veteran's Day.  This soup has pears in it.  My parents have pear trees in their backyard & I can remember picking pears (and apples) up off the ground every fall.  I also remember my dad shaking down the branches to get pears out of the trees.  Those were some good pears.  The cows used to escape through the fence once in a while and eat the pears.  (Or we would toss them over the fence for the cows to eat - good times). 

Speaking of dads, my dad is a veteran.  Korean War.  I also knew my Grandpa was in WWI and several of my Uncles were in WWII.  I remember that my one Uncle had a Purple Heart.  I didn't realize how special that was at the time...  A few of my friend's fathers were Vietnam Vets (which most people didn't like to talk about - I didn't get it at the time - I wish I did...).

I do remember my dad talking about the boat ride from the States to Japan.  Not good times for a farm boy.  P. S. My dad is pretty awesome and has a lot of great stories packed up in that head of his.  Just had to get that out there... 

On a recent flight to Houston, I had the chance to sit next to a WWII Vet & his son on their way back from a Honor Flight tour in Washington D.C.  The son had tears in his eyes when he talked about seeing his father visit his memorial and how the trip enabled his father to share some previously unheard stories.  I was a little teary eyed myself.  I usually keep to myself on the road - I am glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone a bit to talk with them. 

If you have a Vet in your life - go give him (or her) a hug. 

Lest we forget.  Lest we forget. 

On another personal note, I finally got a piece of my life back this week.  I have spent the last year pursuing a couple of professional certifications and finished the testing for the last one this week.  There is a point in your life where jumping in and out of academic mode is relatively painless.  When you are kissing the back end of your 30's, not so much.  On the bright side, I have a new set of initials that I can use after my name - which no one will totally understand and will take longer to explain what they are than it took to earn them (kidding).  But it feels good to know that I still have a little bit of that "student nerd" in me. 

It almost makes me want to go back for my Masters degree.  Almost. 

Now, let's talk soup.  Roasted buttercup squash.  Sauteed fennel.  Sweet pears.  In a tribute to fall. 

As much as it pains me to say goodbye to summer (as crazy as this one was), I must admit I eagerly embrace the start of the fall baking and cooking season.  The warm, enveloping flavors that encompass the bounty of fall.  Hello! 

I was a little leery about the addition of fennel here (all I could think of was licorice flavor soup - weird), but sauteing our little frondy friend changed things up.  Pears and squash - well, what bad can come from that combination?  I made this meat-free by using vegetable stock instead of chicken. 

The immersion blender made short work of whipping the soup into silken submission.  Uh, I won't take thoughts of whipping things into submission any further.  This isn't THAT kind of a blog... Just sayin'.

We served this as part of what is affectionately known around the house as the "duck meal".  Everyone went back for seconds. 

A version of Dorie Greenspan's spiced squash, fennel and pear soup can be found here.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.  Come check out everyone else's autumnal tributes.

And don't forget to go hug a Vet, okay?

Have a great weekend, all!


  1. Love the story about the pear tree and your Dad and the cows - some great memories for you there. I will definitely hug a Vet - today is the day for it. Glad the soup was a hit - I loved it too.

  2. Cher, I have no idea what a duck meal is but I adore the way you've written your post! Seeing your soup here makes me want to go back for seconds of my murky beige one. Thank you for sharing that amazing story about your dad and other War Veterans, I'm always in awe about people who put their lives to serve their country. Many congratulations on your certification too, I think you should go ahead with that Masters!

  3. You're "duck meal" seems to have had many awesome components! Glad your soup turned out well. Congrats on your degree!! Very exciting news. I can't imagine going back to school at this point. Phew!

  4. Love your "hug a vet" sentiment :) We just had the Remembrance Day ceremony at my school yesterday (we are not at school tomorrow) and it's honestly the most moving thing. Lest we forget indeed.

    Your soup looks lovely too. Glad you all liked it. Have a great weekend.

  5. Congrats on certification success! I'm not sure I could take tests anymore - I salute you. :)

    The folks at Honor Flight make sure that it's a real experience for the vets, and not just a tour of statues. Sooo meaningful to my dad.

    It was hard to get excited about this soup. It was good, but I'm getting squash-souped out. Just one of those things.

  6. Well congratulations on your hard earned certifications. That's certainly something to celebrate. And your soup looks delicious, happy to hear that everyone enjoyed it.

  7. I can totally relate to your mind state! So you make perfect sense to me!
    That's the good thing about getting older, we really do appreciate things so much more.
    Congrats on your qualifications!
    And I think your soup looks great!

  8. Congrats! It is hard to go back to school when you're a grown up with responsibilities, that's for sure. And lucky you to have an awesome dad! : )

  9. What a great post! Congrats on your decision!

  10. Congrats on your new degree! It must feel great to have accomplished that.

    And tell your Dad thanks from me. I don't know him, but every American owes a debt of gratitude to every Veteran. Freedom is not free, and we appreciate those who paid the debt on our behalf.

    Your soup looks great. I'm making it today and can't wait for those delicious Fall flavors.

  11. Cher, I truly enjoyed your post! My dad was in WWII, along with many of my uncles, my brother spent time in Korea and my husband is a Viet Nam vet. I salute all who have served! That said, your soup looks wonderfully delicious! Glad you all enjoyed it! Happy weekend!

  12. I've never had soup with pears in it before but I loveee roasted butternut squash in my soup. What a wonderful tribute to Fall and such great stories too. I enjoyed your post.

  13. Happy Veterans' Day, Cher! I enjoyed reading this post so much. Glad you got your exam behind you and you can enjoy the weekend. Your soup looks so delicious!

  14. Great post as always - enjoy the snippets of life you share as well as your FFWD results :) First off, heartfelt congrats on the new letters next to your name. Not sure that anyone (other than prospective employers :) really GET how much goes into these little initials. Take that back - the family who see the late pots of coffee and studying at the kitchen table, usually have a clue. Kudos big time. And great to honor the vets- almost had a tear in my eye just reading your writing about the plane ride...but I have been known to cry at dog food commercials too. Way too much of a softie - regardless of what my kids say. Now, the soup. Ok, wait - the pears getting lobbed to the cows was hilarious. Now soup - gorgeous shot - I would have bought that china just to serve the soup ! So glad your family enjoyed it. We will be playing around with soups over the coming months, even if not this combo exactly. And a belated thanks for the very sweet comments you put on our blog last week - we could NOT believe you remembered Nana's skills at the Feast of 7 Fishes and had many family members commenting on how sweet and amazing this was. Can not thank you enough ~

  15. congrats on those extra letters after your name! Soup looks great too. I'm off to go hug my Vet!

  16. Congrats on passing your last exam! It takes so much dedication especially for anyone who has other responsibilities in life aside from studying.

    Wish I grew up with a pear tree in the garden. Alas, I come from (and inherit) proud family tradition of non-gardeners. Even a cactus died under my care.

    Glad the soup went so well with the duck meal!

  17. Congratulations on your new credentials! Yay!
    What a great post about Veterans Day. It's so important to remember what a gift the veterans have given the rest of us. It reminds me of a bumper sticker on a car in my work parking lot. "The Land of the Free Because of the Brave".
    Nice job on the soup. I like how the color matches your bowls. It sure was delicious.
    Have a great weekend.

  18. What a nice tribute to veterans on this Veteran's Day. And congrats on your new certification, too!!! Your soup looks delish...I was actually glad to have all the leftovers for myself :)

  19. Your photos look great and your ramblings were quite enjoyable to follow. You must be pysched to have a little more time back in your life, congrats on more initials!!!

  20. your soup seems so much thicker in comparison!! Love your soup bowls too! SO much to be thankful for this day, huh? ;)


Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.