Monday, November 14, 2022

Souped-Up Savory Butternut Squash Soup


Savory butternut squash soup

Hey folks, it's certainly been a while! I have some upcoming posts where I'll explain in a bit more detail about where I've been (cross country move and divorce in a global pandemic can get a girl distracted!), but for now I wanted to get a real recipe out there because it truly is that good!

Just because I haven't been blogging, doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. I came across this recipe on Buzzfeed for Florence Pugh's Butternut Squash Soup and was intrigued. I love butternut squash, and it's a staple on my Thanksgiving table. I've made butternut squash soup in the past, but it was simple. More of a side dish than the main event.

Let me tell you, Florence Pugh's recipe is no side dish. This soup is savory, hearty, and delicious. It includes some toppings that truly elevate the soup and compliment the traditional flavors.

And of course, being the foodie I am, I did update it with some of my own preferences. For one, I made it fully vegetarian. The other adjustments were just things I thought would work well, and you better believe they did!

For adjustments, I...

  • used a single, large squash instead of two. It yielded about 5 servings of soup with just one, which was perfect for me.
  • added boiled potato to the soup itself for creaminess without additional dairy.
  • also added an apple to the soup for sweetness.
  • totally forgot the Serrano pepper, but the chorizo brought enough spice that I didn't mind much.

I promise this isn't as difficult as the original article makes it out to be. Yes, you'll use a lot of pots and pans for this recipe, but it's pretty straightforward and not nearly as time consuming as it seems. And absolutely worth it for a hearty fall-themed dish!

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

(Adapted from Florence Pugh's recipe by way of Buzzfeed)

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used my veggie scraps recipe)
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 2 medium sized yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tube chorizo (or soyrizo)
  • 3 handfuls kale
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice the butternut squash into 1.5 inch slices. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the slices over and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Finished butternut squash should be fork-tender. Let cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

-Roast the garlic as you wish: you can use Florence's method of roasting the cloves individually (sliced lengthwise) alongside the butternut squash, or do my method of taking the whole head of garlic, cutting the top 1/8 or so off the top, drizzling with olive oil, and lightly wrapping with aluminum foil. You'll place this in the oven when you roast the butternut squash.

-Take 1/3 of the cubed potatoes and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, checking for tenderness and flipping occasionally. You can do this alongside baking the butternut squash. Set aside.

-In a large pot, bring the remaining potatoes and apple to a boil in the broth. Boil until tender, about ten minutes.

-Peel the butternut squash and garlic, and add to the pot with the potatoes and apple. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add seasonings and adjust to taste.

-In a separate pan, caramelize the onion slices. Melt a pat of butter over high heat or use a bit of olive oil, add the onions, lightly salt them, and cook until deep brown in color, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan.

-In the same pan, brown the chorizo. Remove and set aside, then add the kale with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until kale is wilted and set aside.

-Assemble: Ladle soup into bowl and top with kale, caramelized onions, roasted potatoes, and chorizo. Serve hot.


  • Cooking times for the squash and potatoes will vary. So long as they're cooked until tender, you can adjust the timing accordingly.
  • So long as your oven can fit it all, you can roast the butternut squash, garlic, and potatoes at the same time.
  • You can peel the squash before roasting, but I've found it's MUCH easier to peel once cooked and cooled. You can use a paring knife or your fingers to pull the squash away from the skin.
  • Cube the potatoes small, it will ensure a crispier potato and will work best for taking bites of soup with a little bit of everything.
  • It tastes EVEN BETTER the next day, after the flavors have had time to meld together. I also think it'd freeze well.

PROTIP: add two tablespoons of butter right at the end for extra richness.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Can You Be Vegetarian at Six Flags? - Vegetarian Options at Six Flags Magic Mountain



One of the best things I've done for myself in the past year is to get a Six Flags Membership. This is different than the Season Pass, as you pay monthly instead of upfront. Yes, it does come out to a bit more $$ overall, but my Millennial budget is much more able to pay the equivalent of a Netflix subscription monthly for all the benefits the pass offers.

The one wrinkle?--my newfound vegetarian lifestyle. Can you be vegetarian at Six Flags Magic Mountain? When one drives nearly two hours to the middle of nowhere to ride rollercoasters, you can't be too picky on what to eat. And who wants to interrupt their day of thrills with a looong walk to the car for a packed lunch?

So, I took a chance and got a meal plan. Now that I've been to Six Flags about 10 times (!!) I have tasted nearly every meat free option in the park. AND I HAVE OPINIONS. Read on for my tips and tricks for the best vegetarian options at Six Flags Magic Mountain (as of 2021/2022).

Click here to see a full list of dining options at Six Flags Magic Mountain


The easiest way to keep a vegetarian diet at Six Flags Magic Mountain is to make your way to a burger place, as they all offer meatless burgers.

Johnny Rockets - Johnny Rockets recently introduced an Impossible Burger option nationwide, and the Magic Mountain location is no exception. I was able to order this tasty burger on the app and pick it up no problem.

Full Throttle Sports Bar - If you prefer Beyond as your fake meat of choice, head over to Full Throttle Sports Bar. Bonus: you can grab a beer while you wait and catch up on your sports.

Big Belly Burger - Fake meat not your thing? Big Belly Burger offers a bean burger instead. I found this one a little dry, but definitely flavorful as I tasted some taco seasoning in the mix.

Pizza & Subs

Strangely not as popular as burgers in the park, but a solid option to go meatless.

Carlini's Pizza - Pretty standard amusement park fare: cheese pizza and two garlic knots. You get one slice with the meal plan, but can upgrade in-person (not on app) for a bit more. They also have salad options.

Twisted 'Wiches - This is probably my favorite option in the park: a meatless meatball sub! My omnivore friends actually ordered this too and said it tasted just like the real thing. It's not huge by any means, but a solid meal to fuel you up for more adventure.


Outside of typical amusement park food, Six Flags Magic Mountain has some other assorted options of interest.

Max'd Out Mac & Screaming Spuds - Yes, the menu shows these delicious carbs topped with a pile of meat. But you CAN get them without (hint: try the kids meal) and it's more than decent. The "holiday special" was a potato stuffed with mac and cheese. It sounds weird, but it was delicious. I hope it ends up making a comeback to the full time menu.

Tofu Veggie at Chop Six - Full disclosure: I haven't tried this yet, but the smells coming from this dining location have my interest piqued. The portions look generous and seem to be what you'd expect from a a counter service Asian-inspired restaurant. I will report back!

Cheese Quesadilla at Food Etc. - Simple, tasty, filling. So much cheese. 

Plaza Cafe - Another one I haven't tried yet, mostly because the lines are often long (it's the first food stand in the park). However, those who are gluten free will be happy to know that the menu is mostly made up of gluten free pastas! There are a variety of meatless pasta options, as well as the only place in the park to get coffee.


In the meal plan, you get a "snack" which can be anything from a bag of chips to a full on sundae. I suggest skipping the chips and getting more bang for your buck with the following.

Dole Soft Serv Float - Six Flag's response to another amusement park favorite, this decadent dessert is included as a "snack" in the meal plan and is always my go-to on a hot day. So refreshing! You can find it in Food Etc.

Giant Pretzel - If you want to maximize your food volume on your snack option, the pretzel is where it's at. Huge soft pretzel with a side of nacho cheese.

Churros - Not the most cost-effective option, but the churros are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and a delicious treat to pick up on your way out of the park.


I'm not vegan, so I haven't investigated this too much, but here is what I noticed during my many trips to the park.

Tofu Veggie and steamed rice and veggies at Chop Six - Again, I haven't been here but looking at the menu this seems like one of the best options for a vegan at Six Flags.

Burgers no cheese - Any of the burger spots that offer a meatless burger will gladly make it sans-cheese if you don't do the dairy.

Vegetable roll at Sushi in Food Etc. - Amusement park sushi? Sounds like an oxymoron. But the fish-free option of the vegetable roll is a safe bet for those staying totally animal-free.

Acai Bowl at Food Etc. - A great snack option (though the pretzel and churro are also vegan) if you want a cool treat that's vegan-friendly, this is the best one.

Things to Keep in Mind About the Meal Plan

As I mentioned before, my friends and I all purchased the meal plan that allows two meals and a snack. Here are some things we've discovered.

  • In previous years you were limited to certain times a day to get your "lunch" and "dinner" meals, but this is no longer the case. You do need to wait 1-2 hours between meals though, or your card will not process.

  • Take advantage of online ordering on the app! On a busy day, it can cut your wait time down significantly, giving you more time to ride those rides!

  • That said, while most counter-services places will let you edit your meals (for example, ordering a plain baked potato at Screamin' Spuds) the app does NOT. This is something to consider, as many counter service stations are going app-only during busy times.

  • Portions are NOT huge. While it's more than enough for me, a moderately active 30-something female, one of my Six Flags buddies is a large man with a healthy appetite and he ends up scooping up the rest of our leftovers as he's still hungry afterwards.

  • The meal plan does NOT include drinks. I suggest that you either bring your own water, or invest in a daily or season long drink cup. The cups range in price from $20-$30 but are a solid deal for people who visit often. The day cup will give you unlimited refills the day of purchase, but for the rest of the year you'll get refills for only $1 (and, if the counter staff isn't paying close enough attention, you may get some free refills regardless... it's happened to me a few times!). The season long drink cup is unlimited refills all season. Typically, we'll bring water and all share the season bottle at mealtimes. It definitely has saved us a bundle and kept us happily hydrated!

So, Is the meal plan worth it for a vegetarian? - In my opinion, yes. For a little over $20/month I can go to Six Flags and get two meals and a snack while I'm there. And as anyone who frequents amusement parks knows, meals can add up quickly. There are certainly enough meat free options to make it worth it, and the pass pays for itself with just one trip a month. I typically visit twice a month, so it's already paid for itself many times over. I would caution vegans against purchasing however, since the options are extremely limited and require a bit of configuration on the order, which is impossible in the app.

Do you frequent your local Six Flags? Do you have a meal plan? Let me know what you think in the comments!