Kick Off Fall With Festive Flavor

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The back to school season offers new opportunities to start the year off fresh by making new friends, taking new classes and finding new ways to fundraise! Every fall, parents are challenged with how to collect the most money to ensure another successful year for our schools. No matter how you raise support for your school, it all begins with the committee that creates the event.

There are so many online resources for organizing who will manage which aspect of an event, but I find that meeting face to face is the best way to get everything started. Many a successful committee has been created at Starbucks, but imagine what could be accomplished with some homemade comfort food?

With that in mind I decided to put together a luncheon with a fall flavor for our school’s fundraising committee. Volunteering takes a lot of hard work so it’s nice to take an opportunity to also make it fun. Keep it simple yet elegant it always my motto, so I decided to serve up an easy-to-prepare meal guaranteed to get the creativity flowing.

Butternut Squash Vegan Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

Pumpkin Bowls

Wash and dry 6 medium pumpkins with soapy water.

Cut off the tops of the pumpkins so the opening is wide enough for the pumpkin to serve as a bowl. Scrap out the seeds and cut off any stringy pieces.

Drizzle some olive oil onto a paper towel and wipe inside of the pumpkin bowl and the lid with olive oil.

Soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash (buy cut up save time)
  • 1 yam, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion peeled and rough chop
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2-3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 liters of water

Place butternut squash, sweet potato and carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle and toss with oil. Season with salt an pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes or when needed.

Meanwhile, add olive oil and chopped onion to a large soup pot and cook until tender. When the veggies are done roasting, add them to the pot with the water. Stir and let cook for 20 minutes until softened. Add batches to blender and puree until smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Serve in pumpkin bowls with a selection of toppings like walnuts, pumpkin seed, chives and Greek yogurt with cumin.

For décor, pick up some sunflowers for the table, and don’t forget notepads and sharp yellow pencils for note taking! Taking some time out to get to know one another creates a relaxing atmosphere. You’ll be sure to get everyone’s best effort when the planning process is enjoyable.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Lamont

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