Bye South America, Hello New York! (roasted butternut squash soup)

Now that I’ve been home for a day or so, I’ve really been able to reflect on my tour to South America with Beyonce. I have to say, it was really rough! Not a lot of sleep, lots of traveling, the life of a musician. Fortunately, the pros outweighed the cons! Just the people alone that I met in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico were so beautiful and incredibly inspiring! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that I came across! You have a place in my heart forever and I’m so grateful for all of you! Here’s a little video after our last show in Puerto Rico:

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in New York (besides seeing my family of course) was the fall time! These 2 weeks will be the only fall I experience this year since we’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand next! So the next 2 weeks are all about me making my favorite fall dishes! First one’s up!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled, deseeded, cubed (the smaller you cube it the faster it roasts)
  • 2 shallots halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp plain green yogurt (with extra for garnishing)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season squash and shallots generously with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil until coated evenly. Spread squash and shallots out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until tender all the way through (30-45 minutes) flipping every once in a while. Meanwhile,  toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat (watching carefully to not burn the nuts!). Once squash is tender put in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from blender and pour into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cardamom powder and greek yogurt. Pour into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with a toasted baguette.



  • Try toasted almond slices instead of pine nuts
  • You can use heavy cream instead of greek yogurt
  • Try roasting  root vegetables like parsnips or carrots as the soup base

This recipe is so warm and comforting. Perfect for the autumnal season in New York! All we need left is that air outside to get a little colder and crisper! (why does it still feel like summer, NY?!) The perfect song to go with this recipe is none other than, “Autumn in New York” performed by Joe Lovano and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (this is a throw back to my Jailyard days.. that’s me on baritone)



Groovin’ with my spatula.. and Michael McDonald

Yesterday was the perfect Sunday for me. I’ve been home in New York for the past few days and have a few more days of vacation left! I’m trying to take advantage of every second that I have with my family and of my 3 feetx 3 feet kitchen (the worst… but a kitchen none the less.. it makes you improvise in a whole new way).

It was the kind of day in which my boyfriend and I had nothing to do except spend time with each other so we had a little fun making some turkey wraps for lunch.. (I know it’s not duck confit… but i’ve been off the cookin scene for a minute.. PLUS as the girls in the band would say.. “Don’t make none of that bougie (sp?) food and make something that tastes good and is simple!” Fellow Mrs Carter Bandigans… this one’s for you. 😉

You’re probably thinking.. what does Michael McDonald have to do with this? In ode to school being back in session within the next few days, and me missing the good ole Jailyard.. We put on “What a fool believes”. This song (believe it or not) was a Juilliard staple for me. While not a jazz song, it was still our jam. This simple and soulful song is going along with the simple and soulful turkey wrap.

Anywho, onto the food.

Yield: 2 servings

What you need:

  • 1 ripe avocado sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sundried tomato wraps
  • 2 slices of swiss cheese
  • Srichara and Mayo
  • Couple slices of smoked turkey
  • handful of spinach
  • salt/pepper

Simple enough, right? As you should… improvise and fill it with your favorite kind of cheese or turkey or whatever you want. This is just what I had at hand. First thing’s first. Prepare your vegetables, so they’re ready to go. Second up, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Next, fry your eggs separately in a small frying pan with a touch of olive oil. I like to leave the yolk a little runny but in this case, this happened:


Uhh, what? Never before have I had the yolk actually separate from the white part while mid flip! (I’ve got some flipping skills.. all in the wrist 😉 )

Moving on, set separated egg aside. Place the wrap with cheese and place in oven until melted (a little over a minute). Layer egg. Spread some Srichara sauce in a sguiggly line like so (go ahead, release your inner picasso).


Add some mayo too. Layer turkey and rest of ingredients including a pinch of salt and pepper. Easy on the salt, turkey has high sodium. Wrap and enjoy!



Now that we made our lunch wrap and took silly pictures with it.. Take it away Michael!

So maybe I need to get some lip syncing lessons, but on a brighter note.. Can i get a spatula endorsement over here?