I've had requests for soup recipes this week, so here you go. It's up to you to decide how old-school you want to go with cooking a real pumpkin and going vegan with almond milk and  no butter.

Remember, the recipes for October last year were all Halloween treats. Go back in Kathy's recipes to check them out.

Vegan Roasted Pumpkin/ Fennel Soup (prep time about 2 hours if cutting, cleaning and oven roasting a fresh pumpkin. 30 minutes if using canned pumpkin)

1 medium baking pumpkin (you can not use a Jack ‘o Lantern pumpkin!) or- about 4 cups canned pumpkin

1 fennel bulb

4 C. vegetable stock

2 C. water

2 C. plain almond milk

½ bottle hard cider (available in the beer section of your grocery store)

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 Tb. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground ginger

2 Tb. honey

Olive oil

salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the stems and bottom from the fennel bulb.  Cut the bulb into quarters and place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt liberally.  If using fresh pumpkin, clean the seeds out of the gourd, cut into quarters and also place on a baking sheet, skin side up. Drizzle with olive oil and liberally salt. Bake until the fennel and pumpkin are tender, flipping about halfway through the baking process.  Allow pumpkin to cool and scrape the meat from the skin.

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot and further cook the fennel until it starts to caramelize.  Add the spices and stir for a couple minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Deglaze the pan with the hard cider (regular apple juice or cider may be substituted.)  Stir in the pumpkin and add the vegetable stock and water.  Bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, adding more stock or water if needed.  Puree the soup with a hand immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Return to low heat and stir in the almond milk (or regular milk) and honey.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a sweeter soup, add more honey to taste. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Serve with a hardy bread and toasted, salted pumpkin seeds.