Thursday, October 16, 2014

Card of the Month

I'm not finding the time to make cards very often.  It makes me sad…but it's just the way things are for now.

I did manage to get one made to celebrate Caity's Birthday.  I did use the CAS(E) this Sketch #95 for my inspiration:

But…I'm so late in posting about it that I can't share on their site.  Oh well, it still turned out rather cute.

Not my best photo, but I was rushed.

Off to finally put up my fall mantel.  (It's about time.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

I made a pot of squash soup the other day and it turned out to be absolutely delicious.

I adapted this recipe from Ina's Winter Squash Soup recipe.  Just tweaked it a bit to fit my taste.

I decided to use a couple different kinds of winter squash as I had been given a buttercup squash. I already had a butternut squash from my garden.

I've never used a buttercup squash before, so this seemed like a great opportunity to give a whirl.  They look like this:

This isn't my photo.  I forgot to take a photo before I started.  Bad me.

Anyway…I took out my good knife. The one that cuts the butternut squashes with ease.  Barely a dent.

So then I tried the cleaver.  That made a cut, but I couldn't move it any further with my own strength.  So out came the hammer.

I know it should have been a wooden mallet, but I don't have one.  After extensive pounding, I got a couple good chunks off the sucker.  Sliced off the outer layer and managed to dice them up.  Holy cow.  I ended up with a bruised palm from holding the cleaver.  Ouch.

Now that I'm done complaining, let's get back to the recipe:


Olive Oil
1-2 Butternut squash - peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks
1 other type of winter squash - peeled and diced into 1 inch chunks (optional)
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 medium to large onion - diced
2 medium carrots - diced
2 celery stalks - diced
4 cups chicken brother
1 cup half and half
1 Tbl butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place diced squash on cookie sheet.  drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well with your hands.  Place squash in oven and roast until fork tender and lightly browned.  Stir halfway through cooking process.  Approximately 20-30 minutes.  May take longer if you do larger pieces.

Meanwhile, put 1 Tbl olive oil in your favorite soup pot.  Add onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper.   Sauté until onions are tender and translucent.  Add the roasted squash, chicken broth and pumpkin puree.  Bring to a light boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Cook until carrots are tender about 20 minutes.

Take pot off heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth.  (You can also use a blender, but be careful with the hot soup.  Take out the center piece of the blender top and cover with clean dish towel before you blend.  Blend the soup in batches.)

Add the half and half and pat of butter to finish the soup.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pump up the Volume on your Chicken Broth

After years and years of failed attempts and making soup, I finally learned the secret.


Use boxed or canned chicken broth as your base.  That's the first lesson here.

But I do like to pump up the volume on my boxed broth.  Here's how I do it.  (Keep in mind you don't have to do this, I just like to make sure my soup has the most flavor possible.)

Typically, I like to roast a whole chicken every week or so.  They are super easy and I use Ina's Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken.  It's so yummy.

After you've cut of all the meat, keep the chicken carcass in an air tight container in your fridge.  Then when you are ready, here's what you do:

1.  In a soup pot or dutch oven, add the chicken bones, 2 carrots in large chunks, 2 celery in large chunks, half a large onion quartered, 1 clove of smashed garlic, 2 bay leaves, 10-20 whole peppercorns.

2.  Add two boxes of store bought chicken broth and 1-2 cups water.  This is the brand I usually use.  Obviously, use whichever you like best.

3.  Bring the pot to a boil.

4.  Then cover and simmer over low heat for an hour or two.

5.  Using a mesh colander, strain the broth into a large pot or bowl.  Store broth in airtight container in your fridge until you are ready to make your soup.  I like to use Mason jars to store my broth.  I use a ladle and funnel to make the transfer super easy.

Here's my finished product:

I usually can get 2 1/5 jars of which I can make two batches of soup.  I hope this doesn't sound like a lot of work as you can spread it out over a few days when you have time and it really does pump up the volume.

Next up Squash Soup.  Happy Eating.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Every now and again, when the Food Network magazine arrives, I find so much inspiration that I can't wait to start cooking.  The October Edition was a perfect example.

It just arrived yesterday and this evening I made Tyler Florence's Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwich…page 127.

It was great and as I made a double batch, it was a great way to use up 4 pounds of tomatoes from the hoop houses.  And I have two full jars in the fridge.

The sandwich is grilled cheese with bacon and apple slices.  So yummy.  Highly recommend!

As BW brought home about 15 pounds of tomatoes…. I peeled, chopped and crushed the remaining 11 pounds and I now have 7 more bags of crushed tomatoes in my freezer.  

Very productive day.