Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Okay, so this is the second time I have tried to make this soup.  The first recipe I got from my husbands Grandma Parry.  It was a comfort soup for my mother-in-law Kristine as she was battling the last few months of cancer.  I am very sad to say... we didn't like it.  Sorry Grandma.  But, I was given an different recipe and since I still had a squash, I thought I would give it another try.  This one was much better.  A little rich but very good.

You will need:
1 butternut squash
For the squash preparation: salt, pepper, olive oil
1 15oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 to 4 slices of bacon (preferably peppered bacon)
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 head garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350*.  Quarter squash; remove seeds; brush meat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place squash skin side down in a large baking pan; add enough water to the pan so that it is 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch high.  (I forgot to do this and it really made the squash have a darker look and a richer flavor.  I won't be forgetting this step next time.)  Roast squash until fork tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove tender meat from squash and puree.

In stock pot, cook bacon and remove once crisp.  You'll use this to crumble on top of the soup.  Saute onions on medium heat in grease from the bacon.  Once the onion is tender, add tomatoes and garlic.  I used 5 cloves of garlic.  4 would have been fine.  Allow tomatoes to cook for a few minutes before adding the balsamic vinegar.  Once the tomatoes have started to break down, add the pureed squash and chicken stock.  I pureed all of this again so that it was smooth.  If you don't want to do that I'm sure it would be fine.  Stir to combine.  Stir in heavy cream.  I used half and half and if you wanted to, milk will work too.  Salt to taste.

I ended up making baked potatoes to go with mine because I knew that my kids wouldn't enjoy the soup as much as I would.  We also dipped crackers in it.  The bacon on top really made the soup.  I would have liked it not as thick but it was very tasty.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley-Chateau of Flowers 
 First off I have to say that I am so glad that I found this link!

I have had this book for years.  It was my mothers and I just love to read it.  When I want a nice little romance I pull this out. 

I'm pretty sure this book is what made me love hardback books.  I love the feel of it in my hands and the size and everything.

When I was in High School I was excited because I was in French class and could finally understand the few French phrases in the book.

This is a great little love story.  All about how communication is key in any relationship.  I love the description of the flowers and the Chateau's rooms.  I just love this whole book. 

The whole reason I pulled out a "real" book is because my husband took my IPod to go replace our windshield.  I was in need of a book!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lemon Herb Chicken Ring and a Cocoa Add-In

So when my friend came over to craft, we made this for lunch.  It is a Pampered Chef recipe and I love it!

You need:

2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
3 TBS chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 packages (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375*.  Zest lemon to measure 1 tsp zest.  Add 2 TBS of the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise and Italian seasoning to the chicken and bell pepper and mix. Set aside 2 TBS or Parmesan cheese and add the rest to chicken mixture. 
Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles.  Arrange triangles, slightly overlapping, in a circle on a pizza pan.  (I use the Large Round Stone from Pampered Chef.) with wide ends 4 inches from edge of pan.  (Points will extend off the edge of pan.)  Roll wide ends of dough toward center to create a 5-inch opening.
Spoon chicken mixture evenly over dough in a circle.  Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough at center to form a ring.  (Filling will show.)  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese over ring.  Bake 28-30 min.

So good!

I had some for breakfast this morning with my new favorite breakfast drink.  I usually add milk to my cocoa to cool it down to drinkable temperature but I had some Egg Nog in the fridge and used that.  OH MY GOSH!!  Never will I drink plain Egg Nog again or Egg Nog with Sprite.  It was so good!  You really need to try it. 

The other think you can try to dress up your plain cocoa, add pumpkin pie spice.  Plain cocoa is just to over-rated and Stevens is pricy.  So just dress up the cheap stuff and you've got your own gourmet cocoa.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mod Podge

I had my sister over for the weekend and on Friday, I had a friend come over with her kids to play with my kids while we crafted.

I bought all this stuff last year and never got around to doing it.  I have never crafted with Mod Podge and now I find myself looking for new things to craft with it. ;0)

We made these count-down til Christmas blocks.  And of course I don't have the blog that I got the idea off of to post here.  So sorry.

We just cut paper to fit the block, mod podged them on and put a little vinyl on them.  Are they not awesome!

I need to get some more vinyl numbers to finish the other blocks and I'll be giving them away to friends for Christmas so if you want to be on that list, let me know. :0)

I also had these down in a box.  Who knows how long I have had these but I got them at a Super Saturday that I had signed up for too many things to do and never did these.  I had the paper and the blocks and pulled them out to mod podge.

I was very happy to see that the blocks had what was what written on the backs.  That made things a little easier.  I wanted a nativity that the baby's that come to my house can play with.  I love the manger that I have for under my tree and come Christmas time I'll post pictures of it.  But this is perfect for baby's.  They can't break them and they get to play with them.

Now what else can I mod podge?  ;0)

*Totally found the site I used!!!  You can go here!  And I talk about this website here!   I have made so many things from here!  From just the one link alone.  LOVE IT!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Pictures

I saw this link for the Pumpkin Point Farms on a friends blog and then I really waned to take my family up there for pictures.  If you would like to see them you can go my my family blog here.  :0)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Trick-or-Treat Bags

My good friend posted these last year.  I had the craft bug and wanted to make some for my kids so I asked her for her pattern.  She didn't use one but took the time to make one up just for me. :0)

You can go here to see her bags.

Here is one of mine.

They are HUGE!!!  I had to take a picture of my baby in one so you can see how big it really is!
She's 18 months old and small for her age. ;0)
My husband said that my kids are going to be highly disappointed because they are going to think they are filling up these bags and will be lucky to fill the bottom of them. 

I can not wait to make the rest of them.  They were so much fun.  I have never pieced before and I may have found a new love.  It makes it even nicer that there is a setting on my sewing machine just for piecing.   That was nice.  I think I may have to make a quilt after I get these and the Christmas dresses for my girls done.  Now if only my machine would work better.  I'm having trouble with the tension and any advice is very welcome. ;0)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Had to Share

Cookie Day Pictures

My sorry attempt at a cute skeleton. 

I gave each kid 2 bags of frosting and cut off the tips.  They loved it, it wasn't too messy and I am queen of the day. :0)

This is why I can't have these around long.  I load up the frosting, put as many candy corn I can fit on there and eat like 3 of them.  Yes, this is my breakfast. :0)

Got to love sugar cookie.  But not a big fan of the chocolate one.  Who knew?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cookie Day

I am so sad that I am no longer in scouts for my church calling.  Today was suppose to be Den Meeting for my Wolves but since our ward split we had canceled it.  I decided that we needed one more get together as a group. 

So I have spent the day making these cookies from Our Best Bites.  LOVE THIS SITE!!!

I also cooked up a batch of Farmhouse Sugar Cookies that is my Great Grandma Winnifred's recipe.  They are so good the you can just eat them and eat them.  With or without frosting.

I'll be posting later how cute they all turned out and how my first attempt at Royal Icing goes.  I'm so going to make up a batch of Buttercream Frosting to go with the cookies I'm hiding for me to eat with candy corn faces. :0)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Zupa's Cauliflower Soup

My husband and I are in love with Zupa's.  When we had strep throat in the spring, the only thing we could eat was this Cauliflower soup.  So good!  I happen to look through a ward cook book...

I found a recipe.  Made it.  Love it!  Tastes just like Zupa's!  Thought I'd share. :0)

2 celery ribs, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large (2 lbs) head cauliflower, broken into florets
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
3/4 cup half & half
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. white pepper

In large soup pan, saute celery, onion, carrot and butter for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Stir in cauliflower and broth; bring to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Cool slightly.
In a blender of food processor, process vegetable mixture in batches until smooth.  Return to pan.  Heat over medium heat.  In a small bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth.  Stir into puree.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat; stir in half & half, parsley, salt, dill and pepper.  Heat thoroughly.

I made it just like this up to this point.  Tasted it.  It was good but missing something.  I called a neighbor over to taste it with me and asked her what she thought it was missing.  Cheese.

I added 2 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, let that melt in.  Perfect!

I paired it with my beautiful pink ribbon bowl and plate, and a yummy, yummy rolls.  Pure Heaven!  It was surprisingly filling.  I thought I would need to make a grilled cheese sandwich with it but between a really big bowl of soup and a few rolls, :0) I was good the the rest of the night.

I will never pay for Zupa's soup again.  Or at least not any time soon.  The only thing I had to go buy was the half & half.  I borrowed the white pepper but I think I'll just leave it out next time.  Having everything else in the house was so cool!  Bountiful baskets are amazing. :0)

Now if I can just learn how to make Zupa's pesto sauce for their sandwiches, I'll be set for life.  Now I need to go make sandwiches with pesto sauce, sprouts, tomato, cheese.....

Monday, October 3, 2011


This weekend was full of peaches.  I wish I had more pictures to document what really happened at my house this weekend.  It all started Friday morning.

My good friend and neighbor Dani,  agreed to go help me pick peaches from Jenny's mom's house.  Now.  Let me explain about these peaches.  They are the only peaches I will eat.  I Crave these peaches from about May on.  I can not buy peaches at the store.  They are just gross.  I LIVE for these peaches.  My mother calls me a peach snob because of these peaches.  I really am.  None others will do.

This is where the picture should have come in.  There is just one tree but it was full.  In a little over an hour we had the tree clean.  Another picture of the back of my car full of peaches would have been good but again, I'm a loser and didn't take one.  I'm pretty sure we walked away with 5 to 6 bushels of peaches.

We took the afternoon off to do some of our own things but by 3, Dani was over with her kids and we were peaching.  By 11 o'clock at night we had 28 quarts of canned peaches, 16 pints and 2 half pints of peach jam.  And we still had nearly 2 bushels left.

Sunday morning we did 14 quarts more of peaches, 11 pints and 11 half pints of jam.  We froze about 10 cups of peaches and we gave a ton away.  We also threw a lot away.  We were very done with the worms.

And I'm not done.  I have enough peaches to do 8 more jars of jam.  So in total we did 42 quarts of peaches, 35 pints of jam and 13 half pints of jam.  We also did 4 pints of peachsauce.  We just mashed up peaches, added a little sugar and canned them.  Dani's daughter loved it.

I am defiantly Not taking the whole tree next year.  Maybe just a bushel.