Saturday, October 29, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

It's nearly Halloween and temperatures have dropped this week. All over the country there are jack-o-lanterns being blanketed by snow. I can't seem to get enough of fall. I officially have a favorite season. Boots, scarves, changing leaves, red wine and soup are some of the things fall brings for me to enjoy.

Tonight I made some Butternut Squash Soup. I've had it many times in restaurants, but I have never made it myself. I knew I had a big container of pre-cut squash in the fridge I had to use, so I started browsing the web for recipes. BTW, I always buy the pre-cut butternut squash. I simply loathe having to deal with those suckers. Trying to peel and chop a raw one is like taking bananas from a monkey, not to mention the "glue" that is left on your hands. After looking at few different recipes I was able to put something together based on what I had here. I ended up with a soup that was flavorful and the perfect consistency.
1 (32oz) box of pre-cut Butternut squash
1/2 large sweet onion or 1 small sweet onion
1 small Granny Smith apple
1 can chicken broth
1/4 block of lowfat cream cheese (optional)
2 cloves roughly crushed garlic, peeled
2 tbs. butter
Cardamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper
2 tbs. EVOO

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a glass baking dish toss your two cloves of garlic and squash with EVOO and salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, melt butter in a soup pot. Peel and dice your onion and add to butter. Peel, core, and dice your apple, add to butter and onions. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg and cardamon. Cook, stirring occasionally until the squash is almost ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool slightly. If your blender can't handle heat, cool veggies completely.

Add squash, and apple and onion mixture to blender. Add your one can of stock. Puree until smooth.

Return to soup pot. Add cream cheese if desired and cook over medium heat until cheese melts and soup slightly boils. Taste and add more spices if necessary.

This serves 4-6 small bowls.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas

I love homemade Halloween costumes and with a little thought they generally pretty simple and a whole lot cheaper than paying for some run of the mill, off the rack get up. I posted some of these costumes last year, but I wanted to repost them for a little inspiration.

Zombie Rockstar
Made from stuff we had around the house and a purchased wig and face make-up.

Spongebob Squarepants
Painted on a box we were given from the hardware store!

Toilet Paper Mummy
I made this one in complete desperation. By the time he finished trick-or-treating all the tp had fallen off.
A Baby Costume
If I can make this so can you! I learned how by searching You Tube Videos
for tutu's, baby leg warmers, and hair bows. 
Homemade costumes are so cute people! This year let's strive to be more like our mother's and make them! My kids get a million compliments on their costumes when they are homemade. Chloe wanted to be an Angel this year and I was going to make it out of white tulle. My mind was whizzing with ideas and possibilities when she changed her mind. There are so many options for homemade costumes. You can make any costume into a zombie. You can use your kids old soccer or baseball uniform and make them into a zombie player. One of the only costumes I remember wearing as a child was when my aunt made me into a scarecrow. I think it had something to do with the fact that I wouldn't let her brush my hair. Her last minute costume idea and a pair of overalls and some straw turned out to be the most creative and memorable.
What's the most memorable homemade costume you have worn or created?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Remember Me?

I'm certainly not going to make any promises about future blog posts, but I'm here now, so lets get to it.
Life is fabulous here in North Carolina. The fall weather has me giddy every time I step outside. I even decorated the front door! It may be symmetrical, but I think it's darn cute! The children have adjusted better than I hoped. The public schools they attend here are much more rigorous academically than the ones in California. I suppose that's not really a surprise and it was a big part of the reason for moving to begin with. But I just wanted to let everyone know that sometimes big changes are scary, but we embraced it and it has payed off.

In other news, I've been sick all week and yesterday, between loads of laundry I crawled in bed and snuggled with my computer. Since being in NC, I rarely even turn on the computer anymore, because real life has taken over my virtual life! So I fired her up and spent the whole day perusing Pinterest. It was so much fun and so inspiring! I'm adding a Pinterest Button, so you can follow me to see what I'm fussing over.

Halloween is on the prowl and while Nash may be too old to Trick-Or-Treat, I think a T-Shirt from Kohl's that says "Costume" and a scary mask will suffice for him to pass out candy. Chloe on the other hand is giving me trouble-shocker! Just like last year she can't decide what to be, so I have to put my foot down. She was choosing between an Angel costume, that I was going to make, or a Zombie Cheerleader. I went with cheerleader because we bought a $12 hideous cheer costume from Marshall's last month and I am eager to slash it up!