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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happy Halloween!

This morning, when I got to work, I found out that the pumpkin fairy had come to visit me and left me a gift:

I’m sure I’ll eat myself sick by lunchtime.

Hope everyone has a safe and awesome Halloween!

Any fun traditions?

This is our first year to celebrate as a married couple, and I think we’ll be turning off the lights, watching Harry Potter, and pretending we’re not home.
In other words: having a totally amazing night.

Foodie Friday: The Best Soup in the World

Last fall I stumbled upon the Best Soup in the World. Seriously. This is not a tribute.

The day after I made it I told Allyn I made the Best Soup in the World. She scoffed at first, but finally tried it using one of her dairy substitutes and it became one of her favorites too. I’m not sure if she stands by Best Soup in the World, but in our house it is.

Without further adieu:

The Best Soup in the World, also known as Chipotle Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

  • 5 whole Sweet Potatoes, Roasted And Cubed
  • 2-½ cups Corn (I usually use frozen, but you could do fresh)
  • 8 slices Bacon
  • 1 cup Leeks, Sliced
  • 1 whole Vidalia Or Other Sweet Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Marjoram
  • 2 boxes Chicken Stock (32oz Each), Divided
  • 2 whole Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce, Finely Chopped
  • 1-½ cup Heavy Cream

 

Wrap sweet potatoes in tin foil; do not pierce and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees. Once soft, peel and cube. (Some of these will get smashed and some will not, so cube to your desired size.)

Fry bacon in a dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pot. Once crispy, remove and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in your pot.

Cook leeks, onion, corn, thyme and marjoram in the bacon fat, stirring constantly until tender.

Add cubed sweet potatoes, 1-1 1/2 boxes of chicken stock, and chipotle peppers; simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender, blend 1/2-1/3 of the soup. (You want to leave some of the corn and potato cubes whole.) At this point, you can add more chicken stock if needed, keeping in mind that you will still be adding in 1 1/2 cups heavy cream.

Simmer chowder for another 10 minutes, then add heavy cream and combine well. If your chowder seems too thick, add more chicken stock and/or water to thin until you reach the desired consistency. Top with crumbled bacon.

Original source of this brilliance: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/soups/chipotle-sweet-potato-corn-chowder/

You’re welcome.

Wasted Wednesday: Fall Sangria

I’ll never forget the first time I had sangria. It was down at the beach at one of my very favorite restaurants, it was the first time we went for dinner. They have a lovely patio under  an ivy canopy and played swing music. I think I ordered some sort of chicken dish with a chocolate sauce and of course a couple of glasses of sangria.

The beauty of sangria is there are a million different varieties and personalizations. My sister-in-law makes one that will satiate a thousand people and has three or four different juices.  Last year at one of our favorite local places I had a fall sangria. It involved a white wine and apples. I loved the taste and simpleness of it and have tried to recreate it several times. I happened upon this recipe a few weeks ago. It had been on my mind ever since.

Fall Sangria

  • 2 cups of fruit, chopped  (I used two gala apples)
  • 1 lemon, chopped
  • 1 small bottle brandy
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 bottles red or white wine (I used a cab and siraz, it’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 cup simple syrup

Put your chopped fruit in a bowl and cover with brandy. You probably won’t use the whole bottle. Add in the sugar and stir. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is better. I only had about 5 hours and it was just fine.

When you are ready to serve mix the fruit with the wine. Gradually add the simple syrup tasting occasionally to see if its just right. You will know when its ready when it starts tasting like a sweet sangria and not a cold wine. I used the whole cup, but its up to your preference and taste.

Serve chilled or over ice.

Source: Three Many Cooks

Things We Love: The Little Things

At our wedding in August, Josh and I had mini cupcakes for all of the guests. Neither of us are big cake fans, so the idea of spending a fortune on something we don’t really care about seemed pretty silly. We got a local bakery to make them in their traditional wedding cake flavor, since even we had to admit they made pretty dang good cupcakes (Carrie Underwood obviously agrees, since they made the cupcakes for her wedding too).

When my mother and I went to order them, the girl mentioned that for a very small price, they would make a cake topper for us to cut at the wedding. Josh and I thought that’d be fun, so we ordered one in their lemon blueberry flavor.

It looked super cute, so we cut into it, thinking we’d take a bite, get the pictures, and be on our way.

While that was technically the case, we happily would have sat down and eaten the entire thing. Seriously. It was AMAZING.

I’ve been talking about it ever since, how I wish we could have eaten it all, but whenever we’ve gone to the nearby location, they haven’t had the lemon blueberry flavor. So rude!

So Friday morning, my sweet husband secretly called the main location and got them to set aside two cupcakes so he could pick them up after work.

This is what greeted me Friday night, after a really long and stressful week.

It doesn’t take much to make this girl happy.

She’s Crafty: Rocking the Chair

A few weeks ago I posted my curbside find. I sat on it with its old seat for quite a while. Its a great place to drink coffee and read a book in the morning.

When I last updated my mom stole the seat. She cut a new piece of wood for me since the old one was rotting away. No one likes a rotten seat.

Once I had the seat I purchased new foam from Joanne’s, wrapped it with batting, and then stapled the new fabric over it all. (I’m getting quite good at recovering things to sit on.)

Viola!

My mom picked out the pillow to go along with the fabric. Its not really what I’d pick out, but adds a nice little punch.

Here’s what my front porch looks like right now:

Never mind the husband. My mums this year are thriving. Yay for remembering to water stuff!

We have purchased two old windows, but need a couple more before we finish the side project.

What do you think?

Foodie Friday: Balsamic Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Being still obsessed with winter squash, I was craving some sweet roasted acorn squash. While I totally can, and have in the past, eaten one of these as is for dinner, I figured Josh might appreciate some protein. I had him grab some bone-in pork chops on his way home (local, organic pork? yes please!), and I cooked those beauties up pretty quickly when he got home.
Note: While the USDA says to cook pork to 160 degrees, we’ve found that taking it off at about 145 degrees and letting it rest for a few minutes results in delicious, juicy pork. No resemblence to shoe leather here. Most of our favorite chefs do this as well, so we’re in good company.
These were super tasty, and awesome with the squash.
Original recipe found here
Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

  • 2 Pork Chops, Patted Dry With A Paper Towel
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cups Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cups Chicken Broth
  • Salt And Pepper

 Salt and pepper dry pork chops. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Place pork chops in the pan till lightly browned, about 5 minutes on first side. Turn over, cook till browned and cooked through, about 5-6 more minutes. At this point I used our meat thermometer and made sure the center of both chops was at 145 degrees. Remove chops to a platter and add balsamic vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add dijon mustard, maple syrup, chicken broth, and any juices that have run off the pork chops onto the plate. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes till thickened. Add pork chops back to the pan, turning to coat in the sauce.

Wasted Wednesday: Whiskey

This isn’t a recipe post so much as a “we really love whiskey” post (“we” referring to Josh and myself).

When Josh and I were making the transition from friends to dating, many nights were spent on a friend’s porch, sitting in rocking chairs, drinking whiskey and smoking little cigars. Yup, I’m one classy broad.

It seemed only right that on our amazing honeymoon in Scotland, we put some focus on that sweet nectar.

Our main focus? Glenlivet.

Oh, how we love Glenlivet.

And oh, how I wish oh wish that I could get a candle that smells like the inside of that distillery. I think that’s what heaven smells like.

Here are a few pics:

This is the distillery, where some of the magic happens. And where angels live. We couldn’t take any pictures inside, but it was fascinating.

This was in one of many warehouses, where the barrels age. This is where the rest of the magic happens.

That barrel is being aged for 50 years, and will sell for 3000-5000 pounds per bottle. I want.

Time to taste! Some of the people didn’t finish their drams. Morons.

Super cool whiskey bottle sculpture. Sadly, it’s too big for our house.

Oh how I wish we were there right now. In our wellies.

While we were in the area, we also drove by the Glenfiddich distillery

but decided not to tour it. Instead we toured some awesome ruins.

There are so many distilleries throughout Scotland, especially in that area. Special mold grows around them due to all of the yeast in the air. I think Josh would work for one in a heartbeat. I would too.

We also went to the Glenmorangie distillery on another very strange day, involving a innkeeper who gave off a definite Quasimodo/Norman Bates vibe, but we didn’t take any pics.

All in all, it was so amazing to get to see where and how one of our favorite drinks was made. Being in gorgeous Scotland didn’t hurt either!

Any other whiskey lovers out there? I know I’m not the only girl who’s a fan!