Flashback Friday

Breakfast on the dock in Bocas Town, Panama – from our honeymoon in June 2009.  What a nice way to enjoy a cup of joe, eh?  Conversely, this weekend I’ll be drinking my coffee wearing long johns, wool socks and a scarf wrapped so high that I’ll have to drink my beverage through a straw.  Stay warm and try not to be bitter like me.

Get In My Belly: Cream of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

A perfect soup for a cold day OR the perfect dish to serve if you want to invite snobby friends over that are the type who would judge you if you served tater tot hotdish.  Serve this instead and feel fancy.

Recipe stolen from America’s Test Kitchen:  The Best Light Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of butternuts squash (1 large)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced.  Or if you are super uncool, 1 Tbs from the jar of minced stuff that’s been hanging out in your fridge for 8+ months.
  • 1/4 dry white wine (I used cooking wine).  But feel free to use the real deal and drink the rest of the bottle before dinner is served.
  • 1 bay leaf (fancy!)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (I am lazy and used all chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Cut, peel and seed 1 large butternut squash (2 inch chunks).

3. Cut 1 medium onion into big chunks.

4.  Toss butternut squash and onion with 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt and spread evenly on baking sheet.

Note, I line my baking sheets with tin foil – it makes the clean up so easy and doesn’t ruin my lovely wedding gifts.

5. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes.  It says to stir occasionally but I watched TV instead.

6.  Transfer roasted veggies to a large saucepan with remaining tsp olive oil and cook 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until “fragrant”- whatever the hell that means, because all I can smell IS garlic the moment I open up that jar.  Anyway, cook for 30 seconds then add the wine and bay leaf (fancy!) and cook it until it reduces by half (about 1 minute).  Add broths and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to med-low and cook 5 minutes.  In the meantime, make sure your blender is free from any crusty margarita remnants (ie: not disgusting).

7.  Remove bay leaf.  Pour scalding hot soup very carefully into blender.  Maybe I should retract my suggestion of downing that bottle (minus 1/4 cup) of dry white wine.  Or maybe not but it’s recommended to have someone sober do steps 7 and 8.  Where was I?  Oh, blend.  Have at it.

8.  Transfer to a clean pot (or not, if you are careless like me).  Add cream and heat through (3 minutes).

9. Devour.  Don’t be afraid to have friends over so they can exclaim how fancy you are.  Agree with them.

Raves and Faves: JANUARY

Here is my Top 7 (yes, 7) list of January loves. In other words, another chance to List thing-ys. *claps*

1.  This.

It protects my skin from freezing solid and consequently falling off in one big chunk, leaving the cushy layer of my winter congestion out in the open for everyone to see.  You’re right, I did not have to go there.  Anyhoo, I smear this on before my frigid winter runs and it’s like a face windshield, which is awesome in every way.

**Update:  Apparently Dermatologica doesn’t sell this stuff any more.  I bought it loooong ago (like, 6 years ago) so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Anyway, if you want the quick and dirty (and cheap) version, get yourself some Vaseline.  It does the trick too.

2.  My slipper garden.  I’ve planted a pair in every room.

3.  The fireplace.  If I could physically lay in it, I wood.  Oh come on, you have to admit that had a remote chance of being funny.

4.  Our humidifier.  Basically my brain is like one of those menacing toys that you submerge in water and then they mushroom to 600x their original size.  So, my job *really* appreciates it when we run the humidifier at night, allowing me to function for at least a little while the next day…that is until the arid Minnesota winter air shrivels it back down.  I can’t be the only one with Chia Pet Brain, can I?

5.  Mad Lib, for you to fill in the blanks:  Our nice and toasty and ___(adjective)___  ___(noun)___ which is so freakishly fabulous because it completely __(verb)__.  Hey, work with me kid.

6.  My snowflake knee high socks that I got for Xmas.  These, paired with the tuft of hair on my knee cap that I always seem to miss while shaving, are keeping my legs good and warm.  And I like to be warm.

7.  HOT COFFEE.  HOT TEA.  HOT CIDER.  HOT BROTH.  HOT CHEESECAKE FONDUE?  (How good does that sound?)  If you can’t tell, we are freezing our split ends right off  up here in the Frozen North.  Which, come to think of it, shouldn’t be a bad thing but it is.  It really is.  I’ve gotta make like an alpaca and get myself a thicker jacket.

image courtesy of wikipedia.com

January froze over to let February snowshoe on in.  Are you relieved spring is officially one month (3 to go…) closer?