Monthly Archives: October 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Have a happy and safe Halloween 🙂

Mummy Door

All you need to make your own mummy door?

  • White crepe paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • White paper
  • Black Sharpie

Just cut strips (door width) and tape to door. Cut out eyes and use a black marker to color in eyeballs, tape to door… and you are good to go!

A fun conversation starter for all of your trick or treaters 🙂

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Hearty Soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Pumpkin Seeds

I love the fact that soup is such a versatile food item – it can be a great snack, lunch, starter, dinner… it is relatively easy to make, and (as they say) good for the soul (or is that just chicken soup?!).  One of my favorite soups is my sister Taylor’s homemade Butternut Squash soup.

Squash Soup

So make sure to hit up your local farmers market – pick up some butternut squash, celery, onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and get to the kitchen!

From Threads – By Taylor Feezor

TATA’S BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP:

  • 1 butternut squash (halved… or if you are me and have been told many elaborate stories of forewarning injury due to watermelon or squash cutting by your mother…. quartered)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • olive oil
  • sea/ kosher salt
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • drizzle of garlic and jalapeno olive oil after the soup is bowled

1. Halve or quarter your squash. The rinds are thick, so BE CAREFUL. I quartered mine because my new knives terrify me (I draped kitchen towels on the other end of them to get a nice grip when cutting down through them… recommend!), and noticed after baking that I might have lost some moisture doing this. The cut edge also was less soft than the inside. Do half if you HAVE THE COURAGE.

2. Take the seeds out, remove as much pith and fiber as you can from them. You are going to put these on the baking sheet and make seeds to use for later. FUN!

3. Drizzle olive oil, rub on the surfaces with your hands, sprinkle salt, stuff the cavity with fresh thyme if you have it, sprinkle whole squash with dried thyme if you don’t.

4. Cut tip off of head of garlic, place in middle of baking sheet. Sprinkle with too much olive oil, too much salt. Mix butternut seeds with this extra, cascading olive oil. Keep the whole bit near center of pan to keep things from burning. Some seeds strayed from the pack and the edge ones got burnt immediately.

5. Bake everything at 425 for 40-60 minutes. Squash is done when a fork goes through easily. You’ll know. During this baking time, I threw in a loaf of parbaked bread from TJ’s (12 minutes), and quartered leeks with olive oil and salt on another pan. They get crispy and taste like onion shoe strings (30 minutes). Great on the side, and this whole party in my oven (squash/seeds/garlic/bread/leeks) helps cut down on the old PG&E Bill.

6. WHILE ITS BAKING:

Pan fry yellow onion, thinly sliced celery and carrots in olive oil until everything becomes soft and translucent in a huge ceramic pot (or something that you will eventually be able to add everything to and run through it with a hand blender). Add 4 cups of chicken stock (trick I like…. add a little more of the bullion base than you should to the water. I think it is what made this so good).

Take out butternut, scrape it with a spoon after its cooled a little, add to your big pot of other stuff. Add 4 cloves of roasted garlic to the soup. Run through everything with a hand blender for about 5 minutes. If you want more protein, add the cubes of turkey breast from Thanksgiving your mom gifted to you when you moved in. Drizzle top with the garlic and jalapeno olive oil, and enjoy!

A big congrats to Christa Pulling – the winner of the PopSugar Must Have Box giveaway!!

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Halloween Costume Ideas

I have never been into dressing up, but that doesn’t keep me from being excited about a good costume! Here are some of my favorite that I came across (click to enlarge).

Halloween

I cannot get over the baby scuba diver, Anna Wintour, and shark attack family!!

Halloween Meal

Last year I put together an involved Halloween menu, and while delicious, was not conducive to opening the door every 20 seconds for a new wave of trick-or-treaters (I’m not exaggerating… we had over 500 kids come to our door last year!). Lesson learned.

Trick or Treaters

This year, I am taking a more relaxed approach and serving a meal that has minimal prep time, can be eaten through the night and requires minimal plating/cooking on my part 🙂  Enter – the slow cooker, the answer to entertaining during the cooler seasons.  I love that you can put something in it in the morning and come home to a yummy meal come 5 o’clock!

Crockpot

My favorite slow cooker meal of the moment is this copycat Chipotle Carnitas recipe. While Mexican may not be the first meal that scream Halloween, it is a favorite in our household and what better way to celebrate a holiday than with some of your favorite things?!

Carnitas

Aside from prep the morning of (browning the meat, chopping onions, etc.), I just followed the recipe up to boiling the tomatoes, etc. and poured it over the meat in the crockpot and let it cook on low for 8 hours (then followed the rest of the recipe).

Carnitas

When served with an array of toppings (which also can be prepped the morning of), everyone can find something they like – make your own burritos/tacos/burrito bowl/salad, and you can focus on handing out candy to all of the best dressed kids in the neighborhood!

And when all else fails… order a pizza!

The Pennytini

Rose Martini

For Penny’s birthday party (full post here), I created a couple specialty cocktails.  One was a Marin Mule (named after a Moscow Mule – recipe here) and the next was a concoction by yours truly.  Penny has really been into these Rose Watermelon juices from the farmers market, so I wanted to do a spin off of that… here is what I came up with!

Watermelon Juice Vodka Rosewater

Pennytini

2 oz vodka
4 oz watermelon juice
1/2 oz rosewater
1 oz lime juice

Pour ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and give it a few good shakes.  Strain into a martini glass and enjoy!

Bryce – my dedicated juice pourer

Martini Shaker

Bryce’s dad – the dedicated Martini Shaker

A made a large batch and had it available to pour individual portions into the shaker for fresh cocktails!

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