Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hello Kitty Cake and Treats real

Hello Kitty is always a sweet theme for a party! Had even more fun doing a Hello Kitty treat table and a cake!
Absolutely loved these cute kitty cookies! The cutter is the perfect size!
and what is more fun than marshmallow kitty pops!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Autumn Calls For Butternut Squash Soup and Recipe

November 1st is always butternut squash soup night at our house. Our busy Halloween Season is over and we usually have all our decorating taken down and can just enjoy a quiet peaceful autumn night. This year our Nov. 1st was acutally on November 2nd, but whose counting :) It was actually a perfect soupy night due to a big storm coming in! I have two recipes I love, one is fast and one that takes a little more "love" haha. This time I was too tired for the extra "love" so we did the quick one so I could just break out the crock pot and then thoroughly clean my house and do a million loads of laundry. That was the plan, I actually ended up veging out on the couch and catching up on my recorded shows from October. (I think the great 3:30 am mass exodus of all d├ęcor Halloween earned an afternoon on the couch!) Anywho- if you have a busy afternoon of "house cleaning" scheduled, break out your slow cooker and here is the recipe for the quick Butternut Squash soup we like:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, (I just dumped a box of cubed butternut squash from Costco in)
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • (optional garnishes: extra coconut milk and cayenne)

Directions:

Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg to a slow cooker.  Toss to combine.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork.  Stir in the coconut milk.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  (Or you can transfer the soup in two batches into a traditional blender, and puree until smooth, being very careful when working with the hot liquid.)  Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper and cayenne if needed.

If you have time for the extra "love" recipe, here it is. It's one of our favorites, courtesy of
Tyler Florence from the Food Network! The smell while cooking this is DIVINE!!

Butternut Squash Soup with Amaretti Cookies
Courtesy of Tyler Florence
Ingredients
  • 2 (2 pound) butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound amaretti cookies (I used lorna dune cooikies instead, but you can also omit them)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 bunch fresh sage
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 4 cups chicken stock, either homemade or store-bought (I only used 1 cup chicken stock and 3 cups vegetable stock so the flavor of the squash didnt get lost in the chicken stock~)
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • (i also added brown sugar to taste and lots more nutmeg and salt)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish with vegetable oil. Place squash cut side up in prepared dish. Pierce each squash half several times with toothpick or skewer. Bake until squash is tender, about 45 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, use a handheld mixer with the chopping attachment to pulse the cookies until roughly chopped. Set aside.
In a large pot, bring the olive oil up to almost smoking. Quickly cook the sage leaves until crisp. Remove and reserve the sage, and saute the sliced onion. When the squash is done cooking, using a large spoon, scrape squash into the pot; discard peel. Add 3 1/2 cups chicken stock and nutmeg and puree until smooth, add additional stock to reach desired consistency. Stir soup over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with crushed amaretti; garnish with sage leaves