Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall. Cooked Down, Swirled and Put in a Bowl

Just so you know, I'm not planning on this blog to be solely craft projects. There is no way I won't end up sharing cooking adventures and an absurd number of pictures of my dog with you. So just go ahead and get ready for that.

We had a couple over for dinner last night and that meant Wednesday night was spent cleaning and cooking and last night was spent eating and enjoying. That also means I don't have a project to share so I thought I would share the pumpkin soup I made.

I made this soup a few weeks ago using left over fresh pumpkin. At first, I thought the idea of pumpkin soup sounded unpleasant but then I saw recipes with curry in it and the idea took on a whole new flavor. (heheehee get it?) I was shocked how much I liked it. The couple we had over are pretty foodie so I thought they were a safe audience for my new favorite soup. (Hi Morgan! Thanks for following :)

You will start by sauteing 1/4 of a medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and a handful or two of carrots in olive oil. The carrots are for sweetness and color. You wont taste them at all.

These aren't quite done. I let them cook a few minutes more.
 You are ready to move on when the onion is fairly translucent. If you get impatient and  it isn't fully cooked it is okay. They will get a chance to cook a little more. See my cute helper? He helps by wedging himself between me and the counter/oven or laying down somewhere very near by. He also cleans up the pumpkin I accidentally fling on the front of the dishwasher. (I'm not a very neat cook but I promise it all gets cleaned up...eventually)

Okay back on track, once those are nice and cook, add in the pumpkin and 3 cups of chicken broth.  This time, I used canned pumpkin because I couldn't find a fresh pumpkin. I think the canned has a different texture that isn't as good but it definitely will do.

Make sure you get 100% pure pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling.

Now is the time to throw in some spices and then let it simmer for a while. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, 3/4 teaspoon of red curry paste, a dash of clove, a double dash of nutmeg, a dash of pepper, and a triple dash of salt. That might be too much curry so just do what taste right to you. I am sorry for the inaccurate measurements. I know my dad would be cringing right now if he were reading this. (chemical engineer + cook = an interesting approach to recipes. and by interesting I mean wonderful, of course)

The soup before the blender.

Seriously, who keeps getting me off topic? Back on track, let the pumpkin simmer for a good while. You want it to tasted cooked and like the spices are melded well. Also, the olive oil used to saute earlier should create a sheen on top of the pumpkin. How long does this take? I don't really know. I ate dinner and chopped up veggies for the roast so may be 30-45 minutes? You want all of those spices to cook together. But be careful, if you let it get too hot it will try to boil and do this:

When you think it is done, you are going to blend it into creamy goodness.

Did you know blenders have a soup setting? I didn't either until half way through my second time to make this soup. It works pretty well too. I put the soup in the blender a third at a time and let it blend for a while since I wasn't liking the canned pumpkin texture. Just do as much as you need to in order to get it how you want.

When you get done blending, put it all back in your pot and add 3/4 cup of half and half. Let that cook for may be 10 more minutes.
The half and half will change the color and consistency of your soup.
 I like adding something to break up the texture. The first time I made it, I used small pasta shells for that  but I forgot them the second time and it was definitely missing. My dinner guests have done this before and added black beans which I think sounds wonderful. I didn't get a picture but it was really quite pretty served up in a white bowl with a sprinkling of parsley on top.

Okay so in short, the ingredients you will need:

1/4 Medium onion

2 cloves of garlic

handful of carrots

olive oil


1 can of pumpkin

1 1/2 cans of chicken broth (3 cups)

1/4 teaspoon cumin

3/4 teaspoon red curry paste (might be too much)

dash of nutmeg

dash of clove

3/4 cup half and half

cooked small pasta shells or black beans

I hope you get a chance to try out this soup. It really is good. Definitely taste like fall, cooked down, swirled, and put in a bowl.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thrifting is the Beginning of Christmas Shopping

There is a HUGE thrift store near us that I have to restrain my self from stopping in every time I drive past. Seriously, it is HUGE. It is the size of a freestanding department store. Everything is clearly priced and they have a different category on sale everyday. Yesterday was my first time to go in and I think this place is going to become a frequent stop.

I got a few finds I thought I would share with you. The only thing I didn't take a picture of was the 9 foot Christmas garland that I got for $4. Not a bad deal and my first Christmas decor purchase of the season.
My splurge was this thermos at $6.

Doesn't it look great with my vintage picnic basket? I just loved the colors on it.

I got this wine rack for $2. You can kind of see that it is missing the bolts at the top. I might replace the bolts or I thought I might just tie it together using hemp or ribbon. That led to the idea of completely covering it like Mandi from Vintage Revivals did on her chandelier.  We will just have to wait and see what I end up doing.

 I got this great sconce for $2. We have similar iron work candle holders in our bedroom so I am sure it will end up there.

It was hard to take a picture through the box, but I got a tall candle with a sparkle holly adornment for $.21. My "Secret Santa" recipient at work loves deep reds like I do so I think she will like it. I am going to probably clean it up so it doesn't look like a gift someone didn't want. The giving is spread out over 5 days and is to add up to $20 so this will make it so I can spend more on another day.

I got tired of taking individual pictures so this next one encompasses my last few finds. I got the basket and the wreath for $2.75 each. I am going to take the Christmas liner out of the basket and use it to organize supplies at my sewing desk. I don't have specific plans on the wreath at the moment.
But I've got BIG plans for the book which was $.75. Just you wait. It is going to be super cool and look great in our library. The mug was $1.40. It might end up being part of my Secret Santa gifts but I think more likely I will keep it. It has a lovely crackling to the glaze and I've always had a thing for red and white mugs. I always ohh and ahhh at them at Starbucks but those are never $1.40. I also got a stocking stuffer for $.41 for my husband but since he is my first and only follower I can't tell you about it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Shower GIfts

I have been working on some fun items for a precious baby whose imminent arrival we celebrated last weekend (aka I made a baby shower gift) I finished them Thursday night and then tried to take really great pictures of them. You know, the kind of pictures that are all glowy and gorgeous. The kind you shouldn't try to take with no natural light. Well, I did try since it was late and I had to wrap the gift. My hubby was a little confused when I pulled out a bowl and started arranging it all in it. "Are you giving our bowl away?" "No, Honey. I'm staging." which I am pretty sure was followed by an eye roll from him but I was too busy snapping pictures to look up and confirm.
Anyways, here is what I made. The projects were made using ideas from Scraps N' Strings. She also has a great blanket idea that hooks to the handle of the car-seat-carrier-thing.

It all started with a simple blanket with ribbons and teething rings attached. You can barely see it at the back there. I forgot to get a good picture showing just the blanket. The blanket soon turned into half a dozen burp clothes. After all, I would have left over fabric and all I would need to do was add some terry cloth to the other side. Right? And those projects turned into "Awww! Look at the cute baby crafts!" So then came the covered diaper case that you can see on the right. I am pretty proud at how it came out looking almost like a clutch. Just some fabric and LOTS of hot glue!
And then the pacifier holders. These were pretty fun to make as soon as I got applying the snaps figured out. I think Miss Harper Rose will enjoy looking cute while not losing her pacifiers as will her mom.

Scraps N's Strings put together full tutorials for all the projects so I didn't but here is the link for each:
Teething Blanket
Burp Cloths
Swipe Case
Pacifier Holders
I hope to start on my table project tonight and I am doing a few other small bits with Christmas in mind. I am really enjoying diving back into crafts and having some place to share it all.
I've joined my first link partys. Check them out at

handmade projects

Friday, November 12, 2010

First Project to Not Keep

I've gotten most of the supplies I need to start my first project that I am making without the intent to keep or gift. (That's my long way of saying "sell" but "sell" sounds too serious. too formal. So for now I am going with "not keep") So I will be able to start on that project soon. I can't wait. And I can't wait to share it. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to grab sometime and put up a post on the craftiness that has keep me busy this week. I tried my hand at staging last night and I am interested to see how that will turn out in blog form.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In the Beginning....of My Blog

I feel like I recently discovered the wonderful craft blogging world. I always knew it was out there and I would sometimes use it for ideas for specific projects but I never really stopped to read and enjoyed it. Well, now I have and I want to not only observe but join in. This blog will be my launching pad for that as I read, share, and maybe make a few pieces to not keep.