Monday, October 24, 2011

first halloween party of the season!



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well happy monday friends!  we went to our first halloween party of the season and had a blast.  this wasn't a kid party.  it was a grown up 80's party, complete with a pac-man inspired dance floor, jello shots, jungle juice, and a good time had by all.  we all pieced our costumes together with things we had, or from thrift stores, american apparel, etc.  we had a gerdy and elliot from ET, jack tripper and chrissy snow, smurfette and my husband, the 80's inspired racquet ball  player.  i can't wait to see what kind of break-out i'm going to have from the lovely blue face paint i wore.  i may have to go into hiding for a while.  hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, October 21, 2011

there's a party in my tummy. so yummy! so yummy!


this is a really old williams sonoma recipe.  i can't find it online anywhere.  i've been making this soup since i was probably 21 years old.  if my 21 year old self can make this, so can you.  have you ever made a williams sonoma recipe?  don't let them scare you.  they can be time consuming, but they rarely let me down and are so worth the effort.  this is not a weeknight recipe.  this is more of a cozy sunday kind of recipe.  the main character...butternut squash, my all time favorite ingredient.  i'm sure you could use some pre-made, pre-chopped squash, but fresh is best in my opinion.

1.  preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  cut a 2-3 lb butternut squash in half lengthwise.  scape out all the seeds.  place the squash cut sides down in a baking dish.  add water to the baking dish so it is about 1/4"- 1/2" deep.  cook in the oven for about 50-60 minutes.



2.  chop two large yellow onions.


3.  chop 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh thyme.


are you ready for this?  there is bacon in this recipe.

4.  cook 6 slices of bacon.  if a couple extra pieces sneak in there i won't tell.


this might put some of you over the edge.  it is so bad it's good.  are you ready?

5.  add the onion and thyme to the cooked bacon.  yes, you are going to saute the onion and thyme and bacon in the bacon drippings.


this is what your squash will look like after baking it, such a beautiful sight.  you should be able to scoop out the squash very easily.


6. working in batches put the onion, thyme, bacon mixture, and the squash you scooped out into a food processor or blender and puree.


this is what your puree should look like.  this in itself is delicious.  i think you could stop here if you wanted, but it gets better.

one of these containters of chicken broth contains 4 cups, which i think is enough, but if you want a runnier soup go ahead and add more.  this is not an exact science.

7.  add the puree and 5 1/2 cups of chicken broth in a large stock pot.  


8.  add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the soup and let the soup simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.


yum. yum.  if the bacon didn't put you over the edge this might.


9.  add 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream or half and half to the soup.  also add 3 tablespoons of dry marsala or dry sherry.  add salt and pepper to taste.



now get out your favorite fall tablecloth.  mine is this embroidered wheat tablecloth.  i bought it when i hosted my first thanksgiving... for 20+ people.  i had never made a turkey or really much of anything and i was a nervous wreck about it.  i had only been married since june... i was 22.  i think it was that thanksgiving that i realized how much i liked to cook and how fun it can be to share it with people who really like good food.


set yourself a pretty fall table, get some crusty bread, and enjoy the best soup ever.

happy weekend friends!  what's on your fall menu?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the princess and the pumpkin


once upon a time there was a little girl, let's call her the pumpkin princess, who loved the holidays, not just christmas, but all holidays.  she was an only child, but had tons of aunts, uncles and cousins and during the holidays her family came together and had massive celebrations with what seemed like an endless supply of fun and love.


one day the pumpkin princess met a prince.  the prince liked holidays too, but he didn't really get to experience the holidays like most of us do as a children.  the prince and the princess were perfect for each other.  they both had a lightheartedness about them and were basically children disguised in adult bodies.  their life was filled with laughter, silliness, and fun.


the prince and the princess got married and had a sweet little pumpkin princess baby.  they were so excited they got to see the holidays through their child's eyes.  their daughter was just like them in spirit.  the mama princess was determined to raise her pumpkin princess the way she was raised, filling her holidays with family fun.  the mama princess was reliving her childhood and she loved it.


although the mama princess had fun times growing up, there is one thing she always wanted but never got.  she always got a standard pumpkin and some fairy tale pumpkins, but there was a pumpkin void in her life.  she always wanted a BIG MAC, but her parents always said she didn't need one.  even when the mama princess was an adult, she herself shunned the idea.  it is silly really, but this year the mama needed to fulfill a childhood wish.  her prince got her a BIG MAC this year.  this isn't the actual pumpkin they got.  this one accidentally rolled out of the stroller.  doh!


the mama wanted her baby to have a big mac and her husband too.  he never got to do this kind of stuff when he was growing up.




their big mac weighed 82lbs!


look how thick the pumpkin is! 


the prince and the princess had to carve this one where it landed when they got home, on their front porch.


little carving knives were no match for their big mac!


the prince and the baby princess had fun carving it.  somehow the prince convinced the baby princess to carve a scary face.  that wouldn't have been the mama's first choice, but this is his big mac too.




sticking your tongue out while doing anything makes it easier.


the baby princess wanted a bat-kitty pumpkin too.






the mama had tons of stuff to do on sunday.  her house was a disaster and she still needs to get halloween costumes together, but sometimes you just have to set things aside and spend all day acting like a child with your child and carve pumpkins.

cheers to acting like a kid and living a childhood dream, however silly it may be!  for another fun pumpkin tale check out this pumpkin project.

smiles,
amber











Sunday, October 9, 2011

presh


holy smokes friends, are we already mid october?  okay, not quite, but we might as well be!  we had family pictures taken on saturday.  the setting was an apple orchard and the feel i was going for was a little rustic, a little prep.  the outfit little miss s wore was perfect and she looked so precious i just wanted to squeeze her!  for the preppy part i headed to prep headquarters, crewcuts.  i can't believe she didn't put up a fight with this outfit!  remember when i said we don't see eye to eye when it comes to fashion.  she likes things that sparkle and glitter.  she likes high gloss and i like, i like cotton... the fabric of our lives.  she had no idea she was wearing a little boys shirt!  a boys shirt!  she wore it so well.  the dress was initially a bubble dress that was too polished and too long.  with a confirming nod from my friend, i cut it.  i needed a little reassurance i was heading in the right direction.  i'm still kind of surprised i did it.  i cut a perfectly good dress from crewcuts.  after my modifications i threw the dress in the washer so it would fray.  the fraying added just enough edge and took away the shiny and new feeling that i did not want.  under the dress little miss s wore some oatmeal colored leggings from h&m and we bottomed it out with some navy converse.  i can't wait to see how the pictures turn out.  we had some great backdrops, old wooden apple crates, wine barrels and of course the orchard.

hope you all had a fun filled weekend!





Thursday, October 6, 2011

i BOO do you?



the other day we got "booed" or "ghosted".  it happens every year.  it is so much fun for the kiddos and kicks off the holiday season.  my neighborhood has little festivities throughout the year, but during the holidays things get kicked up a notch.  the grown ups have as much fun as the kids.



we came home to a little ghost taped to our door with a bag of homemade goodies, pumpkin carving kit, and little treats to celebrate the season.  it is so fun to watch the ghost population grow in our neighborhood as we get closer to halloween.  included in our bag of goodies are the instructions above. my daughter loves ghosting people.  we get our goody bags together and make the ghosts, but her favorite part is going up to our neighbors front doors at night, taping the ghost on the door, ringing the doorbell and running away as quickly as possible so we don't get caught.



after living in our neighborhood for four halloweens now, i buy stuff on clearance and keep it for the next year.  i can get really cool stuff from crate and barrel, paper source, target, etc. and usually for super cheap.  i bought these bags at the crate and barrel outlet.  i filled them with...


silly eyes and...


spider rings.


i include fun entertaining stuff for the mommies too, paper straws and festive napkins.



i had to make something homemade too.  this year i made a loaf of "boo" bread.



i try not to include candy if i can help it.  i might include one piece of candy per child, but these pretzels are a fun, healthier option.


books are good too.  there are some great inexpensive paper back books to celebrate the season.




tonight we are ghosting our first family!  i hope we don't get caught!  do you have any fun halloween traditions?


Saturday, October 1, 2011

a tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket




what is a tisket or a tasket anyway?  i looked up both words on dictionary.com with no results.  ever since i started re-doing my front room i have been slightly obsessed with these vintage picnic baskets.  this green one is what started it all.  i love you little greenie! (who can name the children's book that is from?  one of you will know!)



once i brought my charming little picnic basket home, i started to scour ebay... daily.  it has become part of my morning routine, pinterest, blogs, ebay, and a cup of coffee.  these sweeties are called hawkeye baskets, made in iowa.  iowa and i have some connections so these baskets are a little more special than your average picnic basket.


they seem to have some consistent characteristics.  most of them have metal handles.  their shape seems to be consistently oblong, although i've seen some that are square.  their sizes vary, which leads me to believe they might be handmade, not factory made?  the brown one on the top is my least favorite.  it doesn't jive with the rest of them and seems too new.  i think i will actually use that one for its intended purpose!


i love the color and texture that they add to a room.  each one seems to be unique.









they kind of remind me of these!



i think this one is a knock-off, actually i'm certain it is, but i still like it.  it works for me.


this red one might be my favorite.  no, i can't discriminate.  i love each one in their own unique way.  they are my basket babies.


this one has pretty braided trim, but a plain weave.


they all open the same way and have an elastic strip inside for holding utensils.


some have this tray insert, which i believe was to store pies.  what?!  you don't bring homemade pies with you when you go on a picnic?!  shame on you!  (random side note, i have never made a pie.  making pie crust freaks me out.  i have memories of my mom crying over pie crust.)  the pie trays add to their charm and are a reminder of simpler times, the good ol' days. 


todays use:  keeping a ton of magazines out of sight.










i found this one on 1stdibs.com. it is from 1940 and it is beautiful!  i wished i owned one like this.  most of the baskets i've purchased on ebay are under $20, although i've seen them get as hight as $150+.












this ad is from 1906, so these babies have been around a while.  do you like how the ad states that this one is lined with asbestos?  yikes!  maybe i don't want one of these older versions.






this picture makes me want to hit some back country roads with some wine, my man, my girl, and one of my hawkeyes! for more picnic basket fun, check out my friend Kelley's blog.  if you don't follow kelley, you should.  her style was a HUGE inspiration for my room re-do.  she recently posted about some adorable finds inside a vintage picnic basket.  happy fall friends!