Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Curry Soup

It has been freezing outside lately and I wanted to make something for dinner to warm Jimmy and I up a bit. I knew I wanted to make a soup I just didn't know what kind I wanted to make. And as I was flipping through my cook books I came across this recipe and knew this is what I wanted to make. Its pretty simple to make, the squash do have a little prep time to peeling and cutting them but its soooo worth it! I was a little scared about using the Curry since I had never tried it before, (Jimmy loves Curry but I am always a baby about things being to spicy for me) but I must say it roped me in I like Curry. I even liked the flavors of this soup without adding the Curry. Either way this soup is awesome for a cold night, it warmed me right up. It was the perfect amount of spice and maybe next time I make it I might even add a little more Curry just to test it. The recipe makes a decent size pot so be prepare to share or if you have a hubby like mine who goes back for 2nd's or ummm maybe even 3rd's you wont have a problem Enjoy!


  • 3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably
  • homemade
  • 1/2 teaspoon good Curry Powder


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash, onions and apples in 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the squash mixture between 2 sheet pans and spread it in a single layer. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until very tender.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock to a simmer. When the vegetables are done,you can place the roasted vegetables in batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add some of the chicken stock and coarsely puree.When all of the vegetables are processed, place them in a large pot and add enough chicken stock to make a thick soup. Add the curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings to be sure there's enough salt and pepper to bring out the curry flavor. Reheat and serve hot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homemade Simmering Potpourri

I got this idea from my friend Jayne that lives across the street from me. She and her husband Chris invited us over one Sunday evening for dinner. And when we walked into there home it smelled so good I could hardly contain myself I had to find out what it was. And there it was on her stove I came to find this large pot of yummy goodness simmering away. A pot of cinnamon sticks, cloves and oranges. It smells just like Christmas! I was in love....

Here is what you need :

1 pot of water filled half way or a little more
6 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon of whole cloves (or a little more if you like)
2 or 3 oranges sliced in half
Bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer, as the water evaporates add a little more at a time if you wish.
If the aroma needs boasting as the day/night goes on add more ingredients.

Beef Bolognese Sauce

Everyone needs a quick go to dinner they can throw together during the week. Or you could even make this sauce for a last minute date night. Either way I got your covered with this hearty sauce. It is so easy! And the best part is, it is packed with flavor so it seems like you have been slaving over the stove all day. Just pick your favorite pasta to go with and your set. Maybe even whip up a small batch of garlic bread while the sauce is simmering and BAM dinner is served!

Ingredients :

2 TB good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
1 pound lean ground sirloin
4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 TB dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I might try 1/8 of a tsp next time because it was a little spicy for me)
1 ¼ cups beef stock
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 TB tomato paste
Kosher salt & black pepper
¾ pound dried pasta, ( I used Medium Shells)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Directions : 

Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 TB salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.
While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Long awaited Christmas baking recipes

I am so glad that I am finally able to sit down and write a post! I have been so busy from the holidays and then the after affects aka being sick :( that I haven't had one minute to write a post. I am so sorry! So maybe the recipes I post you can use for next year or make them just because. Some items I can't post recipes for because they are a secret family recipe and well they just wouldn't be a secret anymore if I shared. :) All I can say is that I baked for 3 days straight! It was amazing, and I loved every minute of it. I would so love to one day open my very own specialty food store/bakery. This year for gifts for my friends I bought little tins and put an assortment of goodies layered in them. Nothing makes me happier than getting homemade baked goods so I hope that they enjoyed the goodies as much as I loved giving them. I was also in charge of bring the desserts for the family Christmas Eve party. So I put a large platter together of all the assorted goodies I made and then made one cookie platter and one pound cake platter. It was a big hit and I hope that I have the same job next year.
Assortment Platter

My Great Grandma Lund's Pound Cake - I had never made a pound cake before, but I was really excited to use her recipe to keep the family tradition of making this yummy cake for the Holidays. It turned out really well, better than I thought it was going to since I had never made it before. I made it in a bunt cake style and in loaf form. I used the loaf pieces by cutting them up into bite size pieces and sprinkling them in the tins. And the bunt cake I sliced and put on a platter.

 Vicki's Cheesecake - Why it's called Vicki's Cheesecake I do not know because its not really a cheesecake. More of a rich flaky gooey square. It has a cake like bottom with a gooey inside and a flaky top. It is so delicious this is a family favorite during the holidays. Another one of my Great Grandma's recipes that will knocks your socks off!

Salted Peanut Chews - These little yummy bars are so good you can't just eat one! This one is for the peanut butter lovers out there. It has the perfect ratio if gooeyness with a little crunch.

  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2/3  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine, softened
  • 2  egg yolks
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 3  cups  miniature marshmallows
  • 1  (10-ounce) package peanut butter morsels
  • 2/3  cup  light corn syrup
  • 1/4  cup  butter or margarine
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 2  cups  crisp rice cereal
  • 2  cups  salted roasted peanuts


Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat at low speed with an electric mixer until crumbly. Press into an ungreased 13" x 9" pan. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 1 to 2 more minutes or until marshmallows begin to puff. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Combine peanut butter morsels and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan; cook over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cereal and peanuts. Spread cereal mixture over marshmallows. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls - I think everyone knows about theses little beauties, Jimmy begged me to make them this year. So I caved and made them, can you see a pattern here? We are peanut butter LOVERS in this house!


   * 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
    * 1/2 cup butter, softened
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    * 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
    * 2 tablespoons shortening


   1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
   2. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate.
   3. Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.
   4. Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Rice Crispy Treats -  Ok so I know this is a little boring but I didn't want to be wasteful. So I used the rest of the box of Rice Crispy cereal that I use for the Salted Peanut Chews. So to make them festive I sprinkled red and green sprinkles on them. Plus kids love them!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels -I made 2 different types of these. Both easy as pie to make. I bought the Wilton's melting White Chocolate followed the directions on melting and then use pretzel rods and pretzel sticks. Then dipped them half way up the pretzel and rolled them in green and red sprinkles. They are that easy!

As far as cookies go I made 2 batches of Choc Chip, 2 batches of Peanut butter, and 1 batch of Oatmeal raisin. I dont use any special recipes for those. For Choc Chip I like the Nestle Toll House recipe and use the milk choc chips. For Peanut Butter cookies I like the Jiff recipe on the Jiff container. And Oatmeal raisin I use the recipe on the Quaker Whole Oats container.

I hope everyone's Holiday Season was as wonderful as mine was! And I hope that you and your family can enjoy these recipes for years to come. :)