December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

That moment when your New Year's Eve plans fall through and you're not at all upset about it - yeah that's me.  It's not that I wanted our plans to fall through, but once they had I started thinking about how great a night at home, on the couch in my pj's, snuggled up with the hubby sounded.  Truth be told, I've never been very big on going out on New Year's Eve, I've just always thought "that's what you're supposed to do." Some of my best New Year's Eve memories are from when I was a child, my mom would order pizza and my parents, sister, two brothers and I would watch movies.  When the movie was over we'd turn on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and watch the ball drop. It might sound lame but it was pretty special, that was one of the few times a year we got to order pizza, so it was a big deal.

Brad and I went to a couple New Year's Eve parties when we were dating but for our first New Year's Eve as a married couple, we left a party early so we could ring in the New Year at home.  We celebrated our first New Year snuggled up on the couch watching The Hangover. Yeah, I'm kind of a sucker for my low-key New Year's Eves even if everyone else thinks I'm lame.


For those of you that are planning to host a party, I'd like to share a decorating tip:

We've all seen it on Pinterest, fill a wine glass with (in this case) ornaments, flip it upside down on a table and put a candle on top. It makes a beautiful and cheap display.  I did this with red and green ornaments to use as a centerpiece for our Christmas party this year, and if I'm not mistaken I made this exact same mistake at last year's Christmas party also! It definitely looks nice, doesn't it?


What Pinterest does NOT show you is this:

The candle wax melts off the side off the glass and onto the table!  I cannot believe I made this mistake two years in a row.  I had completely forgotten about cleaning melted wax from the glasses and table until it was too late.  I cleaned the wax off the best I could, but I think there will always be wax in the little crevices of our dining room table.  Next year, hopefully I'll remember to use tea-lights instead.

Lastly, I'd like to share a dessert recipe with you.  If you are going to a party and need a dessert, this is the one to take.  It's so tasty it's sinful.  I found the recipe on Pinterest over a year ago and I make it for parties whenever I can. It's incredibly easy and feeds a lot (of adults).

Kahlua Cake Truffle

Ingredients:
  • 1 Chocolate Cake Mix, prepared
  • 1/3 Cup Kahlua (more or less to taste)
  • Chocolate Mousse, prepared 
  • Cool Whip
  • Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
Directions:
  • Bake your chocolate cake and let it cool COMPLETELY.  Then using a fork poke holes all over the top of your cake.  Pour the Kahlua over your cake and let soak for at least 1 hour.
  • Cut the cake into 1-inch squares
  • Prepare chocolate mousse.
  • Layer cake cubes, mousse and cool whip. Sprinkle candy pieces on top.
  • Repeat layers until bowl is filled
NOTE: When deciding how much Kahlua to use keep in mind that you don't want to drown the cake and make if soggy.  I used approximately 1/3 of a bottle for my cake.  The amount of other ingredients will vary depending on how big your bowl is and how much dessert you plan to make.  For the truffle shown I used 2 boxes of chocolate mousse and a large container of Cool Whip.  You may use full Heath Bars and smash them up yourself in lieu of the Toffee Bits, but I find the toffee bits are much less work.


For those of you going out on New Year's Eve, please be careful. Don't drink and drive!  Many AAA locations around the country offer a free towing service to everyone (not just AAA members) on New Year's Eve  Check with a AAA location near you.

2014 Resolutions? Live life to the fullest and say yes more than no.


December 17, 2013

Vogelbacher 2nd Annual Christmas Party

The thing about throwing a Christmas party is, this time of year Mother Nature can be very unpredictable.   I put in weeks of work planning our Christmas party this year, which is partially why I’ve had no time to blog.   All that preparation, only to have a snow storm keep half the guests at home. 

Stupid snow. 

Still, I wasn’t sure how bad the roads were or how many people were planning to brave the weather, so I spent the day cleaning and baking.  I also had to make time for shoveling the driveway and walkway (we definitely need to get a snow blower!)  Maggie was of course ecstatic to play in the snow while I shoveled.  The first thing she did was eat a mouthful of snow, it also happened to be the second and third thing she did.  I was afraid she was going to give herself brain freeze! Seeing Maggie play in the snow is the only thing that keeps me from completely detesting the stuff.  As I shoveled, I found myself wishing “Summer Wheeze,” the snow spray from the cartoon ‘Frosty Returns,’ was a real thing.  After I was about three-quarters done (and ready to throw in the towel) the most amazing girl came strolling down the street with her snow-blower.  She cleaned the sidewalk down half of the block and as she passed she offered to help me finish off the driveway!  I’d bake her some cookies or something but I’ve never seen her before and have no idea which house she came from.  I am so grateful though, she saved me about 30 minutes of work.  Unfortunately, because it was snowing so much Brad had to shovel again when he got home from work.




As the start time of the party got nearer, I became more anxious about whether people would make it or not. I had made a ton of food, put together party favors, bought white elephant gifts for the gift exchange; I’d even crafted a trophy for the person voted ugliest Christmas sweater.  As much as I wanted people to show up, I questioned whether or not Brad and I would go out in the storm, I still can’t say.  I sent out a message letting everyone know that I understood if they couldn’t make it but that our party would go on as planned.  I was excited to find out a few people were still planning to attend!


Considering the snow storm, I’d say we had a pretty good turnout for this year’s Christmas party.  We had a lot of fun too!  There were a couple of hilarious white elephant gifts like the blue testicle plush that Natalia ended up with or the 4 boxes of Grape Nuts that Nick got.  The gift everyone wanted was the Spiderman Spud and a bottle of wine.  I had it in my possession for a minute but it was obviously stolen.  Nick can’t complain too much about opening Grape Nuts because he convinced his wife to steal Spidey for him, however I’m not sure what she got out of the deal (4 boxes of Grape Nuts I guess!) 

There were a lot of GREAT ugly sweaters, even Maggie got in on the fun!  Brad won the vote by the smallest of margins. I think it had something to do with the “R Kelly Snowman” that was “peeing” out snowflakes.  No one noticed the snowman (including Brad and I) until about halfway through the party.  Once it was noticed however, we couldn’t stop laughing at it.  Honestly, I was pretty happy he won because once I’d finished making the trophy I kind of wanted to keep it!  As it turns out, maybe I am kind of crafty. (I found an abominable snowman figurine and sewed him an "ugly sweater" that I made out of an old shirt and stickers.  Then I glued him to a wooden pedestal which I had painted gold.)  Along with the trophy, Brad won 4 Walleye tickets (Toledo’s minor league hockey team) which we gave away as we get tickets all the time (we really just wanted to win the trophy!)



 



Clearly I’m biased, but the food was great. I made veggie chili, buffalo chicken dip, peppermint roll, cake batter cookies, toffee scones and a veggie wreath.  I actually LOVE baking, although I haven’t always.  My mother scarred me one Christmas when she asked me to make cut-out cookies.  She thought she’d doubled the recipe when in actuality she had quadrupled the recipe.  I was making the same cookie for an entire day.  I’ve tried suppressing the memory but I’m quite sure I cried.  I don’t think I baked again until after I was married, and still it was sparsely until more recently.  I think I’m getting pretty good at it too, but I NEVER double any recipe, EVER.  

Hershey's Chocolate Peppermint Roll
Scroll to the bottom for the recipe
The peppermint roll was the item I was most uneasy about making.  Rolling up a cake with a creamy filling looked more difficult than I could handle but I was up for a challenge.  After I baked the cake and rolled it up with a towel to cool I had to make the cream filling.  I was especially anxious about this because it involved using whipping cream. When Brad and I first married I tried my hand at whipping cream; it was absolute failure.  It never thickened no matter how fast I stirred it just continued to be thin and liquidy.  “Tricks” I learned about whipping cream: 1) it has be cold to work, 2) you can’t stir fast enough so get your mixer out, 3) it takes time so don’t get discouraged.  The whipping cream whipped up nicely, so I unrolled the cake and covered it with the peppermint filling. I apprehensively began rolling the cake back up and to my surprise it rolled together quite effortlessly! I covered it with the chocolate glaze I’d made and was rather pleased with the end result, even if it didn’t look as smooth and photo-shopped as the picture.  It tasted good too, although I’d probably use a bit more peppermint next time.

Along with the desserts, we had eggnog and brandy.  I was honestly surprised at how many people said they had NEVER had eggnog.  I though eggnog was a Christmas staple but apparently that’s only at my house.  My friend Natalia tried it and called it “festive,” I guess it’s not for everyone.  Once you pour in the brandy, you can barely even taste the eggnog though.  Okay, maybe that’s just me, and actually my over-pour of brandy was an accident.  I would consider brandy “festive” as long as that’s the word we are using to describe things that we deem gross.

Despite the snow, I’d say the party was a success.  I won’t say any names but one of us had so much fun at the party that she slept the entire next day!


Happy Holidays Friends!  


Party Gifts: Cigars & Toffee Scone Mix

Brad and I - I sewed the garland to edge of the peplum for a more festive look.




Hershey's Chocolate Peppermint Roll
*Taken from a HERSHEY cookbook

CHOCOLATE SPONGE ROLL
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa (I used Special Dark)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water

PEPPERMINT FILLING
1 cup whipping cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candy (I used crushed up candy cane) you could also use 1/2       
      teaspoon of mint extract
Optional:  a few drops of red food coloring

CHOCOLATE GLAZE
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Hershey's Cocoa
2 tablespoons water
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
  1. For CHOCOLATE SPONGE ROLL: heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1 inch jelly-roll pan with foil; generously grease foil.
  2. Beat egg whites on high speed of mixer in a large bowl until soft peaks form; gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
  3. Beat egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed of mixer in a medium bowl for 3 minutes.  Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar; continue beating for 2 minutes.  In a separate bowl stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to egg yolk mixture alternately with water, beating just until batter is smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture until well blended.  Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto clean towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Carefully peel off foil.  Immediately roll cake in towel, starting from narrow end; place on wire rack to cool completely.
  5. For PEPPERMINT FILLING:  beat whipping cream on medium speed of mixer in medium bowl until slightly thickened.  Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and peppermint candy (or extract) and food coloring. Beat cream until stiff peaks form.
  6. For CHOCOLATE GLAZE: melt butter in small saucepan over very low heat; add cocoa and water, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  (Cool completely for thicker frosting.)  Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  7. FINISHING THE ROLL: Carefully unroll cake and remove towel.  Spread cake with Peppermint Filling and re-roll cake.  Glaze with Chocolate Glaze.  Refrigerate until just before serving. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert.

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!





























I’ve really been in the Thanksgiving spirit this year and I decided that I really wanted to try my hand at roasting a turkey.  Brad and I contemplated having a friend pre-thanksgiving feast but that would have meant canceling our Christmas party, which we really didn’t want to do.  Still, I REALLY wanted to roast a turkey, and I kept seeing amazing Thanksgiving side dish recipes I wanted to try.  I decided to make Thanksgiving for two (which, by the way, is basically impossible.)

Brad and I settled on a couple of interesting recipes for our Thanksgiving Feast:  Sweet Potato Boats, Acorn Squash with Maple Pecan Butter, and Cranberry Orange Sauce.

This past Sunday while Brad was at work I decided to tackle the feat of Thanksgiving dinner.  I started around 9 a.m. jotting down what temperature each dish cooked at and for how long.  With only one oven I knew it would take specific timing to get everything to finish around the same time.  Once I knew what time to start each of the side dishes I started scouring the internet for directions on how to roast a turkey.

I know, I know, it’s 9:00 a.m. the day I’m going to roast a turkey and I still had no idea how to do it.  However, in my defense, I hadn’t originally planned to make the turkey on Sunday.  I was waiting on directions from a co-worker of mine, who happens to be a great chef, but with the holidays and family / friend gatherings, I didn’t see another time when I would get the chance to roast the turkey.


After browsing various recipes, I found that it was still a few hours before the turkey needed to go in the oven.  I took this chance to make the cranberry sauce, as it was the only dish that could be made early and refrigerated. 

Cranberry OrangeSauce: 

Ingredients:
1 Cup Sugar
1-1/4 Cups Orange Juice
Zest from 1 Orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 ounces Fresh Cranberries
 
Directions:
In a saucepan combine sugar, orange juice, orange zest and cinnamon.  Warm until sugar dissolves.
Add cranberries to saucepan and bring to boil
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Cool, cover and refrigerate
 
The cranberry sauce was quick and easy to make. I put it in the refrigerator and headed to the park with Maggie as I still had some free time before I had to get the turkey started.

When it was finally time to get the turkey out I found that I hadn’t needed to spend time searching for directions, Butterball gives roasting instructions with their turkeys (you’d think I’d have noticed that when I bought it).  I turned the oven on to 325 degrees and coarsely chopped up onion, celery, carrots and garlic, tossing the vegetables with unspecified amounts of salt, pepper, dry rosemary and dry basil.  I then unwrapped my turkey only to read that the first instructions are “find the 2 cavities in the turkey and remove the neck and gizzards.”  (So to clarify: I have to stick my hand up this turkey’s butt and pull out the neck?!?! That is not only gross but degrading to the turkey…I mean you already killed it and then for a kicker you decided to shove it’s head up it’s butt?!”) For starters I couldn’t even find the neck cavity because they cover it with a flap of skin, I was already confused by the directions.  I reach my hand into the one cavity I could find and it sounded something like this “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh…eeewww, gross, eeewww, eeewww, gross, gross, eeewww.”  I pulled the neck from it’s body and was completely freaked out.  Still there was supposed to be another cavity!  After about a minute of prodding the turkey, I found the skin flap, pulled it back and reached my hand into the neck cavity.  It sounds very similar to pulling out the neck.  Actually, this part wasn’t nearly as bad, because this part was at least bundled in a bag.  Everything after this was a breeze (I mean, how much worse could it get anyway?) Next I patted the turkey dry with a paper towel, put the turkey into a roasting pan, filled the cavities with the chopped vegetables, brushed the turkey with oil and tented foil over the top.  It was about 12:30 PM when I put my turkey in the oven and I was PUMPED!  I was so excited, the hard part was over, now all I had to do was wait while the oven did the rest of the work. 

The next item to go in the oven was the sweet potatoes.  The directions called to start by baking the potatoes for 1 hour at 400 degrees to soften the inner flesh.  As the turkey was baking at only 325 degrees, I figured I would just leave the potatoes in there for longer than called for.  After about 1-1/2 hours I pulled out the potatoes and cut them in half.  As I tried to scoop out the flesh I noticed that some of the potatoes were still quite firm inside so I put them in the microwave for about 5 minutes to finish cooking.  Once the potatoes were soft, I scooped out the flesh and used my beater to mash it along with several other ingredients (see recipe below).  I then put the boats on a baking sheet, filled them with the now mashed sweet potato and topped each boat with the pecan flax crumble topping.



Now came that perfect timing thing I was trying to figure out earlier in the morning.  The sweet potatoes are supposed to bake for 15 minutes, then you add marshmallows and continue baking for 15 minutes (30 minutes total).  The acorn squash calls for it to be cooked for 30 minutes, then another 10 minutes after filling each piece with maple pecan butter (40 minutes total).  Since there was only a 10 minute time difference and I was running short on room in the oven, I decided to place the acorn squash on the same pan as a few of the sweet potato boats.  So, after I cut, seeded and quartered the acorn squash I put it on one of the sweet potato baking sheets, and put both pans on the top rack in the oven.  I turned the oven temperature up to 350 degrees and began to hope that this all worked out.

Still I wasn’t done, I also wanted to make rolls.  The rolls called for baking for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  When I pulled out the sweet potatoes to top them with marshmallows, I also topped the acorn squash with the maple pecan butter.  I then pushed the turkey to one side of the oven and put one pan of sweet potatoes next to it.  I put the other pan of sweet potatoes (and acorn squash) along with the rolls on the top shelf.

Everything was in the oven and prepared to be finished only 15 minutes after Brad got home from work! I was so proud of myself, I even made time to clean up some of the dishes before Brad got home.  He was really surprised to see everything I had done and I was so pleased that he finished the dishes for me! 

Unfortunately, when the timer went off nothing was done!  The temperature in our oven is off, by what I thought was 25 degrees, apparently it’s more like 50 degrees off.  Also the oven loses heat every time you open it, which was no less than 6 times after I put the turkey in.  I left everything in the oven for approximately 10-20 extra minutes.  The rolls were done, the potatoes were done, the squash was done…to my complete disappointment the turkey was NOT DONE! I had been so excited that I had timed everything just right and it was ruined, the turkey still about an hour to cook.  Fortunately, I have the best and most understanding husband who simply said “It’s okay, we’ll just eat everything else and eat the turkey when it’s done.”

Even though, we had to eat the turkey separately, dinner was AMAZING and I think I have a lot to live up to next year.  Even better, everything is great reheated the next day, and the next, and the one after that which is good because I think we’ll have leftovers in our house for a while.

As it is Thanksgiving here a just a FEW things I’m thankful for:

  • My amazingly supportive husband, who loves me completely and is the only person in the world that can put up with my craziness day in and day out.
  • My energetic puppy Maggie Moose, who can always cheer me up, gets me exercise even in the cold by making me take her for walks, and never leaves my side when I’m sad or sick.
  • My friends, who laugh with me, cry with me, love me, listen to me and at the very least, make amazing memories with me
  • Brad’s friends who have accepted me unconditionally, without question or judgment, and who I am able to consider my own friends
  • My family who love me through thick and thin, who has always been available when I need them most, who hold on tightly even when I try to let go, and who are understanding even when they don’t understand


Have fun, be safe, hug those that are close, and tell someone you are thankful for them.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

This veggie turkey is what I made for this year's Thanksgiving Feast with my family!




Ingredients:
4 large sweet potatoes (that are not too curvy)
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 - 1/2 cup light coconut milk (I used 2% milk instead

Flax Crumble Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil (solid)
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1 Cup raw pecans, chopped
2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes (or used sweetened and forgo the mini-marshmallows)
2 Tablespoons oats
1 Tablespoon flax seeds (optional)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke a few holes in the potatoes and bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender (Or cook your potatoes in the microwave for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until soft)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Once potatoes are cooked, cut them in half and allow to cool for 5 minutes
Scoop flesh out of potatoes leaving a thin layer of potato in the skin. Place the skins on a baking sheet
In a medium sized bowl, mash potatoes well.
Add brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and vanilla to potatoes and continue mashing until smooth.
Stir in eggs and ¼ cup milk (add more milk if potatoes are too thick)
Evenly spoon the potatoes back into the potato skins, the filling should be just popping over the skins.
Make Flax Crumble: mix ingredients together with your hands, making sure to coat everything this the coconut oil.
Evenly top sweet potato boats with flax crumble.

Bake for 15 minutes, add marshmallows and return to oven for 15 minutes



Ingredients:
1 acorn squash
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Pecans

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut the squash in half and remove seeds.
Cut each half in half (end up with 4 pieces of squash)
Place squash in baking dish, skin side down
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes
Mix together butter, syrup and pecans – evenly divide mixture on squash pieces
Continue baking for 10 minutes, or until butter mixture is melted.

November 21, 2013

Professional Hand Model

I love my husband so much. True story. I always see adorable little old married couples walking at the park holding hands and hope to someday be them.  Then, of course, I think of holding Brad’s hand and the image changes to us just walking side by side at the park.  Seriously, when I hold Brad’s hand it's like he’s wearing gloves made out of sandpaper.  He has the driest hands of anyone I know.  You can hear them scratch across my clothing when he touches me.  We've tried about a dozen different kinds of lotion but nothing works.  He lotions his hands every night before bed to no avail. I've suggested that he moisturize his hands more often but he refuses because he doesn't like the greasy feeling the lotion leaves behind.

Pinterest Activate! (It’s like a Superhero Search Engine)

What I like about searching on Pinterest is that you find things that are actually helpful not just articles from the highest paying advertisers.  Pinterest allows you to find things that other people, like yourself, have found helpful. Occasionally you’ll have to sift through junk but it’s mostly helpful and a lot quicker (Seriously:  google “dry hands” then pinterest search “dry hands”.)

What I found made me feel like an idiot.  You know that moment when the answer is so obvious it’s basically smacking you in the face?  Yeah, THAT moment. 

EXFOLIATE THEN LOTION

It makes so much sense after it’s pointed out.  When using the lotion Brad was just moisturizing the dried up dead skin on the top layer of his hands.  The dead skin cells need to be exfoliated away so the lotion can get to the good skin and actually work!

Dry hands? Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Lotion

Mix approximately ½ teaspoon of petroleum jelly and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar in your hands. Then scrub your hands all over with the mixture.  Wash the jelly and sugar from your hands then apply the lotion.  You could probably use this sugar scrub also.

Brad’s hand felt softer almost immediately.  If he would take the time to do this every night there is no telling what a difference it would make, but as they say, “you can lead a horse to water….”

You say you don’t have dry chapped hands?  Here’s another reason we should all be exfoliating our hands before lotioning:  A friend of mine was at the bar and ended up in a conversation with the bartender about not being ID’d.  He told her that it’s not necessarily a person's face that gives their age away.  He said that he can tell whether or not to ID someone by the “age” of their hands.


Maybe George Costanza could still be a hand model after all.





November 12, 2013

No Soup for You!


We took Maggie to the Pumpkin Patch!  She really enjoyed the Corn Maze but wasn't interested in the goats at all (and they didn't much care for her either.)  It was a short visit as it was pretty cold and wet but I bought 5 baking pumpkins, 2 acorn squash, and 1 butternut squash.  I've never cooked with the latter two before but I stumbled upon a couple of recipes that I really wanted to try.


Have you ever cooked with a butternut squash before?


*the following passage is based on true events


I really wanted to try my hand at making a sweet potato / butternut squash soup.  The instructions simply say to peel and cube the butternut squash.  Easier said than done; I was unaware of how hard they really are.  It took me the better part of two hours just to peel and cube this thing.  During our battle the squash managed to get the better of me; I was wounded by the edge of a serrated knife but I battled on.  The squash must pay for it's sins by burning at the stake!  What I didn't know was that the Butternut Squash would not be taken so easily. He gathered all his comrades and together they banded against me.  The oven took the first shot, burning my flesh but I would NOT be defeated.  I sent the squash and it's friends (sweet potato, onion, and carrot) to burn in the fiery blazes of hell!  After 40 minutes of basking in the glory of my hard fought victory, I relieved the squash and his friends of their fate and removed them from the oven.  

The squash was weakened but full of heart.  I dumped the infantry into a bladed torture chamber and started it's gears.  Many men threw themselves to death in an attempt to save their friends, and save their friends they did.  The engine of the chamber gave a roar and smoke billowed from inside.  The battle was lost but the war was not over.  I took to squashing them one by one with my bare hands; it took longer with pulverize them but was so much more satisfying. Then just when the men thought it was over I dumped their remains into a boiling vat and there they sank into oblivion.  



True story.


I started making this soup in the afternoon, while Brad was still at work.  By the time he got home the kitchen was a disaster area and the soup was nowhere near being finished.  I had cut myself with a knife and burned myself on the oven.  Finally, when I thought I had things under control, the blender goes on the fritz and I was left with no way to puree the ingredients.

At the end of the night, we were left with thick, chunky soup, and albeit tasty I just could not get past the texture.


Brad really enjoyed it though.  Other than the one bowl I picked at, he ended up finishing the entire pot.  That is either one REALLY AMAZING husband or a not so awful soup.  I suppose it could be both. 


I honestly doubt that I would ever try my hand at making this soup again, or anything else that requires peeling and cubing butternut squash.  Maybe if Brad did all the chopping I would consider it, but right now the painful memories are too difficult to get past.


However, if you are feeling extra adventurous (or know a secret super easy way of softening butternut squash) you should definitely try making this soup.  I bet it's delicious when the consistency is correct.

You can find the recipe (as well as this photo) at Pretty Good Food.  Let me know how your soup turns out and maybe you can share your secret with me.