Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin and squash soup recipe (dairy free!)

The pumpkin is having a bit of a moment right now.  From lattes to cakes to cookies and about a million other variations: there's pumpkin everywhere.  It's the ultimate icon of fall.  Don't believe me?  Stop reading and go for a walk outside.  I'll wait.  I guarantee you see at lease one pumpkin within one minute.

Okay you're back.  I was right, wasn't I?  Pumpkins. Are. Everywhere.  For years I've been more of a pumpkin decorator than a pumpkin eater.  But after a day of helping my friend Erik dig potatoes on his farm, I was gifted a glorious sugar pumpkin for my efforts.

"You are not allowed to carve this into a Jack-O-Lantern," he said.  "It's the biggest one we grew this year.  You must eat it."  Okay.  Challenge accepted.

I give you:  Pumpkin and Squash Soup

I love this soup because it's super filling and super healthy.  (The pumpkin and squash is chocked full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.)  The curry powder gives it a bit of a kick, sure to warm you up on a chilly day.  I try to keep a lot of my recipes dairy free because of some family food allergies, but you could add half and half and a couple tablespoons of butter to take it to the next level.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1chopped yellow onion
1 roasted sugar pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
3 cups vegetable stock (I use the low sodium stuff)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup roasted and salted pepitas


Roast pumpkins and squash for 45 mins. (Great directions here.)  Set aside to cool.  Heat the oil in a heavy - bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium - low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Scoop pumpkin and squash into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the pumpkin  and squash puree, chicken stock, salt, pepper, and curry powder. Cover and simmer over medium - low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt. Serve hot with crusty bread.  Garnish with pepitas.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DIY: Homemade stamps using food

Been scouring the Internet for ideas on how to make simple, easy stamps.  These are just downright adorable.  Check it out:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Find: The Ultimate Father's Day Gift

SOLKOA Survival Kit for Best Made Company, $170
For the dad who never quite outgrew Boy Scouts, speak to his “Be Prepared” mindset.  Inside the aircraft grade aluminum box (which you can dig with or cook in if needed), you’ll find two dozen items deemed to be the most-needed in a survival situation.  From a fishing kit, water purification tablets, and emergency blankets, to medical supplies, waterproof matches, a hacksaw blade, and just about everything in between, it’s the one gift you hope dad will never have to use.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The rise of the kitchen garden

potager (noun) a kitchen garden
mid 17th century, from French jardin potager "garden providing vegetables for the pot"

There is something so satisfying about growing your own food.  Maybe because it's such a rarity for us these days.  When our grandparents were young, practically everyone had a "victory garden," with some tomatoes, beans, and peppers growing in the backyard.  But what's old becomes new again.  Like so many other fads, we're on the upswing with gardening.  Which means there are a plethora of photos featuring gorgeous kitchen gardens -- potagers, as they're called.  Check out some of my favorites.

[Photo by Marsha Arnold]

[Stacey Van Berkel-Haines for Canadian Gardening]

[Source Unknown]

[Image via 99 Roots]

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What is it about a beach house?


What is it about you, dear beach house?  You are nearly 100 years old, sitting on a narrow stretch of beach above the sea in Wells, Maine.  Your floors creak.  The porch groans.  The wind whips through your attic windows.  There's history here:  of sandy feet, late-night card games around the kitchen table, and sunburned kids tossing in their beds.  Of laughter and arguments and love.

You can hear the water from anywhere in the house.  You whisper to it like a long-lost love.  "I'm still here," you say.  "Come and get me."

A beach house is a fragile thing, weathering a beating from late summer hurricanes and winter storms.  Each spring we wonder:  will it still be there?  A beach house makes you remember that time is precious.  That it could all be swept out to sea at any moment.  So linger on the porch.  Play one more game of cards.  Dig your feet deeper into the sand.  You never know if this day will be your last.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lilac season has arrived!

Scratch and sniff computer screens need to be the next big thing.

Friday Find: Balcony planter

Who says you need to have a yard to grow a garden? Utilize every extra inch of your patio and balcony with these modern planters.  A zinc rail hook fits most railings and keeps your plants elevated for a bit of visual interest.  I love the idea of planting a whole bunch of different varieties of lettuce and radishes to have close at hand for an impromptu salad.  You have a green thumb, I promise.  You just need the right tools!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beautiful farm photography

In the springtime, I dream about farming.  Planting seeds and starting fresh.  Digging in the dirt.  Watching things grow.  My friends Erik Jacobs and Dina Rudick Jacobs spend all year thinking about these things.  Both award-winning photographers in their own right, this pair take the most amazing, beautiful, and moving photos.  For the past year and some change, they've been documenting Erik's quest to become a real, honest-to-goodness farmer.  Now, they're launching their first CSA for their own farm.  I've been following their blog weekly as they post new photos and document their trials and errors.  And man, can these two make a pretty picture.  These are their photos.

*All photos by Erik Jacobs and Dina Rudick Jacobs of Plough and Stars Project.  To learn about their CSA, click here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

An open declaration of love to these L.L.Bean boots

Oh, L.L.Bean boots -- how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  You are the workhorse of my wardrobe, a sherpa-lined paradise amidst the brutal forces of the Polar Vortex.  I can’t remember the last day I didn’t build an outfit around you. I forget a time when I wasn’t coordinating my socks and my stretch pants with your leathery exterior.

Gone are the days of flowery, flowing dresses that flutter in the warm westerly winds.  Do you dream of sunshine, my little boot loves?  Do you daydream about kicking back under a palm tree with a pina colada in hand?  No.  It’s not the tropics you crave, but more ice and snow.  For you are in your element when I trudge through four inches of sludge, the icy specks beating down upon your eyelets.  This is your happy place.  This is where you want to be.

I don’t care that people stare when I walk into the bar with you.  They don’t understand our love. They don’t know how you keep me warm during these long, winter nights.  Your love is unrelenting and unconditional.  I am cold without you.  No but really, I tried wearing some Converse sneakers during my commute once and it was awful.  I will never leave you.  I promise I’ll never be unfaithful again.  I can’t imagine going through life with anyone else but you.  

But what will happen when the spring comes, my little sole mates?  When the warm blaze starts to beat down upon us and all the ice and snow melts away?  I will be tempted once again.  It will feel so good to slip my toes into those wedge sandals that are sure to come around.  Every flip flop in town will be beating down my door once the heat wave hits. Will we endure such a thing? Can our love survive?  I won’t forget you, my loves.  You must believe me on that.  Please promise me this, my boots:  wait for me.

Happy Valentine's Day

Banana Republic's men styling is killing it

Excellent job, you guys.  Keep up the good work!
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